It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card artist is:

and the cd:
℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***

Radio personality, recording artist, speaker and author Lisa Troyer finds herself heart-deep in ministries that are changing lives forever. Her incredibly successful Circle of Friends women's ministry, formed over a decade ago, is growing in all directions. With ministry and songwriting partner Dawn Yoder, Lisa and her Circle of Friends offer women's conferences, leadership training, counseling services, worship music, life skills classes and marriage/family resources. No matter the outlet or the venue, Lisa uses her gift of encouragement, her influence and her resources to open doors for women everywhere to discover their significance and belonging through Christ.

Visit the author's website.

Every woman needs acceptance, love and a place to belong. That's the underlying theme of the new music CD, A Place to Belong (Lifeway Worship), from singer/songwriter Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries. Refreshingly authentic and dynamic, the companion worship CD to Troyer's recently released book, A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God's Adventure (Barbour Publishing), tenderly draws women into a place of true freedom and belonging in the very heart of God.

To order go HERE.

Product Details:
$7.92 or $0.99 per song
Genres: Christian and Gospel, Music
Released: Mar 23, 2012
℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship



A Place to Belong
By Lisa Troyer
Published by Barbour

Review: I really enjoyed the mellow and worshipful sound and feel of this CD. The CD’s melodies and voices reminded me of James Taylor, Carle Simon and Ann Murray! Most songs had guitar with other instruments as filler to make a well rounded sound.

The book a Place to Belong by Lisa Troyer explores five principles that address the heart needs of women today. They are acceptance, embarking on adventure in relationship authenticity, exchanging the familiar for the extraordinary affirmation, enriching the lives of those around your accountability, receiving the comfort of companionship action, stepping into the journey and walking into the purpose.

I believe that the songs on this CD help enforce the five principles. The CD brings the listener a feeling of comfort and peace while you listen to it. I listen to it in my car. It’s a great way to handle Atlanta traffic on the way to work. Grin! It’s an encouraging, worshipful CD!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


Hi, Everyone;


I have a fun interview up with Brandilyn Collins and Ann Tatlock talking about their new books on the Front page. I also have other authors you can have a fun time chatting with Starting today and running through MONDAY 21st.

ALL LINKS to the DRAWINGS are on the FRONT PAGE!! CLICK the LINK and go to the authors page WWW.BOOKFUN.ORG . 

There you'll find the two fun questions that they've come up with for you all to talk about. Come join in the BOOK FUN and win a book or two! Giving away 82

REMEMBER the last day to join the fun is MONDAY 21st!!

Authors have come up with fun questions that give you a peek into their new books. You'll have an opportunity to interact with several authors like Bonnie Calhoun, Robert Liparilo, Dan Walsh, Olivia Newport, Mona Hodgson, Phoebe Leggett, Candace Calvert, Tessa Afshar, Ann H. Gabhart, and Bruce Judisch.

Oh, My what a Line up OH, what a list of books to read!! Grin!


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

HERE are The Books you'll have a CHANCE TO WIN!!


ABOUT AUTHOR: New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include A Voice in the Wind, Redeeming Love, and A Lineage of Grace.

Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books, and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the CBA’s top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Francine’s novels have been translated into over twenty different languages and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.


What benefits have you received in having relationships with reading groups?

The greatest benefit is connecting with readers, getting to actually hear what they think about the characters and story on which I’ve worked for months. Writing is often lonely. I’m in my office from early morning until midafternoon. I work alone and live inside my head for hours on end. It’s wonderful to find out what worked and what didn’t, what encouraged or convicted. It’s nice to know if I’ve done my job (giving God glory through story).

Where would you like to see your relationship with reading groups grow? How do you think your goals can be met?

I’ve only done a few book club meetings and I’d love to do more. Hopefully, by getting the word out, I can schedule more. The only problem is I seldom reread my work once it’s gone to press. Sometimes I forget elements of the story or characters. My mind tends to erase files so I can concentrate on the work-in-progress. It takes time to jog my memory. What I need to do is have an outline and character list for each book so I can prepare beforehand. Thankfully, readers have been very helpful in reminding me of what I’ve forgotten.

Is there a set size a reading group should be before you’ll talk to them on the phone or in person? What do you feel most comfortable doing?

As long as I can hear them and they can hear me, numbers don’t matter. It’s always more fun to be with each other—face to face—but that’s usually not possible because of distance and my schedule. What I need to do is invest in a computer with a camera and learn how to use Skype. I’ll also need a knowledgeable instructor who is patient training a dinosaur to do new tricks.

Which type of book club meeting do you prefer? Why?

I have no idea how to answer this question. The only book club meetings I’ve attended (in person or via telephone) have been casual, friendly, open. That’s why they’ve been so much fun. I would probably avoid a club meeting that was looking for a formal presentation. I far prefer the open-forum style.

What have you learned about your books and yourself from book club meetings?

I learn that readers always put themselves into the story and learn things writers didn’t include. I find that interesting and exciting. God can use anything to reach into the hearts of His children, even a work of fiction. When readers share what they’ve pulled out of one of my stories (something I didn’t put in), I’m learning how God speaks to each of us in unique and very personal ways. I find that exciting.

Did you learn more about your characters than what you had originally intended? If so, what?

I can’t give specific examples, but I believe readers add to characters and flesh them out in ways the writer can’t. They read themselves into the story and draw out what they need. I know this is true of myself when I’m reading. I always have a pen in hand and often underline things that have special meaning to me, things I want to remember, things that encourage and convict.

Have you been surprised by readers’ reactions to one of your books? One of your characters? If so, which ones or what surprised you?

Sometimes the reactions are expected. When I wrote about Leota and the orderly who cared for her, I hoped for a reaction from readers. You will understand what I’m saying if you’ve read the book. There was one shocking and disturbing scene that left a big question hanging. I left it hanging for a reason. I wanted to make a point and have readers think about what’s happening right now and may happen even more in the future if we keep silent. I wanted to challenge readers to be aware and watchful.

Book clubs are always kind and encouraging. I don’t hear criticism. Of course, I’ve received letters that have hurt me terribly. At the same time, those letters make me take a closer look at my work. I may gather my thoughts and present a story, but it is the Lord who gives the right answer. Criticism isn’t always harmful. It can be constructive.

Has your book club experience—getting feedback from reading groups—helped you in writing future books? If so, how has it helped you?

I remember one reader who wrote to me because she was very upset that every Christian novel had to pair people up at the end. She was single. She raised a valid question, and I thought a lot about what she had to say. Paul wrote inspired admonishments and instructions regarding whether to marry or not. When I wrote Leota’s Garden, I decided the main character was going to face that question. Annie remained single at the end. She was very happy and fulfilled with her life centered on Jesus. She didn’t need a husband. She had one: the Lord. Although I was very happy with the ending, (and hopefully, so was the reader who first inspired me to have the story end in that way), there were lots of readers who wanted a sequel in which Annie would find true love and get married. I felt I had somehow missed the mark of presenting singleness as a blessed state, too. It brought me right back to that reader’s question. Why do we think people have to be married in order to be fulfilled and happy? It’s a question I may have to address in a different way in a future book—and do a better job of it.

What would you like to experience in reading groups that you haven’t experienced so far?

More time to chat and hear about other books the group has read or is reading and what they’re learning from them. Many of the books on my to-be-read stack are recommendations from friends who love to read.

What was your most memorable reading group experience? What made it so special?

My most memorable reading group was local. They contacted me through the Internet. I had never met them, though they met barely two miles from my home. It was a small group of ten women and they met in a private home. They asked lots of questions. We laughed a lot, shared testimonies. We drank coffee and ate cookies and chatted for two or more hours. It was great fun getting to know each of them. I felt like a member of their group, not a guest speaker.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what you are working on now? I heard it will be out in 2014. I’m curious as to what it’s about! Do tell!

You’ll have to read Ezekiel 16. That will give you a hint of the plotline and theme. It will be a love story. Of course, it will have a happy ending.
Here is the First Part of that Chaptaer. I knew you'd want to get a peek at it. Ezekiel 16 (New International Version (NIV) verses 1-8 - Wow, this book sounds like it will impact lives, be very moving and intense to read, but we won't expect anything less Francine.

Jerusalem as an Adulterous Wife

 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices 3 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. 5 No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.  6 “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”[a] 7 I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew and developed and entered puberty. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, yet you were stark naked.
 8 “‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine. 


Name three books you adored as a child.

Since I didn’t like to read, I can’t think of any. I was more interested in being outside, hiking and biking, swimming in the community pool, and invading forts built by my brother. I did love to look at the pictures in the first volume of the Childcraft book on poetry. My mother was very upset with me when I tore out my favorite pages and kept it under my pillow. The tape has yellowed with the years. My daughter, Shannon, now has custody of the book.

Nora: I loved to be outside too. Building forts, exploring nature and swimming were the highlights of our days up north. Dora the Explorer has nothing on me. I didn't read as a child too but for a very different reason. I'm dyslexic and reading wasn't fun. Great to hear I'm in good company about not being a reader!! Grin!

What movie most affected you when you were young? If you didn’t watch movies, what book affected you most in your youth?

The first movie that popped into my mind was The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which I probably saw from the backseat of my parents’ station wagon parked at a drive-in. I’m sure they didn’t want me to watch it. It scared me half to death. It gave me nightmares! What did I learn? Stories can make an impact. Stories feel real.

Nora: I would get freaked out by movies and have nightmares too. My parents would say it wasn't real. It's just actors. My thought was it must have happened somewhere to give them the idea to act it out. Also after my parents watch the Exorcist and slept with the light on for a week. I saw how movies could affect even the ones that watched scary movies all the time. Grin. You are so right when you say "Stories impact us"

What is the most special thing anyone has ever done for you?

Rick married me. We’ve grown up together, literally, emotionally and spiritually. I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband who has encouraged me to do what God has called me to do. The truth is I wouldn’t have turned in my first manuscript without Rick’s prodding. It would still be sitting on a closet shelf gathering dust.

What three things would you rather not live without?

Faith, family, friends.

A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for a couple of days. What would you do with it? Any events you’d like to experience? If so, which ones?

I have no tech ability and would probably push the wrong buttons and end up in a time and place I wouldn’t want to go and wouldn’t know how to come back through the time portal (or whatever). If offered a time travel machine, I would say, “Thank you very much for the thought, but you can have it back.” If they wouldn’t take it, I would put a canvas cover over it and have it moved to a storage locker. God planted me in the here and now. I think I’ll stay put.


Finding Hope Book Club March 2012 And the Shofar Blew

Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your book club experience and writing career. It was a thrill and an honor to talk to you on the phone about And the Shofar Blew with Finding Hope Book Club. We took a picture at the meeting for you to see (I took the picture first thing so some are not in it and some were out sick)
What an impact this book made on all of us. Sad to say that several members have gone through the very experience in their personal lives with their Pastors. It was exciting to hear how the Lord has used your book to be a tool for future Pastors to help them be aware of what they are getting into. It was also fun to hear that because of the title your book made it into Jewish book stores.

Tyndale Publisher has repackaged of two of your back list titles The Scarlet Thread and The Atonement Child the books are out now. These are powerful novels! I highly recommend them both.

Praying the Lord continues to inspire your writing Francine! It was great to speak to you at book club!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO 


If you haven't read the women of the bible series Francine Rivers wrote you should. Here's Rahab to get you started. They now have the whole set in one large book. It's called A Lineage of Grace - Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity. I highly recommend every book in this series. It will give you an insight into these the bible and these women that will touch your soul.


If you haven't read Francine Rivers - Tell me what book you'd Like to read!!

You have from now until JUNE 15th to leave a comment. Winners will be announced on my blog.

Can't wait to hear about your favorite Francine Rivers book!!


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network 

********DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; odds of winning depend on number of entrants.

This giveaway is open to USA and Canada Residents Only!! This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook or Twitter.

Winners will have 2 days to respond to email with your name and address - If we haven't heard from you another winner will be picked. WINNERS WILL BE CONTACTED so please leave your email address.


 Russia and Baltic Sea Trip MAY 2012

Dear Nora,  

Rick and I have been gone over a month, sight-seeing in Russia (St. Petersburg to Moscow) and visiting capitols around the Baltic Sea.  As soon as we returned I visited your blog.  I’ve read every message and am so encouraged by the comments readers have sent in.  I just wanted to write a quick note and offer a big Thank You to everyone who responded. 

I am back to work on my current WIP (work-in-progress).  Jet-lag can be helpful!  Early to bed (7:30 p.m.) and early to rise (3 – 4 a.m.) and there seem to be more hours in the day to get things done!  I may finish this novel ahead of schedule.  

May the Lord bless you and each one of your readers!

NOTE TO READERS - COMMENTORS - Francine Rivers tried to leave a comment here but had difficulty so she asked me to post this on her behalf!

THANKS Francine for the note and the lovely picture. I bet you had an amazing time!! I appreciate you sharing this!!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

THANKS to EVERYONE for sharing about how much you've been touched by FRANCINE RIVERS books.

THANKS FRANCINE for sending a note to the people that have commented her and for giving me that picture of you in Russia. Can't wait to hear more about your trip!!

I used RANDOM to generate the winners.

CONGRATS TO SHAWNA K. WILLIAMS and LANE HILL HOUSE. Your numbers came up!! THANKS for your comments and encouraging this author!!

A HUGE Giveaway starts the 19th at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK!!

More Book Fun Ahead!!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network



 Brandilyn Collins is known for her Seatbelt Suspense®--fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith.

What have been the benefits to you in having relationships with reading groups?

I love talking to readers about my books and hearing how they related to the characters and story. Each reader reacts to a story depending on his or her past experiences. So you’ll get a wide range of reactions. Also I enjoy being able to tell readers some of the background that went into writing the story, e.g., how the story came to be in the first place, and why I wrote it the way I did.

Where would you like to see your relationship with reading groups grow? How do you think your goals can be met?

I’d love to see more reading groups take a chance on reading one of my suspense novels. The problem is, there are folks out there who just won’t read a suspense, saying they’ll be too scared, have nightmares, whatever. It seems there’s one in every reading group, so that keeps the group from venturing into suspense. Of course I’m biased, but I tend to think they don’t know what they’re missing!

Do you have a set size a reading group has to be before you'll talk to them on the phone or in person? What do you feel most comfortable doing?
 Me and the real Cherrie Mae.

Not really. Phoning is easy. I can’t do a personal appearance unless the group is very local to me. That is fun, and I enjoy it.

Which type of book club meeting do you prefer? Why?

No set format for me. In general I enjoy a meeting in which people are honest and open about their reactions to the book, and are also willing to hear and absorb my reasons for writing the story the way I did.

Also—for any book clubs reading my latest release, Gone to Ground: I’d love to tell the full story of my researching the book, and how I met a wonderful woman named Cherrie Mae, whose name was perfect for my character. The real Cherrie Mae gave me permission to use her name, and later played the part of my character Cherrie Mae in the book trailer. (Have you seen that trailer? It’s great! See it here.)

What have you learned about your book and yourself from book club meetings? If so, what?

Just how vastly different readers’ reactions are! Again, the reason for that lies in personal experience, so there’s nothing I can do about that. No matter my story, even if almost everyone loves it, someone won’t. That’s life.

Did you learn more about your characters than what you had originally intended? If so what?
Terri Blackstock & Bradilyn passing time @book signing - Fun
Sometimes I do—not necessarily just from book club meetings, but from all the emails I receive. Sometimes—again due to personal experience—a reader might read something into a character that I didn’t consciously consider when writing the book. That’s always very enlightening.

Have you been surprised by readers’ reactions to one of your books? Characters? If so, which ones?

I can’t say reactions to any one book have greatly surprised me. In my latest release, Gone to Ground, which features three protagonists each telling her story in first person, overwhelmingly readers choose Cherrie Mae as their favorite character. I’m no longer surprised by that. And really, I can see why. She’s a great gal.

Has your book club experience - getting feed back from reading groups - helped you in writing future books? If so, how has it helped you?

Only in the sense that feedback from readers in general keep me keepin’ on—writing my Seatbelt Suspense®. That trademark carries a four-point brand promise: fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. Every novel I write must live up to that four-point promise, because readers are expecting that from me.

Why write Christian Fiction? What is the draw for you?

There’s the whole ministry side of it, but I’ll focus on just the writing side here. I find my suspense is far deeper, the characters more three-dimensional, when I can interweave a Christian-themed thread into the story. In suspense characters are pushed to the utmost in conflict—typically a protagonist’s very life is at stake. You’ve heard that saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” We understand that. When people are pushed into high trauma, even those who haven’t thought much about God in the past end up praying. End up realizing there may be more to life than just what’s in front of their face. In Christian fiction, I can show that. The human condition is three-fold: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Secular suspense deals with only the first two. But that’s only two layers of our humanity. When all three levels are portrayed, the characterization deepens.

What do you hope readers take away from your new book?

Gone to Ground is a Southern mystery-suspense. If someone has been afraid to read one of my suspense novels, this would be the one to try. It’s very character-driven and not scary. The story in a nutshell: In small-town Mississippi, six murders have occurred. Now to their horror, three women of three different generations realize they know who the killer is—someone dear to them. Independently, not talking to anyone, each woman must make the terrifying decision to bring the man down. But each woman suspects a different man.

That’s the story on the surface. The (subtle) interwoven thread of faith has to do with hypocrisy, and how it can creep into anyone’s life. I’d love for some book clubs to read Gone to Ground and discuss how this element of the story affects each character.

Other things to discuss in Gone to Ground:
(1) The use of dialect for characterization. Did it work for the reader? Most readers say yes. To those who say no—how would the characterization have been affected if it hadn’t been used?
(2) Cherrie Mae tends to quote classical literature, using a quote that speaks to the issue at hand. What is each reader’s favorite classical quote?

In the back of Gone to Ground is a list of many other discussion questions that probe the story, characters, writing technique, and faith element.

Can you give us a peek at what you are working on now? When will it be out?

Double Blind, another stand-alone suspense, releases October 15. Story in a nutshell: When severely depressed Lisa Newberry hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that can heal her, she knows it’s her last hope. But what if she receives only the placebo? What if something far worse goes wrong …?


What are three things you wouldn’t want to live without? – (Besides family and your Bible that’s a given)
My morning latte, made my moi on my handy-dandy espresso machine,Jogging,My Select Comfort bed

Your friend has a time machine and their going to let you use it for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?

To the future in the year 3000 to see what the world and technology looks like. (If it’s still here.)

What are two places you’d like to visit if you had a chance? Why?

I’ve been to quite a few countries, but not to Australia. That’s the first. Second, I’d like to go back to Fiji. Both beautiful, tropical places.

What three movies could you watch over and over again?

The Blues Brothers. (Makes me laugh.)
Scent of a Woman. (Wonderful movie, wonderful acting.)
Witness. (Superb screenwriting. Almost every major turning point in the movie has no dialogue. Just brilliant.)

Name three favorite books you read as a child?

I read the Hardy Boys series. And the Bobbsy Twins books. Can’t remember any titles today, but there were plenty of books in both series to keep me busy for awhile.

~ Brandilyn

 Loved all your pictures Brandilyn. Looks like you and Terri Blackstock had way too much fun (or time on your hands) in Jackson, MS book signing!! Wish I could have been there. Grin! This book and your next one really look good.

Contest starts SATURDAY MAY 19th - 2st, we'll be giving away 5 copies your NEW book, GONE TO GROUND. MARK YOUR CALENDARS


See you at TBCN

Nora :o)
The Book Club Network CEO


What have been the benefits to you in having relationships with reading groups?

Writing is such a solitary occupation; you can sometimes feel completely alone. You work alone and then you send your book out into the world and you can only imagine who might pick it up and read it. That part of the writing process—the part in which the book is read—is mostly invisible to the writer. But when you actually do meet some of those readers, your audience begins to take on names and faces and you can know you really are connecting with people through your stories. That’s what’s so wonderful about reading groups!

Where would you like to see your relationship with reading groups grow? How do you think your goals can be met?

I’d be happy to meet with more groups via telephone. Right now I’m primary caretaker for my 87-year-old father so I don’t do much traveling, but I’m always available to call a reading group and speak with the members that way. It’s not quite as personal as being there, but still, it can be lots of fun. Reading groups just need to know this option is available.

Do you have a set size a reading group has to be before you'll talk to them on the phone or in person? What do you feel most comfortable doing?

No set size. Two, 20, 200, it doesn’t matter. The smaller groups are cozier, though, and it’s easier for everyone to participate.

Which type of book club meeting do you prefer? Why?

As I mentioned above, it’s difficult for me to travel, so for this season of my life I prefer telephone meetings, though I do meet with book clubs in my area or reasonably close.

What have you learned about your book and yourself from book club meetings?
Deborah Raney, Yvonne Lehman, Ann, Beverly Varnado & Kay Mortimer

(Picture above is @Ridgecrest Awards Banquet) About a year ago, a man from Michigan contacted me and said he wanted to send his wife and sister-in-law to North Carolina to meet me since they were always talking about my books. It was to be a combined birthday present for them both. When I told my then 13-year-old daughter these women were coming to visit, she threw her head back and laughed. “They’re coming all this way to see you?” It was inconceivable to her that anyone would come so far just to see her mom! But honestly, that’s very much how I feel about myself sometimes. So that when I meet with book clubs and the members are enthusiastic about one of my books, I come away thinking, “My goodness, it seems I really can write something other people will enjoy!” It’s a morale booster, that’s for sure.

Did you learn more about your characters than what you had originally intended? If so what?

After my first book came out, I was meeting with a book club when one of the members said she didn’t like something that the mother said in one particular scene. I responded by saying, “I didn’t like it either but that’s what she said and I couldn’t change it!” I realized my characters really do have minds of their own and I have to let them be who they are.

Have you been surprised by readers’ reactions to one of your books? Characters? If so, which ones?

The one response that really surprised me was from a professor in Indonesia who so appreciated All the Way Home, he wanted his students to read it for one of his classes. What surprised me was 1) he was a man, 2) he was a Muslim and 3) he had read the book in his native language of Malay. I didn’t even know it had been translated into Malay!

Has your book club experience - getting feed back from reading groups - helped you in writing future books? If so, how has it helped you?
Lynette Eason, Ann, Angela Hunt, Ray Blackston, Deborah Raney & Yvonne Lehman

(Picture above is @Ridgecrest book signing) Like many writers, I have doubts about my work. So as I said above, when a group of people chooses to read one of my books and then lets me know they’ve enjoyed it, I’m blessed beyond words. That kind of encouragement is what helps me push against the doubts and keep writing.

What would you like to see in reading groups that you haven’t experienced yet?

More men. Just because a woman writes a book doesn’t mean a man can’t appreciate it.

What was your most memorable reading group experience? What made it so fun?

I was invited to visit with a group at a library in Troy, NC. What was so great was that they put me up for two nights at a fabulous Bed & Breakfast there called the Blair House. My husband and I enjoyed a weekend getaway, and on top of that were treated like royalty by the kind folks of Troy. The librarian baked homemade brownies that he served after the meeting, which I thought was the nicest thing imaginable. I felt like I was in Mayberry, it was so idyllic!

Why write Christian Fiction? What is the draw for you?
Lynette Eason and Ann book signing at Ridgecrest
Yvonne Lehman @Gideon Awards Banquet

As a Christian, I can’t write any other kind of fiction. Even if I had a secular publisher and I wrote a story in which the name of God wasn’t spoken, God would still be in it. God invades every part of my life and everything I write. This is how it is for every novelist; each one writes from his own point of view and promotes whatever he believes. It can’t be helped. Art is conceived and born out of the artist’s personal beliefs.

What do you hope readers take away from your new book?

The knowledge that when you put your heart in God’s hands, it will never be broken by unrequited love. His throne is the one sure place we can lay our hearts and never have to take them up again. It’s the end of the journey. His is the love we long for and the only love that ultimately satisfies.

Can you give us a peek at what you are working on now? When will it be out?

It doesn’t have a title yet, but I can tell you it’s set in 1931 during Prohibition. It has to do with bootleggers, gangsters, family secrets and God’s mercy. Al Capone makes a guest appearance. I’m not sure when it’s scheduled to be out, but probably sometime in 2013.

Nora : Sounds very interesting. Can't wait to see were you take us in that story!


What movie most affected you when you were young? If you didn’t watch movies what book affected you most in your youth?

We watched a lot of movies and I read a lot of books, so both forms of storytelling were part of my childhood. What this question brings to mind is this: I was reading Little Women when I was about ten years old. At one point, I went to tell my mother that Beth had just died of scarlet fever. To my surprise, I couldn’t tell Mom without crying! The characters had become very real to me, and Beth had become a friend. Still today, the characters of certain books are some of my best friends.

What is the most special thing anyone has ever done for you?

To meet the PE requirement in college, all freshmen had to run three miles in less than so many minutes. I was most emphatically not a runner! I hated running and I dreaded the whole ordeal. When the day came, my PE class was driven off campus to run along the path by the river. Another group of students was there who had just finished the course and one of those tired sweaty runners was my friend Jim. After my class was given the signal to begin, I hadn’t got very far when Jim came running up beside me. He stayed with me for the whole three miles, even though he’d just run it himself. He figured I could use the support of somebody running alongside me, and he was right. Not only did I make it, but I made it just under the time limit and I passed the test. That was more than 30 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten that act of kindness.

A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for a couple of days. What would you do with it? Any events you’d like to experience? If so which ones?

I’d like to be there on that day in 1946 when my 21-year-old father returned home safely from the war. He’d been gone for almost two years, serving in the South Pacific and taking part in such battles as Okinawa and Leyte. I would like to see my 16-year-old aunt, arms open, running along the train platform, my grandmother and grandfather not far behind, all smiles of relief and joy, welcoming my father home. What a reunion!

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?

Defense attorney for the one who got us shipwrecked.

Nora : Hysterical! No one has answered this question like this before! Fun!

You've been given 48 hours to hang out with any two people (alive or dead). Who would you pick and what would you do?

My great uncle, William Lytle Schurz, was a journalist, professor, State Department official, Latin American scholar and explorer of the Amazon. He traveled widely through Latin America and wrote numerous books about its history and culture. I’d like to spend two days with him sailing on the Amazon River and listening to stories about his adventures.

Second, as someone who originally wanted to be a nurse, I’d like to spend two days with Florence Nightingale, not just to follow this “lady with the lamp” on her rounds but to actually help her take care of the soldiers wounded in the Crimean War.

What three things would you rather not live without?

* Art in all forms (books, paintings, music….but especially books)
* My eyesight (though my eyes are growing dim with age, so long as I can read, I’m happy)
* My canine companions (a dog in the lap is worth two therapists in the wings)

Thank you for being readers and book lovers! Let’s make sure that reading is a discipline, and a joy, that keeps getting passed on from generation to generation!

Ann Talock

Thanks Ann for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I'm EXCITED about the 10 book give away of your new book published by Bethany House TRAVELERS REST!!

You've come up with some fun questions for readers to answer. CONTEST STARTS SATURDAY MAY 19th and will end the 21st. Final winners announced by the end of May on the front page of TBCN! 

ALL ENTRIES are at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK NOT on this blog. LINK to the drawing will be on the front page of TBCN! Click and you'll be at the discussion!

Thanks to Bethany House and Ann Tatlock for this interview and the giveaway opportunity!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


ABOUT BOOK: Award-winning novelist Nikki Arana (The Winds of Sonoma) brings her real-life ministry among Muslim women to bear in her newest. Arana's vivid imagery is imbued with spiritual force, and her pacing is fiercely powerful. The novel raises gripping issues of liberties, religion, and cross-cultural and cross-religious dialogue. ~ Publishers Weekly
About the Author

ABOUT AUTHOR: Author and speaker Nikki Arana has received numerous awards for her writing, including the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year award and Top 20 Novel of the Year for The Winds of Sonoma. Through her ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted, she inspires hearts toward evangelizing the Muslim community.

Q. Your novel was inspired by a true story. Could you tell us a little about that?

A. I have a ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted. I help persecuted Christians here in the United States. That is code for Muslims who convert to Christianity and are under the threat of death. Like my heroine, I know the importance of helping them find safety. That can be challenging and sometimes dangerous. But I believe that when I serve them, I serve Christ.

Q. Have you ever felt your own life was in danger?

A. Like my heroine, I have been in situations that force me to ask myself what price I am willing to pay to serve Christ. One in particular involved someone who converted to Islam. He was in a terrorist cell in a southern state here in America. He contacted me because they wanted him to train to be a suicide bomber and now he wanted out. I won’t go into any more detail but when he called me on my cell phone in the middle of the night I found myself questioning the calling I believed God had put on my life. It was actually the words of a Muslim apostate I had helped in the past that gave me the perspective I needed. He said to me at one point in his own journey to escape a Middle Eastern country, “I don’t care if I have to die here. I already gave my life to Christ.” Those words returned to me. And I found it to be truth. I already gave my life to Christ, what was there for me to fear?

Q. What movie most affected you when you were young. If you didn’t watch movies what book affected you most in your youth?

A Jane Eyre! Yep, I read it summer vacation between eighth grade and high school. Back in the day, kids weren’t allowed to come over when ones parents weren’t home. Both of mine worked so I was home alone all summer. I read a lot. I loved living through Jane’s eyes.

Q. What is the most special thing anyone has ever done for you?

A Besides Christ dying for me, it is God giving me my husband Antonio. That man has never made me cry in thirty-six years. People find that hard to believe. I always tell them, just ask my sons. Antonio still treats me like we’re dating. Our marriage was very unusual. He cleaned the stalls of my Arabian horses! It is a beautiful love story. It inspired my first novel, The Winds of Sonoma. The book won many national awards.

Q. A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for a couple of days. What would you do with it? Any events you’d like to experience? If so which ones?

I would use it to go back to the time of Christ and hear Him speak and follow Him as he traveled from place to place.

Q. You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?

A It would be a leadership position. Past positions have taught me that I am an excellent organizer and a good manager of people. Including my friends and relatives! I’ve been in successful businesses with many of them.

Q. You've been given 48 hours to hang out with any two people (alive or dead). Who would you pick and what would you do?

A. First, my childhood friend, Charlene. She died when she was twenty-four. Oh, how I would love to see her again. We first met in the third grade and were inseparable after that. I think of her often. I would share with her all that has happened in my life since she left it. A wonderful husband, two sons, a granddaughter. A quick summary. Then all the remaining hours I would listen to what she has been doing in that beautiful place where she has been for the thirty-eight years that we’ve been apart.

Second, hmmm. I would want to spend 48 hours with Eduardo Verastegui. He is a Mexican actor who was going to play my husband in the movie based on The Winds of Sonoma when the rights were sold in 2007. (The crash of 2008 stopped production.) He has an incredibly inspiring personal story. He was at the height of fame as a Mexican soap opera star and singer when he encountered God. He gave everything up to follow that call. I admire him so much. I would love to hear him share his feelings and experiences about that journey.

Q. What three books did you love as a kid?

A. It’s been a long time since I was a kid. I’ve mentioned Jane Eyre. I loved the Nancy Drew series. Read one a day during those long summers. And Black Beauty. I loved horses.

Q. What three things would you rather not live without?

A. I’m thinking that “rather” is the operative word. Not things I can’t live without, but would “rather not” live without. . . . Having been on a thousand diets, I know for a fact I would rather not live without Mexican food. A good night’s sleep. Stable income.

Nora : Funny! Yes, these things you can most definitely live without but it wouldn't be as fun or enjoyable!! Grin!

Yes, I'm giving away FREE books on Kindle, Wednesday, May 16th through Sunday May 20th, AND the last TWO week.  It will be the 3 books from my award-winning series, starting with The Winds of Sonoma. There will also be a contest for a free Kindle! For details visit the News! page on my website

And if you want to help raise public awareness about The Next Target, while you're there click on the Media Kit and post the Banner code you find there on your website. That would be awesome.

The 3 books are being offered free. The Kindle contest is being set up by Cook and is on my Author Page.

Thanks Nikki for stopping by and letting us get to know you are your book. I'm THRILLED that you'll also be at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK on TUESDAY JUNE 19th - 21st discussing your book The Next Target and GIVING AWAY 10 copies of this book! WOW!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS for TUESDAY JUNE 19th @ TBCN for 10 book give away. 
Also remember you can enter NOW for the Kindle at Nikki's FB Author Page

Nikki Arana
Twitter: @nikkiarana
     ~ The Next Target ~

"Arana's vivid imagery is imbued
with spiritual force and her pacing
is fiercely powerful." ~ Publishers Weekly

I can't wait to read your book Nikki! It sounds powerful and suspenseful and something we need to be aware of!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network 



This book expresses a parent’s desire to share Christ’s unconditional love with his child.  Matt wrote the song soon after his son, Bowen, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a rare congenital defect.  Matt started expressing all his questions, emotions and feelings through song, which became an album, Every Falling Tear.  This book is based on the song, by the same name, from that album.  For more info on Bowen and his story you can visit our website.  

ABOUT BOOK: In the same manner as touching picture books like bestsellers Let Me Hold You Longer and Love You Forever, I Couldn't Love You More tells a sweet, loving, yet powerful message: I couldn’t love you more, but there is someone who does. Through the unique relationship of adorable animals, the book shares that Christ is always with you and he loves you more than you can imagine. This engaging picture book combines lovable and irresistible images with the lyrics from the song (co-written by Jason Ingram and Matt Hammitt). Matt is lead vocalist for Sanctus Real, a Grammy-nominated Christian rock band. The song is on Hammitt’s latest album, Every Fallen Tear. When Matt and his wife, Sarah, were halfway through her pregnancy, they discovered their son would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a rare congenital defect. Matt and Sarah’s son, Bowen, was born on 9/9/10 and received a huge following through the Hammitt’s blog (, K-LOVE, and ABC News. A portion of the proceeds from the book goes to the foundation the Hammitts’ have started to help parents with children who have this heart condition.

Matt has a great video, which features Bowen and his two adorable sisters, about the book click play to listen to why he wrote the song and the book!

Here are some other ways that you could talk about the book with your kids:

*Have you told your child you loved them yet today?
*Talk about the ways you let your child know you love them, ask others to respond
*If you have your own miracle baby story, maybe you could share it
*What is the most fun thing you do as a family together?
*How do you teach the love of Christ do your children?

By Jason Ingram and Matt Hammitt
Illustrated by: Polona Lovsin
Published by Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-4143-6739-2

Love the cover of this book and the feeling you get just by looking at the picture of the mama bear and her club together. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is profound especially after hearing Matt Hammitt's testimony about how this song and book came about.

Matt and his wife heard the news that their son had something wrong with his heart and in several months he would be born fighting for his life. Him and his wife sought God for answers, asked friends to pray and let God prepare them for this little life.

This story is a great way to introduce the idea to your kids that God is always with us. In the morning, in the night we don't have to fear because he is with us. He is with out children when we can't be. The book says, "I couldn't love you more. No, I couldn't love you more But somebody does Jesus!"

I love the pictures and the fact that this book is a tool that can help get conversations started with your kids. It's an easy read for beginning readers and one you can easily read to toddlers. They love the pictures and will get the message as they grow. It's a reminder to parents as the book says, "You are mine for a moment But you are His Forever His!" Cherish the time you have with your little ones. That time is so short!

I highly recommend this book as a gift or one to add your special book collection!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network 


Name a favorite childhood book and/or picture book you've read to your kids or was read to you to be entered into the drawing! I have certificate for this book which is redeemable at any Christian bookstore.

The Drawing will be on the 19th!!

LEAVE YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS so I can contact you. You have 48 Hours to claim the book!


Nora :o)

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network 

THANKS TO EVERYONE STOPPING BY and telling me your favorite childrens' book. 

I used and GAIL MUNDY'S number came up.

This is a special book and I was glad to tell you all about it!


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network