Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Contests Galore!

I'm busy at work on the premier issue of Waterfall Books. Yes, I tend to procrastinate, but there have been a number of changes in my life since I first conceived the concept of this enewsletter. One directly impacts Waterfall Books, and I'll share the details in the newsletter (which will hopefully arrive in the inbox of subscribers tomorrow!).

I awarded the influencer packs (two of which have to be mailed to the Philippines - my bank account is cowering in fear), but there's still the subscriber grand prize to be awarded. For the sake of my bank account, the randomly chosen subscriber must offer a US address, or be willing to provide the shipping cost difference, or they can pass on the prize pack and I'll award it to another subscriber.

But, I'm not awarding the prize until tomorrow, so there's still time to subscribe and enter!

The pack consists of:

Eden Hall by Veronica Heley
Every Fixed Star by Jane Kirkpatrick
Sins of the Fathers by James Scott Bell (some black markings - received it that way from the publisher)
A Nest of Sparrows by Deborah Raney
King's Ransom by Jan Beazely and Thom Lemmons
Only Glory Awaits by Leslie S. Nuermberg
Love Rekindled by Candi Adermatt

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mission: Russia

I first fell in love with Susan May Warren's writing with her Team Hope series (though I had enjoyed Ekaterina - co-written with Susan K. Downs - earlier). In her Mission: Russia series, she brings her trademark romantic suspense (I'm not sure who does the genre better, Susie or her friend Dee Henderson) back to the country where she and her family served as missionaries.

In Sheep's Clothing has doubtful missionary Gracie Benson stumbling onto a murder scene. Terrified, she flees. FSB agent Vicktor Shubnikov recognizes the kills as trademark of a man simply known as the Wolf. Gracie could be next, but how can Vicktor protect her when she thinks Vicktor is the threat?

In Sands of Time, medical missionary Sarai Curtiss watches helplessly as two children die from an unexplained illness. A government takeover brings a 48-hour notice for all foreigners to leave the area, but Sarai can't abandon her work and the clinic she is about to open. Her brother David asks Roman Novik, the man whose heart she shattered years ago, to get her out in time. Roman still loves her, and while he's realistic about her rebuffs of nearly a decade, he still hopes for a miracle. But Sarai's not happy to see him, and she's not leaving without a fight.

Filled with compelling characters, haunting secrets, and twisting plots, these novels are a must-read for romantic suspense. (The only good reason they should wait in your to-be-read pile is if you're in the middle of one of Susie's Team Hope novels.) I give both novels the Waterfall Books rating of Cascade, though In Sheep's Clothing is my favorite of the two (likely because I can't see myself breaking a guy's heart because I feared for his safety and disagreed with his occupation).

Monday, November 27, 2006

An Amazing Influencer

Like the graphic above? It's not mine. Rachelle Arlin Credo created it for a website to help promote Waterfall Books. I didn't ask her to. She simply came up with the idea and did it. And that's only one of the many innovative methods she has used to earn influencer points.

Wow. You rock, Rachelle. Thanks so much!

We Have a Winner!

I'm pleased to announce the winner of the book Straight Up by Lisa Samson:

Deborah Khuanghlawn!

Please stop by and visit her blog to congratulate her!

Don't forget, I'll be giving away another book every 20 subscribers, and will draw names from the entire list of subscribers, so the more people you get to sign up for Waterfall Books, the more chances you have to win! Plus there's the influencer prize packs and the grand prize to be won as well. So spread the word!

I just took a basic HTML course so I'm messing around with some ideas for the future Waterfall Books site (this blog is just a starting point). Below is my first try at an image map for the header. Any thoughts/suggestions?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Rene Gutteridge, author of the lovable Boo series, begins her new Occupational Hazards series with Scoop. After their parents' death, the seven homeschooled Hazard siblings decided to sell their clown business and get jobs in the "real world." Five years later, Hayden Hazard is the new assistant to Channel 7 News productor Hugo Talley, who struggles to handle the stress in his job. An aging anchor with a Botox treatment gone bad. A weatherman so wrapped up in his job he's predicting sun while it's hailing. A reporter with an awakened conscience and a crush on Hayden. And Hugo rarely has time to even see his wife. A normal day is all he can handle - but with the news business, anything can happen. And everything is about to.

I came to Scoop with high expectations as the oldest of nine homeschooled siblings. The caricatured portrayal of the Hazard family rankled a bit. I realized exaggeration was one of Rene's trademarks, but it still annoyed me slightly. I don't know if that was the reason I didn't get into the book until after the first nine chapters or so. Only the opening and closing chapters were from Hayden's point of view, and it took a while for me to connect with the other characters. But after the sewage plant disaster (you'll have to read the book to find out!), I was pulled into the story and much enjoyed the ride. Scoop is a sweet humorous story with a touch of mystery. If you want insight into the running of a news station, or simply a funny read, be sure to pick up Scoop.

I give Scoop a Waterfall Books rating of Splash. And there's still time to subscribe to the Waterfall Books enewsletter and have a chance to win Straight Up! (See review below.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Waterfall Books' Premier Review

They are living lives they were never meant to live.

Bits of story collide like shards of broken glass in the latest novel from Lisa Samson, Straight Up. I'm almost afraid to share too much about this wonderful novel for fear of ruining it for you.

It's not for the faint of heart. It's not for those who like figuring out where the author is going. I'd read two of Lisa's books before - usually by then I'm starting to get a feel for how an author likes to unweave their stories. About a third of the way through Straight Up, I suddenly realized I had no idea where Lisa was going with the lives of Georgia and Fairly and the host of minor characters: Uncle Geoffrey, Sean, Hort, Solo, Mary-Margaret, Clarissa, and others. I felt lost for a second. Then I realized I was in for an adventure - and Lisa Samson hadn't let me down yet.

And she didn't. And those shards of broken glass? Their deep and colorful shades came together in a far different picture than I expected, one that pierced with a strange unearthly joy - and pain. I will forever think differently about the choices I make.

Highly recommended. I give this novel the rating of Cascade.

I received two copies of Straight Up, so I am giving one away to the first subscribers to Waterfall Books. I still have about ten spots open before the cut-off for this giveaway. To subscribe to this newsletter featuring reviews like the one above, send an email here. If you've already subscribed, you're automatically entered!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Announcing - Influencer Prize Packs

Want free books? Then tell others about this site and the review newsletter! Here's what you could win:

Top Influencer will receive:

A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist
The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell
Shivering World by Kathy Tyers
All She Ever Wanted by Lynn Austin
Beyond the Blue by Leslie Gould
CD - My Other Band - Volume One
Four selections from my ARC/galley pile

Second Top Influencer will receive:

Comes a Horseman (hardcover) by Robert Liparulo
River Rising (hardcover) by Athol Dickson
Mark of the Cross by Judith Pella
Three selections from my ARC/galley pile

Third Top Influencer will receive:

A Garden to Keep (hardcover) by Jamie Langston Turner
The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Caught by Neta Jackson
Paper Moon by Linda Windsor
Three selections from my ARC/galley pile

How do you win one of these packs? By telling others about Waterfall Books! Email friends, post about it on your blog, send out a myspace bulletin, whatever. Be creative! Whenever you've done something to promote Waterfall Books, email me (theloneislands@yahoo.com) to let me know. I'll give you one point for each promotion - two points or more for creative or extra influential ways of spreading the word. I'll tally up the points in January and award the prize packs!

Links ideal to include:

A few of the books have slight publishers' marks or a tiny bit of wear in the corners, but for the most part they are like new. Thanks so much for your help!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fall In

Well, I've decided to break the title into two words - Waterfall Books. It looks better that way. I've got the logo for the newsletter/site designed in my head; now I just need to figure out some way to get it on a computer. I plan to take a photo of a shelf of my favorite Christian novels, transpose a semi-transparent waterfall on top of it, then add text. I want to make a whole range of images - from headers to banners to icons. Does anyone have the tools and know-how to do this? I'm willing to pay (not a whole lot, since I'm still a struggling freelance writer, but some).

I plan to give away one novel for every 20 people who sign up for the Waterfall Books free email newsletter. I'm also developing ideas for prize packs for the top 3 or 5 promoters. Stay tuned!

Ranking system development:

Waterfall - top-notch quality in every way, a favorite
Mud Puddle - um, well, a dud
Pond - a book with that down-home country feel
Whitewater/Rapids - awesome suspense, can't put the book down
Canal - artificial, rusty mechanics
Brook - light, happy read
Cascade - one step behind a waterfall, high-quality read
Fjord - deep characterization
Ocean - broad and excellent worldbuilding/setting
River - average good book
Fountain - avant-garde, unique
Eddy - swirling circumstances around one unique person
Splash - humorous great read

Still have a few more to choose from - will fill them in as needed.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


That's my online handle. If you see my posts on message boards, chat with me on AIM, or visit my xanga and myspace, you already know that.

I came across a link to my primary blog on another aspiring writer's site. He mentioned chosing a tag for your writing. I hadn't thought of a good one yet, but I've always liked Mary Engelbreit's statement - "Books fall open, you fall in." Fall in. Waterfall.

WaterfallBooks - Fall In.

No good for a tagline with my name, but for a newsletter with book reviews - perfect. I'd been having a bit of trouble with the Narnia theme. Where, for example, would chick-lit go? (Perhaps Lasaraleen's estate, but who would get that?)

With a waterfall theme (and extending it to other waters), I have plenty to choose from. Cataract. Cascade. Rapids. Torrent. River. Brook. Stream. Creek. Canal. Ocean. Sea. Lake. Pond. Pool. Lagoon. Fjord. Inlet. Fountain. Whirlpool. Mud puddle.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Even More Thoughts

Not even really awake yet, but I've been pondering a rating system for the newsletter reviews. One idea that popped into my head last night (and I'm not awake enough to know if it's any good) is a theme-based rating. And if you know me, you know what theme I'm talking about: Narnia.

I'm not sure if it's too corny or dealing with copyright issues. One nice thing, the books are well-known. And they're Christian novels, which goes with the purpose of the newsletter.

I was thinking of going primarily with place names. A book with the rating of "The Stone Table" will be poignant. "The Beavers' House" will be a bit rough around the edges, down to earth, and good-hearted. "Cair Paravel" will have a sparkling beauty. More to come.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Thoughts

Since I tend to think while writing, I might as well dump my thoughts here. This site will likely be the archive for my new newsletter. How new? Well, I came up with the idea today.

I've thought of developing an email newsletter many times in the past. It's great for building up connections for later on, when I get a book published. The problem was content. How was I going to fill the newsletter with enough worthwhile words so that people would read it? I tried writing a serial - it went nowhere. And I have enough books to review as it is.

Then today something clicked. I was on Yahoo Groups requesting quotes, and the "Start your own group" button looked way too attractive. Then a package arrived from Harvest House, with a book to review for an author friend plus three other novels. Titles the publisher sent with no obligation on my part. Books that if they turn out to be incredible (why not?) I'll want to tell the world.

And I wondered why I was reading books to review when I could just review the books I read. No forcing myself through boring books. No agonizing about making each review more eloquent than the last. Just short, snappy reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Posted on this blog. Linked to at Christian Novels.

You can get the back cover copy at any online seller. You can get the first chapter on Christian Book Previews, email lists, and publisher websites. You can get author interviews on half a dozen blogs. You can get academic reviews in journals and uninformed reviews on Amazon. But nothing beats having a friend who loves to read telling you, "This is good. Here's why . . ."

And so Reviewing Christian Novels was born.

It'll likely be monthly. It'll include reviews of fantasy and suspense and chick-lit and historical and romance and mystery and more - because if it's a good book, genre doesn't matter to me. It'll launch sometime this fall or winter - January at the latest. And it'll likely include contests and drawings, because everyone loves free books.

Stay tuned for more! But you don't need to keep checking back here. Subscribe to my Yahoo Groups mailing list!


Cool idea which will likely launch this fall or winter. We shall see.