Monday, March 31, 2008

New Contest Theme!

This week, we welcome Delia Latham as our special guest judge. Delia's latest release, Goldeneyes, has a beautiful theme that we are going to utilize for this week's contest.

Submit a true story, 1500 words or less, to me at tracyruckman [at] by Friday for your chance to win your choice of an autographed copy of Goldeneyes OR a Goldeneyes t-shirt. Your entry must focus on this theme:

Never stop believing that God has a reason for every incident in your life. He does, and His purpose will be manifested in time, always to your good and His glory.

More about our guest judge:

Delia lives in Bakersfield, California with her husband, Johnny. Her four adult children and four “wonderful, absolutely perfect” grandchildren daily light up her life.

A former newspaper Staff Writer, Delia is now an occasional contributor to her hometown’s regional publication, Bakersfield Magazine. She also writes greeting card verse, short stories, articles, and songs. Her editing and proofing skills have been utilized by numerous authors, including Dr. Chuck Wall, founder of the Random Acts of Kindness movement.

A debut novel, Almost Like a Song, was released in June 2006; Goldeneyes will be released March 30, 2008 by Vintage Romance Publishing. Delia’s work is included in an upcoming short story anthology, The Shortstack: 20 Stories to Fill You Up.

Learn more about Delia and her books on her blog.

I'll post the entries as they arrive. If you have a website, send the link, and I'll link to it when I post your entry.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

You Made It So Tough!

I've struggled with naming a winner this week - all of the entries had beautiful photos. I finally pulled in some other opinions and our decisions came down to this:

Each of the contestants had at least one exceptional photo out of the three they submitted, so I had to move to a 2nd photo, to choose the winner:

Congratulations, Lauralee Bliss, with your Appalachian Trail entry!

Thanks to all of you for submitting your entries. If you'd like me to critique your photos, just send me an email, and I'll share my thoughts with you about each of them.

Next week is already shaping up to be a BUSY one on this blog - so check back on Monday for our next contest!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Entry: Appalachian Trail

Submitted by
Lauralee Bliss

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Photo contest is open 'til Friday - so get your photos to me by then for your chance to win. In the meantime, check out this new release:

This week, the

is introducing


Tyndale House Publishers (February 6, 2008)



As the child of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than twenty. She has more than a dozen books in print, including political/suspense best-seller CrossFire and the Parker Twins series.


Fires smolder endlessly below the dangerous surface of Guatemala City’s municipal dump.

Deadlier fires seethe beneath the tenuous calm of a nation recovering from brutal civil war. Anthropologist Vicki Andrews is researching Guatemala’s “garbage people” when she stumbles across a human body. Curiosity turns to horror as she uncovers no stranger, but an American environmentalist—Vicki’s only sister, Holly.

With authorities dismissing the death as another street crime, Vicki begins tracing Holly’s last steps, a pilgrimage leading from slum squalor to the breathtaking and endangered cloud forests of the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere. But every unraveled thread raises more questions. What betrayal connects Holly’s murder, the recent massacre of a Mayan village, and the long-ago deaths of Vicki’s own parents?

Nor is Vicki the only one demanding answers. Before her search reaches its startling end, the conflagration has spilled across international borders to threaten an American administration and the current war on terror. With no one turning out to be who they’d seemed, who can Vicki trust and who should she fear?

A politically relevant tale of international intrigue and God’s redemptive beauty and hope.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Entry: Spring Has Sprung

Submitted by:
Rachel Winslett

Entry: Beach Sunset

Submitted by
Katie D

Entry: Seasons

Submitted by
Debbie Roome

Monday, March 24, 2008

Are Pictures Worth 1,000 Words?

We haven't had a photography contest in quite a while, and Spring always inspires me, so I'm thinking it may inspire some of you Pixels, too!

This week, send me up to three photos for your entry - any subject. If you can, tell us a story with your pictures - no words allowed. Or just share the beauty of the moment. The theme doesn't have to be spring - it can be whatever you choose. (If people are in your photo, I will need signed releases before I can post them online.)

The winner will receive a 3-Pack! Three books, that is. If your photos are chosen as the winner, you'll receive a copy of:

Linda Windsor's For Pete's Sake (The Piper Cove Chronicles #2)

Robin Lee Hatcher's The Perfect Life


Andrew Peterson's On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Submit your entry to me at tracyruckman [at] by Friday for your chance to win. I'll post the entries as they arrive, and will announce the winner on Saturday.

For Pete's Sake

This week, the

is introducing

Book Two of the Piper Cove Chronicles

(Avon Inspire - April 1, 2008)



Maryland author Linda Windsor has written some twenty-nine historical and contemporary novels for both the secular and inspirational markets, but she is most noted for delivering “The Lift of Laughter and Spirit” in her modern inspirational romances.

A Christy finalist and winner of numerous industry awards, Linda has written for Multnomah Publishing (historical fiction and contemporary romances), Barbour Publishing (romcom novella), and Westbow Press (the Moonstruck romantic comedy trilogy). Wedding Bell Blues the first book in her new The Piper Cove Chronicles series, is featured on Avon Inspire's launch list.

In addition to writing and doing fiction-writing workshops at conferences across the country, Linda continues a music and lay speaking ministry started by her and her late husband, and she is a part-time financial analyst. She also works on “as desperately needed” home improvement projects on the 18th-century-plus house that she and her husband began restoring in 1986. Wallpaper and paint are definitely in her near future.


Saturday, April 5th, 2008
Jack's Religious Gift Shop
701 Snow Hill Road
Salisbury, MD 21804

Saturday, April 12, 2008
The Gospel Shop
800 South Salisbury Blvd
Salisbury, MD 21801
11:00 AM


For Pete's Sake is a remarkable story about the unlikely live between a grown-up tomboy and the millionaire next door.

Ellen Brittingham isn’t sure true live exists until she contracts to do the landscaping of the estate of the sophisticated widower next door, Adrian Sinclair. Adrian has it all—at least on the surface, He’s engaged to a beautiful woman who helped him build a successful business and he’ll soon have a mom for his troubled son Pete.

Yet, from the moment Ellen rescues a stranded Adrian on her Harley, his well-ordered world turns upside down, cracking his thin façade of happiness and revealing the void of faith and love behind it. Even more, his son seems to have his own sites set on Ellen – as his new mom.

As Ellen’s friendship grows with Pete, she realizes that his father is about to marry the wrong woman for the right reasons. And despite her resolve to remain “neighbors only” with the dad, the precocious boy works his way into her heart, drawing Ellen and Adrian closer. Close enough for heartbreak, for Pete’s sake!

But how can her heart think that Adrian Sinclair is the one when he’s engaged to a sophisticated beauty who is everything Ellen isn’t. When Ellen’s three best friends see she’s been bitten by the love bug, they jump into action and submit her to a makeover that reveals the woman underneath her rough exterior and puts her in contention for Adrian’s love.

But Ellen must ask herself whether she’s ready to risk the heart that she’s always held close. Will Ellen be able to trust that God brought this family into her life for a reason? Or will her fear of getting hurt cause her to turn away from God’s plan and her one true chance at love?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

This Week's Winner is...

Congratulations to Tereasa Bellew - she won the drawing for the T-shirt provided by C.J. Lyons!!

I asked Tereasa to tell us about herself:

Deep in the woods on a rural dirt road, I share the house with my husband of thirty years and son- last child at home. As a mother of three, I now fill my time with cooking for my grandkids and gardening for pleasure. I can often be found curled up reading a new novel or plotting through one of my own. I write comtempory suspense and am waiting for the moment when I can say- sold!

You can visit Tereasa on her MySpace page.

Thanks again to C.J. Lyons for her valuable input this week - we appreciate you very much. Be sure to get your copy of her latest release - LifeLines.

Next contest will announced on Monday.

A blessed and happy Easter, my Pixels.

Be sure to check out the YouTube video on Robin Lee Hatcher's blog. It will touch your heart on this special, Holy weekend.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Are You Loved?

We'll announce the winner of a t-shirt from C.J. Lyons tomorrow - thanks for all your great scenes.

A big thank you to C.J. for the time she spent helping us all. Even though I didn't have a medical scene I needed right away, her comments will prove useful to me in the future. Thanks, C.J.!!

I just saw a video over at Robin Lee Hatcher's blog.

I encourage you to go view it -just click on her name. As you watch the video, please remember this:

You are loved. This much.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Entry: Medical Scene #3

This entry comes from our New Zealand friend, Debbie Roome:

Hi CJ,

I would appreciate any comments about inaccuracies or anything that doesn't ring true in this piece.

The ER was quiet the day Dennis Riley was admitted. Maybe that was why he attracted more attention than he normally would have. He was secured by four point restraints to the gurney and alternated between screaming in pain and whimpering like a whipped dog.

“29 year old jumper.” the paramedic rattled off as they rushed him in. "Jumped three storeys at his place of employment. Heart rate 98. Bp 160 over 120. Pupils dilated. Multiple contusions, suspected fracture to left thigh."

Dr Lee Stratten, flanked by interns and nurses took charge of the case. “One, two, three." Dennis was successfully shifted onto the ER bed and once again restrained.

He was battling to make sense of where he was. Thoughts flashed erratically through his mind. He remembered feeling depressed. Deeply depressed, as though he was trapped in a pit; a mine shaft, narrow, close and suffocating. And then he had been sitting at his desk, sweating and clammy. Some one had been after him. The only way out had been through the window. A strangled scream forced its way out of his throat. “Please.” he begged. “Don’t let them get me.” He struggled beneath the restraints and a searing pain shot through his left leg.

Someone was bending over him. Stabs of light. Cold hands pulling his eyelids open. “Calm down Dennis. We’re trying to help you.” Voices asking questions he could not answer. His tongue was a wedge of cardboard, swelling like a bloated sponge and slowly blocking his airway. The questions continued: “Can you hear us Dennis? Have you taken any drugs today?”

A new voice in the background. A woman this time. "I’ve spoken to his employers, Dr Stratten. He seems to be a stable person. Single. No relatives in town.” Tears began to roll down Dennis’s face as he battled to suck in air. Alone. he thought to himself. Alone and worthless.

The doctor was giving directions. “Chest, head and leg films. Drug screen. Call his employers back and try and locate his GP. This looks like a drug problem. If he tests positive, call the cops and get them to check out his background.” Dennis could hear his heels clicking away.

Help me! he wanted to call out, but his mouth refused to respond. He felt numb, paralysed. With great effort he forced his eyes open. The bland fluorescent tubes above his head were the last thing he saw before his back whipped up and thrust him brutally on to the bed again. Help me! he cried again in his mind. White hot pain engulfed his entire body. In the fog he heard someone shouting “Code blue!”

Submitted by
Debbie Roome

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Entry: Medical Scene #2

Here's another entry - this one from Karri Compton:

Thank you, CJ for your time and kindness.

My entry is an excerpt from a short story of mine. My heroine has crashed her car and is now waking up in the hospital with a brace around her neck. My questions are: 1) Would the doctor or nurse tell the patient what injuries she has sustained as soon as she awakens? 2) What injuries do you think a person would sustain after driving into a tree or telephone pole? 3) My heroine's injuries are not important to the story, but how could I put in a few more details about her hospital stay to make it more realistic?

Thanks in advance for whatever help you can give. ~~

Voices. Mom? Sienna? Oh, God, my neck. Reality intruded upon her. Blurs of light and dark swam before T.J.'s eyes. She blinked, trying to rid her mind of the fog that threatened to consume her. She felt a bulky brace of some sort around her neck. A strange man spoke to her.

"T.J. Can you hear me? Blink again if you do."

"Wha…?" She could hear, but as for talking–she must have had cotton shoved down her throat. So she just blinked. Still blurry.

"I'm the shift nurse. Don't try to talk, just rest. You're at St. Vincent's Hospital and we're taking care of you. Your mom and friend are here to see you if you're ready."

T.J. nodded, since the words forming in her mouth wouldn't come out. Tears ran down her cheeks onto the thin white sheet under her. She winced while trying to move her stiff limbs. Fear gripped her as well as confusion, until she saw her mom's familiar face.

"Hi, Honey. I've been here since yesterday and Sienna will be here soon. Don't worry about a thing. You were in an accident, but you'll pull through. You're a living miracle."

The fact that T.J. felt her mom squeeze her hand repeatedly was a good sign. My watch. Where is it? She reached for the chain that should be around her neck. Her mom must've known what she wanted, and pressed the watch into her hand.

"So tired." T.J's strength waned, and all she wanted was sleep to engulf her in its inky darkness. She heard her mom say something about letting her rest again, so she kept her eyes closed while her mind raced in a whirlwind of information. No vision this time, just a misty collage of recent revelations. Dad the beaten, Dad the beater, Dad arguing with his psychiatrist, Mom finally saying he had to go.

Submitted by
Karri Compton--reviewer, writer

Monday, March 17, 2008

Entry: Medical Scene #1

Our first entry submitted her scene and a question:

Hi C.J.,

Thanks so much for the generous offer! I'm stumbling here, probably because I've never seen a gunshot wound, or the damage it can do. My hero has been shot from several feet away. Of course, he mustn't die, but I don't know what part of anatomy specifically could be shot at close range and the victim survive.

Can you recommend a few good websites for medical injuries?

Thanks again for all your help!
Tereasa Bellew

Here's my scene:

Several hours passed before the doctor finally entered the waiting room. "Mrs. Harrington?" he asked. A sterile mask hung down around his neck, and she noticed his long, tapered fingers. Steady, capable hands reached inside his surgical pocket, and she couldn’t help but think how neatly manicured his nails were.

She shook her head, wondering why the strangest things stand out during stress. "No, um...I'm not his wife, just a friend... we're just good friends."

"Well, you can count your blessings,” the doctor said, holding up a shell casing. “Mr. Harrington’s a lucky guy. There wasn’t a lot of tissue damage with this single caliber. He should make a full recovery.”

Linda breathed a sigh of relief, thankful for those reassuring words. “That’s wonderful.”

The doctor sat in the chair beside her. "He's lost a lot of blood, which required additional blood to be given. I understand you helped slow the bleeding by compressing the wound.”

She nodded, unable to speak as she recalled the bloodied bathrobe she’d held in place as she knelt beside him.

“You saved his life. We're taking him to ICU and as soon as the staff has him resting comfortably, you can see him. But only for a few minutes. He'll probably be groggy. I'm not sure he'll even know you're there."

She wiped away fresh tears and then her nose, which was fast becoming sore. "Thank you Doctor, yes...I need to see him, even if it's just for a minute."

Doctor in the House!

This week, our contest is a bit different and very helpful thanks to the idea and hard work of our special guest, C.J. Lyons.

Submit your best 500-words-or-less MEDICAL SCENE. I'll post the entries as they come in, and C.J. will critique them and give you pointers to help improve them. Also, if you have questions or comments for her about writing medical scenes, leave them here under this post, and she'll try to answer them for you. She'll be hanging out with us all week, so feel free to get active and make her feel welcome.

She won't be judging the entries - she felt it wouldn't be fair to judge one 500-word scene - but we will be drawing a winner's name randomly from all entries and commenters to win a specially-designed t-shirt provided by C.J.
Submit your entry to me at tracyruckman [at] by this Friday, March 21st, for help, and for a chance to win.

Here's more about our guest:

Award-winning medical suspense author CJ Lyons is a physician trained in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, rape, homicide and Munchausen by Proxy and has worked in numerous trauma centers, as a crisis counselor, victim advocate, as well as a flight physician for Life Flight. Publisher's Weekly proclaimed her debut medical suspense novel, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), "a spot-on debut….a breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller" and Romantic Times made it a Top Pick. Contact her at

Welcome, C.J. and THANKS!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Winners, Winners, Winners!

We had a record number of entries this week, and I have to admit, you made it difficult to choose which blurbs were best. Since we had so many, I have decided that in addition to the two prize winners, I will also award two honorable mentions - and that means I have to change up the prizes a bit.

The top two winners were going to receive a critique of their synopsis or first chapter, but NOW, instead, they'll receive a critique of their synopsis or first TWO chapters.

The two honorable mentions will receive a critique of their synopsis or first chapter.

Be sure to drop by the winners websites and blogs and congratulate them!

Congratulations to Top Winners:

Gina Conroy, with her back cover blurb for:

Digging Up Death

As television hostess of "Archeology Today," professor Mari Duggins is in line for her dream job as morning show hostess at KTXL. Happily married with three kids, she has everything money can buy. But looks can be deceiving. Underneath her confident façade, Mari harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her career and marriage.

Then Mari's colleague is murdered and her husband is accused of stealing an Egyptian artifact. Compelled to clear her husband's name, Mari digs up dirt on those close to her.

Can Mari uncover the truth before her world caves in? Or will the truth bury her alive?


Beverly Linbo, for her entry:

Fire in My Bones

Betsy O’Brien is reeling from the recent death of her husband, when she learns the adoption of her baby, Emma, is in jeopardy. Rather than face the chance that the baby will be taken from her, she and Emma leave behind their once perfect life and flee.

Fear of discovery haunts her even as she tries to establish a new life, sufferinga profound loss of faith as she confronts betrayal by someone she trusts.

Distraught and desperate, she seeks help from the pastor of the local church and discovers the abundant grace of God.

Congratulations to our Honorable Mentions:

Tyora Moody, with her back cover blurb for:

When Rain Falls

Whatever doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger. CANDACE JOHNSON doesn’t care about being strong, but she would like rest for her weary soul. Frightening nightmares linked to a traumatic event from her childhood has affected her sleep and mental health. She has moved on with her life, but the past insists on walking beside her like an unwanted visitor.

When a close friend is murdered, Candace is determined to seek justice. The only problem. Somebody knows about Candace’s deeply hidden secret. Her quest for justice soon turns into a desperate struggle for her reputation and her life.


L. Nuchell for the back cover blurb for:

The Same Old No-Good So-and-So

After spending sixteen years in and out of jail, Bo Sampson vows to turn his life around and become a ‘real’ father to his five children. His inability to find a decent job and his secret passion for art land him in the middle of his former jail warden’s extramarital trysts. Family reconciliation is put on hold when the warden’s mistress is found beaten and comatose. Bo is the first to admit he’s a thief, but he’d never hurt a woman. Can he clear his name and convince his family, especially his oldest daughter, that he’s not the ‘same old no-good’ Bo?

Congratulations, Winners! Just email your submission for critique to tracyruckman [at] - just be sure to put in the subject line "contest winner" so I'll be sure to see it.

To the rest of the contestants - thanks so much for participating. I was thrilled with all the entries and look forward to reading more about your stories in the coming months.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Don't forget to get your BACK COVER BLURBS to me by Friday, midnight (Central) for your chance to win a free critique. Check below for all the details.

We have another review this week, and I can't say enough good about Sweet Caroline. It was delightful. Very few books surprise me with plot twists and scenes as this one did - I literally gasped three different times as the story unfolded. The characters are real, the settings are rich - it's just a wonderful book that you don't want to miss.

This week, the

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson February 12, 2008)



I graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism. As a member of Phi Mu sorority, I partied my way though the last few years of college.

But, the truth is, and always will be, I belong to Jesus. At the age of six, I knelt at the altar of a Tulsa Methodist church and gave my life to the One who loves me.

After graduation, hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, determined to see the world. And I did it without a laptop, a cell phone, an IPod or portable DVD player. Those were hard times.

But, I traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine. But, life on the road is difficult. Working twelve to fourteen hour days, one doesn't get to see many of the sites. In Ireland, our company's distributor drove me around at night so I could see something of Dublin.

I met Tony, my husband, in '87, at church, of all places. We got married in '92. Tony has been a pastor for twenty years. I've worked with him in eighteen of those twenty. Our heart is to see teens and adults passionate, radical and whole hearted for Jesus.

Tony and I don't have any children of our own, lots of kids-in-the-Lord and we love them all. However, we do have a very spoiled dog, and an even more spoiled cat.

I've always wanted to be a writer. My dad used to tell me, "You're a writer." I have letters he wrote me post college, exhorting me to write. In this, I believe he had the heart of God.

In '93, I started an epic WW2 novel with two plots. It was well rejected. After that ordeal, I took a break and put efforts into my job as a software project manager. But, I missed writing and in late ' 99, I took up the craft again.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. I love writing chick lit and romance. I love writing. What an honor.

Rachel has several other books that have been received with great praise, including Diva Nash Vegas and Lost In Nash Vegas

You can purchase copies of Rachel's books, signed personally for you,at this site: Signed by the


When a Southern waitress inherits the Lowcountry cafe where she works, she suddenly has to balance more than just her next food order.

Caroline Sweeney has always done the right thing--the responsible, dependable thing--unlike her mother who abandoned her family. But when her best friend challenges her to accept an exciting job adventure in Barcelona, Spain, Caroline says "yes" to destiny.

Then, without warning, ownership of the run-down cafe where she's been waitressing falls right into Caroline's lap. While she's trying to determine the cafe's future, handsome Deputy Sherriff J.D. Rand captures Caroline's heart.

But when her first love, Mitch O'Neal, comes back to town, fresh from the heat of his newly-found fame as a country music singer in Nashville, Caroline must make some hard choices about love and the pursuit of the sweet life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Perfect Life...and a Reminder

Just a reminder that the BACK COVER BLURB contest is still going on! Get your 100-words or less blurb to me by this Friday at tracyruckman [at] for your chance to win a free critique of your synopsis or first chapter!

Recommendation: I loved this book! A very satisfying read.

This week, the

is introducing

Thomas Nelson (February 5, 2008)



Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon.She also likes to blog. Go leave her a comment at Write Thinking!


Katherine Clarkson has the perfect life. Married to Brad, a loving and handsome husband, respected in their church and the community. Two grown daughters on the verge of starting families of their own. A thriving ministry. Good friends. A comfortable life.

She has it all--until the day a reporter appears with shocking allegations. Splashed across the local news are accusations of Brad's financial impropriety at his foundation and worse, an affair with a former employee. Without warning, Katherine's marriage is shattered and her family torn apart. The reassuring words she's spoken to many brokenhearted women over the years offer little comfort now.

Her world spinning, Katherine wonders if she can find the truth in the chaos that consumes her. How can she survive the loss of what she thought was the perfect life?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Win A Free Critique of Synopsis or 1st Chapter

This week, we're looking at back cover blurbs. Send us the blurb for your unpublished and uncontracted manuscript - fiction or non-fiction. I won't post the entries as they arrive, but I will post the entries of the top two winners.

I'll provide the top two winners with a free critique of a synopsis or first chapter - winner's choice - of the winning manuscript.

Submit your 100-words-or-less back cover blurb to me in the body of an email at tracyruckman [at] by Friday, March 14th for your chance to win!

Winners will be announced, and blurbs posted on Saturday, March 15th.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More Chances to Win!

This week, the

is introducing

Bethany House (February 1, 2008)


Julie Carobini is an award-winning writer whose stories often spotlight her family, the sea, and God's timely work in the lives of those around her. She lives with her husband, Dan, and their three children in Ventura Beach, California.She also likes to blog! Go leave her a comment at Waves of Grace.

Julie left you all a special message:

To celebrate my upcoming CFBA tour March 5-7, I'll be giving away a copy of Truffles by the Sea AND and a 1/2 lb. box of yummy truffles to three of your readers.

All they need to do is drop by my blog during the tour and leave a comment and a way to contact them if they win!


If you read Julie's first book, Chocolate Beach, then you might remember Gaby as Bri’s dramatic, lovesick best friend. Unfortunately, things get worse—much worse—for her before they get…well, best not to give it away.

Sometimes all a girl has left is chocolate...Gaby Flores has a penchant for drama and an unfortunate knack for dating Mr. So Wrong. After breaking off yet another relationship, watching her apartment building burn to the ground, and discovering that her dippy delivery guy has run off with most of her business, Gaby decides it’s time to turn things around.

So she moves to a tiny waterfront loft and takes on a new motto: “Be gullible no more!” With help from her friends, she works to rebuild her flower shop—and her life. But when legal troubles and quirky neighbors and two surprising romances enter her beachy world, Gaby’s motto and fledgling faith are put to the test.
Can a young woman prone to disaster in both work and love finally find happily ever after?

"Truffles by the Sea is delightful! Julie Carobini has a new fan in this reader, and she's earned a spot on my keeper shelf." --Kay James,

"This book is a delight to read, and the author has us rooting for Gaby from page one. This girl's never-say-die attitude is incredible, and her life is filled with all kinds of foibles. This is chick lit with heart – about so much more than finding a man.... While keeping the light chick lit tone, this book satisfied while avoiding the tired old formulas. Just when I’m ready to give up on the genre, I stumble across an author who can write without relying on stereotypes." --Cara Putman,

"I liked Julie Carobini's first novel, Chocolate Beach, but her sophomore release, Truffles By The Sea, greatly surpasses it. I thoroughly enjoyed Carobini's second book and felt her writing was much stronger throughout. The characters are deeper and yet funnier – a great combination.... It's a great read for a cold winter day – you can curl up with the book, a nice fire and pretend you're the one by the sea." --Jill Hart,

Monday, March 3, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Our special guest judge, Virginia Smith, sent the following announcement:

"I love all three entries! As I read them, I realized I’d made a grave error in selecting a theme for this contest – I’m a sucker for sister stories. How can I possibly choose between these three wonderful essays? Patty Wysong’s relationship with her sister is very much like mine, sassy and fun and deeply understanding of each other. B.J. Hamrick’s statement, “Molly’s been there for me through everything” really struck a chord in me, and I love their ‘crooked’ relationship. And nobody could fail to be moved by Debbie Roome’s tribute to her sister Leanne; my sisters, too, are my ‘biggest fans.’ All three of these lucky women are winners, because they all have awesome sisters. Do you know how wonderful and special that is? I hope you treasure those relationships as much as I treasure mine with my sisters.

I know this is cheating, but I couldn’t pick one. So I picked all three. I will send a copy of my new book, Stuck in the Middle to each of the three ladies who wrote an essay, along with my hearty “THANK YOU!” for sharing your stories and your relationships with me and the readers of Pix-n-Pens."

Tracy here - Congratulations Patty, B.J., and Debbie - please email me your mailing addresses so we can get your prizes to you!

A special thank you to our guest judge this week for a very unique contest. Thanks, Ginny - you are very much appreciated!!!

I'll be announcing the next contest momentarily, so check back a bit later for details.