Monday, March 5, 2012

Carla Rossi - Unlikely Praise

Welcome Carla! This is such a wonderful story. I feel like I could fit right in with this bunch! For anyone who knows me, they know music is the easiest way to draw me into a story, so you pulled me right in. I wish you lived a little closer, I can easily imagine us harmonizing or putting music together for a worship service.

I see you've had several stories published, so is there something in the works already to follow Unlikely Praise?

So glad you asked. Unlikely Praise is just the beginning. Unexpected Wedding is the second in the series. In Unlikely Praise, we meet the worship team from Cornerstone Fellowship. The story is mainly between the lead guitarist and the worship leader. Unexpected Wedding is Rocky the bass player’s story. The third will be Max the drummer’s story.

Well, I'm sure my readers will be waiting impatiently for the sequels. I know I will be! In the mean time, let's take a look at this one!


A tattooed rocker and an uptight music teacher - who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

Candi Canaberry has been the worship leader at Cornerstone Fellowship since the doors opened. Candi has dedicated her life to praise and worship, so when Cornerstone explodes into mega-church territory, Candi is sure she’ll be the one to take her team to the next level…isn’t she the obvious choice? Apparently not. Church leadership has other ideas. She’s given a partner to share her duties. But a one-time rocker with zero praise and worship experience?

Recently saved Samuel “Shade” Blackledge is new to Cornerstone Fellowship. He’s convinced a strong church family is what will help keep his head above water as he turns from things of the past and builds a new life. Ex-Dead Lizard rock guitarist, Shade is shocked when the pastor suggests he might be just what the worship team needs. But could God really want a tattooed veteran of the club scene? And what about his less-than-Godly lifestyle to this point --not the least of which is a baby girl he’s never seen? Worship practice has never been this interesting as Candi and Shade work their way toward each other…and Unlikely Praise.


Lord, if there was ever a time I needed a door to open... Click!

She scooped her cell phone off the ground. "C’mon in."

He trailed behind her as she padded shoeless down the dimly lit aisle to the front of the sanctuary. Evening sun glowed through the jewel toned windows behind the pulpit. Her favorite time of day. She dropped her things by the keyboard on the platform. In the control booth, she brought up the lights and clicked on the sound system. The familiar gentle hum was the weekly "welcome to God’s house" she’d
grown accustomed to. She headed for the closet behind the platform while Shade sat on the front pew and tugged on his guitar strings. 

"Are those new?"

"Yeah. Not quite broken in."

She put a guitar stand near the keyboard and pulled microphones out of their foam-filled storage boxes. Shade fidgeted in his seat and tapped the toe of his cowboy boot against the floor at lightning speed. He was as nervous as she was.

"You can plug in right here." She pointed toward the box on the floor. "Use the one labeled guitar three. Right now our sound system is not all that sophisticated. Hopefully when we get our new building we’ll get a state-of-the-art set-up." 

He joined her on the platform and set his guitar in the stand. 

She took a nervous step away from him. 

"Is everything OK?"

She placed her hand across her heart as she caught her breath. "Everything’s fine, really. I’m sorry I’m not doing a better job of making you feel welcome. I’m a little in shock after just seeing you at Jake’s and now you’re here, and I didn’t know you were coming until I got an e-mail this morning from Pastor Charles. He’d mentioned some changes, but I didn’t know when or what was going to happen."

"Yeah, it’s been kinda weird. I’d only been here a couple weeks, and he started talking to me about joining the worship team."

Candi’s blood bubbled in her veins and sent a warm rush to her cheeks. Pastor Charles had bypassed her completely. Was there any point in trying to find out what Shade’s skill level was? Where had he trained in music? Where did he get his worship experience? Did he even understand the importance of worship? She remembered what Grandpa Nick used to say. All things work together for good to them that love God. 

She did love God and the church and even Pastor Charles, though he was temporarily insane, but most of all she loved to worship. Didn’t this all have to work out somehow? 

"You’ll be fine, Shade. Everyone should be here shortly. You can tell us a little about yourself and then 
we’ll make some music."


I loved the characters in Unlikely Praise and how their emotions were so visible every step of the way. Candi and Shade are such an unlikely pairing, an ex-rocker and a worship and praise leader? Ms. Rossi made it all seem so natural, though. She also brought it home that we're all just people no matter what station in life we've attained or chosen - fame, fortune...or misfortune. When it comes to Christians, God is the great leveler, and this story is the perfect example of that. 

I love the way Ms. Rossi makes her characters so true to life - so real. From Candi's battle with pride and her distrust of Shade, she could be any one of us who think we deserve a station in the Lord's house - when in fact we deserve nothing. And Shade's battle with the fact that God can use him, regardless of who he was before he got saved is nothing less than perfect. God can use anyone with the right heart.

This story is wonderful! Great job!

Here's a peek at her book trailer:

Carla Rossi has written everything from Christmas Pageants and school newsletters, to poetry, stage plays, and Christian music. When she's not squirreled away in her office with her writing partner - a Maine Coon cat - she's teaching Bible study or adding piano, bass and vocals to a worship band. Carla has three grown children, one grandson, and lives north of Houston with her husband and the muse cat.

For more about Carla you can find her at:


  1. Welcome, Carla! Great story! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Awesome review, Donna! Sounds like a great story. Congrats on the release of UNLIKELY PRAISE, Carla. I can't wait to read it and the others in the series.

  3. Carla,

    I absolutely, completely love Unlikely Praise. I told my daughter she needs to download it to her Nook and read it, as well. AWESOME story. You are a talented writer. Can't wait to see what you have coming next!

    God bless.

  4. Thanks for having me here, Donna! And thanks to everyone for the kind remarks. Glad you're enjoying Candi and Shade's journey.

  5. This sounds so good. It's on my to-purchase list.

  6. I know, I know......I just know I won't "win" anything. But I gotta try. Your books ouns SO TERRIFIC!! "Unlikely Praise" is great, because I always wanted to be a singer. Since my TBI (Trauma Brain Injury) I cannot sing on tune.

    Since I live in Quebec, Canada, obtaining good & decent CHRISITAN books IN ENGLISH - is close to impossible. I'D TOTALLY LOVE TO WIN!!! THAT'D BE SO COOL!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Don't stop singing, even if you think you're out of tune. It's always good for the heart and soul to worship with song.

  7. Hi Carla. I love your "fly-off-the-page" characters and dialogue. It drew me into the story. Not to mention your wonderful plot and story premise.

    We should each step back and say, "Wait a minute," before we judge another.

    Congratulations! I pray God's blessings on the work of your hands. (Psalms 138:8)

  8. That's beautiful, Laurean, and I second that to all the writers I know. May God bless the words of all those who speak out as His witnesses!

  9. Oh, Laurean that IS beautiful, and thank you for your other comments.

  10. Nice excerpt. This series sounds fun.

  11. Thanks for stopping by, Sheila. I agree! I can't wait to read the next ones!