Monday, October 23, 2017

TOTAL CHRISTMAS MAKEOVER - Melissa Spoelstra - One Free Book

In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do: decorating, cooking, socializing, and shopping. However, it is important to pause and remember the priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ’s birth and not forgetting to invite Jesus to His own party. In Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose, Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach to helping families learn what it means to truly celebrate the Savior.

Welcome, Melissa. Some people thrive on the holiday season while others dread it. What factors differentiate the enthusiasts from those who would rather skip the holidays?
It really is our attitude that differentiates us. Those who want to skip it may have significant factors contributing to their posture. Perhaps they lost a loved one this year, and Christmas marks a time of loss flooded with memories of an absent person at their celebrations. Others may have complicated family or friend situations or might be battling cancer or a serious illness. However, many want to skip Christmas because their lists of things to do are overwhelming. The hype of Christmas requires a lot of work and sometimes isn’t very nourishing to the soul. Rediscovering enthusiasm for the season means stripping away the excess and getting back to Christ. Waning enthusiasm can return when we begin to ask good questions about how and why we celebrate. These devotions are designed to do just that. When we redirect our focus, we can celebrate Christ even through rough seasons of life.

What is a total Christmas makeover?
A total Christmas makeover doesn’t mean scrapping all your holiday traditions or adding ten more to your list. Instead, it is a personal time of reflection to evaluate how your Christmas practices align with some biblical concepts of celebration. The Old Testament is filled with instructions to celebrate and remember with marked days and times. Passover, festivals, and feasts were instituted by God to help His people remember who He is and what He has done.

Rituals, including special gatherings, particular foods, and specific actions, helped God’s people remember His faithfulness. Relationships were a key part of everything. Rest was mandated, and stopping ordinary work helped people savor God’s goodness. As we think about our Christmas rituals, relationships, and time for rest, we can make simple Spirit-led changes that will help us celebrate Jesus and bring realignment to His mission. That is a total Christmas makeover.

How do you approach the Christmas season differently now than you did five or ten years ago?
I’m less concerned about doing what I think I “should” do and more focused on spending time with the Savior I celebrate. I still love many of the rituals of Christmas and continue to decorate, attend parties, incorporate family devotions and prepare for special church services. I’m just more okay with saying no to some things. I don’t have to attend every party we are invited to. With teenagers, we now do weekly family devotions in December where they take turns leading. I spend more moments savoring, singing, and praying and less time fretting, shopping, and trying to make everything “just right.”

Since the Bible doesn’t expressly instruct us to celebrate Christ’s birth, is it okay to mix the more secular elements of Christmas in with the religious aspects of the holiday?
In light of the many holy days set aside in Scripture for the purpose of celebration, I have to believe God loves a good party. Jesus spent a significant time at parties during His ministry on earth. I don’t think every aspect of Christmas has to be hyper-spiritual. Of course, we want to focus on Christ’s humble birth, God’s extravagant love, and the sacrifice He made to redeem us. That doesn’t mean we can’t have some rituals that are just for fun. My husband hides our children’s stockings every year since we never had a good place to hang them. They wake up before us on Christmas morning and find a handwritten poem with clues and parameters to start hunting. As they got older he went a little crazy, burying one in a bin underground and another year placing one of them on the roof (clearly without permission from me!). This has no spiritual significance, but it will be one of my children’s favorite memories. Later in the day we will read from Luke and share what Christ has done in our lives, but the morning stocking hunt is just for fun. I’m sure many of you have traditions that aren’t inherently spiritual, but if they aren’t contrary to God’s Word or offensive to Christ’s message, I believe we have a lot of freedom in Christ worth exercising!

As long as you make sure everything you do is Christ-honoring in some way, is there anything wrong with going “all out” for Christmas? Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, is it okay if you don’t do anything special to observe or celebrate Christmas?
Let’s remember that Christmas isn’t a commanded holy day in the Bible. God did issue consequences for those who refused to celebrate Passover without a good reason (Numbers 9:13), but Christmas is a tradition, not a commanded holiday. I have friends who really go all out. My friend Elizabeth loves Christmas. She has the gift of wonder, and her excitement is contagious. God loves extravagantly. He went all out with an angel song for shepherds. There is nothing wrong with going all out. The danger comes when we lose our focus on Christ and exhaust ourselves with an overwhelmed attitude. Those who choose not to celebrate Christmas citing the commercialization, pagan roots of some traditions, or personal reasons aren’t breaking any biblical command either. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. What we need is balance and Holy Spirit leading to manage our time, talents, and treasures in a way that honors the God we celebrate at Christmas.

For those who feel like Scrooge or the Grinch (most definitely secular characters) around Christmas, what kind of self-examination should they do?
Feelings are fickle at times. They can change from day to day when we take into account our fatigue, workload, relational issues, etc. If we are consistently feeling like Scrooge or Grinch throughout a longer period of time, then we need to do some digging to get to the root of a pattern of feelings that isn’t Christ-like. God is generous. We can never out-give Him. At Christmas, generosity is highlighted and contagious. If we aren’t joining in that Holy Spirit-led desire to give and serve, then we need to do a heart check. These could be symptoms of something we can take action to reverse, such as lack of prayer or study in God’s Word. Maybe we have isolated ourselves from a community of believers and need to re-engage. Sometimes the issues run much deeper to past abuse, grief or secret sin. A good counselor might be needed in those cases to help us walk through our pain in a healthy way.

What are some of your family’s favorite traditions? How have they changed throughout the years?
When our children were little, someone shared with me the Jesse Tree project. It includes 25 short devotions with references to pages in the Beginner Bible. The stories begin with creation and end with the cross. The booklet also gave instructions for corresponding ornaments to place on a miniature Christmas tree. We made or bought these ornaments and wrapped them with Christmas paper. Our children enjoyed making many of them since we couldn’t find a fiery furnace or Ten Commandments scroll in stores! We used shrinky dinks, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and a variety of craft materials. Each year I would wrap them all individually and put the corresponding number of the day it was to be placed on the tree on the package. Each night before bed we would do the reading, and the kids would take turns opening the ornament and hanging it on a small tree.

Once our children got into middle school, our bedtime routines changed with sports and youth group activities, and we found ourselves needing to catch up doing two or three ornaments every few days. Eventually we stopped doing the Jesse Tree devotions and ornaments and assigned each child an evening to share their own devotion on a Christmas topic of their choosing (star, angels, wise man, shepherds, etc.). They had to include a fun activity (game or craft) as well as a reading from Scripture and discussion questions. While I love to reminiscence our sweet nightly December times when they were little with the Jesse Tree, I also enjoy our new traditions with college- and high-school-aged kids.

Is Total Christmas Makeover intended to be used as a family devotional or for the adults read and apply to their family time each day?
It could be used either way. For adults whose small groups or Bible studies break for December, it provides a daily reading to keep them in Scripture and reflecting on the reason for the season. It includes Scripture, a devotion, a prayer prompt, and practical application ideas. These could be read and discussed as a family or on an individual basis.

So much of the Christmas season is centered around the giving and receiving of gifts. How can we make over our approach to gift-giving to be more Christ-focused and meaningful?
The wise men brought gifts. Jesus is the greatest gift to us. Giving gifts is a tradition to remind us of our generous God. However, anything God intends for good, the enemy tries to twist. This has certainly happened with holiday shopping. Marketing targets us and our children to desire bigger, better, faster, and more. Dialoguing about the tradition of gifts and taking time to include our families in being generous to others help realign us in remembering the greatest gifts usually aren’t bought in a store. People are gifts. Peace, contentment, and forgiveness are gifts. When kids catch a vision and a taste of giving to others, it is the best medicine to quell their natural desires to receive. Shopping for a needy family, reading about missionaries, and starting traditions of gratitude help us rediscover the joy of giving and receiving.

During the busyness of the holiday season, in what ways can we focus on relationships and valuing others?
If we aren’t careful, people can become scenery and machinery. The waitress who brings our coffee. The postal worker who brings the mail. These are real people with real stories. When we break through the reverie of our own to-do lists and start to see them, we can ask questions. We can begin to pray for them. We might even get the opportunity to share about Christ with words or show them Christ with generosity. We want to become “there you are” kind of people rather than “here I am” Christians. This will require us to be intentional in focusing on people rather than tasks during a busy time of year.

The third section of Total Christmas Makeover focuses on rest. How are we supposed to work rest into December? Isn’t rest what January is for?
Rest requires preparation. It means we must leave some margin in our schedules and finances. We must block off chunks of time and guard them as an important commitment. Biblical celebration always required Sabbath. No regular work was to be done. This has never been as challenging as it is now with email on our phone and notifications galore. To take a true break from ordinary work, it might mean locking up devices or just checking them a little less frequently. Rest isn’t watching more television. It means giving our minds, bodies, and souls a chance to stop and leave space to hear from God. True rest produces no work, but it does leave us refreshed and reflective.

In what ways can rest mean different things for different people?
Introverts and extroverts often find different types of things restful. As an introvert, I like to rest alone. I enjoy reading, napping, sitting outside, or going for a stroll. My extroverted husband still likes a good nap and some of these activities as well, but he feels rested talking with friends or family. He enjoys a family game or a walk with others. Being with people replenishes him while being alone recharges me. Each person must discover the type of things that help them feel rested and connected to God. At Christmas, I enjoy sitting on my couch each evening just looking at the lights on my Christmas tree. I think about my day and my God and take a few minutes to savor what Jesus has done in my life.

The 31 devotionals go beyond Christmas day. How do you transition readers into preparing for the new year ahead?
The last 10 devotions revolve around rest and preparation for a new year. It is during times of rest when we can reflect on what we want to do differently in the future.  These devotions cover topics such as balance, finding new strength, and preparing to remember God’s gift of Christ throughout the year ahead. 

For more about Melissa Spoelstra and Total Family Makeover, visit melissaspoelstra.com. You can also follow her on Facebook (AuthorMelissaSpoelstra) and Twitter (@MelSpoelstra).

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing this book with us. I know my blog readers and I will enjoy finding new ways to renew things for the holidays.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Total Christmas Makeover - Christianbook.com
Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose - Amazon paperback
Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

WINNERS!!

Beth (IA) is the winner of Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Sharon (SC), is the winner of A Heart's Gift by Lena Nelson Dooley.


If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations
, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.


Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A CONSPIRACY OF BREATH - Latayne C Scott - One Free Book

Welcome back, Latayne. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I am working on a couple of nonfictions next. One of them is about how to protect your children from sexual predators, co-written with Dr. Beth Robinson.

Tell us a little about your family.
I have two adult children and five grandchildren and am blessed to have them live near me. My husband is disabled and lives in a care facility, but we have a great 44 year marriage.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Since you’re asking right after asking about my upcoming book, I have to say I know more about child sexual abuse than I ever wanted to know.

What are you working on right now?
In addition to the nonfiction, I’m returning to two fiction projects; one a YA, the other a trilogy set during the Civil War and its aftereffects.

What outside interests do you have?
I love Egyptology, gardening, classical education, apologetics, and grandchildren. Not in that order!

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Hmm.  The books ideas come to my mind as a package:  Each story has to take place in its setting, because the setting is integral to the story.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Well, Jesus of course; but in second place either Priscilla or Rahab.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
When I started, the digital age was beginning. I had no idea so many people would be writing novels and self-publishing them.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Humility.  Over and over.

I so understand that. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Pray about your career, don’t get caught up in the publicity trap, and read in the genre you’re writing.

Tell us about the featured book.
Some scholars think a woman wrote a book of the New Testament: the book of Hebrews.  Some speculate it was Priscilla. But that’s just the background of my book—the book is really about maintaining faith when God is very open with you in some ways, but withholds things you believe you need.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Praefatio
I carry the wrapped child in front of me, in the crook of my aching arm, his head above his curled feet, as if he were alive. As if he had ever been born, or named, or drew breath, or saw his dying mother’s eyes. As if she had ever seen his.

This is night work, and the mule beside me stumbles in the uneven, now unseen streets that only reveal shadow and character in the light of a doorway, here and there. All around our feet are what people throw away after a spectacle—torn banners, scraps of food, dropped, lost mementos.

Behind me on the creaking wagon are the remains, what I gather after the spectacle: torn things, fallen, saved, remembered.

When I first began this job, I could do it in the daylight. It was a curiosity to those who saw me, a woman who wore the robes of aristocracy and did the work of a ghoul. Most of those who knew me would not meet my eyes, or if they did, it was with a mixture of disgust and wonder. And later, some of them, with triumph, from behind secure windows, around impassable gates.

The first time I gained permission to bring the bodies back from the killing places, Cordelia began to strategize how to borrow a cart and donkey. Many of our friends still lived and had animals then, and she still had a bit of her father’s money left.

“We’ll need a big wagon,” she calculated, counting without knowing it on her crooked knuckles, imagining that the aftereffects of imperial entertainment would necessitate strong beasts of burden, perhaps several trips with several wagons.

She wasn’t thinking straight, I should have seen that. There is little left when wild lions are finished with a human being.

Wow! How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m at Latayne.com.  And Author Latayne C. Scott on Facebook.

Thank you, Latayne, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book.
A Conspiracy of Breath - Paperback
A Conspiracy of Breath - Kindle

Other books by Latayne:


Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the featured book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

IN PURSUIT OF AN EMERALD - Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock - One Free Book

Welcome, Jacqueline. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Although I try not to write myself into my characters overmuch, inevitably bits of my personality, philosophy of life, and values end up either spoken by a character or as a part of his or her actions. I think I probably write much more of what I aspire to be into my characters than what I truly am.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
That’s a hard one for me. I did a mind search and concluded that probably the quirkiest thing I have ever done is never to have done anything quirky enough to mention! However, I suppose the antics I go through to entertain my four-year-old granddaughter might qualify as a distant cousin to quirkiness.

And that is fun, isn’t it? When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was brought up in the country and mostly got to see leisure books when the bookmobile came around every six weeks or so. Although at six years old I had no concept of what a writer does, I think the sheer joy of holding a shiny, large, colorful book to my chest spoke to the future writer in me. It was not until I majored in English/literature that I knew I someday wanted to craft a book of my own.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Now that I have published novels, I’m afraid my reading range is quite limited. Other than the Scriptures, I mostly read historical fiction which is what I write. My preference is a longer book that allows me to live with the characters a few days and savor the experience of having gotten to know them.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I pray a lot and try to pace myself, understanding that the choices of what is available far outstrip my ability and capacity to embrace them. Simply put, I prioritize—all the time.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Mostly they just “materialize” in my head, and I know instantly the name that fits the personality I’m trying to develop. Now and again, I have to rethink names, especially if they sound too much like someone I know (or know of) or if I find I have too many characters with the same initials.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I think I am most proud of the opportunity I was given to design and teach an honors world literature course for advanced-level college students. I was able to choose classic works and teach them to the most receptive students of my teaching career from whom I am sure I gleaned much more than they could ever learn from me.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
My animal of choice would be a bird. I love how, at a moment’s decision, they have the ability to soar and simply leave it all behind.

What is your favorite food?
Shrimp dishes in their myriad variations are my most popular choices. I’ve never seen a shrimp I didn’t like.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock in writing has always been plotting. I have little or no problem with theme and characterization, but the details that drive the aforementioned present a challenge for me. It forces me to corral my thinking in an organized way so that the use of words that I so love will, hopefully, engage the reader through action.

Tell us about the featured book.
In Pursuit of an Emerald is a sequel to my debut novel, A Most Precious Gift. I confess to having villainized the character, Violette, in the first book, but I always felt she was worth redemption. Now she is the main character in Emerald. Violette is an ex-slave single mom living at the onset of Reconstruction, but ever in remembrance of what she has done and the people she has hurt to protect her daughter, Emerald, she remains a slave to her sordid past until she reconnects with Benjamin Catlett who has a devastating secret of his own. It takes the grace of God and a number of other mistakes before healing occurs for this couple and they find each other in love.

Please give us the first page of the book.
November 1, 1869, Riverwood Plantation
Natchez, Mississippi, Monday night
Violette McMillan pressed her back into the wall space just above the floor, the familiar pain twisting up her spine like a hostile whirlwind. There had never been so much as a bench to sit on in this cold, small space. Neither had there been a man to share it with if that coveted resting place had ever existed. She hunched forward. Rubbed the sides of her arms to fight the chill. Eyed the span of the tumbledown room.

What I wouldn’t give for just one padded chair.

But as for that species called men, she planned never to entangle herself with them again.
Seated on the splintery planks, Violette resumed her evening ritual of reading—tonight racing against time to finish the last few pages of a chapter of Uncle Tom’s Cabin before the wick of the lamp licked up the last bit of oil. Her lips moved in step with Augustine St. Clare’s monologue as she nodded to the brutal truth of the character’s words . . .

“If I was to say anything on this slavery matter, I would say out, fair and square, ‘we’ve got ’em, and mean to keep ’em,—it’s for our convenience and our interest—’”

Oh, no. Not the lamplight.
           
Violette pushed her face closer to the page. Squinted as she watched St. Clare’s words become one with the blackness. She grasped the lamp’s tiny metal knob. Advanced the wick.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Jacquelinefwheelock.com (website); @JFWheelock (twitter); Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock, Author (Facebook)

Thank you Jacqueline, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
In Pursuit of an Emerald - Paperback
In Pursuit of an Emerald - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WINNERS FOR OCTOBER 1

Readers, sorry I missed posting these when I should have. Late September was crazy for me. 

Lisa (KY), is the winner of The Healing Hills by Ann H Gabbart.

Paula (MO) is the winner of Rescued Hearts by Hope Dougherty.

Raechel (MN) is the winner of Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson.

Heidi (CA), is the winner of Many Sparrows by Lori Benton.


If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations
, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.

Monday, October 16, 2017

CHRISTMAS AT STONEY CREEK - Martha Rogers - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I love this time of year. The weather is cooler, and Christmas novels and novellas release. There are a lot of them, so I start reading Christmas books usually in September, but my September was really busy, so I’ve started reading them this month. Christmas at Stoney Creek was written by a dear writer friend. Her historical novels are nostalgic and interesting. I think you’ll really love this one.

Welcome back, Martha. Do you have a favorite genre to write? If so, what is it?
I’d say historical romance, but it’s really a toss-up with contemporary. Not as much research is needed for my contemporaries, so I enjoy writing them.

If you didn’t live in the part of the country where you do, where would you live?
Texas is the only place I’d ever want to live, but if I had to be transferred or my husband was, then I’d hope we could live in New England. I loved Vermont and Connecticut when we visited there. Not sure I’d do very well with the winters there. Hawaii would be a very close second, but the distance from the mainland keeps it from being first.

What foreign country would you like to visit and why?
I’ve been to Austria, Germany, and Switzerland and would love to go back. The country is beautiful and the people were absolutely wonderful. We were close to Italy but never made it across the border, so I would really love to go back and take a tour of Italy. There’s so much history there and a lot of it had to do with Biblical days as well. I’d love to see some of those places and walk where Paul walked.

Describe what you think would be the most romantic vacation you could take.
My most romantic vacation would be in Hawaii. Oahu and Maui are so beautiful and the settings in the mountains and on the seashore are perfect for candlelight dinners and romantic strolls. 

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?
I have in mind a story set in Nashville, but it hasn’t been developed yet. It’s still a germ or a seed in my head, but I’ve never had one there, so I hope to get it plotted.

What is the main theme of this novel?
Christmas At Stoney Creek shows us the importance of accepting people as who they are. You have to truly accept a person for who he or she is outwardly to know the depths of love and character in their heart and soul.

Tell us about the story.
When Tom first meets Joe on the train between Austin and Stoney Creek, others have shunned him because of his body odor, ragged clothes, and unkempt appearance. Tom, however, sees the potential for a story. As a newspaper reporter, he seeks unusual stories and he senses there is one with Joe. Joe makes friends with the people of the town and as time passes they learn how caring for one another leads to far greater blessings than they could have imagined.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Stoney Creek, Texas
October 1892
The scruffy and somewhat dirty old man shrank into the corner of his seat on the train. Instead of the foul air surrounding him, Tom Whiteman’s journalistic nose smelled a story.

Tom contemplated the bedraggled figure a moment longer then folded the notes on the article he had been writing and stowed them in his coat pocket. He’d go over them later, but for the moment, this stranger aroused his curiosity. He didn’t appear to have much money, so how had he bought a ticket?

Instincts borne from reporting unusual events kicked in, and Tom sensed a story behind the tattered clothes and dirty exterior. Other passengers moved away to give the man more room and to escape the odor surrounding him. Snow-white hair needing a haircut as well as a good combing covered the man’s head, and a droopy discolored mustache graced the man’s upper lip. Although his hunkered-up state gave no clue as to height, his form didn’t carry extra weight.

While observation gave some clues, Tom would have to sit with the man to learn more about him. He’d make a good personal feature story for the Stoney Creek paper. Tom crossed the aisle and settled into the seat next to the stranger. He extended his hand in greeting. “Hello, I’m Tom Whiteman. I’m on my way back home to Stoney Creek, Texas. Where are you headed?”

The man’s blue-eyed gaze searched Tom’s face before answering. “Name’s Joe.”

“Hm, I see.” Rather evasive. This strangely dressed man in shabby, well-worn clothes hit a chord deep inside that prodded him to dig behind the man’s countenance and learn more. The man’s outward appearance may be ugly and worn, but the serenity in the man’s eyes grabbed Tom’s heart and wouldn’t let go.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
www.marthawrogers.com is my website
www.facebook.com/MarthaRogersAuthor/ Author Page on Facebook

Thank you, Martha, for sharing this holiday book with us. I know my readers will be eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Christmas at Stoney Creek - Christianbook.com
Christmas at Stoney Creek: A Novel - Amazon paperback
Christmas at Stoney Creek: A Novel - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

WINNERS!!!!

Kim (NE), is the winner of Cowboy Lawman's Family Reunion by Louise Gouge.

Abigail (VA) is the winner of Thanksgiving Protector by Sharon Dunn.

Shelia (MS) is the winner of Heart of the Emerald by Cynthia Hickey.

Bonnie (AZ), is the winner of Joshua's Prayers by Olivia Ray.


If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations
, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.


Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A HEART'S GIFT - Lena Nelson Dooley - One Free Book or Ebook

It has been a while since I talked to you about my latest novelA Heart’s Gift.

I’m really getting some good reviews on Amazon. I just checked on Goodreads, and there are quite a few reviews and even more ratings for the book. You can check them out here:

My favorite thing that happened with the book this year was winning the RWA – FHL Reader’s Choice Award for long historical. It was a big surprise and a blessing to me.

Here’s the back cover copy for the book:
Because of an earlier betrayal, Franklin vows never to open his heart to another woman. But he desires an heir. When Lorinda is finally out from under the control of men who made all the decisions in her life, she promises herself she will never allow a man to control her again. But how can she provide for her infant son? A marriage of convenience seems like the perfect arrangement until two people from Franklin's past endanger Lorinda. How can he save her? And how will this affect the way they feel about each other?

To celebrate the book, I’m going to give away the winner’s choice of a print book or an ebook.


When you leave a comment, please tell me what interests you the most about what you've heard about the book.

Also, say whether you want a print book or an ebook.

Here are the links to the book:
A Heart's Gift: A Love's Road Home Novel - Paperback
A Heart's Gift: A Love's Road Home Novel - Kindle

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

BRINGING MAGGIE HOME - Kim Vogel Sawyer - One Free Book

Bio: Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in several different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope and redemption. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.
Find out more about Kim at http://www.kimvogelsawyer.com/.

Welcome back, Kim. How did this book come about?
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon an obscure online article about the mysterious disappearance of several children from one Arkansas county during the 1930s. This sent my writer brain down several pathways of possibility, and the story emerged from there.

Tell us about the books cover and what makes it unique.
This cover is very different from any of my others, which mostly largely feature the heroine. The soft image of a carefree child running through the grass invites the reader to turn the flap and see where shes off to.

Please explain and differentiate between whats fact and fiction in the book.
Although the story was based on a true event, all of the details surrounding it are straight from my imagination. There are some real-life cities used for locations (such as Las Vegas, Nevada), but the town of Cumpton, Arkansas, which plays heavily in story world, is completely fictitious. I am sure there are a few snippets of conversation between characters that happened at some point in time in my life since I have three daughters, but the story is predominantly made up.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
Quite a lot! I researched forensic science, vegan lifestyles, health issues commonly suffered by the elderly, and several cities so I could get the details right. I enjoy research, though, so it was kind of fun especially how cold case detectives solve mysteries.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
Since I am a seat-of-the-pants writer and dont follow an outline or plot, I am often surprised by where the characters take me. I love this kind of writing because every day is an adventure.

I told the writing workshop students on Monday night that as a seat-of-the-pants writer if I plotted out each scene, Id be bored when tried to write the story. I had already completed it in the plotting. What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
First of all, I hope the reader will see that its never too late to restore broken relationshipsboth with people and with God. I also hope it will help them take a look at their life and, if they are allowing a past event to negatively impact their present, will forgive themselves and let the regret go.

What is the next project youre working on?
Im in the research stage of a story set at the Atlanta Exposition in 1881.

Please give us the first page of the book.
July 1943
Cumpton, Arkansas
Hazel Mae Blackwell

Hazel set a porcelain cup and saucer on the overturned apple crate in front of her little sister. Madam, would you like cream and sugar in your tea?

Maggie nodded, making her Shirley Temple curls bounce. Her hairwhat Daddy called flaxenshimmered under the noonday sun, almost as yellow as the roses painted on the cup.

Jealousy sparked in Hazels heart. Why couldnt she have inherited Mamas sunshiny-yellow hair and sky-blue eyes the way Maggie had instead of Daddys dirt-brown hair and eyes?

What do you say? Hazel asked the question as tartly as Mama.

Yes, pwease.

Pluh-ease, Hazel said.

Pwuh-ease.

Hazel sighed. Maggie was just-turned-three, as Daddy often reminded her when she got impatient with her sister. Sometimes she wished Mama hadnt waited so long after Hazel to have another baby. Wouldnt it be fine if almost seven years didnt stretch between them? Mama and Daddy were always telling her she was lucky to have a sister, and Hazel loved Maggie. Of course she did. But sometimes

Pwease, Hayzoo Mae?

She lifted the lid on the doll-sized sugar bowl and spooned out pretend sugar. Then she pretended to pour cream. No matter how much Hazel begged, Mama never let her waste real sugar and cream for her tea parties. She used the spoon to stir the air in Maggies cup. There you are.

Maggies apple cheeks dimpled with her smile. Fank you. She picked up the cup between her fingers and carried it to her rosy lips.

I hope it isnt too hot.

Maggie made noisy drinking sounds. Her blue eyes rounded and she pursed her lips. Ooooh, it is hot! I bun my tongue!

Hazel stifled a chuckle. Playing make-believe with her doll had never been this fun. Maybe she should have let Maggie use her special tea set before. But shed waited until her sister passed her third birthday, the same age Hazel had been when she received the set for Christmas from Memaw and Pappaw Blackwell. She hadnt trusted Maggies baby fingers not to break one of the fragile cups or plates.

She picked up her own cup and held it close to her mouth. Blow on it. She puffed breaths into her cup, smiling when Maggie imitated her.

With the sun warming their heads, they sipped and smiled at each other and helped their dollies eat pretend cookies from the serving plate centered on the crate. Hazels imagination painted their surroundings from a dusty yard to the fancy city restaurant shed seen in a magazine. With linen-draped tables instead of a handkerchief-covered crate. With ladies wearing silk instead of homespun. So easy to see in her imagination. She even pretended her hair was shiny yellow curls trailing down her back instead of wind-tossed, dirt-brown, pin-straight locks lopped at shoulder level.

She picked up the plate and offered it to Maggie. Would you like the last cookie?

Maggie reached out her pudgy hand.

Im eager to read this story. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my website (KimVogelSawyer.com)youll find Facebook and Twitter links there.

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Thank you, Kim, for sharing this new book with us. My blog readers will be eager to read it, too.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Bringing Maggie Home - Christianbook.com
Bringing Maggie Home: A Novel - Amazon paperback
Bringing Maggie Home: A Novel - Kindle
Bringing Maggie Home - Audio book

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification youll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If youre reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Heres a link: