Monday, May 25, 2015

COTT's April New Releases

Hostess: Michelle Massaro

Writing Gladiators.... Step into the ARENA!

Welcome to another Clash here at Clash of the Titles! Below are FIVE New Releases, hot off the presses in April, for your entertainment. They all look wonderful to us, but YOU will decide which one takes Top Honors this month.

Please check out the covers and descriptions below and vote for the one that most appeals to you. The one that would be at the top of your To-Be-Read Pile. You may vote ONCE, and the polls will remain open through next Tuesday night.

The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall

Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone is living under an assumed name in the awkward presence of her ex-fiance. However, as hotel manager Dexter Blakeley, slowly captures her heart, will the layers of family secrets and the knowledge of her true identity end up severing his love for her?

Diamonds or Donuts by Lucie Ulrich

With her wedding put on hold, and her fiance halfway across the world, Sarah Alexander makes some much-needed changes. A new job in a new town are just what she needs to wait out her fiance's absence, but what is she to do when a handsome policeman enters the picture?

Pesto & Potholes by Susan M. Baganz

Renata moves to escape the monsters of her past and finds refuge at a church in and in the friendship of Antonio. Savory pesto combine with the inevitable potholes in the process of healing define their journey to . . . love.

Sedona Sunset by Tanya Stowe

Alexander Summers investigates art theft for UNESCO. His quest for the source of priceless pottery leads him on collision course with Lara Fallon's search for answers, putting her heart and her life in danger.

Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin

When fairy-Gifted Princess Brierly opens her eyes after a century-long snooze and finds a guy hovering over her with puckered lips, can she trust he’s not just another dream? What if Sleeping Beauty refused to wake up? Create your own user feedback survey

Friday, May 22, 2015

They Still Make Maple Nut Goodies

Celeste and I were at CVS Pharmacy this morning making some purchases when I spotted a candy I've been looking for and had all but given up.

Maple Nut Goodies.

Brach's candies are sold at HEB, the grocery store where we shop, but they don't carry the Maple Nut Goodies I've been looking for.

So, as soon as I saw the bags at CVS, I grabbed one. I opened the bag as soon as we got home and quickly ate a handful. So, good!

I looked at the bag to see what made me want to keep eating. Under the description "Maple Nut Goodies" was this: "Roasted Peanuts in Crunchy Toffee with Real Maple Coating" There was also a notation that the candy is artificially flavored so I'm not sure how real the maple is. However, I checked the ingredients and found maple syrup listed.

While reading the bag, I also saw this: America's Candy Maker Since 1904. That's a long time. I thought about how it was available when my parents were born in 1908.

That's when it hit me what I liked about the candy. It reminds me of my mother. It was her favorite candy. However, she didn't often buy candy, so when she did, it was a special treat. She shared this treat with me on a number of occasions.

Now, when I taste the candy, or even smell it, I think of her and the times when just the two of us spent time together.

Eva Lee Williams Frost (1908 - 2001)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

COTT: Introducing Biblical Fiction Author Stephanie Landsem

This week Clash of the Titles is proud to feature Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water biblical fiction series. She will carry you back into the times of Jesus and explore beautiful truths that resonate deeply with readers.

Let's hear from Stephanie about her books and how she handles the interesting challenge of writing about Jesus.

1.) What was your favorite part of writing The Living Water series?
Research is the part of writing I love best. I usually spend about a month just doing research before I start plotting a book. I find some of my best plot twists, characters and settings right in the pages of history. Maps and pictures of archeological finds really help me get the feel for the setting. As I craft the story, this research comes out and helps the reader become fully immersed in the story.

2) How do you balance the real person of Jesus with the other characters in your story?
I like to think of every encounter with Jesus recorded in the Bible as a stone thrown in a pond. We know the initial splash — the cure of the man born blind, or the raising of Lazarus — but I want to write about the ripples. I love to imagine how these personal encounters with Jesus moved outward in ever-widening circles to touch more people than we can even imagine. So I start with the event described in the Bible and move outward into imagination, always keeping in mind that Jesus knew exactly what ripple-effect his actions would have and they would always be for his father’s glory.

3.) What are the binding themes throughout the Well, The Thief and the Tomb and what do hope to bring to your readers in this series?
I love the gospel of John and how it shows the very personal way in which Jesus connected with the people of his time. Each of the stories in The Living Water Series begin with an encounter with Jesus from John—the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and Jesus’ relationship with Martha. Each of these encounters were intensely personal and led to deep conversion. I hope that in reading about these one-to-one meetings with Jesus, readers can imagine themselves face to face with our Lord and come to know him more deeply.

The Living Water Series are a set of intersecting stories based on personal encounters with Jesus in the gospel of John. The first book, The Well, is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well told from the point of view of her daughter, Mara. Mara, a desperate Samaritan girl, must make a dangerous journey across Galilee to find Jesus and save her dying mother. The second book focuses on Jesus ministry in Jerusalem, starting with the healing of the man born blind and continuing on to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. It is told from the perspective of a poor Jewish girl and a Roman centurion – both of whom don’t know what to think of the so-called Messiah. The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, is—of course—about the family of Lazarus in Bethany. It focuses on Martha, her doubts and anxieties, and finally the desperate decision she must make to save her brother’s life.

~ * ~

Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water Series, writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

Connect with her online:!/stephlandsem

Monday, May 11, 2015

COTT: Series Feature: The Hawk and the Dove

Welcome Penelope Wilcock!

Clash of the Titles is proud to feature The Hawk and the Dove series by English writer Penelope Wilcock! With the first books written in the early 90s and the remainder published 20 years later, the Hawk and the Dove  series has captivated readers for decades. 

Set centuries ago, these books offer an authenticity not often found in historical novels of this time period. The author has woven truths through the books that resonate with the deepest struggles of our own hearts, but she has also lived out much of what she writes about. She has spent time working with nuns and monks, heavily involved in palliative care in the most primitive of modern facilities. Her experiences most closely mimic care that would have been offered in the medieval setting of her stories. Read more about this author's incredible journey and life in the interview below with International Christian Fiction Writers.

The Hawk and the Dove

14th-century Yorkshire, the time of Chaucer

Father Peregrine is appointed Abbot of St. Alcuin's Benedictine abbey. An arrogant, impatient man, a hawk trying hard to be a dove—his name in religion is "Columba"—he is respected, but not loved.

A sudden, shocking act of violence changes everything. As the story unfolds, this community of monks, serious about their calling but as flawed and human as we are, come to love their ascetic but now vulnerable leader.

They lived six centuries ago, but their struggles are our own: finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people; and discovering that we are the impossible ones.

Read the first chapter

Praise for Wilcock's work:

“Not to be missed.” —Mel Starr, author of The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series

“Poignant, moving, rich with imagery and emotion . . . Modern readers will easily identify with each character in Wilcock’s timeless human drama. Highly recommended reading.” —Midwest Book Review

Penelope Wilcock is a full time writer and a former Methodist minister, prison and hospice chaplain, who lives in Hastings on England’s south coast with her family. Her popular blog, Kindred of the Quiet Way, attracts a wide international audience.

Monday, May 4, 2015

COTT: We Have a Winner!

Our March winner is....

Congratulations to CINDY GREEN, this month's COTT Champ!! Her winning novel, Andrea and the Five Day Challenge, is part of a Goodreads giveaway right now--readers, you can win a signed copy of the book if you enter by May 7. Enter here!

One voter called the book "fun, refreshing, and encouraging!" Take a peek behind this beautiful, vibrant cover and step into the world of Andrea as she embarks on a Bible challenge at a very inconvenient time.

From Amazon:
High school junior Andrea Jamison, self-proclaimed change-o-phobic and, incidentally, a fabulous pianist in her own right has lost faith in herself and her abilities. At the exact moment when her parents begin pressuring her about an opportunity that just might lead to Julliard, Andrea’s friend Amy meddles in her personal life trying to pair her up with the cute, transfer jock Luke Ryan. Will Andrea learn to accept her parents often repeated word FOCUS or will she finally start trusting in God’s strength instead of cowering in her own weaknesses?

Dear Lord,
I need Your help and sooner would be better than later. Wouldn't you know it, just as soon as I decide to attempt the 5-Day Bible Study Challenge, my parents start heaping on loads of pressure to get me into Julliard. My friend Amy isn't any better, urging me to ask Luke Ryan to homecoming. As if the cute, transfer jock would actually go out with me. I mean, we're kinda friends, and I've enjoyed our Geometry study sessions, but in case Amy hasn't noticed, I'm the invisible one at Aubrey Christian Academy, and I like it that way. On top of that, I have a feeling Luke's concealing something behind those chocolate-brown eyes of his. I know I can be self-centered and a bit melodramatic, but I really do want to seek Your will for my life. Then maybe I'll even figure out which direction points up.

Andrea Jamison
High School Junior, Change-o-phobic & complete neurotic

Cindy K. Green is an award-winning author of more than 10 Sweet & Inspirational titles both in print and out of print for the Adult & Young Adult. She is also a mother, wife, teacher, and homeschooler. She blogs about her books, reading and whatever else comes to mind of interest.

Visit Cindy at her website,, where you can sign up for her newsletter or follow her blog. A huge congratulations to clash champion Cindy Green!