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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blog Tour: Melanie Dobson and Cara Putman

Mackinac Island. It¹s a magical place that
allows you to step back in time from the moment you first step off the
ferry. Authors Cara
 and Melanie
 have teamed up for a tour of the island, now and then.
Comment at each stop for a chance to win a copy of one of their books set on
Mackinac Island. You¹ll find the list of stops here.
Share the tour on twitter, Facebook, pinterest and other places, and you¹ll
gain extra entries for the grand prize of a copy of each of their books and
a 5 slice box of Murdick¹s
, straight from Mackinac Island. Just be sure to email Cara at, so she can record your entries. The grand prize winner
will be selected on August 27, 2012.

While the current Mackinac lighthouse was
built in 1895, my novel was inspired in part by an intriguing note I read on
my tourist map, a note about an old light station on the eastern bluffs. I
mapped out my bike ride to find the site of this old station. I asked locals
and a lighthouse expert about the location, and I climbed the bluffs
searching for it. No one seemed to know about the station, and even though I
found some old buildings and ruins on the east side of the island, I never
found the site for this old light. When I returned to Mackinaw City, I
toured a historic lighthouse that looks out into the Straits of Mackinac.
And I wondered, what if...? What if there had once been an old lighthouse
high above the eastern shore? And what if the lighthouse keeper disappeared?
I don¹t know where the older lighthouse was on Mackinac‹or if there was
one‹so I built one for my story.
The lighthouses are a very recognizable
aspect of Mackinac Island. They stand like sentinels, guarding the
waters leading to Mackinac...warning boats to be wary. When I see the
lighthouses, I know we are getting close to the piers and to the start of
our time on the island. 

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac

 Join attorney Alanna Stone as she
returns home despite her determination to never set foot on Mackinac Island
again. Once again in close proximity to Jonathan Covington, her first love,
she vows to protect her privacy and her heart from the man who still makes
her pulse race. But when her worst fears are realized and history repeats
itself‹landing her in the midst of a murder investigation‹Jonathan may be
her only hope. Will they be able to lay aside the past and let God heal
their hearts, or will reconciliation come too late?  Read the first
chapter here.

Love Finds You on Mackinac Island:

As the Gilded Age comes to a
close, Elena Bissette¹s family has lost most of its fortune. The
Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, and they
spend summers there in hopes of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor.
Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls at the Grand Hotel, she spends
her days walking along the island¹s rugged coastline. There she meets
Chase, a handsome laborer who invites her to watch the ships from an
abandoned lighthouse. The two begin to meet there in secret, hoping to
solve a mystery buried in the pages of a tattered diary. As Elena falls
in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly contrives to introduce her
to Chester Darrington, the island's most eligible bachelor. Marriage to
the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes' financial woes, and
Elena is torn between duty and love. Read the first chapter

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What I learned from my Kid: No Excuses

Last night, after a grueling, hot, painful three-hour football practice, my 14 year old son came in drenched, grimacing, almost in tears. Told us a little about practice and went to take a bath. I could see his discouragement. Not being the best. Not getting praise for his hard work. Missing out on three hours of video games. (smile). I prayed. I know he doesn’t like the hard things any more than I do. But I’d never force him to play a sport if he wants to stop. As a matter of fact I tried to talk him out of football in 7th grade because quite frankly, I saw my next six years of sitting on butt-killing bleachers, trying to drum up some go-team enthusiasm for a sport I think never should have been invented in the first place. In my opinion, kids should read and play the piano, but I know I’m in the American minority. For sure I’m in the Lebanon Family Church minority.

So, my fourteen year old came out of his bath, still drenched, this time from the bath—because fourteen year old boys don’t have time or inclination for towels—and he said, “So, I was trying to think of any excuse to quit football”

And my stomach dropped. Because, football is his dream. He’s not great (don’t tell him I said so, not that I’m the best judge of football greatness) YET. He’s not in the best shape. YET. He is way too smart to get his brains knocked around in a violent sport, but it’s his dream. And dreams are a big deal with me. Any kid who will sit and watch the text of a football game as it comes in because we don’t have DISH anymore, is committed.

I’ve been telling him for years, “God drops a dream into our heart and then waits to see what we’ll do with it. What are you going to do about your dream?” God definitely partners with us. He is the only one who can make the impossible, possible. But He wants to see that we will believe that the bigger the dream, the bigger the goal, the bigger the opportunity for God to flex his God-muscles and show us how awesome and powerful He truly is.

So my stomach dropped when my son said he was trying to think of any excuse to quit football, and I said, “Really?” GULP

“Yeah,” he said. “But then I picked up the shirt I was going to wear.”

I was wondering if he got it from the clean clothes or just grabbed a dirty shirt, which isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

“And on the back it said this…”

And my wonderful, funny, too-smart-to-get-his-brains-knocked-around-in-a-violent-sport kid, showed me the words NO EXCUSES.

He grinned. “God told me not to quit.”

And I believe him. I believe with all my heart that God said, “Will, I gave you this dream. What will you do with it? It’s you and Me, Will Bateman. Will you believe me for the impossible?”

It’s not about being the best, finishing the strongest, or being hoisted onto shoulders with fans screaming your name. It’s about being faithful to the dream. Getting your brains beat out and coming back for more. Flexing thigh and calf muscles against impossible hills, and getting to the top, knowing you’re one hill stronger than you were before.

No excuses, no quitting, climbing to reach the goal against impossible odds.

For better or worse, that’s faith.

Monday, August 6, 2012

You're talking about The Widow of Saunders Creek

(Don't click the try it before you buy it link, I can't get it to work but I love the ad so decided to keep it anyway)

A lot of writers refuse to read reviews. They have their reasons and I do understand. If a review is scathing, it can suck all the writing confidence right out of a girl. If it’s glowing, well, it can raise her opinion of herself from slug of the year to “Jane Austen who?”

To be honest, I take it by spells. I read voraciously during the first week of release or so, then I breathe a little and go back and read what’s on Amazon every now and then. Today I stayed in bed all day, not feeling well, and thought I’d browse over there. I was blown away by the reviews. And honestly, most of you whether on Amazon,, or other blogsites, are hearing the song of my heart. I love the conversation, even the viewpoint of those who disagree with the fundamental theology of the book, which I will say is that “ghosts” are demons looking to mess with humanity.

So I thought I’d take today to give my thanks to those of you who not only read the book, but also take your valuable time and write a review. It matters.
Here are just a few: (in the spirit of fairness, I’ll include the ones that didn’t give me goosebumps too)

5 of 5 stars
I've reviewed another title by Tracey Bateman, and I have to say, she is definitely near the top of my favorite author's list. This book was just too good to put down, and I stayed up late, reading it in one setting. You won't want to miss this one, to be sure.

4 of 5 stars
I decided to review this novel because I love gothic novels and spooky old houses, and I wondered how a Christian author would integrate these themes into her writing while still giving the glory to Christ. I personally thought the author did a fine job. She consulted several former ghost-hunters who have now turned to Christianity and I thought she did a good job of depicting generational strongholds and demonic influences while still making the point that Christ is the Lord over all and that our authority comes from Christ. This book has been quite controversial in Christian circles, but I applaud the author's ability to directly address spiritual warfare without delving into some sort of vague mysticism or belittling the power of Christ.

Spiritual warfare aside, I think the author portrayed grief, disappointment, and recovery well. If you're looking for a different sort of read with quality characters that deals with spiritual warfare, I recommend this book.

5 of 5 stars
Most Christian fiction, especially romantic, novels shy away from the topic of ghosts, but in The Widow of Saunders Creek, Bateman explores the supernatural that just can't be explained. Hoping to connect to her husband's past, widow Corrie moves back to her husband's family farm in the Ozarks where she finds she is not alone in the house. Rumors of ghosts and strange occurrences in the house leave Corrie wondering if her war hero husband has come back to her. Will she find the answers she desperately needs or will she find herself involved in something she can't control?
Fans of Christian fiction will love this book. Its unique spin on a romance novel makes it one I will want to reread.

2 of 5 stars
If I need to sum up my initial thoughts on this book, I might have to say "strange". While I am fully aware that spiritual warfare exists and that mountain people may have some odd ways of thinking, I must say that I have never met anyone like Jerrod's extended family and people of Saunders Creek believing in ghosts and haunted houses. Even Eli, who is the strongest Christian in the book says in his mind that there is no evidence from the Bible or from reality.....Isn't the Bible and reality the same thing? Since those wonderings occur on page 15, it left me wondering about the theology of the whole story.

Overall, I did enjoy watching the friendship develop between Corrie and Eli but all the supernatural thinking sort of got in my way. This probably won't be a title I will add to our church library.

FROM TRACEY: I think the review got a little caught up in semantics, but I do highly respect the opinion of anyone willing to read my book and consider it for their church library! Even though Widow didn’t make the cut. ☺ I hope this reviewer will give me another chance with another title to make it into her church library. It would be an honor.

4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Tracey Bateman developed the plot line and characters well, and both were very informative and realistic. Her themes of forgiveness, spiritual and emotional healing, and the danger of communicating with demons were clear and well presented. I would highly recommend this novel, and I cannot wait to read more of Tracey's novels. You can read the first chapter Here and check out the author's website here.

5 of 5 stars
WOW! That would be the best way to describe this book. To be completely honest, if it had been written by someone other than Tracey Bateman - or an author that I knew - I doubt I would have read the book simply based on the front and back covers of the book. You've got a preacher/contractor, a widow/artist, a demon posing as a dead war hero, and a witch. Strange combination for a Christian romance novel, but it worked. And the ending. (sigh) So sweet. I really hope this is going to be a series. I would love to see Eli and Corrie again.

FROM TRACEY: And there are many more. These were just a few, and my way of saying thank you for the conversation, for caring enough to write a review, write to me on facebook and email, and repost on twitter. You guys are the best. If you'd like to read the rest of the reviews or are intrigued enough to order the book, you can find them on,, and lots of other places.
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