Tuesday, October 31, 2017

THE FINAL RIDE - Linda W Yezak - One Free Ebook

Dear Readers, I’m thrilled to feature another book by fellow Texas author, Linda Yezak. The Final Ride took first place in the Texas Association of Authors Christian Fiction category this year. I’ve been an online friend with Linda for several years, and she was the speaker at our local ACFW – DFW chapter recently. I really enjoyed the time we spent together.

Welcome back, Linda. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Almost everything I write is like me: Christian and generally uplifting and lighthearted. I love illustrating God's principles in action, especially when they pertain to bringing those who have strayed back into the fold.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I knew for certain God had picked Billy for me. After a disaster of a marriage and ten years of “never again,” God gave me the perfect mate.

He’s good like that. How has being published changed your life?
It turned me into a professional. That may sound like a simplistic response, but it covers every aspect of the change being published brings into one's life. I no longer have ten years to finish my book, can no longer “wait for inspiration.” I can't live in anonymity anymore; I have to keep myself and my books visible. I have to actively seek earning opportunities. Basically, I have to remember that I'm running a business. I file taxes and have a Federal EIN. I'm not in Kansas anymore.

What are you reading right now?
A Fool and His Monet, by Sandra Orchard.

What is your current work in progress?
My editor at Firefly (an imprint of Lighthouse of the Carolinas) has Ice Melts in Spring, a novella for the collection Southern Seasons which releases in November 2018. While she works on it, I'm striving to finish Ride to the Altar, the third in the Circle Bar Ranch series that was supposed to come out this year. After just announcing that I no longer have the leisure to finish a book in ten years, I admit I'm beginning to wonder whether this one will take exactly that before I can write “the end.”

What would be your dream vacation?
I have two. Eating my way across Italy in stretch pants and spending a substantial amount of time in every state in the United States. Neither is likely to happen, but a girl can dream.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I tend to restrict my settings to places I've been to, and the bulk of those places are in Texas, though I've visited most of the southern states. Researching settings on the internet doesn't let me know how the place tastes or smells. Doesn't allow me a sense of its pulse. Can't let me hear the accents or bird calls. In other words, I can't get an honest impression of the location. For this reason, I tend to stay with places I'm familiar with. It's also the reason I'd like to visit all 50 states.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Funny to see this question. Just this morning, I was thinking I'd love to spend time learning at the feet of Kay Arthur, of Precept Ministry fame. I'm not sure an evening would be enough, but it would be a start.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading? 
I spend a lot of time cross-stitching baby blankets for the boom our family is having. Aside from that, I love to cook and enjoy food preservation techniques, like canning, pickling, jelly-, jam-, and butter-making, but I would rather be fishing than virtually anything else.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Right now, with Ride to the Altar, I'm having a structure problem. The novel includes not a plot and a subplot, but what amounts to two plots. If I don't find the point where the two merge soon, I may have to rip the thing apart and start over. Again. But I think I'm getting closer. We'll see.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Study the craft. There are so many other things I would say to beginners—like build your platform, learn the business, etc.—but I always go back to my original advice: Study.

Tell us about the featured book.
Aunt Adele Cameron makes her debut in The Final Ride, the second in the Circle Bar Ranch series. Her purpose for living is to convince Patricia Talbert to return to Manhattan and leave the ranch she inherited and the man who runs it behind in Texas. But all her comical, blundering attempts aren't nearly as effective as Talon Carlson's broken promise. How can Patricia accept yet another man who can't keep his word?

Please give us a peek inside the book.
Chapter One
Patricia Talbert leaned against the back fender of the old farm truck and admired the flex of Talon Carlson’s muscles as he secured a trailer to the hitch. One of the nearby towns held a cattle auction every Thursday, from early in the morning until everything sold, and the Circle Bar Ranch needed a few more head.

One of the hands had already driven off in a rig, but Talon had lingered behind, no doubt for a few more moments alone with her. Although she’d decided not to go this time, she didn’t mind having a few more moments alone with him either.

She watched his strong hands deftly connect the wires for the truck’s back lights to the trailer. “It’s going to be different around here without Chance to help, isn’t it?”

“No different than it will be for you without Marie.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Chance Davis.” The names sifted through her lips with a sigh. The past Saturday, her best friend had married Talon’s best friend here at the Circle Bar ranch, and now they were off on a two-week honeymoon.

Talon stepped over the hitch and stood deliciously close. His lips crept up in that lopsided grin she loved. “What about us? Ready to get married?”

“No. Not yet. I’ve had all the wedding insanity I can take for a while.” She traced the strong line of his smooth-shaven jaw with her finger. “I’m not in a hurry.”

“Whatever my lady wants. I can wait.” He kissed her gently, making her heart flutter, then adjusted his hat. “I’d better get moving, or the auction will be over before I get there. You sure you don’t want to come with me?”

“No, I think I’ll stay here and enjoy the quiet for a change. Bring home some good cows.”

He gave her another peck. “Always.”

He walked to his truck, keeping her mesmerized with each step. That man could make a feed sack look good.

Once he drove out of sight, she rubbed her shoulders and curled her lips between her teeth. The past several months had been filled with house renovations and Marie’s wedding plans–not to mention a quick trip back to New York to help with her father’s US Senate re-election campaign. But now that everything was over and all the wedding guests were finally gone, she had no clue what to do with herself. Come to think of it, she’d never been totally alone on her own ranch since she inherited it from Uncle Jake the previous year. If she intended to give up her life in Manhattan and live in Texas, she’d better figure out where she fit in. Discover what her new “normal” looked like.
Normal. Routine. The words serenaded her. After all the insanity of the past year, nothing appealed to her more than landing in a nice, peaceful rut for a while.

But what exactly would her role be out here? Thirty-five seemed a bit old to be wondering what she’d do when she grew up, but when Uncle Jake left her the ranch he and Aunt Loretta had spent their lives building, Patricia discovered she had options–stay in New York and work for her father, or come here and–what? Pretend she knew how to run a ranch?

Since she had no intention of going back East, she may as well carve out a place for herself here, doing … something.

At the equipment shed, the senior ranch hand, Frank Simmons, tinkered with the tractor engine, but she knew nothing about mechanical repair. Inside, Chef and Consuela Garcia took care of the meals and household chores that made Patricia shudder. The vegetable garden on the side of the ranch house appeared neglected; no one had worked it in a couple of weeks. She strode to its edge, crouched between a row of peppers and another of tomatoes, and yanked what she hoped was a weed. Gardening hadn’t been a part of her life back home. Maybe she’d be safe if she pulled only what grew between the mounds.

The soil felt moist, and the weeds came out with the simplest tug. She could get used to this mindless work. She could see ahead what needed to be done and see the progress behind, unlike other, seemingly endless things she’d done for her father. This chore held a purpose. She’d keep the weeds from choking out the vegetables that everyone would get to enjoy. Simple. Wonderful. She’d definitely add gardening to the top of her most-favorite-rut-activities list. If this was what her new normal felt like, she’d wrap it around herself like a security blanket.


She twisted around and gaped at a chic, older woman standing at the yard’s edge. “Aunt Adele?”

Looking as if she’d just stepped from a fashion magazine for women over sixty, Adele Cameron held her arms wide. “Surprise!”

Patricia brushed herself off and hurried toward her. Adele had always been her favorite of her mother’s sisters. “I thought you flew back to New York after the wedding.”

An elegant flick of her hand dismissed the notion. “I spent a few days in Dallas. Did a little shopping.” She posed like a model and executed a runway turn, inviting Patricia to admire the cowl-neck tunic and straight-leg slacks she wore over two-inch pumps. “It’s not Manhattan, but it’s not bad either.”

“I’m glad you found something you liked.” Patricia hid her smile. She and Marie had overdressed for the ranch when they first arrived, too. Not practical, but then they hadn’t expected to stay, much less fall in love with the cowboys running the place. “What else did you buy?”

“Oh, several things.” She pressed her key fob toward a burgundy Cadillac parked in front of the house. “Come see.”

The Caddy’s trunk opened. Plump store bags, bearing only the finest in fashion logos, sat atop the flowered canvas of matching luggage.

Patricia poked through one of the sacks. “I’m anxious to see what you bought.”

“Why don’t we carry it in so you can see better?” A sly grin lifted her lips. “And the luggage, too.”

Patricia squealed. “Does this mean you’re staying awhile?”

“Yes, dear. And I’m so happy you’re excited about it.” She patted Patricia’s cheek. “Now, maybe you can get your man to help us.”

“My man? Do you mean Talon? He’s not here.”

“Not Talon. Your man–your servant, or whatever you call him.” She stared pointedly at Frank, who leaned against the tractor, watching them as he rubbed his hands on a rag.

“He’s not a serv–”

“We have company?” Consuela Garcia called from the shadows of the massive front porch. In her brightly embroidered Mexican dress, the housekeeper-slash-cook descended the three steps and waddled toward them, eyeing the newcomer curiously. She bypassed the front walk and crossed the lush grass in her sandaled feet.

Patricia rested one hand on Consuela’s shoulder and waved the other toward their guest. “You remember my aunt, Adele Cameron? She was here for the wedding.”

“Si, I remember.”

“She’ll be staying with us for a while.”

“Okay, then. We will put you in the guest room. It’s clean now. Fresh sheets. I’ll help you.” Consuela advanced toward the trunk and gawked at the load inside. But she swiftly recovered with a congenial smile. “What you want to take in?”

“I’ll need it all,” Aunt Adele said. “And some of it will have to be ironed.”

“I can do it tomorrow when I do everyone else’s.” Consuela grabbed the store bags, then led their guest to the house, the older woman giving specific instructions as to how she wanted her ironing done. Aunt Adele had always been particular about her wardrobe.

With the sacks gone, Patricia got a better look at the luggage. Aunt Adele must’ve brought a year’s worth of clothes. Odd, since she was only supposed to be coming for the wedding this past weekend.

Frank came beside her and ran his fingers over his bushy gray mustache. “Don’t you Yankee women know how to pack light?”

“I guess not.”

He looped the strap of a bag over each shoulder, then hefted out a large case and jerked up the handle. “Best get this inside.”

Patricia grabbed the cosmetic case and slammed the trunk closed. “I can’t imagine why she brought so much. Looks like she’s moving in.”

“Well, she’s your aunt, ain’t she? Maybe she just wants some time with you.” He toted his burden toward the house. “Better show your man where to put these.”

She grimaced. Frank might have a hitch in his gait, but his hearing seemed impeccable. She scurried to catch up. “I’m sorry about that. Aunt Adele’s used to having a full household staff available. I guess all the high society trappings make her a bit of a snob.”

“Don’t worry about it too much. We’ve had snobs around here before.” He paused at the steps. “I reckon y’all turned out all right.”

Grinning at his light-hearted jab, she went around him to open the door. “Oh, Marie and I weren’t that bad, were we?”

He raised a craggy brow to the brim of his straw hat and drawled, “Where do you want these?”

She swatted his arm playfully, then pointed to the second floor. “First door on the left.”

He took the cosmetic case from her and headed to the stairs. Amazingly strong for such a wiry man. She watched him carry his cumbersome load up the steps until he safely landed on the second floor, then followed the sound of women’s voices through the living room. The sweet smell of Marie’s wedding flowers had finally begun to fade, replaced now with a vague hint of the spices Consuela used for the enchiladas she’d planned for lunch. As Patricia passed through the dining room and neared the kitchen, the scent of cumin grew stronger. So did the voices.

She stopped at the door. Aunt Adele stood formally erect, hands clamped together at her waist, nose up like a stodgy aristocrat. Red faced and muttering in Spanish, Consuela whisked a wooden spoon around her pot as if she chased a devil from its depths.

Patricia ventured into the room. “What’s going on?”

After a heartbeat pause, both women clamored for her attention, each talking louder and faster until finally she covered her ears. “Stop!”

The two glowered at each other like contestants in a wrestling ring.

Consuela pointed the dripping spoon at Aunt Adele. “Get her out of my kitchen.”

Patricia bit back questions she knew better than to ask when Consuela’s brows were drawn that tightly.

She wrapped an arm around her aunt’s stiff shoulders and guided her out. “Let’s get you up to your room. You must be tired after traveling this morning. Did you drive all the way from Dallas? That’s quite a–”

“Are you going to let the hired help talk to me like that?” The harsh whisper could no doubt be heard in the kitchen.

Patricia marshaled her farther into the living room. “Consuela isn’t so much hired help as she is family. She and her husband Chef have been with this ranch for years.” She stopped walking and faced her aunt. “Frank isn’t hired help either. He’s wise and kind and special to me, and I’d like for you to treat him with respect.”

Adele’s crimson face contorted as she struggled to maintain her dignity, or tamp her temper down, Patricia couldn’t tell which. She’d never seen this usually dignified woman behave like a spoiled diva before.

From their left, Frank entered the living room and passed through toward the kitchen. Judging by the way he kept his head down, he’d probably heard their conversation. Between his sharp ears and her aunt’s stage whispers, Patricia doubted he’d missed a word.

“Yes, perhaps I should retire to my room.” Aunt Adele’s tone could frost glass.

“Now, don’t be angry. The ranch is just different from what you’re used to. We don’t have hired hands, we have … family on salaries. Everyone is close.” She drifted her hand down her aunt’s arm. “I want you to love it here like I do. It would mean so much to me.”

She sniffed. “I see I have a lot to learn about the way things are done here in Texas.”

“Yes, so did I. Still do.”

Aunt Adele’s expression softened as she took Patricia’s hands. “Why don’t you come home, sweetheart? You’re not suited for this life.”

Patricia shook her head. The fresh air, the quiet nights, the slower pace. Talon’s muscles rippling and glistening in the sun as he lifted square bales for the horses. If only Aunt Adele knew how very suited she was for this life. “I’m happy here.”

She escorted her aunt to the guest room and helped store her things, then left her to nap away the travel weariness. Maybe after some rest, she’d be her old, fun self again.

Meanwhile, she needed to tend to the ruffled hen downstairs.

In the kitchen, Consuela seemed calmer and was laughing at something Frank had said. He leaned against the counter with a glass half full of water and watched Consuela caramelize an onion in a sizzling cast iron skillet. Her husband, Chef Garcia, had apparently entered through the back door. He rolled a chicken mixture in corn tortillas for enchiladas and smiled at Patricia as she entered.

Patricia retrieved a head of lettuce from the fridge. “I’m sorry about my aunt. I hope she didn’t upset you too much.”

Consuela’s lips puckered. She looked at Patricia from the corner of her eye. “Do you know what she wanted?”

Patricia shook her head.

She crossed her arms over her chubby belly. “She wanted dinner served at seven.”

“That’s just what she’s used to back in–”

“And she wanted breakfast served at nine.”

“Well, yes, like I was saying–”

“In bed.”

“Oh.” Patricia lowered her eyes. “Well, you know, she’s from New York …”

“She is in Texas now.” Consuela gave the onions a stir, then tapped the spoon on the side of the skillet loud enough to make the metal ring. “I am not her cook.”


“I do things the way I do things, and she will eat or not.”

“Of course.”

“You told her?”

“I tried. I’m not sure she understands how different things are here.”

“She will learn. Next time she tells me what to do”–she nudged her husband– “Chef and me, we will go on vacation. Someone else can cook till she leaves.”

Patricia winced. Other than the Garcias, Marie was the only one who knew how to cook, and she was on her honeymoon.

“Be patient with her. I’ll make sure she understands.”

“See that you do.”

Patricia began shredding the lettuce. “You two just got off to a bad start, Consuela. You’ll like her.” She glanced at Frank. “You will too. Really. You’ll see.”

“Ain’t got a reason not to like her. I guess she don’t remember, but I took her for a few twirls around the dance floor after the weddin’.”

“You did? I thought your knees wouldn’t allow dancing.”

“Oh, trust me, I paid for it. They weren’t too happy.” He glanced up at the clock. “How much time before lunch?”

“Straight up twelve, Frank, you know that.” Consuela frowned at him. “Long as I been cookin’ in this kitchen, it’s been straight up twelve.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He bussed her cheek and clapped Chef on the shoulder. “Gives me about twenty minutes to put my tools up. Wrecked the best part of my mornin’ playing the role of Pat’s man.”

Consuela hooted and set a huge grin between her cheeks.

Patricia rolled her eyes. “Next time, close your ears.”

Wasn’t it just a couple of hours ago she’d dreamed of finding her rut? Of discovering her new normal? Now, apparently, her primary job would be to keep peace between Aunt Adele and Consuela for the duration of her aunt’s visit. How long would that be?

Love the beginning! How can my readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook Fan Page:  http://dld.bz/LWYFacebookPage  
Twitter: @LindaYezak

Thank you, Linda, for sharing this book with us. I have a lot of readers who will love your books.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Final Ride: A Circle Bar Ranch Novel - paperback
The Final Ride: A Circle Bar Ranch Novel (Circle Bar Ranch Series Book 2) - 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, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Kay (AR) is the winner of Christmas at Stoney Creek by Martha Rogers.

Wendy (MI) is the winner of In Pursuit of an Emerald by Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock.

Kasey (TX) is the winner of Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C Scott.

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

OCTOBER - Breast-Cancer Awareness Month

Why is that important? Statistics show that 1 out of every 3 women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime.

My sister had breast cancer. So did my mother-in-law. Both back when breast cancer was almost a death sentence.

I have first cousins who are cancer survivors.

And I have two beautiful daughters. Here's a picture of me with our two daughters, Marilyn and Jennifer a few years ago.

A lot has happened in those few years. Jennifer, the one in blue, has lost a lot of weight and Marilyn has become the one of these three women who was hit by that awful foe. I certainly didn't want one of my daughters to have that fight. Marilyn is the one who several years did the Komen Race for the Cure in the name of my sister, Shirley Jean Nelson. Her grandson ran with her when he was old enough to go with her. 

But let me tell you a little about our background. Because of the family history of breast cancer on both their maternal side and their paternal side, as soon as the girls became adults, I urged them to keep a close watch on their breasts. They did with the breast self-examination and mammograms.

Marilyn's lump was very small when they found it in May and removed it. She chose to do radiation, because she was on the borderline of needing it, and they gave her the choice. By the end of the year, she was cancer free. And that was over two years ago.

Whatever you do, dear friends, don't neglect your breast examinations and mammograms. Then if you should have BC, they will be able to catch it early, and you, too, will have a better chance of beating BC.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

CHIEF OF SINNERS - Caryl McAdoo - One Free Book or Ebook

Dear Readers, we have one of our favorite authors back with the last book in her Texas Romance Family Saga. I’m eager to read the newest book.

Welcome back, Caryl. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
Since the beginning of writing for publication (1985), I’ve written with my husband Ron. Way back when we joined the DFW Writers Workshop (1993), we used to say he was the story and I was the style, and our mentors—bless their hearts for teaching us our craft—could tell when he was writing and when it was me. Then the more years that went by, we got comments that they could no longer distinguish who wrote what.

 Past Ron and me ... there are many blessings God sent to me: My proofreader Lenda Selph, my cover designer Roseanna White, and my chief promoter, Sandy Barela at Celebrate Lit. I’m also blessed with many beta readers including Louise Koiner, Cass Wessel, Marilyn Rigeway, Mary Ann Hake, Judy Jordan, and more; and my “Christian Evaluaters” (Street team or influencers) Ann Ellison, Kathy Watts, Amy Cambell, Joy Gibson, Cheryl Baranski, Julie Wilson, Susan Johnson, Amy Lawrence, Debbie Gomes, Alan Daughtery, Michelle Beach and more.
Since going Indie in 2014 after Simon and Schuster published VOW UNBROKEN (my/our tenth book published), I’ve launched twenty titles! CHIEF OF SINNERS is number thirty. I do all my own interior designs (except for the first one LADY LUCK’S A LOSER, but intend to re-do it one day soon J 

If you teach or speak. What’s coming up on your calendar?
After a very busy, packed September and October, I now have nothing until next year. I’ve founded a teaching seminar company WordWyse Exposytions with my Marketing Social Media Meister Janis McAdoo (daughter-in-love) and we have day or weekend workshops for authors on Writing, Publishing, and Marketing--all three, two, or just one.

If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
God moved me to Red River County (Clarksville, Texas) from my home of fifty-five years (Irving, Texas), and this was my complete-start-over. If I HAD to move and could CHOSE where, I’d say I’ve always wanted to live in a mountain cabin in Colorado. I love being high and surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation.

If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?
To learn their craft! So many writers decide to write a book and just start and don’t know the first thing about the tools of their craft and how to use them—like a carpenter deciding to build a house, but don’t have a hammer or saw. So as a professional editor for over a decade, I saw thousands of manuscripts, and newbies all make the SAME mistakes. I made them all until God led me to the DFWWW (mentioned earlier).
There’s so much more than spelling and punctuation, adjectives and adverbs. Most new writers want to TELL their story and don’t know how to SHOW it. They have no clue for Point of View. Their writing is passive rather than active which can also mean . . . boring.
I’ve written a book called STORY AND STYLE, The Craft of Writing Creative Fiction that is SURE to help writers of many experience levels, but especially beginners. It’s written in an easy to understand, conversational tone with tons of examples. Plus, if the reader has any questions, the author is available by facebook or phone! J I love helping new writers!

You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (AS in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])
I’ve never been on a cruise, but if . . . going into fantasy mode . . . I’d invite singers Paul Wilbur (with his crew and dancers) and Sandy Patty to lead praise and worship four times a day. I’d ask artist Judy Levine to join us and teach a painting class. I’d send an invitation to authors Bodie and Brock Thoene to read from their Zion series and take us all back in history to the early days of Israel. I think Benjamin Netanyahu would enjoy that, too, and I’d have him on the program for a Q and A panel with President Trump. Would you buy a ticket to be on that cruise, Lena?

Sure. I love cruises, but I’ve only been on two. Tell us about the featured book.
Almost twenty-five years ago, I wrote my first Christian historical romance CHIEF OF SINNERS about a traveling tent preacher and his young son Buddy, but it proved too secular for the Christian publishers and too religious for those more secular. Then a NY agent asked for one set in the 1800s. We wrote VOW UNBROKEN about a widow and for her hero, used Buckmeyer, a family name from CHIEF set in 1926-1950.

From that book, the Texas Romance Family Saga series was born and followed five generations of three main families all the way to 1926 where CHIEF OF SINNERS picks up—a total of ten novels from VOW to CHIEF; 1832 to 1950. And though no major changes were necessary to the twenty-four year old manuscript, a few areas needed minor adjustments to line up with the first nine books in the family saga.

Paragraphs of well-placed backstory remembrances offered a bit more of the enhancing detail that my readers say they love. Through five generations, over a century of love and romance ensued, and I loved every story.

So creating the Buckmeyers, Baylors, Nightingales, and Harrises with all their supporting players has been a labor of love, praying my story gives God glory. From reviews I’m glad my readers find each installment of the family saga able to stand alone, entertaining, inspiring, thought provoking, and real to life.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Fall 1926
God always tests His sons.

From Adam on, He’s required absolute obedience from those He calls to greatness.
Such a man, Broderick Eversole Nightingale, known to all as Buddy, came into the world in the afterglow of the Azusa Street Revival. From his earliest memories, his father preached and practiced the power of the Holy Ghost while his saintly mother led the singing under the canvas canopy of the family’s traveling Gospel meetings.
Buddy’s first test came at the age of ten when his mother fell deathly ill. He never dreamed to blame God when she went home. But his father did. And for that first year after she left, the Reverend Nathaniel Nightingale drowned his sorrow in moonshine.
Broke of heart and pocketbook, the boy’s father returned to the only solace he knew, preaching the Good News. Though he no longer invited people to come be healed, reports of past miracles and his fiery oratories always kept the revival tent full.
The second test came fourteen months later in a small Texas Hill Country community. That fateful day started like so many others.
After obtaining their permit, the Nightingales pulled into the fairgrounds, unloaded their tent, and began work. By midmorning, they had the canvas spread and the poles up.
Buddy held the first peg while his father tap-started it. He stood back. Five whacks later, he tied off the guy rope then scooted to the next peg. A second passed before he squinted against the sun and looked up at his dad.
For October, the day heated unseasonably warm, and the old reverend’s face glistened with sweat as he leaned on the double-headed mallet.
“What’s the matter, old man? Not getting tired, are you?”
“Who you calling old?”
Buddy smiled. “Here, let me have that thing. I wouldn’t want the great Nathaniel Nightingale too tuckered to preach tonight.”
“Have at it.”

Where can we find you on the Internet?
Links : 
Author Pages:
~ Simon & Schuster - http://tinyurl.com/S-SCarylsPage
~ Sweet Americana Sweethearts - bit.ly/2q0tcfFbit.ly 
Website: http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com  /  (All First Chapters offered)
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_1hQx6UZbWi3OYwmKKxh6Q  (Hear Caryl sing her New Songs!)
~ The Word and the Music XXXXX
~ HeartWings (Devotional) - http://www.HeartWingsBlog.com
~ Stitches Thru Time (Misc.) -   http://www.StitchesThruTime.blogspot.com
~ Sweet Americana Sweethearts (Historical) -

Thank you, Caryl, for sharing this new book with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, Caryl is happy to offer a print book of the first one in the Texas Romance series, VOW UNBROKEN or an eBook of CHIEF OF SINNERS if you’ve already read VOW UNBROKEN! :) 

Here are links to the book.
Chief of Sinners (Texas Romance) (Volume 10) - Paperback
Chief of Sinners (Texas Romance Book 10) - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Forest, A Flood, and an Unlikely Star - J A Myhre - One Free Book

Welcome, J. A. What has drawn you to writing for children?
I wrote these books originally for my own four children! They were avid readers and I wanted them to have quality literature that reflected their world. I think that many of my own favorite books—books that really grasped the nuances of the essentials of our world (like CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien’s epics)—were aimed at young people. If you can put down a good story with meaning for 9-15 year olds, that gets at the core of human thought.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
If quirky is defined as unconventional, then I’d say leaving America 24 years ago to move with an 8-month-old baby to a place with an unwritten language and one other doctor for a couple hundred thousand people. We’ve lived in East Africa ever since, through war and ebola, raised four kids of our own and been deeply involved in the lives of a couple dozen more, practiced medicine on the edge, climbed the three highest mountains on this continent and loved our life.

I have a dear friend and her husband who are missionaries in Mozambique. They’ve been in a couple other African countries, too. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I always had an inner drive to put ideas into words. In grade school and high school, I had encouraging English teachers, and my mom, who made me believe I could write things worth reading. After medical training when we moved to Uganda, I started writing letters to communicate our stories to others, which evolved into a blog (http://paradoxuganda.blogspot.co.ke). When people read and respond, then I suppose I feel like a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read a lot of fiction, and particularly enjoy books set in the medieval time period, which seems very relevant to where we live and work. My favorite genre in books and movies I call “dark and redemptive” which is how I see the world. Post-apocalyptic adventures, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy all interest me. I also read a fair bit of non-fiction on the theological and medical sides.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?
There are four Rwendigo Tales; A Forest, A Flood, and an Unlikely Star is the third so there is one more that is not yet published. I hope readers will buy enough to inspire the publisher to continue through the series! I have one more humorous unpublished children’s book, and one very long true-story book of our first two decades in Africa that needs a lot of editing.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sunrise and sunset runs and walks with my husband and our dog in the beautiful Rift valley, quiet time to read and pray and think, good food and fellowship on a regular basis, friendships, and a strong loving family.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?
Seeing the young doctors we teach and mentor learn to save lives, seeing patients healed, seeing resurrection in real-time over many years.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
My favorite is the Okapi, which is graceful and elusive and lives in the forests of Congo. However it could be a little lonely, so my other favorite is the warthog which pairs for life, raises the cutest little pigs, and always seems to be perkily praying or eating.

What is your favorite food?
We have built wood-fired pizza ovens where we have lived (one in Uganda, one in Kenya, and one in West Virginia) and I love making gourmet pizzas outdoors. It’s a great way to host a large party.

Is it hard to break into the children’s market?
YES, it is hard to get out of the small circles of people I know and am connected to. My publisher is a small one as well. I believe in the quality and relevance of my books though, and as a 9-year-old fan who was visiting said to me this week, “Maybe your books will be more famous after you die.” Good point.

What advice would you give to an author wanting to break into that market?
I think I need the advice, rather than giving it. But I would say to keep living and writing and doing the best you can, and see where that takes you.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
This book introduces young readers to realities that are pervasive around our world, in a way that is hopeful and positive. It is important for kids to read a variety of stories to develop empathy and to have a framework and tools to make sense of what they will inevitably encounter. Plus it’s just a plain good, entertaining story.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My blog http://paradoxuganda.blogspot.co.ke/ tells about our life as doctors in Kenya.

Thank you, J. A., for sharing this book with us. Two of our dear friends have helped establish and run a ministry to thrown-away teens in Kenya. They’re in the States right now, but are going back in December.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.
A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star (Rwendigo Tales)

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

TOTAL CHRISTMAS MAKEOVER - Melissa Spoelstra - One Free Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.