Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ringing in the holidays with some GREAT reads!

We’re winding down the year here at COTT with some amazing reads and wonderful authors. Can you believe 2013 is right at the edge of over? And, for avid readers, what better way to celebrate than with a riveting read?

Check ‘em out! Then use the voting box below to let us know which of these five choices rings YOUR Christmas bell the loudest.


In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. She joins her husband, Finn, on a journey to North America, but even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself—and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart.



The Great Depression left the Shoemaker family hungry and homeless. Alice makes the best of the hard times without complaint, though she dreams of giving her little family a special Christmas.


Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as the killer's next victim, can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?


It’s Christmastime and, widowed mother Keira Noble is ready to start living again. Things look up when she meets Pete Harding, the new veterinarian in town, but a possible love connection quickly dissolves when Pete says he doesn’t date single mothers.



Heaven’s Little Love Angel is dispatched to Houston during the Christmas holidays, assigned to help Widow Beth Marsh determine which of her two suitors is the genuine article—black-haired Bryan Wingate or good-looking Charles Chadwick. Sarah is delighted for a number of reasons, but she’s forced to step up her efforts when she discovers Beth’s life is in danger…and she hopes to save her charge with as few bungles as possible along the way.

Voting ends promptly at midnight on Dec. 17 (that’s the last moment of Tuesday night, folks…). Watch for the results on Thursday, Dec. 19!
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Strength For Today

Currier & Ives, "Winter morning in the country," c 1873
Can you believe it's already December? With Thanksgiving coming so late in the month this year, December has descended even faster than usual. My mom has already "Christmasized" her house, complete with a strongly-scented pine which is the first thing you notice when you walk in her door. I'm looking forward to getting up my own garland and lights and wreaths and snowmen to help capture all those warm fuzzy feelings that come with this time of year.

But it's not always easy. Life's busyness can make holiday plans feel more like another item on the to-do list and less like the glorious memory-making time that I aim for.

So as much as I love the holidays, I have to be honest and admit I sometimes struggle this time of year. (click to share)

My heart aches for the Currier & Ives paintings, for smiles and laughter and goodwill toward man (especially between siblings in the house!), for snuggling by the fire, kisses under the mistletoe, all that good stuff.

But real life is not a painting. Or an old black-and-white movie. (That's often why we love escaping into our novels!)

Nope. Real life finds too many dust bunnies when it's time to move furniture to make room for the tree. Real life has pouting kids who don't want to help lug in the decoration box or be pulled away from their video games in order to just sit by the fire with mom. Husbands who tolerate, but don't enjoy, watching White Christmas, and who grimace and sweat--and possibly even swear*--while wrestling with the Christmas lights.

Add to that the fact that I never got around to shedding that extra five  fifteen pounds--and, let's face it, it's too late now--the constant aches and pains in my back, the myriad bills we aren't sure how to pay, a preschooler who tests my patience (he's the absolute sweetest boy in the world, but rambunctious and ever my shadow), and homeschool pressures...and each day can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Beyond my ability. Sucking me under.

Life's not meeting my expectations. I'm failing.

And sometimes "failing" at something as simple and earthly as creating the "right" home atmosphere can lead to a discontent/depression that carries into my spiritual life.

Lies. All lies. But too often, I believe them.

Maybe you can relate. Or maybe your set of challenges lies elsewhere. Regardless, we all have seasons, or areas of our life, where we don't feel up to the task. And we grieve that ineptitude. (click to share)

A few years ago I received a daily devotional and the first passage I read still sticks with me years later. The entry hit its mark in my heart. In essence, it reminded me that the measure of God's strength given to me on a daily basis is determined by two things:

The difficulty of my circumstances, and my willingness to depend on Him for help.


This concept completely changed my thinking when it came to facing challenges, personal demons. I don't need to assess the situation and measure it against my usual ability and strength. I need to depend on Him and believe that He can and will empower me that much more in order to handle the task. And tomorrow, when the challenge is not so great, He will give me just the strength I need for that day.

Today it might be preparing the house, encouraging generosity in my kids, and finding ways to trim the grocery budget so that we can get that busted water pipe fixed.  Tomorrow it could be the death of another loved one, a falling away of a brother or sister, or the loss of a job.

But the degree of His power available to me will match whatever circumstance comes my way.  (click to share)

And the same goes for each of us. So if you share this struggle of mine at this time of year, I pray this truth shines like a beacon in your heart and gives you hope. It did for me.

If you're interested in the devotional I mentioned, it's called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. The entry I referenced was November 11th. :-)

And if you want some great Christian novels to dive into or pick up as gifts, you always know where to find some winners. (There's a contest going on every month at COTT, so I hope you'll join us for some fun.)

Have a blessed week!

(*my husband doesn't swear, but he does get grumpy at the frustrating lights!)


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Youth Fiction With a Timely Message

For all those who need to unplug from our high tech world, Clash of the Titles presents a novel about reconnecting with those dearest to us, about turning off the cellphone and living in reality. Although written from the perspective of a new teen, Edna in the Desert applies to all ages.

About Edna in the Desert:
Edna is a precocious trouble-maker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service, Internet and television. Edna's determined to rebel until she meets an older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to know him from the edge of nowhere?

What readers have to say:
*  "Maddy Lederman is a 21 st Century Judy Blume"
* "The author displays literary maturity in her subtle, nuanced and patient treatment of Edna's movement from self-centered to other-centered.I recommend this book to all - not just the YA group & I hope to read other books from this author."
* "Loved this book, brought up so many things I think about in terms of kids, technology and our materialistic society."

About the author: 
Maddy Lederman's writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Sun
Runner, a magazine about California deserts. Maddy has an MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College. After school she discovered what it's like to wait around at auditions all day, and so she did not pursue an acting career. Edna In The Desert is Maddy's first novel.

Q&A with Maddy:
What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?
I wanted to write a warm, amusing story about how a modern teenager would react to being totally unplugged. Some of my friends’ kids don’t even look up from their phones to say hello, and I wonder where this is taking our culture. My character, Edna, is thirteen, so the YA market was naturally drawn to my book, but I wasn’t drawn to a particular market. I’ve found that adults enjoy Edna In the Desert as much as teens.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’ve done many quirky things, a lot of them in the desert! I took a “sound bath” at The Integratron. I hiked up a mountain in 110 degrees on a first date and eventually married the guy. My job in film and TV creates endless quirky opportunities, for example, covering Adam West, TV’s Batman, in creamed corn. We met years later in Palm Springs and laughed about it.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
On Facebook and my website, MaddyLederman.com.

Visit Clash of the Titles for the latest in Christian fiction!

*taken from Amazon reviews