Thursday, August 30, 2018

THE 12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS - Lena Nelson Dooley - One Free Copy of the New Book

Bio: Multi-published author Lena Nelson Dooley has had more than 900,000 copies of her books sold. She is a member of ACFW and the local chapter, ACFW - DFW. She’s a member of Christian Authors’ Network and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

She has been on the ECPA and CBA Bestseller lists, Publisher’s Weekly bestseller list, and several Amazon Bestseller lists as well as a reviewers’ Top Ten Books of 2011. She has won over a dozen major awards.

She hosts “The Lena Nelson Dooley Show” on the Along Came a Writer Blogtalk radio network.

Welcome, Lena. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Reading has been important to me for most of my life. When I was 7 years old, my family started going to the county library every week and checking out books to bring home. We usually had at least 10 per week. As I became an adult, I continued reading … a lot! When the types of books available changed over time, it became hard to find them without graphic scenes and using God’s name in vain. That’s when I started writing the kinds of books I like to read, that had interesting, true-to-life stories without objectionable content.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I often ask other authors this question, but now that I have to answer it, I see how hard it is to pick just one. So here are the highlights: My wedding day, the day each child was born, when I held my first published book in my hands, when each grandchild was born, when I won each major award, and when each great-grandchild was born. And that only scratches the surface. I have way more happy days than those that aren’t.

How has being published changed your life?
It has enriched me. I’ve met lots of other authors, literary agents, and editors of publishing houses. That never would have happened in my everyday life. I’m far busier—with writing, marketing my books, and mentoring other authors. The last thing was a special gift to me from the Lord.

What are you reading right now?
A totally awesome book by Cathy Gohlke, Until We Find Home.

What is your current work in progress?
I’ve written three books since January 1, and now the books are releasing. Two this month and two in November. So I’m not actually writing anything right now. I did dream a plot a couple of weeks ago. I’ll start writing it soon, The Small Green Bungalow.

What would be your dream vacation?
My husband and I both would like to go to Hawaii. And maybe Australia. But not at the same time.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Many times, the editor asks me to write about a particular setting. With The 12 Gifts of Christmas, an editor asked my agent for an author to write it for her. I did get to choose the setting for this, and it’s set right here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. And it’s contemporary.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
For a number of years, I’ve wanted to spend an evening with George and Laura Bush.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I used to do crafts, knit, and crochet, but I don’t do that anymore. My favorite thing is to spend time with our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I had a mental block when I stared at the empty first page. But in 1984, God used several things in one week in May to tell me to become a professional writer. I always see things like a video in my brain, and sometimes, it’s hard to find the words to describe what I see. So I asked God, “What if the words don’t come?” He assured me that if I would be obedient and start writing, He would cause the words to flow. He has honored His word through all these years. I have more to write than I have the time to write it.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
If God created you with the ability to put words, sentences, and paragraphs together, you should pursue using that gift by learning the craft of writing. Because you are a writer.

Tell us about the featured book.
The 12 Gifts of Christmas was a fun book to write.

Can Malcolm MacGregor capture the heart of
Italian-Brazilian beauty, Alanza Cantalamessa,
in only 12 days?

Back cover copy:
Malcolm MacGregor is a descendant of Scotland’s Clan MacGregor and a successful young businessman in Fort Worth, Texas. Alanza Cantalamessa works at a gourmet pizzeria owned by her Brazilian artist mother and her Italian Poppa. Both of them are smitten with each other but Malcolm is too reserved to do much more than make small talk—until a promotion at work that will send him away to Australia for six months. It’s December and he has to do something—fast.

Praying about the situation, Malcolm decides to give her twelve gifts leading up to Christmas. Their families and friends think they are moving too fast. And a gold-digger who tossed Malcolm aside in the past has now decided he’s the man of her dreams.

Can Malcolm and Alanza overcome their obstacles before he has to go abroad? Or is it really not meant to be?

Please give us a peek into the book.
Malcolm MacTavish glanced around the dining room of Cantalamessa’s Gourmet Pizzas and More on Highway 10 in Euless, Texas. Each time he’d eaten here, he’d chosen to sit at an out-of-the-way table, separated from most other patrons. With a major project he had nearing completion, he often worked through the lunch hour, even when he went out to eat. This was the perfect place to do it, and the same table where he’d sat before was free. He took a seat, opened his briefcase, and pulled out his laptop. Soon, he was deep into his work.

It was the third time he’d come here since a co-worker told him about this place a couple weeks ago. He’d never been fond of the typical American pizza, with its cheap cheese, watery sauce, and way too many greasy spiced meats. But the pizzas here were works of culinary art. Not too doughy and plenty of healthy options. He’d tried a couple different kinds and each was delicious.

“Hey, welcome back.” It was the same cheerful waiter who had served him before. He handed a menu to Malcolm. “What would you like to drink?”

“Thanks. Dr Pepper, please.”

“Should I call that your usual?”

Malcolm laughed. “Sure. Thanks for remembering.”

“I’ll be right back with it, ready to take your order.”

Malcolm watched him walk away, then turned to the all-important file on his screen. In one worksheet, the figures weren’t adding up. He had to find the discrepancy, so he could move forward. Not much time passed before the waiter returned with the soft drink. Malcolm looked up from his laptop.

“What can I get you today? I know you like Dr Pepper, but I think you ordered different pizzas when you were here.”

Malcolm smiled and glanced at the waiter’s nametag. Ignazio. He liked waiters who remembered customers and their preferences. “I’d like to go off-menu today and get a pizza with spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and basil.”

Ignazio made notes on his pad. “Sounds good. Maybe we should put this on the menu. Would you like anything else on it? Maybe extra mozzarella?”


As the young man headed toward the kitchen, Malcolm went back to his work. He had to make sure the figures were correct. He started going through the columns with a fine-tooth comb. When the error finally jumped out at him, he wanted to shout, “Yay.” Probably not the place to do that. There were quite a few patrons here, even though he waited until after 1 p.m., trying to miss the lunch crowd. Cantalamessa’s probably didn’t have the usual crowd from noon to 1 p.m. like many restaurants. There was a nice-sized crowd whenever he came.

“Here you are.” Ignazio set the enticing concoction in front of him.

“Thank you. This pizza smells delicious.”

“Careful, the pan is hot.”

“That’s what makes it so good. Coming straight from the oven to the table.”

As Ignazio walked away, Malcolm closed his eyes and said a silent prayer of thanks.

When he raised his head, he noticed the beautiful young woman who always took his payment standing behind the counter. Alanza, her nametag said. He couldn’t be the only one who noticed how beautiful she was. But Malcolm was also drawn to what appeared to be inside. Alanza’s eyes seemed to be windows to her heart. At first, he was fascinated by the unusual green in her irises. They were the color of budding tree leaves in early spring.

His best friend, Eric Summerfield, had dated a lot of different girls and women—in high school, college, graduate school, and even now. Dating was just a social thing for him. He never seemed to be serious about anyone. Malcolm wondered if Eric would ever settle down with just one woman. He knew if Eric ever saw Alanza, all he would see was her lovely exterior. Not her inner self.

She was tall, probably near six feet. She seemed confident, but in a gentle, easy way. Happiness and joy flowed around her, drawing other people to her. He’d watched her interact with customers in a way that let him know she really cared about people. He’d even seen her helping the busboys and waiters when needed.

 Malcolm forced his attention back to his files while he savored his pizza. Ignazio came and went, bringing him refills of Dr Pepper when his glass was empty. When all of his work was finally in order, Malcolm happily clicked the save button. The project was finished. He closed his computer and slipped it into his briefcase.

When he glanced up, his gaze was drawn to Alanza. He hadn’t dated a lot because he had asked God to direct him to the woman He’d prepared to be his wife. Since he first laid eyes on Alanza, he wondered if she was the one.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Blogtalk Radio, The Lena Nelson Dooley Show:

The book releases on Tuesday, September 4. Until then, it’s up for pre-order on several web sites. Also, you can ask your local bookstores to order it if they don’t have it. And request that your library obtain copies for their patrons.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The 12 Gifts of Christmas  -
The 12 Gifts of Christmas - Kindle
The 12 Gifts of Christmas - Amazon 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, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Monday, August 27, 2018

COURAGE IN THE FACE OF EVIL - Mark Shaw - One Free Book

Bio: A graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary and former defense attorney, Mark Shaw is the author of 26 books. His best seller, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much: The Mysterious Death of What’s My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen, has been optioned by the Brothers Dowdle Production Company who produced Paramount Network’s Waco mini series. Shaw was a legal correspondent for ABC, CNN, and ESPN, correctly predicting the outcomes of the Mike Tyson and O.J. Simpson trials. He has been a reporter for USA Today and featured on various television and radio shows. His book, The Poison Patriarch: How the Betrayals of Joseph P. Kennedy caused the Assassination of JFK, led to his appearance on the Reelz Channel special The Kennedys. Shaw is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Welcome, Mark. How did you discover this diary?
In the late 1990s, I learned through an article in a Midwest newspaper of the existence of a troubling yet inspiring diary written by a Christian German nurse during her incarceration at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, the only Nazi camp exclusively for women. I contacted this woman’s daughter and was able to secure a copy of the diary. At the time, I was involved with other books and was only able to publish parts of the diary through a local publisher with the hope I could at a later date publish the entire story. Earlier this year I decided the “later date” had come when I realized the “love overcomes hate” theme of the book was quite relevant in today’s world where there is so much hate, so much division, so much disrespect. Through this woman’s spiritual beliefs, she decided to trust a Nazi prison guard she hated after he showed some affection for her, causing her to believe that he had love in his heart hidden beneath his SS uniform.

Describe the process of writing an entire book in someone's voice when you have limited diary entries.
Actually, this was not necessary as I wanted this courageous woman’s voice to be heard in this book as she presented it in the diary. Therefore, little editing at all exists except toward the back end of the diary, permitting her words to be presented almost exactly as she wrote them during her days of fighting to survive the horrors of the Holocaust. We needed to qualify the book as “based on a true story” since I added what the daughter told me her mother’s intentions were after the war regarding saving the prison guard’s life.

What captivated you most about this story?
From the moment I read the diary, I was emotionally moved by the courage exhibited by three people whose lives who were transformed by love overcoming hate – Vera, the little girl Andrea, and the prison guard named Jacob. Each exhibited courage in the face of evil, and the drama associated with the woman’s life or death decision to trust the prison guard who could have either saved the girl or had both the woman and girl shot brought tears to my eyes. Courage comes in many forms, but when human survival is at stake, a special type of courage is required and each of these three people as well as the thousands of women at Ravensbrück showed bravery that is so inspiring in nature. My respect for them is unlimited, and I am proud to be able to tell the story of just one woman who never gave up hope, never lost the human spirit, a true angel of mercy whose only goal was to save lives through her love and caring for everyone in a true Christlike manner for so many years.

There is a quote from Vera that says "good and evil both need deception to survive." What does she mean by that?
This is a quote that should cause readers to stop and think about the meaning of Vera’s words. I don’t want to provide my own opinion, but suffice it to say that one must consider the context of the words she wrote in terms of whether lying or even just misleading others is good or bad, Christlike behavior or the work of the devil based on what she is experiencing on a daily basis as she fights to survive.

How does Vera's faith change over the course of her experience in the concentration camp?
Everyone loses faith during their spiritual journey and Vera was no exception. When readers listen to her voice they will hear how she tried to understand how the Nazis could be so cruel to others especially the children and failing that, cried her eyes out on a nightly basis. Several times she asked why God was not listening to her prayers, why He would not provide the miracles she sought so as to help others. During her most difficult times with keeping hope God brought her, as she wrote, “a miracle,” a young child she could mother, she could love. This happening renewed her hope, her faith, and she was determined to save Andrea’s life at all costs, even if she died doing so. Jacob coming along was another miracle, his affection, her understanding that he was not the devil she thought he was.

Why do you believe it is important for people today to hear stories from the Holocaust?
We must never forget what happened to cause the Holocaust— overbearing power by a true bully, one who believed he was some sort of god who could decide who lived and who died due to a boundless hatred for anyone who disagreed with him. In today’s world, we see examples everywhere of hate— school shootings, racial injustice, violation of women’s rights, bigotry— it is unlimited. By recalling the events of the Holocaust, we must learn our lesson— that love can overcome darkness. Our society is raising young people who complain when they are unable to use their smart phones for ten hours a day. Hopefully books such as Courage in the Face of Evil will help this generation recognize how others suffered unimaginable things from people filled with hatred causing young people to stop and think about what is most important in life, a willingness to spread love throughout the world, as it should be.

Your last book is being made into a movie. Talk about that book and the prospects of Vera's story also becoming a film.
Women’s issues filter through many of my 26 books, but the subject of courage has been on my mind for some time since my latest book, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much” a biography of media icon and investigative reporter Dorothy Kilgallen, became a bestseller with a follow-up book, Denial of Justice to be released this fall. In TRWKTM, I presented the courage exhibited by Kilgallen who risked her life to discover the truth about the JFK assassination. This true crime murder mystery resonated with the prestigious Brothers Dowdle Production Company in Hollywood, producers of the TV series, Waco for the Paramount Network and they are currently developing the story for a film or TV series. From the moment Courage in the Face of Evil was discovered by certain producers, there has been an interest in developing Vera’s remarkable story for a motion picture. Two actors of renown have also inquired as to the film rights.

How can my blog readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Mark, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I have an aunt who was a US army nurse during the Nuremberg trials. She and her husband were good friends with one of the US lawyers. They were able to attend some of the trial. She’s our family historian from that time period and she shared photos and information with me about some of the places they visited before she left Germany, including the emptied prison camps. I’ve been interested in this since then.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Courage in the Face of Evil -
Courage in the Face of Evil - Amazon paperback
Courage in the Face of Evil - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018


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

Connie (KY)  is the winner of Hosea's Heart by Linda Wood Rondeau. (Sorry for the mistake in the author's name when I first posted this.)

Cherie (OH)  is the winner of one of my books 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,,, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

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

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

Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

THE MIRACLE TREE - Davalynn Spencer - One Free Ebook

Welcome, Davalynn. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I like to write about second chances at love and life. God offers us second chances, and I want my stories to encourage readers to believe that it’s never too late to start again. Forgiveness is another theme that pops up in my novels. It’s a close cousin of second chances.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
A Christmas novella is slated for release November 15, Snow Angel.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I wouldn’t mind spending a quiet evening with Kevin Costner. We went to different high schools together. (See what I did there?) He lived not far from where I grew up in California, and I’d be interested in hearing about his journey from the San Joaquin Valley to the movie industry. I’m also curious about which of his movies are his favorites and why. Which stories touched him, and what it was about those stories that drew him in.

What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
I am intrigued by Will Rogers. He was a multi-talented fellow, and I’d love to hang out with him, laugh at his witty humor, hear what he thinks of today’s politicians, and watch him spin a rope. Mark Twain is in the running too.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Our dreams are worth pursuing, regardless of what other people say. My advice is succinct: Never quit; keep writing.

Tell us about the featured book.
Laura Bell and Eli Hawthorne grew up together in the California foothills. Life took them down separate paths filled with trauma and tragedy similar to that endured by the “miracle tree” where they meet again after twelve years. For Laura and Eli, it’s all about second chances in the face of their formidable opponents, fear and distrust. The Miracle Tree is a book of my heart, and at the end of the story readers find out why.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Laura Bell took a fast left onto faded asphalt. The county road stretched long and lean into the foothills, threading a tight S-curve at the top of a small rise. Her steel-blue Z4 convertible hugged the road the same way her black pencil skirt hugged her.

Across from a tight row of mailboxes, she hooked a sharp right onto a private lane, slid to a stop, and waited for the dust to settle. That’s when she saw him—reined in near a scrub oak about twenty feet from the boxes.

Wonderful. A Monday morning audience.

Defensive about her stirring arrival, she set the emergency brake, opened the door, and swiveled her legs around. Planting her stilettos firmly, she stood and tugged her skirt down.

The cowboy’s forearms crossed on his saddle horn, reins hanging loosely from his fingers. With his head tipped slightly forward, a wide-brimmed hat hid his eyes but not the edge of a black eye patch or his scruffy jaw.

His shoulders bounced once as if he’d laughed and held it inside.

She pushed her sunglasses tight against her face and raised her chin. He may not know it yet, but he did not want to laugh at her.

She spiked her way through the weeds toward a realtor’s “For Sale” sign, ignoring him. With one perfectly manicured hand around each side, she yanked.

It wouldn’t give.

She pushed against it with her hip and tried again. Didn’t move.

Frustrated, and feeling as graceful as an elephant on ice, she bent the sign back and forth to loosen the stakes and pulled. Nada.

A leathery squeak, and she glanced at the cowboy stepping from his saddle. Long strides brought him to the sign, and with a hand firmly gripped around each stake, he tugged.


She folded her arms across her pink silk blouse and angled one pointy-toed heel in front of the other, privately pleased that the Lone Ranger couldn’t get the sign out either.

He continued to pull. No lunging or pushing, just a steady upward tug that flexed the muscles in his tanned forearms. She could imagine what his biceps looked like under that rolled-up-sleeve work shirt.

The sign surrendered with a dry wheeze as he pulled it free of the earth. He handed it to her with a sober blue-eyed look. The black patch glared.

Annoyed at her ineptitude, she took the sign and looked away. “Thank you.”

In her hurry to leave, she spun on one foot, snapped a heel, and nearly fell.

He caught her by the arm.

“Thanks,” she mumbled.

“No problem.”

At the humorous note in his voice, her grip on the sign tightened.

She limped to her car, leaned over the driver’s door, and hit the trunk release. The sign fit in the back, and she took off her ruined shoes and tossed them in with it.

Roadside grit gathered between her toes as she walked on the balls of her feet to the door.
The cowboy stood next to his horse, thumbs hooked in his jeans. Something about him seemed familiar, but she couldn’t place it.

Well, you grabbed my attention. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Newsletter sign-up (free novella e-book):

Thank you, Davalynn, for sharing this ebook with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to to read it, and I’m sure they are, too.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.
The Miracle Tree: A Novel - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

IMPERFECT PROMISES - Elizabeth Noyes - One Free Book

Welcome, Elizabeth. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I believe most authors will tell you there’s a little piece, and sometimes a very large piece of themselves, in every character. That’s certainly the case with my characters in the Imperfect Series.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I once accepted a dare to cross a railroad bridge that spanned a river in my hometown. As someone who’s afraid of heights, this proved rather foolhardy on my part. Halfway across, I heard the train whistle, panicked, and jumped from the trestle into the river. To this day, I refuse to walk across a bridge and won’t go near train tracks on foot.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always been a writer harking back to elementary school days. I wrote skits and plays, and even won $5 for an essay. Even in the jobs I’ve held over the years, writing always seemed to become a focal point.

There was a defining moment when I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. I had just finished reading a book by one of my favorite authors and was so disappointed with the ending. The book started with a bang like all his others. He built the tension, had me on the edge of my seat ... and then let me down. The ending collapsed with mighty crash as though he had a deadline to meet and couldn’t spare any more time for a proper ending. I came away thinking, “I can do better than that,” and so the challenge was picked up.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I am an avid reader, usually plowing through 4-5 books each week. I read across lots of genres—romance, suspense, thrillers, dystopian, young adult, science fiction, historical fiction (I especially like a good ‘hysterical’ fiction), westerns, and biographies. I do not care for war stories, tedious espionage, or books riddled with so much technology that it makes my head hurt.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I consider reading a ready escape and writing as therapy. Because so many of my characters carry some of my own personality traits, I can vent my anger, work out problems, and often write my worries away.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
There’s not a single cut and dried method to this madness. First, I consider the gender, age, personality, ethnicity, and the era. Occupation and locale play an important part. I often look up census lists for a particular area, but I also keep a list of names that catch my attention. For me, some names can carry a negative or positive connotation because of past experiences, so depending on their good guy/bad guy status, that can come into play. Name combinations also have to have a certain ring or rhythm. In the end, the name has to fit the character’s personality—I’ve been known to change a character’s name two or three times during the course of a first draft as his personality emerges.

In one of my early books, I gave a character a name, but when I was writing, I kept typing another name. Finally, I changed it to what kept coming. I guess he didn’t like the first one. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
The accomplishment that stands out most in my mind is when I submitted my first book to a contest. It took me three long years to write Imperfect Wings (I was still working full time then), and another year to call an end to the endless edits, tweaking, and polishing. It took a great deal of courage for me to then lay my baby out there for strangers to read and critique. I was thrilled to receive the call that it had been awarded second place in the contest.

That’s great. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would be a lion because I can make decisions, am very goal-oriented and persistent, have strong opinions, and often fall into leadership roles.

What is your favorite food?
Ahhhh, pasta. I love the carbs, though they don’t necessarily love me!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
When I first received a contract for the book I’d written plus the other four (as of then unwritten), I also received a deadline. For a short while, I allowed that deadline to influence my writing, which was not good. Everything I wrote felt forced, stilted. Pleasure became business, and some of the joy dissipated. I talked to my publisher about my concerns. She eased my fears about failing to meet a deadline; gave me great encouragement and support, which took the burden away.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Imperfect Series centers around a ranching family in rural Idaho—the mother, father, and their five adult children. The initial premise was a story about the parents, but halfway through one of the sons began to dominate the story. I set the parents aside and tried to write the interloper out of my head ... and that became the first book in the series. Of course, each of the siblings all began to clamor for their own story at that point, so I set out to do just that. And that’s how the series was born.

Imperfect Promises is the fifth and final installment of the series, and centers around what I consider the most controversial of the siblings. This book includes many of the recurring characters the readers have come to know, and also tons of edgy action, but in this story the main protagonist reveals a vulnerable side not seen before. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and heart-pounding action, but (hopefully) also provides a satisfactory conclusion to the series.

Please give us the first page of the book.
He’d landed in hell—a place of eternal waiting, fiery heat, despair, regret, and weariness.

And bugs. Lots of bugs. Both the flying kind and the creepers. Mosquitoes, ants, sandflies, roaches, no-see-ums, and tarantulas so scary-looking and lightning-fast they made nightmares seem like sweet dreams.

Jonas swiped at the perspiration pooling in the hollows under his eyes. His beard had grown long and thick over the past few months. Now, after parboiling in his own sweat for days on end, he itched like a flea-bitten mongrel and stank to high heaven. No wonder the old timers called August the dog days of summer.

What would the prim and proper Miss Townsend say if she could see him now? Worse, if she could smell him. Knowing Shea, she’d pinch her nose, make a face, and laugh.

A rough expletive erupted over the headset.

“Problem?” Jonas asked.

“Nasty little biters are eating me alive,” John Archer, his friend and long-time partner in these two-man missions growled and swore again.

Jonas couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “You’re getting soft in your old age, Arch.”

“I’m two months older than you, Ghost-man. Tougher, too.


“Our target is way past late.” Archer changed the subject. “We’re losing daylight.”

Jonas shot a quick glance skyward where the fierce sun had passed its zenith. With each tick of the clock their hope of getting out of this accursed land tonight faded. “Patience, grasshopper. Toure will come. If not today, then tomorrow. His ego demands it.”

They’d both learned the art of patience long ago, but Sebastian Toure had proven more unpredictable than anticipated. The man never took the same route, never rode in the same vehicle, and never went anywhere without his baker’s dozen—twelve armed-to-the-teeth bodyguards plus a driver.

Jonas and Archer had spent the last nine weeks tracking Toure. Two long months they’d waited in the sweltering heat, taking notes and making plans until three days ago their patience paid off. Toure’s very randomness had yielded a pattern in his movements. It seemed even the wiliest of men remained creatures of habit.

“What makes you think that narcissist has an ego?” Archer asked.

“Because according to all the dots you connected, celebrating his successes feeds his sense of self-worth. Adulation is oxygen to him.”

“I hope I connected those dots the right way.”

“I hope so, too.”

Oh, I want to know what happens next. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I adore hearing from my readers and will readily respond. I can be reached online:

Amazon Author Page

Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing this new book with my blog readers and me. When my copy arrives, it will go to the top of my to-be-read pile.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Imperfect Promises (Volume 5)  - Paperback
Imperfect Promises (Imperfect Series Book 5) - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 20, 2018

THE BIGGEST WIN - Joshua Cooley - One Free Book

Welcome, Joshua. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and I’ve been living in Durham, North Carolina, for the last three years. I graduated from Liberty University with a journalism degree, and I’ve been a sportswriter for more than twenty years. Since 2007, I have been in fulltime vocational ministry, and I’m currently the children’s minister at Chapel Hill Bible Church. I once owned a Mustang GT. Now I own a gold minivan. I also once had hair. Honest.

Tell us about your family.
God has blessed me with an amazing family. I have a beautiful wife, Kelly, and four wonderful daughters ages 6-12. Kelly is my best friend. I met her on her very first day at The Gazette, a former newspaper in Maryland, where I was the assistant sports editor. On the day we met, she was looking for plastic utensils in the staff lunch room, she asked me for help, and, well, the rest is history. We’re about to celebrate our 15th anniversary.

Congratulations. Have you written other nonfiction books?
Yes, The Biggest Win is the 10th book that I’ve either written, co-authored, or contributed to in some way. All my published books have been non-fiction. Earlier this year, I had the privilege to co-author Believe It, The New York Times bestselling memoir of Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles. Here are some of my other books:

The One Year Devotions with Jesus
Heroes of the Bible Devotional
The One Year Sports Devotions for Kids
The Hope of Easter
Playing with Purpose: Inside the Lives and Faith of the Major Leagues’ Top Players

I did once dip my toes into the world of fiction with a fascinating, fully illustrated story called The Flying Turtle ... in sixth grade. Alas, like many great masterpieces, it has yet to receive any critical acclaim during the author’s lifetime.

Do you have any other books in the works right now?
Yes, I’m currently working on another youth devotional. I love getting the chance to teach gospel truth to the next generation. As a children’s minister, the theme verse of our church’s children’s ministry is Psalm 78:4: “Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” This is a verse that often motivates me in my writing career, as well.

What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
Many moons ago, I used to collect baseball cards. Now those cards mainly just collect dust (and hopefully a little return on the investment). I love writing, reading, watching sports, watching movies (especially classics), and taking trips with my family.

Why did you write the featured book?
So often, sports (especially competitive sports) can become a very narcissistic pursuit–all about winning, competition, personal statistics, scholarships, rivalries, etc. But sports can accomplish a far greater purpose in our lives. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This includes sports! We should compete athletically and enjoy sports for the glory of God. I wrote The Biggest Win to help all athletes and fans–regardless of age, gender or sport–learn how to do that.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I want every reader to understand that they can use sports to grow in their faith, glorify God, and positively influence others around them.

This book features six players from the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos. What led you to feature these specific players? Why didn’t you feature other athletes from other sports?
I first became connected with these players in the spring of 2017 through a story I did on most of them for Bible Study Magazine. The depth of their faith, their love and knowledge of Scripture, and their passionate pursuit of Christian community together really impressed me. Before long, I started thinking about a book that would feature the voices of Christian professional athletes who could speak about topics that any athlete could relate to. That was the origin of The Biggest Win.
Why only football players in this book?
Well, for one, professional athletes typically are not very accessible. Oftentimes, a writer like myself has to go through a team’s media relations department or a player’s agent to do interviews. But I had direct access to all six of these players, which was a huge blessing, because I had already spoken to them for the magazine story. Because of a fairly tight deadline, I chose to focus exclusively on these six athletes rather than spending lots of time pursuing interviews with athletes from other sports. I believe the testimonies and experiences shared by the six players from the 2017 Eagles are representative of what all athletes undergo at some level. That’s because we didn’t discuss much about NFL life, per se, but rather what it means to live as an athlete trying to glorify God, regardless of how much money you make or what level you play at. In that regard, I think they provide a lot of great thoughts and wonderful examples that athletes and fans of any sport can benefit from.

What are some of the topics you discuss in the book?
I tried to discuss all the major topics that any Christian athlete will face when playing sports. In fact, I ran my chapter/topical list by a couple of the Eagles’ players and asked them how it looked and if I was missing anything. They gave it their thumbs-up. Here’s a sampling of some of the chapter topics:
Being motivated by God’s glory, not your own.
Finding your identity in Christ, not your athletic status.
Training in godliness.
How (religious) practice doesn’t make perfect.
Handling winning, losing, and life’s uncertainties.
Using sports to fulfill the Great Commission.
Seeking final victory in Christ.
And much more!

Sounds very interesting. I’m looking forward to receiving my copy. Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book?
This book can be used as a Bible study resource or a devotional for sports teams, etc. I purposefully put lots of great Scripture references throughout, and there are questions for reflection at the end of each chapter.

Also, you might only see a football on the cover, read the subtitle “Pro Football Players Tackle Faith,”
see that the foreword is written by six football players from the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles team and think to yourself, “Huh, I wonder if this is only a book for football players or fans.” No, it’s not! Don’t let those football-centric themes fool you! As I’ve mentioned, I had unique access to six NFL teammates who could speak to the themes of what I wanted to discuss the book, so I wanted to capitalize on that.

Another thing I’d like to mention is the timeline of the book. I began writing in September 2017. When I began interviewing them for the book in August, the 2017 season hadn’t even officially started. No one had any idea how good the Eagles were going to be. As it turned out, they won the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy with a season for the ages, thanks in part to a backup quarterback who became Super Bowl MVP. Talk about a big win! But that’s not The Biggest Win. To find out what The Biggest Win is, you’ll have to read the book!

Please give us the first page or two from the book.
Aaron Rodgers’ experience at the 2005 National Football League draft was unforgettable. Before you could say “Curly Lambeau,” the night had already achieved legendary status.

The strong-armed University of California junior was a surefire NFL prospect and possible number-one pick, held that year by the San Francisco 49ers. On draft night, however, the 49ers chose Utah quarterback Alex Smith.

No biggie. Certainly one of the next few teams would snatch up Rodgers. But then, Miami didn’t pick Rodgers at number two; Cleveland, Chicago, and Tampa Bay also passed on him. Four hours later, the Green Bay Packers finally selected the shell-shocked twenty-one-year-old with the twenty-fourth pick.

Of course, to date Rodgers has won a Super Bowl, two MVP awards, and been named to six Pro Bowls. Most teams searching for a future Hall of Famer’s heir apparent (as Green Bay was at the time for Brett Favre) can only dream of stumbling upon someone like Rodgers. Since that fateful night, the national media has hashed and rehashed Rodgers’s epic slide down the draft board. But consider the Packers’ perspective: Through absolutely no effort of their own, they received a stunning, unexpected blessing.

This book was kind of like that for me.

On March 31, 2017, I received an email at 5:37 pm. It was a normal Friday night; our family was probably sitting down to dinner when it arrived. The subject line read: “Looking for a freelance writer.”

Bible Study Magazine, a publication I had never written for before, was outsourcing a November 2017 cover story about a group of Philadelphia Eagles players who were uncommonly devoted to seeking God’s Word together. Intrigued by the idea, I suppressed my natural NFC East allegiance (full disclosure: lifelong Redskins fan here) and took the gig.

The article focused on Trey Burton, Zach Ertz, Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos, Jordan Matthews (who was traded to the Buffalo Bills in August 2017 before the article ran), and Carson Wentz. These guys weren’t perfect, nor did they claim to be. But I was immediately struck by their unquenchable hunger for Scripture and their commitment to genuine Christian discipleship, accountability, and obedience to Great Commission living. Rarely, if ever, have I spoken to a group of professional athletes so committed to pursuing biblical truth together.

Maragos, the oldest of the group and a veteran of multiple NFL teams, said he’d never seen anything like it during his career. Best-selling author Randy Alcorn, who mentors some of the players, told me he was “very impressed with the unusual level of biblical and theological interest in this group.”

Soon, I realized there was a much larger story to tell. Since creation, God’s marvelous plan of redemption has been moving toward ultimate fulfillment. And amazingly, he allows athletic competition—enjoyed by billions of humans worldwide—to be one of many catalysts for spiritual growth. This book is a humble effort to examine this fascinating topic.

What about you? Regardless of your athletic skill level, are you ready to live out your faith and glorify God? And if so, how can you achieve this worthy goal?

It’s your job to answer the first question. This book, Lord willing, can help you with the second.

The divinely inspired words of 1 Corinthians 10:31—“whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”—reveal that even something as fleeting as athletic competition falls under the sovereign lordship of our heavenly King. We owe him our heart’s allegiance at home, school, work, church . . . and yes, in sports. That’s what this book is about: pursuing God’s glory as we compete, recognizing the God-given lessons that athletics provides, and becoming more like Christ through the triumphs and challenges that sports presents.

Need more evidence that your faith and athletic life should be integrated? Consider the Bible’s numerous sports metaphors. The apostle Paul wrote about athletic training (1 Corinthians 9:25, 27; 1 Timothy 4:8), receiving a victor’s laurel (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 2:5, 4:8), boxing (1 Corinthians 9:26, 2 Timothy 4:7), and foot races (1 Corinthians 9:24, 26; Philippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:7). Jeremiah 12:5 and Hebrews 12:1 also feature running imagery. The point is this: You most certainly can live out your faith in sports, and you absolutely can glorify God while competing.

As we proceed, our journey will need a personal touch—a human element to understand how all this plays out. That’s where the dedicated Christians on the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles team come in. As athletes who love Jesus passionately and compete at the highest level in front of millions of people, their voices are prominent in this book. Their stories, insights, triumphs, and failures provide helpful perspective along our course.

Their amazing 2017 season—culminating in a 41–33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, providing the eighty-five-year-old franchise with its first-ever Super Bowl title—was a wonderful blessing from the Lord. This historic championship afforded them a much bigger platform, to do what every great Christian athlete does: deflect glory toward their Creator.

We will draw upon the experiential wisdom of these elite players, but we won’t idolize them. They are remarkable athletes with outsized salaries and fame that most of us will never know. But they are no better or worse than anyone else—a fact they happily admit. They are some of the most humble, likable professional athletes I’ve ever encountered (even if they are Redskins rivals). They are sinners saved by grace, just like all believers.

So avoid the “us vs. them” mentality. These players are no different in the heart issues that God cares about. As 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” God isn’t impressed by financial statements, Twitter followers, or jersey sales. He desires our hearts. He expects our worship. He demands our allegiance.

Our goal has eternity in mind: exploring how all believers—male or female, young or old—can grow in their faith by using sports to glorify the Lord. This is my prayer for you. While six NFL athletes are central characters, I hope you’ll see that the book’s true Protagonist is “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), in order that “your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5).

As God’s image-bearers, we are to reflect his glory in all our endeavors. To do this well, we must constantly look to the Spirit-inspired Word of God. The loftiest human paradigms cannot replace the timeless truths found in the Bible. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

The Lord God Almighty has created all things for his glory, including you and your athletic talents. He is using hungry, committed Christians in the NFL to accomplish his purposes through sports. By his grace, he can use you, too.

The preseason has ended. It’s game time. Are you ready to glorify God?

Awesome!! Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
Twitter: @JoshuaCooley9

Thank you, Josh, for sharing this book with me and my blog readers. I’m sure they’re as eager to read it as I am.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith - Paperback
The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith - 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: