Thursday, April 25, 2019

HOW TO STIR A BAKER'S HEART - Candice Sue Patterson - One Free Book


Welcome, Candice. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
My calling to write Christian Fiction came when I was around sixteen years old. That summer, I went through an entire shelf of Janette Oke books from my local library. I loved her characters and the lessons I learned from them. I loved that they were “clean,” and I didn’t have to worry about coming across bad language or inappropriate scenes. Though my desire to write books came long before I’d turned sixteen, I knew then that’s what I wanted to “grow up and write.”

In 2011, I was introduced to Denise Hunter’s and Colleen Coble’s books when my mother-in-law recommended them. Once again, I was struck anew at the deep characterization and engaging plots, while the content remained clean. From that point on, I had no doubt that Christian Fiction is what God wanted me to write.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’d say it’s a toss-up between the day I got married and the day each of my kids were born. They were all special days that started special journeys I’m blessed to be a part of.

How has being published changed your life?
Publication has been an amazing blessing in many ways. I’m grateful for the opportunity to live my dream, and it gives me a platform to be a witness I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I love connecting with readers and meeting new people. Writing is also therapeutic for me, so it helps me process things at times.

What are you reading right now?
I’m close to finishing The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck. Next on my list is With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander. I’m eagerly awaiting Sweet On You by Becky Wade, which should arrive sometime this month. I try to read a good balance of contemporary and historical. I rarely venture from the romance genre though.

What is your current work in progress?
My current work in progress is a new contemporary series set in South Dakota that revolves around a reality television show where eight women from the city compete in farm challenges in hopes of becoming the farmer’s wife. It’s best described as The Bachelor meets Survivor. There’s a lot of humor, which makes it fun, and plenty of conflict to keep it interesting. Of course, there’s romance. And a few twists to keep readers on their toes. This series has not been contracted yet and is looking for a good home.

I would feature them on my blog when they are published. What would be your dream vacation?
Stateside, my dream vacation would be spending a month in Maine, taking my time exploring, relaxing, and soaking up the atmosphere. Otherwise, I’ve always dreamed of seeing Ireland.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’m a detail-oriented writer, so for me the setting is like a main character. I want the reader to experience the setting, as if they’re actually there, so I’m always careful to add in sites, sounds, and “local flavor”. When it comes to choosing a setting, it’s half-and-half for me—sometimes I choose the setting first and create a story to fit into that world, and sometimes I choose a setting that fits into the characters’ needs.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
This is a tough question. I’d like to spend an evening with Olivia de Havilland, Melanie from Gone With the Wind. I’d love to hear her stories about what happened on set and get her views on the world and how much it has changed in the 102 years she’s been alive.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I enjoy hobby-farming. We have chickens that are so spoiled they follow me around the yard like dogs. A year ago, I dove into the world of beekeeping after extensive research for my novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart. I became so fascinated with honeybees I wanted a hive of my own. This summer will be our first opportunity to rob the honey, and I’m looking forward to that. I learned quickly, however, researching bees and having a live hive are two completely different things. We plan to add some more animals to our hobby-farming collection soon for pure enjoyment.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
As strange as this sounds, I struggle the most with condensing an entire story to the bare bones when writing a synopsis and tagline. I took a class taught by Camy Tang a few years ago that helped a lot. Her book Story Sensei Synopsis Worksheet: Doctor Your Own Novel was included in the class. I refer to her method every time I write a synopsis now. It still takes awhile to get my brain in the mindset of stripping the story, but her method definitely helps me do that.

Writing synopses is my hardest part, too. What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Read as much as you can and learn as much as you can. Simply reading a novel and paying attention to story structure and characterization help to cement the process in your mind. Plus, it’s fun to see each author’s spin, even though they’re all following the same basic process. Read books on the craft of writing as well. There’s a ton of knowledge out there. Lastly, write. Unfortunately, times of discouragement and rejection are part of the process, but even Dr. Suess was rejected by twenty-seven publishers before he received a contract, so DON’T GIVE UP!

Tell us about the featured book.
Certified mental health therapist Olivia Hudson has spiraled into a dark depression her own training can't pull her out of. Since Olivia can't return to her practice when she can't even help herself, she moves to Stone Harbor, Maine, to heal and help her dementia-ridden grandmother run her once-famous bakery.

Blake Hartford is living his dream of farming blueberries and restoring a Victorian farmhouse on his coastal property, while his beloved community withers away under a rocky economy. Blake joins the town board to help revamp things and boost the much-needed tourism that can turn his community around.

After a misunderstanding with the bakery owner's granddaughter and the town board's suggestion they lead the tourism project together, life in Stone Harbor gets a little bit sweeter. But when the truth of Olivia's past comes to light, Blake is forced to confront his own.

How to Stir a Baker's Heart is a story of healing and forgiveness, proving God can mend our brokenness and soften even the hardest of hearts.

How to Stir a Baker’s Heart was inspired after a trip to Maine for our ten-year anniversary. This was my first attempt at writing a full-length novel. I worked on it for a couple of years and entered it into a few writing contests. It was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist in 2013 (then titled Stone Hearts). When other publishing opportunities came along, I put it aside for several years. After How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart released in 2016, I decided to pull this story out and make it book two in the series. Both novels were written to be standalone, but readers of book one will get a glimpse old friends in How to Stir a Baker’s Heart.

Please give us the first page of the book.
For Olivia Hudson, starting over was like trying to bake an award-winning pie out of olives and sauerkraut. No matter what ingredients she added to balance the flavors or how she arranged them, it wouldn’t work. Life was not a beach or a box of chocolates. Though chocolate did help.
The delectable, fudgy scent of her triple layer chocolate cake stirred Olivia’s senses as she stretched across the bakery counter and placed a fresh slice in front of her favorite customer. In the four months Olivia had lived in Stone Harbor, Maine, she’d formed an attachment to Arianne Anderson. The sugar-craving bridal boutique owner had an honest, down-to-earth personality Olivia found refreshing.

“Thanks.” Arianne lifted her fork as though it weighed a hundred pounds.

“Vanilla latte?” Olivia picked up a disposable cup and started the process, already knowing Arianne’s answer.

“With a shot of espresso.”

“Wow, someone’s had a rough day.”

Arianne stared at the thick brown frosting in a daze, sighed, and swallowed her first bite. Her eyelids fluttered closed, and her shoulders relaxed.

Olivia chuckled. All would be well in Arianne’s world now—at least until the plate was empty.

“It’s hot.” Olivia placed the latte in front of her friend then leaned her elbows on the counter and clasped her hands, her lower back grateful for the reprieve. “What’s got you down?”

Arianne’s dark blue eyes pooled with tears. She swallowed and tucked a strand of curly blonde hair behind her ear. “I….” Arianne glanced down at the cake. “I’m cheating on my husband.”
Olivia straightened.

A tear dropped onto the granite countertop. Arianne swiped away the dampness on her cheeks and sighed. “Two evenings a week for the past three months, I’ve had things to catch up on at work,”—she made air quotes over the last word—“when really I’ve been driving twenty miles to escape my husband and indulge in the sinful ecstasy of your baking.”

The tight band around Olivia’s throat eased. “There isn’t another man?”

Arianne shook her head. “No. But the way I lust after this cake when I’m with Huck is adultery.”

Relief almost swept Olivia’s legs out from under her. She threw a wadded napkin at her friend, satisfied when it made contact with Arianne’s nose. “You scared me.”

More tears. Now that Arianne’s faucet was running, there was no turning it off.

Olivia checked the time on the tea-stained clock with a cupcake from an old Victorian postcard decoupaged to the face. Close enough. She locked the front door and flipped the sign to Closed. “What’s got you running?”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can always find me on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/Candice-Sue-Patterson-Author-420360958035447/.  Here is where I connect with followers, provide book and writing updates, share bits-and-pieces of farm life, promote other authors’ books, and post beekeeping videos.

Readers can also connect with me on my website at www.candicesuepatterson.com. Here they can find a list of my books, promotional materials, and contact me via email.

I can also be found on Pinterest (Candice Sue Patterson), where I make pages for each book and pin the images that inspired me.

Goodreads is another great place to connect. No matter where they choose to find me, I LOVE chatting with readers.

Thank you for having me on your blog today.

It’s my pleasure, Candice. I’m eager to read this book.

Readers, here are links to the book.
How to Stir a Baker's Heart - Christianbook.com
How to Stir a Baker's Heart - Amazon Paperback
How to Stir a Baker's Heart - 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, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

THE WATCH ON THE FENCEPOST - Kay DiBianca - One Free Ebook

Dear Readers, I found this book fascinating, and Kay kept me guessing for almost all of the book. It was a unique story, which I really enjoy. I’ll be looking for more mysteries by this author.

Welcome, Kay. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
The main character in my novel shares a few of my attributes. For example, she’s a software developer and a runner. But most of my characters are drawn from friends, acquaintances, or my imagination.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m a decidedly “unquirky” person, so this was the hardest question for me to answer. However, I was once asked to dress as an angel and ride on a float advertising an appliance store in a small-town Fourth of July parade. Dressed in a white shirt and shorts, I sported a little pair of wings and sat on top of a washing machine while the float made its way down the main street. Fortunately, some of my friends made up the rest of the heavenly contingent atop dryers, dishwashers, and stoves.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve had little time to pursue the dream since my professional career in software development kept me focused on computer programming rather than creative writing. After I retired, I found the urge to write became undeniable, so here I am.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I have a pretty wide-ranging taste in books, both fiction and nonfiction. First, I love mysteries. Solving the puzzle and finding the murderer is very appealing to my analytical way of thinking. I especially like Dorothy Sayers. But I also love nineteenth-century literature including Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Wilke Collins, and others in that era. I enjoy books about faith journeys, and I recently read Christy, a very popular book written in 1967 that is still relevant today. When it comes to nonfiction, I just finished Into Thin Air, a riveting account of a disastrous expedition on Mt. Everest.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Well, I run! I’m an avid runner and spend time on the track, on my treadmill, or in a park near our home. I find running provides a thoughtful relief from stress and helps my creativity at the same time.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
In my novel The Watch on the Fencepost, I chose some names that were meaningful to me. For example, one of the characters bears my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Another is named for an author I admire. If I’m not sure of a name to give a character, I’ll search the internet until I find one that seems to fit.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
A successful marriage to a wonderful man and raising a remarkable son.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A gazelle. If only I could be that graceful when I’m running.

What is your favorite food?
Chocolate milk shakes. The perfect food.

Chocolate shakes are my favorite, too, but I don’t get one very often. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest problem was my inability to step away from the story and see it from the reader’s perspective. One editor pointed out that I had to be willing to “kill my darlin’s”, those things that I love but don’t really serve the story. It was hard, but revising the novel with that in mind made a much better book.

I’ve been teaching writing workshops and seminars for decades. Recently, I met one of my first students again. She told me the thing she remembered most from my teaching was to “murder your darlings.” Tell us about the featured book.
The Watch on the Fencepost is a romantic mystery. It tells the story of a young woman who has lost her parents in a terrible automobile accident. But when she finds a mysterious watch left on a fencepost, she uncovers a dark family secret and a suspicion that her parents’ deaths may not have been accidental.

Following a trail of cryptic clues, she encounters a fascinating cast of characters, including an actress with a talent for disguises, a politician with a secret of his own, and a handsome businessman who shows a sudden romantic interest in her. With her own life in danger, she discovers new truths about faith, family, and forgiveness.

Please give us the first page of the book for my blog readers.
Prologue
It was almost graceful, the way it dropped over the side of the mountain and glided down toward the valley below. To an outside observer, it would have seemed to fall effortlessly on a carpet of air, like a bride’s veil carried away on a gentle summer breeze.

Down and down it continued, buoyed by the cool night air, a silent conveyance, seeking its destination below. No sound disturbed its swift descent until it struck an outcropping on the side of the mountain and exploded in a huge fireball.

The sound of the blast could be heard ten miles away, and the impact was so severe that parts of the car flew off in all directions. By the time the emergency crew maneuvered its way through the barren desert valley without the benefit of roads, the fire that had emboldened the night sky was just a smoldering mass of aluminum and steel, hardly recognizable as an automobile at all. This would not be a rescue operation.

“Must have been a full tank of gas, the way that thing exploded,” said Arnold Brewster, the crew chief, as he peered into what was left of the cab of the car. “Looks like a couple of bodies in there.”

The rest of the eight-person crew gathered around the burned-out hulk.
“Lord knows, nobody will be able to identify them.”

One team member kicked at the dust. “Why don’t they put a guard rail along every foot of that mountain road, Arnie? These crazy tourists don’t know how to drive up here.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/authorkaydibianca
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2PddkQI
Goodreads Author Page: https://bit.ly/2Gu95Ob

Thank you, Kay, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers will love it as much as I did.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Watch on the Fencepost - Paperback
The Watch on the Fencepost - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the ebook. 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, 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, April 21, 2019

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.

Connie (KY) is the winner of Meow Matrimony by Lisa Lickel. 

Lora (AZ) is the winner of Beauty in Battle by Robin Patchen.

Kara (TX) is the winner of Love in Season by Pamela S Thibodeaux

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 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

WHY ARE YOU BAREFOOT? - Dr. Jeff Brodsky - One Free Book


Welcome, Dr. Jeff. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I am a Messianic Jew who is a modern day abolitionist. I have devoted my life to the Rescue, Restoration, Reintegration, and Prevention of children, teens, and young women who have been trafficked and forced into commercial sexual exploitation.

It’s such an important problem to deal with. I applaud you. Tell us about your family.
I am happily married to my wife Gail for 44 years. She is my biggest support and prayer warrior. We have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

Have you written other nonfiction books?
I have written The Least of These - One Man’s Remarkable Journey In The Fight Against Child Trafficking - Published in 2018. I also authored the book Stepping Into Adulthood - Published in 1997. This was a book about the lack of the Rite of Passage in Christianity.

Do you have any other books in the works right now?
I am writing one more book based on my Barefoot journey

What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
Since I work up to 16 hours a day… my favorite things to do would be BBQ’ing, fishing, and the most enjoyable - spending time with my wife, children and grandchildren.

Why did you write the featured book?
After being invited to speak at an Elementary School about JOY International, I didn’t know how I could present the work I do to young children, since it involved the child sex trade. When I arrived at the school an idea came to me and I immediately knew it was God speaking to me about what to share. It was a powerful object lesson presenting modern day slavery to the children with all references to the child sex trade removed. When I was finished speaking the Principal of the school came to me with tears and said, “Dr. Jeff what you just shared with the children was fascinating. It would make a great children’s book." That was the start of putting it together.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I want the reader to understand that awareness is good, but awareness without action is apathy. My hope and heart’s desire with the book is that it motivates people to action to help in the fight against child trafficking.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book?
Tell your readers that no matter what age they are, there is something they can do to help. Tell them the story of 8-year-old Braelynn in Anchorage, Alaska, who after hearing of the plight of children forced into slavery, she told her parents she wanted to help Dr. Jeff. She found a recipe for Peanut-Flavored Dog Biscuits. She baked them, bagged them, labeled them and sold them and raised $1,200 the first year and $1,500 the next year. Astounding for an 8 year old! She’s now 10 years old with a goal of raising $2,000 this year!

I love it when things like that happens. Please give us the first page or two from the book.

Why Are You Barefoot?
by Dr. Jeff Brodsky

“Who’s ready for our special speaker today?” Miss Porter asked. The kids in my class rolled their eyes, but then she said, “This will sound a little strange, but the man coming to speak today has been barefoot for over 5 years!”

I thought, “Seriously? He’s been barefoot for over 5 years?” How is that possible? Maybe this was one speaker who wouldn't be boring.” 

I raised my hand and Miss Porter said. "Yes Emma?" I said, "Miss Porter, does he go barefoot all the time, even here in Colorado, in the winter, in the snow?" Miss Porter laughed and said, "Emma, why don’t you ask him when he gets here? I’m sure he would be happy to answer any questions."  Then she had us all go to the auditorium. All the other classes were there too.

When the speaker walked in, he looked just like Santa Claus, but everyone was looking at his feet to see if he was really barefoot. Me too! Yep! Omigosh! He was really barefoot! Miss Porter wasn’t kidding! She said, "Alright everybody, let's welcome our special guest speaker today, the President and Founder of JOY International, Dr. Jeff Brodsky.”

As he walked on the stage he had a big smile and he greeted everyone by saying "Good morning boys and girls! Hey, how come everybody’s looking at me funny? I know, It’s because you think I’m Santa Claus right? No? Then what is it? Is something wrong?” Lots of kids starting laughing and shouting out “Yeah! You’re barefoot! Where are your shoes and socks?”

“Oh, so that’s it huh? Well, I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’m barefoot. Well, there’s a good reason and I promise, that’s something I’ll share a little later with you okay? Right now, I have a very important question to ask you. Are you ready? Here goes. If your Mother sold you, would she be a good mom or a bad mom?”

"Huh?" I thought. What'd he say? Is this a trick question?

"Let me ask you again," he said. "If your Mother sold you to someone, would she be a good mom or a bad mom?"

Everyone started calling out their answers, "Bad!" “Really bad!” One kid yelled out "She’d be a terrible mom!" I thought, "Of course, that would be terrible if my mom sold me. Are you kidding me? No way! It would be horrible! Why would any mother ever, ever sell their child? That could never be good. Could it?"

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
I can be found at: www.joy.org 

Thank you, Dr. Jeff, for sharing this book with me and my blog readers. I’m eager to read it and share it with my great grandchildren.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Why Are You Barefoot? - Paperback
Why Are You Barefoot? - Kindle
Why Are You Barefoot? - Hardbacki

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, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

JOY FOR THE JOURNEY - Matthew Miklasz - One Free Book

Bios: Matthew Miklasz is a pastor and author of the book, A Normal Guy. He studied theology through Trinity College of the Bible, and was ordained with the EFCA in 2003. He served on the District Board of Ministerial Standing, and coached other pastors through the Center of Excellence in Congregational Leadership. His wife of 27 years, Cyndy, has devoted her time and energy to raising their four children on their hobby farm in Minnesota. Visit www.mattnormalguy.com for more information.

Welcome, Matt and Cyndy. What motivated you to write the new book?
Matt — There were two main motivations for writing this book. One was a conviction God has been giving me in my times of reflection. This conviction is my need to steward the challenges I have faced and this next season of my life well. I believe deeply God does not waste anything. The second motivation came when I spoke at a men's conference in a vulnerable and authentic way on my journey with cancer. I gave five talks over the weekend and several men encouraged me to speak more on this and perhaps write a book on it.

Cyndy —
Matt asked me to write a timeline of our experiences as a context for the lessons we have learned. I don’t think he expected as much as I wrote, but once I started it just kept coming. It was enriching to work on the book together.

What are some of the difficult moments that your family has endured?
Matt— When our son Ben was born, he had a heart condition that required surgery just a few days after he was born. His condition was difficult for many months. For me, my journey has included Leukemia, Colorectal cancer and metastasis to lung, and the risky surgeries and treatments that have accompanied the cancers. Plus, the challenges of pastoral ministry and moving many times has always been a challenge.

As a pastor, is it difficult to share your doubts and fears in public?
Matt — It can be difficult at times. I often fear getting in the way of the message. I am, however, pretty transparent and authentic in the way I choose to minister. I believe God's grace is clearly seen in weakness.

What have you learned about God that you didn't know before your battle with cancer began?
Matt - meet our fears and desperation. I am finding more and more, this type of honest prayer is the avenue to real change. This is true in my life. It’s not that anything necessarily changes in regard to my circumstances. I still have leukemia. I still lost most of a lung and still face colon challenges. The oncologist still expects cancer to pop up again somewhere. So my circumstances haven’t changed. But I have. And I am. What I am discovering, in increasing measure, is that what actually changes in my life is out of my control. Though I long for good health, the only certainty God promises is peace. Peace in my heart and mind. When everything around me is uncertain, fearful, painful and confusing, there is God’s peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) His peace comes in ways that exceed human understanding. God’s peace brings a supernatural calm. It is perhaps the greatest miracle we can experience in our journey. This miraculous peace can settle over you when the bank account is empty, when the child walks away from God, when the doctor’s report is bad or when your marriage is in the balance, when a drug addiction overwhelms a loved one. It is the incredible, miraculous peace of God that calms any storm.

How does having an illness change your perspective on life?
Matt — I put more value on individual moments with people, most especially with Cyndy and my children. My main daily goal in life is to lay my head on the pillow at night and be able to say I loved God and I loved people well that day. I have found my journey with cancer has allowed me to answer this in an affirmative way more often. I believe it has helped our marriage in some ways. The things we used to find irritating have faded, and been replaced with growing appreciation for each other.

Cyndy —“I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob.” The kids and I still pull out this Larry the Cucumber quote, which pertains here. But seriously, while I began thinking back to what I was feeling during some of worst moments, sometimes it was overwhelming. It was also good to be able to look back and realize all that God has brought us through. 

Talk about your A Normal Guy book and why you wrote it.
Matt — My first book came about when my oldest daughter, Angela, encouraged me to write a book a couple of years ago. Then, on my birthday, she sent me a card and shared in it that it was still her dream for me to write a book. So I sat down and just started writing about my life, convictions, family, core values and passions. While ministering at the church, I was meeting many new people and one man I had spent some time with made a statement, “You know you’re just a normal guy.”  That conversation helped me realize the confidence and freedom I have found over the years in just being me. My normal. There is freedom I have found in not performing or pretending in the way I live my life. I believe authenticity provides confidence. In my personal journals, I record Scripture, circumstances and events that God has spoken to me through. As I wrote A Normal Guy, it was wonderful to see the hand of God in my life, and realize when some of my convictions were birthed. I am passionate about living authentically as I believe it provides the avenue to leaving a godly legacy.

How can people find joy in the midst of bad circumstances?
Matt — James 1: 2-4 tells us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  “Consider” means to reflect on something. This is the word James uses in reference to how to view trials. God has not called us to just survive the storms and surprises in life. He calls us to endure them with joy and passion. God wants us to embrace the purposes of our trials as we journey. This requires us to build a deep, abiding sense that God is in the storms; in control of the storms, purposeful in the storms, and good in all He does and allows. All through the Bible, God has a call for His people. It is call to journey well. Over and over, we see examples of people who walked in faith and journeyed with an enduring joy. Hebrews 11 speaks to this. We are not called to simply survive the trials and surprises in life. Instead, we are to rise up and live out God’s call on our lives in the midst of the trials. This call is not to be comfortable, but to grow in Christlikeness. It’s not to hide and run from every trial, but to be an authentic light in the midst of the trials. We are called to journey on the path set before us, including the trials, joyfully. To some, this sounds like a contradiction. Our lives are filled with surprises, and to journey well through them we need to face the questions we ask and the fears and doubts that linger. God wants us to be honest about our lives.

Thank you, Matt and Cyndy, for sharing Joy for the Journey with my blog readers and me.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Joy for the Journey - Paperback
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, 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, April 15, 2019

THE CHAPLAIN'S DAUGHTER - Kathleen L Maher - One Free Print or Ebook


Welcome back, Kathleen. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I am compelled to share the hope that is given to me in Jesus Christ, and the best way I know to do that is through stories of redemption. I set out to show my characters navigating real life situations that are beyond their natural ability to manage. God’s intervention has been real in my life, and I hope to show what that looks like in the lives of my fictional characters. Even though the work may be fictional, I don’t spare the realistic detail of how these answers manifest.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My happiest day actually wasn’t the day I was saved. I hope that isn’t blasphemy. I know it was the most important day, but I was six years old, my parents’ marriage was crumbling, and I was at a Bible camp surrounded by strangers, away from my safe routine. But something happened in that moment which has given me the peace that has made a foundation for a secure life, despite the odds stacked against the child of an alcoholic. To me, that’s more important than happiness, which can be fleeting.

To answer the question about my happiest day, it was probably my wedding day.

How has being published changed your life?
Having books out there as a hybrid author has done a few things for me. When I landed my first traditional contract, I felt affirmed, that my calling wasn’t just a wish or a want. And then, there’s the longing fulfilled of sharing characters and messages that have been on my heart for ages—it’s a thrill when others connect. I truly hope my stories will make a difference in others’ lives, in the way they see themselves, their circumstances, and the God who cares and still answers prayer.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading an Indie book called Lane Steen by a talented new voice, Candace West Posey. She weaves a story of an underprivileged young lady who finds redemption through education and the kindness of a mentor, until she meets the Lover of her soul. The writing is lyrical and creates an atmosphere in which I can readily escape. I think we’ll be seeing more from her in future.

I’ll have to look her up and invite her on my blog. What is your current work in progress?
I’m currently working on Book 3 in Sons of the Shenandoah Series, called No Man’s Daughter.
Love was the last thing on Benjamin Sharpe’s mind, seeking to settle the farmstead adjacent to his father’s land. The fiery young lady squatter he encounters is more untamed than the neglected property. If he’s to prove himself to his father and his older Civil War veteran brothers, he’ll have his work cut out for him. Lee may have surrendered, but as far as she’s concerned, the war’s still on!

What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve been dreaming of taking a cross country road trip with my young adult kids to see America. So much is changing, and so fast, I just want to capture this moment in time before revisionist history or catastrophe changes the literal or political landscape.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’ve written three novellas and two novels so far, plus two novel works-in-progress, and the settings vary. Of course, the series has common ties. All three have the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia as the axis from which they turn.  But choosing setting also involves my other loves—whether it be my fascination with the history of New York, my home state, or my Irish ancestry. Nineteenth century America is the time period for all but one. That outlier chose a made-up medieval town in Europe as its setting, since the part-fairy tale and part-allegory called for it. Think all the campy fun of The Princess Bride meets Shrek, but without the adult humor. 

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I think I would love an evening with Melania Trump. I can think of a million questions I would ask her, from being the wife of the most powerful and resolute leader in the world, to parenting a brilliant young man who some speculate might be on the autism spectrum, to asking her beauty tips and secrets. And I suspect there is a strong religious faith there, too. I would love to know more about her.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I paint and have an art page on facebook where I take commissioned pet portraits. I am a passionate gardener, but have so much to learn… And I recently forayed into raising puppies. I will probably not do that again soon. They were fun, for sure, and adorable, but the stress was more than I bargained for. But pets will always be a passion.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I have had a hard time committing to writing due to the general lack of monetary compensation. My husband works in human services, and we will never be rich on his income. I struggled with wanting to contribute, but knew the way I am made, I can’t both write and work—my brain just doesn’t allow it. So it has slowed my progress. I think having a couple of contracts has helped ease my guilt. It enabled me to invest what advances I earned toward the expenses of Indie publishing, so at least I can break even.

Prayer and encouragement from the writing community has been the biggest factor keeping me going forward.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
I would encourage those starting out to find a critique partner, a mentor, and to write what you love. I am so grateful for ACFW who connected me with my best friends and critique partners. Writing groups like that offer a wealth of resources to help people in all stages grow in craft and business sense.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Chaplain’s Daughter, Book 2 in Sons of the Shenandoah series.

A minister’s daughter abandoned during war must rely on faith to survive. A wounded widower feels God has forsaken him. Will her devout care bring medicine to his soul or rub salt in his wounds?

This series follows the sons of Virginia horse trader Sam Sharpe through and after the Civil War. Book two focuses on the eldest son Captain Gideon Sharpe. It is a story that explores an unlikely hero—a broken man in desperate need of restoration—and the mending of the masculine soul. It explores the roles of men and women, and how modern fads and ideology cannot change who God made us to be—unique and equal but not same or interchangeable.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Chantilly, Virginia
August 30, 1862
Ellen White jolted on her bed roll and her dream of home faded into the predawn hour. A noise filled her A-frame tent, leaving her blinking into the darkness.

The sound which had woken her came again, a moan so near the hairs on her neck tingled. Raising the tent flap, she focused bleary eyes out onto the dim camp avenue. A man lay not two feet away on a stretcher, shivering despite the heat.

Manassas. Her mind connected tracks of thought like severed rail lines. Casualties from battle must have flooded in overnight. She’d retired early after toiling over her laundry cauldron all day, too tired even to change out of her clothes.

Ellen sat up and pushed tendrils of hair from her forehead to gain a better look at the wounded man. His ragged breath and stifled groans launched waves of urgency through her.

But then, knee boots stepped in front of her tent, blocking her view.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I can be found on the group history blog the 8th of every month:
 
https://www.hhhistory.com/


Thank you, Kathleen, for sharing this new book with my blog readers and me. Both the beautiful cover and the first page have made me eager for the arrival of my copy, so I can dive into the story.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Chaplain's Daughter (Sons of the Shenandoah) - Paperback
The Chaplain's Daughter (Sons of the Shenandoah Book 2) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. A print book if the winner is from the US. An ebook if the winner is in a foreign country. 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, 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, April 14, 2019

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.

Chanel (PA) is the winner of The Memory House by Rachel Hauck. 

Pam (OH) is the winner of The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

Sharon (SC) is the winner of The Shattering II by Marsha Barth.

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 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

LOVE IN SEASON - Pamela S Thibodeaux - One Free Copy


Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Welcome back, Pamela. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
Most of my stories revolve around forgiveness and second chances.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
I don’t have another new release scheduled as of yet, however the audio version of my Indy title, Tempered Hearts, is now in production and hopefully will be out this year.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Nora Roberts. She is my favorite author and I’d love to sit and converse with her about life in general, friendships in specific, and what it takes to become as prolific an author as she. I know “hard work” would be the first answer but I’d like to go deeper.

What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
I’m not much of a history buff so I hadn’t thought about who I’d like to meet besides Jesus. Joan of Arc maybe and see how she knew her calling beyond a shadow of doubt.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Don’t give up! Submit, implement feedback, re-submit or submit elsewhere. Writing is a talent and gift from God. Don’t bury your talent or hide your gift. Someone, somewhere wants, needs, to read what you write!

Tell us about the featured book.
For quite some time I wanted to put together a collection of short stories that centered around the 4 seasons and 4 holidays that focus on love and family (Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Since I already had several stories at Pelican Book Group, I mentioned this idea to my editor, the amazing Nicola Martinez, and she loved it. I submitted two previously unpublished stories to round out the collection, along with those PBG had already published, and viola! Love in Season was born.

Blurb: Anytime is the perfect time for love.
In this anthology, author Pamela S Thibodeaux brings together eight of her most beloved romance stories—one for each season plus four holidays that revolve around love and family.

Includes two brand new stories!


Please give us the first page of the book.
Winter Madness
They met on a cold winter morning in a cozy coffee shop. Not just the tinkle of the bell above the door announced his arrival, but also the quickening of her heart, the slow thud of blood through her veins, the sharp curl of need in the pit of her stomach. Even before she saw him, she knew the minute he’d walked in. A dream from her past.

He turned; their eyes met.

William’s eyes widened and his breath caught. There she sat all soft and glowing. A ghost from his past.  He hesitated, blew a soft rush of air to cool the steaming brew he’d just purchased. A sigh escaped followed by a resigned shrug. There’s no way out of the meeting now. Only a few steps separated them physically, miles emotionally. One hurdle at a time, he thought, and joined her at the table for two beside the window.

“Good morning,” she breathed up at him, every year of distance, every minute of longing reflected in her voice–as though she’d waited for him all along, just as she promised so long ago, and again not so long ago.

William scowled. “Snow everywhere, slush beneath, what’s so good about it?”

Sienna sighed, “There’s nothing quite as lovely as the first snow of the season.”

He frowned. “Lovely? Tell me, what do you find so lovely about the cold and dampness that comes with the first snow of the season?”

She smiled, and his heart skipped a thud.

“Always reminds me of what the Bible says about our salvation, and that the Blood of Jesus cleanses us as pure and as white as snow and offers us a chance for new life.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Links:
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

Thank you, Pamela, for sharing this collection with my blog readers and me. Sometimes, it’s good to have something shorter to read when you only have a few minutes.

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, 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: