Friday, August 18, 2017

A HEART RECLAIMED (CHERISH) - Elizabeth Maddrey - One Free Ebook

Welcome, Elizabeth. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Hopefully just more of the same – I want to keep writing the books God lays on my heart. It’s my prayer God will continue to use me and the words I write for His glory.

Tell us a little about your family.
I have a marvelous husband to whom I’ve been married for 22 years. And we have two boys, age 9 and 5. We’re also in close proximity to both sets of grandparents, as well as siblings, so we do a lot with our extended family. I love having that opportunity.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
You know, I think I’m unique in this because it really hasn’t. I love to read and I’m grateful I’m able to turn off my inner editor in order to still just enjoy every book I pick up without feeling I have to critique the writing or try to compare it to my own. I love to just read for the sake of reading. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.

What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m finishing up A Tidbit of Trust, book 5 in my Taste of Romance series. It’s the last book in the series and ties up all the friends who we’ve met throughout the previous four books. I’m hoping to have it release in September.

What outside interests do you have?
Well, I homeschool my kids, and I actually really enjoy that. It’s fun to revisit subjects I haven’t studied since I was little. And, like I already said, I love to read. I also enjoy watching police procedurals on TV when I have a minute or two to myself, crocheting, trying out new recipes, and playing the piano.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Generally, my books have all been set in the Washington, D.C. area. I live here and it’s such a great area. It’s rich in history, with lots to do, and I think (hope!) people enjoy getting a glimpse of what it’s like to live here.

I’ve also recently started a series set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. I got the spark for that series when my sister and I went on a road trip to see an old mansion down there that’s open to the public on certain summer weekends.

My other current series is set in a fictional town in southern Idaho. This setting was one that the group of authors working on the series worked together to develop. I’m really enjoying the change to small-town Idaho. It’s not something I would probably have come up with on my own.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I’d love to hang out with Marie Curie for an evening. She was an amazing woman who I’ve always admired.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That there’s no prescribed way to write. I spent a lot of time trying to shoehorn myself into the “right” way to write – doing character background sheets and big plotting notebooks and all that sort of stuff. When I finally got so frustrated and discouraged by doing that, then getting sick of the characters and the story before I ever wrote a word, I let myself just write. And the book happened. And I realized  I don’t have to write in any specific way. There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to go about it. Just get the story down.

I went through that process. I’m a seat-of-the-pants author, but I believe we do the same thing in our heads that plotters do on paper. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
I’ve often struggled with comparing myself to others. Lately, God’s been working on that some more and helping me focus just on doing my best for Him and leaving the rest alone.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
First, study the craft. That can be conferences, seminars, books, whatever. Just never stop studying the craft.

Second, get a really good editor. Everyone needs an editor, no matter who they are or how famous etc. And it needs to be someone who knows what they’re doing. Yes, they can be pricey, but it’s worth it.

Third? Read. Read in your genre. Read outside your genre. Learn to love the written word.

Tell us about the featured book.
My book is A Heart Reclaimed. This is book two in my Peacock Hill Romance series (the one set in the mountains of southwest Virginia). It’s the story of two landscapers who are helping restore the gardens around a dilapidated mansion that’s being turned into a retreat center. Anna and Duncan went to college together. He had a crush on her, but she thought he was pushy and obnoxious. Now, as they work together, they have to bury the hatchet and see if they can’t plant some seeds that bloom into love.

A Heart Reclaimed is one of seven novels in the Cherish box set.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Anna Hamilton parked her car under one of the shaggy cedars near the front of Peacock Hill and rubbed her hands together. Finally, a chance to be part of a project that mattered. Not that the historical landscape archives weren’t important, but who wanted to be stuck behind a desk helping researchers when she could get her hands in the dirt? She couldn’t really pinpoint how she’d ended up at the library, either. Which just made it worse. But now...maybe her life was back on track.

Gathering her laptop bag and her duffel, she stepped out of the car and breathed in the unpolluted air. It was lovely. Very little humidity and still cooler than Richmond, which was beginning to feel the first tendrils of Virginia summer weather. Even if it was barely May. She closed the car door and crossed the gravel drive, climbing the steps to the front of the house two at a time while she admired the columns and general grandeur of the place.

Anna knocked on the door. Would anyone hear if they weren’t close by? The house—there had to be a better word. Mansion? Estate?—was massive.

“Coming.” Footsteps clomped closer before the door swung open. The tiny blonde grinned and extended her hand. “Anna, right? I’m Deidre.”

“That’s me. Nice to meet you.” Anna took her hand and peered inside. Rich wood—on the floor and the walls—met her gaze. “Gosh, it’s even prettier in real life.”

“Come on in. Is that all you brought?”

“I have more out in the car—you said to be prepared to rough it, so there’s an air mattress and that kind of thing, too. I just wasn’t sure...”

Deidre grinned. “I’ve got an actual mattress for you. It’s on the floor, but it’s better than a blow up. We’re roughing it, but not quite at the camping level. You and I are on the second floor. I stuck my brother on the third.”

“Sounds good.”

Deidre paused and angled her head to the side.

Anna raised her brows. “What?”

“It’s just...I want to make sure you didn’t think you were in charge of the project?”

Anna worked to control the expression on her face. She had actually, but diplomacy was always a good idea. “Well, you have final say, of course.”

Deidre shook her head. “I was afraid of that. I’m so sorry. See, my brother’s a landscape architect and I asked him—practically as soon as I bought the place—to help out. I wasn’t sure he’d be able to get down here this spring though, which is why I started looking around for photos and such—to see if I could do a little cleanup while I waited for him to have time. But his work schedule cleared up and he got here yesterday.”

“I see.” Although she didn’t. Anna gripped the handle of her duffel. Three months of email and phone calls with Deidre had made her seem like a friend, of sort. Why had the woman never mentioned a brother? A landscaping brother at that. “So...you don’t actually need me?”

“I didn’t say that. I...it’s just...” Deidre broke off and turned at the noise on the staircase.

“Hey, Dee, I was thinking...oh.” A tall, sandy-haired man stopped on the steps, his features sliding into a blank mask. “Hello, Anna.”

“McIntyre. Of course.” Anna’s stomach twisted into an entire batch of pretzels as she realized just who Deidre’s brother was. She swallowed, willing some moisture into the desert of her mouth. “I should be going. Your project is in good hands.”

Deidre shot Duncan a meaningful look.

Anna turned and reached for the door.

“I never figured you for one who’d walk away from a challenge.”

Good way to hook me and my readers. How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can find all my books on my website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com
I love to interact with readers on Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey
I’m also on Instagram with snippets of my life and an occasional book promo (but mostly just pictures of my day-to-day): http://www.instagram.com/ElizabethMaddrey

Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your book and this boxed set with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Cherish: Seven Tender Christian Romance Novels

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, August 14, 2017

THE COPPER BOX - Suzanne J Bratcher - One Free Book

Welcome, Suzanne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
That’s a little hard to answer because as I’m writing I don’t think I’m putting myself in. As I write, I put myself into the character’s head and try to think like I would if I were that person facing that dilemma. But when I look back a finished piece, I see bits of myself in all the characters, whether it’s a thought I’ve had, an experience I’ve been through, or someone I knew in years past. It’s especially interesting to see bits of myself in a villain!

I don’t think I’ve ever put a bit of me in a villain. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I took sabbatical year from teaching to write a book about grading papers. While I was doing that I apprenticed as a piano tuner. I really loved the repair part of that work and would have liked to switch careers. But I realized one year wasn’t enough to learn the business, and I learned enough about teaching and learning from my apprenticeship that I returned to teaching with an entirely new attitude.

When did you first discover you were a writer?
The third grade. I had written little stories before that, but that year I read a child’s biography of Louisa May Alcott, and I recognized my inner self in her. That’s when I knew I was a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read a lot of nonfiction. When I was writing The Copper Box I read several books about antique furniture and its repair. I’m reading a nonfiction book by Marva Dawn right now called Being Well When We’re Ill: Wholeness and Hope in Spite of Infirmity. It’s a reflective book on dealing with chronic illness with God’s help. It’s giving me a lot to think about with my multiple sclerosis. As far as fiction goes, I love mysteries and romantic suspense. I’m branching out now and reading romances (Christian) for the first time in my life. I want to learn how to put more romance in my own stories.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
That’s been a tough one for me. Because of my multiple sclerosis I’ve been forced to drop out of the run, run, run world. Now I struggle with guilt because I have to say “no” to more things than I can say “yes” to. That’s one of the issues Marva Dawn’s book is helping me with. Her chapter is called “Unproductivity-the Mysterious Workings of God.” I’m learning that when I let go and let God, the things God wants me to do get done on God’s timetable. It’s hard because I’ve always been an overachiever and running at the head of the pack. It’s a wonderful lesson though. When I feel overwhelmed by how far behind everyone else is I lie down, close my eyes, and do a very slow meditation on Psalm 46:10a “Be still and know that I am God.”

Those words have carried me through many things. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have three resources: one is a Writer’s Digest book called Character Name Sourcebook. Names are listed by nationality with the meaning for each name. I look for tag names that fit the personality of the character. The second is online lists of popular baby names by year. I figure out what year the character was born and look to see what names parents favored that year. The third source is the Bible. In The Copper Box, Marty is short for “Martha” because she was the oldest child and very work oriented. Paul is named for the Apostle Paul because my character must learn to take the Apostle’s advice to forget the past and run the race Jesus is calling him to.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Starting the Northern Arizona Writing Project (NAWP). It was a public school writing-across-the-curriculum effort based on a partnership between two departments at Northern Arizona University (English-me and Education-Beth Strobe) and the public schools in our area (Vaughn Delp from Prescott Unified School District). Every summer we gathered teachers from all grades and disciplines and wrote together. Then from our experiences of our own writing, we looked at how to teach writing. It changed all of us. First, it made us writers so we were more careful with our students as writers. Second, it made us realize what a complex process writing is so we had to think very seriously about grading our students’ efforts. I really found my writing voice working with NAWP. It lasted for ten or twelve years and affected countless teachers and students (including my own). I think it made us all more compassionate teachers.

That’s wonderful. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would be a turkey vulture. They fly the highest of all the birds by riding wind currents. Airplane pilots have spotted them as high as 20,000 feet. Obviously they’re not hunting up there, they’re just enjoying the wind. Their faces aren’t beautiful close up, but when I see one soaring above me, I think they’re beautiful and I wish I could be up there too.

What is your favorite food?
Blueberry cheesecake: the real New York style with fresh blueberries

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest problem has been (and continues to be) the neurological fatigue that’s part of multiple sclerosis. I used to be a very scheduled person (a teacher has to be), but now I have to go with the ebb and flow of my energy. It’s particularly challenging because each day is a bit different. I used to get up and write two hours early in the morning and then two more hours later in the day. Mornings are very slow for me, so now I find myself writing in the afternoon or even at night and two hours is my absolute max. I can’t say I’ve overcome it, but I’m learning to trust God. I truly believe God wants me to write my stories, so I pray before I sit down to write and go as long as I can and then stop. As a result I’m a very slow writer, but I’ve decided that’s okay. Jesus welcomed the “halt and the lame.”

Tell us about the featured book.
I call The Copper Box mystery shot with suspense and sprinkled with romance. It’s set in Jerome, Arizona: the largest ghost town in America. Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw goes to Jerome to face the horror that haunts her dreams: did she kill her little sister twenty-two years ago. Historian Paul Russell is in Jerome to face his own horror: was the car crash that killed his wife his fault? Their lives become intertwined when an old lady dies on a long staircase in a dusty Victorian house. As they search the house for a small copper box Marty believes will unlock her memory and the mystery of her grandmother’s death, dangerous accidents begin to happen. Someone else wants the copper box, someone willing to commit murder to get it. As Marty and Paul face the shadows in the house and in their lives they must learn to put the past behind and run the race God is calling them to.

Sounds like a wonderful read. It’s on the top of my to-be-read pile. I’ll read it as soon as I finish the book I’m reading now. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me on my website at www.suzannebratcher.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorsuzannebratcher, on Amazon at amazon.com/author/suzannebratcher5, on Twitter @AuthorBratcher

Thank you, Suzanne, for allowing me to feature this book on my blog. I love your book's cover.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Copper Box - Paperback
The Copper Box - 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, August 13, 2017

WINNERS!!!!

Suzanna (IN) is the winner of an ebook or print copy of Missions Undercover by Virginia Vaughan.

Kristine (TX) is the winner of Renewing Your Mind by Dennis Jernigan.

Joy (TN) is the winner of Married by Mistake (Second Chance Brides) by Laura V Hilton.

Beth (MT) is the winner of Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry.

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.

Friday, August 11, 2017

FAULT LINES - Thomas Locke - One Free Book

Welcome, Thomas. Why did you become an author?
I came to faith at age twenty-eight and began writing two weeks later. Up to that point, my whole focus had been upon business – I ran the European office of a US consulting group. There were a huge number of transitions that followed this, but from that first moment, literally the first hour I wrote my first story, I knew this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

If you weren’t a novelist, what would be your dream job?
Seven years ago, I began writing screenplays. It was enormously challenging, like learning a new musical instrument or a different field of medicine. But it has remained a great joy. I am now working on my fifth screenplay under contract and loving it. Just loving it.

If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be and why?
This has never really interested me as a concept. What I find fascinating, however, is the idea of alternate universes. Different scenarios playing out in a time and setting that is the here and now, only skewed ninety degrees. That is what I am doing with this series of novels.

What place in the United States have you not visited that you would like to?
Alaska. Hike the wilderness. In the summer, though. Definitely just in the summer.

How about a foreign country you hope to visit?
I have been invited to lecture on creative writing in Singapore. Just across a bridge is Malaysia, a land of clouds and mystery. Can’t wait.

What lesson has the Lord taught you recently?
Letting go.

Working in the film world means accepting that mine is just one voice among many, and certainly not the most important or the loudest. When the story moves from page to the combined action of many, I become just one of the chorus.

Tough.

Tell us about the featured book.
That night, Professor Gabriella Speciale does something she has never done before. An Italian psychologist, she has spent five years studying the brainwave patterns of practitioners of deep meditation. She now intends to apply the latest electromagnetic techniques to stimulate similar brainwaves in ordinary subjects; those who have never practiced mental control. But her initial candidate reports something utterly unexpected. Then another. After the third research experiment, Gabriella decides to break with the demands of scientific objectivity. She must slip into the lab after-hours, and take her own trial run.

Gabriella seems to float on the edge of human consciousness. She senses a gradual separation from her physical form, frightening but also captivating. At one level she identifies the phenomenon as an out-of-body experience. These have been chronicled, and controversial, for centuries. Only now there is a difference. With a little tweaking, Gabriella finds a means to both control and direct the out-of-body experience. She seems to be omniscient – going anywhere, seeing everything. Has she, in effect, defied the laws of gravity, locality and time? As the lab comes back into focus, Gabriella is flush with exhilaration – and anxiety. She does not fully understand the ramifications – but something this big needs to be protected.

Please give us the first page of the book.
The Satellite Beach community center was not the sort of place to require an armed agent guarding the coffee machine. It was located in a former auto supply warehouse. The four bay doors had been replaced by walls of glass. The view was over a parking lot, a lawn shared with the neighboring church, and the inland waterway. That Monday evening the setting sun turned the bay into a burnished copper shield.

Charlie Hazard stood in what had become his normal station, midway between the coffeemaker and the jukebox. His job was to make sure the local surfers didn’t totally freak out the old-timers. There were nights when he would have rather faced incoming fire.

The center was situated three blocks from the home he had inherited from his father. Charlie had been dropping by a couple of nights each week for nineteen months and he still didn’t know why. He went off on a job, got it done, came home, and a night or so later he was back. The place suited him. It was safe. Charlie liked safe. And sane. A lot of his life away from this place wasn’t either. Lately he found himself looking forward to coming back. He was comfortable with little triumphs these days—another day staying clean, another night without sweats and fever dreams.

Julio, a Hispanic kid in his late teens, hit the button on the music machine. Immediately the place was invaded by rap. Julio was a local surfer, tall and handsome despite his baggy jeans and prison tats. Charlie had every reason to dislike him and his attitude. But something about Julio hit him at gut level. What was more, Charlie’s best friend here was the youth counselor, a retired Orlando detective named Irma Steeg. Irma had a definite soft spot for the kid. So Charlie kept his voice mild as he waved Julio over and said, “Think maybe you could hold off for another hour?”

Julio gave him attitude. “What’s your problem, man?”

“See the old people over there by the windows? Forty-five minutes, they’ll leave for their nightly meds. Then you can play the track that sounds like a bad day in Baghdad.”

Irma settled a hand on Julio’s arm, halting his comeback. She asked, “How about something from Ol’ Blue Eyes?”

Charlie walked over to the machine and ditched the rap. To the groans of everybody under twenty, Frank Sinatra and his horn section asked Charlie to fly him to the moon.

As Charlie returned to the coffee bar, Irma gave Julio her number one smile. “Everybody likes Sinatra, right?”

Charlie knew Julio wanted to tell Irma exactly where she could put Sinatra and his entire big band. But Julio had enough street sense to notice the steel behind Irma’s smile.

He told the departing kid, “One hour, tops. Then the place is yours.”

“Whatever, man. Make yourself some oatmeal, why don’t you. Easier to chew, you don’t got no teeth.”

Charlie said to Irma, “Remind me why you put up with that lip.”

“Julio has nothing and nobody. I always had a thing for strays.” Irma offered him the same soft-hard smile. “As you should know.”

He skipped his retort because an unfamiliar woman chose that moment to walk through the door. When her smile lit up the room, even the kids gave this new arrival thirty seconds of silence.

The strange thing was, the beautiful woman was not actually smiling at anyone or anything in particular. She seemed genuinely ecstatic to simply be here. In a former auto supply warehouse.
Maybe she had a thing for Sinatra.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Fault Lines - Christianbook.com
Fault Lines - Amazon.com
Fault Lines - 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:

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

DIVINE DETOURS - Sion Alford - One Free Book

Dear Readers, here’s a book by one of the pastors of my church. When I read the first thing in the book, I knew I had to feature it here. The opening is amazing.

 Welcome, Sion. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I have served for over 25 years as a worship pastor and 10 of those 25 years have been with Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. I have a passion to help people connect their gift with their purpose.

And you do a very good job of that. Tell us about your family.
I have been married to Shannon for 25 years, and we have eight wonderful children. Shannon has been in ministry both at home and at the church during these 25 years and brings much wisdom to our marriage through her devotion and relationship with the Lord. All of our kids are serving the Lord and following Him with all their hearts. We are blessed!

That is indeed a great blessing. What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I love spending time with family, especially outdoors. I also enjoy fishing and hunting.

Why did you write the featured book?
Having served in the worship ministry for these 25 years I have seen so many good people deceived by their gifts and giftings. Many talented people don’t understand that you must go through process to get to God’s promise for your life. As soon as a talented person meets resistance they usually abandon the will of God and take the “short cut” or easy way to the promise. They don’t allow God to develop the necessary character they are going to need when they get to their “promise.” They chase the dream instead of the Dream Giver. They pursue the promise instead of the Promiser. What usually results is a person who doesn’t have the character to hold them while they stand in the promise. That is what this book is about: process. The process is a Divine Detour to God’s promise and calling.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
Your identity is not determined by the gift God has given you. Jesus’ identity was defined by His Father, not His gifts nor His calling. He was the “Son of God” before He was the Savior of all! In order to be successful in life and in ministry you need to know WHO you are and WHOSE you are!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book?
I believe this is an important book for anyone who feels called to ministry, whether professionally or in a volunteer capacity. Jesus was not “fit” for ministry until He had gone through 30 years of “process.” He prepared 30 years for a 3-year ministry! His public ministry did not begin until He had is Father’s affirmation: “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”

Please give us the first page or two from the book.
The Lord directs our steps,   so why try to understand everything along the way? —Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)

I’ve been to “Moriah” many times in my own life.

Even as I write this, I am climbing several Moriahs. I clutch my dreams in my arms, wishing I could scale the heights of Moriah full of faith and trust in God. Instead, I keep searching for a way that is less painful, a path that costs less.

I am not alone. Who wants to see their dreams die? Who gets excited when God asks them to sacrifice their Isaacs?

God gives His most precious gifts; however, then He leads us to an altar and asks us to lay down everything, including His own fulfillment of the promises He gave to us. Does this sound crazy? I’m sure it seems counterintuitive, as if it doesn’t make sense. But, take it from me, I’ve had this experience, and I know.

Many years ago, God gave me a dream. In this dream, I saw ministry, music, success, and prosperity. It bore all the usual marks of a divine calling; it was improbable, supernatural, and grandiose. That dream made me feel extraordinary, as if God specially favored me. With that feeling, I believed that I could take only one path—I needed to devote myself to making this dream come true.

That’s what we’re supposed to do, isn’t it? We should examine our gifts, discover our calling, pursue our dreams, and never give up believing. Isn’t that right? People tell us that if we do those things, our dreams will come true.

So I zealously pursued my dream … I gave it my all. Through persistent prayer and diligent devotion, I set out to take hold of the dream God had promised. I would have my dream, and I’d trample over anyone or anything that got in the way. I was tenacious. I was fervent. I sacrificed. I practiced early and stayed late.

Somewhere along the way, however, the Lord interrupted my quest for greatness. Like a wrestler, He pinned me to the floor and let me watch my dream die. When the bleeding stopped and the dream breathed its last breath, I lay devastated. Broken. Hurt. Disappointed. Empty.
At the time, of course, I viewed this interruption as anything but a blessing. It felt like a curse. It was like the feeling we get at the end of a story, when the hero dies in the last chapter. That’s how I felt. Lousy story.

Here’s the good news, though (which I didn’t quite understand at the time): When God is the hero of the story, it never ends in death. In fact, it is quite the opposite. God’s stories always end in resurrection and life. Jesus’ story didn’t end at a cross; and neither does yours. Just as the cross wasn’t the end for our Savior, the death of your dream isn’t the end for you. The death of your dream opens the doorway to something better, more real, and more life-giving.

And so, my story didn’t end with the death of my dream. Eventually, the Lord delivered me from the depths of my own misplaced pursuit and lifted me up to a place of contentment. Ultimately, He resurrected my dream.

Resurrected dreams never look exactly like the original, at least at first glance. Think about Mary Magdalene. Three days after Jesus gave His life, Mary visited the garden grave of her dead “dream.” While she mourned, she discovered Jesus’ body was missing. At first, she thought thieves had stolen His body. Then Jesus, her resurrected promise, tapped her on the shoulder. “Woman, why are you crying?” He asked. She answered His question with a question: “Are you the gardener?” Her resurrected dream stood directly in front of her and she didn’t even recognize Him!

Mary was not alone in her confusion. Think about two men who had spent the last three years closely following the King of the world. They ate meals around hundreds of campfires with Him. They saw Him walk on water. They witnessed as He blessed a few fish and some bread and then multiplied it all to feed thousands of hungry people. And now, three days after they saw their promise killed and sealed inside a grave, a man who had been walking beside them on the road sweeps His hand like a Jedi and opens their eyes to see the resurrected promise. At first, He is unrecognizable, but now He is glowing with resurrected life.

Personally, I don’t think of my journey as complete. I know that at some time I may once again have to pick up the pieces of my life. Right now, I am living my dream. By that, I mean that I’m fulfilling God’s calling on my life. I’m living out my divine purpose and enjoying what He promised to me many years ago when I was a wide-eyed, idealistic nineteen-year-old sitting in the back row of a little church in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Even so, I haven’t “arrived.” My journey continues and may take me again through dark valleys and vast deserts. Nevertheless, I am in this spiritual season now and believe that God has given me this opportunity to share what I’ve learned along the way.

Even as I detail my own experiences, this book isn’t about my dream or me. Instead, it’s about you and God’s purpose for your life. As I tell my story and share the things God has taught me, my goal is to help you live out a better story for your own life.

The message of this book is my life’s message. It has burned within me for almost two decades. I have studied it, lived it, taught it, preached it, given counsel about it, and sung it. If you haven’t yet recognized your dream, or if you’re dealing with the discouragement of watching your dreams die, this book is for you. I pray that you will either discover your dream or rediscover God’s promises for you, in a way far better than you could have ever imagined. I also pray that this book will change your perspective and your life. I want to point you in the direction of the Dream Giver who will give you strength for your struggles.

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?

Thank you, Sion, for allowing me to share your book on my blog. I know there people among my readers who need the message you have to help them resurrect some broken dreams from God.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Divine Detours - Christianbook.com
Divine Detours - Amazon.com
Divine Detours: When God Messes Up Your Plans - 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, August 07, 2017

SURVIVING THE STILLNESS - Jessica White - One Free Book

Dear Readers, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the women in the critique group that meets in my home and her debut novel.

Welcome, Jessica. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There are aspects of me in every character. Big things, like my struggles with fear and anxiety, to the little things, like my love of music. God also loves to use my characters to show me parts of myself and my relationship with Him. I encounter God more often while I’m writing than I do any other time. So those moments tend to seep out onto the pages, leaving imprints.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
When I was a kid, I used to sleep in my closet. I had built in shelves on one side and would pretend I was a stowaway on a ship or hiding from the evil queen. On the other was a bar for clothing, and one time I hung upside down, pretending I was a bat. I even fell asleep that way and somehow managed not to fall off. I’ve always had a strong imagination.

That imagination is why you’re such a good author. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was always complimented by my teachers for my creativity and writing skills, but I didn’t realize I could actually write a story until I got bored in my seventh grade computer class. We’d have these timed typing assignments, and I always finished way before everyone else. The only thing we could do was type on a text file while we waited, so I started writing. By the end of the semester, I had thirty-five pages.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love to read just about everything except horror and paranormal. My favorites tend to be literary, historical, and romantic suspense. I love books that make me think, books that explore the depths of humanity and the boundlessness of God.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My life motto is Ora et Labora. Pray and Work. If you keep those two things in balance, I find God takes care of things.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I love for the names in my stories to mean something. Even if it is just capturing their heritage, each name is important. For example, Abigail means “father’s joy,” and she brings joy to all the fathers in her life.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Knowing that my husband and parents came to faith because of my walk with God. I don’t see myself as a particularly demonstrative Christian. I’m definitely not an evangelist. But I don’t shy away from praying with people in their times of need or being honest about what God has done in my own life and what I believe He can do in theirs. And somehow He uses me with all my failings and weaknesses to show them His love. Really it is His accomplishment and the fact I get to take part in it is humbling.

I feel that way, too. I often thank Him for choosing to use me in what He is doing. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh goodness, I guess I’d be a dog. Loyalty is a really important trait to me. I will fearlessly defend people I care about and am very protective of others. Plus, I shamelessly want to love and be loved.

What is your favorite food?
Cinnamon French toast made with Texas toast and real cinnamon, slathered in butter and covered in powdered sugar, with maple syrup to dip each bite in.

Sounds yummy. You’re making me hungry. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock is my belief that you have to learn from others before you can be good enough to do it on your own. Those early readers I let read bits and pieces of Surviving the Stillness said it was a great story. But as a reader, I knew it wasn’t on par with the books I thought were well written. So I sought out other writers.

I was fortunate that my very first writing group was filled with experienced writers. They led me to great craft books, which I consumed and applied. They gave me feedback on my work, and taught me how to self-publish. Over the past three years, I’ve learned so much more and I realize writing is a journey you never quit learning and growing on.

That is so true. I hope I never stop learning the skills of writing. Tell us about the featured book.
At its heart, Surviving the Stillness is about trusting God with our fears. It’s about being still and waiting on God to direct us. When winter comes early to the foothills of western Montana, siblings, Abigail and Samuel Morgan, are forced to seek refuge in a Catholic orphanage. Abigail’s health fails and her life is put in the hands of Dr. Mason and his son and apprentice, Matthew. Together Matthew and Abigail learn to stop running from the tragedies of their pasts and rely on one another, and God, to find healing for their wounds.

Please share the first page of the book.
Matthew Mason
      Bear Valley, Montana
     October 18, 1920
I strained out the window, listening for hoofbeats, but all I heard were the pine trees creaking overhead. Mr. Talbot had saddled his horse and left to fetch Pa over an hour ago. One of them should have been back by now.
           
Returning to Mrs. Talbot’s bedside, I removed the compress, now hot with fever, from her wrist. Her pulse galloped beneath my fingers. Despite an hour in bed, her heart refused to rest. I wasn’t sure how much longer it could sustain her and the baby. God, where are they?
           
The curtain flapped in the wind. Something moved beyond the tree line. I rushed back to the window hoping to hear the horses, but it was only little Fannie Talbot, returning with more ice-cold water from the spring. I should have been the one carrying water that far. She was only ten, seven years younger than me, but I couldn't leave Mrs. Talbot's side until Pa arrived…

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me on

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Surviving the Stillness (The Seasons of Healing Series) (Volume 1) - Paperback
Surviving the Stillness (The Seasons of Healing Series 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:

Sunday, August 06, 2017

WINNERS!!!

Melanie (TX) is the winner of Cardiac Event by Richard L Mabry, MD.

Deanne (PA) is the winner of A Rebel in My House by Sandra Merville Hart.

Amada (NM) is the winner of Eyes of Pearl by Ginger Solomon.

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, August 03, 2017

GHOST HEART - Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I have been eagerly awaiting this day. Both Lisa and Lynne have been dear friends of mine for years. I’ve been privileged by God to help each of them along their writing journey, and both of them have an amazing writing voice. Together, they’re more powerful. I’ve known about this book for a long time, and I knew it would have to be published someday. That day is here.

Welcome, Lisa and Lynne. How did this book come about?      
LYNNE: Just over a decade ago, a newspaper article featured a picture of a terrified albino. The fear in his pale eyes caught my attention. As I read about the horrors these fragile people faced in Africa, I couldn’t believe such evil existed in the world. I contacted Lisa, who lives in Mozambique, and asked her to investigate.

LISA: Until Lynne wrote to me about the article, I’d never heard of these barbaric crimes. But after doing some further research, I discovered that the atrocities against albinos had been going on for years. Once we learned that the witch doctors targeted the pale skin and hair of this minority to make good luck charms and potions, we knew we had to tell their story.

Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
We were looking for something that conveyed both the medical aspects of the story and its African setting. The heartbeat and the baobab tree ended up being the perfect combination as well as setting the tone we were looking for. And when you read the book, they will become even more significant.

Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
While the actual story line is complete fiction, the things that happen in this story could happen. Albinos really are hunted for the “magic” in their skin. There really is a black market for organ parts. People really do go to third world countries for transplants when they are out of options. We took these facts, then weaved them into a medical thriller.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
There was a long list of topics we had to delve into and study: Albinism. The transplant tourism trade. Heart conditions. Pharmaceutical testing. Piloting small planes. Organ transplants/rejections. American Embassy procedures in an African country.

Neither of us were experts on any of this so we spent hours tracking down people who were. It helped tremendously that Lisa lives in Africa. Her experiences in a third-world country lend a tremendous amount of authenticity to the project.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
While we didn’t shy away from our depiction of the gruesome treatment of albinos, we spared our readers tons of the terrible details we read on the subject. The power of superstition is strong. Only the power of truth is stronger. 

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
We believe that beneath the color of our skin we are all alike, but this belief was tested when we had to write from the POV of a terrified mother of a cursed child. What surprised us was how much she was willing to do to save her child. This realization really drove home the platitude we spouted so easily and opened our eyes to the fact that you really can’t know how another person is thinking or feeling if you’re not willing to wear their skin, so to speak.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
Because while we live in a fallen world, we believe it is possible to bring light into the darkness. The journey of these characters challenged us, comforted us, and pushed us to live life more courageously. But most of all, writing this story opened our hearts to wanting to do our part to create a world that loves no matter what the color of our skin, education, financial status, or nationality. And reminded us that God's light truly does shine, even in the darkest places. We pray this story will do the same for each person who reads it.

What is the next project you’re working on?
LYNNE: I’m finishing up the last book in my Mt. Hope Southern Adventures series. This romantic comedy (Baby Shoes) wraps up (for now) the quirky life of Leona Harper. After that, I’m doing edits on a Young Adult sci-fi I can’t wait to release.

LISA: I’m currently working on two novels. A Love Inspired Suspense set in Rio and the Amazon, and a new stand-alone suspense novel for Revell. Both will be released next year.

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
LYNNE: I have several diversions – four grands under the age of four that I love spending time with. I’ve also trained a medical therapy dog that I love to take to visit the cancer wards at a major medical center.

LISA: I love hanging out with my family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari.

That sounds like fun. Please give us the first page of the book.
Makuru, Tanzania
According to legend, their kind could never die. When they grew old, they simply vanished from this world, like smoke from the cooking fire that snakes above the spindly baobab trees and slithers away.

But not all legends are true.

Or so Jeme prayed.

Squinting through the shimmering rays of the grueling African sun, Jeme balanced the bowl of dried beans on her head and pressed through the crowded marketplace. A maze of narrow paths twisted around her, each lined with dozens of sellers who sat in cramped wooden shops displaying wares on rickety tables.

The smell of curried meat roasting on the grills mingled with the pungent odor of dried fish baking in the late afternoon heat. Jeme’s empty stomach roiled as she hurried past piles of tomatoes, peppers, oranges, and colorful bags of spices. If only she could escape the whispers competing with the buzz of the buyers and sellers. Whispers that spoke of the magical powers of albino blood spilled across the brown earth, and of potions that could bring untold wealth.

I’m very eager to read the rest of the book. I’ve only heard the half that Lynne wrote. How can readers find you on the Internet?
LYNNE: I love hearing from readers.

LISA:

Thank you so much for letting us stop by!!

Oh, girls. I’m so blessed knowing both of you, and it’s a privilege to promote your books. I know my readers will be as eager as I am to read the book.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Ghost Heart: A Medical Thriller Ghost Heart: A Medical Thriller

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:

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

MARRIED BY MISTAKE (Second Chance Brides Collection) - Laura V Hilton - One Free Book

Bio: Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas. 

Welcome back, Laura. Tell us about your salvation experience. 
I was a child, eight years old.We were sitting in church, and it was communion Sunday. Back then, the scripture the pastor used had a real long word in it that start with a D…ation and I leaned over to Mom and asked her, “What does d…ation mean?” She explained it, and I didn’t participate in communion that Sunday. Instead, after the service I went forward and had a talk with the pastor and my mom in a small room up front, and I accepted Jesus as my savior.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
We’re assuming that those I ask would attend, right? I’d probably need a list of forty to find those four. I’d invite Susan May Warren, Irene Hannon, Lynette Eason, and Denise Hunter. And I’d choose them because they write characters that jump off the page and become real, and I try to emulate their style so mine do, too.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
No, I don’t. My publicist would probably like it if I did, but right now I’m not secure enough to talk about anything without hemming and hawing and a lot of ums and and-uhs.

Maybe you will soon. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Ha. Well, I’m not sure it’s printable. Let’s just say I was thirteen, I was at school and I had an unexpected visit from a woman’s monthly visitor. One of my first. And of course, I had nothing. So I went to the nurse’s station where she sat me in a bathroom, washed all my clothes and loaned me supplies. Best part … I got out of biology class.

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too.
What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that? I’d ask them what they’d write about. And then I’d encourage them to write it. 

Tell us about the featured book.
Second Chance Brides is a collection of nine historical romance novellas written by nine different authors and my story is called Married by Mistake. I was very honored to be included in this collection, and with such talented historical authors! This is my debut historical, and I had a lot of fun writing it.

Please give us the first page of the book.
A kiss.

The sea spray touched Bessie O’Hara’s face as gently as she imagined he—whoever he might be—would some day brush his lips across her cheeks.

She couldn’t wait.

If only she could skip all the tiresome courtship rituals like monotonous parlor visits and chaperoned strolls. She’d also eliminate the formal calling cards and fluttering fans society demanded and go straight to the happily-ever-after.

It wasn’t that easy. She glanced at her two cousins, giggling behind their fans, as they stepped off the ferry onto the dock leading to the island. They looked toward some gentlemen who’d come to meet the boat. Judging by their clothing, they were there for the summer season as well. They certainly weren’t employees hired to drive the buggies and wagons.

Bessie smoothed her hand over her dress. Splotches of water dampened the material under her touch. With a sigh, she looked around for her family’s carriage. Papa had wired ahead and told the driver when to meet the ferry. She didn’t see the carriage, but a large crowd blocked her view.

I want to know what happens next. How can readers find you on the Internet?
twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Purchase my books:

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: