Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest blog by Lena Nelson Dooley and giveaway

Blog Post About My Christmas Ebooks

Lena Nelson Dooley

I’m very excited about the three Christmas ebooks I’ve uploaded to Kindle recently.

The newest is 24 Christmases. This book was 24 years in the making.
In 1985, as I was preparing to order Christmas cards from a Christian supplier, God told me that He had given me the gift of writing, and I should use it to bless people at Christmas. That year, I wrote my first Christmas story. The story of Mary as a dramatic monologue.

Five other monologues—of people who were involved with that event so long ago—followed. Joseph … the innkeeper … Mary’s mother … the youngest shepherd … the servant of a wise man.

The next story was a romance. One year I wrote a modern Christmas fable. Another year, I wrote a short play that was used to take Christmas to two local malls. Other stories contained different perspectives, but one focus—the impact that first Christmas has had on mankind through the ages.

Unfortunately, there were a few scattered years when I didn’t write a Christmas story. Life interfered with my plans

James and I have friends spread across several countries around the world. Many of them have contacted me to tell me how much the stories mean to them. They anxiously await their copy of the Christmas story and make it part of their family’s celebration. What a blessing that is to me.

I pray these stories will bless you as much as you have blessed me.

The picture on the cover of this book was taken in my den a year or two ago.

The other 2 Christmas ebooks are novellas.

Christmas Confusion
Lori Compton, mayor of Mistletoe, needs ideas for ways to prop up the sagging economy. After having her heart broken by the former pastor, she doesn’t want to spend time with the new pastor. Rev. Russell Brown has plenty of ideas, even one that includes his spending the rest of his life with the beautiful mayor. Will Lori be able to move beyond her hurts and recognize God’s intentions for the future of the town – and for her own future?

The Best Medicine
When Thomas Stanton shows up at the holiday party of Rose Fletcher’s best friend, his appearance reminds Rose of the infatuation she felt for him when he worked on her father’s ranch. Although her heart wants to continue those long ago feelings, her mind reminds her that he doesn’t share her faith in God. Thomas can’t understand why Rose seems so standoffish. Will it take God’s intervention to show these two people just what He has planned all along?

I am offering one free copy of The Best Medicine to a winner chosen from those leaving comments on the blog. Please tell us where you live as well, at least what state or province.

You can find the books by going to my Kindle store page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=lena+nelson+dooley

Friday, December 07, 2012

Great Christmas Read by MaryAnn Diorio--A Christmas Homecoming

Today I would like to introduce you to a long-time friend of mine who just had her first Christmas fiction book published.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is passionate about writing compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart.  An award-wining, widely published author of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, she is Online Adjunct Professor of Fiction Writing at Regent University. MaryAnn makes her home with her awesome husband Dom in New Jersey. They are the blessed parents of two grown daughters and a wonderful son-in-law.  MaryAnn loves oil painting, reading, walking, and playing the piano.

And to introduce her novella, A Christmas Homecoming, I will share with you the back cover copy:

When Sonia Pettit’s teenage daughter suddenly disappears for seven long years, Sonia faces losing her mind, her husband, and her son as she struggles to forgive her wayward daughter and trust God for her return.

I started this book one evening and finished it the next morning by lunch because I couldn't wait to find out how it would end! Although the beginning of the story is filled with quite a bit of drama and angst, I was pleased to find a happy ending since that is the kind of books I love to read and write. This heart-warming story overflows with forgiveness--both giving and receiving it.

Think of it as a Hallmark movie with so much conflict you are not sure how the author can pull it all together that then culminates with an ending so happy your eyes are filled with tears of joy. And all wrapped up in a nice holiday package on Christmas Day.

If that sounds like the kind of book you'd love to read this Christmas season, please go to the following places and get an e-book copy for yourself and also order some as gifts for others :






Purchase Link for Print Version:
The print copy is $12.99 plus $3.00 shipping. New Jersey

residents have to add $0.91 sales tax.
Write to:
maryann@maryanndiorio.com and place "Print Copy" in subject line.

For regular mail orders, please send check made out to MaryAnn Diorio Books

or Credit Card Information (number, expiration date, three-digit CVV code,

and Zip Code) to:

MaryAnn Diorio Books
PO Box 1185
Merchantville, NJ

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Article by Staci Stallings and Special giveaway today

NOTE to my readers: This is an article I needed to read. Hope it blesses you as it did me. Rose

Being a Magi by Staci Stallings

A long time ago I read a book that said, “There is a reason you notice the things you notice. They come into your sight to tell you something.” (paraphrase) I took that to heart and began actively noticing. That is, I notice when I notice something. Rather than going through life oblivious to the signs God is putting in my path, I either actively seek them or at least I get it with only a couple of occurrences

Much like the man in the flood who was standing on his porch as a boat went by. The people in the boat told him he could come with them. He shook his head. “God will save me if He wants to save me.” Several hours past, and now he was hanging onto an upstairs window. A second boat came by. The people in it said, “Come on with us!” But the man replied, “No, I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.”

Hours past, and it grew dark. A Coast Guard boat with a search light found the man clinging to his chimney. “Come on! Get on!” they yelled. But the man refused. “I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.” An hour later the man appeared at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter looked at him incredulously. “What are you doing here?” The man shrugged. “I guess it was my time. God didn’t save me.” To which St. Peter said, “That’s weird. We sent three boats!”

After I heard this story, I once heard Oprah Winfrey say something similar. She said (paraphrase), “To get your attention, God will send a breath. Then He will send a pebble, then a brick, then a boulder, then the whole house will come crashing down!”

Let me just say, for myself, I prefer to catch what God’s telling me at the first boat, the breath, or at most the pebble. So, I am very conscious of the messages God sends to me. And they are everywhere!

In music, books, the Bible, conversations, on billboards, in magazines, sometimes even in dreams. Recently I’ve been preparing a project that is very close to my heart for which God has given many signs and messages since it was first conceived. For this one project I have received messages ranging from videos depicting the story, songs, email messages, and even a tour bus following me down the road!

The ultimate (so far) message was that just before I mailed the project in, I was praying over it in the Post Office, and my oldest daughter said, “Look, Mom.” When I opened my eyes, she was holding a piece of paper about five inches from me in my direct line of sight. It said, “Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.” I just started laughing because I get signs and messages, but most of the time they take at least a little bit of interpretation.

As I was recounting these events to my sister, she laughed. “You are such a Magi.” To which I said the only logical thing, “Huh?”

She went on to explain. “The Magi were astronomers. They spent their time looking for signs in the sky, signs of a new king, signs of a shift on the earth begun in the heavens. That’s what you do!”

I’d never thought of it quite like that, but I’ve got to say, it’s great fun to be a Magi. You should try it sometime.

Copyright Staci Stallings 2006

Special note: The book Staci talks about in this piece, Cowboy, is Free on Kindle Dec. 4 & 5. Hope you enjoy it!

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope until one night, he walks away from everything...

Available today as a free download from Amazon!


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Spotlight on Staci Stallings with an added Surprise!

Staci Stallings is running a special today and tomorrow--Dec. 4th and 5th so be sure to read below and check it out.

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only...


December 4 & 5:
"One of the most gripping contemporary romances I've read in the past three years."
--Michelle Sutton, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope until one night, he walks away from everything...

Available today as a free download from Amazon!


Now for our spotlight interview of Staci about her book.

Spotlight on Cowboy

by: Best Selling Christian Romance Author, Staci Stallings

Title: Cowboy
Author: Staci Stallings
ISBN: ASIN: B0049B2E82
Page count: 324
Genre: Christian Romance

Please, tell us about your book:
"Cowboy is a grace-filled story about the power of giving everything to God and how a simple act of compassion can change lives forever." Life has done its best to knock Beth McCasland to the ground, and the truth is: it’s done a pretty good job of keeping her there. Stuck in a minimum-wage job with a young daughter counting on her, Beth does her best to stay standing under the weight of it all because she knows God is on her side. Then one night she gets the chance to be an angel to another of life’s weary travelers. For once hope has never looked so real.

How long did it take to write the book?
I wrote "Cowboy" in 1998 in about five months.

What inspired you to write the book?
I had a dream one night, which is where I get many of my ideas. In the dream, I was in the company of a famous country music star, but it wasn't like I was in awe of him. Instead, there was this great sadness that permeated everything about him. When I tried to ask what was wrong, he was very reluctant to tell me as everyone else just wanted him to "go on with life." However, the sadness and depression felt so heavy around him that I knew he was in serious trouble emotionally, so I persisted. That's when the story of "Cowboy" began to be written.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
The thing I researched the most was venues for Asthon to sing in different cities. I'm not much of a traveler, nor have I been to many concerts. So the details on that aspect were difficult. Also, he travels so much in this book. I basically had to plan a country music tour--venues, time schedules, etc. so that it made sense as the reader traveled with him. Also, obviously, I couldn't use songs that had already been written, so I had to write all of the songs featured in this book--which ended up being about seven. That was a challenge, but a fun one!

So you are a songwriter too! What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
In our world today, hope is an increasingly rare commodity. So many people are hanging on by such a small thread--and that's even many whom we all see as "successful." In one scene Ashton says, "It's amazing how much the top looks like the bottom when you have no one to share it with." I think that's what I want readers to see. #1 that they are not alone if they feel lonely and as if hope is for everyone else but has passed them by. And #2, that the greatest thing we can give someone else is the gift of hope and love.

Where can we go to buy your book?
Cowboy is FREE on Kindle Dec. 4 & 5

Excerpt from book:

The burden of fatigue and heartbreak he’d been carrying for months pulled Ashton's gaze to the table just as the bells at the door jingled. Although he never looked up, he heard the waitress slide from the booth.

“Finish your breakfast.” She pointed to his plate. “If you need someone to listen, all you have to do is ask.”

And with that she left his booth to go help the other customers.

Let others help, he thought sarcastically. Yeah, right.

He couldn’t trust anyone with this pain. He couldn’t let them in. Besides, they didn’t want to listen—not really. They wanted him to say everything was fine and keep going as though nothing in the world had happened. They wanted him to be Ashton Raines, superstar, and as far as what happened to the real Ashton Raines, they couldn’t care less.

Loneliness descended on him again, and his whole body slumped toward the table with the weight of it. It was becoming more and more difficult to keep himself upright. All he wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep forever.

If he could just think of one friend. One real person he could call, one real person he could talk to.

“If you need someone to listen, I’m here,” he heard her words again in the depths of his soul, and he looked up to see if she was actually standing there. But she was across the restaurant helping someone else.

“I can’t tell her.” He shook his head and clutched the top of his cap, rolling it down around his face at the absurdity of the very thought. “I don’t even know her.”

Then his gaze lit on the all-but empty plate in front of him. She had given him a meal and asked for nothing in return. She had shared a piece of her heart with him and expected nothing. It was by far the greatest act of kindness he’d experienced in a long time. He looked down at the empty coffee cup, closed his eyes, and raised it off the table. “Miss, could I get a refill?”

Author Bio:
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Book contest winner and new giveaway

The winner of my book Christmas Belles of Georgia is Cindy Martin so the book will be on its way to her as soon as she responds to my email with her mailing addy. And for anyone who doesn't have the book, it is still available on cbd.com and amazon.com.

The new giveaway for January is Just Hand over the Chocolate and No One will Get Hurt by Karen Scalf Linamen. Anyone with a US mailing addy who leaves a contact email in a post on any blog [post during the month of December will be eligible, so come back to comment often.

Although I primarily give away fiction books since I am primarily a fiction writer, I decided this book would be great to share with someone who like many of us (myself included) go on a diet in January. Here's a little blurb from the backcover to whet your appetite without adding any pounds: "Does chocolate call your name when you feel stressed, ovewhelmed, or a little down? If it does, then you need Karen Linamen's fifteen low-calorie ways to lift your spirits and pull you out of the dumps."

Interview with Anita Higman and giveaway of A Merry Little Christmas

We're starting the month of Dec. off with an interview with Anita Higman, the author of A Merry Little Christmas, a fun Christmas read. If you scroll down to my last blog post, you can read my review of this delightful book. And Anita is doing a giveaway to one of the commenters on this post by Dec. 7th so be sure to leave a comment and to leave some way to contact you. The winner will be announced on Dec. 8th.
Welcome, Anita. Thanks for getting us in the holiday spirit with this interview and giveaway. What inspired you to incorporate Jim Crow laws and segregation into your book?
Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.

The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?
I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.

Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?
Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Do you think that sometimes we don't pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?
Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?
My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
“The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Is Franny's character based on any "real life" person?
Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.
Does the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" have a special significance to you?
The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?
I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.