Friday, June 5, 2009

Congratulations to Melanie Dobson, author of The Black Cloister!

ForeWord magazine has just announced the winners of their annual Book of the Year Awards for 2009, and among the Gold winners is The Black Cloister: A Novel by Melanie Dobson (Kregel Publications, 978-0-8254-2443-4, $13.99). The purpose of the awards program is to discover distinctive books across a variety of genres.

About The Black Cloister
The Black Cloister: A Novel (Fiction-Religious)
by Melanie Dobson (978-0-8254-2443-4)

On Elise Friedman's eighth birthday, she lost her mother and any connection to her mysterious past. Raised by her loving stepfather, Elise has spent years trying to learn the truth about her mother, Catrina, and her birth family in Germany, but still knows very little. Now a young woman in college, Elise is traveling to her homeland of Germany to uncover her family's past, but what she finds is much more harrowing than she ever suspected.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Q & A with Christy Barritt—Author of the Sqeaky Clean Mystery Series

Q: Tell us about your newest novel Suspicious Minds.

A: In Suspicious Minds, crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire takes a mold remediation job to make ends meet. While in the crawlspace of a dilapidated old house, she finds Elvis—dead and still wearing his blue suede shoes! Gabby can’t resist sticking her nose into another investigation. Along the way, she tries to figure out her love life, her spiritual life and the wacky world of Elvis impersonators!

Q: Where did you get the idea for Suspicious Minds?

A: I’ve been writing for my local newspaper for five years now. One interview I did was with an Elvis impersonator (or, an Elvis Tribute Artist, as I was quickly informed) performing at a senior citizens’ center. I had no idea what to expect before I went. After I finished the interview (and I’ve had easier times getting interviews with senators than I did with this guy after his show), the president of his fan club came running after me as I walked to my car. She presented me with an autographed picture of him. I thought, this man has a fan club? The ideas spun from there.

Q: Your book touches on the issues of loneliness and abandonment. Is this something that you’ve dealt with?

A: In some ways, the more I write, the lonelier I become. Writing is such a solitary job and best writing times are often my worst times of isolation. I struggle with being alone and feeling unconnected. For my mental well-being, I make sure I get out of the house several times during the week. Sometimes I’ll take my computer to Starbucks and work there. Other times, I’ll participate in different “mommy groups.” It takes effort, though. I’m a more effective writer if I’m out and among people. But, as the book points out, you can be surrounded by people and still be lonely.

Q: I heard you’re doing some local Mystery Dinner Theaters featuring characters from your book. Can you tell us more about that?

A: I’m so excited! The way everything has come together for the Suspicious Minds Mystery Dinner Theater is truly because of a Higher Power. I had the crazy idea to write a mystery dinner theater for the release of my book. But doors began opening up and it’s evolved into something much bigger. I actually have a troupe of actors who are willing to perform the play several times in the summer and once a month after that. Churches, libraries, schools and clubs are hosting the event—they’re in charge of the food and advertising. Any donations for the event will go directly toward whatever project they’d like. The actors will come in and act, giving them an outlet for their talents. And I’ll sell my book afterward, a portion of the proceeds going toward whatever cause is featured. It’s going to be a blast! We still have some dates open. If anyone is interested, they can email me at for more information.

Q: Do you ever find it hard to balance being a mom and writing?

A: Definitely! But I’m learning to trust my gut to know when I’m off-balance. Then I need to take time to evaluate how I’m spending my hours. Life is constantly a process of learning, changing and adjusting!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m writing the third book in the Squeaky Clean Mystery series. Gabby, of course, has to get into some more trouble! But she also explores her relationships… from friendships, to romance, to God. She has some unresolved issues from her past that she needs to lay to rest. And, of course, she has crime scenes to clean!

Visit Christy’s website for more information!

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Irishwoman's Tale: A Novel . . . Brand New Book Trailer!

by Patti Lacy
$13.99p · 320 pages · FICTION/Christian/General
Release date: July 2008

Available Now!

Mary Freeman's life has taken her a long way from a family that didn't want her, and a long way from her Irish home, to the Midwest United States. Now married with two teenage daughters, Mary's loneliness and torment are as acute as ever. It takes a crisis in her daughter's life—and the encouragement of a plucky Southern friend—to propel Mary back to the rocky cliffs of her home in County Clare, Ireland.

Patti Lacy
graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a B.S. in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until she retired in 2006 to pursue writing full time. She has two grown children with her husband, Alan, and lives in Illinois.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kregel Fiction Author Signs Books in Her Hometown

Fiction author Melanie Dobson recently took some time to stop into a local coffee shop in her Oregon hometown, to greet fans and sign copies of her most recent book The Black Cloister: A Novel.

Melanie is an author as well as the owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media. A former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family, Melanie has worked in the fields of journalism and publicity for more than twelve years. Melanie lives in Oregon with her husband, Jon, and their two adopted daughters, Karly and Kinzel. She is also the author of Together for Good: A Novel.

In The Black Cloister, Elise travels to Germany to unearth the secrets of her late mother’s past, only to find something more horrible than she ever could have suspected.

For more information, be sure to visit

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shelly Beach's First Novel, Hallie's Heart, Chosen for Prestigious 2008 Christy Award

Hallie's Heart wins the Christy Award in the Lits category.

The winners of the 2008 Christy Awards were announced Saturday evening, July 12, and Kregel author Shelly Beach, author of Hallie's Heart: A Novel, was among the recipients, winning in the Lits category. The ninth annual Christy Awards banquet was held at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, prior to the opening of the annual International Christian Retail Show. Beach was in attendance to accept her award.

The well-respected Christy Awards—named in honor of Catherine Marshall's novel Christy—have recognized novelists in several genres of Christian fiction since 1999. Previous winners include Jerry Jenkins, Ted Dekker, Beverly Lewis, Karen Hancock, and Kregel's own Debbie Wilson.

The setting of Hallie's Heart is based on a number of local features from the community in which Beach grew up-Muskegon, MI. Beach's main character, Mona VanderMolen, an antique dealer in a small West Michigan town, is trying to keep her business alive. As Mona faces the uncertainties of her own future, Hallie, her fifteen-year-old niece, suddenly arrives on her doorstep. Guilt-ridden over her sister's drowning several years earlier, Hallie has run off to her aunt's cottage. As the two women work through their problems and learn to forgive, an unfortunate accident threatens to tear them apart once again.

Beach hopes Hallie's Heart will help readers better understand "the message that a loving God stands with open arms, ready to forgive us and accept us, wherever we may be-whether we're a fifteen-year-old teenager struggling with guilt or a middle-aged woman struggling with anger toward her father; and the message that we're responsible for taking steps to restore relationships and forgive those who have wounded us."

Shelly Beach is a Christian communicator who speaks at women's conferences, retreats, seminars, and writers' conferences. She is a college instructor and writing consultant in Michigan, and is also the author of Precious Lord, Take My Hand (Discovery House Publishers, 2007), which was a finalist for the 2008 ECPA Christian Book Awards in the Inspirational & Gift category.

Kregel publisher Dennis Hillman, who also attended the banquet in honor of the Kregel nominee, commented, "We applaud Shelly for producing such exceptional and creative fiction. We are elated that Hallie's Heart is being recognized as the superior work of fiction that it is."

For more information about Shelly Beach, visit her website:

The complete list of 2008 Christy Award nominees can be viewed at

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blood Brothers Blog Tour Today!

The Blood Brothers blog tour starts today!

Author Rick Acker begins his tour of the blog world, today.

Sibling rivalry, black market deals, and a dangerous new wonder drug interrupt Ben Corbin’s plans for early retirement in Blood Brothers—the riveting sequel to Dead Man’s Rule.


Karl and Gunnar Bjornsen have built a pharmaceutical empire from the ground up. Now they are developing a revolutionary new drug, a neural stimulant that increases strength and intelligence, but its potential for success is rapidly destroying them. Warring for control of the company and the drug, Karl sues Gunnar, and Gunnar hires Ben to defend him. But the case involves more than bitter sibling rivalry. Signs of embezzlement, black market deals, and the grisly consequences of the Bjornsens’ new drug begin to emerge. Soon, Ben and his wife, Noelle, find themselves in Norway where the case takes a personal and violent turn.

Rick Acker does his best work while traveling, and he pecks out pages every day on the commuter train to his “real job” as a San Francisco attorney. He met his wife, Anette, in their college biology lab when he impressed her with his fish expertise . . . and made the best catch of his life. Rick’s other books include Dead Man’s Rule and the Davis Detectives series for tweens.

Follow the tour by visiting the various links below: Also, visit the Novel Journey blog to read a recent review with author Rick Acker.

Download the Book Club Reading Guide.

For more information about Rick Acker and his books, visit

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Black Cloister Book Trailer

The Black Cloister is a suspense novel about two young women—one who is traveling across Germany in search of answers about her past and another who is trapped in an abusive religious cult and doesn't know how to break free.

Find out more by visiting author Melanie Dobson's Web site.

Click here if you cannot see the video below.