Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Remembered by Tamera Alexander

I don't often read the books that we review for CFBA anymore, just because there are so many of them and I don't want to commit to it and then not be able to follow through. But Tamara won the Rita in my category this year, and actually had two of her books nominated--two in my category, and one in the "Best First Novel" category. Yes, she is a brand new novelist, and already rakin' in the accolades and awards. Go Tammy! Anyway, when I saw her third book on our review list, I just had to see what all the fuss was about. And WOW! Now I know! :)

I don't usually go in for historical fiction, but Remembered was quite believable. I don't usually go in for straightfoward romance novels, either, but I have to say that this is one of the best, if not THE best, romances I've ever read. It's also tremendously unique in that--gasp--there was no misunderstandings, contrived obstacles, "he likes her but she doesn't like him and then vice versa" type stuff. Instead, the romance blooms like one would hope a romance would bloom, with an ever-deepening understanding of each other leading to fondness and eventually love. It was SO nice to NOT read one of those scenes where a half-heard conversation leads to misunderstanding that never gets cleared up because the characters are too prideful/embarrassed/whatever to just come out and say "Hey, what the heck?!"

Bottom line: I highly recommend this book! And here to give you an idea of what the book is actually about is the official CFBA description:

Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Alexander’s books have won multiple awards, including Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006.

Her books have received acclaim from Library Journal, True West Magazine and Historical Novels Review, and Rekindled debuted on the CBA fiction bestseller list. She has a professional background in business management and conference coordination. A leader of women's ministries for over twelve years, she is currently active in music ministry, facilitating small groups, and mentoring other women. A graduate of Harding University, Tamera lives with her husband and their two teenagers in Greeley, Colorado.

Her other two books in the Fountain Creek Chronicles are Rekindled (Book 1) and Revealed (Book 2)

To celebrate the release of Remembered, as well as the 3-volume boxed set of Fountain Creek Chronicles (Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered), Tamera is currently giving away boxed sets in a contest on her website. Check out the contest at .

From a Distance, the first book in Tamera’s next historical series (Timber Ridge Reflections) releases in spring 2008.

Though loss is often marked
in a single moment,
letting go of someone you love
can take a lifetime...

The threat of war--and a final request--send Véronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood--her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Véronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.

His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans... and his life.

"Alexander again delivers a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people. Though there are French words sprinkled throughout the story, they enhance the emotions rather than distract the reader." --Romantic Times

"...a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre." --Library Journal

"Alexander has done it again with Remembered, third in the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES. She's fashioned characters that are as rich and deep as the mountains and valleys they explore throughout the pages, coloring the story as adeptly as the heroine does her canvas. I was drawn immediately into the ages-old heartaches of both of the main characters, understanding at once Veronique's reticence to make a place for herself in the unknown wilds of America and Jack's uncompromising love for this land that he’s cut a swath through time and again. They both have a series of mountains to overcome in the search for Veronique’s father, but I enjoyed watching their faith and appreciation grow with each turn of the page. And woven adeptly through it all is the encompassing truth of the Lord's sovereignty—that sometimes He takes away, and sometimes He gives us what we need, not what we're looking for.

Anyone's who's read the other Fountain Creek books won't want to miss this one, but it easily stands alone. The characters will take you by the hand and lead you heart-first into their stories, and by the time they release you at the end, you'll feel as though you've taken up residence just across the Creek from them, as surely as they have in your heart." --Roseanna White,

"Remembered, the third book in the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES, takes us back to Willow Creek and revisits beloved characters from the previous two books in the series, Rekindled and Revealed. Tamera Alexander has the remarkable ability to create places, and characters who endear themselves to us, even those just briefly mentioned. If I had lived in the late 1800s, I would love to have met these people and would surely have been inspired by the way they lived out their faith.
Remembered is a delightful read, well-researched and well-written. I expect to see great things from this author in the future." --Lindsey Freitas,

"Remembered is an absolutely wonderful continuation of the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES." --Amanda Schafer,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Moving on

The decision has been made. I'm foregoing any more attempts to save data off my old drive and have actually started rewriting my ENTIRE manuscript, not just the lost half. I knew I'd have to do some fairly heavy editing of what I already had anyway, so I figured I might as well just start it all now rather than wait until I'd finished the whole thing and have to go back.

So far it's not nearly as painful as I thought it would be. In fact, I was inspired to add a prologue that set a whole new tone for the book and introduced a character I hadn't met yet, so that was kind of interesting. I'm also currently reading "Writing the Breakout Novel," and I'm already thinking of ways I'd like to tweak this story based on the suggestions in the book (which, by the way, is awesome), so I'm starting to think this whole experience can be chalked up to God knowing it would take basically destroying my old WIP for me to go back and make the changes I really needed to make.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"I happy."

Dan, my mom, Abby and I went to breakfast at Ruby's Sunday morning. Abby was content in the backseat, holding "Gigi's" hand the whole way to the mall, and when Dan got her out of the carseat she said, "I happy." Wanting to make sure he'd heard right, he asked her what she'd said, and she said it again, then gave one of her precious shy smiles and laid her head on his shoulder.

Does that make a mama's day or what?

Blessed Assurance by Lyn Cote


Avon Inspire (October 1, 2007)


Lyn Cote


Lyn Cote's journey to becoming a published author was a long one - she started her first book when her daughter was 13 months old and her first novel was published when her daughter was about to enter high school. But Lyn was writing for a market that hadn't taken shape yet - the inspirational fiction market.

In 1996, Lyn Cote's first inspirational historical manuscript was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest. This became her first historical novel, Whispers Of Love, in her BLESSED ASSURANCE series.

Most recently, Chloe, the first novel in Lyn's "Women of Ivy Manor" historical series was a 2006 RWA Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational, as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National REaders Choice Contest.

Lyn also writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She lives in the lovely northwoods of Wisconsin with her husband and three cats. Aside from writing, she also likes to knit, crochet, read, and do lunch with friends.


Now available for the first time in one edition--All three novels from Lyn Cote's beloved Blessed Assurance series

In Whispers of Love, Civil War widow Jessie Wagstaff must fend for herself and her son. When a stranger, Lee Smith, befriends Jessie's son, even though she recognizes nine-year-old Linc's need for a father figure, she's reluctant to let a new man into their life. When the Great Chicago Fire blazes, every heart is pushed to its limits.

In Lost In His Love, Jessie's son Linc, a social activist and reporter, charms his way through the upper class of San Francisco to build much-needed support for his fight against child labor. His main target is Cecilia Jackson, a beautiful heiress who doesn't recognize the crucial part she plays in this dangerous exploitation. As the secrets of her family's dark past are exposed, Cecilia must revive her own wounded spirit and find the strength to lean on the never-failing love of Christ. But when the 1906 earthquake hits, everyone's faith will be put to the test.

In Echoes of Mercy, Meg Wagstaff challenges the racial barriers of 1920s New Orleans in order to prove that her childhood friend did not commit murder. The stubborn lawyer prosecuting the case, Gabriel St. Clair, is an authentic Southern gentleman who makes the mistake of underestimating Meg, both her tenacity and her charm. Despite their many differences, sparks begin to fly. But when Meg discovers the truth, will Gabe be able to protect her from those who can't afford to have justice prevail?

"A beautiful tale of love, forgiveness, and acceptance."
~CBA Marketplace

Friday, September 21, 2007

And so it goes.

Mark, a good friend of my dad's, emailed me the other day to say he'd heard about my computer woes and to give me the name of a friend of his who used to work as a Man Genius at the Apple Genius Bar. He's apparently one of those guys who knows computers inside and out, macs especially, and managed to recover a ton of info off Mark's computer when it crashed a while back. I called him today and we did some long-distance troubleshooting--he's in Tennessee--and sadly, the final assessment is that we're looking at the worst case scenario: a bad drive. His professional opinion? "Kiss everything on there goodbye."

Well, I'm just about ready to do that, but I'm going to call some data recovery places just in case. I called the Apple store to see if they recommend anyone, and one of the places they suggested isn't that far from here, so I've contacted them and am waiting for a response. The other place they suggested is for "high end recovery", whatever that means--I'm guessing not me, but if this local place can't do it I'll probably contact them next.

Though I'm starting to wonder if maybe this is God saying, "That book wasn't the right one for right now." My mind keeps sneaking over to plotting the book I'd planned on writing after the current one--maybe this is a sign to go ahead with that one instead? I don't know. I honestly can't imagine trying to piece back together what I'd added to the manuscript; it's hard enough for me to rewrite an email I've accidentally deleted, never mind nearly 50 pages!

So anyway, I'm in limbo for a little while longer while I wait to see what happens with data recovery. In the meantime, maybe I'll start research on that other book...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Such is life.

Dan has loaned me his Dell laptop while I wait for mine to get sorted out. It's so cold and utilitarian. Using Windows always makes me feel like I'm in a technical Siberia. But beggars can't be choosers and heaven knows I like it more than working on a hulking desktop. Thank you, baby!!!

Abby and I are sick. Poor baby can barely breathe at night, but I prayed hard God would give her a great night (since she'd already woken up 3 times in her first hour and a half of sleeping and I knew this was not headed for a good night for either of us) and He did. She's slept surprisingly well, only really woke once after I went to bed. I, on the other hand, did not do so well, and finally gave up around 6 to just get up. I kind of like this early rising thing, though. Got my contacts in, my teeth brushed, and my clothes on without the grab-grabbing of little hands and the begging of "Uppy?!?!?!?!" And now that I'm vertical the pressure in my head is not quite so bad, and with almost all of my first-thing-in-the-morning 16 oz. of water downed I'm feeling much less dry.

And speaking of being less dry, it rained out! The streets are still wet and says the high is only going to be 70. Beautiful. We were so loving the temperature in Ventura; it's always so lovely there. But it looks like we've finally turned a corner and can start hoping for some more autumn-like weather. Yay! Now I can finally start taking Abby to the park again; it's been so roasting hot that I haven't dared.

So I found a new obsession to keep me busy since I'm not nearly as overrun with activities as an OC mom ought to be. It's called Heritage Makers, and basically it's digital scrapbooking. A friend of a friend invited me to a party she was doing for it (it's a direct sales thing) and I got so excited! I mean, don't get me wrong, I looooove scrapbooking, but let's be honest; I've been doing it for three years and have yet to finish an album. This does not bode well for me. And given the fact that I only do it about 4 times a year because I can't bear to drag the stuff out unless I have half a day to devote to it, chances are I'll never finish anything. But I made 5 pages on Heritage Makers in less than 2 hours, and that was the first time I'd worked with it, so part of that time was me trying to figure out the program. Hello!?!?!? Five pages!! That would be at least 3 or 4 hours of work and half a metric ton of paper scraps on the floor when doing regular scrapbooking, at least for me. I've actually decided this is how I'll scrap, for the most part, from now on.I'm going to hand-scrap 3 books for each kid--the book of their pregnancy, their first year book, and a personalized alphabet book--and then just do yearly family albums for all the rest of the stuff on Heritage Makers. I'm also going to use HM to do biographies of all the grandparents and great-grandparents so my kids know those people. I still get a little weepy to think that this new baby won't know my grandparents. Abby still says, "Nana!" when she sees her picture, but honestly, how much of her will she really remember? And HM was actually started for the purpose of telling family stories, though you can do anything you want on there. So that's how I'm keeping busy while I wait for my poor laptop to be resurrected. I went ahead and became a consultant just for kicks, so if you want more info let me know. :)

Woohoo, Abby is STILL sleeping and it's 7 AM! I think I'm going to get to have breakfast without her trying to steal food off my plate. What a morning!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


It's not like I'm new to the whole computing thing. I've been doing it for a long, long time, actually. I know the risks. I know you're supposed to back up, and often. But do I? Did I?

I'll bet you know the answer.

Yesterday, my procrastination and lack of discipline came back to bite me in the butt. My brand-new laptop was working just fine one minute, and then...a bizarre clicking sound coming from the hard drive and the Blinking Folder of Death on a gray screen. Dead. Totally and utterly dead.

Since it's so new, I haven't added much to it. I haven't downloaded any photos yet--though, if I had, I also would have uploaded them to Snapfish, thus having a backup. No, the only thing that's on there that is of any worth at all is my manuscript. And how much of it do I have backed up? Only whatever I had written when I got the new computer; whatever I had at that point is still on the old computer. If memory serves, I've added somewhere between four and six chapters since then.

We're in Ventura until Wednesday, and wouldn't you know it, the closest Apple store is closed for renovation until Thursday. So I won't know until then what the extent of the damage is. I'm praying it's just the hard drive reader and not the drive itself. If it is the drive, then hopefully a data recovery service will be able to get it back for me for cheap. I'm trying not to stress, but man.

Take it from me, boys and girls. Go now and back up your files. Thumb drives are cheap, Google files and Snapfish are free--heck, open a Gmail email account and email your important stuff to yourself; it'll all be saved in your inbox or archives or wherever you choose to put it. And then you won't be a sad little girl like me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sushi for One

Hey all! I TOLD you I'd be back with more info on this great book by the awesome Camy Tang. I'm today's stop on the blog tour, so for those of you popping in for the first time, welcome! Please leave a comment and introduce yourself, and be sure to come back now and then to check things out. :)

Camy and I did a little email interview a couple weeks ago. Those of you who come here often know I LOVE to hear how other writers tick. I'm always looking for a new way to approach my writing, brainstorming, whatever--and I have that tiny little voyeuristic streak that all writers have because we're just so darn nosy. ( least I think all writers have it...)

ALISON: Tell us about your path to publication. When did you start writing, what led you to this genre, and how did you come up with the premise for "Sushi for One"?

I originally wrote ethnically neutral characters, because that's what
I was reading--ethnically neutral romances. I still love them, but I
felt God telling me to go a different direction. To write what WASN'T
being published--romances with Asian American characters.

Then at an American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, author
Brandilyn Collins prayed over me. I had told her to pray as the Spirit
led her, and the first thing--the FIRST thing--she said was she felt
God telling me to "write your heritage."

I hadn't told Brandilyn about my writing dilemma--to be a risktaker
and write Asian American romances or continue writing ethnically
neutral romances--and so this word from God hit me like an earthquake.
Doesn't get any clearer than that, does it?

So I trashed my premise for my manuscript and rewrote it from an Asian
American woman's perspective. And I discovered that suddenly, the
woman's extended family just wouldn't shut up! They kept nagging her
about marrying and having children before her parents die, and all
kinds of faintly threatening, rather morbid predictions. In fact, it
sounded a lot like my friends' parents/aunties/grandmas.

That's how the Sushi Series was born. I started with four cousins,
each with very different personalities, and wondered how each of them
would respond to the pressures of being 30, single, and Asian American
in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A: Wow, don't you just love it when God speaks that clearly? :) Okay, so, the first thing that pops into my head when I read your description of the book is Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club." I'm guessing I'm not the first to tell you that--are you sick yet of that comparison? :) Having read Tan's book on writing, I know that her own family dynamics played heavily into her writing. Is the same true for you? Beyond just the ethnicity of the characters, does "Sushi for One" reflect your own upbringing and life experience?

C: Not necessarily. My family (especially my grandma) is certainly not as dysfunctional as Lex's! However, Asian American culture is very family oriented, so it's impossible for me to write about Asian Americans without having some family influence in their lives.

I think a lot of ethnicities can relate to this. Think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The heroine's family pestered her about EVERYTHING. My Italian American friend says she can relate to the whole family thing, too.

While I like Amy Tan, my one goal in writing Sushi for One was to write something not as serious and more romancy. So the family issues are looked at with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, because really, if you can't laugh at yourself, there's no hope for you. :)

A: *lol* Well, I must have plenty of hope then. ;) Okay, so, tell us what other books you have in the pipeline. Are you already contracted for another?

C: The second book in the series, Only Uni, releases February 2008.
That's Trish's story. The third book in the series, Venus's story, is
Single Sashimi, and that releases in the fall of 2008.

I'm also working on a Young Adult Asian chick lit proposal, so let's
hope that gets accepted!

A: Oh good, I love knowing there's another book to go to (or at least to wait for). So describe your writing process. Your books are releasing so close together--are you that fast a writer, or did you have them all written? Are you an outliner or a "seat of your pants" type writer? What does a typical writing day look like for you?

C: I had the general storylines for all of them figured out, but the
other two manuscripts weren't written. However, I'd written my last
couple books in 6 months, so I was reasonably sure I could finish the
other books on contract.

I'm definitely an outliner, I'm incredibly anal about it. I like using
Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake method:
I also use 45 MASTER CHARACTER by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, and WRITING

My typical writing day varies depending on what I have to do. Usually,
I spend about 2 or 3 hours on email and internet marketing, and then
the rest of the time on writing, freelance editing, the ACFW Genesis
contest, or any other writing-related business.

A: Oooh--I just discovered the snowflake method, too, and it's been awesome! I'll have to check out the other two books you mentioned; I think I have "Writing the Breakout Novel" but I didn't know it had a workbook, too.

So let's talk a little more specifically about "Sushi for One." Give us a quick summary of the story and tell us a little about the main character.

C: Here's a bonus just for you, Alison! This is the original blurb for
the book that I used for my proposal:

Sports-crazy Lex Sakai isn't too worried about "winning" the
unofficial family title "Oldest Single Female Cousin" when her cousin
Mariko marries in a few months. Her control-freak grandma is easy to
ignore, until Grandma issues an ultimatum—if Lex can't find a date for
Mariko's wedding, her ruthless Grandma will cut off funding to the
girls' volleyball team that Lex coaches.

Lex isn't about to look desperate by dating every player in the
dugout. She comes up with a stringent list of requirements from her
Ephesians Bible study in her search for The Perfect Man. She always
wins in volleyball—if she ups her game, she's sure to succeed.

Then her brother introduces her to non-Christian,
non-volleyball-playing, no-immediate-physical-appeal Aiden.

Aiden's on the rebound from a girl named Trish, who dumped him because
he wasn't Christian. Then he discovers that Lex is 1) not attracted to
him at all, 2) Christian, and 3) Trish's cousin. No way is he hooking
up with anyone from that crazy family, much less another hypocritical
Christian chick. He's certainly not masochistic.

Time is running out for Lex, and no matter what she does, she can't
find the right guy. Especially when she keeps running into Aiden
everywhere. If only the List would stop getting longer and longer...

Camy here: Lex is the volleyball player I wish I was! I'm only so-so,
unfortunately. She's also stronger and braver than I could ever be,
which made her fun to write! She and I also share the same penchant
for Wonderbras.

* * * * *

So hey, if that hasn't grabbed your interest, then maybe this will: Camy is holding a huge website contest right now where she's giving away baskets of Christian fiction and an iPod Nano! Only her newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible, though, so join today:

Like I said when I first posted about Sushi for One?, it's a great book, and I stayed up two hours past my bedtime just to finish it. I highly recommend it and can't wait for the next installment. Buy it today!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Go Shep!

Alrighty folks, the time has come to flex your voting power and click here to help my friend Matt Shepardson ("Matt S" on the ballot) win a chance to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at a Cubs game! I do beleive this is the last round of voting. Thanks!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

It's just pain.

No, this is not a post about childbirth--I promised to keep those on the baby blog, remember? :) No, this post is about church--because we actually went last night! For the first time in, like, a year! (That's what happens when you have a toddler who loves to run (and your church has an outdoor "parents' room" complete with giant field that just begs kids to come frolic) and hates being left in a nursery with strangers. We finally realized we were just distracting everyone else and not getting anything out of the message ourselves because we were so busy chasing Abby. Hence a year has passed...) I found out two of my teacher friends go to a church about 20 minutes away, and they have Saturday night services, and indoor parents' room, and do expository teaching. The perfect church trifecta, as far as we're concerned.

I really enjoyed it. I don't think I've heard that much Scripture in a church sermon in my life. It was beautiful. A bit hard for me to follow at times, since half my attention was on keeping Abby occupied in a room where all she had to play with was her coloring book and crayons, but considering that she did very well. But anyway, the main gist of the message, which was taken from Hebrews 12:1-2, was about growing in your faith in order to combat sin in your life. One of the points he made was "Minimize the sacrifice." In other words, don't get a martyr complex, don't focus on what you stand to lose when being obedient, but focus instead on what you stand to gain. He commented on how we tend to fall into sin because, when faced with a choice to make, we start thinking about how painful it's going to be to deny ourselves what we want, to choose the right path, to remain obedient. Instead, he said, even though it might hurt in the short run, think about all you stand to gain by making the right choice.

That really stuck with me. I'm a pain freak. I am terrified of it. Not just physical pain, but emotional pain, mental pain, relational pain. I am a total scairdy cat when it comes to confrontation because I hate pain--feeling it or causing it. It has been an issue for me my whole life. But it really got me thinking when the pastor said that last night. I mean, who cares? It's just pain. It won't kill you. It won't last forever. It sucks, no doubt, and it's not pleasant, and it's worth avoiding when you can, but if avoiding it means staying in the same place year after year after year, never growing as a person and never growing in your relationship with God, then isn't it in your best interests to just buck up and take it? The potential payoff is so much bigger than that of staying complacent and never going all-in with God, or your husband, or your friends, or your passions, or whatever.

I have been at about the same level in my walk with God for the last ten years. Ten freaking years. That's not only pathetic, it's dangerous. Mediocrity is not a good place to be, ever. The worst part about it is how oh so very comfortable it is. Predictable. Cozy, like one of those memory foam beds that holds your shape. And, just like those beds, very difficult to get out of. For me, I think a big part of why I've been here so long is my fear of pain. I have this idea, and I don't know how theologically sound it is, that if I turn everything over to God and pray that most dangerous prayer--Take me, Father, I'm yours, do with me what you will--then my life will not only be turned upside down, but I will suffer. There will be pain. Refinement requires fire, does it not? Sort of hard to refine with a warm bath. And now that I have a husband, a child, I fear that the fire God will use to refine me will have something to do with them, with losing them, or seeing them suffer. Me suffering I can take, but seeing my baby girl sick or harmed? No way. Seeing Dan ill? Lord, I can barely stand it when he has his cluster headaches, I can't imagine seeing him suffer something worse.

And yet, I feel like I'm giving God an unfair shake by assuming He'd do that to grow me. I mean, he's my Father, he's not going to purposefully harm me or my loved ones (for whom He is also a Father), right? But it's a fallen world and bad things happen to good people...*sigh* See, I keep going back and forth and I don't know what to think. But despite the see-saw of confusion, I keep coming back to the fact that I shouldn't be here any more. I need to grow. I need to change. I need to be closer to God than I am. I need to be more disciplined. I need to be more immersed in the Scripture. I need to be more proactive about my relationship with Him. And I just don't think it's possible without some sacrifice. Some pain.

So where does all this leave me? Honestly, I don't know. But I'm tired of telling God I'm sorry for not being better, for the same sins, for not trying harder, for not hardly caring sometimes about the fact that I'm such a spiritual loser. I don't want to wonder anymore what it would be like to know God intimately. I want to know.

So I'm bracing myself.

It's just pain. Right?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sushi for One?

So one of my fellow ACFW members just released her first novel, called Sushi for One? I was lucky enough to score a free copy (you, too, can be a lucky free-copy-scorer if you join the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance!) and downed the thing like it was the best bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream I'd ever tasted. CFBA is promoting Sushi for One? for this week's featured blog tour, but I will also be blogging about the book on September 15th as part of a month-long blog tour the author, Camy Tang, has arranged. I'll post an exclusive interview with Camy that day, as well as my personal review of the book, but until then here is the CFBA review:

Sushi for One?

(Zondervan, September 1, 2007)




Camy Tang is a member of CFBA and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.

Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!

To celebrate the launch of her debut novel, she's got a huge contest going on. Camy is giving away baskets of Christian novels and an iPod Nano! Only her newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible to enter, so join today.

For more information about the contest, visit her website.

Contest ends October 31, 2007!


Lex Sakai’s family, big, nosy, and marriage-minded, is ruled by a crafty grandmother. When her cousin Mariko gets married, Lex will become the OLDEST SINGLE COUSIN in the clan, a loathed position by all single female family members.

Lex has not dated for years.

Grandma homes in on this fact and demands, bribes, and threatens Lex to bring a boyfriend (not just a date) to her cousin’s wedding.

Lex does not want to date ... not since that terrible incident a few years back ... but, Grandma doesn't give her that choice.

Lex's options are slim because she has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the PERFECT man (and the more she dates, the more she adds to the list).

The one man she keeps running into (and is completely attracted to) doesn’t seem to have a single quality on her list. It’s only when the always-in-control Lex loses control and lets God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The heat, my gosh, the heat!

It's been really unbelievable. I mean, yes, we're in California, but honestly it's not usually THIS bad for THIS long. And it usually cools down significantly at night, but lately it has not. The other night it was 83 upstairs at 1 AM; Dan finally just put the a/c on because we were all so uncomfortable. We can't use our whole house fan because the air outside is just as bad as it is inside. Arg! Our electricity bills are KILLING us. I don't know how people can live in the Inland Empire and the desert and Las Vegas. It's just insane.

My dad did the message at Saddleback Church (home of the Purpose Driven everything) this weekend and Dan and I ran the book table to sell copies of "The Case for the Real Jesus", which released a couple weeks ago. Saddleback is weird when it comes to buildings; they don't have very many. Most of their stuff is held in tents or under canopies an stuff, so we were outside from 4:30-8:45 Saturday night, and from 9:45-1:30 Sunday morning. They had an easy-up type thing set up for us, but it was just as hot under it as it was outside; we just didn't have the sun beating down on us directly. Truly, the heat was remarkable. We kept chugging water, and I just felt so bad for all the folks standing in line to buy the book, and then standing in an even longer and slower-moving line to have Dad sign it. But obscene temperatures aside, the book selling went awesome. They have 6 services and we sold out by the end of the 4th. But for the rest of the afternoon and evening I was so dog-tired I could barely think straight. I ended up going to bed at 8:30 and slept nearly solid until 7:15 this morning!

And speaking of sleeping, Abby never napped yesterday! Saturday we didn't get her home from my parents' place until nearly 10, and she didn't get to sleep until nearly 10:30, and then Sunday morning I had to wake her up at 8:45 so I could feed her her breakfast banana before taking her back to my parents' place so Mom could watch her while we did the book thing. So when do you put a kid down for a nap when they've woken up so late? Turns out, you don't. :) And she did great! No meltdowns, really, just slightly more dramatic reactions to things than normal. I put her down at 8 she slept until 7:30. Not bad!

So, back to the heat. Sorry, what can I say, I'm obsessed. All manner of creepy/crawly/flying thing is worming its way into the cool confines of the house, all of which Abby points to and shrieks, "Bee!" when they come anywhere near her.

Oh, non-heat related comment: agave nectar + cinnamon = SO FREAKING GOOD. The best syrup for French toast or pancakes or whatever you'll ever have. And so much healthier for you than regular syrup! Yum!

Now I'm hungry.