September Clash Champion and Laurel Finalists, Announced!


This week, COTT announces TWO great events!
September’s Clash Winner
and the 2013 Laurel Finalists.

We’ll start with the Clash.
And the winner is….


The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots

by Author Karla Akins
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. 
Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she’s not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed…and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth. 
Join Kirstie and her motorcycle “gang”—two church matrons and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member—as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.
PURCHASE:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Karla Akins is a pastor’s wife who rides her own motorcycle. She is the mother of four boys and one step-daughter, and grandmother of five. She lives in North Manchester with her husband who is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church, her twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s and three rambunctious dogs. Karla and her husband have been in ministry together for 30 years.

AND NOW FOR THE LAUREL FINALISTS!
The entries have been read and the scores have been tabulated. Our unique panel of judges, comprised strictly of readers, has determined our three finalists. And they are…

Ruth Reid’s “An Angel by Her Side”
MaryLu Tyndall’s “Veil of Pearls”
Delia Latham’s “Gypsy’s Game”

Congratulations to all three!!

Thanks you to all our Laurel entrants for participating—the panel enjoyed reading all of your excerpts! 

The three finaling submissions will be returned to the same panel of judges for a final vote. The winner will be announced on October 18, 2013. 

Autumn Brings More Great Pics at COTT


Happy autumn from your friends at 
Clash of the Titles! 
So, which is your favorite genre? Contemporary or historical? 
YA or Women’s Fiction? 
Please scroll, have a quick read, and vote on which you’d read first. We encourage you to share the contest on your social media sites. Spreading the word about an author’s latest novel is the best way to encourage her!
(Voting closes Wednesday, October 02, at midnight.)

RUNNING LEAN

by Diana L. Sharples

Still reeling from the loss of his brother in Afghanistan, Calvin Greenlee pours himself into fixing his motorcycle and spending the rest of his time with his girlfriend, Stacey, who always has the right words to say. But when Stacey starts losing weight—a lot of weight—it’s clear she has problems of her own. Calvin is determined to cure her—but could that only push Stacey further into danger?

RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR

by Valerie Comer

Outspoken advocate for local food Josephine Shaw moves onto a rundown farm with two friends to prove to the world that she can live sustainably, but a mouse invasion and the cute reluctant farmer next door test her resolve. Zach Nemesek is itching to get back to his easy life in the city, but a Border collie puppy and the woman next door make him wonder if he’s better off embracing God’s plan for his life…or running from it!

SNOW ON THE TULIPS

by Liz Tolsma

After the German occupiers kill her husband, the last thing Cornelia de Vries wants is to be involved with the Dutch Resistance. Wounded underground worker Gerrit Laninga brings nothing but danger to her doorstep – and the chance at love she thought had gone forever.

THE PASTOR’S WIFE WEARS BIKER BOOTS

by Karla Akins

 Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. Certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed, and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth.

THIS DANCE

by Jerusha Agen

No love, no pain—no God, no games.

A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, making her shut out God and all emotional attachments that could lead to pain, but when a handsome lawyer and elderly landowner enter her new life to make her face the God she can’t forgive, will Nye learn to dance again?

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Review: The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots by Karla Akins

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null Book Info:

Date Published: August 9, 2013

Publisher: Harbourlight Books

Author: Karla Akins


Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls.


Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she’s not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed…and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth.


Join Kirstie and her motorcycle “gang”—two church matrons and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member—as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.



You can pre-order it Here:
ebook  |  Paperback


Meet The Author:


Karla Akins is a pastor’s wife, mother of five, and grandma to five beautiful little girls. She lives in Northeast Indiana with her husband, twin teenage boys with autism, and three crazy dogs. Her favorite color is purple, favorite hobby is book-hoarding, and favorite food group is cupcakes.


You can find Karla Here:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

My Favorite Scene:

  We spent the rest of the morning cheering on the other athletes. I acted like an absolute lunatic at the Special Olympics. “Go! Go, don’t stop, GO! You can do it! WOO HOO!” I waved my arms and jumped and hollered and practically wore myself out before Timmy’s events. The athletes had overcome countless things to be there. I couldn’t help but be inspired by their enthusiasm.

  And then came 8-year-old April.

  “Isn’t she a doll?” Reba whispered in my ear.

  “She is.” I beamed.

  “What is that called that she’s got? I forget.” Atticus leaned over and whispered.

  “Down Syndrome”, I whispered back. “She’s such a cutie.”

  April’s glossy, thick blonde hair bobbed up and down as she ran. Her grin filled her entire little face and she ran like a champ until she saw the girl in the lead loping so far ahead of her she could never catch up.

  April stopped. She turned around. She started to walk off the track.

  “Go, April!” Biker stood at the fence, shouting and waving doo-rags. “You can do it! You can do it! Keep going!”

  An elderly volunteer on the sidelines ran along beside her clapping, “Come on! You can do it! Keep going! Go, go, go!”

  “Go, April!” I shouted as loud as my tired throat could bellow. “Go!”

  April tossed her hair back and started to run again. With people cheering her on and the crowd clapping, she made it to the finish line and into waiting arms for a big, warm hug.

  “Just like the cloud of witnesses.” Awe filled Opal’s voice.

  I stood mesmerized at the thought. I looked down the crow of bikers leaning on the fence, watching athletes they didn’t know personally, and the picture of the cloud of witnesses cheering me on as I ran this race with Timmy and Aaron, Patrick and Daniel caused a lump to form in my throat.

  “Sometimes,” I wispered to Lily, “I see other people’s lives and they seem so much more spiritual and put together than I can ever be. I want to give up like April wanted to.”

  Lily planted her arm around me. “But you can’t, Kirstie. And you won’t because you have friends who will get you back on track and headed toward that finish line–and running right into the open arms of God.”

  “The same way April ran into the arms of her coach.” Opal reached outside of Atticus’s embrace and squeezed my hand.

  “God is weird.” I sniffed and rubbed my eyes so tears wouldn’t form.

  “What do you mean?” Opal handed me a tissue out of her jacket pocket.

  “Well, you’d think He’d send me a bunch of church folks and pastors’ wives to keep me on track. Instead, He sends a bunch of greasy old bikers.”

  “Who you callin’ greasy?” Reba, standing on the other side of Lily, reached over and poked me in the arm. Apparently she’d heard the whole thing.

  “Who you callin’ old?” Lily grinned.

  I watched as April and her competitors received their medals and ribbons. I hoped to always remember April’s race, how she didn’t give up, and when she felt like quitting, how friends encouraged her. I wanted to remember how she drew strength from those friends, and how she tossed her head back and ran with joy to the finishe line.

  Dear God, help me remember April. And, Lord, when I get to heaven, the first thing I want? A big, warm hug.”

Meet The Characters:


Kirstie Donovan: Kirtsie tries her utmost to be a “dutiful” pastor’s wife but feels weighted down with the issues of family and church life. She has three sons, Timmy the oldest is Autistic, Patrick and Daniel and between raising them and dealing with the complaints of some church members, her life is a struggle.


Aaron Donovan: Aaron is Kirstie’s husband and the pastor of Eel Falls First Independent Christian Community Church. In the beginning Aaron is very timid and quit but he eventually takes charge. He loves his wife and family very much and embraces Kirstie and her dream, supporting her to the fullest.


Timmy Donovan: Timmy is Aaron and Kirstie’s Autistic son. He is 17 years-old and ADORABLE. His character was captured so realistically. It was a great moment when he got excited over the smallest of things. Everyone loved Timmy and I just wanted to hug him.


Reba O’Malley: What a character! Reba is very outspoken and outrageous. She is a true “biker chick” and embraces Kirstie’s desire to learn to ride. She is a loyal and faithful friend, always coming in a time of need.

My Thoughts:


Kirstie Donovan, pastor Aaron’s wife, had all she needed. Or so she thought. Her husband pastored the local church, she had a loving family and loyal friends. But her oldest son Timmy is Autistic and taking care of him becomes a daily struggle. Her 15 year-old son, Patrick, starts rebelling by staying out late and drinking. Bernice, a church member, is always complaining about church matters. Kirstie realizes she isn’t content. She needs an outlet to break the monotiny. Her Aunt Mary used to ride a bike and left Kirstie an inheritance to use on her and her alone. Kirstie’s one desire is to ride a bike like she did with her Aunt Mary when she was a kid. And that’s exactly what she does. With her friends Reba, Opal and Lily forming a biker group called “The Lady Eels”, and Aaron backing her, Kirstie put her dream in motion.


I LOVED this book! It had several “Favorite Scenes” to choose from, some very funny ones, but I chose to use one that showed what the word “LOVE” really means. To see these big, tough bikers cheering on a child with down syndrome really made my heart swell. Karla Akins managed to touch every emotion. One minute I was laughing and the next I was crying. There was the right ammount of spiritual overtones so that I didn’t feel like I was reading a Bible study lesson, but a warm, funny, emtional story of coming together. There was even a little mystery included to round out the mix. Her characters were spot-on. Reba was a real hoot and Opal and Atticus were just simply adorable. The real kicker, though, was Timmy’s character. Timmy has Autism and she portrayed him bueautifully. I wanted to reach out and wrap him in a warm hug. Karla Akins has a real winner in The Pastor’s Wife Wear Biker Boots!

The Patriot Guard:


While I’m not much for fighting and wars, I DO believe the ones that do fight for us should be respected, especially when they are laid to rest. When I read about The Patriot Guard in this book, I was full of admiration for this group of bikers and what they do to show respect for our fallen troups. If you’d like to know more, check out their website Here.


Autism Info:


How common is it? For many years autism was rare – occurring in just five children out of 10,000. However, since the early 1990s, the rate of autism has increased dramatically around the world, with figures as high as 60 per 10,000. In March, 2012, the US Federal Centers for Disease Control that 1 in 88 children in the US is diagnosed with an ASD.


What is Autism? Autism is a severe developmental disorder that begins within the first three years after conception. Most autistic children look like other kids, but do puzzling and disturbing things which are markedly different behaviors from those of typical children. In less severe cases on the spectrum (Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or Asperger’s Syndrome), children usually have speech and might even be intellectually gifted, but they have one or more “autistic” social and behavioral problems. People used to think that autism was irreversible. The good news is that there are now a range of treatments that can be really helpful.


To learn more visit: Austism.com





**A copy of this book was provided by the author for my honest review**