Monday, May 27, 2013

Sweet Sactuary... A Novel to Give You Hope

It’s 1944, and Dr. Micah Hatcher knows God’s plan for him is to serve the immigrant population of Queens, New York. So, when he receives a mysterious letter summoning him to Boston, confusion swirls in his mind. When he arrives in Boston and finds out about his friend Lydia’s trouble in providing a sanctuary for her son Nicky, he can’t help but get involved. As their lives intertwine, will they trust each other with their secrets? When their individual causes come into jeopardy, will they lean on God and accept the help He provides?

SWEET SANCTUARY, Kim Vogel Sawyer’s latest novel, is a ‘sweet’ story that takes place during World War II. The theme of protecting the innocent is woven throughout in such a way that grips the heart and makes you consider what more you can do in your own piece of the world. As Micah remembers his mom telling him in chapter one, “Son, whatever comes your way, the good Lord knew it was comin’ and has a solution in mind. Trust Him to guide you.” If we place our trust in God, He will reveal to us the ways in which we may help protect the innocent.

“Whatever the Lord willed for her, she was ready.” Those words from chapter 37 define the author of this lovely story. Kim Vogel Sawyer writes the plentiful tales that God places in her heart, much to her readers’ delight. Whether she takes us for a ride on the orphan trains (My Heart Remembers), shares the adventures of a singer on the plains of Kansas (Song of My Heart) or takes us to the big cities of New York and Boston (Sweet Sanctuary), Kim finds the way into our hearts with a few thousand words strung together. Her talent for dropping bombs on her readers in the form of twists and turns in the lives of her characters never disappoints me. She has quite a knack for frustrating me with the worst possible thing that could have happened in the story—and then causing me to blink back tears of joy when good finally prevails. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading any of Kim’s books, hurry to the bookstore! Her novels are well worth reading.

To discover more about Kim Vogel Sawyer and her novels, please visit one of these sites:
Or find her on Facebook! Please tell her that Andrea Cox sent you.

Now it’s your turn to chat! When has the Lord directed YOU to protect the innocent?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Another O'Malley Book . . . Yay!!!

Content to serve her “kids” in her pediatric practice, Jennifer O’Malley is unprepared for her life to change. So, when surgeon Tom Peterson slips into her life, she’s knocked off guard. Little does she know, she’s getting to know Tom for some pretty special reasons. When life throws her a curve ball, will Jennifer realize she can fully trust Tom AND the God he serves? Or will she face her scary new reality alone?
            When I found out JENNIFER was in print, “HaPpY dAnCe!” was the first thing that popped into my mind. I’ve been hoping this novella would one day grace my bookshelves. Dee Henderson’s The O’Malley Chronicles is one of my favorite series, and I always thought the youngest O’Malley deserved her own book. It was well worth the wait.
            Reading JENNIFER made me want to read the entire eight book series again (including the prequel and this novella). Dee’s trademark sense of humor brought a smile to my face in the midst of the toughest cry-my-eyes-out scenes. As always, when reading an O’Malley book, my emotions were pulled in and I was swept away by fantastic storytelling. Surprisingly, the lack of suspense and crime-drama qualities (as compared to the other books in the series) was not bothersome to me. Instead, I rather enjoyed being immersed into Jennifer’s world of hospitals and sick kids. Such a sweet personality as Jennifer deserved a sweet story. Dee Henderson delivered.
            Dee, thanks for following God’s call when He asked you to write the O’Malley series. You’ve made it so easy to share the love of Christ with any non-believer who loves reading.
            Readers, if you’d like to get hooked on a fabulous series of books that will keep you turning pages, I suggest you begin reading JENNIFER by Dee Henderson. The whole O’Malley Chronicles series I highly recommend. There’s a little of everything tossed in the mix, so I’d be surprised if you didn’t enjoy them. For more information about the series and its author, please visit

How do YOU handle life when it goes topsy-turvy on you? Do you freak out or adjust gracefully? Or do you land somewhere in between? I’d love to hear your stories.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Catch a Falling Star -- A Review

Dr. Kendall Haynes wants it all. A career, friends, family, and a dog. As she realizes the only thing eluding her to make her dreams come true is finding Mr. Right, she wonders, “Was there any way to have it all—and be happy?” (See chapter four, page 62.) When she crosses paths with Lieutenant Colonel Griffin Walker, a grounded Air Force pilot who can’t seem to agree with her on anything, she begins to think Mr. Right might not even exist. With one of her friends planning a wedding, Kendall can’t help but wish upon a star for her own happily-ever-after fairy tale ending. But when life doesn’t go as she planned it, will her dreams come true or crash down around her?

When I read Beth K. Vogt’s debut novel, Wish You Were Here, I knew she was planning on sticking around the fiction side of writing (previously, she had only written nonfiction.) What I didn’t know was that, on her second time around, she would weave an even more intricate story with extraordinary supporting characters enhancing an already dynamic pair of leading characters. With all the individuals dealing with their own why-didn’t-life-go-as-planned issues, Catch a Falling Star was an intriguing novel that I didn’t want to put down. Beth has a lighthearted style of writing that flows well for an easy read that I breezed right through. It seemed like it wasn’t long enough, though it was chock-full of drama and angst, with a healthy dose of quick wit mixed in. Hopefully this author has decided to keep to the “dark side” of writing, as she is often quoted as calling her fiction ventures.

The theme of life not going according to plan was an interesting choice. At first glance, it would appear too simple, like it wouldn’t hold up to an entire novel’s worth of challenges and difficulties. But, as the story progresses—and the stakes are drastically raised on multiple levels—you realize that it perfectly reflects reality. As Kendall says in chapter eight (page 121), “A lot of us make plans, Griffin. And then life changes.” I find that to be true in my own life, as I’m sure you have, as well. Nothing stays the same. Hardly anything goes according to plan. I can’t say I always handle life’s abrupt alterations with a patient, optimistic mind frame. But I can tell you I always learn something from each new adjustment to my calendar of events. Since we’re going to be thrown curveballs in life, should we give up on catching falling stars and making our wishes? I don’t think so. God gives us dreams, hopes and goals in order to direct our footsteps to the things He wants to give us. Sometimes those “things” aren’t what we first thought they were. They’re better.

Now it’s your turn to chime in. When life doesn’t go according to plan, how do YOU handle it? Do you get frustrated and feel like screaming? Or do you calmly accept the turn of events without so much as a double take? Or does your reaction lie somewhere in between?

Please visit my friend Beth K. Vogt at her website, Find her also on Facebook and Twitter. Remember to pick up your copy of Catch a Falling Star, which came out to bookstores (online and brick-and-mortar) on May 7th.

Thank you to Chris McCarthy and Howard Books for my copy of Catch a Falling Star to review.

And a big thanks to Beth for including me on her list of those to consider for the honor of receiving an advanced reader copy of her second novel. I appreciate you, Beth!

WINNERS from last week’s giveaway:
Rhonda, you won the notecards.
Susan, Rhonda, Darlene, and Janet, you won a copy of Carrie’s novella.
You should receive an email from Carrie soon, if you haven’t already. Thank you to all those who participated!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Carrie Fancett Pagels Guest Posts -- GIVEAWAY!!!

Recently, I had the privilege of reading Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance, the debut release of my new friend, Carrie Fancett Pagels. Today’s blog post is authored by Carrie, so please make her feel welcome!

What Surprised Me About My Debut Publication

That was one of the topics Andrea gave me and a pretty easy one to answer.  If anyone had told me a year ago or even at Christmastime that a Civil War novella would be my debut release I would have laughed and told them they were crazy.  You see in all my submissions out there (two-three book proposals, a stand alone full-length novel, and a colonial novella that I put on hold and another colonial project that got canceled because of the publishing house’s changes and another novella as part of a package out for two years now) I had only ONE Civil War blurb.  Not even a manuscript. But I’d had the idea in my head for a while and had percolated it.  And I have another Civil War story I’d like to do but it was not historical romance but a women’s fiction, so… 

Also if you’d told me I could finish the research, write the story, and have it published in under six weeks I’d also have thought you needed therapy.  And as a former psychologist (for twenty-five years) I might have offered it to you!  But God really provided!  I’d just pulled one three-book submission back to offer one of the stories to a publisher who requires exclusive consideration.  That left two orphan stories.  One was my Civil War story set at Shirley Plantation, a place I love to visit—the staff there is amazing!

I was surprised at how Julian Charity’s book “Courage at Home and Abroad” (which is a military history of Shirley Planation) helped me frame the backdrop for my story and how this young historian’s knowledge and helpfulness gave me the confidence that what I had was historically accurate.  I include information in the Editorial Notes about this process and some deviation in history.  This was, after all, a fiction. But I have been to Shirley so frequently that I feel I “know” these people who are long gone to be with the Lord—like Mary B. Carter, who really sounds like one of the godliest women and a mother with a burden for the Lord. 

I write mostly colonial fiction, have a blog “Colonial Quills” and founded the Colonial American Christian Writers group several years ago.  I live in the historic triangle of Virginia, known for its colonial and American revolutionary war history.  I can drive mere miles and be at many historic sites.  Most, however, were also the places where the Civil War took place.  So perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised after all….

Carrie Fancett Pagels writes “romantic” historical fiction. Her debut, Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance, is a Kindle Civil War best seller. She and her family live in Virignia.

Please visit Carrie at her website:

GIVEAWAY: Carrie will be giving ONE person (chosen at random) a packet of beautiful Shirley Plantation notecards by artist Clark Goff. In order to be eligible to win, you must “Like” Carrie’s Facebook Author Page AND leave a comment here on this blog.

(Due to postage costs, this giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.)

YOUR TURN: What is something that surprised YOU about the job you currently have?