May 1, 2013

Kellen Rossiter

If anyone had ever told me the day would come I would be featuring an unfaithful husband as an FHF hero, even the polar bears in the Arctic could have heard me laughing all the way from Texas. Then I met Kellen Rossiter in the pages of Devotion and as I witnessed the slow fade Christian group Casting Crowns sings about and Proverbs warns about... I was never thinking FHF material. But then there was "the letter" and in words lifted straight from the page--the proof of Christian character is how we rise after we fall. And the way Kellen rose made him as FHF worthy as they come.

About Devotion (released Oct. 2012):

Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that's what she thinks.

But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.


Excerpt from Devotion:

(Kellen has come to serve at the homeless shelter for the first time where Juliet is a regular volunteer.)

     "Hi." He tried not to sound tentative about breaking ground with this unkempt woman. "Would you mind if I sit with you?"
     Openly skeptical, Vanetta frowned. Her eyes moved from his face to the kitchen, where he could only assume she searched for Juliet. "I don' mind if you don' mind."
     For some reason, that response made Kellen smile. "I don't mind at all. I'm Kellen." Vanetta looked uncomfortably at Kellen's extended hand.
     "You don' gotta be all friendly like that. I'm filthy. You're a clean, good lookin' man. I don't want to get you dirty."
     Kellen sat down and bumped his shoulder against hers instead. "That doesn't matter to me." He tried again, and this time she accepted his hand. When their eyes met, he found gratitude and human dignity pushing to life.
     She smiled a great, gap-toothed smile. "Like the Good Book says, I guess there's nothin' so dirty God can't clean it up, right?"
     Kellen laughed warmly and squeezed her hand tight. "Amen, sister."
     All at once, he understood the rare and precious blessing of acceptance. Looking into the woman's face, he saw what Juliet saw. Beauty. As soft-hearted and sweet-natured as Vanetta was, there was no way Juliet would be able to refuse the needs of a soul like this. The epiphany left him in love with his wife all over again.
     Emboldened, Kellen continued. "I'm just like you. I'm dirty and in need of a thorough cleaning just like that scripture verse you quoted."
     In receipt of her grateful look, Kellen found it easy to ignore Vanetta's smell, the dirt, and water stains. He looked toward the kitchen area and saw Juliet in conversation with one of the other volunteers. Softness slipped through him. His heart tripped into a faster beat.
     "I'm Vanetta, by the way."
     Kellen jerked away from staring and directed his attention to his dinner companion. "I'm glad to meet you."
     They prayed over the offering then in unison they launched into their meal. At length, she chuckled, the sound coming out more like that of a rumbling train. "I like you. You're not one of them snooty types. You're OK."
     "Nah, I'm not OK, but I'm trying, just like you, Vanetta."
     She shrugged and they continued to eat in a companionable silence. Kellen's attention kept straying to Juliet. He noticed the way she glanced at him every once in a while.
     "You keep lookin' at her."
     "I'm sorry?" Kellen took a sip of coffee, delivering an inquiring look toward Vanetta.
     "Pretty lady. The one who came over here and talked to me a while ago." She pointed a long, shaky finger in Juliet's direction. "Her. You're staring at her."
     Kellen didn't go flush very often, but he did right now. "I guess I am. Can't seem to help it."
     "Don' blame ya.' She's something.' Can't 'member her name though." Vanetta released a frustrated sound. "I used to be so much sharper than this."
     Instead of leaving her to struggle for details, Kellen decided to fill them in. "Her name is Juliet."
     Vanetta slapped her knee. "That's right. Pretty name... for a pretty lady. I remember now." She looked at him hard. Then, her too-thin angular face split into a large grin. "You got a crush on her, don't you? I can tell. I can see it in your eyes."
     Kellen laughed, thoroughly enjoying this woman's company. "Since the first moment I saw her."

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score

Kellen made a mistake. A HUGE mistake but at the core of who he is stands an incredible man of God, broken before the Lord and his wife, doing his level best in God's strength and grace to weather the storm. And before you think I've lost it completely, Kellen could have continued down the sinful path. Could have abandoned his wife and his relationship with the Lord and given himself over completely to the dark side of infidelity. He didn't. He made some incredibly bad choices, bottomed out, and when the sin came to the light, as it always will, he started making better ones. Over and over he did everything he knew to do to win back the heart of his wife, knowing he could never win back her trust. And if you liked Caleb Holt in Fireproof at all, you are going to want to read this book.

Wounded Score

I won't ruin it for you but the moments immediately following Kellen's deepest transgression are incredibly powerful. Part of what endeared me to Kellen so strongly is the manner in which Kellen carried the double pain of what he'd done. Double because he had to deal with his own shame and regret and what his actions did to Juliet and their marriage. And Juliet, God bless her, had her woman scorned moments which you understood, as a reader and a woman, and Kellen bore it over and over again. There's a very powerful moment deep into the story when Kellen finally breaks. A door is slammed and a glass shattered against the wall and the power and beauty of that moment for me as a reader was tear-jerking. You understood and felt what Kellen was feeling and everything leading up to him being unable to bear the strain any longer. After Kellen's come to Jesus moment, I was never tempted to be anything but compassionate to Kellen's pain because even though he brought it on himself, no one knew that better than he did, or tried harder to make it right.

Softie Score

The scene with Vanetta gives you a taste but there are some beautiful tender moments, one involving coco butter and an unborn baby that are going to melt your heart. And the letter, OH THE LETTER. The letter was where I stumbled my way to the computer and looked up whoever wrote this book to pretty much demand I be allowed to feature Kellen. It was the first time I ever, ever reached out to the author before I was even done with the book. It was that powerful. Right up there with the half agony, half hope of Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion.

Stupid Strike

This is completely justified. The score I mean, not the actions by Kellen that earned it. Unfaithfulness to your spouse in any form is the ultimate got stupid. Had it not been for the way Kellen worked so hard to make it right, he wouldn't be here. (See first paragraph of feature.) 


Swoon Score

A lot of it was the letter. Some of it is on the outside, he's pretty attractive, but most of it is his heart for God and for his wife.



About the author Marianne Evans:
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.'

Evans’s novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category as well as best inspirational romance of 2012 by ACRA, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Evans has also won acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest.

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

Connect with Marianne:


The FHF exclusive directly from the author: 
Now, here's some 'insider' info about Devotion: 

At first, Kellen and Juliet's visit to his parents' home in California didn't involve their anniversary. Rather, it centered on a medical emergency suffered by his father. Here's an excerpt from what was trimmed:


                Juliet ticked off the minutes until she would have a chance to see Jack. When Kellen’s ten minutes elapsed, she made her way to recovery. Curtains cordoned off a half-dozen medical stations. May had already directed her to the third bed on the left of a wide-open space full of hustling staff, their movements accompanied by the blips and beeps of monitoring devices.
                Pushing back the curtain, she entered the station quietly, because she noticed two things right away—two things she didn’t want to disrupt. First, Kellen sat next to his father’s bed, leaning against the metal guardrail. Reaching across the bed, Kellen rested his hand atop Jack’s. Second, she noticed he spoke quietly.
                She held her breath, captured.
                “God, I’m so grateful,” he whispered. “Thank you for protecting him. I have trust and faith in You, but, You know me. You know my mom. We weren’t ready to give him back to You quite yet. Since Your purpose is served in the continuation of his life, please help us to appreciate every moment you give us with him, and to know, always, that life, and love, is Your most precious gift.”
                Kellen propped his elbows on his thighs. He raked his fingers through his hair then cradled his head in his open hand. Juliet noticed a finite trembling. On tiptoe, she moved toward Jack’s bedside.
                “Kel’n…” Jack’s raspy whisper stopped Juliet short; Kellen’s head snapped up and he stood, leaning over his father.
                “Right here, Dad. You did great. You’re going to be just great.”
                Heart torn, Juliet stepped to Kellen’s side, drawn by his image, and the sight of Jack Rossiter, his head thickly bandaged, his movements made sluggish by anesthesia. Jack licked his lips; without a word of prompting Kellen lifted a nearby water glass equipped with a flexible straw and carefully directed it to Jack’s mouth. “Here you go.”
                Jack drew in a swallow or two of water. He hardly moved his head, but his happy sigh filled the cramped space. “J’liet?”
                “Right here.”
                “On’y s’pposed t’ be one at a time…don’ get the nurses mad…” He sighed. Though his right hand—the hand closest to Kellen—trembled, he offered a thumbs up. “S’glad you’re t’gether. Love you guys…s’glad…”
                Words faded fast as he dozed off.
                Juliet fought tears. The feel of Kellen’s arm sliding around her waist felt so good, and judging by the way his shoulders shook, he was in the same predicament.
                “He’s glad you’re here, Juliet.”
                “I am, too, Kellen.” With a sense of ingrained familiarity, she aligned herself comfortably against his side. “In every way.”



The Giveaways 

One print or e-book copy of Devotion, winner's choice. Please let me know in the comments if you would like in the book drawing and leave your e-mail address or be sure I can find you through blogger. We like an anti-spam format like awe.inspiring.devotion (at) rossiter (dot) com

One $10 giftcard, winner's choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble, to existing readers of Devotion. To enter that drawing, leave the name of a character not mentioned anywhere in the excerpt and once that character has been used, you'll need to choose another.

If this amazing hero isn't already enough to talk about, there is a passage from Devotion that really resonated with me.

Casual behavior towards love leads to neglect. Neglect leads to demise. And the slow, steady demise of an anointed marriage is a sin just as much as the ultimate betrayal of seeking the arms of another.

What do you think of that? What do you think of Kellen?

43 comments:

happygret said...

Casual behavior towards love leads to neglect. Neglect leads to demise. And the slow, steady demise of an anointed marriage is a sin just as much as the ultimate betrayal of seeking the arms of another.

I agree it's toxic but not a sin. I think an affair begins with a romantic (although not necessarily physical) outside of marriage.

Regarding Kellen, any man who fights to save his marriage, is a hero.

Carol Moncado said...

Wow! Sounds intriguing! I haven't read it, but I'm pretty sure I've already got it. I would love a gift certificate though :). Chloe? Isn't that a character? I think I remember that from glancing through it...

Carolmoncado at gmail dot com

Lisa Godfrees said...

I just saw this book cover somewhere else this morning. You know I don't generally read straight romance, but this one appeals to me because it sounds so realistic. Sign me up for the drawing, please!

Marianne Evans said...

And with that comment, Happygret, you summed things up perfectly and succinctly! So very, very true. Blessings, and thanks so much for the visit!!

Marianne Evans said...

Chloe is most definitely an integral part of Devotion, Carol! Good luck in the drawing and I'm so glad you stopped by. This blog is fantastic, isn't it?? :-)

Marianne Evans said...

It's definitely realistic and true to what I believe many couples face. Committed love over the long term--keeping it vital and growing and beautiful. Thanks for the comment!

Marianne Evans said...

And, while I'm commenting here on the blog, Nancy, PLEASE let me say to you publicly what I have said to you privately via e-mail. You "get" Devotion. You understand its message, its hero and heroine in a way this writer could have only dreamed. Christian's fall. Christian's sin. Christian's are far from perfect. However, Christian's know where to turn to find forgiveness, love and redemption. GOD. You're a treasure, and I'm so thrilled to be part of your absolutely incredible blog and your Fiction Hero Features. Hugs, love and blessings always my friend!! <3

Nancy Kimball said...

Regarding Kellen, any man who fights to save his marriage, is a hero. - AGREED. ;-)

Nancy Kimball said...

Oh she's a character alright. We'll get you in there for the giftcard Carol. Nice to "see" you and thx for stopping by.

Nancy Kimball said...

That's what we're all about here, Lisa. Glad this one is a potential fit for you. It's very, very real.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks, Marianne. Kellen and Juliet's story is good stuff. While their story is fiction, the love and mercy of Christ poured out through a humbled and obedient follower is not. I'm grateful to help share this work and Kellen with readers. So... is Kellen named for or inspired by the actor who played Emmett? ;-)

Erynn said...

Wow! This sounds great. The painful kind of great. I don't always love gritty books like this. Sometimes I just want a nice little escape. But sometimes the pain is WORTH it. Looking forward to reading it. Winning it would be nice too.
ErynnNewman(at)gmail(dot)com

Nancy Kimball said...

Erynn, I hear you! I like both, truly. Sometimes I want the feel good escape I call "puppies and rainbows" and sometimes I want the in the traffic, door-slamming, angst-filled grit of "been there, got the t-shirt" parts of life. I know God uses both in the lives of authors and readers. Always great to have you stop in and we got you in the drawing for the book. =)

Marianne Evans said...

Hi, Erynn! Yep, there's struggle and strife, but there's a lot of hope, love and joy that Kellen & Juliet discover (re-discover?? LOL!) in their journey together. No worries! :-) So glad you stopped by!

Regina Smeltzer said...

Marianne, I applaud you for dealing with the sensitive issue of infidelity. Too often as Christians we want to pretend that life is perfect, and if we are just good enough, nothing will hurt us. Then when something outside this perfect world does happen, we are unprepared to deal with it. Thank you for this book.

Gloria Clover said...

Okay. I was drawn in from book club. I read the reviewer's take and imagine I'll cry my entire way through this book. But I suspect it will also convict me to spend more time with/on my husband. So, I'd like entered in the book drawing. gloworm at certainty dot net.

Thanks!

Donna B said...

This is one of THE BEST books I have read in years!!! My heart bled for both of them and I cried my eyes out with the rest of you who have read it. This is such an amazing story of love and God's grace!

debbie curto said...

I am not sure how we enter for the gift card but I read the book and love it can you explain again how to enter for the gift card! It was great to have you as a guest on my blog Marianne. And so far I haven't been to a wedding shower to gift the book yet!

Carla Rossi said...

So glad to see Marianne Evans here at Fiction Hero Features! She is one of my favorite authors.
Go Marianne!
Go Nancy!

~Dana Pratola said...

Marianne! Congrats on your success with what sounds to be an awesome book. I can't wait to read it! So, yes, count me in on the drawing. Kellen sounds amazing :D

Anonymous said...

Would love to win an ebook copy of Marianne's book Devotion.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to leave my email address it is joanninmh@embarqmail.com

Marianne Evans said...

Regina, words like yours, above, mean so much to me. It's a dangerous topic to take on. When the threads of Devotion came together in my heart, I honestly prayed hard, looked up to God and said, "Really? Are you SURE about this one?" I wasn't sure I could pull it off. Fortunately, I DIDN'T pull it off. GOD did. :-D Blessings,and thanks so much for your visit!!

Marianne Evans said...

Hi, Gloria! There are certainly tear-jerker moments in Devotion, but there's a lot of love, laughter and hope as well! Good luck in the drawing, and I'm so glad you stopped by!! Blessings!

Marianne Evans said...

Donna, you are SUCH an angel. I treasure you, my fellow Pelican! God bless, and thank you for your support and encouragement. God bless!

Marianne Evans said...

Debbie, I loved being on your blog as well! You're an ab-fab hostess!! <3 To enter for the gift card, simply post the name of a character from the book who isn't mentioned above. Someone already nabbed Chloe, so that one's out. :-) God bless, and thanks for the visit!!!!

Marianne Evans said...

Well, Miss Carla, coming from one of MY favorite authors (I kid you not. Carla is the one who got me hooked on White Rose Publishing and Pelican Book Group - she's a flat-out amazing writer!) that compliment means the world to me. <3 God bless you always, my friend!!!

Marianne Evans said...

Hey there, Dana!!! Congrats to you as well on your successes!!! Thanks for the support and encouragement, and good luck in the drawing! Kellen obviously won my heart. :-) Blessings to ya' lady!!

Marianne Evans said...

So glad you stopped by and gave your contact info! I'm always bummed when someone who sounds like they'd like to enter and win a giveaway forgets to provide the means by which to award them a prize!! Good luck, and I'm so glad you took the time to visit today!! <3

Cheryl said...

I absolutely love very human heroes and villains. Infidelity must be a difficult issue to work through. I hope I never experience it.

"Casual behavior towards love leads to neglect. Neglect leads to demise." This can be said of things other than marriage and I truly believe neglect in our society leads to many hurts.

I would love to win a copy of this book.

Cheryl
ccmal(at)charter(dot)net

Deborah Pierson Dill said...

I love stories that feature characters (especially heroes) that learn and grow and change for the better. And Marianne is gifted in her ability to write just such characters. I can't wait to read Devotion.

Cindy Davis said...

Marianne,I would love to read this story.. It's a pretty scary subject,but I'm curious to see how the events take place.I have always questioned how anyone can trust or even forgive infidelity. But it is so true. It can happen to anyone... Congratulations and God Bless.

Mary Vee said...

I have known several "Kellen"s in my life. All deserved the chance to right their wrongs, maybe not with their first love, but with God. I would love to win a paper copy of this book. mimary_ve(at)yahoo(dot)com

debbie curto said...

How about Pastor Gene and who do I enter his name at

Cindy Davis said...

My email is cindydsplace@aol.com

Marianne Evans said...

You did it just now with your comment, Debbie! THANKS! :-D <3 xo

Marianne Evans said...

You are right on the mark, Cheryl! I agree wholeheartedly about imperfect heros who come to redemption, and the need to protect marriage. :-) Good luck in the drawing, and I'm delighted you stopped by!! God bless!!

Marianne Evans said...

Deborah, the same goes for YOU my talented friend! Thank you!! I hope you enjoy Devotion. Kellen is a remarkable man and creating his story was a thrill for me. I'm so glad you paid a visit to the blog! <3

Marianne Evans said...

Hi, Cindy!(thanks for providing your e-mail!) As you can probably tell by my earlier posts, the subject matter certainly had me praying and looking to God for the way He wanted me to tell the story of Devotion--which is always a good thing--I'm gratified the message is spreading, thanks to wonderful people like Nancy and wonderful readers like you!! God bless!

Marianne Evans said...

Hi, Mary! Second chances, an opportunity to sincerely reform, is at the crux of God's mercy and forgiveness, isn't it? Glad you appreciate that aspect of being human and Christian, and seeking God when we fall. :-) God bless, and good luck in the drawing!!

Marianne Evans said...

While I'm "on the line" so to speak, I'd like to tell you about the website my publisher created to go hand-in-hand with Devotion. It's called "I'm Devoted" and you can find it at: http://www.imdevoted.com This website features devotionals, posts about the topic of relationships, love, marriage. I'd love for you to check it out and become a subscriber! It's a great spot on the 'Net!!!

Patricia Bradley said...

Wow! Devotion sounds like a powerful book. I would love to win either version! pat at ptbradley dot com

Nancy Kimball said...

WINNERS!!!

Courtesy of Random.org the copy of Devotion winner is Cindy Davis.
The copy of the $10 Amazon or B&N giftcard is Carol Moncado.

Thank you all SO much and be sure to get your own copy of Devotion. Marianne, thank you for such a powerful story and for sharing Kellen with us.

NK