Crossreads Book Blast: Deep in the Heart, Staci Stallings

Deep in the Heart Cover Final 1-18-2014

Deep in the Heart

by: Staci Stallings

Only 99 Cents… January 28 & 29th!

About the Book

Just out of college and completely alone in the world, Maggie Montgomery has one shot left to save her life from an abyss of poverty and hopelessness. Clinging to the last shred of fuel and hope, she arrives at the mansion of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer. Although Maggie is clearly not what Mr. Ayer and his wife have in mind for a nanny, they agree to hire her temporarily until they can find someone more appropriate to fill the position. However, Maggie’s whole world is about to be up-ended by two way-over-scheduled children and one incredibly handsome hired hand. As she struggles to fit into a world she was never made to fit in, Maggie wonders if she can ever learn to become a perfect version of herself so she can keep the job, or is she doomed to always be searching for a life she can never quite grasp?

Keith Ayer despises his life. As the son of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer and the fiance to a Senator from Texas’ daughter, it looks great on the outside, but inside, he is dying. He would vastly prefer to manage and train his father’s racehorses. However, everyone else thinks that is beneath him. He needs to get into industry and build on his father’s success. Suffocating under the constrictions of his life, he meets Maggie, and she begins to teach him that wealth and power is not everything in this life. But can Keith defy the two most powerful men in Texas to follow his heart?

“Staci Stallings… Christian fiction at its best!”

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Staci Stallings

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including being the co-founder of and the founder of Grace & Faith Connection.

Follow Staci Stallings

Website | Facebook | Twitter

This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Book Blast: Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken

Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken:
Volume I, Summer (Serial Novel)

FREE Nov. 25 – 28th!

Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken (Serial Novel)

By Laura J. Marshall

About the Book

Excitement. That’s what Jaycee has been saving for since high school. With plans to leave rural Twain, Georgia, the “to where” and the “to what” have been the only questions stopping her. Will her intentions change when Dash Matheson pulls her wandering heart in his direction? Feel the summer heat of the Fourth of July in this southern series as Jaycee finds love. (Volume I, Summer of a four part short story series under the Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken title.)

Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken:
Volume II, Fall (Serial Novel)


Volume II, It’s autumn in Twain, Georgia. Jaycee has herself a new job and with it, a new problem. Is it something bug spray can fix? Dash is struggling with more than just the reality of the pain from his injury. Could Jaycee be hiding something from him? The pumpkins are ripe on the vine and the pecans are ready to be shelled. Come spend Thanksgiving week in this southern series as Jaycee finds love.

A four part serial novel under the Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken title.

Volume III, Winter coming December 2013.

Volume IV, Spring coming March 2014.

Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken:
Volume I, Summer (Serial Novel) on Kindle

Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken:
Volume II, Fall (Serial Novel) on Kindle

About Laura J. Marshall

Laura J. MarshallLaura J. Marshall is a full-time mother of five boys and part-time writer and blogger.
She operates a popular blog called The Old Stone Wall which hosts and promotes Christian Authors and encourages interaction between readers and authors. Laura writes Christian Romantic fiction and the best-selling Battle Cry Devotional Series. You can find out more about Laura and her other books online at

Follow Laura J. Marshall

Website | Facebook | Twitter

This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Clippings from my Kindle

Nearly a year ago I got my Kindle. A few months after that, I figured out how to create highlights. Here are a few Clippings from my Kindle.

God is the only Being in this world who knows fully why He created me. Therefore, He directs my life. Husbands cannot give us purpose. God may choose marriage for part of our ministry. Our future husbands are not mapping out the course of our lives; instead, they are mates designed to join us on the path God has for us (and vice versa). Cheryl McKay, Finally the Bride

I bethought me that a bird capable of addressing a man must have the right of a man to a civil answer; perhaps, as a bird, even a greater claim. George MacDonald, Lilith

If two madmen had ever agreed on anything they might have conquered the world. G. K. Chesterton

I often say I’d rather be alone than with the wrong person, even if the wrong person feels right for a while. It’s not worth getting in the way of, or delaying, God’s true calling on my life. Cheryl McKay

I realized that every woman should hold out for a prince – especially if her Father is the King. Christopher Pence

God is a romancer. No one can match His love. No one in this world can love me more than Him. None. My search to find a love greater is fruitless. God’s love is unmatched. We search for many things to fill our God-sized holes. Only He can fill. Only He can fulfill. Only He can reach. Cheryl McKay, Finally the Bride

She fetched him meat and drynke [drink] plenty, Lyke [like] a true wedded wyfe [wife]. Ancient ballad of Robin Hood’s Merry Men

God tells me things on a need-to-know basis. Apparently, He doesn’t think I need to know anything. Cheryl McKay

I say you shall yet weary
Of the working of your word,
That stricken spirits never strike
Nor lean hands hold a sword.
G. K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

Follow the passions of your heart, as the Lord allows. Cheryl McKay

And the whole world turned over and came upright. G. K. Chesterton

You, my dear Lord, are all I need. For today. Please don’t change my life one day too soon. Cheryl McKay

The Phenomenon

Lately I’ve been occupied with e-books, primarily how to create them. It’s one of those things that’s easy for those who do it. For those who don’t, it’s hard to get on the right track. But I’m making it – seeking advice, following guides, running Google searches when confused by the guides, downloading software I’d had no notion existed, copying my milk-run e-book onto my Kindle and happily discovering that it looks pretty much like the e-books that cost money.

I’m still absorbing the phenomenon of e-books. About six months ago I officially joined it, getting a Kindle. E-books lack the real, physical presence of paper-and-ink books. You can’t fill your shelves with e-books, or hold one in your hand with the sense that it is all right there, right at that moment. In a way, e-books only exist one page at a time.

Ah, but there are advantages. The highlight and notes feature is nice – especially for those genetically indisposed to write on their books with a pen. (There’s this faint sense of vandalism …) Just as nice, it’s all stored away in one place. Select the right option, and you can see all your highlights, notes, and bookmarks. And if you’ve ever spent half an hour paging through a book for the passage you know is there, you will see the usefulness of Kindle’s search function.

An e-reader can contain a whole personal library – in its own time an efficient compression. Best of all, thousands of books in the free domain can be downloaded for nothing. My own collection has thrived on this.

All this notwithstanding, I still prefer the old books. I like the solid physical reality, the freestanding individuality of each book. I have seen books where the Kindle edition was cheaper than the print by cents. I would never, under a choice like that, buy the e-book.

But I know that some people would. How this will affect the publishing industry, or how far e-books will carry their triumph, I will not venture to guess. It may be that e-books will overtake print until we end in the sci-fi vision of paper books being rarities, luxuries, antiques.

In another sci-fi vision, maybe World War III will throw us back to the Middle Ages, and then paper books will be rare for a different reason. However it will be, for the time print and e-books alike are prospering, and it’s new enough that everybody – publishers, readers, writers – is trying to figure out what, exactly, the possibilities are.

The Story of the Leaning Tower

I decided to do this week’s post on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and not only because I was late getting to work on it. I’ve long been fascinated at how failing became such a tremendous success.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans. This, a tower is not supposed to do. For one thing, it’s terribly inconvenient when you’re trying to eat and the plate keeps sliding off the table. More urgently, there is a danger that the tower will tilt more and more until, finally, it falls over. That a tower is most definitely not supposed to do.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the campanile – the freestanding bell tower – of the Cathedral of Pisa. In the twelfth century, when construction began, Pisa was a city-state, one of Italy’s maritime republics. For a time it dominated trade on the Mediterranean. The city elders decided to build a cathedral square – erecting first the cathedral and the baptistry, and then the bell tower.

Now, the town of Pisa was named from a Greek word meaning “marshy land”. And they were only being accurate. The city “lies on a thin layer of soft alluvial silt, above a thick layer of even softer marine clay. It’s practically a bog.” (The Telegraph) So the earth was weak, and the foundation they laid was also weak. In 1173, building began; in 1178, after they had progressed to the second floor, the tower began to sink. It’s been tilting ever since.

War caused a halt to the building of the tower – and, many believe, prevented its collapse. During the long interim, the land stabilized as the tower’s weight slowly compacted the dirt beneath it. In 1272 work began again, under the architect Giovanni di Simone. He tried to correct the tower’s tilt (see, it wasn’t supposed to do that!), but he failed.

In the early fifteenth century, Pisa lost its independence. Eventually the Leaning Tower of Pisa became one of the monuments of Italy, enjoying international fame. The inhabitants of Pisa liked to say that only God was holding their tower up – in His love.

But there was a dissenting opinion; there always is. Mussolini didn’t like to have a lopsided tower as a national symbol. He took a course of action that was, for the class he belonged to*, very temperate: He had 80 tons of concrete poured into the foundations. The Tower of Pisa, in admirable defiance, continued to lean.

During World War II, as the Allies battled the Nazis for Italy, the German army used the tower as an observation post. When the U.S. military discovered this, the fate of the Leaning Tower was placed in the hands of an American sergeant. He decided not to call in an artillery strike, and the tower survived yet another war.

Of course, the existential danger of the Tower of Pisa is that it leans, and does so at an ever-increasing angle. As the twentieth century wore on, it became alarmingly clear that even a thunderstorm had the potential to knock down the tower. So, in 1990, the Tower of Pisa was shut down. After eleven years of structural strengthening, it was declared ready to go on standing – and leaning – for two or three centuries more.

G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “God only knows, man failing in his choice, how far apparent failure may succeed.” And that, in essence, is the story of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

* The Crazy Dictator class. He could have just blown it up, you know.

Reports for Those who Worry (About Planet Earth)

I said in my last post that the CSFF blog tour would be this week. Well

The tour normally starts on the third Monday of the month. I thought, then, that the blog tour would run this week, but as is painfully clear, I was wrong. I would’ve (should’ve, anyway) posted on this earlier, but most of this last week I have been out of town.

All told, I spent a couple dozen hours on the interstate. I am pleased to report, for those who worry about the earth running out of space, that there is plenty of space in the Midwest. Scads of it – mile upon empty mile.

Unfortunately, I also have to report, for those who worry about global warming, that the temperatures in Wisconsin have been in the high seventies. This is in the middle of March and, I repeat, Wisconsin. So the polar ice caps are going to melt, and the oceans will rise, and Manhattan will be submerged. And then the Manhattanites will have to move to Kansas.

At least, when they relocate to the Midwest, they will be able to appreciate the wind turbines. Even I appreciate the wind turbines. There’s something very evocative about what looks like sci-fi windmills – all smooth metal – towering over flat, green fields. It’s even more striking when there are trees or houses close by, and you realize how enormous the turbines really are. Jack might not have needed a beanstalk, if he had lived near one of those.

But back to the CSFF blog tour of Night of the Living Dead Christian. It will start next Monday, the 26th. I know this time – I got the e-mail.

Books and Weather

I had been thinking that today I could do a follow-up on last week’s post, but it turned out to be too nice a day for that. Since last week the temperature has risen a good fifty degrees, and today we’re at 72. The unseasonable warmth is very nice, unless it ends up in unseasonable tornadoes.

But the sky is still clear, cloudless blue, and I opted for a happier subject than violence in entertainment. So let’s talk about my recent book acquisitions.

On Saturday I went to a Christian used bookstore; they were having a discount sale. I bought The Restorer and The Restorer’s Son, by Sharon Hinck. They’re terrific books, and I’m glad to add them to my library.

I also bought Volume VI of the Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton. It contains The Club of Queer Trades (which I enjoyed), and The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Man Who Was Thursday (both of which I look forward to enjoying). This edition has illustrations drawn by the author and footnotes to explain the more obscure references. (Does anyone know who Lord Kitchener is? Or what it means if a lady has the “flavour” of Bedford Park?)

I bought a CD, too – Long Line of Leavers, by Caedmon’s Call.

Last, but surely not least, the birthday present my parents pre-ordered for me finally arrived that same day:

Yes, Saturday was a good day.

Music Review: Celtic Thunder: Act Two

I’m going to review this CD song by song, and then give a (very brief) overall conclusion.

  1. “Ride On” The story in this song is rather vague, but the music isn’t. It catches you from the beginning, harsh as folk music goes.
  2. “A Bird Without Wings” A lovely song of devotion. I would think it religious except for lines like, “Till you’re home again/and hug me so tight.” The lyrics are written very well, and sometimes even poetically.
  3. “My Boy” Here a man sings about how he and his wife don’t love each other, and their home is unhappy, and life isn’t a fairy tale, and if he stays it will be for his son … Depressing. Who needs it?
  4. “Raggle Taggle Gypsy” This one reminds me of “Ride On” (good music, unfinished story) and “Gypsy Rover” (singing gypsies in Ireland!). The lyrics are catchy, but not nearly as catchy as the music.
  5. “Love Thee Dearest” Paul, Celtic Thunder’s opera singer, does this one, and it fits. It’s a nice song.
  6. “I Want to Know What Love Is” A kind of love song, sad, searching, determined, hopeful. I’ve taken a liking to it.
  7. “Heartbreaker” One word: Skip.
  8. “Mull of Kintyre” This has the feel of an Irish folk song, though it was written in the 70s and the Mull of Kintyre is, in fact, Scottish. I think it’s the longing for home that makes it sound Irish, that and the word “mull”.
  9. “Nights in White Satin” A classic of the 60s, sung by the opera singer. It’s called “Nights in White Satin”, and his rendition is velvet – soft and rich.
  10. “Young Love” A bright, happy love song, clean of angst.
  11. “Yesterday’s Men” Another bad one, unfortunately, spoiled by the use of swearing.
  12. “That’s A Woman” This song is divided into two parts – one an idealistic view of women, the second a cynical. I’ll go beyond that: A misogynistic view of women. Overall Celtic Thunder is a good group, but this is a strike against them: Two songs that showcase a degenerate attitude toward women.
  13. “Danny Boy” An old Irish classic. The best word to describe Celtic Thunder’s rendition is “unique”. There is no music. One member sings the lyrics while the others underlay it with background vocals. There is no interlude, presumably because a capella singing is one thing and a capella interludes are another.
  14. “Caledonia” The singer has wandered, in more sense than one, but now his heart hears Caledonia’s call and he’s going home. The music is appealing, and the lyrics are poignant as they deal with the longing of home, the wandering and the return.
  15. “Heartland” The refrain is Gaelic; the verses are a prayer for safety from the storm. There is a haunting quality to this song, especially the introductory music. It also has percussion; the music – and the words being a sailor’s prayer – lend this song a masculine feel. An exceptional song, the words lucid and meaningful, the music strong without being harsh or heavy.
  16. “Castles in the Air” The end of a romance, because he’s tired of castles in the air. It’s sung to a guitar, but it would have been better if there were accompaniment. Still: An enjoyable song, half about lost love, half about the dream he wants the world to share.
  17. “Christmas 1915” One of the most compelling stories of World War I is the “soldier’s truce” built on the front lines between the opposing armies. They killed each other before Christmas and after, but that day they sang carols in no-man’s land and climbed out of their trenches. “Christmas 1915”, like the incident it’s based on, is sad and beautiful.

So, the brief conclusion: It’s worth it.

Dahveed Series

According to Terri Fivash’s website, Dahveed: Yahweh’s Fugitive has been sent to the publisher and is due to be published next spring. Cut scenes from Yahweh’s Warrior can be found here.

It’s interesting to see what was cut. These scenes either (1) portray information given elsewhere; (2) are so short as to be snippets more than scenes; or (3) tell certain elements of the story outright, thus giving more information but also reducing drama. Overall, I think Yahweh’s Warrior was stronger with these cut.