Thursday, January 26, 2012

Friday Fun With a New Release: Mattie's Meltaways

And so, we conclude our week together by saying 'Farewell!' to the Sweet Treats Bakery.

Mattie's Meltaways, releasing today from White Rose Publishing, concludes the series by Mary Manners and I've had a blast introducing you to this quartet of wonderful, heart-touching women. The Spencer sisters won my heart, and after reading their stories of love and romance, my bet is, you'll love them, too!


Mattie Spencer has spent the last decade helping to raiser her siblings and grooming Sweet Treats Bakery into a thriving business.

Over the years, she's watched her sisters grow into beautiful women and find the men of their dreams. Now it's her turn, but, at thirty-five, she feels too old to dream of a husband and children of her own.

Tyler Jacobs, a firefighter in the small town of Mount Ridge, keeps busy raising his seven-year-old daughter. The death of his wife during three years ago still haunts him, but morning stops into Sweet Treats, along with a dose of conversation and a handful of Mattie's delicious mint meltaways, kindle a desire he thought was extinguished forever.

Now Tyler has just one goal--to convince Mattie that love knows no age.



Love knows no age, love knows no boundaries, and we're never--ever--too old to pursue our dreams.

I've always believed that when the Lord places a call on our hearts, He gives us the wherewithal, stamina and ability to see it through.

Mattie Spencer has helped raise her sisters. She's been part of the braintrust that has built Sweet Treats Bakery from the ground up. But she fears her heart is destined to remain unfulfilled by marriage, and children of her own.

Into the shop walks firefighter Tyler Jacobs--reeling from his own disappointments in life.

When these two come together, the heady tingles and sweet 'going under' of falling in love takes place, and that's one of my favorite plots--watching two people who have 'given up' on life remain sweet, and caring, and ultimately find their way to true love and happiness.

Mattie's Meltaways forms a wonderful conclusion to Mary Manners's series, and it has been a real "treat" for me to shine the spotlight on Sweet Treats Bakery. I can't wait for what's next from Mary!

Blessings, friends, and have a great weekend! the Sweet Treats Bakery!

Welcome back! I just put on a fresh pot of hazelnut coffee, and Mary Manners has provided today's "sweet" specialty: Tessa's Teacakes!

Tessa's Teacakes is book 3 of her wonderful Sweet Treats Bakery Series from White Rose Publishing, and I can't wait to tell you all about it, and share my review.

Remember to stop back tomorrow, when we wrap up our spotlight with the release of Mattie's Meltaways, the conclusion of our voyage with the Spencer sisters!


Tessa, the youngest Spencer sister--and the most impulsive--rushes into the Mount Ridge crisis center bent on saving her brother-in-law. She's ready to handle Brent's abductor, with or without help. What she's not ready to handle is the effect policeman, Colin Phillips, has on her. Romance is the last thing on Tessa's mind. She longs for the adventure and fast-pace of New York City, not being tied to Mount Ridge and a man who insists she shouldn't be so impetuous. After all "independent spirit" is what Tessa does best!

Colin transferred from the police force in Atlanta in order to find closure after the brutal murder of his younger sister. He wants a nice, safe future, not one filled with caring and worrying about another impulsive woman. His sister was naïve and unpredictable, and while Colin is drawn to Tessa's spunk and vitality, her willingness to rush into danger scares him. No way could he cope with another devastating loss. His heart must remain closed where Tessa is concerned.

But God has His own plans...and His own way of changing hearts and cultivating love.



What is it about an impulsive, loving woman with a soft heart, and a spine made out of steel? Those seem to be the questions that circle through the mind of Mount Ridge policeman, Colin Phillips when his path crosses with that of Tessa Spencer.

Tessa is strong-willed, confident and capable. Colin is protective, provoked by her spuky spirit, and seems to want to, by turns, draw her in for a kiss…and strangle her. I love the electric chemistry between these two, and Mary Manners does a masterful job with the development of their relationship through the course of the story!

‘Treat’ yourself to Tessa’s Teacakes – you won’t be disappointed!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 2 at the Sweet Treats Bakery

Join me at the Sweet Treats Bakery for today's glimpse into the world of Grace's Gold.

Find out all about this fantastic series from award-winning author Mary Manners and White Rose Publishing as we count down to Friday's release of the final book in this series!

Now, without further fanfare, kick back with some sweets, and some coffee, and a tasty nibble of Grace's Gold:


Brent Peterson returns to Mount Ridge, Tennessee with a single goal—to win back Grace Spencer. He's loved her since kindergarten, and should have told her how he felt, but Dan Turner swooped in and stole Grace away before Brent had the chance. Now Grace is a widow with a young son, and while it’s been three years since her husband’s death, Brent isn’t sure he should make his feelings known.

When Brent comes around the family bakery, Grace longs to restore their friendship, but the thin gold wedding band on her finger—and memories of Dan—stand between them.

Can Brent's gentle patience coax Grace to let go of her memories…and the ring, or is it time for Brent to move on alone, and leave Mount Ridge forever?

In the pages of Grace’s Gold, we meet Brent Peterson, and become much more familiar with another Spencer sister: this time it’s Grace.

Grace always thought of Brent as best friend. Brent and Grace share a history that stretches clear back to their childhood. But Grace married Dan—who died just a few years ago. When Brent returns to the wonderful southern town of Mount Ridge, Tennessee, he finds Grace a widow, and a mother, and he’s out to claim her heart—despite the wedding ring she continues to wear.

Can he edge her back to dreams and fulfillment of the heart, despite the memory of her husband? Can he show her how precious their relationship has always been, and if he does, will Grace accept the offering of his heart?
With her flair for touching the heart, sparking a laugh, and leaving me to sigh with delight, Mary

Manners created a wonderful follow-up to Kate’s Kisses, and keeps the treats pouring forth from Sweet Treats Bakery! Don’t miss it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Join the Sweet Treats Bakery

It’s always a bittersweet feeling to say farewell to a wonderfully written series. Such is the case for me today as I shine the Minute with Marianne spotlight on the “Sweet Treat Bakery” series written by award-winning author, Mary Manners.

I’ve gotten to know these characters, watched them live, love and grow. Now, as the curtain pulls closed, there’s a happy sigh for each ‘Happily Ever After,’ and a heart-tug as well.

So, with this week’s release of Mattie’s Meltaways, I thought it as good a time as any to give you snapshots of each book, along with my review of each installment of the series.

First, a bit about my dear friend and very gifted writer, Mary Manners:

Mary Manners is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.
In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

We got together recently—if only through the blessing of cyber-space—to virtual chat, and here are her answers to a few of my ‘getting to know you’ questions!

What inspired you to begin writing?

MM: I cannot remember a time when I didn’t write. My earliest memories are of writing, and I believe I was born weaving tales! I love the written word.

You’ve touched many readers with your wonderful inspirational romances, but what is one of the most meaningful compliments you have received from a reader?

MM: My mother-in-law loves my stories. She was among the first to read Mended Heart and she cried when she told me how much she loved it. It got me crying, too, because she’s one tough cookie when it comes to books.

What are you working on next?

MM: I’m writing a three-book series titled Miracles at Mill’s Landing. Each book tells the story of how the arrival of an unexpected letter alters the life of the person receiving it. Each story is filled with a sprinkle of tears, a bushel of faith, and a bouquet of romance.

I can’t wait to read them! Now, for fun!! How did you and your husband meet? What was it about him that made you know he was “the one”?

MM: My husband and I met at church, during a Wednesday evening meal. He was there with his dad and I was with my mom. We sat together and sparks flew. I knew he was the one when I saw how easily he laughed at himself. He has a great sense of humor, an easy temper, and he loves life.

What’s item #1 on your “Bucket List”?

MM: I want a week at the beach to drink coffee with my husband while watching the sunrise—and not have to rush anywhere.

Where can fans find you on the internet?

MM: My Website is:
Facebook: Mary Manners, author
And, you can follow me on Twitter: MaryManners1

As an aside? Mary, Dora Hiers and I will be presenting a workshop at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in April! Beyond the Bodice…Lacing Together Faith and Romance is our topic, and it’s sure to be a great time! Hope to meet some of you in Chicago!! Want to find out more? Here’s a link!

Now, grab a warm beverage—maybe some hazelnut coffee or cinnamon tea, and take a seat at the bistro-style table while we visit the Spencer sisters, and Sweet Treats Bakery!

Book One ~ Kate’s Kisses

Broken dreams…shattered hearts…a special recipe…

Following the tragic, sudden death of her parents, Kate Spencer broke off her engagement from high school sweetheart Logan Daniels, just weeks before their wedding. She chose, instead, to remain in Mount Ridge, Tennessee to raise her younger sisters and help keep the family together. Now, with her sisters grown, she spends her days at family-owned Sweet Treats Bakery, hiding a wounded heart in the sweet confections she creates.

Logan Daniels left town when Kate broke his heart, but now he's come home to claim what he lost four years ago, and he won't stop until he gets what he came for…Kate's kisses.

Marianne’s Review

Kate’s Kisses introduces us to Sweet Treats Bakery, a delectable, cozy-up spot for sweets, coffee, friendship and romance. Kate Spencer runs the shop with her three sisters—and Kate battles back an ocean of pain. The death of her parents and a broken engagement leave her vulnerable, but so real, and still so beautifully spirited. Enter Logan Daniels—the ex-fiancee. He’s back in town for a development project, and the “small-town kid made good” has grown up and matured since the mistake he admits he made in letting Kate go. In fact, he’s out to win her back with complete heart and conviction.

Manners spins a tale of second chances, tender love, and family relationships that touch the soul. I thoroughly enjoyed both her style of writing, and the engaging way the story between Kate and Logan unfolded and bloomed—despite the odds.

Kate’s Kisses is a wonderful kick-off to the series, and I can’t wait for more!

Monday, January 23, 2012

First "Winning" Clash of 2012!

**guest post by Michelle Massaro
For the last couple weeks, Clash of the Titles has been exploring two books delivering powerful death scenes. That's right, death scenes. The two books were The Vengeance Squad and The Redemption. We met authors Sidney Frost and MaryLu Tyndall and waited with bated breath to find out which title got the most votes. If you missed Friday's announcement, I won't keep you in suspense. Though the competition was stiff, the champion title is...

The Redemption, by MaryLu Tyndall

About the book:

Lady Charlisse Bristol sets off on a voyage in search of a father she never knew, only to find herself shipwrecked on a deserted island. After weeks of combating the elements, her salvation comes in the form of a band of pirates and their fiercely handsome leader, Edmund Merrick. Will Charlisse free herself from the seductive lure of this pirate captain and find the father's love she so ardently craves?

While battling his attraction to this winsome lady and learning to walk a more godly path, Edmund offers to help Charlisse on her quest--until he discovers her father is none other than Edward the Terror, the cruelest pirate on the Caribbean. Can Edmund win this lady's love while shielding her from his lecherous crew and working to bring her father to justice?

Can the supernatural power of God rescue Charlisse and Edmund from the danger and treachery that await them as they ride upon the tumultuous waves of the Caribbean?

A few of the comments from readers:
I loved the Excerpt B.....I look forward to reading the seemed more historical and the genre of books I enjoy reading. I am personally blessed by many of the Christian fiction authors and want to say thank you for all you for your readers. God bless you both!
Someone turning to Christ at the last moment is always a touching scene. It tugs at your heart to know that someone you would never see again, now you will. Very touching!

Keep writing as God leads you. You are bringing God's truth to readers; some who really need those truths in their lives.

About the author:

MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award finalist, and author of more than ten novels is known for her swashbuckling historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes.

MaryLu dreamt of tall ships and swashbuckling pirates during her childhood years on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Unfortunately, instead of pursuing that dream, she worked as a miserable, landlocked software engineer for fifteen years. Only by the grace and providence of God, did she decide to answer His call to write a Christian Pirate series. Today, while writing her eleventh novel, she manages a home, husband, and six kids while battling three cats who have decided that her keyboard is the best place to sleep! She believes that without popcorn and chocolate, life would not be worth living, and her sole motivation is to bring others closer to God.

What fun! For a sneak peak at the book, check out the winning excerpt here. You might also enjoy her fascinating interview here.
Right now, COTT is in the middle of a brand new clash so be sure to head over there to cast your vote. You just might win a free book!

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

COTT Rings in the New Year!

*by COTT Sr. Editor, April W Gardner

January is in full swing, starting 2012 off with a bang. At Clash of the Titles, you can take that quite literally! For the next two weeks, we’re featuring Death. That’s right. Death.

Death has the power to intrigue and terrify, and it’s that power that a good book taps into, often leaving a permanent mark on the reader’s memory. Visit Clash of the Titles today, to read two Death excerpts and vote for the one that impacts you the most.

Remember that every book you send to the Champions Ring will have a shot at our Laurel Award, handed out at the end of our Tournament of Champions. Coming October 2012!

Between now and our October Tournament, we'll have a slew of exciting clashes—some, old reliables; others, brand new.

Here’s what's on the COTT calendar:

Almost Kiss--

Unpublished Hooks--

Here's a glimpse at clashes you might see in the future:

Good Guy

Bad Guy

Leading Lady

Back Cover Summary

Comparable Covers

Mayhem and Mishaps

Creepy Covers

Author’s Choice

Reader’s Choice

Tantalizing Titles

Young Adult


Is there a specific book that comes to mind that you would like to see compete on Clash of the Titles in one of these clashes? We want to know!! Please visit Clash of the Titles and enter the book title in the survey box in the sidebar.

Also new in 2012, once a quarter, a specially selected COTT Champ will be featured in a podcast interview with Christian Authors Guild board member, Cynthia L. Simmons. You can hear our current podcast HERE.

Clash of the Titles thanks each of our readers and voters for making COTT such a fun hang-out during 2011. We look forward to another year of introducing you to amazing new books and giving you the opportunity to win them!