Monday, February 25, 2013


A couple weeks ago I finished reading Healer by Linda Windsor. And wow, was it good! Set in sixth century Scotland, the story follows Ronan - firstborn son of a powerful and angry king, and Brenna - orphaned and living in a cave with only a wolf as company.

Ronan's clan has been at war with Brenna's for years. It started when Brenna's mother chose Llas over her intended, Tarlach (Ronan's father, that angry king I mentioned). Now Brenna, a young woman alone in the world, is hunted by Tarlach while her own people wait for her to one day save them as has been prophesied.
One day while out hunting, her wolf finds and protects a man who is badly injured, and Brenna takes him back to her cave to nurse him back to health.

Little does she know that he's the son of her most powerful enemy.

I won't tell you anything else, but you should definitely read the book! If you're a fan of King Arthur, Merlin, and Lady Guinevere, you'll be delighted to know that they all play roles in Brenna and Ronan's story!

I look forward to reading the other two books in the Brides of Alba series, Thief and Rebel. Also check out  Linda's Fires of Gleannmara trilogy, which takes place in Ireland around the same time as this series.

You can find Linda's website here:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Mama

Today is Five Minute Friday. Only my second week of doing this. Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker at The Gypsy Mama gives a word, and you just write about it for five minutes. No editing or forethought. Today's word is Mama.


My mama is called Mom. She's sensitive and caring with a conservative and conventional take on life. She loves to go shopping, hates to cook and clean, and wants to help everyone. As I was typing that, I just realized I'm so much more like her than I thought. Other than the conventional part. And where she's calm and sensitive and opposed to conflict and not a risk taker, I'm opinionated and stubborn and argue way too much and love the thrill of taking risks. She hates that about me. But we love each other anyway.

While I don't always agree with her and we can drive each other crazy, she's still my mom. And I can't imagine my life without her. We talk almost every day, hang out often, and, thank God, we have a pretty good relationship.

She and my dad raised my two brothers and I pretty well. We are all really close, closer now than when I was younger. I love my parents, and my brothers are two of my best friends. I spend a lot of time with them. As a matter of fact, I'm at their house while typing this.

Mother's Day is coming up in a few months and I am so glad I have a mom I can celebrate with.

Well, time's up. I feel like I learned a few things about myself from that. Cool.

This is a really fun and unique way to get the creative juices flowing through your brain :) You should try it! Click here to see other posts on Mama and click the button below to find out more about Five Minute Fridays.
Five Minute Friday

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Beloved

I am trying something new today. I'm joining the Gypsy Mama with her Five Minute Friday blog posts. She gives a word, and then you just write about it. For five minutes. We'll see how this goes - today's word is Beloved.

When I read the word beloved, the first things that came to mind were the traditional wedding opening "Dearly beloved, we gather here today..." and a verse from Song of Solomon that says "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." We don't hear the word beloved that often anymore. Why is that?

I looked it up and the definition says a person who is greatly loved; dear to the heart; such as a wife or husband. Some synonyms are cherished, precious, sweet, and darling. This helps me to better grasp the meaning of the word.

This is getting me thinking about what I cherish, what is precious to me. My family. Close friends. My husband. Our dog. And God. And then I think, I am cherished by God. I am precious to him. I can't quote you any verses right now, but it's definitely in there. We are God's children, he knows each and every one of us, and we are his beloved. Isn't that just a great feeling?

I want to try to remember that more often. I am beloved by God. Say it. I am beloved by God. No matter what, He loves you, and you are precious to Him.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day with those who are precious to you :)

I think I did alright :D You can check out other five minute posts on Beloved here and find out more about Five Minute Fridays by clicking on the button below.
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Central Park Rendezvous

Last year I read an awesome book called Central Park Rendezvous. It's from the Romancing America collection, and features four novellas from four different authors (Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and MaryLu Tyndall), but the stories all intertwine!

Start out with Sean Wolfe, a young Afghanistan veteran with scars both physical and mental. When the beautiful ballerina Jamie Russo enters his life with questions regarding his father and an old coin, can she help him gain back the hope he'd lost while they look for answers regarding his past? Next, go back a few decades, where Alan James lost his one true love to another man. Will his broken heart ever heal? Then head back to the 40s, where Helen Wolfe and her young siblings are struggling to make it through without their parents. Will Bernie O'Day, owner of a local pawn shop, be able to help the family without hurting Helen's pride? Finally, travel back to the late 1800s as the Civil War is ending, and William Wolfe finds out that those beautifully written love letters from his fiance didn't mean a thing to her. As she chooses another man, William has to decide if he'll ever be able to love again.

I just love the way this book was written. I don't want to give too much away, but it's so cool the way it goes back and forth between different times, showing how the Wolfe family, the old coin, and Central Park are connected throughout generations.

While I had only read MaryLu Tyndall before, I think all of the authors did a great job! I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes romance, history, and happy endings :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Help The Gunderson Family Adopt Two Children In Need Of A Loving Home

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. 
- 1 John 3:1

In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. - Ephesians 1:5

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession. - Deuteronomy 14:2

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and holy is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress... - James 1:27

I am blessed to be friends with Jessie Gunderson, a brave woman of God, mother of 5 (for now), loving wife, author, and artist. She and her family are on the road to adoption. From what I have seen, this road is long and hard, but they are steadfastly continuing the journey. You can read about their decision to adopt here.

You may or may not know that adoption, besides being a long process, is very costly. The Gundersons are trying to raise money to help with those costs. They would also appreciate prayer and sharing of their story. Throughout the month of February you can enter two different drawings on Jessie's blog. The first is a chance to win two tickets to Disney! You'll get an entrance into the drawing for every $5 you can donate. They are also holding a drawing for a set of Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffed dolls. To be entered for these, just share the Help Orphans & Win Disney Tickets post on Facebook, Twitter, or you blog. Make sure you read the entire blog post, as it tells you how to enter the drawings.

Another way you can help is by purchasing one or both of the devotional books Jessie has been published in. You can find these in her online store.

From Jessie: Help us adopt “A” and “D”, a brother and sister from Ethiopia. She wants to be a judge when she grows up and he wants to be a runner. Every child deserves a loving family. All proceeds go straight into our adoption fund. Email me at jessie [at] jessiegunderson [dot] com for questions or references. I am happy to provide information to confirm our home study in process, etc.

I truly believe in this cause and hope to see them bring these two children home. If you are encouraged by this story and are interested in learning more, you can follow Jessie's blog. She will be posting a lot about their adoption journey over the next few months.

While you're over there, leave her a comment. She would love to hear from you and know that you are supporting her family in whatever way you can :) Remember, prayer is powerful, and God can do anything.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Forsaken Dreams and Author Q&A with MaryLu Tyndall!!

Check out Forsaken Dreams, book one in the exciting new Escape to Paradise fiction series by MaryLu Tyndall!

Embark on a seafaring adventure as a disillusioned colonel and a hopeful widow seek a fresh start on the shores of Brazil. Colonel Grant Wallace cannot leave his once precious Southern homeland fast enough. After witnessing the death and destruction of the Civil War, he charters a ship and sets sail for the pristine shores of Brazil, eager to start afresh in a new land. Widow Eliza Crawford boards the ship NewHope harboring a dirty secret and a blossoming hope within her heart for a new life away from old memories. But once at sea, troubles abound. Will Grant overcome his demons of bitterness and rage? Can Eliza find the peace she longs for?



Get to Know the Author!
MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people's eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Author Q & A:
1. How would you describe your new series Escape to Paradise? 
An adventurous, romantic tale about a group of Confederates, wounded in both body and soul, who flee the destruction of the South after the Civil War for greener pastures in Brazil, but who find much more than they bargained for, both on the trip there and once they arrive.

2. What inspired the storyline for your new series?
History. Nearly three million Southerners migrated from the devastation of the South following the Civil War. Close to twenty thousand of them went to Brazil where the Emperor welcomed them with open arms, the farm land was plentiful, and the temperate climate mimicked their own weather back home. Though most ended up returning home, several thousand remained, and their descendants still live there today. Their struggles to create a new Southern Utopia in the heart of Brazil make for a fascinating story!

3. How is this series different from your previous series?
Escape to Paradise is like nothing I’ve ever written before. The six main characters, the hero and heroine in each book, have a huge presence in each of the three books, so by the end of the series, the reader will know them all really well, as well as several of the secondary characters. Secondly, and more importantly, this series contains a lot of supernatural elements—curses, angels, visions, demonic battles—which I have not put in any of my other books.

4. What type of research did you have to do for Forsaken Dreams?
Surprisingly, not much has been written about this particular historic event. I did find a couple of great books on Amazon. I was also able to locate some original source material, which is a researcher’s dream: three journals written by actual Confederates who traveled to Brazil. Then of course I studied the flora, fauna, cuisine, customs, religion, climate, topography, and history of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. I tried to talk my  husband into funding a trip to Rio (For purely research purposes, of course) but he wasn’t buying it! :) I also studied the Civil War, clothing and customs of the time period, and, in particular, of the South. 

5. What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Forsaken Dreams?
There is a city in Brazil called Americana, which was founded by migrant confederates in the late 19th century.  To this day, the inhabitants still speak a mixture of English and Portuguese and celebrate American holidays by playing “Dixie”, while some of the local women dress in big-bustled skirts for dancing.  President Carter visited the city in 1972, after discovering its little known history, and he was reportedly brought to tears by the American influences he found there.

6. What surprises do your fans have to look forward to in your new series?
An exotic locale, powerful secrets held by each character, a strong spiritual theme that runs through all three books, cannibals, evil temples, visions, angels, demons, prophecies, and a supernatural battle. Doesn’t sound like romance novels, does it? Yet, readers can still expect to find all the adventure and romance they normally enjoy from one of my books. 

7. Do you have a favorite character in Forsaken Dreams? Why?
Yes. The heroine, Eliza Crawford. She’s all the things so many of us want to be: strong, independent, smart, caring, selfless. But she has a fatal flaw—one which I can relate to very much, and one I’m hoping others will relate to as well. She wants to live life on her own terms. She wants to do things her way and follow her own heart and will. She doesn’t want to be told what to do by anyone, especially God. Consequently, she disobeyed her father and ran off to marry a man who was all wrong for her, an action that cost her and others dearly. Still, she struggles with an independent spirit that refuses to submit to God, even when she knows His will is best.  Sound familiar? It does to me! 

8. What message would you like your readers to take away after reading Forsaken Dreams? 
There are several messages woven into Forsaken Dreams. Forgiveness, letting go of bitterness, running away from God, but I would say the main message is that submission to God and His will is the only thing that brings true happiness.

9. Most of your stories revolve around swashbuckling pirates and sea captains.  What draws you to write about them?
Actually I only have one pirate series, but a good majority of my books have several scenes set at sea. Ever since I was a child growing up on the shores of South Florida, I have loved the sea and especially the tall ships of old. To me, there’s something very romantic and adventurous about those magnificent sailing ships and the men and women who journeyed on them in search of new lands.
10. What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Meeting deadlines! I never feel like I can take a break and just relax when there’s a deadline shouting at me from my computer.  Other challenges come in the form of negative reviews and harsh comments, most of which I’ve learned over the years to ignore.  However, the occasional one slips through and stabs my heart. Then there’s the marketing aspect of being an author, which is most definitely my weakest skill. I’ve never been very good at selling myself, or in fact, selling anything, to anyone. :)

11. What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
The writing! Coming up with new stories and settings, and especially great characters. But my favorite part is putting those characters into impossible situations that I would never survive personally, but ones in which they must survive!  Those hours I spend at my computer with my head and my heart in a distant land, living life through my characters, are the happiest moments of my day. What a great job I have!! I get to live in a fantasy world of my own making. God is good!

12. What clubs or organizations are you involved with to help with your writing?
American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. However I receive most of the help I need from other writers who I’ve grown close to over the years. It’s so wonderful to have an online support group of people who understand what I’m going through and who can offer suggestions and help and who can lift me up in prayer when needed.

13. What new projects are on the horizon?
Forsaken Dreams is the first in a trilogy entitled Escape to Paradise, so I’m currently working on the last two books in the series. After that, I’ll be in God’s good favor as to what He wants me to write next. :)

14. What was your favorite book as a child?
Can I have three? The Last of the Mohicans, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Pride and Prejudice.

15. What is your greatest achievement?
My children. Although I really can’t take credit for them turning out as well as they have. That was God. But they are my life and my true loves, and I can’t imagine my world without them.

16. What do you do to get away from it all?
Go to the beach. Although it’s not as warm here in California as it was in Florida where I grew up, I love sitting in the sand and gazing out over the foamy waves and smelling the salty air and feeling the wind on my face. It makes me realize how big God is and how small I am, yet how much He truly loves me.

17. And, finally, where can your readers find you online?
You can sign up for my e-newsletter on my website at, and my blog is where I post all sorts of things from book giveaways and book information to articles and devotional thoughts. I have a Facebook group called MaryLu Tyndall: Swashbuckling Romance, and I’m on Twitter: @MaryLuTyndall. Hope to connect with you all!

Check out MaryLu's blog Friday, February 7, to learn more about the hero from Forsaken Dreams, Blake Wallace, and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!