Author, Collaborative Writer, Editor - Learn More

READ: Review, Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter

I admit it. I’m what Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner’s character in Romancing the Stone) called a “hopeful romantic”—in real life and in my reading. I know about the romance-haters (some are my close friends). And I love other genres (especially literary fiction), too. Still, every life needs a little romance, and many readers do as well. Predictable? Often. Realistic? Maybe. Fun, encouraging, and inspirational? Not always—but the authors who write that kind of romance capture my interest and often, my reading time. Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter all belong to that group. Their new book Smitten (Thomas Nelson, 2011) puts a fun spin on the romance novel: four authors, four novellas, four protagonists (one per novella), and one town struggling to survive an economic downturn. When the announcement comes that the Smitten Lumber Company will soon close its doors, the residents of Smitten, Vermont face a big challenge. Can they recast their town as a romance capital in time to keep the lights burning and the bills paid? Can the four women who devised this master plan get others—especially the men of the community—to recognize its merit? And (perhaps most important of all) can each find happiness with a man who seems like anything but a perfect match? I enjoyed reading Smitten not because it offers dramatic plot turns or multi-layered characters but because of what it does present: a sweet serving of faith, hope, and love. The interwoven plots and characters add a unique touch, and bonus blessings like a motherless little girl, an instant father, and a celebrity wedding multiply the fun. Find out more about Smitten at, where you can sign a petition to “Save Smitten” as an entry into a drawing for a free e-book.  Oh—and I almost forgot—Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate this holiday, leave a comment that answers either of these two questions: What’s your favorite romance novel? What was your favorite Valentine surprise?  All comments earn an entry into the drawing for my Valentine Prize Pack: Love Finds You in Carmel, California by Sandie Bricker (autographed); Delight Yourself in the Lord . . . Even on Bad Hair Days by Sandra D. Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt (yes, two of our Smitten authors with an autograph from Sandra Bricker), Debby Mayne, and Trish Perry; and a nonfiction project with the intriguing title Sexy Christians (Baker Books, 2010) plus some Valentine chocolate. What more could a hopeful romantic want? Please leave your comment (please include an email link; sorry, but I can only mail to US addresses) before February 15. I’ll choose a winner at random to announce later this week.  Find a local Christian bookstore.  Find the book on Amazon,...

Read More

READ: Review, Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker (Emma Rae Creation Series)

Sometimes an author creates a place and a people so warm and intriguing that you want to return. Again and again. This explains, at least in part, the popularity of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books or Jan Karon’s Mitford novels. And I also believe it applies to the whimsical world Sandra Bricker creates for her readers in her Emma Rae Creation series.   At the Tanglewood wedding hotel in Atlanta, little things mean a lot. And Sherilyn Caine, diva of detail, is ready. She has her dream job, a dream fiancé, even a dream return to friends and adoptive family in Atlanta to accompany them. But as she manages others’ weddings in expert style, she wonders if her own is about to fall apart. The problems begin when little things—including two lost wedding dresses, an unwanted pet, and a mysterious allergy—loom large. Will they overpower Sherilyn’s happiness as well? In Always the Baker, Never the Bride (Abingdon, 2010), readers fell in love with the Tanglewood and its diabetic cake artisan, Emma Rae Travis. A warm wedding party of characters and sparkling touches of humor only added to the book’s charm. Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride (Abingdon, 2011) brings it all back with the delightful additions of Sherilyn; her doctor fiancé, Andy; and plenty of detours along the way. Creative, fun extras include wedding tips and tricks at the close of each chapter with the additional bonus of some of Emma’s best recipes. If you need a fun book to help you escape the winter doldrums or an inspiring read to remind you that the truth sets free, say “I do” to Always the Wedding Planner. Like me, you’ll wish the Tanglewood were real—because you know and love the people who work there. Watch the book trailer.  Find a local Christian bookstore.  Find the book on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or at Christian Book Distributors. (FTC disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the author. I was not required to post a review or a positive response). Does this sound like a fun read? What other novels have created a community that begs you to return? Leave a comment on any of my posts between now and Valentine’s Day for an entry for my Valentine’s prize pack that includes a treat or two from Sandie Bricker. More details to...

Read More