Thursday, February 27, 2014

Leap into Books Giveaway Blog Hop

Here is a special treat for our readers. From February 28 through March 7, more than one hundred bloggers have joined together to give you many opportunities to win some wonderful gifts. 

Every blog shown at the end of this message is giving away a prize worth at least $10. Here at the Christian Bookmobile, for example, you could win either a $15 Amazon gift card or a $15 PayPal payment. But, as they say on TV, that's not all. Four other winners will receive a Kindle book by Sidney W. Frost. All four are full-length, excellent, clean adult novels. Prizes will be sent internationally.

It's easy to enter.

See the Rafflecopter below to enter. Everyone gets ONE FREE ENTRY just for stopping by. That means you don't have to do anything to be included in the drawing except click the button. However, you can increase your odds of winning by liking, following and tweeting. And, guess what, it is STILL EASY to do.

Enter here and then, with a simple click, increase your odds of winning even more by going on to each participating blog on the list below. 

Good luck.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Vengeance Squad Goes to England

Chris knows he's going to help Liz. What he doesn't know is what to tell Angela. She expects him to spend his semester break in Bath, England with her. He isn't sure he is ready for a deeper relationship so soon after his fiancée was murdered two years earlier.

Tex, the wheelchair-bound ex-con and part-time student, plans to spend time at home during the school break. He only has one more semester to go to get his degree, and his part-time job at the library plus the criminal investigations he does with Chris and Liz has kept him away from his family too much. Can he say no to Liz? She'd been like a mother to him.

Liz Siedo, the director of library services, has saved enough money to buy a bookmobile, mostly donations from patrons with little to give. At least she thought she had. She learns a hundred grand disappeared around the same time her boyfriend Virgil did. She is known as the hugger and cheer leader, and is often outspoken about her Christian beliefs. Now she is angry and calls Chris and Tex in to help her find Virgil and get revenge.

With the help of Cloris, another woman Virgil has bilked out of a large sum of money, the vengeance squad tracks him to London, Stratford, St. Andrews in Scotland, and Seaford until soon he's chasing them. The closer they get, the more dangerous he becomes. Concern for money becomes a concern for life.

They all but give up before Chris's idea to use the Internet to recruit librarians and bookmobile drivers in the United Kingdom to help catch Virgil.

Monday, February 24, 2014

COTT Presents Intriguing January Releases-Vote Now

In the Winter Doldrums between Post-Valentine’s Day and Easter, 
we all need a little pick-me-up.
We at COTT are pleased to present these amazing stories for you—from Biblical times to World War Two to Witness Protection to Dramatic subjects—something to intrigue every reader.

Check out the following New Releases. Which one is calling you the loudest? Take a moment to browse, then make your choice below to let us know which you're most likely to read first.

VOTE BELOW from Now until next Wednesday - tell your friends - then come back and see which book is this month's champion!

Happy reading! 

Ryan Reid is a first-grade teacher and a Christian with a heart for neglected kids, but a chance encounter during an earthquake with Sandy Arrington, a beautiful young nurse, rocks Ryan’s carefully guarded world and unearths the secret he has held deep in his heart. Though Sandy falls in love with him, Ryan’s forbidden affections lie elsewhere, and he must depend on the Lord to see him through a battle he always hoped he’d never have to face.

Mayor Clarinda Finch and high school principal clash over tradition vs. change during World War II. Can they put aside their differences and fight for both their town and a future together?

Witness Protection promises they can keep anyone safe if they follow the rules, so she follows every one of them to keep her daughter safe. But her husband just called--from the grave!

Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value: Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as the struggle to survive and discover where their true treasure lies.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Evolution of Plotting Techniques for Bookmobile Novels

The idea for my first novel came to me forty years before I seriously started writing. That's when I realized reading a novel was a lot easier than writing one. I took classes and struggled for six years to finish Where Love Once Lived. Then it took two more years to get it published.

As I began my second novel, The Vengeance Squad, I remember thinking how much easier it would be than writing the first one. About half way through the writing, however, I heard about a plotting technique proposed by Joseph Campbell called the Hero's Journey. I won't attempt to explain it here, but there is a wealth of information available on it and how to apply it to modern novels. However, using this approach is an effective way to keep your readers turning pages.

The method was perfect for the mystery I was writing. I was able to use much of what I had done so far, but I rearranged the scenes and added new ones to increase the suspense. I finished The Vengeance Squad in less than a year. It has been my best seller so far.

When I started Love Lives On, I began using the same Hero Journey technique. But then I learned about Blake Snyder's method of outlining a movie. I bought his book, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, and knew it was perfect for my books. About that time, I went to a writing class on using Snyder's method for novels.

I used this method for Love Lives On and The Vengeance Squad Goes to England. I'm using again for what I'm calling Book 5.

Snyder proposed fifteen beats from the beginning to end with the first being the Opening Image and the last the Closing Image. In between, there are beats with such interesting names as Set Up, Catalyst, Debate, Fun and Games, Bad Guys Close In, and All is Lost. This plotting method not only provides an organization to help writers remember to include numerous ups and downs on the way to the story goal, it also provides a formula for how many pages you should allow per beat.

This method is easier to do with 3 by 5 index cards on a bulletin board so you can rearrange scenes for the best balance. I've done this with real index cards, but with fifty or so scenes, it is difficult to find a place to work. I tried the dining room table, but I can only have it for so long before my wife starts looking at me funny.

This time I'm using an iPad app for the index cards. There are several available, but when I saw DenVog's Index Card app and the way it works, I selected it because it matches what I want to do. This is not one of those free apps, but the $4.99 cost seems reasonable.

I use one index card per scene and start with 50 scenes. Ten scenes in Act 1, 27 in Act 2, and 13 in Act 3. I will often add or delete scenes after the writing begins. The app lets me group the index cards and work with a smaller number of cards at a time. I group them by act. When I click on a group, I see all the cards for that group. When I click on a card, I can edit it. The card image is a widow and it scrolls as needed so you are not limited in how much you write.

In the photos shown here, you will see what I've done so far for Book 5. The cards can be easily changed and rearranged. I don't include scene numbers, but maintain order visually. When I'm satisfied with what I have, I will add scene numbers and convert the cards to Microsoft Word.

I've embed a YouTube presentation about Index Cards so you can see how to open groups and rearrange cards.
This is the result of opening Act 1 group
This shows the grouping by act.

Scene 1 scrolled down to show how it works.

Act 3 with its 13 scenes. Not yet out
This is Act 2 with 27 scenes, not all shown. Scrollable.

Friday, February 21, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Visitor by Bree Abbington

I didn't know what to expect when I agreed to read this book. It was classified as non-fiction, religious, and inspirational. It was described as a Christmas story and I wasn't sure I wanted to read another Christmas story at this time, so soon after Christmas. But, the book was only 58 pages long, so I said okay.

Wow! I'm so glad I read it. It was written in a fiction way of building suspense in ways to keep the reader from putting the book down. Good thing it wasn't too long. I even wondered at times if the book really was a novel made to look like non-fiction.

And the Christmas part? That doesn't enter into the real story. It is just background. The story is about a woman who has gone through some rough times and how an incident in her life helps her see more clearly.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.


Monday, February 17, 2014

COTT: Lacy Williams's Return of the Cowboy Doctor

It's February, the month of romance! So here's a book to make your heart go pitter-patter.

Lacy Williams's Return of the Cowboy Doctor was one of our January runner-ups. Today I am thrilled to give you a closer look!

About the Book
Two years shy of his medical degree, cowboy Maxwell White is out of money. So, he's back in Bear Creek, Wyoming, working part-time for the local physician. Though he is immediately drawn to the doctor's lovely, whip-smart daughter, she seems to be irritated by Maxwell's very existence.

Hattie Powell can't quash her feelings for the town's new would-be doctor. But that's exactly why she must keep him at a distance. Hattie is closer than ever to fulfilling her lifelong wish of becoming a doctor. Now, the only thing standing in her way is the man of her dreams.

The Wyoming Legacy series: United by family, destined for love

What COTT Readers Had to Say
*I just finished reading Return of the Cowboy Doctor, and Lacy Williams did a fabulous job bringing her shy, a bit insecure hero to life.
*What a great story! Fun to read. The author's use of descriptions really sucks you in to the story!

Editorial Reviews
* Publisher's Weekly says, "Williams delivers a smart, gentle, and uplifting fourth novel set in 1890s Wyoming...sweet, poetic Max is a lovable hero, and Hattie’s desire to have both career and family will resonate strongly with readers." (October 2013)
* Return of the Cowboy Doctor was an RT Book Reviews TOP PICK! with a 4.5 star review and also received a nomination for the December Seal of Excellence. They say, "I picked up Return of the Cowboy Doctor by Lacy Williams feeling nostalgic for Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and was soon transported to an even wilder West for an aspiring lady doctor."
* The USA Today HEA blog says, "If you enjoy Western romance series with fresh characters in each book... you'll enjoy this Love Inspired Historical series from author Lacy Williams."

About the Author
Lacy Williams is a wife and mom from Oklahoma. She grew up on a farm, which is where her love of cowboys was born. In reality, she's married to a right-brained banker (happily with three little ones!). She gets to express her love of western men by writing historical romance. Her books have finaled in the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Awards (2012, 2013 & 2014), the Golden Quill and the Booksellers Best Award. Her latest release, Kissed by a Cowboy is part of the First Kisses anthology, available March 15, 2014.

Connect with Lacy

Congratulations on your latest release, Lacey! COTT wishes you the best in your writing career.

Our next clash starts February 19th. Be sure to come back then and cast your vote!

Monday, February 10, 2014

COTT: Four Great Novels

As the below featured novels attest, 
Clash of the Titles staff is a talented group!
Please enjoy this sampling of our latest releases

The Last Detail
by Lisa Lickel
Hope, love, and loss meld two polar opposite personalities. How long can they keep passion for their ministry and each other after the wedding? Merit ushers in new life; Amalia ushers it out. Love? Obviously. Marriage? Check. Dealing with the family closet? Step back…When tragedy strikes, they must learn to rely on each other in ways they couldn’t have prepared for.

Lea's Gift
by Delia Latham (& Tanya Stowe)
A victim of a house fire during infancy, Lea Dale’s severe facial disfigurement pales in comparison to the scars Laren Meadows carries inside...and his painful secret could destroy their chance at true love. For the first time ever, an emotional Lea questions her special connections with Heaven even as she investigates cruel pranks
at her father’s ranch for disfigured teens and tries to deal with her roller coaster heart.

A Cowboy Christmas
by Delia Latham (& Tanya Stowe)
A mom on the run; a special child and her “imaginary” friend; a cowboy; and God. Shy horseman Dex Beckett longs to help lovely Layne Mabrey and her daughter, but Layne's lack of faith and stubborn refusal to relinquish her distrustful heart could get in the way of even Heart's Haven's heavenly residents.

                                     Stopped Cold 
by Gail Pallotta
Margaret McWhorter lives in tranquil Mistville, North Carolina, but there’s no peace in her life since her brother, Sean, took a steroid and nearly died. Margaret and Sean’s father demands excellence in sports, but Sean fell short. Margaret’s still hustling to win at swim meets at Meriwether Christian High, where Sean was the number one quarterback for the football team. In quiet moments she asks God to heal Sean. She’s angry at her father for pushing Sean, but hate for the drug dealers drives her to find them. A clue overheard at a teen hangout sends Margaret and two friends to the edge of this dangerous sub-culture.   

Friday, February 7, 2014

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop

Here is a special treat for our readers. From February 8 through 14, a number of bloggers have joined together to let you know what is available and to entice you with the chance to win some wonderful free gifts. 

Every one of the blogs shown at the end of this message is giving away a significant prize. Here at the Christian Bookmobile, for example, you could win either a $25 Amazon gift card or a $25 PayPal payment. But, as they say on TV, that's not all. You also have the chance to win Where Love Once Lived, my clean adult romance. Paperback or Kindle, your choice. Prizes will be sent Internationally.

It's easy to enter.

See the Rafflecopter below to enter. Everyone gets one free entry just for stopping by. That means you don't have to do anything to be included in the drawings except click a button. However, you can increase your odds of winning by following and tweeting, etc. 

Enter here and then go on to another participating blog in the list below. 

Good luck.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

COTT: Clash of the Title's first 2014 Winner!

It is my great pleasure to announce the winner of this month's clash...

Redneck Debutante 
by Jenny Hammerle

Congratulations, Jenny!
Your book will be automatically entered for a chance to win a Laurel Award later this year!

And a big thank-you to ALL our participating authors!

Lacey Williams with Return of the Cowboy Doctor,
Norma Downing with A Promise Made,
and Anne Greene with Marriage byArrangement

Here are a few of the comments left by our voters:
  • Jenny Hammerle is a talented author who knows how to connect with girls through an engaging story where the reader can gain valuable life lessons along the way!:-)
  • I have spent some time in Fruitville and I Love this place. Many great memories there. I must read your book, I am sure it is wonderful, as are the People of Fruitville. Thank You for taking time to write this book.
  • Redneck Debutante is a great title! The cover is spectacular and really catches your eye. I have read this book and it is a very good, fast-paced read.
  • Great story and character development! Loved Redneck Debutante and am loving the second book Cowgirl Down!
And a couple Amazon Reviews:
  • "Jenny Hammerle's Redneck Debutante is a breath of fresh air that you don't want to miss. Her characters will engage you and keep you involved just as if you knew them personally. Whether you are an adult reader or a young adult, you will be captivated by this book and find it hard to put down. I enjoyed this first book in the series immensely and I can't wait for more of the story! Write faster Jenny!"
  • "If you or the teen girl in your life is tired of sparkly vampires, witches and werewolves this is a wonderful book about the real issues teen girls deal with. It is wonderfully written and will keep you engaged all the way through. Can't wait for the second book!!"


Nothing could have prepared her for the sight of the rugged cowboy.
Green eyes, dark-brown hair, tall, tanned, nicely muscled.
And there she was, standing in the creek in only her underwear.

West Palm, Florida

Fifteen-year-old Rachael Harte has everything she could want—plenty of money, hang-out time with friends at the beach, and Colten, the hot boyfriend every girl in her prep school drools over.

But just as she receives her long-awaited debutante invitation, scandal strikes her family. Now Rachael has to go to public high school and live with her Aunt Margaret in a place called Fruitville. How much more redneck could it get? The first day, as she’s cooling off from the heat, she hears a soft “ahem” and looks up into the eyes of Travis Baxter, the most handsome cowboy she’s ever seen. His smirk is bad enough. Worse, they’re now neighbors and will attend the same school.

As Rachael plunges into redneck life in rural Florida, she’s charmed by a quirky new group of friends, including Travis’s twin, Maysie, but still misses her friends back home. Can Rachael and Colten survive on once-a-month visits? Or will Travis’s cowboy charms win her over? What she learns as a Redneck Debutante will teach her more about love and life than she could ever have dreamed.

Romance that’s a little bit city, a little bit country.
Book Two, Cowgirl Down, is also available!

And guess what? Extra congrats are in order because Redneck Debutante recently won the ACFW Book Club Poll and will be one of three books for the Spring reading list. What fantastic news!


On my father’s side we are sixth generation Floridians- cattle and citrus mostly. I grew up on a working cattle ranch. My dad still manages ranches in twelve Florida counties.

I have been bucked off more than a few times- I survived and lived to write about it. That is why you will find that some of my writing revolves around rural Florida and ranch life. My favorite place to be is at the hunt camp sitting around the campfire listening to, or in some cases, telling funny stories! I love to work cows in the cow pens- branding, tagging, marking, legging and parting out calves to keep or sell is always a good time!

I currently stay home with our two wonderful little boys. I can be found coaching a group of middle school cheerleaders which serves my writing well by keeping me in touch with the youth of today and their slang, drama and texting practices!

Storytelling is something that comes naturally to most cowboys and cowgirls. If you join us on any workday, around a campfire or in the cow pens you can experience the true nature of the cowboy storyteller and see that it is a living, breathing verbal tradition still being shared today. This storytelling tradition comes alive in the texture of my writing!

Congratulations, Jenny! We can't wait to watch your story unfold.