Monday, December 03, 2007

Virtual Book Tour: Angela Benson Christian Romance Novelist

Join christian fiction author Angela Benson, author of THE AMEN SISTERS, as she virtually tours the blogosphere in December on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours!

Though Angela Benson began writing fiction in Miss Milizo’s fifth grade English class, her first book was not published until 1994, more than thirty years later! Since then, Angela has published nine novels, one novella, and a nonfiction writing book. Her books have appeared on national, regional and local bestseller lists, and she has won several writing awards, including Best Multicultural Romance from Romantic Times magazine, and Best Contemporary Ethnic Romance from Affaire de Coeur magazine. She was a finalist for the 2000 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award in Multicultural Romance.
Angela made a career move to Christian fiction in 2000 with the publication of Awakening Mercy, the first book in her Genesis House series from Tyndale House Publishers. Awakening Mercy was a finalist for both the RITA Award given by Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction.
The second book in the Genesis House series, Abiding Hope, was published in September 2001. Abiding Hope was awarded the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance presented by the Romance Slam Jam. The third book and final book of the series, Enduring Love, is not yet scheduled.
BET Books, now Harlequin’s Kimani Press purchased the mass market rights to Awakening Mercy and Abiding Hope in 2000 and released mass market editions of the titles in June 2002 and June 2003, respectively.
Angela’s first hardcover title, The Amen Sisters, was released in September 2005 by Walk Worthy Press. The Essence bestselling title won the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance. The trade paperback edition is being released in November 2007.
Angela’s tenth novel, Up Pops the Devil, will be published by HarperCollins in September 2008.
Angela has an unusual background for a writer: She majored in mathematics at Spelman College and Industrial Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and worked for fifteen years as an engineer in the telecommunications industry. She holds two Masters degrees, not in the liberal arts, but in operations research and human resources development. Her most recent degree is a doctorate in instructional technology from the University of Georgia. Dr. Benson is now an associate professor of educational technology at The University of Alabama.
You can visit her website at www.angelabenson. com or www.theamensisters. com.


One of the brightest voices in Christian fiction, Angela Benson was a finalist for its highest honor-the Christy Award-and is the author of nine novels. Now Angela brings you her boldest, most controversial story yet…a tale of two sisters trying to reclaim their lives-and their faith-after shattering betrayals.
Francine Amen:
When I became a ministry leader with an up-and-coming church, I thought I'd found my true calling…I publicly renounced my family, friends, and church because I felt they didn't believe "enough" and I left my hometown. And I didn't listen to a dear friend when she accused the church's pastor of sexually abusing her. Then a terrible thing happened-my friend killed herself. It was so awful and I felt so responsible, I had a breakdown. Now I'm recovered, living back home with my sister, and trying to make things right with all the people I hurt. But I don't know if I can ever forgive myself-or if anyone else will.
Dawn Amen-Ray:
I stuck by my sister because it was the right thing to do. I have to admit, though, she couldn't have come home at a worse time. I had just found out that my husband (who just happens to be my sister's ex-boyfriend) had cheated on me-I was not in a forgiving mood. I didn't believe that Francine could turn things around for herself anyway. So many people were hurting and most of them blamed her for it. But she surprised me, and helped the most unlikely people come to grips with their own mistakes. The biggest surprise was the secrets she uncovered about us, secrets that would force me to grow up (finally!) and discover what I was truly made of.
Insightful, unforgettably real and compassionate, THE AMEN SISTERS is about confronting the difficult truth, facing our painful mistakes, and reclaiming God's abundant hope and promise.


"You're a liar, Toni," Francine Amen said, forcing a calmness she didn't feel to project in her voice. She pressed her palms down on the counter that separated the kitchen from the dining room in the two-bedroom apartment that she shared with her childhood friend Toni Roberts. "I don't believe you."
Toni, standing on the dining room side of the counter, took a step closer to her roommate. "Why would I lie to you, Francie? Tell me that."
The plea in her friend's soft brown eyes was almost more than Francine could bear. "I know you, remember? You and me go way back. It wouldn't be the first time you've lied about something like this." Francine didn't turn away from the stricken look on her friend's face. She knew her words needed to be spoken. "Well, if we're talking about truth here, we should talk about truth."
Toni wrapped her arms around her midsection and said, "You may not believe me, Francie, but I am pregnant and Bishop Payne is the father. We've been having an affair for months."
Francine laughed a dry laugh. "An affair? Come off it, Toni. Bishop told us all how you've been coming on to him. And you know what? He didn't condemn you for it. He asked us to pray for you. And what do you do to him in return? You come up with these lies. I pray to God you haven't told anyone else this pack of garbage. That man has a wife and kids, and all of them have done nothing but love you. You have to know the damage these lies of yours will do to them."
"I'm not lying, Francie," Toni said, her eyes clouding with tears. "You know me," she pleaded. "You have to believe me. I knew nobody else would believe me. I've known for weeks now, and I've wanted to tell you so badly, but I just couldn't. I know what people say about me around here. I've overheard them saying I'm not a real Christian, that I don't have the fire. I heard it from them, but I never thought I'd hear it from you. You're the one who shared the gospel with me. You're the one who told me that life in Christ could be different. You know I've changed."
Francine's heart ached for her friend, but she couldn't let emotions deter her. Toni had to suffer the consequences of her actions. Tough love was exactly that--tough. "If you've been having an affair with Bishop like you say you have, then you haven't changed that much, after all, have you?"
Toni turned away, seeming to deflate right before Francine's eyes. "You know how he is, Francie. He can be so charming. I loved him as the man of God he seemed to be, and then I simply loved him. It was like I couldn't help myself."
"I don't believe you and neither will anyone else. I don't know what you think you're going to get out of this."
Toni turned back to her. "I need a friend, Francie. I need someone to hear me out, be on my side. He wants me to have an abortion. He said he'll deny anything ever happened between us."
"I can't help you, Toni. I won't be a party to whatever game it is you're playing."
"But you're all I have," Toni pleaded. "I can't go back home now. This would kill George and Momma. I have nowhere else to turn."
Francine inhaled deeply. "Not this time, Toni. Not this time. I've stood by you through a lot of your drama, most of it of your own making, but not this time. This time you're on your own."
Toni opened her mouth as if to defend herself, but then she shook her head. "What does it matter?" she said, the defeat in her voice wrenching Francine's heart.
As Francine watched, Toni turned her petite frame away and headed off, shoulders slumped, toward her bedroom. Francine closed her eyes and issued a brief prayer on Toni's behalf. She didn't know what had gotten into Toni, but she prayed her friend would soon see the error of her ways and repent. Francine loved her, but she couldn't support her. Not this time. She and Toni had grown up together, been friends for as long as Francine could remember, but Francine had to face facts. Toni wasn't ready to give her life to the Lord, and Francine couldn't be held back because of it. She heaved a deep sigh, knowing that even though it hurt, she had done the right thing. She could have ignored Toni's actions, but that would not have been love. She knew from Psalms that the harsh truth from a friend was better than sweet words from an enemy.
As she reached for the phone to call Cassandra, her friend and prayer partner, to tell her about the conversation with Toni, Francine heard what sounded like the backfire of a car, followed by a loud thump, both coming from the direction of Toni's room. Wondering what Toni was doing to make such noise, Francine forgot the phone and headed for her friend's room. When she got no answer to her knock, she turned the doorknob. She screamed as she realized the sound she'd heard hadn't been the backfire of a car at all.
THE AMEN SISTERS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '07 will officially begin on Dec. 3, 2007. If you would like to follow Angela's tour and become eligible to win a free copy of her book, visit http://www.virtualb ooktours. wordpress. com/ and comment on her tour stops. One lucky commenter will win a free copy of THE AMEN SISTERS at the end of the tour. All announcements of winners will be announced on December 31!

Angela's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours at

"Leave your tour in our hands!"
www.pumpupyourbookp romotion. com

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