I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Congratulations All Around!

Congratulations to Kathleen, whose name was drawn at random for the Winnie Griggs book. Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to Winnie for offering the giveaway!

Today the finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards were announced. Three cheers for the finalists! Some fabulous authors are included in the list (on this blog I've reviewed Lisa Karon Richardson, Anne Mateer, and Karen Witemeyer, for starters). Way to go, Carol Finalists! Winners will be announced at ACFW's annual conference in Indianapolis this September.


Thanks to all the kind wishes for my ACFW Genesis final. I'm blown away! I wish I could tell you more about my entry, but the title and its premise has to remain confidential until the judging has finished. Needless to say, I'm very grateful to have been included among such fine company. Congratulations to the Genesis finalists! As with the Carols, winners will be announced at conference.

I'll be quiet on the blogosphere and social media this week. Retreating into the writing cave...

Hope your summer is going well!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ten Things with Winnie Griggs...and a Giveaway!

Today we Welcome Author Winnie Griggs to Tea and a Good Book!
Winnie Griggs is an award winning, multi-published author who writes for Love Inspired Historical.  Her writing has garnered enthusiastic reviews and numerous awards, among them a 2011 Lories Best Published Book and a 2012 RT Reviewers Choice Award.

Winnie is a small town girl who grew up to marry a country boy and together they’ve raised four wonderful children.  Though her very own Prince Charming is more comfortable riding a tractor than a white steed, the two of them have been living their own happily-ever-after for 30+ years.

You can learn more about Winnie and her books at www.winniegriggs.com

  1. I was born on a Friday the 13th and have always considered 1 my lucky number.I am the oldest of 5 siblings and my youngest sister is 20 years younger than me.When I was little, my sister, brother and I had a pet squirrel.  My father found a baby squirrel on the floor of the woods one day and took it home to care for it.  Daddy built it a large cage but we had fun letting him out (in a VERY controlled space) and watching him scamper around.  We had Squeaky for about three months before Daddy felt he was ready to turn loose in the woods again.
  2. I once made a patchwork quilt.  I taught myself from instructions in a magazine.  It took me two years and when I finished it I gave it to my mother for Mother’s Day.  That was thirty years ago but my mom still displays it proudly.
  3. I went to an all girls high school but when I was a senior I was one of only four girls to sign up to take Physics.  As a result, the principal decided to send us down the road to the all boys high school for that one class a day.  When word got out, there was a rush of other students suddenly interested in Physics but no one else was accepted into the class.
  4. When I went to college I decided to major in Mathematics simply because I liked math, but had no idea what I would do with the degree.  I did know I didn’t want to teach so I went’ for a Bachelor of Science, not Education degree.  I ended up happily working for many, many years in the computer application development field.
  5. Speaking of college, I disliked public speaking so much, I voluntarily took 15 hours of a foreign language in order to get out of 3 hours of speech.
  6. I have four children - three girls and one boy.  My youngest daughters are identical twins.  I was afraid when I first brought them home from the hospital that I would mix them up.  Luckily we discovered one of the girls had dimples and the other didn’t.  So whenever we weren’t certain which was which we’d try to get them to smile and then we were home free.
  7. I collect flavors of tea the way some of my friends collect shoes.  Stumbling on a new flavor to try is like hitting the jackpot to me.  Right now I am delving into the many subtle and nuanced versions of chai.
  8. I’ve always known I wanted to write historicals, but my first attempts were with Regencies, mainly because that’s what I enjoyed reading at the time.  I learned quickly, though, that my voice just didn’t lend itself to that sub-genre.    It took a while, but I finally found my home in Americana stories and have been happily writing books with that setting ever since.
 More on Winnie's Latest Release...The Bride Next Door

Love Thy Neighbor? 

After years of wandering, Daisy Johnson hopes to settle in Turnabout, Texas, open a restaurant, perhaps find a husband. Of course, she'd envisioned a man who actually likes her. Not someone who offers a marriage of convenience to avoid scandal.

Turnabout is just a temporary stop for newspaper reporter Everett Fulton. Thanks to one pesky connecting door and a local gossip, he's suddenly married, but his dreams of leaving haven't changed. What Daisy wants - home, family, tenderness - he can't provide. Yet big-city plans are starting to pale beside small-town warmth...


Thanks for sharing with us today, Winnie! I can't wait to read this book (isn't Turnabout the best name for a town? Love it!)

Winnie has graciously offered a copy of The Bride Next Door OR any book from her backlist. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment with a way to contact you by 11:59 PDT Sunday, June 16.


One more thing...

I'm guest posting on Christine Lindsay's blog this week. Click here to come say hi!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stealing the Preacher

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer is a fast-paced, fun read set among the cowboy-and-outlaw filled cattle ranches of 1880’s Texas.

Crockett Archer is on the train, heading to an interview for a job as a preacher, when the train is held up by bandits. The crooks don’t want watches, jewels, or bank notes, however. What they want is him.

Former outlaw Silas Robbins can’t say no to his daughter Joanna, and when she says she wants a preacher for her birthday, he’s determined to do give her what she wants. Her church has been empty for two years and she wants a pastor in their town to nurture the townsfolk’s spiritual lives. When her dad literally kidnaps a preacher for her, however, she is shocked by her father’s criminal act, but also hopeful. She’s been praying for a pastor. Could Crocket Archer be the one?

The premise of the story is a great hook, and the quick-paced plot kept me captivated. The characters are mature believers who are disappointed when God doesn’t answer their prayers how they wish. How they handle that disappointment is a key part of the story, and serves as an encouragement for the reader. Anyone in ministry can relate to aspects of Crockett’s struggles, and it’s always nice to see a pastor character who isn’t perfect yet humbly grows when God offers him lessons.

Karen Witemeyer is a gifted storyteller and fans of inspirational historical romance won’t be disappointed with this offering. 

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mismatched Teacups

The month of May marked the end of a trial small group in which I was a happy participant. Unlike other small groups I'd been a part of, this one had a unique purpose: the women gathered together were something of a practicum for the two leaders, students in a Masters program for Spiritual Formation.

Using the techniques they'd learned, our leaders, K and B, guided us with Scripture and walked beside us as we learned to identify ways God might be leading us.

What a blessing this group was (so much so that we decided to continue meeting). But at our gathering in May which ended the time of K and B's school assignment, K decided to commemorate our time together with the gift of teacups. She'd laid out several cups and saucers, and we could select one of each. There was a catch: our cups couldn't match our saucers.
My mismatched cup and saucer

The teacups and saucers were a bit like us, after all. Our group was comprised of women from different backgrounds, a mixture of ages and stages of life. Our skin wasn't all the same color. Some of us had babies while others had adult children. We had not been raised in the same denomination.

Sometimes, things don't seem like they should go together. They don't match. But when you put them together, they work. And they don't just function with the minimum of adequacy, but they hum with energy and shine with radiance. Our mismatched teacups and saucers looked good. Better yet, they were something we could take home and use, rich in the reminder of the group that blessed us and how God can put things together.

Thanks to K for my cup. Oh--I should mention K did pick out my saucer for me. She'd turned it over and saw the pattern was called Regency. Knowing me, she thought I'd like it for the name alone. Of course I do! (But I also love the little man in his Regency attire. He reminds me a bit of the Mad Hatter, but that's another tea party entirely.)

Where has God made matches out of mismatches in your life? Are there places where you can work things together, with God's help, for good?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Diamond in the Rough Giveaway!

This week on the Inkwell, we're celebrating the release of Diamond in the Rough, first in the Charm & Deceit series, co-authored by Jennifer AlLee and Lisa Karon Richardson.

I'm hosting the party today--which means it's a bit goofy. Somehow, Hugh Jackman is involved in a 3-legged race and-- well, just visit and see what's up.

As for the book we're celebrating, well, I love this book. It's funny but also has some pointed comments about hate and redemption. Run over to the Inkwell and enter to win the copy! (Or to Amazon to pick it up!)

Here's more info:

Grant Diamond is a professional gambler on the run from his past. When he comes across a wagon wreck, the chance to escape his pursuers is too good a gamble to pass up, and he assumes the identity of the dead wagon driver. His plan takes an unexpected turn when local heiress Lily Rose mistakes him for the missionary she had asked to come work with the Wiyot Indians. Seeing Eureka as a promising place to lay low, Grant plays along. Before he knows it, he's bluffing his way through sermons and building an Indian school. But with a Pinkerton on his trail and a rancher rousing fresh hatred against the Indians, Grant fears the new life he's built may soon crumple like a house of cards.