December 30, 2011

The Captive Heart (W. Dale Cramer, 2012) A Stunning, One-of-a-kind Saga

I have been eagerly waiting to get my hands on the second book in author W. Dale Cramer's latest series (The Daughters of Caleb Bender), The Captive Heart. It just arrived last week and I tore right into it. I was not disappointed!

Here's my review:

The Captive Heart continues the story begun in Paradise Valley (2011), in which Amishman Caleb Bender and his family move from Ohio to Mexico in the 1920s to avoid religious persecution. But the troubles they and other settlers face in the beautifully fertile yet rugged new land prove to be a far greater challenge. In the turbulent aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, the cultural climate is unstable. Increasing trouble with roaming bandits causes Caleb to doubt not only the success and happiness of his beloved family in this new land, but his wisdom in bringing them and other families here.

Fresh descriptions throughout paint a vibrant, beautiful setting against the rugged Mexican landscape. In each book, the girls’ unique stories are artfully woven together with the overarching story of Caleb Bender, the father whose desire to honor and trust “Gott” leads him on a journey that shakes his faith and tests his quiet, noble strength. A pacifist by faith, this father faces the unthinkable: threats against the lives of those he loves. How will he respond? How many must be harmed, even lost before it ends? Must he rethink what he has always believed about the value of a man’s life versus a man’s soul?

I loved meeting the characters in Paradise Valley and getting to know them better in this second of the three book series. Miriam takes the lead with her forbidden yet growing love for Domingo, the half-breed Mexican native who works for Caleb. A man of strength and wisdom, Domingo declares that the religion of the Amish “makes no sense,” and that there are many “fences” that forbid a relationship with Miriam, the one he calls “Cualnezqui” or Beautiful One.

Domingo is wonderful character whose honesty, strength and nobility I found intriguing. His desire to understand this Christian “religion” was borne of the troubling fact that it “makes no sense.” The simple truth of the gospel is displayed in the lives of many characters, not so much because of their unusual ways, but by the consistent grace and strength evident in their lives. The daughters each possess a unique, distinct voice, each one displaying their own strength of faith and quiet beauty. One daughter voices simply yet powerfully what it means to be a child of God. I appreciated her simple message that it is not about how we practice our faith or what disciplines it takes to conquer our sinful human nature, but that it is a matter of constant surrender to God.

Knowing Cramer has both a family history (see the award winning Levi's Will) and intimate ties to the Amish community makes the stories and characters that much more fascinating. The backdrop and setting for this series is based on actual events that occurred in his family in the 1920s, making this story especially intriguing. Cramer does a fabulous job weaving a story filled with distinct characters with goals, fears and triumphs we can all can relate to. Despite differences of era, culture, setting, and religious traditions, the characters in this series depict universal joys and pains that resonate with everyone.

You don’t have to be a fan of Amish or “bonnet fiction” to be captivated by Cramer’s Amish works. My husband saw me reading The Captive Heart and teased, “So is there any action in that book?” To which I replied, “Yes, tons!” I’ve decided this series creates a new fiction genre: Amish Action.

The loves, joys, fears, and sufferings of the characters in The Captive Heart are deeply emotive. The romantic threads of Miriam and Rachel as well as the ominous threats and dangers kept me hooked and reading non-stop. This series so far is a well-rounded, rewarding blend of romance, mystery and gripping action. It’s a blend I could easily see played out on the big screen. I eagerly look forward to the third and final book in the series and am already sad this beautiful saga will come to an end.

Note: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review.

December 15, 2011

BookingIt: Interview with Debut Author Camille Eide (and winners!)

I've been a guest on several blogs lately due to the release of Savanna's Gift, my (100% 5 stars!!) Christmas novella, but have been busy making and revising (but not actually doing) Christmas To-Do lists and forgot to share the links here with you.

Here's the latest guest blog spot, a visit with my chocoholic friend Jessica Nelson in which we discuss the deep nature of romance, sticky note inspiration, pursuing your talent, and chocolate:

BookingIt: Interview with Debut Author Camille Eide (and winners!)

December 5, 2011

More Christmas Romance . . .

White Rose Publishing has a sweet treat of a holiday lineup with 12 Christmas Romance novellas specially priced at $1.00 during the month of December. WRP is releasing one of these 12 Christmas titles each day.


Today's release is Polar Bear Plunge by Linda S. Glaz.

Brice Taylor might not be on Aleni Callan's Christmas list, but she finds him under her tree anyway.


Striving to put meaning back into her life after her husband’s death, Aleni Callan immerses herself in hospital work. Angry with God, she finds herself even angrier when war hero, Brice Taylor, author of The Human Shield, arrives in the Emergency Room with a concussion and hypothermia after participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. Aleni wants nothing to do with a man who willingly takes chances with his life.

Brice doesn’t understand how God could bring him through being a captive in Iraq when he failed his troops so miserably. Writing about his escape brings fame he would rather avoid. And by meeting widowed Aleni Callan and her son Tyler, his feelings of failure only increase.

Megan Callan, with the help of her three-year-old grandson, Tyler, scheme to bring Aleni and Brice together. And though the best laid plans often go awry, Megan isn’t one to accept no.

My Review:
Polar Bear Plunge is a touching story that shows how healing from brokenness and bitterness can often come from the last place we expect, and how God is patient and loving enough to send what or whomever it takes to get our attention. Aleni, a war widow, masks a broken heart by throwing herself into her work and into the care of her young son, with the help of her caring mother-in-law. Brice is the last man on earth she could love, but when forced into spending time with him, Aleni discovers he's not who she thought he was, and is battling wounds of his own. I loved this story, and love seeing how it shows the way God often brings blessing and healing to us in unexpected ways. And the love of nosy, well-meaning relatives never hurts. An intriguing feel good romance for a quick wonderful read anytime, and a special treat for Christmas.


Note: ALL White Rose Holiday Extravaganza books are specially priced at $1.00 thru 12/24

Watch the book trailer: http://ow.ly/7NbBt


Pick up Polar Bear Plunge at: Amazon (Kindle) or White Rose/Pelican Book Group


About Linda:
I’m a wife and mother of three. I balance being a child of God while also being older than God. Hmmm, scary, but almost true. I’ve been blessed to have had an amazing life so far: Air Force meteorologist during Vietnam era, teaching karate and self-defense along with soccer for 25+ years. I sing and direct in church and community theatre musicals where this little old lady sounds more like the guys than the gals. Also scary, but true. I work in a physical therapy clinic three days a week to earn money to keep my writing afloat. My writing life is a 24/7 proposition. When not writing my own stories, I am an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. I wear so many different hats I’m surprised I wasn’t invited to the Royal wedding. Blessings to everyone, may your writing dreams all come true.

December 3, 2011

Get Savanna's Gift Now!

It's HERE!
SAVANNA'S GIFT, a Christmas Romance about rekindled love and second chances, is now available for download from White Rose Publishing: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/savanna-s-gift

When Savanna gets a second chance at the love of her life, will her dream that divided them get in the way?

Forced to return to the ski lodge where she once worked, Savanna Holt is reminded of one special Christmas and how ambition led her to make the worst mistake of her life: Leaving Luke Nelson. Stunned to discover Luke never left, but worked his way up from lift operator to manager, Savanna sees the opportunity as a gift from God. She’s determined to win Luke back. But Luke wants no reminders of his past hurt, or a relationship with the woman who put ambition before love.

Can Savanna convince Luke she’s changed and her interest isn't because of his position? And when her dream job beckons, will she sacrifice her dream for a second chance at love?


SWEET DEAL: For a limited time SAVANNA'S GIFT is specially priced at just $1.00 through Dec 24, 2011

Praise for Savanna’s Gift:
“Camille Eide’s fiction debut, Savanna’s Gift is an enchanted tale of lost love and second chances. With endearing characters and the smell of cinnamon-scented pinecones in the air, I was swept away in this heart-warming story. Lovely anytime. Perfect for Christmas.”

~Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings


More about Camille and her books at: http://www.camilleeide.com/camille.html

December 2, 2011

Final Drawing for the Christmas Cookie/Book Giveaway

Okay, I got side-tracked again and didn't draw. Doh! Before I do, I just want to remind y'all we had some tasty sounding cookie recipes shared here, so I hope you saw one you'll try. Thanks to everyone for sharing those!

So...today's winner is: Ginny!! Congrats, my friend to the far north!

And for those who didn't win a free copy of SAVANNA'S GIFT, my new Christmas Romance novella, don't be sad. Amazon got a little excited and started selling the Kindle version for $.99, which makes me real happy, since they are honoring the publisher's special holiday price. For all the non-Kindlers, the book is available tomorrow (Dec 3) at the White Rose Publishing site in various other book types.

And speaking of which, there are 11 more Christmas Romances available as part of WRP's Christmas Extravaganza. The 12 books are releasing one a day for twelve days (12 days of Christmas?).

So no matter what kind of eReader you have, a super deal is waiting for you, but only until 12/24.

And . . . if you have no ereader but want to read an eBook (like mine, or those great freebies you can hear about daily by signing up at http://www.vesselproject.com/ ) there are free apps for your pc, phone, iPad, etc. Many eBooks are offered as PDFs, which most PCs will read. So my point? Yes, there's no excuse. Anyone can read an eBook. And at eBook prices (which are often free when you catch the deals) you can really load up your library.

So what are you watiting for? (The commercial to end so you can go back to baking Christmas cookies, right?)

One last plug: Thanks to cool cyber friends, I will be a guest on several blogs over the next few weeks. I may leave a link to them here if you have nothing better to do in the weeks before Christmas but follow me around the web and listen to me talk about Christmas and romance and other stuff. We'll kick it all off at the WordServe Watercooler tomorrow, where I shameless plug my book while launching a discussion about the Humble Artist and Self-Promotion, two seemingly incongruent topics.

So until next time, happy baking, and God bless!

ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. . . .

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

MY ROOTS:
I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.

Camille's Books

Visit www.camilleeide.com to sign up for book updates and giveaways.

Visit www.ashberrylane.com and sign up for book news.

Like There's No Tomorrow, Like a Love Song, and The Memoir of Johnny Devine are available in print & eBook at Amazon, B&N, Audible, Smashwords, iTunes, & Kobo.