Sunday, December 16, 2012

Silent Night by Colleen Coble


Bree Matthews is preparing for Christmas guests, but her heart is reeling from the recent and tender loss of her unborn child. Her sister-in-law, Lauri, suddenly turns up on the doorstep of the lighthouse home Bree shares with her husband, Kade, in Rock Harbor. Secretive and withdrawn, Lauri seems curiously intent on discovering what happened to a parachuter who disappeared in the North Woods along Lake Superior's icy shore.

As Bree and Sampson, her search-and-rescue dog, plunge into the search, Bree wonders if Lauri may know more than she's admitted about the parachuter. And then the clues lead them to the trail of a young woman whose family fears the worst about her disappearance.

Will the search on this snowy, silent night lead Bree and Sampson to more than clues about the missing girl? And will Bree's prayer for a baby ever be answered?

Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson- 2012- ebook
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Silent Night is a Rock Harbor Christmas Novella, a follow-up to her original Rock Harbor Series: Without a Trace, Cry in the Night, Beyond a Doubt, and Into the Deep. (The entire Rock Harbor Series will be re-printed in paperback for release in April 2013 and available in ebook form right now.)

About the Author:
RITA-Finalist Colleen Coble is the author of over 40 novels, and is known for her best-selling romantic suspense series, including the Lonestar Series and the Rock Harbor Series. She lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana.

Reviewers Note:
I love this book cover!
Silent Night not only held a gripping mystery that kept me turning pages (or tapping the screen on my Nook since this is an ebook) it was a beautiful reminder of how God blesses his children in His timing. I will also be reading the entire Rock Harbor Series now to see how it all began . . .

I had the privilege to meet Colleen Coble last summer through my ACFW Indiana Chapter group meeting. She is every bit as delightful and entertaining as her books. I became acquainted with her stories as I dove into her Mercy Falls Series and have been a fan ever since. Her plot twists will keep you turning the pages, and her intriguing characters will make you hate to see the story end.

Are you a fan of Colleen Coble? Which of her books is your favorite?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Interview With Author Robin Patchen

Movie star Blake Carmichael found more than just freedom from his drug addiction in rehab. He found God. And he has just one wish for the first Christmas of his new life: reconciliation with his teenage son, Eli. But after eight years of hardly hearing from Blake, Eli wants nothing to do with his father. So when his mother forces Eli to stay with Blake during the Christmas holidays, Eli sneaks out of the house.
From the New Hampshire seacoast to the dangerous streets of Boston, Blake searches for his son, desperate to protect Eli from sins Blake knows all too well. But even if he finds his son, will he ever be able to convince Eli of his love?
Author Robin Patchen was kind enough to donate her time for a personal interview with me. Read below to discover more about Robin and her heartwarming novella just in time for the holidays!
Candice- Thank you, Robin, for agreeing to do this interview with me.
Robin- Thank you for hosting me on your blog!
"One Christmas Eve" is a heartwarming story about forgiveness and reconciliation. What inspired you to write it?

How far is a father willing to go to win back his son's love? There are a lot of stories about parents trying to reconcile with wayward children, but I loved the twist that the father had been the wayward one for years. For me, it's really about redemption. How badly can we mess up and still be saved? In rehab, Blake discovered the boundless expanse of God's redeeming love, and all he wanted was to share that love with his son.
"One Christmas Eve" takes place on the New Hampshire seacoast. Your descriptions are so vivid and beautiful. Do you have any personal ties to this location?

I grew up in Londonderry, NH, which is about 40 miles from the coast. I love the jagged seacoast of New Hampshire, and Portsmouth is one of my favorite places in the world. I wanted my heroine, Tallia, to be an artist, so placing her in Portsmouth made sense with its thriving art community. And since Blake is very wealthy, placing his home in New Castle worked. I went to college in Boston, so I enjoyed writing those scenes, too. It was like a trip down Memory Lane.
How did "One Christmas Eve" come to be published?

Last winter, Pelican sent a general request for Christmas-themed novellas, and a friend of mine who's published with Pelican suggested I try to write one. I'd never tried a novella before. In fact, my books tend to run long, and I find myself having to cut out lots of words (like tens of thousands of words) to make them a marketable length. So I decided before I began that this whole book would have to take place in less than 24 hours. How much could I write about that short a time span? Famous last words--I still had to cut out about ten thousand words. And it was such a challenge to keep it that short, deciding what was imperative and what was not. And then I heard from an editor at Pelican in April, and they liked it.
Congratulations! I loved this story and it's getting great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Pelican made a great choice.
"One Christmas Eve" is an e-book. What are your thoughts on the writing/reading industry changes in our technological society?

Such a great question. When I found out One Christmas Eve was to be published as e-book only, I was disappointed. I mean, how many people are going to ask me to sign their Kindles? (None so far, I assure you. But I have offered....) But I can see the upside in it, too. I wasn't even contracted on this book until May, and it came out in November. With traditional print books, it takes much longer to get a book into the hands of readers. And it's accessible worldwide. I have a friend whose mother lives in Honduras. When she came to visit, her daughter introduced us and told her I'd written a book. As soon as it came out, that woman downloaded it onto her Kindle and read it. I hear from my friend that she loved it, so now I can consider myself "internationally known and loved."
I've had the privilege to see some of your other works-in-progress. I highly enjoy your writing voice and you have a fantastic ability to tug on the heart strings. Do you have any other stories to be published you can tell us about today?
Nothing contracted, but I do have a few works in progress. And I may try my hand at another Christmas novella for next year. I really enjoyed writing "One Christmas Eve."
Since your book is set on Christmas Eve, I thought it would be fun to tell the readers about some of your family's Christmas Eve traditions.
Every year on Christmas Eve, after we get home from church and finish our Chinese food (a tradition from my husband's family), we read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and then "The Polar Express." We've been reading "The Polar Express" since long before the movie, and when we get to the end, we pass out a bell to everyone, and we all shake our bells and say, "I believe. I believe." Of course my kids are getting older, so there are some rolled eyes nowadays, but it's a fun tradition nevertheless. I hope we hold onto it until we have grandkids to share it with (many, many years down the road.

What special traditions!
What is the most special gift you've ever received at Christmas?

Twenty years ago this Christmas, when my husband and I were engaged, he gave me a diamond tennis bracelet for Christmas. It wasn't just the gift--that was amazing enough--but he gave it to me at a pretty big Christmas party my family attended every Christmas Eve, so I opened the gift with a pretty sizable audience. Frankly, I was a little embarrassed by it, but he was so excited about that gift. A few years later, I lost that tennis bracelet, but my husband, generous as he is, bought me another one, and I wear it all the time. I think that's the most memorable Christmas present I've ever been given.
A guy can never go wrong with diamonds! LOL
Thanks again for your time on this interview. I wish you and your family a very merry and blessed Christmas! 
About Robin Patchen:
If time and money were no object, I would travel constantly. My goal is to visit every place in the entire world--twice. Because, as you know, the first time, you don't know exactly what you want to see. So you flit from one tourist attraction to another and enjoy every minute of it. But it's always on the last day that you find the best thing, and you don't have enough time to explore it properly, and you wished you'd discovered it first (but even if you had, you wouldn't know it was the best thing, because you hadn't seen everything else yet). So you have to go back a second time. It's just logical.
Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and my family doesn't really want to follow me all around the world, so I do the next best thing: I write. In the worlds I create, I can go back to the best places time and again. And when they're not perfect, that's all right--I just edit until they are.
In the real world, I'm married to the man of my dreams, Edward, and together we have three children, Nicholas, Lexi, and Jacob. They are a close second on my list of priorities after my relationship with my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
So that's my life: God, husband, children, and made-up worlds where I have complete control. Who could ask for more?
For more about Robin, visit her blog at
To purchase your copy of One Christmas Eve, go to or and download straight to your Nook or Kindle!
Robin Patchen
Stories of Astonishing Grace
Author of "One Christmas Eve"-- Christmas 2012



Friday, December 7, 2012

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson


The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.
None of the Herdmans had ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale-- the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating-- has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year's pageant the most unusual anyone has seen, and just possibly, the best one ever.
Author: Barbara Robinson
Publisher: HarperCollins, 1972
Genre: Juvenile Comedy-- age level 8 and up, grade level 3 and up
"One of the best Christmas books ever!"-- Publisher's Weekly
About the author
Barbara Robinson grew up in the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio.  In addition to her many children's books, Robinson has published many short stories in publications such as McCall's and Ladies Home Journal, and has written books of poetry.
My thoughts:
What a fantastic book! I overheard a group of ladies talking about it one day and decided to purchase it for my Nook. We sat down as a family, and I read aloud. I cannot tell you how many times we all laughed. No matter how old you are you can connect with the characters in this book. All of us have known a group of kids like the Herdmans. We've all been picked on by kids like the Herdmans. Let's be honest-- some of us have been the Herdmans.   :) 
My two oldest boys (ages 8 and 10) made an effort on their own to get their chores/homework/showers done early so they'd have time before bed for me to read this story to them. Trust me, that speaks volumes for this author! My husband even enjoyed it. How wonderful it was to turn off the TV, gather as a family, and laugh together.
Ending Note:
Though the antics in this story are humorous, and you'll want to give the Herdmans a good spanking, the truth within this story will touch your heart. Discover what children like the Herdmans are really searching for, and may we all be more tolerable, loving, and understanding of children like them.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

"I Choose You"- Press Release

38 Romantic Short Stories to Warm the Heart

I Choose You is a compilation of the best-of-the-best romance short stories from across the globe. Fall in love all over again or for the first time on a park bench, with a German POW, at a lighthouse, through Facebook, in the town of Eden, at a car repair shop, at a quaint New York diner, and so many other surprising places.

Experience the mystery, the warmth, the laughter, the sweetness of love. The kind of love that says, "I will . . . as long as we both shall live."


OakTara books are available from:

I Choose You is available in paperback immediately if ordered directly from the OakTara website, and at other retailers over the coming weeks. I Choose You will also be available in ebook format at: and in January 2013.

Don't miss my story The Value of a Penny, set in Joe's Diner in the heart of New York city.
A perfect gift for you or the story lover in your family. Get your copy today!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Mary, Did You Know?

Most of us have heard the beloved song, popularized by multiple music artists worldwide. This song is one of my favorites every Christmas for the thought provoking lyrics. It means more to me each passing year as I watch my three sons grow older.

The songwriter asked a great question: did she know? I believe she knew she was part of God's bigger plan, but I don't believe she fully grasped the opportunity she would have. That's the beauty of it. When Gabriel (the angel) appeared to deliver to Mary God's message, she accepted on faith saying, ". . . be it unto me according to thy word." She only knew God was asking her to serve him, and she willingly obeyed. To think: her submission led to our salvation. Though she had no way of knowing how much pain the task would cost her, how her peers would ridicule her, and how her son would be rejected and murdered, she was willing to be used by God.

Whenever I consider this, it raises a question in me: would I have been so obedient? I hope so. Gabriel called her blessed among women and said, ". . . thou hast found favour with God." What a testimony she had! I could never be called blessed among women on my best day. Though Jesus, alone, is the only human worthy of worship, Mary is a great example of how we women should live our lives.

I love reading Luke's account of Jesus' birth: Luke 2:1-20. Verse 19 states that ". . . Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." I bet her mind was reeling over the events that had just unfolded!

The story of Jesus' birth resounds with music that has inspired composers for 2,000 years. That rings true for lyricist Mark Lowry (Christian comedian and former member of the Gaither Vocal Band), who wrote the song in 1984 when his pastor asked him to write a musical for their Nashville, Tennessee church to be performed that Christmas season. Lowry imagined what Mary might have been thinking while she held baby Jesus on that first Christmas, along with a series of questions he would ask Mary, given the chance. Actors recited Lowry's questions for Mary between scenes of the musical that year, but afterward he sensed they should become lyrics to a song. He and harmonica player Buddy Greene wrote the music for "Mary, Did You Know?" using Lowry's lyrics:

Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you've kissed the face of God.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb.
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

This song sure puts things in a new perspective for me. Though it's easy to get wrapped up in the seasonal festivities, shopping sales, and overall materialism of Christmas-- let's not forget the true reason for the season!

I'd love to hear from you. What Christmas songs inspire you?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Angel Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

Ann Fletcher returned to Charleston to see her younger sister, Sarah, receive her master's degree. But she soon finds herself riding in the back of an ambulance, watching helplessly as Sarah fights for her life. As they race to the hospital, Sarah talks to someone who is not there . . . and hums a melody Ann has never heard before.
That unfamiliar, unearthly beautiful melody keeps finding Ann-- first in the hospital chapel, then in her dreams, and finally in Sarah's house.
Two neighbors have a profound effect on Ann. Ethan McKinney lends her a shoulder to lean on. And as a carpenter, he volunteers to help Ann get the Fletcher family home into shape for selling. His strong presence is a pleasing distraction. Ann's 12-year-old neighbor, Keith, has Down Syndrome and the innocence to believe he can actually see and hear angels. In fact, he insists they are looking out for her in ways she's never imagined.
God begins to reveal Himself to Ann-- both in her newfound friends and through supernatural events. As she discovers the very real presence of angels around her, will she finally open her heart to receive God's healing love?
Authors: Sheila Walsh & Kathryn Cushman
Publisher: Thomas Nelson  2010
Genre: Christian/Women's Fiction
Angel Song was awarded Novel of the Year by Women of Faith.
About the authors
     Sheila Walsh is a Bible teacher and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. She is a Women of Faith featured speaker and touches millions of women artistically with God's word.
     Sheila co-hosted The 700 Club and her own show Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh.
     Visit for more information on Sheila and her products.
Kathryn Cushman graduated from Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She left her career to spend more time at home with her daughters and to pursue her dream of writing. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.
I enjoyed this book for a number of reasons: it held my attention from the first page, the characters are well developed and I could connect with them immediately, and 12-year-old Keith stole my heart. Though the story is mostly in Ann's point of view, the secondary characters play vital roles in moving the story and helping Ann in her journey. It presents a great question: in our journey to make our dreams true, will we do whatever it takes or is there a limit to what we will sacrifice? The story gives great insight into the lives of those who suffer with Down Syndrome and their family members, the everyday struggles they encounter, and their precious ability to love unconditionally. The subject of angels was tastefully written-- not cheesy or hokey, and it didn't feel like a bad episode of Touched by an Angel.  :)
I gave this book a 5-star rating on and
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
What are your favorite "angel" books?

Monday, November 12, 2012


Webster's Dictionary defines bookworm as: n. One who spends a lot of time reading or studying.

This would be me. Any spare moment I'm granted (between a husband, three sons, the animals, and a mountain of never-ending laundry-- it isn't much), I've got my nose in a book. I love all genres: romance, mystery, historical, etc. What I'm trying to say is: I love books! I've had an obsession with books since before I could read. Between my parents and much older siblings, someone in the household was always kind enough to take a few minutes to read to me. But I remember being a small child thinking, I can't wait until I can read so I don't have to depend on other people to do it for me. Then I can read whenever I want!

Reading is a passion I've tried to pass on to my children (my oldest loves to read, my middle son wants nothing to do with it, and baby is still to little to decide). Books open doors, entertain, show the reader new perspective and insight, teach us . . . I could go on and on, but I'll stop since I'm sounding like a bookworm.

Along with reading, my other passion is writing. From the time I learned to read and write, I began creating stories of my own. In fact, I ran across some of these stories not too long ago while cleaning a closet-- stories I didn't even know I'd kept. I don't know why I kept them, they were terribly written but fun to find all the same.

At age sixteen, a friend was telling me about a dream she had and I thought Hey, that would make a great book! What did I do? I started writing one. A few chapters into it, I saw a commercial on TV advertising The Institute of Children's Literature. I thought I'd give it a shot and sent away for their aptitude test. After answering questions and writing a short-story, they welcomed me to the Institute, though they rarely made exceptions for individuals under age 18. For two years my instructor (Kevin McColley, a multi-published author) helped me solidify the craft of writing.

I temporarily lost my passion for writing after completing the course, getting married, and starting a family and career. I didn't read much during these 10 years either. By the end of the day, I was too tired! After the birth of my third son (and excessing of my job), I became a stay-at-home mother and wife and started reading ferociously again while I would rock my newborn to sleep and in place of TV in the evenings. When I read, I read every page of a book from the dedication page to the author's note at the end. While reading Denise Hunter's Sweetwater Gap, her author note stated she began writing during her children's nap times, and over a couple of years it blossomed into publication. That shook something inside of me, and I realized that God not only blessed me by giving me the opportunity to be at home and better care for my family, but he was also giving me a chance to pursue writing.

Denise referred me to ACFW-- American Christian Fiction Writers-- an organization where authors (published and unpublished), editors and agents, come together. Within ACFW, I had the opportunity to send my manuscripts through an online critique group where I quickly learned how much I'd forgotten over the years. Though sometimes discouraged, I used the honest criticism to learn and grow and keep pursuing.

Exactly one year, a novel that I've revised a million times, and a short-story later, Oak Tara Publishers accepted my short-story manuscript as a winner in their Best-of-the-Best Romance Contest. My story, The Value of a Penny, will be published with the other winners in an anthology entitled I Choose You in time for the holidays 2012.

More details to follow . . .