Thursday, August 22, 2019

SHAME OFF YOU - Denise Pass - A Special Rafflecopter Giveaway and One Free Book on This Blog

Bio: Denise Pass, author of Shame Off You, is an award-winning CCM recording artist and singer-songwriter, accomplished writer/blogger, speaker, and worship leader at women’s conferences as well as a worship leader on staff at her home church. After a crushing discovery of her former husband’s hidden life as a repetitive sex offender, and surviving a painful divorce, she now shares an inspirational message through her ministry, Seeing Deep Ministries, about seeing the deeper truth in God’s word when life hurts. Denise also founded and directed a home educational co-op for 12 years and engaged in many educational pursuits, including forming and directing a classical children’s choir. A graduate from the University of Maryland, Denise now resides in Virginia, with her “Kinsman Redeemer” husband and five children.

Welcome, Denise. Introduce us to your book, please.
Shame is an assault on the core of who we are. It assassinates our character, minimizes our worth, and dashes our hope. Like Adam and Eve, we often hide shame, but hiding never heals it. Left unattended, shame can develop into a crippling reality that paralyzes us. Like an infectious disease, shame impacts everyone . . . but not all shame is bad.

Shame can either be an oppressive and powerful tool of worldly condemnation or a source of conviction that God uses to bring his people back to himself. Having the discernment to know the difference and recognize shame in its many forms can change the course of one’s life.

In a transparently honest style, Denise Pass shares of her experience dealing with shame after learning that her former husband was a sexual offender. Having lived through the aftermath, she leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself that God is bigger than your pain, shame, mistakes, and limitations.

Shame Off You (available from Abingdon Press) shares how freedom can be found in choosing to break the cycle of shame by learning from the past, developing healthy thinking patterns, silencing lies, and overcoming the traps of vanity and other people’s opinions.

Can you start us off by sharing a little bit of your own story?
I did not realize just how significant of an impact shame had on my life until I started writing this book. I don’t think I recognized all I was experiencing in my life as shame. Shame affected me in profound ways—from worrying to the point of obsession about what others thought of me to shame from my past, present and in the future. Shame was pervasively impacting all of life: how I related to others, processed my perception of myself and responded in social situations. Shame was snuffing out my hope and life, and it felt like I had no way out.

Then in 2007, God revealed to me my (then) husband was a sex offender and some of our children were his victims. This revelation crushed us, and the ensuing shame was crippling. I had waited for marriage and married a Christian man. We were that homeschool family. It did not seem possible. But it was. Through that devastating season, my children and I drew nearer to God, reading the Bible through and clinging to His precious promises. I continued to home educate, and we put one foot in front of the other. Through a five-year long court battle. Through tragic new revelations. Through sorrow up on sorrow and financial woes. God was our God through all of it and the lessons we learned as shame lost its grip on our souls were priceless.

Now, my four oldest are all in college and walking with God, and my youngest son who I adopted from Russia is still home educated by the grace of God. And me? God brought a precious man into my life who I call my Kinsman Redeemer. There’s more about him (my “Bo”—short for Boaz) in the book.

At its root, what is shame, and why is it so detrimental to us?
There are many roots underlying what we call shame.  Shame is the broad term used, but there are so many things interwoven in our culture that we accept as “normal.” Shame is an accusation on our soul that says we are not enough. News flash—we are not enough—but God is. He is our righteousness and removes all of our sin and shame. Shame is peer pressure and the fear of man—we would not have shame if we did not have an audience. Shame is a label or box that imprisons our souls and steals our joy. Shame is detrimental because it gives us a false identity and keeps us from living the abundant life Jesus promises, distracting us from the mission we have been called to.

What are some of the most common underlying sources of shame? Is shame always caused by a sin a person commits him/herself?
Shame is a head game that we do to ourselves most of the time, but there is also plenty of social shaming that goes on—shunning and people condemning one another. While sin invites shame into our lives as a natural consequence, shame is prevalent within our culture. We come by it naturally and so we don’t question it. Expectations cause shame to rise when we don’t meet them. Comparison. Pride. These are huge contributors to the game of shame. The presence of shame in our lives is ultimately a spiritual matter. We feel the truth behind the statement that we are not enough. We accept this condemnation, but it can become our vindication. We are not enough. That’s ok, because Christ is our Righteousness. The enemy of our souls is always accusing us, but our Savior is always interceding for us. 

Shame typically surrounds a situation the public is aware of, at least in the mind of the person walking through it. How can the church community be more supportive of a member suffering with shame?
Great question. We would not have shame if we did not have an audience. It is this fear of man and focus on self that makes us feel so very exposed as we seek acceptance and to snuff out rejection. In my situation, I felt like the church did not know how to handle sex abuse situations, so they didn’t. I was told to be silent. The shame culture thrives in silence. However, being able to talk about it in a God-honoring way and having support instead of isolation would take the sting out of shame and turn it on its head. When we protect the violator and silence the victims, we are propagating and promoting shame.

In what ways do we intentionally or unintentionally heap shame on others?
We live in a society of labels. People try to define one another by false identities based on their performance—good or bad, or their status in this life. When we move away from our identity being in Christ, we find that our identity falls short. Shame was introduced to man in the garden of Eden. We left perfection and chose an insecure, shame-filled culture, instead. Discontent with our lot, comparison and the fear or man have robbed us confidence and plagued us with shame in all of life. Shame is also used as a tool of power by people who seek to subject others, shaming them into submission. And again, shame is in our culture, so it is fairly invisible. We just accept it as part of life, which can cause us to unintentionally continue in the shame culture.

How is Shame Off You set up and designed to be used?
Shame Off You is the story of a girl who shrunk her shame. It is a guide for recognizing the shame all around us and how to rid ourselves of shame biblically. There is a biblical lens of Truth, Humility and Grace that we view shame through, as well as Cycles of Shame and Redemption, a Shame Spectrum and Shame Quiz so we can evaluate how shame is impacting our lives. There is also a resource guide in the back of the book that covers 40 different common shames we might encounter along with Scriptures to combat that shame.

Shame Off You systematically covers everything from feeling shunned and rejected, to being shy, to worrying about what others thought or said about me to traumatic shame that paralyzes us.

What are the steps to overcoming shame?
Shame distracts us from the mission of God and keeps us from living on mission for Christ. It causes us to focus on self and limits our worth. It hurts our relationship with God and others and causes us to live defeated, discouraged lives. It has to be dealt with. Recognizing shame’s presence is necessary to be able to deal with it effectively.

From recognition, we need to discern whether we are dealing with condemnation or conviction. Condemnation is based on works whereas Conviction is based on relationship. Once we know what we are dealing with, we need to consult God’s word and use a biblical filter to evaluate our shame and then let it go. We defeat shame not by mere words. And hiding shame does not heal it. We have to face shame and deal with it biblically to be set free. We don’t get rid of shame because it humbles us—but because it prevents us from living the abundant life Christ promises, reaching those around us.


Doubleclick this link to see Denise's Giveaway.


Thank you, Denice, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I have a relative who needs this book.



Readers, here are links to the book.
Shame Off You - Christianbook.com
Shame Off You: From Hiding to Healing - Amazon Paperback
Shame Off You: From Hiding to Healing - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

FOR TIME AND ETERNITY - Rosanne Croft - One Free Book


Welcome back, Rosanne. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I have many ideas for books and I hope I have time to write them. Writing’s not easy for me, but it’s my passion. I’ve prayed about what to write first, and my next project is a romantic adventure set in Africa.

But I won’t forget the Believe in Love characters who need their stories concluded, and I plan to write at least one more book in that series. My readership for comparative religion is a specific niche, and very loyal, which I thank them for!

Tell us a little about your family.
I live with my husband, Ray, and a small dog in Western Colorado. My mother was from this area, and it feels good to live near “my people” in the Rockies, and where I have distinct memories. Our 25 year-old daughter is in Oregon, as well as our son and his family. We also have a son and his wife and children in Wyoming. We’re able to see the Wyomingites often.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I have little time to read when I’m in the final process of writing a book. But I’m on a break now, and finally finished Eric Metaxas’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography. I’m also drawn to reading Russian masters again after a 40 year break . . . because I want to see what my mind thinks about them now. I just started Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. And I love that wonderful Alyosha all over again.

What are you working on right now?
I enjoy writing romance, and I’m working on a novel about medical missionaries in Tanzania, West Africa. It will be fun to develop this book. I received constructive critiques from my group, so I’m correcting, rewriting, honing, and thinking about the new characters. It’s a process that will take a while.

What outside interests do you have?
I like to tool around the neighborhood on my old-fashioned yellow bicycle. I also enjoy a hike or walk where I can get close to nature. I can and freeze food, and experiment with recipes. (I seem to have a collection of them that grows all the time.) And I like to meet weekly with church friends and share our lives. It’s such an encouragement.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The Utah/Italy setting for the Believe in Love series chose itself because of the comparative religions/culture theme. Italy became a counterpoint for Utah culture. The West African setting in my current novel was chosen because I always wanted to go there from reading Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa. My way of getting there is through my imagination and research.

I love that book. If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say C. S. Lewis. I have a deep gratitude for the themes and emotions in his Narnia books that revealed the reality of Jesus to me, with his love, his mystery, his great authority. An evening with C. S. Lewis would be worth pure gold to me. And someday soon, in heaven, I really will get to talk to him.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
What hard work it is . . . how long it takes to get the right words written . . . and how rewarding it is, not for money, but because I am able to share my innermost thoughts with many people who might be encouraged or entertained by my story.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Right now, he’s teaching me about prayer and spiritual warfare. When I set out to write books about religion, I didn’t realize how much I’d “stir the pot” in the spiritual realm. I read and apply Ephesians 6:10-18 as often as I can. My Lord Jesus is gracious to show me to pray longer, harder, and with more faith than ever before. Prayer DOES change things.

That is so true. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
  • Keep working hard. It takes years to hone the craft. Often, I walk away for a week, and come back to a specific problem in the manuscript and am able to solve it with God’s help. Writing takes thinking, and thinking takes time.
  • Soften your ego to be able to take constructive criticism from a regularly meeting (or online) critique group.
  • Trust God as you write and pray before you begin. Praise Him when things are going well, and never give up when they’re not. Just put it aside for a time. Maybe you can resurrect it. Write to glorify the Lord, and don’t obsess about sales. 
Tell us about the featured book.
Because this series is simple and easily read, it’s classified Young Adult, but I’ve had good comments from 12-year-old girls and 83-year-old men. I recommend reading the whole series in order. The featured book is number three in the Believe in Love series, entitled For Time and Eternity. The story is about a born-again Christian, Alex Campanaro, who moves to Utah and falls in love with a beautiful Latter-day Saint, Jennalee. Alex is an Italian-American and has family in Italy, so the setting in the second and part of the third book is Italy.

Here’s the back cover blurb:
The rich world of silk ties and luxury cars crumbles when Alex Campanaro finds himself in jail as a kidnapping victim of the Italian mafia. He determines to escape and take his cellmate with him. When a deadly earthquake strikes and frees them, a wounded Alex is able to get his friend to town for help. But there are aftershocks. At the end of his own strength, Alex must put his trust in an all-powerful God to survive.

Will he ever see Jennalee again?

Jennalee Young learns to rely on the biblical Jesus she’s grown to love when she breaks free from her LDS mission in Rome. Risking the disapproval of her parents and Church authorities, she resolves to find Alex, the Christ-follower she’s chosen to spend the rest of her life with. When she sees his bloody face in a televised report from the epicenter of an earthquake a hundred miles away, Jennalee and her brother embark on a treacherous ride to the epicenter to find him.

Will they be too late?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Forever Marked
Massimo’s hollow breathing terrified Alex. Pneumonia ravished his cellmate’s lung. He needed antibiotics! The only answer was to escape their prison. In desperation, he whittled at the jail door’s frame with a brittle knife blade he’d found in the gravel.

Their Camorra mafia captors delivered food and water via a boy named Fuglio. Glancing at the nearly empty bucket, Alex hoped the boy would show up with more water. And food. His pants were loose around his waist. They’d taken his belt and given him a piece of string to hold them up.

With the last cup of water, he bathed Massimo’s feverish head, using the blindfold he’d worn during his capture. How long ago was it? Ten days, the last two with Massimo.

He shuddered, remembering the road block and how he’d scrambled out of the Maserati before the crash flattened it. Such a beautiful car. If only he hadn’t agreed to meet the Putifaros in Abruzzo that day, the gorgeous car would now be safely parked at his uncle’s winery near Rome.

Alex remembered guns pointed at him, how they’d ordered him to drop his wallet on the ground. The mafia men came up behind him, poked guns into his back, and tied a blindfold tight around his eyes. Hours later, after a ride in the back of a van, they pushed him into a dank jail cell where he landed face-down on the gravel, tearing the knees of his thin suit pants.

The mafia probably wanted a ransom, but despite his fancy car, Uncle Lucio owed more money than he had. Already a week in solitary, Alex was sure his uncle hadn’t come up with the money. That’s why he’d talked his captors into allowing him to care for Massimo. They’d escape together.

In his old cell, he explored a dark tunnel, and discovered a cache of forgotten wine. With one taste, he concluded it came from the vineyards around the village of Taurasi, in Campania. Knowing this, he pinpointed their position to a cell in one of the ancient Lombard castles that towered above the valleys of the region. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to recall the map of Campania, so he’d know which direction to carry Massimo once they got out.

Possessing top sommelier skills was one thing, but now he wished he had the breakout ingenuity of Houdini. Massimo’s cell door just wasn’t easy to spring open. So, Alex continued to chisel off splinters of wood near the hinges of the half-rotted door. He vowed to use his waning strength to break free and find help.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
If you’re curious about my books, I’m at https://www.rosannecroft.com. I have an Author page on Amazon, and my books are sold there in both Kindle and Paperback. I will gladly send you a signed copy if you email me at rosannecroft@gmail.com to get on my mailing list. Thank you, Lena, for featuring me on your blog!

Rosanne, it’s my great pleasure to host you.

Readers, here are links to the book.
For Time And Eternity (Believe In Love) - Paperbck
For Time And Eternity (Believe In Love Book 3) - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

SENT RISING - Erin Lorence - One Free Book

Welcome back, Erin. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I have the same question...what next? Right now, I’m at a crossroads in life—I’m about to pursue a Masters in Teaching, I’m a busy wife and mom, and I still love writing young adult fiction. Timewise, how am I going to make all these important pieces fit, especially when I start teaching?

I’m staring “change in the face.” I’m relying on God to show me how to use my time in a way that pleases Him.

Tell us a little about your family.
I grew up in a supportive Christian family, whom I’ve stayed super close. I met Brian, my best friend/husband, 20 years ago at Washington State University (WSU). We currently live in Bonney Lake, WA, with our two daughters, Savannah, age 11, and Brooke, age 8. We value family time, and until recently we were blessed by getting to live minutes from both sides of our family.

Tragedy struck not long ago when my mom died after a three-and-a-half-year battle with a super rare and aggressive lymphoma. We miss her every day but are comforted by the fact that she’s in Heaven as well as our new addition to our family—our beagle, Charlie. He’s such a funny, cheerful guy.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I read less! Once I pick up a book, I have a problem putting it down, so I have to be careful not to start a novel when I have a deadline or a personal writing goal I want to meet.

What are you working on right now?
My next young adult Christian fiction takes places off the Oregon coast. A rebellious teen must overcome her own ocean phobia, as well as her own anger at her deadbeat dad.

What outside interests do you have?
Teaching. Years ago, my husband and I joined a small, start-up church, and I got thrust into kids’ ministry...as in I be in charge of children’s ministry, otherwise our church wouldn’t have any program for the kids. As a nurse, I’d always enjoyed mentoring nursing students, but I discovered my passion for teaching kids, and later when my husband and I began our church’s youth group, working with teens.

My love for teaching young people Biblical truths definitely influenced my writing the Dove Strong Trilogy. I want all kids to understand how awesome it is to have a relationship with Him!

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Dove Strong takes place in the Oregonian, pine-forest landscape I visit each summer. I decided on this setting before I chose my characters’ names or had hammered out the plot. My second book, Fanatic Surviving, detours to an opposite setting—the treeless Chihuahuan Desert, in order to test Dove’s survival skills. Sent Rising ties up all loose ends, while letting Dove experience ocean for the first time.

Throughout the trilogy, Dove repeatedly strikes out with a certain journey in mind...but God has other plans, and she ends up in unexpected places...like a rooftop in Portland or a Californian cave. Yet don’t we experience similar surprises in real life? We have tunnel vision about our own plans for the week, and sometimes God has other plans for us. When that happens, do we stay calm and accept his direction, or do we try to grab the steering wheel back from Him?

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I choose Jesus! I can’t imagine what I’d say to Him...but I’m guessing if I came at Him with a list of questions and an agenda, He’d turn the conversation to whatever it is that I really need to hear.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
Honestly...nothing. Having foreknowledge of the bumps in the road and long hours would have discouraged me, and then I might have thrown in the towel before I began. Who knows?

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Have patience in uncertainty. Don’t stop praying, even if you feel He’s not listening. He is. His answer could be “not quite yet.”

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
#1:  Discover the rules to writing your genre if you want to be published.
#2:  Write the story for yourself and not for what you think others want...but be okay with future changes to your “masterpiece” once editors become involved.
#3:  Finish it!

Tell us about the featured book.
Here is the blurb for Sent Rising: No more hiding. This has become Dove Strong’s motto since she accepted her role as a Sent Christian to live among nonbelievers for a year. But then her worst nightmare comes true. Her family disappears from their secluded tree home, and they’re not the only Christians in the nation who’ve been snatched. All clues about the numerous disappearances point to nonbelievers... and the remaining believers are not happy. While Dove and her cousin, Trinity, hunt for the missing Christians, Dove stumbles upon a secret plan to force the Reclaim. Already, vengeful Christians gather in local camps to train for battle, and Dove’s brother is one of the bloodthirsty. Will Dove have the strength to rise up, put a stop to this war, and save her family before a red stain covers the nation? 

Please give us the first page of the book.
My fistful of carrots flopped onto the pasture’s dead grass. I paused with the spear’s red-stained tip two paces from my heart.

A couple dozen pointed poles and pronged branches stuck out horizontally from the giant juniper bush at the edge of the forest, positioned to impale the unlucky trespasser who stumbled too close. While I’d harvested the summer’s early vegetables from Wolfe’s backyard, my brother had been busy beefing up Micah Brae’s home security.

I scratched the red wooden point with my fingernail. Not blood. Beet juice...from our garden patch.

Gilead, this paranoia of yours is stupid. We’re here to live peaceably with these people. Not skewer them.”

His humming dropped off, though he continued to secure another spear. “Don’t stand there hollering in the open, Dove. You’ll attract the enemy. On second thought, keep hollering. I wouldn’t mind trying out his new defensive boundary while it’s still light.”

Trinity paused in the act of hanging what appeared be a glass wind chime above Micah’s prickly doorway. She jingled it at my lifted brow. “Burglar alarm. To wake Micah if anyone tries to sneak in while he’s sleeping. Plus, it’s the color of smoke.”

“And the color of your eyes. Subtle.” I snorted. Trinity had strewn reminders of herself everywhere in our neighbor’s cramped, juniper-bush dwelling—from a corn silk pillow the exact hue of her hair to duplicates of her tattoos scratched in the forest floor. She’d planted these subliminal messages in hopes that he would stop being blind to the fact that he liked her in the same way that she liked him.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://www.erinlorence.com . They can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you, Erin, for sharing the final book in this series with my blog readers.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Sent Rising (Dove Strong) - Paperback
Sent Rising (Dove Strong) - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 18, 2019

WINNER!

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

Judy (MS) is the winner of She Walks in Love (and Book 1 in the series if you don't have it) by MariLu Tyndall.

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

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

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


If you won an ebook or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.
Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

STANDING TOGETHER - Carlos R Evans and Rosemarie Evans - One Free Book


Sustaining a military marriage is hard work, especially when deployments keep a family separated for prolonged periods of time. The strain is intensified when the serving spouse is injured in the field. According to the PTSD Foundation of America, an estimated two out of three marriages fail for troops suffering from combat trauma. Carlos R. Evans and Rosemarie Evans are well aware of the difficulties, having experienced them personally. In Standing Together: The Inspirational Story of a Wounded Warrior and Enduring Love (Kregel Publications), they share their inspirational story of facing severe injury, rehabilitation, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Theirs is a true story of hope and courage in the face of astonishing challenges.
Carlos, first of all, thank you for your service to our country. Can you share a little bit about what led you to enlist and the eight years you served in the US Marine Corps?
Many of my family members served in Vietnam, Korea, and Operation Desert Storm. After 9/11, I felt deeply in my heart that I had to do my part by serving my country, but I also wanted to continue to share the gospel. I was in Bible college at the time and wanted to join as a chaplain. In 2004, I was watching the news and saw Marines in Iraq. I admired what they were doing, and it was in that moment I felt a strong conviction to serve. I went to the recruiting center in Puerto Rico and joined the Marine Corps. That is a decision I will never regret, and I would do it all over again.

During my first four years of service, I did three combat deployments in Iraq. When I re-enlisted, I deployed to Afghanistan. It was during that deployment that I was severely injured. We saw two years of rehabilitation in the hospital, then I was medically retired.

You were on your fourth deployment, this time to Afghanistan, when an incident changed life as you knew it. What happened on May 16, 2010?
I was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps, leading a mission in Helmand Province, when we were getting ready to go back to our operation center. I walked about eight steps when I heard an explosion. I had stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). I felt pain in my body unlike anything I had ever felt or experienced before. My Marines and Navy Corpsman kept me alive. I lost so much blood that my medic had to put his thumb in my femoral artery to keep me alive. They asked me for my wife and daughters’ names and told me they were waiting for me back home. I was flown via medevac to the hospital in Afghanistan and then to Germany. From Germany, I was transferred to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington, DC.

As a result of my injuries, I lost both of my legs above the knee and part of my left arm. I don’t remember what happened during those first few days because I was intubated and sedated.

Back home in Puerto Rico, Rosemarie and my mother received visits from Marines bringing updates about my situation. The same night I arrived at Bethesda, my wife and parents got to the hospital and waited to take care of me. To this day, I continue to meet people that took care of me in Germany and Afghanistan.

That day has become the best day of my life, and today we celebrate it as our “Alive Day.”

Were deployments a source of fear in any way? Did you think about how something might happen to you during a deployment?
During that deployment and the three previous ones, I don’t think I ever considered that anything was going to happen to me. I personally knew others who had died and some who were badly wounded, but as a Christian, I figured God was with me and would protect me from every kind of harm. On my various furloughs, I said to friends and family members, “I’m not going to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. God has a bigger purpose for my life.”

But I also remember the day when all my family members and friends came to say goodbye. I made jokes such as, “Something is going to happen to me because this is the first time in all my deploys that everyone came here to celebrate.” Also, before deployment, I forced my wife to watch the movie Taking Chances. In the movie, Kevin Bacon is an officer that went to a house and notified the family member about their loss. I told Rosemarie that if something happened to me in Afghanistan, the Marines would come to the front door to let her know I died in combat.

Rosemarie, you write about a call that you received on May 15 from Carlos that left you unsettled and worried. Can you tell us more about that day and the days that followed? How long did you have to live in uncertainty about Carlos’ condition?
That Saturday night I was at my uncle’s wedding. On my way back home, I received Carlos’s call. I was happy to hear from him because he couldn’t call often. But when I answered the phone, I noticed something wasn’t right. Carlos was responding flat and sometimes he was quiet. He told me, “Things here are not the same as in Iraq. You know that I love you, and I love my daughters.”

When he said those words, I knew he was worried and that they were in some danger. We lost phone connection that night, and I didn’t have the chance to speak to him again. Sunday passed, and I didn’t hear from him. On Monday afternoon, I received a call from the Marine Corps to let me know they would meet me at Carlos’ mother’s house. That’s when they told me Carlos was injured, but they didn’t have all the details. From that Monday until Friday, I waited each day for them to come to the house to deliver updated information about his condition.

You were an experienced nurse and had training in trauma life support, but were you truly prepared to care for Carlos when he arrived home? How did you manage taking care of Carlos and your two young daughters?
As a nurse, I had the knowledge of what should I expect to see when I met Carlos at the hospital. An intubated patient connected to a mechanical ventilator with drainages and monitors. However, at that point I had a different role. I was the wife of an injured husband. Being a nurse helped me understand procedures and prognosis, but I felt the same uncertainty, desperation, sadness, and helplessness any other family member feels when a loved one is going through a difficult time. I wasn’t completely prepared because it was an unexpected situation. Before leaving to go to Afghanistan, Carlos and I talked about what should I expect if I saw the Marines at the front door (that he had died in combat), but we never talked about him coming back home seriously injured. We didn’t expect that and weren’t aware of how many service members were injured in the war. When I stepped into Bethesda Hospital, it was eye opening to see how many wounded service members came back and how many families were affected.

When I first went to Bethesda, I traveled without my daughters in order to focus on my husband. Our daughters were four years old and five months old at the time. My mom took care of them in Puerto Rico at first, but as the weeks passed by, I was desperate to see my daughters. I felt conflicted between my two roles as a wife and a mom. I asked two friends in North Carolina (where we were stationed) to take care of my daughters there. That way they could bring my daughters to the hospital, or I could travel from Washington, D.C. to North Carolina to see them. When the doctor told me the recovery process could take two years, we started to make plans for how we could all be together. There were four women who were the key to finding us a place to stay and be able to travel daily to the hospital for treatments. We had to start early, at 5:30 in the morning, to have our older daughter ready for school, the younger for childcare, and Carlos ready for treatments. We started new routines, but we also had family members who stayed with us and helped. However, we wanted to learn how to do it as a family of four. It was hard sometimes, but God helped us through.

How was your faith tested in the months that followed?
My faith was tested by trying to understand where God was in the middle of my pain. Where was God when I stepped on the IED? I was continuously asking God, “Why me?” Sometimes people would tell me that maybe God was punishing me. Others would pray with me for a miracle—that my legs or my left hand would grow. Sometimes I prayed I could forget May 17, 2010. Seeing my wife and the people I love suffering, and not being able to do anything about it, tested my faith.

Job 23:10 (NIV) says, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Many marriages have crumbled under the weight of trials less life-altering than what the two of you went through, however, you’ve come out the other side stronger. Can you share some of the decisions you made along the way to fight for your marriage?
There were many difficult decisions made during that period. First, we needed to prioritize roles. There were times a decision left me feeling unsatisfied, but we had to focus on what was needed in the moment. We always tried to make decisions together. It didn’t matter that Carlos was injured, we consulted each other on every decision. Carlos was injured, but he was still the head of the family. We encouraged each other. When Carlos felt ready to give up, I encouraged him. When I was feeling defeated, Carlos encouraged me. Overall, the most important thing was to pray for guidance. In this situation, we understood we were not self-sufficient. We needed God to give us the strength to continue every day.

What were some of the biggest challenges in facing your new normal?
I feared not being able to be the husband I promised Rosemarie I would be. I feared not being able to be a father to my daughters. I also feared rejection from other people. I didn’t love my new body. I wasn’t born without legs and one hand. Everything was new to me: Not being able to walk, to drive my car, to do things we take for granted. I was afraid I was no longer able to be independent. Living with constant pain was one of the biggest challenges.

What advice would you give to someone who may not be seeking help for their depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or even addiction?
Trying to help someone that is not actively seeking help is very challenging. It could be the person has not recognized that he or she has a problem. In my situation, I had people who confronted me, showing me that my actions were hurting me and the people who loved me. My personal advice would be: do not push away the people in your life that care about and help you. Also, believe the best days of your life are not behind you, but ahead of you. I would say to somebody in that situation you are not the only person facing PTSD or addiction, so look for a professional or a support group. They can share examples of how they have faced similar situations.  

What were some of the ways you saw God working in your recovery?
In the beginning, my questions were, “Where is God? and “Why me?” During my recovery, I understood God has always been there, taking care of me. He was with my Marines when I stepped on the IED. He was with my wife and daughters, giving them strength so they could comfort me. God was with the doctors, nurses, family, friends, and many strangers who have become family. I saw God was making me a better father, husband and person. Each time we shared our story with someone, I saw God using my recovery for good.

When did you realize God was preparing you for full-time ministry? What doors started to open for you?
Since I was a little kid, I served in ministry. It was deep inside of my heart. After my injury, we started to share our experience with family and friends. Our scars became our platform—in churches, via TV, at the White House, on Military bases, in schools and correctional facilities, all over the United States, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

You say, “Standing has nothing to do with having feet.” What do you mean by that?
In my life, standing is living God’s purpose in my life. Also, serving in my community, being a father and husband, and leading by example means standing in my life.

My daughter, Nairoby, taught me a lesson about standing. She was five years old and playing and running all over the apartment. She told me, “Now you run Papi, you run Papi!” I told her I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t run right now. I didn’t have the legs to be able to. I went to my room crying, and Rosemarie asked me why. I told her why, and she replied, “Don’t you see that she doesn’t see what you can’t do? She looks at you as Papi.” That’s what it means to stand.

Please share what has become your motto.
One day I was trying to put on my prosthetic hand and legs. I was struggling and getting frustrated. I wanted to look like I used to. I believe the Holy Spirit touched my heart, and I received this message: “I am touching more people with one hand then when I had two. Today, I am leaving more footprints than when I had feet because all you need to touch someone is heart.”


Where can people learn more about Touching Lives Leaving Footprints and C.R. Evans Ministries?

Thank you, Carlos and Rosemarie for sharing your story with us and through your book.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Standing Together  - Christianbook.com
Standing Together: The Inspirational Story of a Wounded Warrior and Enduring Love - Paperback
Standing Together: The Inspirational Story of a Wounded Warrior and Enduring Love - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

3 Books by Edna Lee Allen - One Free Copy with Three Winners

Editor's Bio: Jamie West is an executive editor with Pelican Book Group. She has been integral to the Pelican Book Group acquisitions process since 2009, and has had the privilege of working with many talented authors.

Why I bought these book to publish:
As an editor, I am always thrilled when I come across an author with a unique, interesting story. Sometimes, especially at conferences, the authors have only a few chapters written when they pitch a book, so while we ask to see the manuscript when they finish, it is actually rare to see those books, as authors lose interest or change direction in their careers.  At a conference a few years ago, I met Edna Lee Allen. She didn't pitch one story, but three, and with the exception of the final chapters on the third book, they were all finished. I was pretty excited because the synopses were intriguing and on a subject near and dear to my heart: Western stories about mail-order brides.

The years before the Civil War were filled with fighting over states' rights and slavery. As the Western Expansion began, opening up vast territories to be settled, tension increased over what was seen as a grab for power. Congressmen manipulated events to set in place what they felt the people wanted. While they settled issues back East, many men were already migrating West, looking for new opportunities to own land, build empires, or even running from whatever they wanted to leave behind. There were whole communities of mountain men, soldiers, gold miners and settlers.

With the move West came issues of territory. The rights of the Natives who lived in these territories were determined by "peace treaties" that were often broken by both sides, which made for volatile living conditions for all.  While there were camp-followers and wives who moved with their husbands, there still weren't enough women to marry.

Men of the West were without women, and women in the East were without husbands. 

For fear of someone staking a claim on the homesteads they had traveled so many miles to obtain, men didn't want to leave their lands to travel back to the East to find wives, so the "heart and hand" columns in Eastern newspapers became a real thing. Men started advertising for wives, stating their needs plainly, giving their own qualifications in providing for a woman, and often showing hints of their own personalities. 
Into this rough-and-tumble time in America's history, Edna Lee Allen's stories are born. Three sisters with no prospects in their own hometown decide to run West to find husbands. The oldest sister has already been corresponding with a man, and has slated her second eldest sister to be the wife of another man in the same territory. The youngest sister has been given a school teacher job in a small community nearby, where, despite there being children to teach, men still outnumber the women. Circumstances being what they are, each woman finds the new, scary prospect of traveling West in hopes of being married better than their past life of poverty and abuse. And thus, Edna Lee Allen’s Joy like no Other, Mercy like a River, and Grace like a Whisper come to life.


With surprising plot twists, Edna Lee Allen dives deeply into each character's personality.  The women, out of place in history's social mores, show emotions with graceful dignity, despite their fears. The men, reaching out to meet society's expectations and their own hopes and dreams, question their decisions and strength of character. The reader learns and is enlightened by each character as they navigate the stormy waters of relationships founded on mutual benefits, rather than the stirring emotions evoked by love. When love finally enters each story, a whole new set of problems arise, and the characters have to adapt to the changes before confessing their love for each other.

I hope the reader finds these stories to be as refreshing and unique as I did. While the romance of history is there, I felt Edna Lee Allen captured the real feelings of people who have to do what they must to survive, and when they find love in the situation, they live with peace and hope for the future.


Jamie West, Executive Editor
Pelican Book Group

Buy Links:

Thank you for sharing these books with me and my readers. I’m eager to read them.

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

MY CHRISTMAS BILLIONAIRE - Katie Evergreen - One Free Ebook

Welcome back, Katie. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Thank you. Yes. I have a new book in the planning stages; My Heroic Billionaire. And my website has been going through a revamp so I’m looking to build more on that.

But also some more family time. It’s the summer holidays here in the UK so I’ve been spending less time looking at my screen and more time having cuddles with them.

Tell us a little about your family.
We’re a very close family. I live in the same city as my family and so I see my parents and my brother’s family at least a few times a week. My young daughter and I live with our cat, Pepper. It’s lovely having such a close family who live nearby. I know I’m very lucky.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I think it probably has. I love reading a good romance novel, however, if I’m in the middle of writing or planning one, then I have to steer clear of the romance and read something else. I love that reading counts as work though. Because I believe a good writer cannot be a good writer without first being a reader.

I so agree. I sometimes have a person approach me, telling me they want to write a book, and when I ask them if the read, they say no. What are you working on right now?
The eighth book in my Billionaire A-Z series; My Heroic Billionaire. That’s in the planning stages. I’m also working on a women’s fiction novel for the Romantic Novelists Association that I was lucky enough to join at the beginning of the year.

What outside interests do you have?
I do a lot of yoga and a lot of creative activities to take my mind away from the constant buzz of work. My daughter and I love swimming, especially wild swimming. And I have recently taken up crochet. Watch this space!

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I think once I’ve decided on the plot of the book, the setting really decides itself. Whether it’s a castle because I need a haunted location, or a small town because I need it to match my young sweethearts.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend some time with Jane Austen, romance writer extraordinaire. I would imagine her to be full of wit and wonder because she wrote with such grace.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That my brain would never be still! I am now always thinking of new plots, having character dialogues in my head, wondering if there are plot holes anywhere. It’s constant. I think I’d enjoy the peace more while I could!

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
To stay compassionate. Sometimes it’s hard to when there is so much going on. But we must always try to give a piece of ourselves to helping others feel good. It will not only help the other person, but also increase our own well-being.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Write. Write. Write! No, but seriously, the more you write, the better you become. You can’t expect to start writing one day and produce a masterpiece immediately. It takes lots of practice. Also, to allow yourself time off. It’s very easy to work every hour God sends because your laptop or notebook is always available. But try not to. Lastly, read as much as you can in the genre you would like to write in. It’s invaluable.

Tell us about the featured book.
My Christmas Billionaire is the third in My Billionaire A-Z series. It follows Christian and Merry as they work in Christian’s failing NYC department store over one snowy Christmas. Together they discover the magic of Christmas (with a little help from Santa!)

Please give us the first page of the book.
“Welcome to Christmas at Carroll’s! It’s the happiest time of year!”

Merry Sinclair charged up her warmest smile, offering it to the young couple who had just walked through the door. She could see their relief as they caught the blast of hot air that blew down from the vent above, their cheeks glowing beneath their matching red pom-pommed reindeer hats. It was mid-December, and New York was in the grip of a fierce cold snap that was even now battering the streets with hail and sleet. It was already dark outside, and the department store was an island of light and warmth in the storm, with strings of lights in every window, and Bing Crosby’s smooth voice pouring from the speakers overhead.

Carroll’s was one of the most famous department stores in the world. And it was most famous for being the place to shop during the holidays. People streamed in from 5th Avenue from morning until night, from Halloween to New Year’s, marveling at the hundred-foot Douglas Fir that stood in the wide atrium, decked with over ten thousand fairy lights and a bedazzling golden star. It really was a sight to behold, and Merry had visited countless times over the years to marvel at the decorations and shop for Christmas bargains.

Excerpt From: Katie Evergreen. My Christmas Billionaire

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My revamped website is www.katieevergreen.com
I’m also on Instagram www.instagram.com/katieevergreenauthor

I’d love to see you over there.

Thanks so much for having me.

My pleasure, Katie. I love promoting your books.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.
My Christmas Billionaire: A Clean Billionaire Romance (My Billionaire A-Z Book 3) - Kindle

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 11, 2019

WINNERS!!

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

Emma (PA) is the winner of This Healing Journey by Misty M Beller.

Abigail (VA) is the winner of The Vacant House by Tamara G Cooper.

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

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

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


If you won an ebook or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.
Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.