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, September 30, 2013

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Elaine K for winning Julianna Deering's Rules of Murder.

Elaine, I'll be in touch! Thanks to all who entered. And thanks to Julianna, for sharing with us and offering a giveaway!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ten Things with Author Julianna Deering...And a Giveaway!

 Today we Welcome Julianna Deering to Tea and a Good Book!

 Julianna is a multi-published author, and her latest release from Bethany House is a 1930's murder mystery!
 1.    I am the proud "mother" of three cats:  Eloise, Elizabeth and Petie.  I've had cats pretty much all my life, but Peite has turned my house upside down.  He brings new meaning to the phrase "terrible twos," and he's only just turned one!  But he makes me laugh every day and I wouldn't trade him for a million dollars.  I love all three of them more than I can say.

2.    I love music.  I played the oboe and the bassoon when I was in junior high and high school.  I played the piano when I was in college.  I sang with my church's music team for nearly eighteen years.  I loved all of it, but sadly, I've let it all go.  I miss it, too.  Maybe someday I'll at least get back into singing.

3.    I absolutely love NHL hockey.  Yes, I was born and raised in Texas, so I came to the sport late in life, but it's tremendous fun to watch and I can't wait for the new season to start.  Go Stars! 

4.    When I was growing up, I loved to read, but I had no plan whatsoever to be a writer.  But I used to write episodes for my favorite TV shows.  Just to entertain myself.

5.    I have an idea for a fantasy/adventure story.  I'm going to write it as soon as I get some free time.  It's probably crazy and unsellable, but I want to write it anyway, even if nobody ever sees it but me.

6.    I cannot be trusted around chocolate.

7.    I love book series.  I enjoy reading about the same characters over a long period of time.  It's like spending time with old friends.  However, I don't like it when a series becomes something very different from what it started out to be.  If an author can't keep it interesting within the premise I liked in the first place, it's better just to end it.

8.    I secretly want to direct movies and plays.  I think that's why I write.  I can have the greatest costumes and sets and actors all for the cost of a pencil and paper and a little imagination.

9.    I love to sew.  I'm a quilter mostly, but I also do cross stitch and embroidery.  Right now I'm on a hand applique kick.  It's a challenge at times, but I love it.

10.    I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing apart from God through Jesus Christ.

Mystery in the style of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers!
Julianna Deering has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage.  This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity.  A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey.  Her first books, written as DeAnna Julie Dodson, are In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances.  More recently, she has written four contemporary Annie's Attic Mysteries:  Letters in the Attic, The Key in the Attic, The Diary in the Attic and The Legacy in the Attic.  Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuts with Rules of Murder and will be followed by Death by the Book in March, 2014.  She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (wendy@booksandsuch.biz). 
Thanks for sharing with us today, Julianna!

Julianna has graciously offered to give a copy of Rules of Murder to one lucky commenter! To enter the drawing, please include a way to contact you in your comment. Winner will be drawn at random Sunday, Sept 29, at 11:59 pm EDT and announced here Monday, Sept 30.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rules of Murder

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering is a 1930’s set murder mystery, first in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, published by Bethany House.

English gentleman Drew Farthering and his faithful friend Nick love mysteries, but they are the sort of fellows who read them, not solve them. Until, that is, they return to the estate Drew shares with his mother and stepfather, only to find a houseful of guests—and the man sleeping in Drew’s own bedchamber is reputed to be his mother’s lover. Drew is enraged, and the only thing that can cheer him is the arrival of his stepfather’s American niece, Madeline. They enjoy one another’s company at his mother’s party the next evening, until they stumble upon the corpse of his mother’s lover on the grounds.

 Drew and Nick are quick to help the local police. They know the “Rules of Murder”: that is, a good author should never include secret passages, easily-identifiable foreign suspects, or other tricks of convenience. The mystery before Drew, Nick, and Madeline, however, seems to break every rule. Meanwhile, red herrings and blackmail come to light, as the murders keep occurring.  And they’re far too close to Drew for comfort.

As is evident from the cover, the story is a nostalgic homage to Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie, yet maintains a voice all its own. It’s a mystery, not a suspense, and while a romantic thread is certainly in the book, the journey of Drew and Madeline’s romance is not paramount. The mystery is what matters most, and it’s a doozy. The story is clean, to boot—there’s no problem sharing this with teens.

Meanwhile, Drew realizes his relationship with God isn’t what it should be, and he takes the first steps of faith.

I thoroughly enjoyed Rules of Murder and look forward to the next books in the series!
Julianna Deering

This book was provided by Bethany House for this review. A positive review was neither promised nor expected.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Home from ACFW

I'm home from Indianapolis!

What a weekend. I hugged internet friends for the first time, met new people, learned a lot in the workshops, dressed in a Regency gown, and had a pretty big night at the gala.

Photo: ACFW gala celebration!!
With my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, after winning the 2013 Genesis Contest, Historical Romance Category
 I can't wait to fill you in when I get a bit more sleep!

Until then, thank you for the prayers you offered on my behalf. It was an amazing time!

Monday, September 2, 2013

What to Pack to ACFW, Part Two, Plus a Regency Gown

I enlisted the help of the Inkwell Inkies and got some great advice as to what to pack when I leave for American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference. To read about what I learned, click here.

Speaking of Conference, I'm getting excited and really, really nervous. I'm working on pitches, one-sheets, planning my schedule, arranging transportation, and having a great time with Debra E. Marvin as we prepare my costume for the genre dinner. She is not only a talented writer and sweet friend, she's an imaginative, amazing seamstress and a very gracious gal.

The costume is so amazing (in my not-so-humble opinion) and it deserves its own blog post, with pictures. It'll be a fun post about Regency-era clothes, too, since Deb has gone out of her way to use era-authentic patterns for my chemise, stays, and gown. No zippers or buttons, folks. Just hooks and eyes, ribbon (tapes), and lots of lacing. I will get a good idea how Jane Austen and my Regency heroines felt.

Stay tuned!