The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Sweetgum Knit Lit SocietyBeth Pattillo (Heavens to Betsy and Earth to Betsy) knows how to follow a dream—even with a pile of publishing industry rejection slips to her name. She spent seven years on the path to her first publishing contract, and the characters in her new novel, The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society, embrace Pattillo’s persistence.

Eugenie, Ruth, Esther, Merry, and Camille are not perfect women. They each struggle with love in their own way—unrequited love, forbidden love, overwhelming love, even lost love. Yet they battle on, meeting every month in the Pairs and Spares Sunday school room to knit, discuss that month’s book selection, and puzzle out their lives.

When Eugenie throws neglected and abused teenager Hannah Simmons into their midst, however, walls decades in the making come crashing down. With secrets thrown on the table amid the tangle of yarn, needles and books, one thing becomes certain: The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society will soon discover what’s most important in the complicated lives they lead.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beth PattilloBeth Pattillo is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and holds a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She and her family make their home in Tennessee. Her novel, Heavens to Betsy, won the prestigious RITA award from the Romance Writers of America. TheSweetgum Knit Lit Society is her fourth novel. To learn more, visit www.bethpattillo.com

Q&A with Beth Pattillo, author of The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society

Q. What was your inspiration behind The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society?

The book was inspired by the knitting group at my church. I loved the way a group of diverse women, from their teens to retirement age, bonded over knitting and prayer. I think book clubs experience a similar phenomenon. Something about knitting or reading together really helps to create authentic community. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing this book was looking at the world from such different points of view. Each of the women in the novel is unique. And the variety of ages and life experiences kept things interesting.

Q. In the book, troubled teen Hannah Simmons has seen her share of neglect and abuse before meeting the ladies of the Knit Lit Society. Do you see many teens like Hannah in the course of your work as an ordained minister? If so, what is your philosophy in helping them find healing?

Unfortunately, I’ve met a number of teens over the years that were neglected by their parents. I’m a strong believer in youth ministry because I know it can provide guidance and care that’s often missing in a teenager’s home. In the novel, Hannah happens to be poor, but I’ve found that income level, however high or low, doesn’t always correlate to the quality of parenting. The love and attention of a youth minister and/or youth sponsor can often keep a teen from making bad choices with disastrous consequences. Teenagers need to feel competent and valued. A strong youth ministry provides an opportunity for young people to find their spiritual gifts and use them. It also makes God’s love tangible and powerful.

Q. Since not every town has a Knit Lit Society, what would your advice be to anyone who has a “Hannah” in their life or knows of a teen in a similar situation?

Most teens need someone to listen to them without judgment or agenda. Mentoring, serving as a youth sponsor, teaching Sunday school and Bible study – these are all great ways to reach out to teenagers. As a minister, in a particular situation, I have to assess whether a teenager needs the help of social services in addition to the love and care of a church family. All ministers are required by law to report suspected abuse. Neglect, though, can be a bit trickier. Ideally, a minister can reach out to the parents as well as the teen to try and help the family become more functional and caring. I always appreciated my church members letting me know if they thought a particular teenager needed help. I think it’s better to get involved and ultimately find that the situation wasn’t as serious as you thought than to ignore something until a crisis occurs.

Q. Do you knit in your spare time?

I love to knit! I’m into hand-tied yarn right now, taking eight or nine different yarns in a particular color palette and tying 2-3 yard sections end to end. The result is wonderfully shaggy scarves or shawls that have real depth of color and texture. (I was inspired by the owner of The Shaggy Sheep in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas – a terrific yarn store!) I’m afraid I have numerous unfinished projects around the house, but one day, I hope to finish them all.

Q. You spent seven years waiting to publish your first book and now The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is your fourth book. What advice do you have for novice or aspiring writers?

Aspiring writers have to persevere. For that matter, so do published authors. The publishing industry is a rejection-based business. Work hard, acquire a thick skin, be open to good criticism, and revise, revise, revise. As writers, we take our work personally, but the publishing industry doesn’t. Rejection is a business decision, not a critique of our value as human beings!

My other piece of advice is to write every day, even if it’s only a small amount. I run an email loop called Club 100 For Writers. The challenge is to write 100 words a day for 100 days. I’ve seen this practice transform people’s lives. Instructions for joining the group are on my website, http://www.bethpattillo.com/.

MY REVIEW:

The first time I picked up The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society I had a difficult time getting into it, probably because I have read so many different books this month I just needed a break. I put it aside and read a suspense and a romance or two. By the time I returned to The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society I was ready to see what it had to offer.

Initially, I thought it was just another book about several women who had absolutely nothing in common but their interest in reading and knitting. Suddenlya monkey wrench was thrown into their mundane group when a rebellious, rejected teen was added. As the story developed, each of the characters came alive with her own individual personality and issues. As each woman interacted with Hannah, they saw their own circumstances with new eyes. And as the women dealt with their problems and endeavored to help Hannah, the ties between the women became stronger and problems were resolved in surprising ways.

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

(Multnomah Books – June 17, 2008)
by

Chuck Black

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chuck BlackChuck Black first wrote Kingdom’s Edge to inspire his children to read the Bible with renewed zeal. This captivating expanded parable led him to write the Old Testament allegories, Kingdom’s Dawn and Kingdom’s Hope. Chuck added three more titles to the series, Kingdom’s Call, Kingdom’s Quest, and Kingdom’s Reign which were released in May of 2007.

Chuck is a former F-16 fighter pilot and currently works as an engineer for a firm designing plastic consumer products. He has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and served eight years in the United States Air Force. Chuck and his wife Andrea have six children and live in North Dakota.

It is Chuck’s desire to serve the Lord through his work and to inspire people of all ages to study the scriptures in order to discover the hope and love of a truly majestic King and His Son.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A dangerous new order threatens the mission of the Knights of Arrethtrae. Only loyalty to the King can bring victory!

As the Knights of the Prince await His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized.

Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Vincero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione where Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion.

When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of a mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra.

Journey to Arrethtrae, where these knights of noble heart live and die in loyal service to the King and the Prince. These knights are mighty, for they serve a mighty King. They are…the Knights of Arrethtrae!

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Chuck can be reached through the contact link on his Website.

MY REVIEW:

I will admit that I was not thrilled when I first viewed my copy of Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione, thinking that I really was not in the mood to read another kid’s book. But since I had committed to the task, I dutifully started reading and was glad I did. Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione is probably the best written allegory for youth (and possibly adults) about biblical principals that I have encountered during my many years of reading.

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione is a fantasy with enough action to keep most youth’s attention while subtly weaving a message of sound biblical principals for living throughout the story. The rewards of following the King are emphasized yet tempered with the price that doing so may cost. On the other hand, the results of rebellion is also illustrated.

I was particularly impressed with the thorough chapter by chapter discussion questions at the end of the book followed by answers to the questions. I believe that this book would be an excellent tool for youth leaders to use for a different type bible study that might actually hold the interest of apathetic students.

Come and visit the blogs participating in the tour:
Abi at lighter side
Adam at Northwoods Blumer
Amy at Bow Of Bronze
Amy at Simple Folk Schoolhouse
Andie at frommipov
Andrea at Ask Andrea
Angela at One Baby, Seven Dogs, and a Mommy
April at Projecting A
April at Living In A State Of Constant Kansas
Barbara at Victoria Hill Farm
Beth at The Write Message
Bonnie at Bonnie Writes
Brittanie at A Book Lover
Camy at Camy Tang
Carol at Blogging With Carol
CeeCee at Book Splurge
Cheri at Kudzu and Koolaid
Dave at Dave Rhoades
Dave at Novel Spotlight
Deborah at books, movies and chinese food
Deborah at Comfort Joy Designs
Debra at Soul Reflections
Deena at A Peek At My Bookshelf
Delia at Gatorskunkz And Mudcats
E.J at Sword and Pen
Ernie at Writing: My Adventures In Words
Gina at Upon Reflection
Gina at Portrait Of A Writer
Gretchen at Inspire Me
Janis at The Nearsighted Bookworm
Janna at Cornhusker Academy
Jim B. at The Bedford Review
Joleen at timetotalk
Karen at Mommy of Three”
Karla at Ramblin’ Roads To Everywhere
Kim at Window To My World
Kimberly at QuiddamChickee To Save The Day
Kristi at Stamped With Grace
Lacy at Novel Inspirations
Laura at Laura William’s Musings
Leah at Ponderings From My Heart
Linda at Mocha With Linda
Linda at Faith In Love
Marjorie at The Writer’s Tool
Michelle at Edgy Inspirational Author
Michelle at Just A Minute
Michelle at Michelle’s Great Blogs
Michelle at Raising Little Women
Pam at Mom’s Mutterings
Pam at Daysong Reflections
Pepper at Great Christian Fiction
Rachelle at Stifled Squeal
Rebecca at A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Rel at Relz Reviewz
Stacy at Vader’s Mom
Stephanie at Punkin’ Press
Susan at Scribbles by Susan May Warren
Tamera at Tamera Alexander’s Blog
Tiffany at Snapshots Of Life
Tricia at It’s Real Life
Valerie at In My Little World
Vicki at Grace Lessons
Virginia at CeCe Lane
Margaret at Creative Madness

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book’s FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

MARY CONNEALY

and her book:

Calico Canyon

Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MARY CONNEALY is married to Ivan a farmer, and she is the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation.

Visit her at her website and her blog.

Product Details

List Price: $10.97

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1597899380

ISBN-13: 978-1597899383

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Chapter One

Mosqueros, Texas, 1867
The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse rode in.

Late as usual.

Grace Calhoun was annoyed with their tardiness at the same time she wished they’d never come back from the noon recess.

They shoved their way into their desks, yelling and wrestling as if they were in a hurry. No doubt they were. They couldn’t begin tormenting her until they sat down, now, could they? Continue reading

Mixed Bags by Melody Carlson

It’s June 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour!(Join our alliance! Click the button!) Every 21st, we will feature an author and his/her latest Teen fiction book’s FIRST chapter!

and her book:

Zondervan (May 1, 2008)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

In sixth grade, Melody Carlson helped start a school newspaper called The BuccaNews (her school’s mascot was a Buccaneer…arrr!). As editor of this paper, she wrote most of the material herself, creating goofy phony bylines to hide the fact that the school newspaper was mostly a “one man” show.

Visit the Melody’s website to see all of her wonderful and various book titles.

Don’t miss the second book in this series: Stealing Bradford (Carter House Girls, Book 2)

And one of her latest, A Mile in My Flip-Flops will be featured on FIRST Blog Alliance on July 1st!

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310714885
ISBN-13: 978-0310714880

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:


“Desiree,” called Inez as she knocked on the other side of the closed bedroom door. “Mrs. Carter wants to see you downstairs.”

“The name is DJ.”

“I’m sorry, but your grandmother has instructed me to call you Desiree.”

DJ opened the door and looked down on the short and slightly overweight middle-aged housekeeper. “And I have instructed you to call me DJ.”

Inez’s dark eyes twinkled as she gave her a sly grin. “Yes, but it’s your grandmother who pays my salary, Desiree. I take orders from Mrs. Carter. And she wants to see you downstairs in her office, pronto.”

DJ grabbed her favorite Yankees ball cap and shoved it onto her head, pulling her scraggly looking blonde ponytail through the hole in the back of it. Continue reading

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