October 8, 2012

Middle-Grade Mystery: Wholesome Fun, Sun & Surf

Author Cheryl Linn Martin releases Pineapples In Peril, the first of her 3-book middle grade mystery series The Hawaiian Island Detective Club this month (October 2012) from Comfort Publishing.

I have long followed Cheryl’s writing and path to publication, so it is a special treat to see and read this book as a published work. Though the HIDC series is aimed at middle-grade & young teens, it is a refreshing, interesting read for all ages, woven with suspense, fun, friends, family, and a wholesome Christian worldview.

While solving their first real case, long-time friends Leilani, Maile and Sam deal with typical eighth-grade frustrations and fears, the ups and downs of family life, and the awesome adventure of growing up in a tropical paradise. The story offers fun, interesting facts about Hawaii young readers will soak up right along with the sun and surf.

A note to parents, grandparents and teachers - this book would make a great Christmas gift for your 8-13 yr old readers.

About Pineapples In Peril:
Thirteen-year-old Leilani Akamai and her two best friends, Maile and Sam, have been the only official members of The Hawaiian Island Detective Club for years. Until this summer, they've only been solving pretend mysteries. But when vandalism starts taking place in the pineapple fields near their homes, they finally get their chance to solve a real crime. Unless Kimo, Leilani’s annoying ten-year-old brother, ruins everything . . .  And then there’s Maile’s 16-year-old brother, the love of Leilani’s life . . .

Hawaiian Island Detective Club Series release dates:
Pineapples In Peril – October 2012
Menehunes Missing - Spring 2013
Ukuleles Undercover – Fall 2013

About the Author:
Cheryl Linn Martin lives in Washington State with her husband and Lilly, their Persian cat, and is mom to 3 amazing adult kids. After graduating from The University of Oregon and pursuing a successful Parks and Recreation career, she now focuses on her passion--writing mystery novels. The Hawaiian Island Detective Club (ages 8-12) combines her love of all things Hawaiian and her fascination with intrigue. 

Connect with Cheryl at:
her fun Hawaii blog, LIFE IN FLIP FLOPS
Pineapples In Peril TRAILER

September 28, 2012

Some Wildflower In My Heart, a novel by Jamie Langston Turner

Some Wildflower In My Heart is the story of Margaret, a deeply wounded woman who has spent decades closed off to love, relationships, and especially God. She ensures distance from others by being cold and unapproachable. Yet In spite of her brusque demeanor, she finds herself the recipient of the persistently kind, friendly attentions of a woman named Birdie with an inexhaustible capacity for love.

In the real world, anyone behaving like Margaret is sure to go to their grave friendless. But because one woman’s love for Jesus flows like an underground spring and touches everyone she meets, there may be hope for Margaret.

Some Wildflower In My Heart is quietly deep, beautifully written; rich in word, touching in story. The kind of book I love to read (and write, I pray). Not everyone would enjoy spending time with an "unlikable character" such as Margaret. But some of us have a soft spot for those who wear an unlikable demeanor to disguise something heartbreaking. 

So what's intriguing about this story is that it is told in Margaret’s point of view. If I were only able to observe Margaret’s outward behavior, I wouldn't be interested in her story. But her thoughts tell a very different tale. What Margaret is only telling the reader is that she was inexplicably drawn to this kind woman. And that drawing rattled her. She tells how Birdie’s gentle, persist love eventually broke past Margaret’s cold shell and brought warmth to the painful, neglected places in her heart.

I love both the rich writing and the realistic-ness of the characters -- though I have not personally met a lot of people quite like Birdie. And yet, I have met the same gracious spirit of God in people and can recognize the way of grace that God shows to us, if we receive it. 

Lovely, touching story. I highly recommend.

I blogged a little more about how this story makes me think of the phrase in 1 Corinthians: "Love keeps no record of wrongs." Visit Along the Banks & Love See No Wrong

August 14, 2012

UNRAVELED, A Novel - by Sharon K. Souza

Unraveled: Masterfully Woven, Powerfully Tender

“Heart-of-the-matter Fiction with a good dose of humor” is a spot-on description of Sharon K. Souza’s latest work, an intelligent, engaging style of storytelling I thoroughly enjoyed. The writing is stylish and masterful, full of wit and fresh turns of phrase. The story is thought provoking yet entertaining, and full of endearing characters. I rarely find a story so hard to put down as I did this.

Eager and idealistic, Aria Winters sets out on a mission to be the “hands and feet of God” to those in need. It’s a great goal, especially for a young woman of privilege. She sees this year-long mission trip as a way to shed some self-absorbed attitudes as well as to get some distance from the safety-net of her family. Unfortunately, Aria has no idea how much shedding of her self, her presumptuous ideals, and the very basis of her faith she will face before her time is up.

The people of Moldova open Aria’s eyes to life and people outside the status and shelter of her comfortable sphere. Yet in Aria’s endearing, self-deprecating way, she determines to adjust and works hard to fit in, hopeful she might do some good, in spite of poor preparation and the handsome but terse co-worker who seems to see straight through her. Soon, this beautiful place, these people, and the eager children in her tutelage erase any lingering doubts she has about her purpose here.

 . . . Until a devastating tragedy occurs.

When the girl Aria has formed a special bond with becomes a victim of the worst kind of human-trafficking, Aria’s world is shaken. She is forced to face the horror of her own carelessness, the truth about her ideals, and her serious doubts about God. How can he allow such unspeakable horror? How can Aria “work for” someone who won’t protect the innocent?

And how can Aria make right the secret sins in her own life if God won’t listen to her prayers?

Unraveled is a powerful yet tender story full of wisdom and grace. Its sorrows and joys will move you, leave you feeling as though you’ve knelt alongside Aria and unpacked some difficult to grasp truths gently wrapped in layers of God’s grace and compassion. So gentle but direct, so straight to the “heart of the matter.” So like Jesus.

I was touched and encouraged by this beautifully woven story, one I sincerely hope won’t be Souza’s last.


Author Website:
Sharon K. Souza

is available HERE on Amazon

August 3, 2012

Love Under Construction, a Short Romance

Just for fun, I thought I'd share super short romance I wrote recently. A complete story in about the time it takes to savor your favorite cup of coffee. Enjoy!

by Camille Eide

Veronica Wells was a construction site safety hazard.
Doyle arrived at work early that day, hoping the extra time would be enough to get his head on straight. Forgetting to wear a hardhat or strap on tools before hitting the roof wasn’t healthy.
Plus... he didn’t need to get caught staring at the boss's daughter again.
When Ronie was hired on as interior designer, Doyle wasn’t prepared to find his oldest friend's little sister so grown up and so . . . breathtaking. And so aloof.
While discussing a delivery with Mr. Wells, Doyle glanced up. Ronie was headed straight for him.
Breathe. She’s not coming for you, idiot.
“Hey.” Smiling, Ronie pecked her dad’s cheek. Beneath her hardhat, Ronie's hair fell in shiny, caramel waves. Her warm smile squeezed something in his chest. Desperate for cover, Doyle glanced away. Checked his watch. Realized it was on upside down. 
While Ronie took her dad to a nearby table to see her newest designs, knuckles rapped on Doyle’s hardhat.
“Hey—you remembered your gear.” Jered grinned, then nodded toward his sister. “Come on, do us a favor and ask her out.”
“I can't, not yet. She’ll just think I’m a shallow jerk who only cares about how amazing she looks.”
“Right." Jered nodded, his expression full of mock seriousness. "Girls hate to be found attractive.”
“You know what I mean. She comes back from design school grown up and gorgeous and suddenly I’m interested? No. I’m not hitting on her. Not like that.”
Jered muttered something about the hazards of construction site romances and left.
Maybe Jered had forgotten how, as teens, he and Doyle ridiculed Ronie so she’d stop tagging along. Unfortunately, it had worked. She vanished whenever Doyle visited the Wells home after that. Her behavior when she took this job confirmed his suspicions. The first time she saw Doyle, she spun on her heel and disappeared.
Just before lunch, Doyle passed the drawing table where Ronie worked. When he heard her singing softly, he slowed his steps.
Don’t stop . . .
Doyle stopped, tuning out everything but the smoky caress of her voice. Soulful, like a distant lover’s summons. Tilting her head to examine her work, Ronie smiled.
You’re twisting my heart.
Don’t stop.
Ronie looked up, met his eyes, and froze.
Doyle pivoted, grabbed the nearest toolbox, and went outside. It wasn't until he reached his truck that he realized he’d grabbed his boss’s lunch.

* * *

Stunned, Ronie stared after Doyle. It wasn’t the first time she’d caught him staring. Was it her singing? Her cheeks burned at the memory of how he and Jered used to call her “Fatsy Cline.”
No. That was past. With Christ's help, she’d learned to let go of past offenses and to forgive. 
But what a strange coincidence, running into Doyle now. No longer a dreamy brown-eyed older boy, but a man.
Yes. Definitely a man.
A man who acted reserved around her now, yet so polite. Gentlemanly, even. Opening doors for her, going out of his way to get her bottled water. Staring---on several occasions. But never speaking to her directly.
Did he still see her as Jered’s annoying little sister?
With a sigh, she printed the new specs and took them outside to her dad's office. As he skimmed her revised lobby design, Ronie watched the workers buzz around the site like bees.
All but one. Doyle sat in his truck, forehead pressed to the steering wheel. Had he been sitting there all this time? Was he irritated that she was here, still “tagging along”?
No. Doyle had been nothing but kind and respectful toward her. And strangely uncomfortable. Why?
Could be the way I’ve been avoiding him . . .
As Ronie studied his slumped frame, a warm truth dawned. If not for her gigantic crush on him as a girl, his teenage taunts wouldn’t have hurt so much. But the truth was, she’d forgiven all that.
So why did she still avoid Doyle?
Maybe it was because he still made her heart flip.
What am I, twelve?
An apology was in order. Praying for an extra measure of grace, she headed for Doyle’s truck.
He scrambled out as she approached, then exhaled in a rush and met her eyes. “Ronie, listen. I should have said this a long time ago. I’m really sorry about all the rotten things I said back when—”
“No, Doyle. That’s all forgotten.”
He stared, confused. "It is?"
Ronie nodded.
He studied her in a way that sent her pulse racing, like he was allowing himself to see into her in a way he hadn't before. He frowned. “Then why—ah. Okay, I get it.” He nodded, then looked away. His face flushed. “Jered told you.” He heaved a heavy sigh. “I’m not a safety hazard. I just . . . can’t think straight when you’re around.”
She pressed a hand to her chest to calm her racing heart.
Doyle looked at her, alarm cinching his brow. “Are you okay? What do you need—water?” He searched his truck cab, shoving piles off the seat, then held up something flat. “Snickers?”
Ronie bit back a smile. Sweet Doyle. She tried to laugh at his attempts to treat her “emergency,” but his concern somehow made her teary.
Stepping closer, he searched her eyes. “Ronie?” The way he whispered her name felt like a gentle caress.“Talk to me.”
She couldn’t. The truth hit her like a boom truck, stealing her air. Pulse racing, she leaned close and placed a soft kiss beside his mouth. When she pulled back, his eyes remained closed.
“Uhh, could you . . . repeat that?” He opened his eyes and smiled, then took a swaying step and staggered back against his truck.
“Careful, Doyle,” Jered hollered from a few yards away. “Told you construction romances were hazardous.”

July 17, 2012

Short-Short Romance: Take A Moment To Read & Vote

Hey You Romance Lovers & Lovers Of Simply Good, Clean, Short-Short Fiction!

Family Fiction's Create Romance contest is underway for 1000 word (one page) romance stories. Once the entries have passed a first round screening, they are posted on the Family Fiction contest page for public voting. Anyone can vote (you just have to provide an email address). You can vote once for each story you like. The stories with the most votes move on to further rounds, and the author who takes first place in the final round wins an all expense paid trip to American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference 2013. Voting ends in August. 

I've entered two stories. The titles are links to read them:

Before Another Day Ends is a touching story about a young woman who finally admits she's in love with her best bud, only . . . it may be too late. 

Hope Lights The Way, there's just something familiar about the quiet, handsome man Lily has been serving breakfast at the diner.

You are welcome to vote as you please for mine and/or any other stories you want to win.

Thank you so much for taking a brief moment to read my short stories (consider it a super cheap birthday gift to me!) and for supporting Christian Fiction!

God's Grace & Blessings,

June 13, 2012

STARDUST, A Novel (My review)

By Carla Stewart

Reading this story makes me feel like I've made a new friend.

Georgia Peyton is a true southern gentlewoman; strong, yet open and kindhearted. She's gracious and generous, but not a pushover. What she gives, she does of her own choice. She quietly carries her hurts, longings, and betrayal, but remains loyal, regardless of whether or not it's deserved. The kindness she shows to her cheating dead husband's mother first comes from her instinctive sense of duty, but, as Georgia is challenged to dig deeper throughout this story, her care for Mary Frances comes from an untapped place in her core, borne out of compassion. I love this! I also admire the way her unconventional friendship with Ludi, the black woman from the bayou, begins so naturally. She slips it on like a favorite sweater, without regard to the constant censure of people in her life and community who can't see past color, fear, and bigotry.

Georgia is a woman who shows patience and respect for others even when she doesn't agree with them, yet she still has plenty of room to grow. Her life has been fraught with unanswered questions and memories that eat at her sense of security. In this story, when the polio epidemic moves in closer to home and fear escalates, Georgia must make difficult choices that affect those she loves. In the midst of fear, confusion, and the unknown, she must keep her head and consider what's best in the long run for others, and to follow through by faith.

Through forgiveness and surrender, she finds the love and peace she seeks, and I love that. Faith is ironic that way, best tested and strengthened when the outcome is unknown. An example of this is seen in one major test of Georgia's strength and grace: the challenge and opportunity to help her dead husband's mistress. Georgia's courage and willingness to go the extra mile for others--whether or not they deserve it--is a powerful example of Christ-like, sacrificial love you can put your trust in.

Besides my friend Georgia, what I loved about this story is its subtle complexity. While a smooth, easy read (Carla Stewart's soft southern voice is like a soothing song), its layers are rich with real characters, each with their own unique strengths and flaws, right down to the children, who charm us with their childish moods and true childlike wonder. While simply captivating and entertaining, this story gently touches on some weighty topics such as infidelity, addiction and prejudice with the same grace and compassion we quickly come to love it its heroine.

This is such a beautifully told and engaging story, but it's also a subtle but powerful lesson in hope, redemption, love, loyalty and grace that you won't soon forget.



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)

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.