Thursday, March 22, 2018

DECEPTION AT FAIRFIELD RANCH - Tamara G Cooper - One Free Book

Welcome back, Tamara. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I see pretty much what I’m doing now: home schooling my three boys, dealing with four dogs and an occasional stray or two, and writing. I have a very supportive husband, and the boys think it’s “cool” that their mother is a published author.
Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I live in east Texas with our three sons and four dogs. Two of our older sons have left the nest. Life is never quiet, so I’ve learned to write around the chaos. Sometimes, late at night with the hum of the dryer and the rhythm of the washer as the only noises in the house, I write until I literally can’t keep my eyes open. I wouldn’t have my life any other way. Well, okay, maybe a spa would be nice once in a while with no barking or Nerf wars in the background.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I’m a scaredy-cat. I make no bones about it. I would never read a book that scares me, like a psycho thriller, so the obvious question is: why did I write a sometimes-scary trilogy—the Brothers of Texas series? I write them because I can control the bad guys. One time, late at night, several years ago, I’d written a terrifying scene (just stretching my wings as a mystery writer) and I scared myself! I had really dived deeply into the mind of a killer and every little sound made me think this killer was in my house! With my husband out of town, I couldn’t sleep at all that night. My writing hasn’t changed my basic reading habits. I still love a good romance. I love nonfiction. And I love mysteries, but I don’t like the scaring-me-out-of-my-skin thrillers. I sure do like writing them, though—sometimes.

What are you working on right now?
I’m having a great time writing about Mary Margaret, a quirky, funny, single 31-year-old woman who stumbles into a two-decades-old double murder and has to deal with the return of ‘the love of her life’ who dumped her when she was close to graduating from high school. Burke, her long-lost love, is a former Marine who is just—no other way to describe him—hunky. He’s now the deputy sheriff of Monroe County in east Texas. As Emmie—her friends’ nickname for her—sinks deeper into the mysteries disrupting her life, she encounters Burke at every turn. The book is a mystery with a touch of romance, and Book 1 of this new series will be out this spring. 

I want to feature that series on my blog when each book releases. What outside interests do you have?
My absolute favorite thing in the world is a picnic. I love the whole idea of spreading out a blanket, bringing a basket of food and drinks, lying in the sunshine, listening to the boys play ball with their daddy, and watching clouds. I also love to hike. I get the same feelings of contentment in nature hiking up a mountain in New Mexico, Arkansas, or Colorado. When I met my husband on an airplane headed to Colorado one Christmas, one of the first things we discovered that we had in common was a love of the outdoors. He was an avid hiker, as was I, and our first date was a hike up a steep mountain in the Colorado Rockies. We still like to get out on a long trail and lose ourselves in nature.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’m a Texan through and through. So I write about Texans in Texas, mostly. In the second book of the Brothers of Texas trilogy, the main character is Luke McKenzie, a rancher from Texas, but the setting is a vacation spot in the Colorado mountains; he hikes a favorite trail of mine and my husband. Since Texas has such a diverse geography (5 separate regions), it’s not difficult to find the perfect spot for characters to tell me their story.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Wow, this was so difficult. I’m an historian so my mind buzzed with all the possibilities from Homer to Plato, Alexander the Great to George Washington, King Tut to Ronald Reagan! I would choose Jesus, of course, but if we’re not talking about God, then I would choose Elvis. I would ask him about his spiritual journey through all the fame and chaos and depression. I’d ask him what was his favorite thing to do—maybe we’d have a picnic and he could relax and we would just talk. And then I would keep everything he told me under lock and key so that he would feel safe enough to talk to me again.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I would have liked to have known that I am not my writing, or my last book, or my next book. I think before I started writing novels 20 years ago that I thought I would arrive if I could only be published and live the life of a writer. Of course, I discovered that no such thing happened because of publication. Busier, yes, and an entirely new set of things to deal with, but I never arrived. I am definitely a work in progress.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
This is an on-going lesson but one the Lord has definitely honed in me lately:  the past had a hand in making me who I am, so I need to learn from it. I shouldn’t use it as a crutch not to live life to the fullest, and I shouldn’t dismiss its value.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Write every day, master marketing avenues, and stay focused on the goal. A fourth thing would be spiritual: bathe everything in prayer.

Very good advice. Tell us about the featured book.
Deception at Fairfield Ranch, Book 3 in the Brothers of Texas trilogy, is about an engineer, Kyle McKenzie, who is deceived in the cruelest way by his wife and an unknown scam artist adept at disguising himself. Kyle must protect his ill daughter and the woman caring for her from this evil man even though he has no idea what he looks like.

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Her heart pounded so fast, she could hardly breathe. But she’d said it. She’d finally said it. And the devil take Kyle McKenzie for all the misery he’d put her through!

“Margot, did you mean—” Kyle looked as if he’d just been sucker-punched. “You’re saying you wanted them to kill her?”

Margot shivered and stepped deeper into the dark walk-in closet, wishing it would swallow her up and spit her out somewhere else. Anywhere else.

“Is that what you meant?”

Gritting her teeth, she covered her ears.


Squeezed her eyes shut.


Stop it! Stop it!

“You wanted them to kill April?”

Yes! Yes! That’s exactly what I meant!

His words hissed at her from where he stood like a sentry blocking her escape. She wanted to run from him, from the words, from the truth, from their life. She wanted to screech at him that it was all his fault, that he’d sacrificed everything when he’d let their daughter live. None of this was supposed to happen. She wasn’t supposed to be a mother. She wasn’t supposed to love her daughter.

She wasn’t the kind of woman who could.


Her hands shook as she cupped her elbows and fought the need to rock herself. Like a living thing, his words slithered over the carpet toward her feet. Kill her? Kill her? They pricked at her heels on their way up her legs. She took a frenzied step away from them, tightened her jaw, and willed nothing to matter anymore.

“Margot.” A whisper this time, imploring. He took a soft carpeted step toward her.

She spun around, unable to bear his pity or his compassion or his need to comfort what couldn’t be comforted. “I hate you for letting her live.”

Kyle jerked as if she’d slapped him. His eyes widened. His jaw dropped.

She wanted to sneer at him, to yell, “You should have known. You should have known!”

“You hate me?”
This time, she smirked. The power of letting him go, of letting it all go, surged through her. It hadn’t been so very difficult after all. “Are you surprised, Kyle?” She brushed past him. “You really didn’t know?”

He followed her into the bedroom like a puppy. “But I thought—”

She pivoted as anger sliced through her. “You thought! You thought! It’s always been about you! Did you ask me what I wanted, what I thought? No! You just shoved and shoved—” She gasped, pressed her fingers against her mouth, and turned her back to him.

“But God blessed us with a—”

“Oh, that’s rich.” She threw up her arms. “By all means, bring God in on your side. Use him for leverage. You always have.” She slapped the closet door so hard, it slammed against the wall.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
All my books are on Amazon as well as other sites, and my website is . Thank you for having me as a guest today, Lena. I enjoyed it so much!

Thank you, Tamara, for sharing this series with me and my readers. I’ve loved all three books in this series. For a scaredy-cat, you write compelling suspense novels with so many unexpected twists and turns. You’re one of the best suspense writers I know.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Deception at Fairfield Ranch: A Romantic Suspense Novel (Brothers of Texas) (Volume 3) - Paperback
Deception at Fairfield Ranch: A Romantic Suspense Novel (Brothers of Texas Book 3) - 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.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

HIGH COTTON - Debby Mayne - One Free Book

Dear Readers, Debby is one of my long-time writer friends. She’s been on the blog several times, but it’s been a while. This book is the first in a new southern series. You’ll want to read the whole series.

Welcome back, Debby. Why did you become an author?
It gives me an opportunity to play different parts—almost like acting. I also get to solve problems that are playing out in my head.

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream job?
There are so many things I’d love to try, like hairdressing, carpentry, interior decorating, wedding gown designer, Disney character, or activities director at a dude ranch.

I can see you in each of these endeavors. If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t want to go back to any other time. I like right now.

What place in the United States have you not visited that you would like to?
My grandparents traveled to every state, and they said Vermont was one of the prettiest places they visited. I’d love to go there and see it for myself.

How about a foreign country you hope to visit?
I lived in Japan when I was in elementary school, but I haven’t been back since then. I’d love to go back and see it from an adult’s perspective.

What lesson has the Lord taught you recently?
No matter how pulled-together someone appears, there’s a mess in there somewhere. All humans are imperfect, but some folks are better at hiding it than others.

That is so true. Tell us about the featured book.
Shay Henke has mixed feelings about going to her family’s next reunion. On the one hand, she’ll get to see everyone in her mama's family—folks she loves unconditionally. On the other hand, she knows there’ll be more drama than you can shake a stick at. 

The days leading up to the event bring one surprise after another. First Shay must deal with her sister-in-law’s deep, dark secret. Then she has to contend with the childish ways of her business-mogul twin cousins. And when her high school crush wants to be her date to the reunion . . . well, it may have been a dream come true for Shay’s teen self, but the woman she’s become doesn’t know what to make of this. 

Shay’s contentment is challenged, and she’s determined to shake things up a bit. But will she find the excitement she’s looking for, or will Shay realize she prefers her quiet and predictable life? One thing is certain: Life in the Bucklin family is never boring. 

Please give us the first page of the book.
Shay Henke
When someone mentions family, I think of unconditional love, hearth, home, and all things safe and wonderful. That is, until the word “reunion” is added to it.

Family reunions serve one purpose as far as I can tell—to remind us that we’re only one step away from Crazy Town, no matter how hard we’ve worked to stay sane and make something of ourselves. And I’ve worked mighty hard to get where I am, regardless of what Aunt Faye says about my being an old maid.

So when I get the message on the family email loop that the next family reunion is coming up in two months, I stare at it and try to figure out a way to unsee it. Unfortunately, as soon as I open the email, the person who sent it knows, making me long for the days when technology wasn’t so smart.

I stare out the window and try to come up with a reason I shouldn’t go. It’s on a Saturday, and I hardly ever have to work on weekends. I’m not dating anyone, and I have very few friends outside my family, so I can’t claim to have other plans. I can’t think of a thing to keep me away, unless I lie, and I’ve never been very good at that, so I quit trying when I was a teenager. Mama used to tell me she got into so much trouble as a kid that she knows all the excuses. And she’s not kidding. I’ve never been able to pull anything over on her.

I turn back to the announcement on the computer screen. We used to get a couple weeks notice about these events, but that changed when people started overusing the excuse that they had plans. Now there are no excuses—not even when someone has moved away from Pinewood, the small town near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where my grandparents have lived all their lives. If the people who have to travel don’t want to stay with someone who still lives here, there’s always the Hilltop Family Inn, or they can stay in one of the chain hotels in Hattiesburg.

I’m about to get up to get a drink of water when my phone rings. It’s my brother, Digger, who feels the same way I do about these reunion things.

“I'm not sure we’ll be able to attend,” Digger says. “It’s Jeremy’s third birthday and Puddin’ wants to do it up big for him, seein’ as it’s our last child and all.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: @DebbyMayne

Thank you, Debby, for sharing your new book with me and my blog readers. I really miss being with you.

Readers, here are links to the book.
High Cotton -
High Cotton (Bucklin Family Reunion) - Amazon aperback
High Cotton (Bucklin Family Reunion Book 1) - 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:

Monday, March 19, 2018

LOVE AND ROSES - Sally Bayless - One Free Book

Welcome back, Sally. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I most enjoy writing about the themes of forgiveness, grace, and the immensity of God’s love.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Next up for me is a prequel to the Abundance series, a novella that will be available only to subscribers to my newsletter. This story is about the parents of Abby, the main character of Love and Roses and is set in 1980. I’m having a grand time doing research to fill in the blanks of what I remember of the time period, way back when I was in high school. After that, I’ll be starting the next book in the modern-day Abundance series, which will be about Kristin, Abby’s younger sister.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Beth Moore. I have learned so much from her Bible studies, and she seems like such a delightful person.

I love Beth Moore, too. Did you know she’s written a novel? I featured it on my blog when it came out. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Please sign me up for tea with Jane Austen! I want to hear all about how she wrote her books.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
My advice would be that you should listen to any suggestions, address them as best you can, and keep trying. Even though receiving a rejection is painful, many times an editor is giving you solid gold in his or her comments. Keep in mind, though, that editors are only people, and that they may be focused on what will work best for their line. I wouldn’t rip a story completely apart without seeking another opinion. 

I so agree with you. Fairly early in my writing career, I received what I considered a rejection. I cried, then put that story away. Two or three years later, I came across that letter and reread it. I realized I’d missed a good opportunity by not reading it more carefully and following the suggestions. Tell us about the featured book.
Love and Roses is a contemporary Christian romance novel. Here’s the description from the back cover:
Can new love bloom amid the roots of pain and loss?
Young widow Abby Kincaid treasures the past, both the antiques she sells in her shop and the tender memories of her late husband. When she learns that her hometown plans to sell historic Rose Park, a place central to her marriage, she vows to stop the sale.

Nate Redmond, a former Manhattan lawyer, is eager for a fresh start in small-town Missouri. With his extensive background, arranging the sale of outdated Rose Park for retail development looks easy, the perfect way to help the town fund the larger recreational space it needs. His role in the deal might even impress Abby, the pretty new neighbor he feels so drawn to.

But as Nate and Abby clash over the park, more serious obstacles threaten their relationship. Mistakes that Nate had hoped to forget continue to haunt him. Abby comes face to face with her failure to forgive. And how can Nate compete with the memory of a decorated war hero?

When the park battle brings on a crisis, can they each find the courage to believe in a God of second chances and a future where their love can grow?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Nate Redmond edged the big black mutt out of the way, set the bag from the veterinarian on the landing at the top of the stairs, and dug into his pocket for the key to his new apartment.

The landlady had said the place over the florist shop was adequate, but nothing top of the line. Not a problem. He didn’t need top of the line.

What he needed was a fresh start.

Hopefully he could find it here in the little town of Abundance, Missouri, while working for Uncle Al at his law firm, Redmond and Associates.

Nate turned the key in the lock, and the dog nosed the door open and trotted inside.

“Making yourself right at home, aren’t you?” Nate brought in the bag from the vet.

A wall of hot air heavy with humidity and ripe with the smell of fresh paint and unwashed dog surrounded him.

The first step of moving in had to be to turn on the air conditioning.

Only there wasn’t air conditioning, not even a window unit, which the landlady had neglected to mention. All she’d talked about was how the place had just been painted.

Granted, the paint was new, the walls a creamy white. Everything else—from the ugly brown carpeting to the outdated plumbing—looked as if it had been around since the 1940s. Back when HVAC meant a radiator and an oscillating fan.

On the plus side, though, the lease had been fine with pets.

Nate took the bowls he’d bought at the vet out of the plastic bag and gave the dog some water and a small amount of food. “Don’t give him too much too fast,” the vet had said.

Nate tried to open one of the living room windows. Stuck. He tried the other one. Also stuck. He made sure the latch was completely open and tried again.

The window didn’t budge. The less-than-fragrant air in the apartment had to be a hundred and five degrees.

He ran a hand through his hair and studied the windows. Were both frames warped?

No. They were painted shut.

He strode toward the bedroom. If those two windows were sealed shut as well—

They slid up easily.

All right, this was manageable. He shoved the bedroom windows open as far as possible and headed back to the moving van for his laptop.

Halfway down the exterior metal stairs, he paused and looked up and down the street. A bird sang in a tree that grew in a circular opening in the sidewalk. A small cluster of men in ball caps stood near a diner, apparently the place to be on the first Saturday morning in June. Here and there, a shopper strolled down the sidewalk, and outside the antique shop past the tiny alley, a woman watered two large planters of pink flowers. There were no honking cabs, no diesel fumes from buses, and—although most of the street parking was full—no throngs of people on the sidewalk. Probably normal for here. But to him it was weird. Just weird.

Nate checked his parking from all sides to make sure he was within the lines and got his laptop from the front of the moving van.

The woman at the antique shop flashed a wide, pretty smile. Her light-brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and her eyes were kind and unguarded. She gave him a little wave and returned her attention to her flowers. In her pale green T-shirt, jean shorts, and those little white tennis shoes like women wore fifty years ago, she looked, in all the best sense of the phrase, like the girl next door.

But not the next door he was used to.

I’m liking the opening. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Website (where readers can sign up for my newsletter):

And the links for the book are:

Thank you, Sally, for sharing this book with us. I’m eager to read it, and I’m sure my readers are, too.

Readers, 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, March 18, 2018


New instructions for winners in 2018 - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) 

Beth (IA)  is the winner of Secrets and Charades by Cindy Huff.

Emma (PA) is the winner of Chasing the Butterfly by Jayme H Mansfield.

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

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

, 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, March 15, 2018

GROWING KIDS WITH CHARACTER - Hettie Brittz - One Free Book

Parents are faced with the enormous task of not only raising their children to be productive members of society but also helping them grow into the individuals God intended them to be. However, God created each child and each parent to be unique, so what parenting techniques work for some children do not work for others. In Growing Kids with Character: Nurturing Your Child’s Potential, Purpose, and Passion, Hettie Brittz offers parents advice tailored to their own personality as well as to the temperament of each of their children.

Welcome, Hettie. You introduce your book by telling about your misadventures in growing a vegetable garden. How is raising children like growing a garden?
I think the similarity starts with the expectation that one will make a certain investment and reap a predictable harvest, but gardeners and parents both may have experienced many factors beyond their control. Pests, the weather, and our own mistakes sometimes seem to sabotage the outcome. In a garden these are physical variables; in parenting they are often emotional or spiritual. The realization that there will be such hazards and risk factors bring us to our knees, as it does a gardener or a farmer, because we can’t escape the clear need for God’s help in this process.

Growing Kids with Character helps parents identify their child’s natural temperaments and gives tailored insight on how to cultivate his or her personality and gifts accordingly. Can you tell us about the Tall Trees Profiles assessment that helps parents identify their child’s tree type? What are the four types of trees?
The Tall Trees Kids Profile is based on the many fourfold personality theories found in literature, studies of personality, behavioral and learning styles, and observations of many children throughout the years. At the heart of the kids’ profile are four tree types: Palm Tree, Rose Bush, Pine Tree, and Boxwood Tree.

Palm Trees are the spontaneous, social kids who crave our constant attention and hands-on involvement. Like palm trees in nature, they seem to be having nonstop fun in the sun. They need life to be colorful and filled with thrilling possibilities.

Rose Bushes are born with a metaphoric sign on their foreheads: “I’m the boss … Can’t you read?” The first few years of parenting are characterized by a power struggle to be the boss, a struggle that can wear out parents. The Rose Bushes chase milestones, always trying to prove they’re bigger and stronger than we think. I chose a rose bush as their symbol because the flowers remind me of the flowers awarded to winners. Their thorns are a warning that if you step too close, you’d better be prepared for the painful truth and a challenge or two.

Pine Trees balance out these extroverted tree types by being all about peace and harmony. Don’t pines even smell of peace and calmness? They are the kids we often overlook—content, eager to please, and quiet spectators rather than loud participants.

Boxwood Trees are the fairness barometers. In nature, boxwoods are used to make chess pieces and tuning pegs for musical instruments. Boxwood Tree kids think ahead, as one should when playing chess, and see life as a set of black-and-white choices. Even the little ones will point out rules to their friends and will fine-tune their own behavior and that of others for their teachers or parents. In nature, boxwoods can be pruned into perfect shapes or square hedges; Boxwood kids are equally moldable.

Most people are a combination of two. Temperament literally means “mixture” after all! A smaller percentage is close to one “pure” tree type, while the exceptions among us are a combination of three trees.

I believe our children’s design fits their purpose. Therefore, a child with a calling that requires an adapted style that can fit many diverse requirements is usually equipped with a broader personality style. Those kids who are created for a specialized area often test as one dominant tree type.

Since the parents complete the profile for each of their children, is there a danger of them unconsciously answering the way they try to shape their child into reacting rather than how their child would naturally act or respond?
Yes, unfortunately our research has shown that although moms generally know their kids well, they find it almost impossible to be objective. That is precisely why the Tall Trees Kids profile is set up in a way that parents can involve their older kids, family members, and even teachers in determining their child’s personality profile. Up to four people can participate, which guarantees a much more accurate assessment of the child’s needs.

Putting labels on children is typically frowned upon, but you offer that labels aren’t necessarily a bad thing. How can labels be helpful?
I truly don’t like labels. The Tall Trees terminology was a reaction to the labels I was given years ago. I wanted a way of talking about personality that would still acknowledge the possibility of change, growth, and metamorphosis. Trees are like that, aren’t they? No two of them are identical. They don’t look the same in all four seasons. Even in the same tree family—there are so many pine tree species and rose bush varieties. Boxwoods come in every imaginable shape, and palms can be tiny love palms that fit in a pot or towering palm trees such as the ones on the beaches of Miami. I don’t insult a tree when I use its name, and I don’t insult an individual when I use labels such as woman, teacher, ballet dancer, or soccer player, do I? The Tall Trees “labels” are merely ways of acknowledging a child’s uniqueness, and they act as care instructions.

When I say a child is a Boxwood Tree, I’m also saying, “This is a child who needs ongoing affirmation, structure, and clear boundaries.” I’m using the label to help others love this child well, not to limit the child’s potential. If I said you were a diabetic and used that label, I’d be telling people how to care for you. If I call someone a single mom, the label helps me have grace with her when she can’t make it to all the activities her kids participate in. Using the tree type labels has the same motive. If I know a child’s tree type, I can make sure I have a fair expectation of him or her.

Why do parents need to change and shape themselves to raise their child instead of demanding the child be more pliable? Doesn’t this put the child in charge and teach him or her that everyone should bow to his or her needs?
It can easily seem as though Growing Kids with Character promotes child-centered parenting that coddles kids by ensuring the world accommodates all their needs while never asking them to grow beyond their comfort zone. That is something real life simply won’t do for the child, and I can say emphatically I’d never recommend that approach.

Instead, the idea is to discern the absolute essential emotional and spiritual needs of each child and to fulfill those while identifying the areas in which each child will need a bit of discomfort, challenging expectations from our side, and support to change potentially harmful or unhelpful characteristics. Let’s revisit the idea of a gardener for a moment. The balance is always struck between giving the necessary fertilizer and protection against frostbite, which could destroy the tree on the one hand, while doing painful pruning for the sake of a good harvest on the other. Similarly, it would be unreasonable to expect that a tree would bear fruit while withholding what is essential to the particular tree’s flourishing, wouldn’t it? A child has to feel loved, accepted, understood, and believed in before such a child can press beyond selfishness and entitlement.

What challenges do parents face when their personality is one tree type and their child is a very different type?
The toughest part is anticipating needs that are so far removed from ours. I can’t, for example, imagine that someone would want to be a passive spectator because I always engage, even when I shouldn’t. I am a contra-pine (a combination of the driven Rose Bush, the adrenaline-seeking Palm Tree, and the dutiful Boxwood who needs to finish everything). God gave me a Pine Tree daughter who is my opposite. She is content to be on the sidelines 90 percent of the time. She can stop a project that doesn’t interest her halfway in and have fun sitting down. In parenting her with her nature in mind, I have to curb the urge constantly to hurry her up, press her to participate, or push her forward into leadership situations where she’s not inclined to step up of her own accord. If I do those things, she experiences a need to be someone she isn’t to win my approval.

Now imagine an outgoing Palm Tree mom whose Boxwood child would rather sit and color than go on an outing. This mom may need to slow down, sit down, tone down, and essentially dial down her volume and gestures to connect with her child.

Not only does each child have his or her own natural personality, but each parent has a natural way of parenting as well. How is it possible to work with your natural tendencies yet parent each child individually?
It starts with believing that God has a design for your family. Your tendencies and style are not a problem. They are God given and will do two things: provide essentials that are not present in your children’s make-up and are part of their journey to maturity, and challenge your children by creating the type of discomfort that makes both parent and child grow.

Take for example the easygoing mom who resists schedules and routine. She’s probably a Pine Tree and Palm Tree rolled into one. This Pine-Palm mom is super nurturing, tends to have lots of grace with mistakes, and creates a warm atmosphere. God very likely will give her a Boxwood Tree or Rose Bush child to raise who might not appreciate her style all the time. A Boxwood kid would need routine and, as a toddler, will have many whiny tantrums over little mistakes and frustrations, which the Pine-Palm mom may not be able simply to smile or hug away. The end result will be a mom who starts planning and structuring her home life more carefully, and a child who learns to take certain things in stride and be more flexible. Both ultimately adapt and win! It becomes challenging when we have two or more kids, each with his or her own needs, but the same principle applies. Each child will smooth a different set of our rough edges, and each will gain something unique from us as his or her parents despite the apparent clashes.

Parents often struggle to make sure their children feel as though they are being treated equally. However, you write about disciplining and communicating with your children based on their personalities. What happens when a child sees this as showing favoritism toward his or her sibling?
When we give each of the four types of children exactly the same consequence for an action—let’s say an hour in their room—two of the four types will likely welcome the privacy and peace, while the other two will feel bored or restricted by the time-out. This means disciplinary or corrective measures need to feel corrective to each child, or they won’t work. The child who feels corrected when simply given “the look” does not need another privilege revoked. The child who pushes back when corrected is effectively applying for stronger action from the parents’ side. Thus, we can explain the seeming inequality in discipline this way: “Discipline is meant to change your heart, your mind, and your actions. You are so different from your brother that we have to use different things to change your heart when you disobey us than what we use when he does. There are different things in his head and heart than in yours, and you don’t behave the same. We, in turn, don’t behave the same toward the two of you. We teach you different things because God’s plan for you two is different.”

At the end of the book you include an addendum on “Spanking and the Biblical Mandate.” What reasons did you have for devoting an extra chapter on this specific form of discipline?
In the original version of the book, published in South Africa, the little bits about spanking were addressed in the Palm Tree and Rose Bush chapters as a discipline option among many others that generally work better with their temperament at a young age than with the Boxwood Tree’s and Pine Tree’s temperaments. I decided to remove it from those chapters and only address it as an option in the back of the book because of the understandable issues with spanking being outlawed in many countries around the world and with child abuse in this area becoming a more conscious social concern. In theory, many parents say they oppose it, but in practice we see an overwhelmingly large percentage of parents admitting to spanking their kids on occasion. I felt there had to be a guide for a biblical way of doing what parents end up doing in anger or frustration, even when many don’t want to consider it an option. It is my way of saying we should at least reflect on both sides and decide where we stand on the spanking issue, so that when we, a spouse, a grandparent, or another adult differs from us about the matter, we can say we’ve carefully considered it and have made up our minds about how it will or will not figure into how we raise our kids. Reports from countries where spanking has been outlawed or effectively phased out several years ago are beginning to come in, and the results of that social adjustment are not resoundingly positive. I felt parents needed to know that.

Why is it important to cultivate your child’s unique way of encountering, following, and worshipping God?
God is a God of creativity and diversity. He makes us works of art, and I believe He wants us to glorify Him in colorful, unique ways. When we force a spiritual style and spiritual journey on our kids, they may not worship God the way He intended for them.

The apostles Peter and Paul had vastly different encounters with God. Peter (a Palm Tree) was called from his boat to a more exhilarating adventure—fishing for men—while Paul (a Rose Bush) had an almost traumatic encounter with God. God grabbed Paul from behind, struck him with blindness, confronted him about the direction of his life, and sent him a message that he would suffer much for the cause of Christ. Moses (a Boxwood Tree) encountered God in the miraculous sight of a burning bush and was given his calling in great detail, while Abraham (a Pine Tree) had sit-down meals with God and angels in a precious friendship-style relationship. It’s going to be the same with our kids; each will find, hear, follow, and honor God uniquely.

I believe in a purposeful design for every atom and cell in God’s creation. Our kids have designer DNA in their bodies and a calling in their souls and spirits. Their temperaments are adjusted to the same tune so their whole being will worship Him as they find their God-given passions and follow these passions toward their purpose in Christ.

Learn more about Growing Kids with Character and Hettie Brittz at or by following her on Facebook (HettieBrittzAuthor) or Twitter (@hettiebrittz).

Thank you, Hettie, for sharing this interesting book with us. I know many of my readers will want to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Growing Kids with Character -
Growing Kids with Character: Nurturing Your Child's Potential, Purpose, and Passion - Amazon Paperback
Growing Kids with Character: Nurturing Your Child's Potential, Purpose, and Passion - 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.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

RUSH - Jayme Mansfield - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’ve read several books set on one of the Oklahoma Land Runs. Rush is one of my favorites. At the time I read it, I didn’t know that it was based on the author’s grandmother’s life. That makes it even a more interesting read. The events and the characters quickly drew me in and wouldn’t let go of me until long after I finished reading the last word. You’ll love this book

Welcome back, Jayme. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I’m a storyteller (birthed from what I prefer to call tall-tales told as a child) and hanging out with my imagination is a favorite pastime. For me, fiction comes naturally, especially when history, art, and elements of love intertwine.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Amen to that! The others include marrying my husband nearly 28 years ago and the births of my three boys. Of course, bringing home our female Golden Retriever was a milestone among a house of males.

How has being published changed your life?
It didn’t happen immediately, but after committing to write more books, I stepped out of my twenty-year career as an elementary classroom and art teacher. Even though I’m convinced that, “once a teacher, always a teacher,” the extra time opened up several writing opportunities. I still tutor and teach art at my long-time studio, but my focus is writing—and I love it!

What are you reading right now?
A giant stack! Actually, I have two stacks but they are colliding into one, very Jenga-like tower. One stack has books about art forgery, art theft, and art history in preparation for my new series. The other stack has a special little gem, out-of-print long ago, but one of the best books I’ve read – Pioneering in the San Juan by George Darley. It’s his account as a Presbyterian minister going into the wild areas and mining camps in remote Colorado in the late 1800’s.

Sounds interesting. I love reading books written in different historical eras. What is your current work in progress?
Ah, a little spoiler above … I’m taking on a contemporary series that’s laced with twists and suspense. Even though it’s not historical, the story of a famous 20th Century Modern painter is key in the plot and draws in the past. Delving into a new genre has been both challenging and exhilarating.

What would be your dream vacation?
Just the other day I was day-dreaming about resting under a palm tree and running my hands and bare feet through white sand—sounds pretty nice right about now! But, after a little nap in the sun and a dip in the ocean, send me off to the south of France for delectable food and glorious scenery.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Interesting question … I believe my characters dictate the setting. Chasing the Butterfly grew out of my travels to France—the images and sensory details filled the pages—and it was the perfect place for Ella to “become.” RUSH is about my great-great grandmother’s participation in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1893 so that setting was a given. With my current work, I choose settings that I know or have access to get to know. I’m a visual kind of gal, so putting myself in the place is important to my story development.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I am a painter and that hobby brings me immense joy and relaxation. I also love to travel, play tennis, walk with my dog, and ski the beautiful Colorado mountains.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
In initial drafts, I tend to write free form and descriptions and dialogue get long and complicated. I have to step away from my writing, often for several days, and then I read it with new eyes and voice—always making for much better writing! What I may have thought was eloquent, witty, or crucial, is better chopped and diced.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
If you are inspired to write, believe in yourself, take it on, and be patient in the process. I admit, writing books is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but it is gratifying to know that God uses authors for his glory.

Tell us about the featured book.
I grew up hearing about my “Oklahoma Grandma” and her participation as a young, single woman in the 1893 Oklahoma Land Rush. The time seemed right to tell her story. Fortunately, my family had stacks of letters, documents, and photographs that became the seeds of my research. Even though her story is fictionalized, it is largely based on truth—even many of the surprises! She was a strong woman—her faith, perseverance, and trust in God helped her survive and flourish in a wild and unwelcoming frontier.                                                

Here’s the back cover blurb for a little more:
Mary Louisa Roberts won the race of a lifetime … or so she thought.

In competition with desperate homesteaders, ruthless land seekers, and a sheriff determined to see her fail, Mary rides out on a horse to strike her claim in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893. When she finally thrusts her flag into the dirt, 160 acres becomes her own. But with that claim, she risks more than she could ever imagine. A naïve school teacher and young mother abandoned by her hard-drinking, gold-seeking husband—whom she believes to be dead—Mary is faced with letting go of a past riddled with loss, hardship, and reminders that a woman isn’t capable of surviving on her own.

Daniel McKenzie, an illustrative journalist sent on assignment to document the race, has his own past to forget. Bound by a lost love and guilt from a haunting event in the streets of Boston, he wonders whether he will ever know happiness again.

Will Mary’s and Daniel’s stubborn and independent spirits keep them mired in the past? Or will two broken hearts find forgiveness and love in the wild plains of the Midwest?

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Mary ~ Alone, Missouri, July 14, 1893
I can’t stop shivering when I sleep alone.
As I pulled the threadbare quilt higher, daybreak peeked in the window. Morning already, and he didn’t come home again last night. Disappointment and relief played tug-of-war in my mind. But what kind of wife did that make me, relieved my husband didn’t come home?
My eyes followed a crack in the ceiling that ran like a river going nowhere. My hands rested on my flat belly, wishing for it to swell again with a baby. But that was nonsense. There was no new life in me. How could there be when I felt as though I were dying inside? Besides, having another child wouldn’t make things better.
Tossing the quilt aside, I slid out of bed. The floorboards creaked beneath my feet. Despite the heat, I still wore Tuck’s grayed wool socks, slipped on last night before crawling into bed. When darkness fell on Adair County, Missouri, my hope was that my husband would come home—at least for our son’s sake. But it was to be another lonely night.
I pulled my shawl from the iron hook and wrapped it tightly around my bare shoulders and thin, cotton nightdress. The logs from last night’s cooking had burned down hours ago. Only a faint glimmer of red pulsed from the ashes, determined to gain a last breath. I used the poker to rustle the fragile remains, urging them to life once again. A small flame darted, then receded as quickly as it had lashed out, reminding me of my own hurt and anger that was squelching the love I once had for my husband. But love was a requirement, wasn’t it? Especially for our son, six-year-old Wesley, who lay sleeping in the other room.
I, Aaron “Tuck” Roberts, take you, Mary Louisa Johnston, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.
The promises were made nearly ten years earlier when the leaves were brilliant, and I was twenty-two. Like so many others, my husband’s sights—as well as my own—were focused on eventually heading west for a chance at a better life. Now, the words he promised played over and over in my mind, slowly losing momentum like the record on the phonograph, winding down, then silent.
The window felt cool as my head rested against the glass. “He’ll be home soon,” I whispered, wiping away tears that lately came too easily. Outside, the dirt road took on an auburn haze—the mid-July sun promising a new day.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Visit Jayme’s website: to join her newsletter.                       
Jayme’s blog
Amazon Author page:
Goodreads Author page:
Twitter: @jaymemansfield
Instagram: jaymemansfield

Readers, here are links to the book.
Rush - Paperback
RUSH - 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: