Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mary Manners is in the House!

Mary Manners, I'm tickled to welcome you back to A Minute With Marianne!

Mary has a new release with White Rose Publishing titled Starfire - and my first question to her was, naturally: What inspired you to write the story?

Here's her heart-touching reply:

I was inspired to write Starfire because I have a nephew who is autistic (my brother's son) and I also work with a boy who has Asbergers who really has a special place in my heart.

These kids have so much love to give, and a great deal of ability, if it's nurtured with patience. I have a background in special education and have also worked extensively with special-needs kids and also kids who come from fractured families, and I think I'm just beginning to realize God's purpose in all the years I have spent teaching and loving them.

It seems their likeness keeps showing up in the stories I write, and I guess I hope to give them a voice and perhaps garner a greater understanding for the many capabilities they possess.


Mary, what a lovely objective, and you're so right - all of God's creation is precious and of deep value. God bless you in both your teaching and writing ministries - it sounds to me like God uses your gifts abundantly, and with great success.

For those of you who don't know, Mary is a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award sponsored each year by the Faith Hope and Love Chapter of Romance Writers of America. It's a tremendous honor and I'm delighted for her.

Here's a glimpse at Starfire - and then - my review!

Austin McGill has one goal: to satisfy the conditions of his estranged father's will. After living on Starfire Ranch for three months, he'll sell the property and leave East Tennessee and its heartbreaking memories...forever. At least, that's his plan until Samantha Lakin comes along.

Samantha Lakin has one goal: to save Starfire and its summer camp for special-needs kids like her foster daughter, Jenny. To succeed, Sam will have to soften Austin's stone-cold heart. Not an easy task, especially when she realizes the ranch isn't the only thing that needs saving.

Can Sam's devotion and the love of a little girl teach Austin to let go of the past and to trust God for the future before the ranch and any chance at a happily-ever-after are lost?

Marianne's Review:

The dictates of the will are clear:

‘Live on Starfire Ranch and maintain the property to the present standards, including the summer riding camp, and if you’re not satisfied to remain after three months, you can sell the land and retire a rich man.’

Austin McGill is the heir, a Chicago businessman looking to save his struggling company with an influx of cash once he gets rid of Starfire Ranch—his childhood home and the residence of his estranged father who just passed away.

Samantha—Sam—Lakin oversees Starfire Ranch and its horse camp for special needs children. There could be no more precious example of the benefits of this camp than Sam’s foster-child, Jenny. Jenny is a charming seven-year-old with Asbergers, a slight form of autism which makes it difficult to communicate or cope with new situations.

Jenny helps Austin realize how important this camp is. Sam helps Austin realize how important it is to pay attention to matters of the heart.

In Starfire Mary Manners has once again captured the heart with a wonderful sense of both character and setting. Austin, Sam and Jenny live and breathe in these pages. Manners also demonstrates her deft hand at descriptions and setting, painting a lovely picture of life in the Smoky Mountains. Overriding all else, however is the emergence of Austin’s heart as he opens himself to Sam and Jenny and the blessings that abound on Starfire Ranch.

Do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of this wonderful White Rose Publishing short story. No edition by Mary Manners should ever be missed, but this one especially is top notch and definitely earns each and every one of my five stars! It’s another Mary Manners winner!

Purchase Starfire right here: STARFIRE BY MARY MANNERS

Welcome Debut Author Raquel Byrnes!

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Raquel Byrnes to A Minute with Marianne. It's a very special day for her - it marks the release of her debut novel with White Rose Publishing, Purple Knot! Over the past several months I've gotten to know Raquel, and she's a delight.

Raquel Byrnes lives in Southern, California with her husband of sixteen years and their six children. She considers inspirational fiction a wonderful way to minister to others. She writes romantic suspense with an edge-your-seat pace. Her first book the Shades of Hope Series, Purple Knot, released from White Rose on June 3rd. You can visit her at her website: and her writing blog, Edge of Your Seat Romance.

Here's a tickler about Purple Knot:

“Rain, you have to decide what kind of person you’re going to be. I have to know.”

“What are you saying, Jimmy?” Confused I looked at him.

“I’m saying that you’re racing towards a crossroads, and I want to know what path you’re
planning to take.”

“Now is not the time for this conversation, Jimmy. We’re chasing a suspect!”

“Now is exactly the time, Rain. I need to know, right now because anything you do out of anger or grief will directly affect me, too!” Jimmy said loudly.

Dread bubbled up into my chest. I tried to answer calmly but I felt control slipping. My throat ached with the words I wanted to shout at him. “Don’t make me do this, Jimmy. Not now.”

“Yes, now, Rain.”

“What do you want me to say?” I shouted. “What do you want to hear?”

“I want to hear that you won’t put your anger ahead of our future. I want to hear that you can walk away from the possibility of revenge.”

“Why…why would I do that?” I looked at Jimmy with wonder.

“Because you’ll destroy us in the process, Rain.” Jimmy reached out and caught the hem of my sweater in his fingers. He looked worried.

“Are you asking me to choose between nailing Parker and loving you?” Anger and confusion
whipped through me like a cold wind.

“No. I’m asking you to choose between the hatred boiling in your veins and the grace hanging over your head.”


Wow! Great excerpt, Raquel! I'm dying to know more about this book, and how it came to be -- perhaps five things none of us knew about Purple Knot?

Here is the inside scoop on some of those little known facts, Marianne:

• There is a hacker that helps the main character with the online name, Nitewriter6. That is actually my real online screen name. Those who follow my blog will see it.

• I started writing the idea of Purple Knot during my own time spent in a hospital dealing with a friend in trouble. I’d go down to the garage or write in stairwells. My favorite part was people watching in the cafeteria.

• I visited Seattle for research. My brother lives there and he showed me a lot of the cool places I use in my book. The Columbia tower indeed does have windows in the bathroom stalls and yes…I have tested them.

• I did a private detective course for my research into Purple Knot’s main character, Reyna Cruz. She had to speak the jargon and know how to track down a skip-trace so I did too. I even took a gun class and learned to target shoot.

• The title of the book is a clue to the mystery. See if you can solve it before Reyna does.

I love an author who so authentically embraces the world of their characters - I think it makes for such strong writing. This sounds like such a fantastic release, Raquel, and I can't wait to read it!

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and I wish you every success with Purple Knot! I know it will be a huge hit!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Delia Latham Completes a Blog Visit Trifecta!

Welcome back--for a magical third time--to my friend and fellow White Rose author, Delia Latham! She's such a favorite! :-)

Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, Delia Latham moved from California to Oklahoma in 2008, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her simple country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. The author enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her through her website or send an e-mail to delia AT delialatham DOT net.

Delia, I can't wait to talk about Kylie's Kiss! Kylie's Kiss is book 2 of the acclaimed Solomon's Gate series and Delia's latest release. It's amazing - and my review follows!

On a dare, Kylie Matthews lands smack in the middle of Solomon’s Gate—Castle Creek’s new Christian dating agency—and she finds herself revealing exactly what she’s waiting for in a relationship: “The kiss that steals my breath away.”

What she doesn’t reveal is her lack of self-esteem or her irrational reaction to facial disfigurement. Neither is applicable to her quest to find the perfect match. But that seemingly superficial malady becomes all-important when her first agency-arranged date is Rick Dale—a man who is everything Kylie is searching for. He’s handsome, smart, fun. Rick has it all…including an angelic six-year-old daughter with severe scarring on one side of her face.

Hard at work founding a therapy camp for young female victims of deformity or disfigurement, Rick wants Kylie to be a part of those plans. She’d love to say yes…but how can she, when every contact with the facility’s guests—and Rick’s own daughter—will make her violently ill?

Kylie is ready to admit their relationship doesn’t stand a chance, but she’s forgotten that God makes a way where there seems no way.

Sounds fantastic, eh? Well here are my thoughts on this wonderful romance!

We are all beautifully made. That biblical truth forms the heart of Kylie’s Kiss, book two of the Solomon’s Gate Series. The story reaches deep and wins the heart by virtue of Delia Latham’s solid characterization, sparkling humor, and tender-hearted skill as an author. The romance is affecting, but beyond that, Latham does an outstanding job of developing a story that layers forgiveness within a family torn apart by the idea of physical image and outward appearances.

Kylie Matthews is the daughter of a beauty queen, and the sister of a world-famous actress. She’s spent a lifetime feeling frowzy and unworthy to a degree that leaves her physically ill when confronted by physical imperfection. The longing for a mystical, magical, transcending kiss from the man God intends just for her leads her to Solomon’s Gate, a Christian dating agency we were first introduced to in Destiny’s Dream, book one of the series.

Rick Dale becomes her assigned date – this following a serendipitous car accident between the two. (Think God has plans afoot here?) Rick is the father of a sweet little girl named Lea, who suffers from a facial disfigurement that has made her wise and mature beyond her years. Lea has inspired Rick to create Looking Glass Ranch, a place for kids like Lea to make friends, have fun, and escape social pressures and stigmas.

Rick and Kylie for a noble unit, they’re people you fall in love with and root for from page one. Latham crafts each ladder step of this book’s plot with precision – cuing the reader in with just enough information and plot development to keep the pages flying whole at the same time creating a love story between two struggling, beautiful souls finding their way to one another in a pathway that could only come from God.

The angel Solomon provides an appealing whisper of angelic intervention, and it’s wonderful to see Destiny and Clay, from Destiny’s Dream, in their new and happy lives, but you don’t need to have read Destiny’s Dream in order to enjoy Kylie’s Kiss. (I have a strong feeling you’ll want to snap it up, though!)

With her trademark gentility and tenderness, Latham urges us all to embrace love, and ‘fix each other’s scars together.’ As Kylie’s Kiss so aptly portrays, the worst of these scars aren’t physical, they reside in our hearts and God’s touch is there, waiting, to help smooth it away, and bring us to love everlasting.

Please, grab a copy and enjoy Kylie’s Kiss!

Contact Delia at the following locations:


Delia, thanks so much for your visit and God bless!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

JoAnn Carter, and Explorations of a Paradox

Welcome to A Minute With Marianne, JoAnn Carter!

JoAnn is a woman I've been blessed to call friend ever since I first heard about White Rose Publishing. She's a multi-published author of inspirational Christian romance, and she has a new release out with Desert Breeze Publishing called Paradox. I can't wait to read it!

For now, though, let me sit back and sip my java while I give you all a chance to meet this lovely lady, and hear even more about her work and where to find her!

JoAnn, the floor is all yours!

This morning while I was lying in bed in the early pre-dawn I heard a bird singing out a beautiful melody. Normally, this would make my heart happy, but then I'd just turn over and try to catch a few more moments of rest. But not today. Today was extra special. Why? Because crazy as this may sound, this little birdie was lifting it's sweet praises in the midst of a thunderstorm. Amazing! God used two rather "ordinary" things to create and extraordinary experience for me—God showed me something awesome and real—a perfect picture of peace.

Thunderclouds rolled in, lighting flashed across the dark gray sky, and rain teamed down the windowpane yet this bird was secure. In fact, it was more than secure, it was full of joy, willing and wanting to sing.

This sends Goosebumps up my spine as I think about it. It's a paradox and truly a God thing. Especially since this word, paradox, has been near and dear to my heart. In fact, I kid you not; this is the very title of the book that I wanted to share with you today. Yet, perhaps paradox is not a word you're familiar with, so let me explain. Paradox is flowers on snow, joy in the midst of trials, compassion for others as your own heart breaks. It's what many of us just celebrated, Easter-- Jesus laying down his life for me, someone sinful and undeserving. It's victory and life born out of death and suffering.

Through this experience, God reminded me that He delights in using those ordinary things to accomplish His marvelous purposes. And that's super news! If He can use Fishermen, tax collectors, birds, and thunderstorms, I know He can use me—a very average, ordinary person to do extraordinary things for Him. Perhaps you're feeling "ordinary" today. Take heart, it's through that very thing that God can show His creativity, His power, and even His love just like He did for me in the midst of this early mornings storm.



Win a gift box filled with goodies! (A paperback copy of Teacher's Plans, a gift certificate, a mug filled with a package of Green Mountain Coffee, pen and a Tee-shirt.)

How? Help JoAnn spread the word about Paradox by sharing the link to this post on your FB, Twitter, blog, etc. then e-mail where you posted it to with "Blog Blitz" in the subject line. A winner will be drawn 5/26/11.


JoAnn Carter writes stories that will encourage your faith through inspirational fiction novels and novellas. She resides in Vermont with her wonderful husband and four children.

JoAnn is available for speaking engagements to book clubs, reader groups, library groups, women's ministries events, school events, and church retreats.

Find her here:

Visit JoAnn's Web site

Connect with JoAnn on Facebook

JoAnn's Blog


JoAnn, thanks so much for your visit today - it's been a treat!!

Be sure to pick up a copy of Paradox today @

Watch the trailer here ~