Conference Tips with Ruth Axtell Morren

Why not follow Julie Lessman with her ACFW workshop partner, Ruth Axtell Morren.

The first time I read one of Ruth’s novels, I was moved to tears. Her portrayal of romance framed in by the grace of God was truly breathtaking.

If you’ve never read her novels, I strongly recommend them – especially if you like to see how unlikely characters end up together AND if you like to experience a story woven with strong threads of redemption. They are truly lovely.

What does Ruth have to say?

I’d have to say as an introvert, although I love conferences with their chance to see fellow writers in person and talk up a storm and soak up all kinds of information, come nightfall, I have a terrible time shutting my thoughts off to sleep, so this time around, I’m going to bring some Valerian or over the counter sleeping pills and an eyemask to help in that dept.;
   friends’ cell phone numbers so we can connect during the conference. It’s like a zoo there, and I want to make sure I don’t miss people I either only know online or whom I only get to see rarely;
   non-judgmental attitude so I don’t begin to feel either full of myself or insecure by measuring myself

Thanks so much for these important tips, Ruth. Speaking of cell #s and meeting important people – I can’t WAIT to meet you!!! So excited you will be at ACFW this year!!

And the non-judgmental attitude? Definitely! As a pubbed-author-wannabe, I can easily see myself as leaning toward the ‘insecure’ side.

Thanks for being here today.

If you all would like to learn more about Ruth’s books, check out her website at

A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist is one of my favorite historical authors. I have a top 5 group. She’s among them. Her books are funny, deep, and beautifully written with fantastic characterization and swoon-worthy romance. A Bride in the Bargain is another great fit to her ‘brides’ collection.

 Deeanne brings her historical fiction to 1860′s Seattle.  Filled with lumberjacks, misunderstandings, and romance as big as the redwoods, A Bride in the Bargain is sure to tickle your funny bone and warm your heart.Joe Denton needs a wife…and any wife will do. Forced to ‘buy’ a wife from entrepreneur Asa Mercer, Joe plans to meet his new lady, marry her, and keep his hard-earned claim. Unfortunately, the bride he purchased has no intentions of becoming a bride at all.

Anna Ivey ran away from New England under the impression of becoming a cook for a lumberjack who would pay her way. With her painful history, marriage doesn’t seem to be a reasonable option for her future, but nothing could have prepared her for Joe Denton. Evidently, when this mountain of a man sets his big heart on Anna, not even the towering hurts of her past can withstand the strength in his love… or can it?  Anna’s a fighter and fear is a mighty foe.

Does Joe have the patience to chop down the wall protecting Anna’s heart?  Will he be willing to give up his dreams to win the love of a woman who might not love him back?

To find out, pick up this delightful read. Of Gist’s books, this would be third on my favorites list – Deep in the Heart of Trouble being second and Maid to Match in FIRST place. It’s definitely worth the time and the imagination.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Bride In The Bargain, go HERE

A Week Review with Siri Mitchell – She Walks in Beauty

Without a doubt, this is the BEST historical novel Siri Mitchell has written to date. And the hero? Completely adorable. What’s even better, is that there is fantastic repartee, dancing, and…humor. Oh my, Siri – this novel is second only to your contemporary novel Kissing Adrien.

So, what’s this story all about?

The novel twirls you away, lost in the middle of pretense, expectations in New York’s Guilded Era, truth, lies, and what a ‘living’ faith looks like. Harry De Vrie sweeps the reader’s heart away with his humor, sincerity, and faith. In the middle of the whirlwind of money, status, and deception, Harry stands out with his honesty and endearingly confused reaction to the social ‘expectations’ of the Age. It goes without saying, that poor Clara Carter’s innocent heart is pulled between two desires: the belief that she MUST marry for status over love & and the realization that God can be personal instead of a distant deity.

Clara is lovable, and sweetly unaware of this ‘game of life’. We experience the expectations, heartbreak, and confusion along with her. We learn the steps of an affective snub, how to wave a fan, and spin across the dancefloor with our eyes closed. It’s a brilliant, glamorous, and perplexing journey.

There are so many lovely scenes, I will not recount them, but leave curious minds to uncover the treasures in She Walks In Beauty. Be prepared for elegance, extravagance, romance, and enough humorous snubbing to make you fall in love with Harry along with Clara.

The question is – what will Clara choose? A woman in 1891? Does she have a  choice?

Siri has a unique way of weaving faith into her novels like a gentle whisper instead of a clanging gong. Hints, faded hues woven throughout scenes, and tiny sprinkles of well-placed dialogue speak to the characters as well as the reader. Wonderfully done. I’m still glowing from the aftermath of the book J

If you enjoyed Siri’s novel A Constant Heart, you will adore She Walks In Beauty. Visit Siri’s website to learn more about her books –

REMEMBER to leave your name and a comment about which book/character you like best of Siri’s – your name will be placed in the drawing for Siri’s newest novel, A Heart Most Worthy

A Week Review with Siri Mitchell – Love’s Pursuit

In July 2009, I read Siri Mitchell’s historical novel, Love’s Pursuit. It was one of those books that leaves an indelible mark on your spirit when you finish. One of those books where the heroine gets so deep into your psyche, she lingers beyond the final page. It’s not a book for the faint of heart, but it is a book for the heart searching for truth.

Here’s my review from 2009:

As usual, Siri Mitchell writes a beautiful story, filled with detailed historical facts and potent theological arguements, all woven nicely into a compelling novel. Topics such as God’s revelation to man, grace & faith vs. works righteousness, and what a relationship with Christ looks like, are all braided into this story of a young woman trying to know God and herself.
I would make only one reservation to this story – not all Puritans were as rigid or self-righteous as many of those in this novel. The reputation Puritans have is sad in many ways and based upon some who were set on ‘earning’ salvation instead of revelling in God’s grace. Susannah Phillips, the protagonist in this novel, is struggling with this exact question. “What does God require of me?” I think down deep, we all struggle with these questions at some time or other. How can we get to God? What does God want me to do? How can I know him?
Susannah is confronted with a truth that shakes the foundation of her childhood faith and sends her thoughts spiraling into the frightening unknown. Even though her heart wonders about the spiritual ‘freedom’ of Captain Daniel Holcombe, his believes battle against everything she’s been brought up to understand…but his personality, tenderness, wit, and logic begin to weedle away at the certainty she attempts to project.
When Susannah begins to fall in love with this captain who is an outsider to her faith (or so she believes), and when she is betrothed to a man with uncertain character, what will she do? Will God’s love come from an unexpected place to rescue her or will she conform to the rules of her world?
This story entranced me…fantastic read.
REMEMBER to leave a comment about your favorite hero/heroine in Siri’s books or why you’d like to read one. A winner will be chosen to receive Siri’s newest novel, A Heart Most Worthy, and announced during the weekend post.
Good luck!

A Week Review with Julie Lessman – A Hope Undaunted

Oh boy, oh boy! It’s time to talk about Luke McGee! If you haven’t read Julie’s fourth book, A Hope Undaunted, then you are in for a HOT treat! Not only is it a page turner (as usual), not only does it have a beautiful story and a fiesty heroine – but it has a TO-DIE-FOR hero in Luke McGee. Sense of humor, gorgeous, loyal, determined, with just enough of a temper to tinge him with danger, Luke keeps Katie’s heart fluttering between kiss him-or- kill him thoughts. LOVE IT! Katie needs someone like Luke. And it’s all the better because they were childhood ‘friends’ – AND Luke gave Katie her very first kiss.


So here’s my review from September 2010.

Well, the Kissing Queen is back with her newest novel, A Hope Undaunted, and let me just tell you guys – you will not be disappointed. Cluny McGee (aka Luke) is a FABULOUS hero. Fabulous. Rivals Collin – and that says a lot.

And Katie O’Connor is SUCH an adorable brat. If you’ve followed Julie Lessman’s books at all, you’ll have met most of the characters in A Hope Undaunted – and Julie has a beautiful way of bringing out those stories, keeping them consistent, and giving the reader a feel for the dynamics of a close-knit family.

And let me just tell you – there are so many varied types of love that Julie introduces in the story, the reader gets an opportunity to cringe, laugh, and hope along with the O’Connors – and particularly Katie and Luke McGee.

Two things:

1. Prepare your heart for a LOOOOONG agonizing journey of conflict.

Did I say long? How about agonizing? The reader is suffering and waiting right along with Katie O’Connor as her heart is pitched, pulled, and pried in various directions without any hope for true love. Or at least the true love her soul craves in Luke McGee. I ended up holding my breath more times than I can count, and endlessly wanted to email Julie Lessman to say – “What ARE you doing to these poor people?!?”

2. (And I CAN’T believe I’m writing this) I could have taken another whopper of a kiss at the end, Jules. I mean, after all that heart trauma of the last 150 pages, another kiss-me-till-I’m –dazed liplocker would have been a generous reward ;-)

I COULDN’T put the book down.

HAD. To. Finish. IT.

Which is the hallmark sign of a good book. No surprise there, if Julie Lessman’s name is on the cover. It’s a fabulous story about what true love really looks like and how it can often surprise us – especially those of us who want to have our lives all figured out ahead of time. But it’s also about sacrifices of the heart for the good of others. And sacrifices are painful.

But – as the old adage goes – no pain, no gain.

Read the book for the treasure chest at the end of the marathon journey.

Go Julie. Go Revell. Keep those passion-filled books coming!!!

REMEMBER: Leave a comment about the characters of A Hope Undaunted for your chance to win a Julie Lessman classic. The winner will be announced over the weekend. Good luck!!