Archive for August, 2010


Coming Up… This Week!

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Hello LOVELY readers!!!

Can you believe August is over already?! I can’t… I have too much to do before September hits (so… before tomorrow!) and not enough time to do it in!

I wanted to let you know that I’ll be AFK from tomorrow until the beginning of next week… so if your comments don’t show up right away, or if I don’t comment back right away (or visit your blog in return!) it’s not because I don’t love you!!! I’ll catch up when I’m back, promise!

But, I won’t leave you with nothing to read. :) Just so you know & have something to look forward to, here’s a quick list of what’s upcoming for the first week of September:


Sept. 2nd - Self-Editing #6: Be Wise, Italicize

Sept. 4th – Self-Editing #7: Redundant Pleonasms

Sept. 5th – In My Mailbox (10)

Sept. 6th – Book Review: ‘All I Ever Wanted’ – Kristin Higgins 


Hopefully that’ll keep you occupied over the weekend… and while you’re at it, don’t forget to enter my contest to win a copy of ‘Amish Proverbs’ by Suzanne Woods Fisher! Contest ends Sept. 6th, so pop on over and tell us one of your family’s favorite sayings!

See you all when I hit the keyboard again! :)


August Blog Tour: ‘Masquerade’

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Book four and the end of the tour! More to come at the end of September…

Masquerade – Nancy Moser

masq  They risk it all for adventure and romance, but find that love only flourishes in truth…

1886. Charlotte Gleason embarks from England with conflicting emotions. She is headed for New York to marry one of America’s wealthiest heirs–a man she has never even met. When her doubts gain the upper hand, she swaps identities with her maid Dora. She wants a chance at "real life," even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it’s a risk she’s willing to take. But what begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl becomes a test of survival beyond her blackest nightmare.

For Dora, it’s the chance of a lifetime. She is thrust into a fairy tale amid ball gowns and lavish mansions, yet is tormented by the possibility of discovery–and humiliation. And what of the man who believes she is indeed his intended? Is this what her heart truly longs for?

My Thoughts:

This book is adorable. Honestly! I really, really enjoyed it, despite the hokey-sounding premise that likely makes you think ‘wasn’t that the plot of ‘The Prince and the Pauper’? Sure, it’s been done before… but Moser’s tale of two young women switching places is so sweet and fun that it doesn’t matter.

I’ll keep my review short, because I don’t want to spoil anyone else’s enjoyment with giving away too many details… but I found the historical detail fascinating, the comparison between England and New York during the same time period equally as interesting, and the exploits of the ladies as they play each other’s roles very well done.

Each young woman learns, grows, and changes over the course of the novel, and while there are some cheesy moments that made me groan, they can be overlooked by the excellent writing, the surrounding detail, and the twists of the plot. I also very much liked Moser’s notes at the back of the novel, telling us where the story changed as she wrote it and which things she didn’t intend to happen that did (and some things she intended to happen that didn’t!).

The inspirational aspect of the novel is very present, but again, not overwhelming in the sense that I think this book will find a broad audience. If you’re a fan of the time period, I encourage you to give it a shot and try it for yourself!

Here’s a little Q&A with the author to entice you in the meantime :) : Q&A with Nancy Moser (PDF)

About the Author: Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and a eighteen novels, including Mozart’s Sister, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest. Read more about her books at

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


August Blog Tour: ‘Touching the Clouds’

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

And onto book three of the blog tour! One more to go after this, so stay tuned.

Touching the CloudsBonnie Leon

She went looking for adventure . . . and found more than she bargained for.touching

Kate Evans is an adventurous and independent young woman with a pioneering spirit. When she leaves her home in Washington State to follow her dream of being an Alaskan bush pilot, she knows it will be an uphill battle. But she never expected it to be quite like this. As the lone woman in a man’s world, she finds that contending with people’s expectations is almost as treacherous as navigating the wild arctic storms.

When she crosses paths with a mysterious man living alone in the forbidding wilderness, she faces a new challenge. Can Kate break through the walls he has put up around his heart? And will fear keep her from realizing her dreams?

Book 1 in the Alaskan Skies series, Touching the Clouds will draw you in with raw emotion and suspense, all against the stunning backdrop of the Alaskan wilds.


My Thoughts:

Yes, the main character is adventurous, likable, and flawed (that’s a good thing). No, the romance doesn’t particularly tug at the heartstrings, and the “love triangle” seems more ‘because it had to be there’ than ‘natural progression of the heart’. Yes, there’s suspense… but no, I don’t think there’s quite the “raw emotion” of the synopsis’ claim.

I’ll start by saying this: The book is interesting if you don’t know a lot about planes, flying, or Alaska around the 1930s. However, there isn’t a whole lot of historical detail included, and the one attempt by the main character to deal with racial tensions comes out of nowhere and seems more contrived than anything else (since it doesn’t connect with anything else in the story). But I learned a few things about planes, flying, and pilots of small charter flights, which I found quite interesting.

Back to the story…

As much as I didn’t mind the main character, Kate, I didn’t care for the pacing of the book. This could be due to the fact that it’s the first book in the series and tried to set up for the next books, but I found that there wasn’t a whole lot of plot… rather, it seemed very episodic. Here’s a flight, a problem with the flight, the problem is solved, Kate goes home. Next chapter there’s another flight, maybe a problem (or maybe not), everything’s okay, Kate goes somewhere. Next chapter we have another flight… rinse and repeat. I kept wondering when the actual meat of the story would kick in, but it never did…

And without giving too much away, the love triangle didn’t make sense. In a literary love triangle, you normally have the good guy, the ‘bad boy’, and the main character has to choose between the man she wants to be with and the man she knows she should be with. Something like that, anyway. And usually as a reader, you can see clearly who she should be with, even while she strays off to the wrong guy… but here, we have a love triangle with two perfectly normal guys, neither one better than the other (in fact, they seemed almost like carbon copies at times) and you really don’t know who to root for. When she eventually lets one down for the other one, I felt almost like she just kicked a puppy… because she had no reason to let that one go. Literally. No. Reason.

bonnieleonWhich again, is why the book left a lot to be desired. Yes, I learned a few things, but without a clear focus in the plot, combined with a love triangle that feels more like a cut-and-paste plot device, I can’t say I’ll read anything else in this series. Which is too bad, because ultimately the writing was very good! 

I think I’ll find a different novel from the author, and try that instead. I won’t give up on her yet! I just won’t read more of this particular series.

About the Author

Bonnie Leon is the bestselling author of more than ten historical fiction novels. She stays busy teaching women’s Bible studies and speaking at writing seminars and conventions. She and her husband, Greg, live in Oregon.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


‘Amish Proverbs’ Review & Giveaway!

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Well, heidy-ho there good neighbors!

What better way to start off the week than with a nice little giveaway from the generous people over at Baker Publishing Group & Graf-Martin Communications?

Yep, that’s right… if you’re into all things Plain – or if you like collecting phrases and sayings from different cultures / people groups – this is something you’ll be very interested in!

The book is:

Amish Proverbs:

Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life 

by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Fisher has spent a great deal of time with the Amish and has collected more than 200 proverbs which cover all aspects of life, from finances to faith to family, as well as overcoming life’s frustrations. Proverbs help point us all toward wisdom, toward good judgment, toward God’s teachings.

A couple of my favorite proverbs from the book are:

“A sweater is a garment worn by a child when his mother feels chilly.” (p.71)

“Those who fear the future are likely to fumble the present.” (p.105)

…and possibly my favorite of all…

“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be glad that the thornbush has roses.” (p.138)

Now that’s a different way of looking at things!

I’ve been asked to post a proverb or saying that was common from my mother or father when growing up, but honestly, I can’t think of anything specific that was said over and over again. I think the closest we had to a family proverb was, “God gave you a brain… use it!” a phrase that I know was said to me and each of my siblings on multiple occasions when we we did something stupid or refused to solve a problem / couldn’t see the consequences of an action / or did anything requiring thought that we didn’t think through.

In addition to the proverbs, Fisher provides some insight into the Amish community, their faith, and their social life, along with some reflections of her own on God’s role in the Amish way of life.

Sound interesting? You can win a copy!

Contest is open to residents of Canada and the U.S. (sorry, international readers… another time!).

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your NAME and EMAIL address, and share a proverb from your own household – one you grew up hearing, or maybe one you say now! Contest is open until Sept. 6th.

Please feel free to Tweet, Facebook, or blog about the contest, and I’d love it if you followed my blog (RSS readers count too!). While this won’t get you extra entries (since I want to keep it simple), I’d greatly appreciate it… and I promise to do the same for you if I enter one of your contests in the future. :)

Fisher_SuzanneWoodsAbout the Author 

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the CBA bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, Amish Peace, and Amish Proverbs. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.


(Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.)


In My Mailbox (9)

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

In my mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren to showcase books you’ve received for review, bought, borrowed, or swapped. Anyone can participate, and it’s a great way to showcase new books and encourage blogger/commenter interaction!

Just one thing for me this week…

ARC of


The World is Bigger Now: An American Journalist’s Release from Captivity in North Korea

by Euna Lee





What came in your mailbox this week? :)


Self-Editing #5: Say It, Don’t Think It

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

How many times have you told your audience that your character wondered something, rather than actually allowed her to wonder it for herself?

Yes, yes, I hear the “Faith, now you’re really confusing me…” voices out there, so here’s what I mean…


Jennifer looked around the room. She wondered why her brother couldn’t be bothered to clean up after himself, even when he knew their guests would arrive later today.

Corrected Example:

Jennifer looked around the room. Why didn’t Chris ever bother to clean up?


See what I mean? Rather than telling the reader that the character is wondering, you show it through a direct thought or through the deep third-person POV. This kind of thing crops up with things like:

    • he/she wondered
    • he/she knew
    • he/she thought
    • he/she considered
    • …etc…

I have a tendency to make this mistake ALL the time in first drafts, and spend a lot of time rephrasing sections of my character’s internal dialogue. It’s that pesky “tell” monster that I have to beat time and time again…

How about you… do you find your character ‘wonders’ and ‘knows’ a little too often on your pages?


August Blog Tour: ‘The Constantine Conspiracy’

   Posted by: Faith    in Tasty Tomes

Book two along the tour of this month’s new releases from Baker Publishing Group is a suspense / thriller with a historical twist. Or at least, it was supposed to be a suspense / thriller… hrmm… *purses lips* …

The Constantine Conspiracy – Gary E. Parker

The innocent don’t run–unless their lives depend on it.

When international playboy Rick Carson stumbles onto a murder in his Montana home, he knows his life will never be the same. But he certainly doesn’t expect to be the prime suspect. And he doesn’t expect to find himself in the middle of a 1700-year-old conspiracy with tentacles reaching into the very highest levels of the government.

Park ranger Shannon Bridge is the first responding law enforcement agent on the scene. She seems legitimate, but is there more to her than meets the eye? Why is she willing to help Rick elude the law?

With unanswered questions and the law closing in, Shannon and Rick must find some way to exonerate him–and expose the truth before it’s too late. In a place where no one is who they say they are and danger lurks around every corner, can they even trust each other?

Get swept up in this thrilling tale of international intrigue, conspiracy, and the power of truth.

My Thoughts:constantine

This is a book that tries to be heavy on action but ends up weak on plot, character development, and logic.

Here’s the thing: an international conspiracy that’s been ongoing since “ancient times” is a plot that’s been done to death by now, and there are only so many ways an author can re-do this as something believable. How many people have read The DaVinci Code? You didn’t have to like it, but the book was huge and had a similar concept. In the same way, how many people are writing about boy wizards going to a school of magic right now? Unless you have something absolutely unique and fresh to offer, rehashing a recently popular plot device is a tough sell.

In The Constantine Conspiracy, rather than having an ancient society that will kill to keep a secret, we have an ancient society that’s been working to undermine Christianity since the days of Constantine. Honestly, in the end I wasn’t entirely sure how Constantine had anything to do with what happened (the connection was tenuous at best), but I can set that aside.

The problem is, having an ancient society whose aim is to eradicate Christianity from the face of the globe, starting with the United States, is a ridiculous premise to begin with. If this group was so determined, why wouldn’t it focus its efforts on other nations where there are growing segments of Christians (ie. certain African countries) before those groups became too big to deal with? And for that matter, why were they only trying to get rid of Christianity and not other religious groups?

I wonder if that question was addressed in the book and I didn’t pick it up… the explanation would have had to be short and vague, which doesn’t help the premise. There are also several occasions in the novel where the female main character, Shannon, pauses to explain things to the main character, Rick. He asks the right questions and the story stops for several pages while the READER learns information along with the character – in a very obvious, “I’m going to explain things now” kind of way. It interrupts the flow of the book, and I wonder why the information wasn’t simply given along the course of the story.

But that’s another problem I had with this book – it begins as a case of people not talking to each other, not telling each other what they need to know. It’s one of those “if these people would only just HAVE A DECENT CONVERSATION at the beginning of the book, we could avoid all this trouble” kind of situations. That frustrates me, and is a contrived way of creating conflict.

Aside from the nonsensical premise (seriously, how has no one found out about this secret society if they’ve been murdering people and manipulating the government for centuries? …surely a journalist or two would have probed into this long before) and the unfortunate plot, I also didn’t care about the characters. Honestly, the main characters could have been shot and died and I wouldn’t have cared. I know that’s harsh, but there was nothing to connect to. They were flat, uninteresting, and difficult to relate to (ie. the main character is famous, wealthy, and a “playboy”, though we don’t actually see this, we’re just told it, so there’s no real way to gauge his development over the course of the story).

In the end, I admit there must be an audience for this book out there – I’ve never read anything else by this author, but he’s written twenty novels, so someone likes his style and storytelling. And that’s great! I’m glad he’s found his niche. I, on the other hand, will not be picking up another book by the author anytime soon.

If you’re really curious, you can read an excerpt from the novel here.

About the Author 

Gary E. Parker is the author of more than twenty books. He and his family live in the Atlanta area.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Self-Editing #4: Floating Body Parts

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Here’s another one of those common mistakes that we make when writing, and it’s one that I bet we ALL do and tend to have difficulty picking out after the fact.

Read these sentences:

Rachel’s eyes flew to John. If she could only take his hand and get to the kitchen, everything would be all right.

So… what’s wrong with this picture?


First, Rachel’s eyes can’t fly. Unless your character has eyeballs with little wings that tend to detach themselves from the sockets to whirl around the room, it had better be a gaze that’s flying – not the actual body part.


Second, Rachel can’t take John’s hand to the kitchen. She can hold it and lead him there, but the hand is going to be attached to the body. Unless, of course, you’re writing sci-fi or your character has some kind of detachable cybernetic implants (okay, still sci-fi).


Floating body parts occur when one character does something that, when read, literally removes or loses specific body parts. This is a very easy mistake to make when writing a first draft, and something to particularly watch out for when writing romance (all that gazing and cooing and swooning tends to get the body parts flying… er… you know what I mean).

Anyone have some funny examples to share of floating body parts from their manuscripts?


In My Mailbox (8)

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

In my mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren to showcase books you’ve received for review, bought, borrowed, or swapped. Anyone can participate, and it’s a great way to showcase new books and encourage blogger/commenter interaction!

Scroll down and let me know what you received too!

Here’s what came in my mailbox this week:

amy inspired

ARC of Amy Inspired

by Bethany Pierce






ARC of Radiance

by Alyson Noel







Galley of The Thieves of Darkness

by Richard Doetsch




Reading Copy of Unchained

by Sharon Ashwood (won this in a giveaway!)




Reading Copy of Terrify No More

by Gary A. Haugen with Gregg Hunter

…and a couple of textbooks for a course I’m taking this fall:

answering islam encountering


What came in your mailbox this week? :)


Self-Editing #3: Color, Color, Everywhere…

   Posted by: Faith    in Creating Coldcuts


Color. What does that have to do with your manuscript?  

Nothing, if you’re writing contemporary fiction.

Everything, if you’re writing historical fiction.


The issue of color was brought to my attention by none other than Kelly Mortimer of Mortimer Literary, Inc.. So, what’s the deal?

Not all color names existed at every period in history. If you’re writing a historical romance set in the Middle Ages (ie. Medieval Period; commonly designated as the 5th – 15th Centuries), and your heroine pulls a moss green gown from her wardobe, pairing it with a jade necklace that happened to be a gift from courtly visitors… well, sorry honey, but you’re writing in the wrong time period.

That’s not to say that the gown isn’t green and the necklace doesn’t have this precious stone inlaid, but the fact of the matter is your character wouldn’t think of the colors in those terms.

Language isn’t static – it’s fluid, and changes over the years. Just because you wouldn’t use the term ‘vehicle’ or have a character say ‘what’s up?’ in your Medieval fiction, doesn’t mean that every other word is fair game.

Color names are particularly important in order to realistically set the scene and establish credibility for yourself as an historical fiction writer.

How do you find out if the word you wanted to use was in use during the time period you’re writing about? Word study!

You can:

  • Google the information (make sure your source is reliable)
  • Visit a university library
  • Send an email to a university professor who specializes in the time period (honestly, they’ll probably be thrilled to answer your question, or could direct you to another reliable resource)
  • Send an email to a local history group in your community

There are plenty of ways to figure out whether ‘primrose’ was used as a color name before 1759 A.D. or not… and living in the internet age makes getting the information you need a whole lot easier than it used to be – so, no excuses!

Get your colors right, and you’ll write a better story!

Question: If you’ve written a historical… have you considered color names before? Is this something you’re actively checking on when you write?