Archive for November, 2013

Book Blast: Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken

Uncategorized | Posted by Shannon
Nov 26 2013



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)

99-Cents!

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 LauraJMarshall.com

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!

Prism Tours: Triskele Grand Finale

Culture | Posted by Shannon
Nov 22 2013
Grand Finale!
A Week of Interviews and Giveaways!


November 16 – 22 Preview

16 – Literally Jen Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat


‘We watched in enchanted silence, as the music grew louder, faster, as if it were rolling across the cobblestones and echoing deep through the secret valleys and the fringe of trees that looked like hooded nuns shuffling into the woods’

Jill: “This quote is quite typical of Liza’s writing; evocative and magical, creating beautifully rich descriptions and conjuring an atmosphere out of a few well chosen words.”


17 – Beck Valley Books Ghost Town by Catriona Troth

‘Too Paki to be white, too gora to be desi.’

Liza: “Mentioned several times in the story, this phrase struck me as it perfectly sums up one of the basic conflictual themes.”


18 – Deal Sharing AuntOverlord, The Rise of Zenobia by JD Smith


“I am a man, a warrior, and yet her stare, even in its innocence, makes me check myself.”

Kat: “I always love it when an author captures the first moment when the possibility of love begins to germinate. In JD Smith’s retelling of one of the famous love stories of all, this is that moment.”

19 – The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl – The Boxset from Gillian Hamer

Complicit

“Centurion Marcus Sextus grimaced as a masked soldier strode into the makeshift arena, leading two shackled slaves …”

Jane: “It has Romans, so it is winner right away for me. I love how Gill has managed to echo the Roman past alongside the modern day story, it’s a brilliant mix that really works.”

20 – Brooke Blogs – Boxset by JJ Marsh

Tread Softly

“A journey from first taste to last, it tells you of the soil, the climate, the land. That is not simply a wine. That is an adventure.”

Gill: “Says so much in so few words, it sums up not only the tone of the book, but Beatrice, Adrian & Matthew without even mentioning their names.”


21 – Colorimetry Triskele Trail



WHICH chapter or segment of advice did you learn the most from while researching the book?


I think we’d all have different answers to that. So many of the chapters and tips written by the others are gold dust. Not just as eye-openers, but reminders of things I knew but had forgotten about. Putting the book together has been an inspiring experience, and totally reinforced my decision to go the independent route.


22 – Grand Finale


Review: Trapped

Book Reviews | Posted by Shannon
Nov 20 2013

A blue star is a lovely thing. So lovely, in fact, that Pibbin would, for the cause of getting one, hop into a dark tunnel, unsure if he would meet a nice chipmunk or a hungry snake.

Until he stumbled into a net, and the shouting started. After that, it really was time to go home.

Trapped is the third book in the Tales of Friendship Bog, written by Gloria Repp and illustrated by Michael Swaim. It’s marked for children six and older. 109 pages, with a large font and generous spacing, and illustrations scattered throughout, Trapped is a book well-designed for children.

The plot is fairly simple, but engaging. The central conflict of the story – the disappearance of a baby squirrel, one character’s little brother – is quite enough to keep readers invested until the end. The characters are sympathetic; a few – such as Cheeco, Zip, and Nisk – you wonder about, but it’s the sort of wondering that makes them intriguing. And I have to say I found the peepers charming.

Trapped has a brief, forthright writing style, in keeping with the age both of its protagonists and its primary audience. But the images of the book, however brief, are still evocative, and I enjoyed them – the wind “stirring through everything on the ground”, a tunnel slanting “up again, as if it had remembered where it was going”, Pibbin fearing “a long, thin weasel creeping after him, with its quick paws and teeth.”

And then one of my favorites: “Moonlight still gleamed at the end of the tunnel, and the moss on the stump smelled wonderful, as if beetles lived in it.” Part of the fun of this one is that it takes you into the viewpoint of this little frog; obviously anthropomorphized frogs are fundamentally human in their viewpoint, but it’s fun to see a froggish touch, too.

Which brings me to another point: This story is intended for children, who will no doubt enjoy it more than adults would. But there is much in it that appeals to adults, and sometimes to adults even more than children. I think the befuddled and befuddling Nisk is at least as enjoyable to adults as to children, and the humor of Ma Chipmunk’s devastating emotional support has an adult sensibility.

Trapped is an excellent children’s story – heartfelt and engaging, with a charming style and likable characters. Highly recommended.


Trapped is available on Amazon; to learn more about Gloria Repp and her work, visit her site.

I received a review copy of this book.

CSFF Blog Tour: To Speak Randomly

Literature | Posted by Shannon
Nov 13 2013

I thought that, for my final considerations on The Shadow Lamp and the Bright Empires series, I would use a kind of essay format, as this would let me bring up all sorts of random observations without having to coherently connect them. Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comments: I won’t grade you.

So let’s begin. [Alert: spoilers ahead.]


Kit is inducted to the secrets of the multiverse by his great-grandfather, Cosimo Livingstone. Cosimo vanished back in 1893, leaving his wife to fend for herself and their three children, but as he explained to Kit, he accidentally walked a ley line to another dimension while going to buy sausages. (Ah!) In The Spirit Well, we finally meet Cosimo’s society of Questors. There we learn that the Questors are so fluent in ley travel that they can spend years away from home and return a few days from the time they left.

Q: So apparently Cosimo could have gone back to his wife and children, but he never did. Doesn’t that make him a real jerk?

Speaking of Cosimo, when he met Kit for the first time, he gave him a detailed summary of his life, including his current dating relationship and prospects.

Q: What was he doing? Spying?

In The Shadow Lamp, the Zetetic Society resolves to “save the universe and everything in it from total annihilation or die in the attempt.”

Q: Am I the only who thought that was kind of funny?

When Cass joined the Zetetics, Tess told her that she had come for such a time as this: To look for Tess’s old flame Cosimo. Tess needed someone to go find him, and there was Cass! Nothing happens by coincidence.

Later, when Tony Clarke came looking for his daughter, Mrs. Peelstick accepted him and chatted on – until he asked about the operations of her Zetetic Society. Then she claimed not to know that he really was Cass’s father, which is why she could talk about how Cass had been in Damascus and where she had stayed there, but not talk about what the Zetetics did. No, sir! It was all for Cass’s protection.

Q: Would you trust these people? Because I wouldn’t.

Arthur Flinders-Petrie died in Egypt. Xian-Li died in Egypt. Benedict might have. Charles nearly did. Cosimo and Henry died in Egypt – and if they hadn’t been rescued, so would have Kit and Giles.

Q: You know what I think? I think they should stay out of Egypt.

Twice in The Shadow Lamp, Lord Burleigh fortified himself for the moment of peril by gulping down a swig of liquor. Then he behaved courageously. Still, there was the liquor first.

Q: Not quite as strong as he always appears, is he?

Stephen Lawhead, collector of rare and unusual words and master of fancy, old-time writing, uses the word “jounce” in The Shadow Lamp. Which struck me, because I have heard the word before – used by fresh-from-the-backwoods Tammy in the film Tammy and the Bachelor. She told the bachelor that “joggling boards” are benches you can jounce on, used for courting and for joggling babies to sleep. These are related phenomenon.

Q: Isn’t this the most irrelevant observation in the entire post?

CSFF Blog Tour: The Shadow Lamp

Book Reviews | Posted by Shannon
Nov 12 2013

Can you think of anything more frightening than the End of Everything, the total collapse of the universe?

I can. I saw that TV show where the aliens sent ships to burn up every nation on Earth, city by city. If we’re all going to die, the universe collapsing frankly sounds like an easier way to go.

But can you think of anything more complete?

In The Shadow Lamp, the fourth book of the Bright Empires series, Stephen Lawhead finally reveals what is at stake: everything. This is the great advancement The Shadow Lamp makes on the Bright Empires saga. Otherwise, the book mostly builds – on the largest ideas of the series, on the established characters. It explains much – from the Omega Point to the nature of the multiverse, from the Burley Men to Charles’ change.

Gianni’s metaphysical exposition was, I think, the singular misstep of the book. For one thing, it contained statements a Christian would have to take with generosity. (“The future is not controlled in any way” – yeah, okay, if you want to sum up your views of free will and the nature of Time in that misleading way.) For another, Gianni’s address sounded curiously like the vague philosophizing of the Zetetics, whom I do not believe Gianni had ever met until about five minutes before his speech.

Gianni was a priest. Yet in this exposition, he didn’t talk as if his intellectual foundation were in the creeds of Christianity or in the Bible; he didn’t speak the language of Scripture. He spoke like – well, like the Zetetics, who are recognizably theistic but not demonstrably Christian.

The threatened annihilation of the universe, like so many elements of science fiction, requires a small suspension of disbelief. On an intellectual level I found it compelling; on an emotional level, not so much. Paradoxically, the annihilation of the universe is a less disturbing idea when you have a religion that makes a doctrine of the terrible end of the world. When it comes to “harrowing visions”, The Shadow Lamp has nothing on Revelation.

As characters talked about the awful cataclysm of the universe collapsing, it reminded me of the biblical picture of the heavens and earth wearing out like a garment. “Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same” – God goes on. And so will we.

But at the end, Lawhead finally got me. Not that the final vision he gave made the threat seem any more dire, but it moved me from thinking about the annihilation of the universe (God and us remaining) to “what it would be like to witness the End of Everything”.

The end was the best part of the book, and probably the only part that was truly marvelous. The hinted cause of the multiverse’s destabilization was both surprising and satisfying, and it carried delicious potential. The epilogue was a tremendous portrait of Christ’s love meeting the dark heart of a lost man, and it also suggested an incredible possibility.

The Shadow Lamp is not the best installment of the Bright Empires saga, but it is a vital one. And it accomplished the necessity of any book in a series, and the great mark of success in a novel: It left me wanting more.


In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

CSFF Blog Tour: Anniversary Edition

Culture | Posted by Shannon
Nov 11 2013

So the CSFF blog tour begins again. This month’s subject is The Shadow Lamp, the fourth book in Stephen Lawhead’s Bright Empires series.

I’ve enjoyed every blog tour I’ve done with the CSFF, but I always have a special fondness for the books of the Bright Empires series. This is, in large part, because of the books themselves, but also because The Skin Map, the first book of the series, was several firsts to me.

It was my first introduction to Stephen Lawhead, and I was delighted. The playing with Time, the alternate realities, the old-fashioned writing style, the historical details, the philosophical considerations, the sheer depth of the story in so many ways – I had never read anything quite like it.

The Skin Map was also the first book I toured with the CSFF. For that matter, it was the first blog tour I did of any description. Through the CSFF, and beginning with The Skin Map, I discovered interesting books and talented authors, became introduced to a community of Christian SF readers, and acquired an entire bookshelf of new books in my favorite genre, for which all I had to do was write reviews.

We toured The Skin Map in the fall of 2010. Every fall since, we have toured the next book in the Bright Empires series – The Bone House, The Spirit Well, and now The Shadow Lamp. Every Bright Empires tour feels like the anniversary of my joining the CSFF. The series is supposed to conclude next year, and I suppose the only truly poetic thing I could do would be to tour the final Bright Empires book and quit immediately afterward.

I’m planning to put up my review of The Shadow Lamp tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some links to chew on:

The Shadow Lamp on Amazon;

Stephen Lawhead’s website;

Stephen Lawhead’s Facebook page;

and please, please check out the blog tour:

Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse

Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower

Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

Prism Tour: “An Incurable Insanity” Grand Finale

Culture | Posted by Shannon
Nov 05 2013
The Exotic Tour Grand Finale

Happy Festival of Lights!


diwali lamps
Diwali

An Incurable InsanityAn Incurable Insanity

by Simi K Rao

Paperback, eBook, 376 pages

Published October 8, 2013 by Tate Publishing

Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps.



One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack.



She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now…


* Read an Excerpt *
We offer flowers in traditional welcome.
You are our honored guest on our tour…


10/20: Launch – Tressa’s Wishful Endings


In Rao’s debut novel an arranged marriage sets the stage for an intimate look at the exasperating madness of love….An often intoxicating…will-they-won’t-they tale.”- KIRKUS REVIEWS


10/21:
#Dawat-
Recipe Intriguing Reads

No discussion on India would
be complete without mentioning its food which is as rich and colorful as its
residents. And I am not kidding when I say that travelling from one region to
another will not only introduce you to different
languages and dialects but
also to markedly varied cuisines.

I still have very fond
memories of my Grandma’s kitchen where food used to be prepared the way it
should be—from scratch. It was labor intensive but also a lot of fun. I know
because I used to help.

10/22:
#Vivaah-
Marriage Ritual
The Wonderings of One
Person


Exotic wedding_handsHindu marriages are
all about customs and rituals. There are several both before and after the
wedding ceremony making it a very elaborate affair. But the most important of
them all is the Seven Vows or Saath Pheras which occur during the ceremony
because they are said to contain the essence of the practice of marriage.
Without them a marriage is considered meaningless.

‘Ruhi quietly and
blissfully followed Shaan around the sacred flames carefully listening to and
reciting the Saath Pheras in her mind.’ – An Incurable
Insanity
10/22: #Desi-Indian Culture vvb32 reads





Indians in general are deeply rooted in tradition. Our culture
gives us our identity. Most of us (especially those living away from the
homeland,) cling to it, even though several aspects especially in these modern
times, make no sense at all.
10/24: #Vivaah-Marriage Ritual Giveaway Breaking News for
Indonesia

Cherish your
wife as a blessing sent to you from heaven; let the kindness of your behavior
endear you to her heart.

10/25: #Desi-Indian Culture Christy’s Cozy Corners



“Unclasping the sacred marriage necklace from around her neck, she
laid it down carefully on the counter. Then, wiping off the vermilion dot
from
her forehead, she examined her face again.


She smiled. Finally, she knew who
she was. She was Ruhi Sharma, and there was no looking
back.”
An Incurable Insanity


10/25 – #Desi – Shakti “the Divine Woman” – A Casual Fling with the Keyboard

She is bold and liberated. She speaks her mind. She is tough and vibrant. She knows what she wants and doesn’t compromise on her values.

10/26: #Dawat-Recipe Book Babe

“Chai?”

“Huh? Yes please with just a pinch of sugar. Thanks!” He took the cup from her hands, careful not to touch her fingers. – An Incurable Insanity



A cup of this refreshing brew served piping hot, awakens the senses and drives the blues away.



10/27: #Dawat-Recipe Brooke Blogs
Kheer“It was the best pudding he’d ever tasted…for obvious
reasons.” ~ An Incurable Insanity

After all the spicy heat of chai and parathas, let’s cool the
tempers with something sweet and delish!

10/28: #Dawat-Recipe Living a Goddess Life

“Standing in front of
the large bathroom mirror, she combed her long thick hair. Should I leave it
loose or braid it? Should I put on makeup or go bare? Should I wear all my
bangles or just a couple of them? So many questions! Why don’t all men come with
a user guide?”


10/29: #Desi-Indian Culture Sun Mountain Reviews
She had gone through all the
miscellaneous ceremonies associated with the typical grand Indian wedding—the
engagement, the Mehendi, the Sangeet, the Haldi, and the grand finale; her
father had spared no expense…
– An Incurable
Insanity
Wedding Henna
Mehendi
(Henna) is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word Mendika. The tradition of
applying it is several thousands of years old and is perhaps the most
traditional form of body art. It is meant to ‘awaken the inner
light’.
10/30: #Vivaah-Marriage Ritual Mel’s Shelves


The bombshell had dropped on their wedding night. He had walked into the room late as she sat there, a shy bride in all her wedding finery waiting, nervous yet excited at the same time, to meet the man she had hardly spoken to or looked at. What would he say, talk about, or do?
She had heard a lot of stories about what to expect, some factual and some fabricated (her friends had prepared her well), but she wanted her own to be special, unique, and it was…

An Incurable Insanity
10/31:
#Desi-
Indian Culture Shannon McDermott


“Go ahead, Shaan,” Bee said softly, giving him
permission.


He pinched a small amount of the red powder and placed it firmly in
the parting on her forehead. Not entirely certain why, but this makeshift
ceremony appeared more meaningful to him than the one on his wedding
day.
“Perfect! Now my mishti
bon
looks like a bride, a very
beautiful bride.”


11/1: #Dawat – Beck Valley Books

Paratha [par-AA- THA] Hindi पराठा is one of the most popular types of unleavened flat breads in Punjabi North Indian Cuisine and Pakistan.

Prepared from pan frying whole wheat dough which usually has ghee (clarified butter) or cooking oil in it, parathas are often stuffed with vegetables such as mashed boiled potatoes or aloo, cauliflower (gobhi), radish (mooli), other vegetables and or paneer (fresh Indian cheese).

Parathas, particularly the stuffed ones, are simply eaten with pickles, chutneys and or yogurt on the side and make for a wholesome meal at any time of the day.

In my book ‘An Incurable Insanity’ my protagonist Ruhi, when she first arrives in America, longs for home, the feel of her mother’s pallu (sari’s edge) and for the taste of fresh homemade parathas and piping hot chai.



11/1 – #Dawat – “Bashful Bride” – A Casual Fling with the Keyboard

She sits on the rose strewn bed
A bashful bride
In all her jeweled splendor
Hennaed hands resting on drawn up knees
Innocent and uninitiated
Awaiting the approach of her beloved
the shy bride



11/3 – 11/5: Grand Finale – Giveaway runs through 11/11

Happy Diwali!

Go read the #Talk on Simi’s Facebook
as she has walked us through the beautiful backdrop to her amazing book…

Simi K. RaoSimi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. The inspiration for An Incurable Insanity came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances…

Grand Finale design by Laura of Colorimetry
Content by Simi K Rao
Quotes from blog posts

Cover Reveal: Adventures and Adversities, and Captive of Raven Castle

Literature | Posted by Shannon
Nov 01 2013

Today I am pleased to be participating in a cover reveal with Sarah Holman and Jessica Greyson. So, without further preamble …


Adventures and Adversities, by Sarah Holman: One day Alditha is content living with her family, the next she is taking her friend’s place to serve at the king’s castle. Her father’s final instructions, to keep smiling and to do what is right, will be harder to live out than she ever imagined. She will face a royal nephew who delights in making people miserable, an angry servant girl who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and noblemen who plot murder. Will she be able to keep the promise she made to her father? Will she find the faith she longs for during all her Adventures and Adversities?

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of three published books and counting. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined. You can find her at DestinyofOne.



Captive of Raven Castle, by Jessica Greyson: The troubled people of war-torn Chambria are on the brink of starvation, and a delicate princess with a recurring nightmare is their only hope. Alexandra knows that her value to her country consists mainly in her ability to marry well, but when she is kidnapped by the rebels and taken to meet the man claiming to be both Chambria’s true king and her real father, her entire world falls apart. Will Princess Alexandra be able to untangle the web of lies and discern who is the true king and her father?

Jessica is a daughter of the Risen King, saved by His Grace, kept by His holiness and loved through His sacrifice. Her dearest passion is the written word. In the past few years she has completed 5 novels, and is currently working on 6 stories between her beloved family and multiple and varied jobs. Jessica is currently pursuing self-publishing to follow her calling to be HIS ready writer. You can find her at SafireWriter.


Captive of Raven Castle and Adventures and Adversities will be available on Amazon on November 15th.