Tuesday, February 26, 2013

COTT: January Clash Winner and Giveaway!

The Winner of Clash of the Titles' 
January New Release Clash is:

Mystery of the Heart by Jillian Kent

A heartfelt congratulations to Jillian!

In celebration of winning the Clash of the Titles, Jillian Kent will be offering a giveaway at her blog beginning Tuesday, February 26th and running through Saturday, March 2nd. Winners will be announced on Sunday, March 3rd. Please follow this link ( http://jilliankent.blogspot.com/ ) beginning Tuesday for details.

COTT sends out a special thank-you to the following authors for taking part in this fun week:

Rhonda Gibson, author of Groom by Arrangement
Pam Hillman, Author of Claiming Mariah

ABOUT Mystery of the Heart - The Ravensmoore Chronicles :
Lord Eden is intrigued by Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart if he is forced to betray her?

Lady Mercy Grayson longs to be a physician like her older brother, Lord Ravensmoore. However, society would never tolerate a female physician, let alone one who is a noblewoman. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. But when a colleague grows suspicious, Mercy is in danger of losing more than her dreams.

Returning home from a secret voyage for the regent, Lord Eden agrees to give Mercy passage back to London. As their attraction to each other grows, they face circumstances, decisions, and treachery that could forever change the course of their lives.

WHAT VOTERS HAD TO SAY ABOUT "Mystery of the Heart."

*Beautiful mystery ! is a love inspirational and encouragement. Thank you.
*It's wonderful to know there are books out there that honour the Lord without being dull and boring. Keep up the good works.
*I love the premise behind Mystery of the Heart. Can't wait to read it!
*I loved the first two books in this series and am looking forward to reading Mystery of the Heart.
*I read the other two Ravensmoore books and couldn't wait for the third book to come out. I love Jillian Kent's books. She has a great way of finding a bend of romance, intrigue and always has an ending that you don't expect.

ABOUT the author, Jillian Kent’s first novel in The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Secrets of the Heart, debuted in 2011 and held readers captive winning four stars from Romantic Times and first place in the 2012 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Contest. Also, in 2012, Chameleon, the second book in the series found its way into readers hands and hearts with an, “I dare you to solve the ending,” challenge from the author. Mystery of the Heart, book three in the series is already grabbing the attention of readers who love a  romantic adventure.

Secrets of the Heart
"A feast for fans of historical romance, and a superb debut from Jillian Kent."
—James Scott Bell, author of Try Darkness and Presumed Guilty

A delicious Regency House of mirrors, Jillian Kent’s Chameleon is an enthralling mix of Sherlock Holmes meets Jane Austen.  —Julie Lessman, author of Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series.

"Jillian Kent's, Mystery Of The Heart, is a riveting tale of intrigue, courage, romance and faith. I was hooked from the first page, when the heroine washes up upon the shores of Regency England half-drowned, only to be taken captive by the mysterious Lord Eden. This is a story to be savored and shared."
- Serena Miller, author of, The Measure of Katie Calloway, 2012 Rita Award for Best Inspirational Romance.

You can find Jill at all of these places.


@JillKentAuthor  Twitter


Monday, February 25, 2013

Matthew Horn Interview

Please welcome Matthew Horn aboard the Christian Bookmobile.

Matthew Horn

As a young boy in small town Indiana, Matthew Horn grew up loving storied heroes of all kinds. After graduating from Purdue in 2002, he returned to Rochester to work as a financial manager for his family's small company. His love of heroic tales never diminished and his first work, The Good Fight, was published by Brighton Publishing in 2011. The sequel, Nothing Good is Free, was released in December 2012 and Matthew has his eyes firmly set on continuing to create heroes beloved by all.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I can remember moments through high school and college where I would try to put some random idea to paper, but the concepts always died out when I discovered the amount of time and effort that would be required.  It really wasn’t until 2009, about six years after I graduated from college, when I finally found the drive to follow-through on a book idea.  I surprised most of my friends and family when I told them I wanted them to read sample chapters.  I had always loved to read, but had never expressed a desire to write.  It was a fun time.

Do you have formal education in writing? If so, please describe. If not, how did you learn?

The most I can claim regarding an education in writing is the summer classes my mother forced me to take during high school.  She has her Master’s in English and was always very unhappy with the public education system in that area.  She worked on my sisters and me relentlessly, or so it seemed to me.  My educational background is actually in Management.  I put my Mother’s lessons to good use however, writing papers and business plans to get my degree from Purdue.

Please tell the readers about your latest book.

My latest book is titled Nothing Good is Free and is the sequel to my first published novel, The Good Fight.   This book continues to follow my hero, Jeff, after the death of his vigilante mentor, Jim.  The entire Good Fight series is intended to be symbolic of a Christian’s struggle to do what is right all of the time.  Jeff, as a vigilante in Chicago, is trying to walk a very tight line yet not stray as his predecessor did.  The first book was very centered on Jeff and Jim.   In this new installment, I expand on the roles of Jeff’s girlfriend, Brooke, and the hardened detective, Martell, that Jeff was always trying to avoid in the first book.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

In 2010, my wife and I had taken our youth group to the Indiana Christian Youth Convention.  We were listening to a speaker one night talking about the difficulties in loving God all day, all the time.  I suddenly thought of an idea to have a young hero coming of age with a wise mentor to show him the way.  I ran the idea by my wife who thought adding some conflict with the mentor would be a good idea.  Leave it to my wife to shoot holes in my ideas.  This idea eventually became The Good Fight.  After completion of the first book I knew immediately that I wanted a second and third installment. 

What do you want the reader to feel/learn/experience while reading this book?

First and foremost I want my readers to enjoy a good, wholesome, adventure story.  I think it’s getting harder and harder to find a story today that is considered real, but doesn’t have incredibly foul language and crude scenes.  I also want my readers to be able to see ways that God works in the characters lives and decision making.  I hope they enjoy the story and I hope they can feel the deeper meaning. 

Please summarize other books you have published.

My only other book is the first book in this series, The Good Fight.  In that story, Jeff is just graduating from college when he has the opportunity to help Chicago’s famous vigilante, the same man that saved his life when he was nine.  Jeff learns the heroes identity and eventually becomes his reluctant protégé.  As the story progresses, Jeff begins to see the ways that his once hero is straying from what’s right.  Jeff wants to pull away, but the more he does the more he gets pulled in.  Jeff ultimately must choose what life he wants, and what life he has been given.

What would you tell someone who wants to write a novel?

Always ask questions and never, ever give up.  For someone like myself that doesn’t usually deal well with personal failures (and I sure have a few of them), publishing can be one of the most brutal industries out there.  It’s hard to be told your work isn’t publishable.  However, if you ask questions and never stop learning you can eventually push past barriers that keep others from succeeding.  It takes a lot of perseverance, but it most certainly can be done.

What would you tell a new author about marketing his or her book?

The best tip I could give is to find a group of people who have been where you want to be, or are trying to get to same place.  No matter what we think, we aren’t alone.  Thanks to the internet it’s easier than ever to find help and I promise, no matter what you write, there’s a group out there doing the same thing.  Find them, learn from them, and ask questions until your blue in the face.

Please describe your hobbies and interests other than writing.

My wife gave birth to our first child, a littler girl named Ella, January 31, 2012.  My number one hobby right now is playing with her on the living room floor.  She is very active and loves to laugh so we have a great time.  My wife and I are also pretty active people so we love to get out and play on the lake we live on, go for a run, play some tennis, etc.  I think my pastime is reading.  I always have a good book.  Currently I’m reading through Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books. 

What's the best way to reach you and buy your books?

If you go to my website www.matthewrhorn.com there are links to not only buy my books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but there’s also a link to email the author.  You can also email me directly at matthew_horn@hotmail.com.  I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Goodreads, and LinkedIn. 

Thanks for allowing me this interview.  I very much appreciate the chance to answer you questions and be hosted for your fans. 

The Good Fight Trailer

Monday, February 18, 2013

COTT: Romance and Mystery: January New Releases

Until Wednesday, February 20th, at midnight, Clash of the Titles will be featuring three, brand spanking new inspirational novels. Each of the below novels has been on bookstore shelves for less than a month. Which one is calling your name? Take a moment to browse, then, using the voting box below, let us know which you're most likely to read first. Happy browsing!

Groom By Arrangement by Rhonda Gibson
Eliza Kelly thought her humiliation was complete when she identified the wrong train passenger as her mail-order groom. Jackson wonders if Eliza's mistake was his good fortune, between caring for an orphaned youngster and protecting Eliza, Jackson feels whole again, if only he can persuade Eliza to marry him, her reputation will be saved…and so will their long-buried dreams of forging a real family.

Mystery of the Heart by Jillian Kent

Lady Mercy Grayson longs to be a physician like her older brother, however, society would never tolerate a female physician, so Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. Lord Eden is intrigued by Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart if he is forced to betray her?

Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman

In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Use Your Kindle to Help Edit a New Book

I've spent the day listening to my latest book, Love Lives On. No, it's not an audible edition. I'm using Kindle's text to speech option. Here's how it works.

First, I edited the book in the traditional fashion by working with a professional editor and making the changes she suggested. After that I used Microsoft Word's Find capability to search for overused and miss-used words. That took about a week. The word "was", for example, appeared more than two thousand times in the 66,000 word novel. I checked each instance to see if I could rewrite the sentence using the active voice instead of the passive. I probably changed half of them. I have a list of about twenty words and phrases I check. I'll provide the list if anyone is interested, but today, I wanted to tell you about how the Kindle helped me find missing words and wrong words.

I saved the Word document as a TXT file and sent it to my Kindle. There are instructions in your Kindle User's Manual telling you how. It only took a few minutes to get it done. There is a fee, but it is small. I'll be glad to send details to anyone who needs it.

Next, I listened to the book, stopping to highlight changes needed and leaving notes about the corrections. Missing words popped out so easily I couldn't believe it. I think when we read our own work, our eyes and brains fill in the missing word for us. When you hear the Kindle read a sentence with a missing word, the word is still missing and you can tell immediately.

I've only listened to half the book so far. Here are a few of the sentences I found with missing words or letters which are shown in parentheses:

1. Karen('s) stomach knotted up.
2. Karen had grown up on (a) farm in Iowa and, after moving to Austin, …
3. He moved through those trees at (a) fast pace.
4. …may have come into the room while we (were) gone.
5. The(y) joined the boat tour…
6. Probably because he (looked) like most of the college-aged …
7. Before Brian had a chase (chance) to agree…
8. She managed to say (it) with love in her voice.
9. What are (you) talking about?

Another benefit of the Kindle speech capability was to catch misused words. I found these:

1. litter instead of little
2. slide instead of slid
3. wild instead of wide
4. diner instead of dinner

It was also easier to catch words and phrases used repeatedly. I marked them for change.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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Monday, February 11, 2013

COTT: "The Q Manifesto" --A Christian Thriller You Don't Want to Miss!

Clash of the Titles presents...

 The Q Manifesto by Alan Schleimer.

A new Dead Sea Scroll stuns the world. Is it a forgery or the end of Christianity?

Not long ago, experts announced that an ancient papyrus referred to Jesus Christ as having a wife. It caused quite a stir before being quickly discredited. But what if an even more explosive papyrus was found that showed the gospels were faked and that document passed every modern test for legitimacy? That is the premise for The Q Manifesto. 

The story centers on Jay Hunt, who quit a lucrative Wall Street career to become a backcountry tour guide. Soon after, an ancient manuscript is uncovered that reveals the Gospels were an orchestrated fiction. Though its revelation stuns the world, Jay ignores it until his father, a retired Dead Sea Scrolls expert, gets in over his head investigating the scroll. Chased by assassins, Jay soon learns that the world’s only chance to survive Armageddon depends on him deciphering a cryptic trail of clues in his quest for the truth.

An Unlikely Prospect as an Author
Alan Schleimer wasn’t always a writer. In fact, he says that he was the least likely candidate to become a published author. About ten years ago, he was enjoying a career in the corporate world. The former energy trader and business development professional with a finance MBA claims he struggled writing a two-paragraph business letter. “I kept getting these cool ideas for a book. I thought some day, if I ever retired, I would write it. Well, I noticed that these ideas came more frequently while I was spending my quiet time meditating. Eventually, I became convinced it was a calling from God, and I began writing full-time. The story that started it all was a Christian fiction fantasy. It was a great learning process filled with numerous rookie mistakes. I took writing classes and attended writing conferences until deciding to write the kind of fiction I liked to read—mystery/suspense/thrillers.”

Police Academy
Besides studying writing, Alan is a graduate of Sugar Land’s Citizen Police Academy. He describes it as “A great program for anyone, but it was an ideal introduction for me to police procedures. You can read about police work, but the Academy brings to life the daily risks and snap judgments police officers must make to keep us safe.” Besides his Academy participation, he has studied martial arts, finance, and what he calls the divine source of all truth—the Bible.

Evidence that the Police Academy and other studies have enriched Alan’s writing is reflected in one reader’s review, which praised it as a “magnificent debut whose stunning depths, pivotal settings and tangible descriptions manifested themselves in imagery akin to an HDTV movie.” His storyline was cited as a “masterfully crafted, full-immersion thriller written with intelligence, heart and virtue, brilliantly plotted, and played out at machine gun pace.”  Pleased that his book is categorized as Christian fiction, Alan prefers to think of it as a family-friendly wild ride with a message of hope and a challenge to anyone’s faith.

The Q Manifesto was named the top inspirational/religious novel of 2012 by the national website Daily Cheap Reads. Previously the story garnered the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre. Schleimer’s debut novel is a suspense thriller and has been compared favorably to Dan Brown’s "Da Vinci Code" for its masterfully-executed twists and turns. 

Connect with Alan
The Q Manifesto is available as an eBook at Amazon and by month’s end at most online booksellers in a print edition. You can connect with Alan through his website www.alanschleimer.com and “Like” him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlanSchleimer.Author.

Monday, February 4, 2013

COTT: December Release Champ

The Champion of the December New Releases Clash is:

A Promise to Protect, by Liz Johnson

Her novel takes the honors but it went up against some formidable competitors:
The Song of the Tree, Lotis Key

Mind of Her Own, Diana Brandmeyer

Counterfeit Cowboy, Lacy Williams

The Knitting Fairy, Jaime Marsman
Thanks to all for showing up and playing with COTT this week. The voting was amazingly close for a few days, and we had well over 200 voters. Congratulations to our readers and supporters!
A few of the comments from the survey say:

I absolutely love inspirational fiction. Thank you all for your books... I seem to always find one that speaks to my needs.

Keep on creating and inspiring.

ALL of the titles sound fabulous! It was a tough decision. Thank you for writing such awesome books!

Anything about our Seals is a definite buy!

Sometimes it seems unfair to have to choose. All the books look interesting. But I picked the one that I would pick up first.

What a wonderful list of books! Great job, everyone!

The books all look very interesting and well worth checking out. It was very difficult making a choice and all 5 authors should be encouraged for doing a great job.

Liz Johnson is one of my favorite authors. I love how she develops her characters in such a way that I not only want to know what happens in the story but I am emotionally invested in the characters.

About the Book:
Navy SEAL Matt Waterstone knows about keeping people safe. When his best friend’s sister is attacked, Matt promises no harm will come to Ashley Sawyer–not on his watch. But Matt’s not the only protective one. Ashley will do anything to safeguard the residents of the battered women’s shelter she runs. She’s sure she can handle the threats she gets in return. What she can’t handle is the way Matt scales the walls around her heart. Yet when she falls prey to a crime web more sinister than she’d realized, trusting Matt could be the only way to survive.
Buy the book on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble

About the Author:
Liz Johnson graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a degree in public relations and works as an editorial and marketing manager at a Christian publisher. She is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist, and A Promise to Protect is her fourth novel with Love Inspired Suspense. Liz makes her home in Nashville, TN, where she enjoys theater, exploring the local music scene, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her two nephews and three nieces. She loves stories of true love with happy endings.

Keep up with Liz's adventures in writing at www.lizjohnsonbooks.com, Twitter @LizJohnsonBooks, or http://www.Facebook.com/LizJohnsonBooks.

Upcoming book news: Ashley's brother, Tristan, gets his own story in SEAL Under Siege, which will release in September of this year.