Saturday, October 15, 2011

Clash of the Titles Kicks Off Tournament of Champions

Clash of The Titles



COTT Kicks Off Tournament of Champions

Guest post by Jennifer Slattery

Last week, Clash of the Titles launched their first annual Tournament of Champions with two clashes and four talented authors. In Clash one, CS Lakin, author of Someone to Blame, and Marianne Evans, author of Heart Crossing, went head-to-head in a nail-biting, literary duel. In Clash two, our very own Gail Pallotta, author of Love Turns the Tide, competed against Clare Revell, author of A Season for Miracles. All four excerpts rocked, and this was a tough call, but you, our faithful readers chose two Tournament of the Champions' finalists.


Those finalists were Marianne Evans and Gail Pallotta.


Exciting stuff, and yet, the games weren’t done. In the next round, COTT staff cast their votes, and once again, one writer rose to the top and will advance to the next round.

That author is…

Marianne Evans!

And here’s a glimpse of what a COTT champion excerpt looks like:

“Collin Edwards stood before the funeral assembly. Heat crawled up his body. He clutched the edges of the podium where he stood and cleared his throat. The gesture was in vain. His throat constricted so much it hurt. Before the altar, just to the right, rested a flag-draped casket.

He looked down, at a piece of paper upon which he had crafted the words to a eulogy…” (Read more of Excerpt B here.)

About the novel, Heart Crossing:

Collin Edwards, a former parishioner at Woodland Church, has renounced God without apology, his faith drained away in the face of a tragic loss.

Daveny Montgomery cares deeply about her relationship with God, and the community of Woodland . Lately though, she's been in a rut, longing for something to reignite her spiritual enthusiasm.

A beautification project at Woodland seems the answer for them both. Daveny spearheads the effort and Collin assists, but only with the renovations, and only because he wants to know Daveny better. Despite his deepening feelings for her, even stepping into the common areas of the church stirs tension and anger.

Can Daveny trust in Collin’s fledgling return to faith? And can Collin ever accept the fact that while he turned his back on God, God never turned his back on him?

We’d also like to congratulate our prize-winning readers:

 Jessica R Patch! She won a $10 Amazon Gift card from Elaine Cooper.

 LoRee Peery! She won a free bookmark design from Delia Latham.

 Larry Hammersley! He won a $10 Amazon Gift card from Author Anne Patrick.


Join us this week for more fun and prizes as four more authors jump into the ring hoping not only to advance to the next round, but ultimately reign as the Clash of the Titles’ champion of champions! Remember, every vote counts! Each vote gets your name thrown into the hat for our fab-tabulous grand prize give-away comprised of fourteen novels!

Visit our Tournament of Champions page for a complete list of prizes.


***  Jennifer Slattery is the marketing manager for Clash of the Titles. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters and has written for numerous other publications. She also works for Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach, as a professional manuscript evaluator and publicist. You can find out more about her and her writing at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud. You can find out more about her critique and publicity services at Words That Keep.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Robert Wilson's "The Poison of Thorns: The Dragon's Back #1"

Title: “THE POISON OF THORNS: The Dragon’s Back #1”
Cover blurb:  "The Poison of Thorns [The Dragon's Back #1]" unfolds as an intriguing and action-packed Christian Fantasy with bards, dragons, swords, and mysterious black-robed villains lurking in the shadows.

Ten long years after the mysterious murder of their parents, two brothers have just been freed from incarceration in a prison-like orphanage. Against their wills they are torn apart and launched into separate quests against conflicting and dangerous forces. Independently they struggle to learn the truth and to resolve the unanswered cries for vengeance that have long consumed their lives with the poisoned thorns of unresolved bitterness. Finding themselves pitted against a strange and hostile world, overwhelmed with many questions; it becomes their individual obsessions to find the answers and rescue each other.

Why were they locked away in that out-of-the way orphanage for ten long years, when they had living kin who would gladly have claimed them? Who are the sinister black-robed “Dragonmen” and what is their hidden agenda. And why are these blackrobes so interested in the two teenaged brothers that they would mobilize all of their considerable resources to possess them?

What is the significance of the shape of their isolated continent? Is it true that it appears to be a gigantic Dragon floating above the endless depths? What about the rumors that man-sized, almost invisible dragons are stalking their nights?

And finally, who are the mysterious followers of the mythical Gryphon? Why do they alone, of all the diverse peoples of Dragonsback, have the ability to swim in the dark bottomless waters that surround their land? And most importantly, is the mysterious Swimmer who took part in the deaths of the boys' parents still available… for retribution?

1) How did this story come to you?
The story arose from a very dark time in the life of my family, when a supposed “Christian Leader” destroyed a fledgling ministry that we had thought was God’s will for our lives. Many months of depression and bitterness followed this event, until a wise Christian lady led each member of my family though Dr. Neil Anderson’s “The Bondage Breaker”. She showed us the destructive spiritual warfare nature of bitterness in the lives of believers and we each gained victory. The concept behind the story [a thorn-wielding society living on the back of a land shaped like a dragon] actually was given to me after that by my eldest son, Joshua. He and I then brain-stormed to flesh out the rules for this fantasy land and I began writing.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had been to multiple Christian Writers’ Conferences [winning some awards] and submitted manuscripts to multiple agents and publishers, without any favorable response. I actually started writing decades ago and was sitting on two completed novels, each in a different series. “The Poison of Thorns” is actually the second novel that I have self-published: the prior one I had published less than a month before is an apocalyptic Sci-Fi novel dealing with intense Spiritual Warfare subjects. I had thought I had a Christian publisher all lined up for that first novel, when they suddenly backed out. I am the proud owner of a Nook e-reader and I received at that time an email from B&N telling me that they had opened up e-publishing though their online Pubit! service. I also found out that Amazon’s CreateSpace would allow me to create POD paperbacks. So I contacted a Christian artist I had met online about doing my covers and quickly formatted and submitted first the Sci-Fi novel, then, less than two weeks later, “The Poison of Thorns”.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
a) I telecommute as a programmer from my home in FL for an international company located in CA.
b) I am a singer-songwriter who has written around 100 songs [mostly Scripture songs].
c) I am an accomplished scroll saw artist, specializing in elaborate and life-like 3-D wooden artwork.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I am working on the final edit of the second novel in the Dragonsback Trilogy and hope to have it published within the next month. Once that is done, I will step back and decide if I want to finish the Trilogy or switch back to my “Earth – The Arena” Sci-Fi series [Book 1, “THE PLAYERS” is already published and the second book in the series is about 1/3 done.]

5) Parting comments?
Thank you, Dawn, for all you do to promote good Christian writing!

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
My Web Page: http://www.robtdwilson.com/  [under the “Novels” tab]
My Blog: http://robtdwilson.wordpress.com/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/RobertDennisWilson

Susan Meissner's "A Sound Among the Trees"

Title: A Sound Among the Trees
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah

Cover blurb:
On a historic Fredericksburg street, Holly Oak stands in quiet elegance. The cannonball wedged between stone and timber is a silent reminder of what the house endured in the Civil War. When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, she’s soon led to believe that the house brings misfortune to the women who live there.

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the mansion, but that the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past. As Marielle struggles to fit into her new role as wife and stepmother, unsettled by the strange sense of sorrow she feels inside Holly Oak’s walls, she must uncover the truth about Susannah, and reconcile her belief that it is people—not houses—that hang on to the past. History can’t be undone, but truth uncovered can set the women of Holly Oak free.

1. How did this story come to you?
I’m not a fan of war, but I am drawn to any backdrop of human drama where the stakes are high, courage and sacrifice go hand-in-hand, and relationships are refined by fire. You see that in spades with the Civil War. I’ve watched Ken Burns’ The Civil War on PBS several times over the course of my adult life; it moves me every time I see it. The backdrop of the Civil War is a proving ground for sacrificial love in the historical part of this novel. In the contemporary part, it is the hold the house seems to have on the past that is the proving ground for the people who now live in it.

2. Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I pitched this idea verbally to my editor over the phone. I wanted it feel almost like a ghost story. I knew it wouldn’t actually be about a haunted house, but I very much wanted the characters and the house to be gripped by events in the past that changed them. I am grateful to WaterBrook Multnomah for giving me the green light to pursue this with just the idea and basic premise in hand.

3. Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
First, I’ve never had to deal with any of the tragic life events I put my characters through! Whenever I write about a dysfunctional family I always feel the need to mention that. I have a great family; wonderful parents, a loving soul-mate and kids I am so proud of. I am so incredibly thankful for the people in my life. Secondly, I really do not like mayonnaise. Or black licorice. Thirdly, I am finding that the more I write, the harder it gets. I seriously thought the more you did something the easier it became. Not so with writing novels. I think it’s because I raise the bar each time I start a new book but I start at the same place each time: on blank page with a whole lot of nothing staring back at me.

4. What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I am putting the finishing touches on a book called The Girl in the Glass which will release this time next year. This book is set partially in Southern California and partially in Florence, Italy. My main character heads to Florence for some complicated reasons and while there she becomes friends with a woman who claims she is the last Medici and that she can hear Florence’s amazing statues and paintings talking to her. . .

5. Parting comments?
Thanks so much for having me! I love, love, love spending time talking about books and writing.

6. Where can fans find you on the internet?
You can find me at http://www.susanmeissner.com/ and on Facebook at my Author page, Susan Meissner, and on Twitter at SusanMeissner. I blog at http://www.susanmeissner.blogspot.com/. I also send out a newsletter via email four times a year. You can sign up for it on my website. I love connecting with readers! You are the reason I write.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor's "Highland Sanctuary"

Title: Highland Sanctuay
Publisher: Abingdon Press is the publisher

Cover blurb: Caithness, Scotland (1477) Gavin MacKenzie is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh. He discovers a hidden village of outcasts that have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass who captures Gavin’s heart. The villagers have an intriguing secret, while Serena harbors a deadly past that could destroy her future. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s love is more powerful than any human force on earth.

1) How did this story come to you?
I've always loved historical romances set in Scotland. The highlands have always fascinated me and since so many of my ancestors were Scots-Irish, I wanted to write about that setting. When my daughter was born with a seizure disorder and we were surrounded by hospital staff, had access to medications, and support, I began to wonder what it would have been like for a family in 15th century Scotland.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I first pitched it to my editor at the ACFW Minneapolis Conference. I knew she was considering my debut novel at the time and wanted to tell her about the sequel. At that time she wasn’t interested, but after my debut novel came out, she asked if I had any other Scottish historicals. I pitched it again and the second time they made an offer on it. So a “no” isn’t always a permanent “no”.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1) I am a workaholic. I have a full-time job, then I come home and write til late at night.
2) I have become a coffee-holic in the last few years. My husband's family have always been huge coffee drinkers, I guess they finally got to me.
3) My dream is to go to Scotland. Although my books are set in Scotland, I've never been fortunate enough to actually go.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I’m working on a Quaker historical set in the heart of Piedmont North Carolina in 1858, called A Path of Promise.

5) Parting comments?
No matter what your dreams or goals in life are, never give up, persevere and continue to press through.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
http://www.jenniferhudsontaylor.com/
www.facebook.com/jenniferhudsontaylor
www.twitter.com/jt4novels

Lillian Duncan's "Pursued"


Title: PURSUED
Publisher: White Rose Publishing

Cover blurb: Reggie Meyers has spent her life pursing the American Dream, but now she’s the one being pursued— by an unknown killer. Putting her trust in Dylan Monroe, a man she barely knows, will either be the best decision she ever made or the last.

Reggie’s a big city lawyer and Dylan’s a country farmer. In the normal course of events, their lives would never intersect but some accidents just aren't meant to be avoided. When Reggie crashes into Dylan, it makes a bad day even worse or so she thinks. Dylan, on the other hand, is intrigued by the feisty lady lawyer and wrangles a way to spend a bit more time with her by offering to drive her home after the accident. And so the journey that will change both their lives begins...

1) How did this story come to you?
I wanted to write a story that showed the different mindsets of “city folks” and “country folks.” To put a twist on it, I wanted the heroine to be the high-powered ambitious attorney and the hero to be the “simple farmer.”

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I submitted to White Rose Publishing because I wanted a publisher with experience in both ebooks and print books. It seemed like a good fit. They gave me some wonderful feedback which I listened to and revised the book. I was absolutely delighted when White Rose Publishing accepted the book and offered me a contract.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1) I’m hooked on TV crime shows with my favorite being NCIS and Criminal Minds a close second.
2) I used to love to cook, but now I’m spoiled because my husband is a wonderful cook! On the rare occasion when he asks me to fix dinner, I stand in the kitchen and wonder what I should do!
3) I’m very short—4’8”. It can be difficult at times, especially when I need something off the top shelf. But most people never forget me because of my height—and that’s a very good thing!!

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I’m working on revisions of my new book, DECEPTION, to be published this fall. DECEPTION is the story of a set of estranged twins. When a niece she knows nothing about calls, Patti must unravel the truth of her sister’s disappearance. I’m also working on a sequel to PURSUED.

5) Parting comments?
Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. If there are any would-be writers out there, I have three pieces of advice. First is never to give up, if it happened for me then it can happen for you. And the second thing is if you are serious about writing, join American Christian Fiction Writers. And the third thing is, never give up!!

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
My website is: http://www.lillianduncan.net/ and my blog is: http://www.lillianduncan.wordpress.com/