Tuesday, June 11, 2024

SAFE HAVEN RANCH - Louise M Gouge - One Free Book

Bio: South Carolina author, Louise M. Gouge, writes contemporary and historical romance fiction, winning the prestigious IRCA in 2006 and placing as a finalist in 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2017. She was also a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Awards in 2005, 2007, and 2008, and placed in the Laurel Wreath contest in 2012. Most recently, she was a finalist in the 2023 Selah Awards and is a current finalist for the 2024 Selah Awards. A former college English and humanities professor, Louise is a member of the Christian PEN and has been copyediting for well-known authors for fifteen years. Married for fifty-four happy years to her husband, David, Louise is now widowed and spends her days researching and writing her next novel.

Welcome back to my bog, Louise. Since you’re being published regularly, what new avenues will your future books take? After publishing about thirty historical Christian romances with various publishers, I am now moving into contemporary Christian romance. My current release, Safe Haven Ranch, is contemporary.

What conferences will you be attending this year? Will you be a speaker at any of them? Although I loved to attend conferences in the past, I’m not able to travel anymore. I would be delighted if a conference were held within driving distance of my new home in Columbia, South Carolina.

I understand that. I’m not traveling anymore either. If you were in charge of planning the panel discussion at a writing conference, what topic would the panel cover, and who would you ask to be on the panel, and why? Because I have a copyediting business in addition to my writing, I would plan a panel discussion about the importance of writers honing their grammar, punctuation, and usage skills. I would invite Kathy Ide and Jeanne Marie Leach to be on the panel. Kathy began the Christian PEN, of which I am a member, and she has written numerous books to help authors write well. Jeanne Marie wrote Christian romance novels before discovering her special gift for editing, which she now does full time. Both of these women have a lot to offer both new and experienced authors.

How important is it to you to be active in writing organizations? I love being a part of ACFW. In fact, I think my membership number is something like 90 or 190, so I’ve been around since close to the beginning. I am published because of connections I made through ACFW. I’m also a member of FHLCW, and the same goes for this group. I love the online fellowship in both groups and continue to learn from my fellow authors.

My ACFW membership number is 45. Where in the community or your church do you volunteer? Physical limitations prevent me from volunteering other than online prayer ministries.

I’m a part of the prayer ministry at my church, too. Who are the five people who have made the most impact on your life, and how? My maternal grandmother often quoted scripture to me and helped ground my faith when I was quite small. My late husband was a constant source of encouragement to me in my writing, and I miss his input in my stories. My oldest daughter became a widow shortly after her second child was born, and her courage and resilience have been an example to me. My mother was a wonderful mom to her four children, and I tried to model my own mothering after hers. My father’s patriotism and courage in fighting in both world wars makes me proud to be an American.

I became a widow last October after 59 years with my husband. If you could write the inscription on your tombstone, what would it be? Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.

Please tell us about the featured book. As mentioned before, Safe Haven Ranch is my first contemporary for Love Inspired. A special note about this book is that it’s a sequel to my historical series, Finding Her Frontier Family and Finding Her Frontier Home. It was so much fun to write about later generations of the fictional Mattson family of ranchers in New Mexico.

Here’s the back cover copy:

Can two little children help turn a feud into a family? It should be easy for widow Olivia Ortiz to despise Will Mattson, the man keeping her from buying the ranchland she needs for herself and her daughter, Emily. But when Emily becomes instant friends with Will’s nephew, Jemmy, Olivia and Will find themselves growing closer as well. And as Olivia’s feelings for the handsome cowboy shift, competing for the property could be the start of something more…

Please share the first page with us.

Outside Riverton, New Mexico

“You what?”

Olivia Ortiz stared at her elderly neighbor, barely sparing a glance at his too-handsome companion. “But, Albert, you promised to sell your land to me.” She was standing in her own driveway, hands fisted at her waist in a defensive posture.

“I know, I know.” Albert Winslow shrugged his bony shoulders and gave her an apologetic smile. “But wait ’til you hear what he has planned, and I think you’ll like it. Will, how about you tell Miss Olivia what you have planned.” As usual, the almost ninety-year-old gentleman repeated himself. He looked up at his much taller companion. “I think she’ll like it.”

“Um…” The younger man, who fit the very definition of a tall, dark and handsome cowboy—with curly black hair thrown in for good measure—grinned, and his blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight, causing a silly hiccup in Olivia’s chest. “Don’t you think you should introduce us first?”

“Oh.” Albert blinked and looked from him to Olivia and back again. “Sure thing. Miss Olivia, this is Will Mattson. Known this boy all his life. He’s the grandson of my old friend Andy Mattson, Lord rest his soul. Will, this is Olivia Ortiz. She and her father own this property.” He waved a hand around to include the fifteen acres that comprised her land, just over a quarter the size of his own fifty acres. Centered by matching pink adobe houses, the two properties were separated by a four-foot fieldstone fence, with a single flimsy, never-locked, much-used gate between them.

Will reached out a hand. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.” He gave her a wide smile, revealing perfect white teeth set off by his perfectly tanned complexion, which caused another hiccup near her heart.

What was wrong with her? She wasn’t about to let herself fall for this man…or any man. No one could ever replace Sancho. Still, she briefly shook his hand as his name registered in her brain.

“Mattson? Are you…?” Annoyance replaced the shock that Albert’s devastating news had delivered.

“Yes, ma’am.” There went that cowboy “ma’am” thing again, punctuated by a boyish shuffling of his western boots on the dusty ground. “Can’t escape it around here.”

“Well, if you’re a Mattson, why do you need this small property to add to the…what is it? Eight or ten thousand acres your family owns?” She didn’t mean to sound so confrontational, but Albert had just crashed her desperately held dreams, so her social filters were crashing, too. “You plan to buy the whole county?”

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?

Web site at https://louisemgougeauthor.blogspot.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouiseMGougeAuthor

Follow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/louise-m-gouge

Thank you, Louise, for sharing this new book with my blog readers and me. You know how much I love your books.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

Safe Haven Ranch

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 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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

Monday, June 10, 2024

IMPORTANT: Instructions for winners  - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) If you don't do this, your email could get lost in my hundreds of emails per day. I WILL SEARCH FOR POST TITLES STARTING THAT WAY.

Some people don't read the instructions of how to enter. Unfortunately, they don't have a chance to win. so next time you come and leave a comment, be sure to read all the instructions if you want a chance to win. 

Melissa (TN) is the winner of When Hope Sank by Denise Weimer.

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. Reviews are such a blessing to an author.

Also, tell your friends about the book you won ... 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 or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to. Remember, you have 2 weeks to claim your book. 

Friday, June 07, 2024

ANOTHER SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Exciting news! The second book in my Love's Road Home series, A HEART'S FORGIVENESS, was selected for a Bookbub Featured Deal! It will be discounted to $.99 from June 13-17 in the US and UK. That would be a good time grab a copy of the ebook if you haven't read it yet. 




Tuesday, June 04, 2024

KNOWING YOU - Tracie Peterson - One Free Book

Bio: Tracie Peterson is the bestselling author of more than 100 novels, both historical and contemporary, with nearly 6 million copies sold. She has won the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her avid research resonates in her many bestselling series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.

In March 2023, bestselling author Tracie Peterson introduced readers to her new Pictures of the Heart series with Remember Me. This was followed by Finding Us in July. Now Peterson propels readers into the thick of the action once again in a tale full of history, intrigue, and romance in her dramatic conclusion, Knowing You.

About the Story: In 1909, Seattle is a place of excitement and intrigue. With the Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exposition taking place, people are pouring in from all over the world, eager to participate in the fair. May Parker is no exception. Born and raised in Seattle, she is determined to play her part in the expo and signs up as a Camera Girl. She is especially drawn to the Japanese exhibits, since her mother is Japanese and May longs to explore her heritage. But her curiosities turn to danger when a piece of samurai armor becomes the target of an elusive art forger.

Lee Munroe is a police detective assigned to the expo. He and May grew up together, but their friendship was thwarted by his parents’ racist feelings. Ten years later, Lee and May reconnect at the fair, and their friendship begins to blossom with hints of something more.

As May and Lee find themselves entangled in a dangerous heist, their love is threatened. Can May and Lee overcome the odds against them?

Join Peterson as she combines her impeccable research and award-winning writing style to explore themes of racism, honor, and the reminder that God focuses on the heart rather than outward appearances.

Knowing You is the final book in the Pictures of the Heart series. What was the connecting element for all of the books in this series? The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909 brought millions of people to Seattle.  This series shows a fictional group of  “Camera Girls” who work taking souvenir photos of expo attendees and in the process, fall in love.

Are there any threads that run through the whole series that will be wrapped up in this book? There are a few in the form of the exposition itself, as well as what happens to several beloved characters.

What are some of the main themes or lessons covered in Knowing You? Dealing with racial prejudices. Facing the past to overcome the power it has on you. And not allowing other people to dictate your relationship with others, but rather looking to God for direction.

Knowing You combines history and romance, but it also offers a thread of suspense. Can you provide a hint of the dangerous situation that May and her childhood friend Lee Munro encounter? A notorious criminal comes back into Lee’s life and threatens May’s welfare, leading Lee to realize just how important May is to him.

Most of your story takes place at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. When did you learn about this expo and why did you decide to use it as the setting for your book? A few years ago, I was doing research for another book when it mentioned something about the A-Y-P expo as it was nicknamed. I decided to check into it and found the exposition and the setting to be fascinating and fun. I was particularly caught up in comments about the new Kodak camera being available at an affordable price for the average family and thought it was a neat side note to include in the story.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading Knowing You, and how have you been impacted by this series? Each series always touches my heart as I explore the history and the spiritual aspects of the storyline. I believe my writing is a ministry and in that, I always want to share the Gospel as well as biblical encouragement. I want the reader to know that God is real and that He cares. I want them to see the simple ways God encourages us daily through His Word and others, and how we, too, can offer this encouragement to each other.

How can readers connect with you? Readers can contact me through my website www.traciepeterson.com or through Facebook.com/AuthorTraciePeterson

Where can readers purchase a copy of Knowing You? Bakerbookhouse.com, Christianbooks.com and any place that offers books for sale.

Thank you, Tracie, for sharing this wonderful series with us.

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 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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

Monday, June 03, 2024

WINNERS

 IMPORTANT: Instructions for winners  - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) If you don't do this, your email could get lost in my hundreds of emails per day. I WILL SEARCH FOR POST TITLES STARTING THAT WAY.

Some people don't read the instructions of how to enter. Unfortunately, they don't have a chance to win. so next time you come and leave a comment, be sure to read all the instructions if you want a chance to win. 

Susan (NC) is the winner of A Season of Harvest by Lauraine Snelling.

Anne (NM) is the winner of Hide and Seek by Dennis Jernigan.

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. Reviews are such a blessing to an author.

Also, tell your friends about the book you won ... 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 or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to. Remember, you have 2 weeks to claim your book.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Special Announcement

My book, A Heart's Gift, was selected for a Kindle Deal!

It will be discounted to $2.49 in a Kindle Monthly Deal which runs between June 1, 2024 and June 30, 2024. It will be discounted on both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca (Canada). 



Tuesday, May 14, 2024

WHEN HOPE SANK - Denise Weimer - One Free Book

Welcome back, Denise. How did you come up with the idea for this story? The plot for When Hope Sank came about when my agent, Linda S. Glaz, learned Barbour Publishing was planning a new series, A Day to Remember, based on tragedies in U.S. history. She shared Barbour’s list of suggestions with her authors. One of the tragedies was the sinking of the Sultana, which occurred in the Mississippi River in April of 1865, the week after President Lincoln was assassinated. The date leapt out at me because I’ve done extensive living history and research in that time period.

I learned that the steamboat was carrying paroled Union POWs on their way home. The boat was severely overcrowded due to bribes and kickbacks. The boiler had been shoddily repaired. The river was at flood stage. When three of the boilers exploded just north of Memphis, Tennessee, around two thousand souls were expelled into the freezing water. Around half lost their lives, making the incident the worst maritime disaster in the nation’s history. To make matters worse, rumors of sabotage abounded. The towns on the Arkansas side of the river—including Mound City where my heroine’s uncle runs an inn—were known hotbeds of spies, bushwhackers, and saboteurs. I chose to explore that connection after Lily Livingston rescues Lieutenant Cade Palmer, a former Union surgeon, from the swollen waters of the Mississippi.

If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why? I’m hard pressed to answer that question since I rarely read contemporary fiction. I think Ted Dekker would be very interesting to converse with. And maybe some of the big-name authors who have written multiple series and whose books have been made into movies. I’m sure we could learn a lot from them!

Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why? Now you’re talking my language. LOL. Can I issue more invites since I’m not doing a modern party? Francine Rivers, of course. Laura Frantz is one of my favorite authors. We share a love of writing Eastern frontier romances. Lori Benton for the same reason. Shannon McNear and Pegg Thomas are particular author friends of mine, co-authors on a previous Barbour collection. I’d like to ask Deanne Gist how she’s so good at humor in her historicals. And I’d love to learn more from Lynn Austin, Heidi Chiavaroli, and Tamera Alexander. But I’m just getting going. As an editor at Wild Heart Books, I want to invite every single amazing author I work with!

Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career? Probably balancing all the attention book releases require with my editing work and personal life. I always feel I’m coming up short on the marketing end. Some people are so savvy in that area. But we all have different angles and gifts…and only so much time and money to go around. I’m thankful, so thankful, that I get to do what I love and feel called by God to do as a career.

Tell us about When Hope Sank.

April 1865

The Civil War has taken everything from Lily Livingston—her parents, her twin brother, her home. Now she works at her uncle’s inn and keeps her head down. Speaking up for her beliefs proved too costly in a part of Arkansas split by conflicting loyalties and overrun by spies and bushwhackers. One of those partisans, her brother’s childhood friend, will soon return to claim her hand—whether she wants to grant it or not.

Emaciated in body but resilient in spirit, Lieutenant Cade Palmer is crowded onto the Sultana with other paroled Andersonville and Cahaba POWs for the journey north. But a fiery explosion rends the steamer and empties two thousand men into the frigid Mississippi River. 

Recovering from wounds that might end his career as a surgeon but clinging to his faith, Cade threatens both Lily’s defenses and her heart. How can she tell him she might’ve prevented the tragedy if only she’d reported a suspected saboteur’s claims? And when the man returns to town and encoded messages pass through the hotel, Lily must follow her convictions to prevent another tragedy.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Mid-April 1865

“Free Arkansas.”

The unexpected phrase, whispered a stone’s throw away at the inn’s back alley door, froze Lily Livingston’s arms in mid-swing. The dirty dishwater she’d been about to fling from the entrance to the kitchen swirled and settled in the pan, all but a defiant trickle. The speaker’s head swiveled in her direction. He’d removed his gambler-style hat, providing a glimpse of long, center-parted black hair despite the drizzly night. Something in the slash of his frown, the alertness of his posture, caused Lily to withdraw into the doorway.

Who was entering River Rest’s private room the back way, and why were they offering such a strange greeting to whomever answered the door? Experience had taught her to use caution where patrons of her uncle’s establishment were concerned. Some of the worst sorts of shirkers and criminals slaked their thirst and sought their slumber at inns along the Mississippi these days. These days. She sniffed. Even before the Civil War made Arkansas a haven for guerillas and bushwhackers, river ruffians had abounded—gamblers, thieves, swindlers. And worse. Much worse.

“Miss Lily, what you doing?”

The question shot through Lily with the urgency of an alert on a telegraph wire, straightening her spine.

How can readers find you on the Internet? Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance from her home in North Georgia and also serves as a freelance editor and the Acquisitions and Editorial Liaison for Wild Heart Books. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

Connect with Denise here:

Monthly Newsletter Sign-up

Website

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

I was born in Arkansas and grew up there. I’m eager to read this book. Thank you for sharing it with my readers and me.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=When+Hope+Sank&i=stripbooks&crid=2FIOHDC1EG40W&sprefix=when+hope+sank+%2Cstripbooks%2C130&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

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 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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

WINNERS

IMPORTANT: Instructions for winners  - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) If you don't do this, your email could get lost in my hundreds of emails per day. I WILL SEARCH FOR POST TITLES STARTING THAT WAY.

Some people don't read the instructions of how to enter. Unfortunately, they don't have a chance to win. so next time you come and leave a comment, be sure to read all the instructions if you want a chance to win. 

Carl K (TX) is the winner of Up From the Dust by Heather Kaufman.

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. Reviews are such a blessing to an author.

Also, tell your friends about the book you won ... 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 or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to. Remember, you have 2 weeks to claim your book.    

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

HIDE AND SEEK - Dennis Jernigan - One Free Book

Welcome back Dennis Jernigan with a new children's book series. This is the first book in a three-book children's series.

About Hide and Seek: Hide and Seek is the first book in The Bairns of Bren series, a spinoff from The Chronicles of Bren. The Chronicles of Bren details the life and adventures of Lee Jennings as he progresses from a country boy to high king of the realm of Bren. The Bairns of Bren follows the lives of Lee’s grandchildren as they embark on missions of their own in Bren. Young readers will delight in the adventure and suspense of The Bairns of Bren, Hide and Seek!

When the Jennings cousins decide to play hide and seek, they have no idea their simple game will lead them into the magical land of Bren. There, the Bairns of Bren face the daunting task of saving the kingdom from the evil Oddlings. Though the children become separated, they manage to stay together in spirit through the many twists, turns, and surprises they encounter along the way. Will they be able to save the kingdom before it's too late?

What is the significance of playing hide and seek in a mystical, magical land? When children play games like Hide and Seek, they learn how to recognize deception - especially the player who is doing the seeking. In the fantasy realm where this story takes place, there is a literal hide and seek game being played between the children, while a simultaneous and sinister game is being played by the enemies of the kingdom. My goal with the story is that my grandchildren would learn to recognize the deceptive lies of the enemy of God and would learn to respond to those lies with truth.

What types of issues are addressed in this game of hide and seek that are applicable to the character development of a child? At first, it takes a while for the children to recognize they have been deceived. Once they recognize that fact, they set about finding the truth and getting to the root of the matter. They each have different gifts and talents, as well as very different personalities. One of the things I am trying to communicate through this story is how to disagree without being hurtful, how to be kind to one another, how to take responsibility for their own attitudes and actions.

How is the story used to teach children to rely on God? There comes a point in the story where each child comes to a dead end, a time when it appears all hope is lost. In this story, each child is encouraged to cry out to the Founders - a euphemism for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit - and surrender their hearts and minds to the will of the Founders.

How does the children’s quest to free the kingdom from the Oddlings lead to infighting amongst themselves and how do they resolve their differences? Each child comes to a place in which they must recognize pride and an oversized ego. The children are encouraged to put off pride and replace it with humility, all while trying to view their current circumstances from either the Founder's point of view or of another child's point of view.

What is the ultimate take-away you hope for each reader? The ultimate take-away from this story is to recognize that knowing the truth will set one free, but that we never get to the freedom of that truth until we get honest with ourselves about ourselves. Even when we think we hide from God, we must understand that He loves us even as we hide from Him. My hope is that all who read this story will have a better understanding of how honesty leads to truth and truth sets us free. This book is meant to be a fun read. My hope is that it brings a lot of joy into the lives of many children.

Thank you, Dennis, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. As a grandmother and great-grandmother, I’m happy to share the books with my own family.

This book is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook format at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=hide+and+seek+dennis+jernigan&crid=2FCHGWVDJK7IM&sprefix=hide+and+seek+dennis+jernigan%2Caps%2C120&ref=nb_sb_noss

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 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

A SEASON OF HARVEST - Lauraine Snelling - One Free Book

Bio: Lauraine Snelling is the award-winning author of nearly 100 books, fiction and nonfiction, for adults and young adults. Her books have sold more than five million copies. She and her husband make their home in Tehachapi, California.

She returns readers to the Nielsen sisters for the fourth and final book of her Leah’s Garden series. Snelling’s masterful grasp of life’s struggles in the late 1800s shines as she weaves yet another complex, realistic, and heartfelt tale into Neilsen family lore. Turning her focus to Larkspur Neilsen’s long-awaited story, Snelling’s A Season of Harvest artfully renders the physical and emotional struggles of carving out a life on the plains of Nebraska.

About the story: Can her dreams for the future—and a budding romance—survive the trouble that comes calling? Lark Neilsen has carried the weight of her family’s fate on her shoulders since her reckless choices forced them to flee their home in Linksburg, Ohio. Now she finds this weight heftier than ever. With Del and Sythia busy tending to their own homes, and Lilac back in Linksburg repairing the family mercantile, Lark must attain the family dream of Leah’s Garden all on her own.

To further complicate matters, Isaac McTavish is back in town, putting Lark’s head and heart at odds. Her heart may be pulled toward Isaac’s persistence and affection, but her mind is set on achieving her goal of starting a seed catalog. While love blossoms between Lilac and an old schoolmate from Ohio, will Larkspur allow the same for herself? 

When it becomes clear that Lilac’s new beau is not the only one who followed her to Nebraska, Lark comes face-to-face with the danger that forced the Nielsen sisters to flee Ohio in the first place.

Welcome back to my blog, Lauraine. Each of the previous books in your current series, Leah’s Garden, follows a different Neilsen sister as the main character. What led you to save Larkspur’s story for the series conclusion? I’d actually planned Larkspur’s story to be first since she’s the oldest. However, once The Seeds of Change started coming together, Forsythia took over the story! So the first book became hers.

Loyalty plays a key role in A Season of Harvest. Without giving spoilers, can you hint at why loyalty is at the core of the story? Loyalty threads through the whole series. These sisters are loyal to each other, to their friends, and to everyone they know. Through all the books, they take care of each other so faithfully. Even their initial departure from Ohio stems from drastic action they take to protect each other and their family. Loyalty then streams over into other characters in the series, especially Isaac McTavish, who really grows into loyalty in this book. Even our villain stays loyal to his purpose all the way through.

Which of the four Neilsen sisters do you personally resonate with the most? Truth be told, I resonate with each of them. But really, I tend to identify with whichever one I’m writing at the moment! 😊

A Season of Harvest returns to a major conflict from the first book in the series, The Seeds of Change. Was it always in your plan to circle back and address that conflict again in the series conclusion? It wasn’t always in our plan, but as the book came together, it became inevitable. One benefit of a great editor is that they sometimes contribute ideas, and my editor, Jessica Sharpe, pointed out how key it would be for Ringwald to confront Larkspur at the end of the series. As the book went on, it became so important to resolve that conflict, and we kept the villain in the stories just enough to keep readers from forgetting about him.

What do you hope readers learn or take away from this series? A reminder of how important our families are. The Nielsens stood by each other in so many crises, and that’s what I would hope readers take away—just a reminder of how important your family is and how absolutely critical faith in Christ is. Salton becomes a place of healing, a place for people to recover joy. That we have so many joys and things to learn in this life is a theme that weaves through all my books.

What led you to set these stories in the homesteading period? How was the setting important to the story you wanted to tell? It’s one of my favorite periods! The homesteading era was such a time of change and adventure. As for why Nebraska, I hadn’t set stories there very much yet. For Kiersti, it was special to join in on The Seeds of Change and get to write about Nebraska homesteaders living in a soddy because her great-grandfather, a son of Danish immigrants, was born in a soddy in Nebraska in the late 1800s.

Is this truly the last your readers will see of the Neilsen sisters and the rest of their community? As far as we know!

Now that you’ve wrapped up the Leah’s Garden series, what are you working on next? A series set in 1889 near Decorah, Iowa. Six-year-old Ruth and twenty-one-year-old Amalia are thrown together on a ship crossing over from Norway when their families die of cholera. Ruth’s dying mother gives her daughter into Amalia’s custody, and the two orphans travel to Iowa to take over the family boardinghouse Ruth will inherit. They must battle a greedy relative trying to claim the property and somehow make ends meet for the motley band of orphans who gather under their roof, while finding a way to make this new land home.

Where can readers go to connect with you? They can find more information about my writing and other books by visiting my website at LauraineSnelling.com. I’m also on Facebook and BookBub at @LauraineSnellingAuthor.

Thank you, Lauraine, for sharing this book with us. I love your stories, because my father was half Norwegian and half Swedish and both sides of his family emigrated in the late 1800s and settled in Minnesota.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=a+season+of+harvest+lauraine+snelling&crid=3ILPQAA3RXP5Y&sprefix=A+Season+of+Harvest%2Caps%2C114&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_2_19

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 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Monday, May 06, 2024

WINNERS

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Wednesday, May 01, 2024

UP FROM DUST - Heather Kaufman - One Free Book

Bio: Heather Kaufman is the author of multiple books and devotions, praised by Kirkus Reviews for writing “a charming and well-crafted tale” (Loving Isaac). She delights in highlighting the goodness of God through storytelling. When not reading, writing, or accumulating mounds of books, Heather can be found exploring new parks with her husband and three children near their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

A devotional contributor to Open Windows, Portals of Prayer, and Guideposts, author Heather Kaufman believes each of our stories is a part of the larger, beautiful story that God is telling, and she strives to highlight the goodness of God through her own storytelling.

Making her Bethany House publishing debut with Up from Dust, Kaufman reimagines the story of Martha of Bethany in the launch of her new Women of the Way series. In each installment, Kaufman highlights a different influential woman of the Bible and the Savior who pinpointed their pain, met them in the middle of their mess, and lifted them up. Perfect for fans of Angela Hunt, Jill Eileen Smith, and the TV series The Chosen, readers of Up from Dust will experience for themselves the life-changing power of a true encounter with Jesus of Nazareth.

About the story: Martha of Bethany is a woman of dust, undone and unseen in her hurt and her loss—until everything changes in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth.

Martha of Bethany is no stranger to adversity. After her mother’s untimely death, Martha shoulders the responsibility of raising her siblings—quiet and studious Lazarus, and wild and rambunctious Mary. She finds solace in friendship and the beginnings of first love, but just as Martha begins to imagine a new future, hardship strikes again, and her dreams crumble into dust.

Ten years later, Martha’s friend pleads for the new teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, to come and heal her husband. When Martha discovers that the carpenter-rabbi is connected to her past, she’s not sure she can trust him with her future. But as he continues to perform miracles, the invitation to believe becomes harder to resist, renewing Martha’s hardened heart, even as she faces an unknown future.

Welcome to my blog, Heather. Up from Dust is the first novel in your new series, Women of the Way. Can you please tell us a little bit about this book and the connecting element between the other installments? Up from Dust presents a fictional backstory of Martha of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Mary. The story traces all the “many things” that worried and troubled Martha’s heart and the Christ who pinpointed her pain, met her in the midst of it, and lifted her up. We watch Martha come of age as she works through her mother’s death and the heavy responsibility of raising her siblings. We journey with Martha as she experiences first love and learns to shoulder the mantle of womanhood, even while coping with a father who is stuck in his loss. When grief comes to Martha’s own heart, she is presented with a choice. Will she cling to her hurt more than to Adonai, the way her father has done? Or is there a better way forward?

Each book in the series focuses on a female follower of Christ, presenting a “before” picture so that when the book touches upon events in Scripture, we feel like we know these women and understand their choices and reactions in a fresh way. In our familiarity with certain Bible stories, we can gloss over names like Martha’s. I’ve begun to linger, to let myself wonder what their lives were like and what they might have felt when experiencing the power of Jesus Christ. These people didn’t encounter Christ in a vacuum. They were living full, complicated, nuanced lives . . . and then Christ came, gloriously breaking into their mundane and compelling them to respond.

Can you share with us why the book is named Up from Dust? What significance does this have to the story? Dust represents the bookends of life—both humanity’s humble origin and destination. In the Bible, dust is an image of death and the grave, as well as humanity’s own frailty. Throwing dust on the head was an image of deep mourning, and sitting in the dust was a sign of affliction. In the book, Martha experiences soul-crushing sorrow that brings her “down to the dust” (Ps 44:25). She needs a Savior who understands her and who doesn’t hold her humanity against her. She needs the mercy of God to find her and raise her up from dust (Ps 113:7). This is the trajectory of our new life in Christ! Dust is no longer our inevitable destination. Spiritual, physical, and emotional graves can no longer contain the life that is transformed by Jesus. He is the firstfruits, and He continues to come to people of dust, generously lifting them up to new life.

Why focus solely on biblical women as your protagonists? What role did they play in the Bible’s greater redemption story? If there was anyone who understood the worth of women, it was the Son of God, the Word of God who fashioned her being! When Jesus walked onto the scene, the Jewish people had been sitting beneath several centuries of teaching from the influential Rabbi Ben Sira—teaching that greatly devalued women. In Christ’s interactions with women, He affirmed their equal worth, value, and dignity over and over again. He welcomed them as His disciples, included them in His teachings, and benefited from their service. When we see Christ in His cultural context, His tremendous heart toward women comes clearly into focus as He lifts them up, restoring the dignity that was theirs from the very beginning. From Eve’s faith in the seed that would crush the serpent, to Hannah’s song that prophesized a coming King, to Mary’s Magnificat, the Bible is full of faith-filled women—spiritual mothers whose stories are worth telling again and again. Like man, woman is made in the image of her God, and she was made to reflect His glory. By focusing on female followers of Christ, I hope to highlight His extraordinary heart for women and how God has always delighted in using both men and women to further His kingdom.

Your female protagonist is a recognizable one—Martha of Bethany from the New Testament. What led you to start the series off with her story and her interactions with Jesus? I’ve always resonated with Martha but thought I had to temper my “inner Martha” with a healthy dose of “Mary.” During an Easter sermon in 2016, however, I was deeply struck with a new admiration for Martha and realized that far from diluting my inner Martha, I wanted to be more like her! More like the woman who took Jesus’ words to heart when He tenderly invited her to the “better portion.” More like the woman who confessed Christ as the resurrection and the life while her brother was in a grave. When Christ bluntly questions her, He essentially looks her in the eye during her lowest moment when she is deeply disappointed in Him and asks her to confess with her mouth what she knows to be true. He is inviting Martha to come out of her fear and uncertainty and into the stability of His identity. Instead of taking offense, Martha delivers one of the strongest confessions of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. I want to be more like this startling woman of faith! The next time we see Martha, she’s doing what she’s always done: serving. But now we don’t see a frantic Martha, and when Mary anoints Jesus, we don’t see a jealous or reproving Martha. What a beautiful, soul-lifting trajectory Martha represents! It was seeing Martha’s growth that sparked my curiosity and solidified her as the woman I wanted to write about.

What do you hope to portray to readers through these books? You are seen, known, and valued by God, and you have an important part to play in His kingdom work! God put His feet on the ground in the person of Christ and empowered ordinary people of dust to walk in His footsteps. He did it then, and He continues to empower His people to do extraordinary things today. Will we shrink back in fear or push forward in trust? Will we cling to old patterns of thought and ways of being or fully embrace the new life He offers? He is worthy of our trust and our best, and He continues to come to His children, meeting us in all our frailty and weakness with all of His sympathy, power, and strength.

How does Martha’s story mirror our own stories today? As hard as it was to write, I wanted to depict Martha learning to live in the tension between God’s goodness and the incredibly hard circumstances He allowed into her life. She doesn’t receive concrete answers about certain things that happen to her, and this was an intentional choice on my part. Certainly, Martha experiences personal growth and can trace God’s goodness and faithfulness, but she really doesn’t receive an answer to her burning question: “Why?” And I think most Christians, if they’re honest, live in this tension too. We sing songs on Sunday affirming God’s goodness and then we go back to lives that sometimes don’t feel so good. There’s that one tender spot that makes no sense. And I think we can feel this pressure to put on a happy face that looks like a trusting face. Almost like we want to “protect” God’s image by downplaying our own pain. So, we slap Romans 8:28 on our wounds and paste on a smile.

But God is not honored by our denial. God is honored when we come—like Martha—barreling down the hillside, overflowing with all our pain, pouring it out at His feet. Christ doesn’t want a “good Christian version” of us—something that looks spiritual on the outside. He wants us. And maybe He won’t give us what we think we need. We may never know why certain things happen. But He will give us Himself. Faith involves accepting the tension between our sovereign God’s goodness and our deep pain. It’s choosing to believe God despite feelings and circumstances. Until we can stand on the hillside with Martha, surrendering our understanding, our right to know why, as we cling to who He is.

What other themes present themselves throughout the novel? Family dynamics figure prominently in this book. Martha, Lazarus, and Mary both rely upon and frustrate one another, and each has their own unique experience with their father. It can be tempting to filter our family members’ actions through our own personal frustrations with them rather than slowing down to truly see those closest to us.

Female friendship is another strong theme throughout the book. Martha and Gilah’s friendship is “forged in the fires of loss and need, fertile ground that had given [their] relationship deep roots.” But as each woman’s story unfolds in different directions, the friendship unravels and is only put back together as each is humbled in her own way.

The book presents varying responses to pain and disappointment as dreams become shattered like shards of broken pottery. One response sees love as a thief, and pain as something to cling to out of self-preservation. The other response sees love as a gift, and pain as a catalyst driving us closer to God. The question remains: Will we cling to our hurt more than to Adonai?

Worry and fear are presented as bundled up tightly in the human heart. The disruption of God’s winnowing fork is needed to fling high all the chaff and leave behind that one necessary thing—closer communion with Christ.

This biblical fiction story is your first published novel in the genre. As a newcomer to the genre, how did you approach writing this kind of story? With much fear and trembling and prayer! I’m grateful for faithful commentaries and the mounds of scholarship that exists on Jesus’ cultural setting. I began—quite simply—with the Bible. I read and reread the book of John, taking the time to consult commentaries along the way. Then I moved to a bird’s-eye view of the cultural setting, getting a feel for what everyday life was like at the time. With the broad strokes in place, I was able to begin writing and, as I wrote, fill in the many gaps in my understanding. This was where the “nitty-gritty” research came into play. I began wide and telescoped inward, all while keeping in focus a heart of worship. Any head knowledge I ever acquire about the Bible should compel me to worship. And then it’s from that place of personal love for my Savior that I write. During the process, I was keenly aware that I was touching upon sacred things. Martha is my sister in Christ, and she is alive with Him at this very moment. Even though this book is ultimately a piece of fiction, the seriousness and weightiness of the topic was never lost on me, which is why I kept running back to God in prayer!

What do you hope readers will take away from this story? My heart behind this story is for readers to fall in love with the Word and the One the Word points to—Jesus Christ. I pray that readers will throw down my book and pick up their Bibles with renewed passion. The God of the Bible is the same God today, and He loves His kids with the gut-level love of a parent. We can give ourselves over to that love even—and perhaps especially—when we don’t understand His ways. I hope Martha’s story encourages readers to reframe their wounds, to see their pain points as access points for God’s strength. There are many things that can bring us “down to the dust,” that make us keenly aware of our own need. We all have heaviness that we carry, burdens we bear in silence, and we feel our own “dustiness” deep in our bones. I pray this story helps us all believe that God is good not if or when but now, right here in the heaviness of our hurt, and that we will not be disappointed when we expect Him to be faithful.

What can readers look forward to in Book 2 of the series? The scope of Book 2 is sweeping, and the research took me in surprising directions! I won’t give away who the main character is, but let’s just say it’s a lady who doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as she deserves. Book 1 took us to the country. Book 2 whisks us into the city. Get ready for political intrigue, family secrets, a marriage of convenience that blossoms into more, and many grand-scale moments where the heroine must choose between safety and bold faith.

Finally, how can readers connect with you? My website (hmkstories.com) is the best way to find me! Once there, readers can fill out my contact form to message me directly and sign up for my Stories and Sundries MiniMag—a monthly-ish newsletter full of book recs, product recs, giveaways, and more! I’m also across socials with the handle @hmkstories. I love connecting with readers . . . because I’m a reader myself, and I’ll gladly “talk shop” any day!

Thank you, Heather, for sharing Up from Dust on my blog. The idea for the story intrigued me. I know my blog readers will want to read it.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Up+from+Dust&i=stripbooks&crid=2M4XM0XXE6YQ7&sprefix=up+from+dust+%2Cstripbooks%2C83&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

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 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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