Monday, October 31, 2011

Hearts Key & The Woodland Series Wrap Up

I have to admit it...I'm equal parts elated and sad. Hearts Key releases on November 4th...what a cause for celebration! Hearts Key is book 4 of my award-winning Woodland Series, and these characters took on a life of their own (in fact, secondary characters you meet in this book have spun their way into my Christian fiction debut with Harbourlight Books - Devotion!)

The sad part is, Hearts Key brings a close to a very special place in my heart: Woodland Church.

I can see its gleaming brass steeple, its waterfront location, so clearly in my mind, despite the fact that this church is fictional. I can see it's parishioners as if they are walking straight through the double door entryway... There'd be the entire Edwards clan, with Collin and Daveny...Pastor Ken Lucerne and his gorgeous wife Kiara...the sassy and sparky JB and Monica Edwards...they've all brought me to laughter, and to tears. I've rejoiced in their victories and feel like I've walked a journey right along with them.

Now it's time for the wrap up - and what better story to tell than that of love refound after trials, hardships, and even successes beyond imagining...

In the pages of Hearts Key, you'll meet Tyler Brock and Amy Maxwell - I hope you fall for them as hard as I did. And I bet your heart will be utterly stolen by that precious little cutie-pie, Pyper!


Life hasn't been kind to Amy Maxwell. Once the effervescent leader of the pack, her marriage should have been perfect. Instead, she escaped with nothing but the clothes on her back and her daughter, Pyper.

Tyler Brock is dazzling. The once shy teen has evolved into a powerhouse in Christian music, and when he returns to Woodland for a benefit concert, Amy can’t believe he is as faithful and tender as ever. He even manages to touch the heart of a doubtful Pyper.

But, Amy can’t escape her own self-doubt, and she questions the wisdom of her heart when it comes to the charismatic musician who is so different now, yet so much the same.

Can the key to their hearts unlock a lifetime of love?


The after-concert crowd ebbed and flowed around Tyler like a tide. He stood comfortably amidst it all, his arm looped around his mom’s waist, his father nearby as well. Back home again.

If only it were that easy.

Amy took a deep breath. It was time to move forward, and act like the friend she had always been. She made progress toward approaching Tyler, watching as he shook hands with members of his crew and received enthusiastic hugs of support. Then in came Rebecca. He saw her immediately and grinned while she made a dash for his ready embrace. She gave a happy shout as he lifted her up, and spun her in a full circle.

“You were great,” she enthused, her voice touched by the cadence of the south. “Honestly, what a show!”

“Inspired, wasn’t it, Becs? It feels so good to be home!”

Rebecca pecked both his cheeks and smiled into his eyes. Amy’s heart sank. His dynamic backup singer then greeted others around them and dissolved into the crowd of tour staffers. Amy winced, battling off turmoil, self-doubt, and inadequacy.

It was a battle she lost.

In that instant, her mature, straightforward intentions vaporized. Hiking up her purse and camera strap, Amy kept a tight hold on them both as she turned to leave. She took a few steps toward the exit. She’d beg off tomorrow’s dinner, and bid this entire, world-rocking episode farewell. In the morning, everything would be back to normal. In the morning, she could—


Amy froze at the sound of the smooth and deep voice that carried with it just a touch of the South. She closed her eyes, and she trembled. Bad.

“You were seriously gonna leave without sayin’ hello to me?”

She couldn’t pull in a proper breath. Her heart skittered wildly. Red-hot heat crawled up the skin of her neck and ignited her cheeks, melting and burning in one fell swoop.

Bravely she turned around, her lips pressed tight, though she fought through it all to offer a tentative smile. “Hey, Tyler.”

It was the best she could manage. His eyes were unspeakably gentle and tender. His attitude of warmth so typical of the Tyler she had known, once upon a life. Amy welcomed that fact, and at the same time, she was swept away by just looking at him.

“Hey, Amy,” he greeted softly. His smile bloomed when he took her hands. A beat later, he drew her in for a long, tight hug that left her aching. He felt so hard, and strong. So wonderful. A lump formed fast in her throat—a bit of mourning, she supposed, for all she missed.

“I, ah, didn’t want to interfere or anything.” As soon as the words crossed her lips, she realized how lame they sounded.

Tyler kissed her cheek, and Amy went a bit dizzy. A bit weak at the knees. “You couldn’t interfere if you wanted to.” He leaned back and drew a fingertip against her chin; he looked deep look into her eyes. “I’ve missed you.”



To celebrate the release of Hearts Key, and the culmination of the Woodland Series, I'm going all out!

I'm giving away an autographed, print edition of Hearts Crossing, Hearts Surrender, Hearts Communion and Hearts Key to four lucky commenters! I'm also giving away two PDF editions of A Face in the Clouds (a Woodland Series short story!) That's six prizes in all!


Leave me a comment, right here, right now, telling me why you'd like to win. Be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can connect with you if you win! It's just that simple. I'll choose winners on Sunday November 6th and announce them right here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

So join the fun as we celebrate Woodland Church ~ Nourishing Faith...Nurturing Love.....

God bless ~ and thank you for sharing this adventure with me!


Monday, October 17, 2011

COTT - Tournament of Champions - I'm in the Finals!

Guest post by Jennifer Slattery

Last week, Clash of the Titles launched their first annual Tournament of Champions with two clashes and four talented authors. In Clash one, CS Lakin, author of Someone to Blame, and Marianne Evans, author of Heart Crossing, went head-to-head in a nail-biting, literary duel. In Clash two, our very own Gail Pallotta, author of Love Turns the Tide, competed against Clare Revell, author of A Season for Miracles. All four excerpts rocked, and this was a tough call, but you, our faithful readers chose two Tournament of the Champions' finalists.

Those finalists were Marianne Evans and Gail Pallotta.

Exciting stuff, and yet, the games weren’t done. In the next round, COTT staff cast their votes, and once again, one writer rose to the top and will advance to the next round.
That author is…

Marianne Evans!

And here’s a glimpse of what a COTT champion excerpt looks like:

“Collin Edwards stood before the funeral assembly. Heat crawled up his body. He clutched the edges of the podium where he stood and cleared his throat. The gesture was in vain. His throat constricted so much it hurt. Before the altar, just to the right, rested a flag-draped casket.
He looked down, at a piece of paper upon which he had crafted the words to a eulogy…” (Read more of Excerpt B here.)

About the novel, Heart Crossing:

Collin Edwards, a former parishioner at Woodland Church, has renounced God without apology, his faith drained away in the face of a tragic loss.
Daveny Montgomery cares deeply about her relationship with God, and the community of Woodland . Lately though, she's been in a rut, longing for something to reignite her spiritual enthusiasm.
A beautification project at Woodland seems the answer for them both. Daveny spearheads the effort and Collin assists, but only with the renovations, and only because he wants to know Daveny better. Despite his deepening feelings for her, even stepping into the common areas of the church stirs tension and anger.
Can Daveny trust in Collin’s fledgling return to faith? And can Collin ever accept the fact that while he turned his back on God, God never turned his back on him?
We’d also like to congratulate our prize-winning readers:

Jessica R Patch! She won a $10 Amazon Gift card from Elaine Cooper.

LoRee Peery! She won a free bookmark design from Delia Latham.

Larry Hammersley! He won a $10 Amazon Gift card from Author Anne Patrick.

Join us this week for more fun and prizes as four more authors jump into the ring hoping not only to advance to the next round, but ultimately reign as the Clash of the Titles’ champion of champions! Remember, every vote counts! Each vote gets your name thrown into the hat for our fab-tabulous grand prize give-away comprised of fourteen novels!

Visit our Tournament of Champions page for a complete list of prizes.

Jennifer Slattery is the marketing manager for Clash of the Titles. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters and has written for numerous other publications. She also works for Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach, as a professional manuscript evaluator and publicist. You can find out more about her and her writing at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud. You can find out more about her critique and publicity services at Words That Keep

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Welcome to the Blog, Clare Revell!!

Today I'm delighted to introduce you to a wonderful White Rose Author with a brand new release that incorporates so much of what I love: Romance, suspense, and a royal wedding!

To get you started, here's some information about author Clare Revell:

Clare lives in a small town in England with her husband of 17 years and her three children. Writing from a early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fanfiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, reading, sewing or keeping house or doing the many piles of laundry her children manage to make, she's working part time in the breakfast club at one of the local schools.

She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of three registrars.

Visit Clare at

Her latest book is Cassie's Wedding Dress - here's a peek!


Steeplechase jockey Cassie Hinton's dream was to walk down the aisle in her medieval wedding gown to become Mrs. Jack Chambers. Injured in the Grand National, she returns home...only to find Jack is now the Pastor of her parent's church. Jack Chambers, now a widower and single parent, still has feelings for Cassie, but she sees him as nothing more than a Pastor. Even if he could change her mind, there is still his position to consider. With the Royal Wedding fast approaching, Cassie makes her dress, little dreaming of the consequences of doing so.


“Everyone else has photos of the royal couple and ribbons, silver bells, hearts and balloons. I wanted something more sophisticated but this…” she gestured at the window, “…isn’t it.”

“Maybe tie it in with what Danny sells. After all, the bakers did a wedding cake and the printers did invitations.”

Cassie nodded, her mind whirling. “Yeah…thank you.”

Jack glanced at his watch. “I’d best be off and get Lara from school. She complains if I’m late. I hope you find a solution to your problem.”

“Thank you. Bye.” Cassie smiled and turned back to her display, watching Jack’s reflection in the glass as he walked away. He’d always been a Godly man, even as a teenager, and despite everything that happened he kept his faith—unlike her. Her life and her faith lay in ruins.

She used to hope he’d ask her out one day, but it never happened. And now it never would. She was down and out before anything even got started.

He was a pastor, and she was his parishioner. A fallen- without- hope- of- redemption parishioner, at that. Strike one.

He was a widower with a small daughter. Strike two.

Her leg—her disability. No man would ever want a one-legged ex-jockey. Strike three.



A royal romance. Second chances at life—and love. Overcoming the odds. These intriguing elements come together, kissed by a touch of suspense as well, in the pages of Cassie’s Wedding Dress by Clare Revell.

Cassie Hinton is a former jockey finding a new life and career for herself following a tragic set of circumstances that form the backbone of the story. Pastor Jack Chambers is a childhood friend of Cassie and her brother Danny. Jack’s life has been tumultuous as well. He’s a widower with a precious little girl when their lives reconnect.

A shop window design project in centers around an upcoming royal wedding and prompts Cassie’s foray into dress design and an incredible set of circumstances that will leave readers flying through the pages to see what happens next.

I greatly enjoy Clare Revell’s direct, charming and engaging style of writing. Her previous offerings, and now Cassie’s Wedding Dress, are topnotch reads that live on long after the last pages are turned.

Kudos, Ms. Revell. I eagerly await your next release!


Want to win a copy of Cassie's Wedding Dress? Leave a comment, with your e-mail address, and you'll be entered! It's just that easy. Clare will pick a winner from the comments accumulated on her blog tour! Good luck!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Congratulations, Tanya Stowe - You're the Newest COTT Champion!

Divine gifts have been a topic of much dissension down through the ages. Some folks believe God bestows certain gifts on his children others firmly believe He does not—or at least that He might have long ago but He certainly doesn't today.

We're not here to argue the point (although for the record I do believe in divine gifts!).

That said it has been proven time and time again that certain people have specific abilities that others do not. Not learned skills which is the ability to do something because one has deliberately set out to master that particular challenge. I'm talking about inherent abilities that one naturally possesses usually from birth.

That's the kind of mind-boggling gift Tanya Stowe tackles in Tender Touch, the excerpt from which won the most recent COTT Clash. Lacy Butler is graced with the gift of healing…but she refuses to use it because it didn't save her mother. Pretty common isn't it? We never seem to want the gifts God tries to bestow on us or we'll take the gift (Thank you very much Father!)but we want to use it in our own way for our own purposes. Tanya does a fantastic job of bringing Lacy around from total abandonment of her gift of healing to an acceptance of God's will and God's way to use…GOD'S gift.

Here's a snippet from Tanya's Tender Touch excerpt:

The sudden comfort overwhelmed him. He wanted to close his eyes and slip away. But his blurry gaze focused on his rescuer as he unwrapped the muffler. He wanted…needed to see this man’s facethe man who had saved his life. He forced himself to watch as he pulled off the floppy gray hat.

Royce blinked. His foggy mind was playing tricks on him. A long golden braid fell from beneath the hat and lay across the man’s shoulder. He slipped off the coat and beneath was the slender shape of a woman.

His man...his midnight visitor was a woman! Shock filled Royce’s mindand his head flopped senselessly sideways.

We asked Tanya if she learned anything about God's character through Tender Touch. Here's what she said: “Instead of learning something about God through this bookit is a reflection of something I learned about God from life. I’ve had some personal experience with faith healing and I wanted to write a story that reflected those truths. Of courseLacy’s gift is highly dramatizedbut the basics about how God heals are true.” (Read Tanya's interview)

Of her experience on COTTTanya says: "This was the most fun I had in an interview in a longlong time. COTT does such a good job. I really appreciate this opportunity."

Readers loved the Tender Touch excerptas well—and we loved their comments:

“I feel like I’m already hooked on reading the book.”

“… made me want to find out more about the mysterious midnight visitor man who turned out to be a woman. Both of these were great and it was hard to choose one. Can they both win?? !!!”

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all but one receiveth the prize?"

Currently we're in the middle of the exciting Tournament of Champions which will be in high gear from Oct. 10 through Nov. 4. Don't miss it! Past Clash champs duke it out for the final prize with each of them offering an excerpt that will hopefully have you panting for more. Head on over and see what it's all about.

* Delia Latham is a Christian wife mother grandmother sister and friend as well as an author of inspirational romance and women's fiction. She wears each hat with pride but treasures most of all her role as a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Congrats to Tanya and a huge thank you also to her very worthy opponent Shawn Grady.

Help Me Welcome Michael Duncan!

Welcome to A Minute with Marianne, Michael Duncan!

Michael's book, Shadows, is one of four debut titles that mark the launch of Harbourlight Books. I'm delighted to help spread the word about this fascinating and very special offering.

First--meet Michael!

Michael has spent more than 20 years preaching and teaching God's Word. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Rev. Duncan entered into public ministry and has served in four churches. He currently resides in Washington State with his wife and three children and serves as pastor. When Michael is not preaching or teaching God's word, he spends time writing. His first novel, Shadows, will be released in October, 2011. He is an apprentice-level alumnus of the Christian Writer's Guild. Michael is also a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and serves as a board member and a critique group facilitator. Given the opportunity, he also enjoys time on the golf course.


A stolen text...When the Book of Aleth is stolen, Aaron, captain of the Royal Guard, is ordered by Emperor Therion to reclaim the ancient tome. The mission thrusts Aaron into a world he's never known--a world of elves and dwarves, races long thought extinct; a world where everything he has known and believed is a lie. A secret past... Forced to challenge his long-held beliefs, Aaron and his companions, two soldiers of the Royal Guard and two men of the Dwarvish kingdom of Brekken-Dahl, set out on a quest to recover the Book. Aaron resolves to discover the truth, and rescue the empire he is sworn to protect.



The Coming of Darkness

He stood alone. As the Usurper’s army approached, the tall, solitary figure kept silent vigil outside the high-walled city of Charis, the last free city of the King. Captain of the royal army, Protector of all Celedon, the lone warrior positioned himself like a bulwark between the unbreached gates and the Usurper’s evil horde, determined to stop the tide of vile creatures that continued to advance. At his command, those who remained faithful to the King waited within the protective fortress leaving him to face the enemy alone. He gripped his sword. Cold steel flashed with brilliance as the silent warrior waited. A halo of emerald light radiated from a small gem in the hilt and surrounded the protector.

A gentle summer breeze drifted across the vale, but it carried no scent of hope, only the half-dead stench of the Usurper’s army. Miles beyond the walls, the ancient forest burned unabated and belched thick clouds of smoke high into the air. Acrid smoke darkened the sun and shadowed the world in a ghastly twilight as embers drifted like snow from the sky. Thousands of vile creatures and traitorous men marched against Charis. Their approach echoed like thunder across the valley and shook the ground with every step. Through the haze and smoke, the Protector saw the Usurper, mounted on his black steed on a small hill behind his forces.

An explosion of fire shook the ground. The Protector stumbled to his knees and gazed upward at large daemons soaring through an ash-filled sky. The dark, leathery-winged creatures hurled flaming spheres at the lone defender. Each ball of fire burst in a violent detonation that shook the earth, but the sword he held radiated even brighter, its emerald glow thwarting every attack. No magic could penetrate the radiant circle of light. Undaunted, Celedon’s captain rose to his feet and held his ground.

The Protector’s heart raced with anticipation. In his steeled eyes, a fierce anger burned against the Usurper. He knew that his greatest challenge drew near. He suffered no fear, but hungered with the desire to avenge himself upon the hosts of evil. He knew his duty—to protect the King and defend Celedon, and at that duty, he believed he had failed. He thought of his wife and son and all those who remained inside, of those who stood loyal to the King. He gazed back toward the last, great city.

The high, granite walls of Charis guarded the hosts of those loyal to the King. Atop the battlements, the Protector saw archers of the High-Born elves, vigilant and ready to defend the city. The tall, oak gates at the center of the city wall remained closed. Along the ramparts, flags displayed the crest of the King of Celedon and fluttered in the breeze. Beyond the massive wall, in the midst of Charis stood the Tower of the Wind, a regal spire of white marbled stone. It shimmered in contrast to the black curtains of smoke. The Protector gazed up to the pinnacle of the tower where he saw a rampart and upon the rampart stood the King.

Ingrigued? Then join in the fun! Michael is sponsoring a contest to win an autographed copy of his book! Here's where to go to find out all the details and enter:


Harbourlight Books

I can't wait to read this book, gang!! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meet the COTT Blog Alliance Partners!

* Guest post by Gail Pallotta


After an early morning workout Joanne Troppello sits at her computer near two big windows. Working from an office in her home in the northeast, she “loves getting plenty of sunshine.” She munches on her breakfast as she starts one of five weekly blogs. Her focus is “to connect authors and readers.”
This prolific writer also schedules giveaways and one-time events. Past specialties include two internet festivities, The Royal Wedding and Summer Blog parties. On the books—a Christmas Blog Party. Get ready for the fun.
Joanne likes to spotlight newer, unknown authors in addition to networking with all authors. Writers’ opportunities include Monday interviews and mid-week guest blogs. Two Fridays out of the month she does book reviews. The other two she interviews guests in her Reader’s Corner. One of her favorite things is hearing from readers. She says, “They are who we write for, and we want to write stories that appeal to them with characters that stay with them for a long time.” Joanne says her readers “really like commenting on blog postings and hearing back from authors.”
An author of two books, All Romance ebooks best seller Mr. Shipley’s Governess and Shadowed Remembrances, Joanne writes in the mystery and inspirational genres. When she isn’t at her computer, she loves spending time with her husband and family.
To discover lots of fun activities for writers and readers visit Joanne at


Artist, writer and blogger Carrie Lewis paints portraits for her day job and in her leisure time. Her favorite subject is horses. Easels, paintings and portraits-in-progress abound throughout her Kansas home, including some in her office.
She’s written for as long as she can remember, finishing her first complete manuscript in eighth grade. She says, “I’ve been dividing my time between the studio and the writing desk, and God has seen fit to keep me at home.”
Saving Grace, Carrie’s WIP, “…is a cross between speculative fiction, suspense and Old Testament prophecy.” As far as the WIP and what Carrie normally writes, she says, “It’s so far outside the box....I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get back into that box.”
An active blogger, Carrie posts three times a week. Her topics include writing tips, reports on stories she’s working on, the way we write, and the things we write about. She recently started putting up a weekly writing prompt. It’s “been fun and uses images, colors, sounds, all sorts of things.” For her readers she hopes to share what she’s had to “learn the hard way so that those who follow might not have to learn the same way.” She wants to “encourage writers to heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit when deciding what to write, especially if the story they have to tell is outside what most of us think of as popular fiction.”
When we stop by Carrie’s blog, I imagine we’ll see some of her horse paintings as well as her writings! What a treat. Visit her at

* A COTT Blog Alliance Correspondent, Gail Pallotta recently published her first romance, Love Turns the Tide. When she isn't writing she likes reading, swimming, and getting together with friends and family. Gail wants to write books of faith that show God's love.


Get ready ...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cover Art for Devotion

And a work of art is exactly what this is. Check out the cover for my upcoming Harbourlight release - it took my breath away, it's so gorgeous!! Let me know what you think, and for more on Devotion, please check out my previous post! I'm thrilled, and I can't wait until you get to read it!