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.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A tribute to a life well-lived and well-loved--Diann Hunt

Although I knew Diann Hunt through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) I got to know her better after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and a group of us joined up to pray for her on Facebook @ Prayers for Diann Hunt. We would post prayers and messages to her, and she would encourage us with her messages of love and unique humor.

While we all prayed for her healing, we have assurance that she is healed today in Jesus' presence. And her words and personality will still live on in her over thirty books. You can find out more about her and her books at www.diannhunt.com 

All of us are eagerly awaiting the Hallmark movie production of her book For Better or For Worse which will be out in July, 2014.

You can read more posts by her and about her at www.GirlsWriteOut.blogspot.com

Several other friends have also posted about her on their blogs today, so please check them out also:




Saturday, December 14, 2013

And the winner of Anita Higman's A Marriage in Middlebury is...

...Norma S. Anita will mail her book as soon as we hear back from her with her mailing addy.

I hope everyone will stop by tomorrow for a tribute to a wonderful Christian author who recently passed away from ovarian cancer. Several ACFW authors are paying tribute to her and her Christian example and writing, so come back and see whom we are honoring tomorrow.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

One winner chosen and one more to go. Will it be you?

The winner of Ann Gabhart's book Christmas at Harmony Hill is Bonton. I emailed her, and the book will be in the mail posthaste so she will hopefully receive it to read by Christmas.

The drawing for Anita Higman's book A Marriage in Middlebury will be held next Saturday, so you have 6 days left to leave a comment with your mailing addy if you want to be entered. If you're not sure, read the review on my blog and/or the post by Anita giving some background reasons for writing the story. Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Q and A and giveaway of A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman

Displaying 5_016.jpgGood morning, Anita. Thanks for stopping by to visit and tell us more about your delightful book. What was your inspiration for A Marriage in Middlebury?

The idea for this book came from my absolute love of tearooms in Texas. In fact, here’s my note to readers on that very subject: 
More than a decade ago I met a woman named Linda Becker
who opened a tearoom in the Houston burbs called, Tea for
Two. Her eatery and gift shop did so well, she opened a second
shop. Over the years I’ve enjoyed her wonderful tearoom
fare as well as the quaint ambiance. Linda’s tearoom isn’t just
a cafĂ©—it’s a gathering place for friends, a place to eat home
cooked food, and a place so cozy you don’t want to leave.
As a writer I thought it might be fun to create a heroine who
owns a tearoom similar to Linda’s and set her shop in a small
town on the gulf coast of Texas. So, that’s how the novel, A
Marriage in Middlebury, was born. Even though my story, the
characters, and the town are fictional, Linda’s tearooms are
real places you can visit and enjoy. Thank you, Linda, for the
great food, and the fellowship, and the inspiration.

 Everything was going smoothly for the main character when suddenly everything changes with the return of her ex. What advice do you have when life throws a curveball?
 As a Christian we should trust in the One who made us, the One who’s known us from the first day when we were being knit together in our mother’s womb, the One who loves us best. Trusting in Him during life’s storms is the only answer, and it’s more than enough.

Charlotte was pressured into breaking off her relationship with Sam by Sam’s father - how should we react to family pressures and difficult relatives?
Bathe the situation in prayer and then talk things through no matter how painful. But once the air is clear, forgive and move on. Don’t keep going back over and over. Forgiveness is not easy, but it’s the only way to live free. It helps to remember that forgiveness is what God offered us when we sinned against Him.

Such great advice! Is there a certain Bible passage or verse that goes along with the theme of A Marriage in Middlebury?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Are any of the characters or events in A Marriage in Middlebury based on your own experiences?
Well, I love art, flowers, quirky characters, and tearooms. And somehow I managed to put them all into the novel. It was a fun ride!

 Do you find yourself returning to similar themes in your novels (i.e. forgiveness, trust, etc.) or do you have a new message with each release?
Yes, I tend to go back to the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation. These are not only good themes for a story, but they are paramount in living the Christian life.

What do you hope readers will walk away with after they turn the last page of A Marriage in Middlebury?
 That with God all things are possible!

Like several of your other books, A Marriage in Middlebury is set in your home state of Texas - what are some of your favorite things about Texas?
Overall, Texas is an inexpensive place to live, it’s a great place to raise a family, and it’s one of the friendliest places on earth. I’ve lived here for about thirty years, and I’m proud to call Texas my home.

Before becoming a writer, you had number of interesting jobs - what was it about writing that drew you in?
I had an incredible need to tell stories. I don’t think I had a choice in becoming a writer—the profession sort of chose me. But I’m content in that truth. 

Readers, do you have a question for Anita? Be sure to leave a comment or question below with your email to be in the drawing for a copy of A Marriage in Middlebury. Winner to be posted on Saturday, December 14th so you could win a Christmas present for yourself or someone else. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

Book Review of A Marriage in Middlebury

Displaying A Marriage in Middlebury Cover.jpg I love Anita Higman's writing, and I just finished her delightful book of secrets and second chances. We all love secrets and second chances, don't we?

And I have a personal reason to like this book--the heroine (Charlotte Rose Hill) as well as her business (Rose Cottage Tea-room) share my name (Rose).

But the story is what pulls you in! Charlotte seems to have a wonderful life with her successful business and many quirky friends. In fact, her small town contains so many unique characters, I hope she will invite us on a return trip in a sequel. But, Charlotte has some big secrets from the past that need to be brought to light so she can find the future God has for her.

Her former fiance shows up engaged, and his wife-to-be asks Charlotte to cater the reception. Talk about awkward! I don't want to give away any more of the plot, except to say you need to read this book of secrets and prejudice and unforgiveness and forgiveness. We can each learn a lot as we experience what the characters are going through. And be thoroughly entertained in the process!

Please check back tomorrow for a guest blog by the author, Anita Higman, and a chance to win a copy of A Marriage in Middlebury.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Guest blog by author, Ann Gabhart and Christmas giveaway

Before you read the guestblog article by Ann Gabhart below, I want to remind you to leave a comment on this post and on yesterday's post where I did a review of this great book if you want to be entered into the drawing for a chance to win a copy. Drawing to be held next Sunday, Dec. 8th to US mailing addresses only, so make sure to leave an email or other way to contact you if you are the winner.

Seeking the Christmas Story Spirit by Ann H. Gabhart

Even before Halloween ghosts glide out of sight down Trick or Treat Street, Christmas decorations start popping up in the stores. By Thanksgiving, the ads with shopping reminders and gift hints are tattered with age. But the spirit of Christmas is always fresh in the new Christmas novellas that hit the stores this time of year.

There have always been Christmas stories from that very first Christmas story set in a Bethlehem stable, now read millions of times. Perhaps we love Christmas stories so much because of how we want to embrace the true meaning and spirit of Christmas even as we scurry around doing all the busy things we must do at Christmas time.

I had never considered writing a Christmas story. So when, several years ago, my editor suggested I write a Shaker Christmas book, I had no idea if I would be able to do that or not. My agent told me to just make it like a Hallmark movie. Sweet. Gentle. With a touching love story. Right there, I was in trouble since if you know anything about the Shakers, you know they didn’t abide romantic love among their members. Once again, as with my other Shaker stories, I had to find a way to slip my love story in the back way of my Shaker village. I went a little farther with this story and slipped in a heroine who is with child.

My research into how the Shakers celebrated Christmas in the 1860’s opened up more story ideas. Every year shortly before Christmas, the Shakers observed a day of atonement they called Sacrifice Day. On this day, they were to leave behind any grudges, hard feelings and disaffection toward their brothers or sisters. They were to ask forgiveness from those they had wronged and from the Lord. Anything that was settled on Sacrifice Day could never again be brought forward against anyone in their family of believers. They were also to offer forgiveness fully and completely to those they felt had done harm against them. All this fit in with my story’s theme of forgiveness. 

Somewhere along the way as I was writing, I must have mislaid my agent’s advice. I doubt readers would classify Christmas at Harmony Hill as sweet or gentle. I’d be pleased if they found the love story touching, and I do hope my heroine looking forward to the birth of her baby and thinking about how Mary might have had similar feelings awaiting the birth of Jesus gives the story an underlying Christmas theme.  

Still, Christmas at Harmony Hill is more historical novel than the usual Christmas novella. The story’s set in December 1864 with the Civil War drawing to a close. Gideon is still fighting for the Union Army while Heather returns home to have their baby. When she finds no welcome at her father’s house, she seeks shelter in the Shaker village where her aunt Sophrena, the Shaker journalist in The Gifted, has lived for many years. Sister Sophrena is ready to help Heather even as she is beginning to doubt her own Shaker walk. And so Christmas comes to Harmony Hill.

Do you read Christmas stories? What do you like best about them? Do you only read them at Christmas time or are you willing to read them any time of the year? One reader told me she liked to read them in July, that it kept her cool.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and much joy in the coming year!

Displaying perryville 005.JPGANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who never wanted to do anything but write down stories. She’s published twenty-six novels for adults and young adults with more stories on the way. She keeps her keyboard warm out on a farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband, Darrell. They have three children, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit www.annhgabhart.com. Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AnnGabhart , Twitter, https://twitter.com/AnnHGabhart , or Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/annhgabhart/.   

Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review--Christmas at Harmony Hill by Ann Gabhart and giveaway

Displaying 9781441244413.jpgBook Review of Christmas at Harmony Hill by Ann Gabhart

 Gabhart's Christmas Shaker story is quite different from her other Shaker books. It is a romance, but it is of the love of a married couple separated by the Civil War. As I read, I thought how apropos this story is this Christmas season while we have so many service men and women separated from their loved ones. My husband served in Thailand twice during his Air Force days, and both times he was gone at Christmas, so I could identify with this young woman even more.

Heather Worth had traveled with her husband as a washerwoman for the first part of his time in the Union Army, but after growing big with their child, they both agreed the battlefield was not a place for a pregnant woman or a baby, so she would go back to Kentucky so her mother could help with the delivery. But, when Heather returns, all is not how she left it, and she ends up at Harmony Hill, a Shaker Village in central Kentucky, where she awaits the birth of her baby, and the return of her husband. Both take longer than she had hoped.

She is attended by the Shaker doctor and a woman who was her mother's aunt before joining the Shaker village. This aunt, Sophrena, is a minor character in some of the other Shaker books by this author, but you do not have to have read them to follow the story in this book, although I do recommend reading them for your own enjoyment! She has a more major role in this book, and helps everything to come to a satisfying ending for most of the characters.

While Heather is at Harmony Hill, Gideon is marching all over the Southern states, fighting while trying to stay alive to return to his wife and soon-to-be-born child. Will he survive and make it home? While Heather is praying for his safe return, he wonders if his wife will survive childbirth, and will they both live to reunite once more. You'll have to read the book to find out if they do.

And if you leave a comment today on this post and/or tomorrow on a guest post from Ann Gabhart, you will be entered into a drawing for a copy of this book. Drawing to be held the following Sunday, December 8, so I can mail it to you to read before Christmas! US mailing addresses only, so make sure to leave an email or other way to contact you if you are the winner.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Review of Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman

I'm back from a 4 day retreat and on its heels, the birth of a new grandson. Both wonderful events, but I feel like I am still catching up on writerly things like posting on my blog. One of the books I read while in the hospital waiting room was Anita Higman's delightful new novel--Winter in Full Bloom, so I wanted to share this review in hopes you will want to read it too!

Australia is a place my husband would like to explore someday, and after reading this book which begins in Melbourne, I want to go, too! The descriptions of this city and other close-by places in the Down Under are very well done. And I enjoyed learning a little of the Aussie slang for certain words. But, the main attraction of this book is the marvelous story and its unique characters.

The whole story is told in the first person point of view of widow Lily Winters who goes to Melbourne to find her identical twin sister she only recently learned about. What struck me as I leafed through the pages to do this review is how well the author handled the whole story in only Lily's POV, but still made me feel like I knew the other two main characters--the sister, Camille, and Lily's love interest, Marcus Averill--as well as I did Lily. I don't read a lot of first person novels, but would definitely want to read another one by this author. Superb job of writing!

There are also Lily's daughter and Lily's mother and a few other characters. Her mother is so set in her destructive ways, that you know only a miracle can change her, and like many miracles, it is not the way we expect it to happen.

I don't want to give away any of the surprises which bring us to such a satisfying ending, but if you love romance and its happily ever after ending after lots of twists and turns, then I highly recommend this book.

Although it was a gift to review, all opinions are my own.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: The Promise by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

Another wonderful story by two great authors! Although this novel can be read alone, I would recommend first reading the story of the rebirth of love in the marriage of the matriarch and patriarch of this series--The Dance, which I loved and reviewed on June 22nd of this year.

The Promise begins a few months after the first book in the Restoration series, and mainly deals with the "falling apart" of the son and his wife's lives which we got a foreshadowing of in The Dance. We learn more about the generational sins of the fathers being visited on their children. We also learn about how following God's principles allows us to break that cycle.

But I don't want to make this book sound like it is just about learning a lesson. The lessons are not spelled out like points in a non-fiction book, but portrayed in this very engaging read with interesting, believable characters--some you want to shake up so they will wake up, and others you want to hug and encourage!

And the story is very much apropos for these times, with us finding Tom Anderson out of a job on the first page of the book, and wanting to read more to find out what he does to hide that fact from those he loves to protect them--and how it all ends.

Again, we see a marriage in so much trouble because of their lack of communication that the couple separate for awhile, and then see how that time apart causes them both to drawer closer to and seek God to put their relationship back together again, the True Foundation for all relationships.

Based on the principles of Gary Smalley's best-seller The Blessing, and written by one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors, Dan Walsh, you will enjoy this book for the emotionally engaging read while also learning from one of the best Christian counselors around, so how can you lose? And there are personal notes in the back from both authors sharing how The Blessing principle has blessed them and their lives.

This book was a review copy, and I personally would highly recommend it! Get a copy for yourself to enjoy and buy one to share with someone else who could benefit from this stellar combo of writers. I also recommend their others books, and be on the lookout for the third book in this series soon!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Two more winners...

Carole Brown has graciously decided to give two winners digital copies of her book The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman. The winners are Karen K. and Sheila C. They will both be receiving their digital copy soon after Carol's October 21st release date. Happy reading, winners!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Happy fall and two winners!

Wishing everyone a fine fall--my favorite season in spite of my allergies! Joy is the winner of Shannon Vannatter's book and Cecelia Dowdy  is the winner of last breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins in my drawing.

And there is still time to be entered in the drawing for Carole Brown's new book The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman which will be announced next Sunday night, October 6th, so hurry on over and leave a comment soon.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Book Review of What Once was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you will know that I LOVE Kim Vogel Sawyer's books! The latest of hers I just read is What Once was Lost, her most recently released book and her first book for Waterbrook.

The heroine of this story, Miss Christina Willems, has already lost much when the story opens--including both her parents. At the death of her father, she is now left in charge of the Brambleville Asylum for the poor and all its residents. While she still has more losses to face, the God of her parents is with her and becomes even more real to her.

God also uses a blind child and a hermit who wants nothing to do with church to fulfill His purposes in her life, while also drawing them each closer to each other as he draws them to Himself. Many surprises await each of them, including new homes for everyone, and even romance. As my favorite Bible verse says, God has supplied them with more than they could have imagined! (Ephesians 3:20)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

More about The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman and another chance to win!

CaroleBrown_CaralynneHayman.jpgAbout the book:
How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death? Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

Hope you will read the first page below and then order the book. And leave a comment with email info to be in the drawing for a digital copy. Drawing to be held one week from today on Saturday Oct. 5th.

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance and was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest. Release date is September 30, 2013 from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an ACFW approved publisher. You can request it at your favorite book store or library or go to Amazon here:

On SALE NOW for preorder:

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
Carole Brown
Chapter One

Twenty years earlier
The shadow creatures on the wall shook their wings and legs. Heads with horns nodded. Scary, dark faces watched.
The little girl clasped her floppy-eared rabbit against her chest and stared into the dark.
“Mmm …” Mommy’s murmur reached to her through the walls, and the giggles from her mother tiptoed in, shooing the fear away.
Whoosh. She blew out a breath and squeezed her rabbit tighter. “Mommy has a friend with her, Ramsey. She loves me just like I love you and will give me hugs in the morning after the man leaves.”
Ramsey said nothing. She ran her fingers over his face and could feel his black button eyes staring at her, trusting her to protect him.
“And she’ll read to us and I’ll sit on her lap and we’ll snuggle—all of us together.” She nodded and tugged on Ramsey’s left ear then rolled over.
Real live whispers and laughter floated into the room.
Opening her mouth in a wide yawn, she patted Ramsey’s tummy and whispered again, “Don’t be afraid. I’m right here.”
“Please. That hurts.”
“Mommy?” The little girl frowned but her eyes wouldn’t open. Just like they did when she and mommy put cucumbers slices on their eyes. 
“Stop it—”
             Rubbing at her eyes the little girl sat up. Mommy had never sounded like this before, and neither had any of the men—the men who brought flowers and candy and money.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Guestblog and giveaway by Carole Brown

Happy to have my friend Carole Brown visit again today with an interesting guestblog and a chance to win a digital copy of her new book The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by leaving  a comment on today's blog or tomorrow's post where you can learn more about this book, so be sure to check back tomorrow and to respond and leave an email contact. Drawing to be held one week from tomorrow on Saturday Oct. 5th.

The Weird Stuff Writers Get Into

Writers are weird people. Yeah, that categorizes me too, but that’s okay. Why? Because we enjoy what we do. And that includes some of the things we research about.

When writing The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, Caralynne grows up in a cult so I needed to study about cults. Since I was creating a cult and not using one I’d read/studied/or knew of, I had to give them some specific actions and/or traits that set them apart as an identity. I decided tattoos would fit, but I didn’t want to give the members the liberty of choosing for themselves what kind. I wanted the tattoo to be all the same for everyone and for a reason.

So began my search for the right tattoo. The internet became my primary go-to source although there was a tattoo parlor in my nearby community for use too.

Now before I go any farther, I might add here: I know some who are definitely against tattoos and some who think they are a piece of art. I’m not condemning or approving in getting one. I’ve seen some really ugly ones that I must confess, I wonder where the owner’s brain was when they obtained it. Some really are beautiful: perhaps a small heart or butterfly (check out David Stearman’s book: Hummingbird), a bird or small name.

The things that mattered to me in giving the members of The Children of Righteous Cain a tattoo consisted of:
Ÿ         I needed the size to fit for both men and women
Ÿ         I didn’t want anything too big and ugly
Ÿ         I needed it to be a little scary, but not too much, for the little girl in the first chapter.
Ÿ         It had to be the right size to fit on the choice of places I wanted it to be: outside upper arm for the men and inside wrist for the women
Ÿ         And I had to be satisfied it was the right one.

I brainstormed with critique partners, I searched, talked it over with my husband and went round and round until I was weary with the subject.  I considered:

Ÿ         Creating one which would give me the leverage I wanted to match the story with the tattoo
Ÿ         Having a tattoo-ist create one which I might end up liking or not after I paid or at the least asked the artist to volunteer to create.

In the end I created one in my mind. It was an eye, and the main reason was because of the third item in the above “mattering” series: Scary but not too much so for the little girl.

It was a key factor for the eye-tattoo to play upon the little girl’s emotions. And it worked. Briefly mentioned here and there throughout the story, I still believe the effect it had on the story played emphasized the uniqueness of the cult.

Sometimes writers create settings and characters and events that play powerful roles within a novel. All the little things--like tattoos for The Children of Righteous Cain--build up the reality of your creation and gives your settings and characters and events a little bit more punch than it would have.

Research is vital for excellent writers. I recommend it highly! J

And so will your readers.

 I’ll give away a print copy of my book to the person Rose and I choose who comments about either:
Ÿ         A tattoo you have
Ÿ         The funniest, most beautiful, ugliest, or weirdest tattoo you’ve ever seen
Ÿ         Or why you do or do not have a tattoo.

Have fun!

Carole Brown’s debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, was a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest. Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

I’d love to connect with readers at:

I also participate on:
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Read about and win a copy of Shannon Vannatter's new book, Arkansas Dreams

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=a1a8fc9ae1&view=att&th=1412e8ff52142d0e&attid=0.4&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_eiOoPA7pdXSY6Djr8g0B3&sadet=1379518159749&sads=IDHdd0o11ijH7fyazv1ZeELJj_MArkansas Weddings: Love’s never easy in three Arkansas romances.
Pastor Grayson loves his wife. The problem is, Sara was killed by a hit-and-run driver two years ago. He knows he needs to move on, but it’s not until florist Adrea Welch arrives at his church that the seeds of healing are planted in his heart.

Laken left home eight years ago and never looked back. Who knew when she applied for the promotion to postmaster that she’d end up in Romance, Arkansas, and much too close to her past—and Hayden Winters?

Shell doesn’t have a good reputation. But no matter what everyone in Rose Bud, Arkansas, thinks of her, she’s back in town with a job to do. Ryler also has reasons for being in Rose Bud, and they don’t include Shell.

But God’s love can soften the hardest heart and overcome the darkest past. These hearts may not know it, but they’re about to change.

To purchase Arkansas Weddings logon to:




Friday, September 20, 2013

Interview and giveaway with Shannon Vannatter

I am so happy to host Shannon Vannatter on my blog again. And I know you will enjoy this interview with her fun answers! Come back tomorrow for a look at her new book, Arkansas Weddings, and be sure to leave a comment today and/or tomorrow to be entered in her giveaway of a copy of this book. Winner to be announced in one week, on September 28th.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Having a pair of heels to match every outfit. I have 48 pair, but I only buy cheap and I keep them until they are totally worn out. The other day, I got a pair of ivory satin heels for $4.00.

What is your favorite kind of music?
This is complicated. For church, I like the old traditional hymns. I love holding the hymnbook and singing songs written hundreds of years ago that I know by heart since childhood.
Outside of church, I like contemporary Christian such as Todd Agnew, Third Day, and Mercy Me.

What is currently your favorite song?
It’s a tie between Martyr’s Song by Todd Agnew. It’s about Jesus welcoming a martyr to Heaven. I can’t listen to it without crying—in a good way.

What’s your favorite animal?
I’m a dog and cat lover, so I have both and can’t really pick which is my favorite. Dogs love unconditionally and cats are so fun to watch. But I do have a cat who thinks he’s a dog. He actually comes when you call him and he cuddles.
As for wild animals, I’ve always thought raccoons were so cute and white tigers are beautiful.

Do you have any form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
If things don’t match, I can’t focus. When I was a kid, my dad was a carpenter. He built me a playhouse and decorated it with left over materials from job sites. The carpet was red, the wallpaper was blue. I’d sit for hours and try to figure out how to make it match.

A few years ago, someone brought two silk trees for our church. One had white striped leaves and one had yellow striped leaves. One was a foot taller than the other. The sat on each side behind the pulpit. I couldn’t focus on the sermon for trying to figure out how to make those trees match. And my husband was the one preaching. I finally moved one of the trees to the back of the church.

As a pastor’s wife, do you play the piano?
No. When my husband first answered the call to preach, every church we visited asked if I played the piano. I wish I did, but I don’t. We recently had a retired pastor and his wife join our church and she doesn’t play the piano either, but she said it was her most often asked question through the years.

What do you think your role is as a pastor’s wife?
I help out wherever needed and am very involved, but I don’t teach Sunday school, head up the ladies’ prayer group, or direct our outreach programs. I am back up Sunday school teacher for a kids class, I attend our ladies’ meetings and do the devotion a couple of times a year, and I’m the craft lady at VBS.

My sole job is to support the pastor, so that’s what I focus on.

What’s it like raising a preacher’s son?
I try really hard to keep church fun, since our son is there more than most kids. But we don’t practically live at the church. We’ve always been careful to say, we get to go to church instead of we have to go to church. We’re there at every service, but if there are extras, we don’t make him go. We have monthly association meetings with the 26 churches in our association. We don’t make him go to that. And when we visit sick members or people in the hospital, we don’t take him.

It amazes me the profound Biblical thoughts he comes up with because he is so churched. My husband asked him who his favorite disciple was a while back. He said—Paul, because he liked the way Paul and Silas sang praises to God and the doors unlocked on the jail and Paul kept the jailor from killing himself.

I didn’t know all that at his age. I was probably in my twenties before I knew that story.

Were you raised in church?
People assume I was, but I wasn’t. My parents moved to Michigan when I was a year old, then Illinois, then Georgia. We moved wherever houses were being built since my dad was a carpenter. In each state, they tried to find a small church like the one they’d grown up in—in rural Arkansas. Church attendance was sporadic and by the time we moved to Georgia, when I was seven, we didn’t go. I had friends that went and I went with them some.

My parents taught me who Jesus was and Biblical principles, but as far as knowing Bible stories or the books of the Bible, I didn’t. When I was twelve, we moved back to rural Arkansas and their home church with twelve members. I didn’t really start studying the Bible until I accepted Christ at fifteen. My parents still go to their small church and there are around thirty members now.

The church my husband pastors is in the next town. We run from seventy to eighty on Sunday morning.

Do you have siblings?
No. I’m an only child. And our son is an only child. He’s the only grandchild my parents will ever have. They live across a hayfield from us and they are lunatics where he’s concerned.

My mom sent me a saying the other day: Most kids are spoiled because you can’t spank Grandma.

So true! But at least she admits it.

Bio: Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Vannatter has won the 2011 Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.

Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/. Connect with her on Facebook: facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter and Twitter: @stvauthor

Monday, September 02, 2013

Winner and new contest for another Brandilyn Collins book

I am behind again on blogger, but will blame it on getting a request for a full manuscript this past week, so that is where my thoughts and time have been concentrated! The winner of always watching by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins is Judy Cook.

And continuing my Collins giveaway, the winner of this month's comment contest will receive book two in the rayne tour series--last breath. So leave some comments this month along with your email addy to contact you and you might be the chosen one on October 1st! One caveat--only those with US mailing addresses are eligible.

Here's the backcover blurb for last breath: "Shaley is reeling after two murders on the Rayne concert tour. But she has no time to rest. If the dying man's claim is right, the danger is far from over.

Shaley's quest for the truth leads to the mysterious and wrenching past of her mother and father. Could what happened to them so many years ago threaten Shaley's life now?"

If that doesn't make you want to read this book, I don't know what will!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Interview with Valerie Comer, author of Raspberries and Vinegar

Welcome, Valerie. We both have had previous books published by Barbour, and I am happy to welcome you to my site to let others know about your newest book--Raspberries and Vinegar. Thanks for stopping by to let us know more about you and your writing.

Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books? 
I’m not sure I could pick just one favorite book from my childhood (or from now, for that matter!) But there's a book I remember about an inner city child whose apartment looked down on a garbage-filled empty lot. This child motivated the neighborhood to clean it up and create a garden there. Working as a group brought everyone together, plus they had a place to meet and enjoy each other afterward. I cannot for the life of me recall the book's title or author, or, as you can see, the child's gender!
I don't find many books with these themes of recycling and reclaiming poorly utilized space these days. Perhaps it's why I write them?

Kudos to you for writing something not often written about. What is your favorite Scripture?

A passage that means a lot to me is the first chapter of 2nd Peter. Verse 3 reads: "His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God's true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue." The passage goes on to give practical guidelines for living a life so "you will never be ineffective or unproductive in your relationship with our Lord Jesus the Anointed" (v 8).

Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
Psalm 19:14 (NIV) falls into this category: "May these words of my mouth (hands) and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
This is a fascinating question because I write about local food, and that can't be separated from its setting. So I think this question must mean what local cuisine would I most like to explore—both in my taste buds and in a story! I'm Canadian, so my answer will be the Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador—sounds like two places but it isn't. I love seafood of any variety, so research would be right up my alley. :D

My husband and had the opportunity to tour the two provinces south of there--Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, last summer and really enjoyed them--the scenery, the ocean, the people, and of course the food!  I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
I wrote my first novel longhand in 2002, typing a few chapters at a time into the computer. So it was possible for me, at one time, to write without much technology. Frankly I can barely read my own handwriting after a few days have gone by, so it's not a good option for me. At first I had to train myself to think with hands on the keyboard. My other thinking/plotting mechanism is mind mapping on my large whiteboard, also quite low-tech.
I love writing on my laptop, connecting with readers as well as other authors online, and having research at my fingertips. I don't think I'd have enjoyed writing novels nearly as much in the pre-computer days.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
Digging deep into emotions and psyche seemed like a good answer at first, but the biggest stretch is putting myself out in front of people. Like many writers, I'm an introvert, so it's challenging to contact people and ask them if they'd like to buy, read, or review my novel.

In my younger days, I was an extrovert, but now also lean toward introvert. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
I struggled for years to figure out where I fit into the plotting/pantsing spectrum. I wish someone had told me most writers fall somewhere in between. I wish I'd learned earlier some of the techniques I could experiment with to find what worked for me. I teach this now through a free writing course (via email) on my website To Write a Story.

7. Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?
Links to purchase Raspberries and Vinegar in paperback and digital versions are available on my publisher's website: Choose NOW Publishing.

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her characters enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit with the voice of experience laced with humor. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released August 1, 2013. Visit her at http://valeriecomer.com.

A Farm Fresh Romance Series:

A Farm Fresh Romance. This unique farm lit series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of three college graduates who move onto a reclaimed farm where they plan to take the rural area by storm with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods.      

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

Buy Raspberries and Vinegar:

Connect at:
·        Website: http://valeriecomer.com
·        Twitter: http://twitter.com/valeriecomer http://twitter.com/towritestory
·        Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/valeriecomer
·        Blog: http://valeriecomer.com/blog
·        Writing Blog & Free eCourse: http://towriteastory.com
And be sure to go to:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And the winners are...

Tracy Krauss won Brandilyn Collins' That Dog Won't Hunt and Judy Cook for Shannon Vannatter's Rodeo Regrets. They will both be contacted by the authors.

And if you leave a message anytime the month of July with your email info, you will be entered in the drawing for a paperback copy of always watching by Brandilyn and her daughter Amberly.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review--The Well by Stephanie Landsem

The Well—book review

I read a lot of Biblical era fiction during my high school years at a Christian school. And I still remember a few of the classics like The Robe and The Silver Chalice and Ben Hur. I predict The Well by Stephanie Landsem will become a classic in Biblical fiction. I know it will stay with me a long time. And I can’t wait for her next book.

The story of the Samaritan woman whom Jesus meets at the well in Sychar is told mainly through the POV of the daughter of the woman who made her own choices. Those choices lead to dire circumstances and cruel treatment for the daughter and a small son. Although no children are mentioned in the Biblical account, it is a reasonable assumption that she would have had one or more from her many husbands.

The Samaritan woman’s encounter and belief in Jesus have a strong impact on her life and the lives of the daughter and son and so many others in this story, like the rock that sends multiple ripples throughout a pond.

Another one greatly affected is a young man named Shem who doesn’t want to initially believe in Jesus. This book tells of Jesus’ love for all. There is another love story, but it doesn’t have the ending we think we want. Instead we see a much better ending than we could have ever imagined, just like what Jesus wants for us all. Read it and be blessed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Brandilyn Collins' Interview and Giveaway of New Book--That Dog Won't Hunt

As a fan of Brandilyn's writing, I have reviewed several of her books on my blog, and today I am happy to host her for an interview! And read on to find out how you can win a copy of her latest book, That Dog Won't Hunt.
Welcome, Brandilyn, please tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books? 
As a child I remember reading the Bobbsey Twins books. The first full-length book I read (in second grade) was one of that series. I also loved the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. All of these series had mysteries in the plots. So I guess they were a forerunner of my suspense novels today. The Bobbsey Twins books were more character-centered, however. That would be the forerunner of my contemporary fiction writing.

I also read the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. Glad you read both genres and are writing again in both genres. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
My life verse is Psalm 138:8, part of which reads: :The Lord will accomplish what concerns me." That entire Psalm is one that I live by and pray by memory every day.

I love to travel. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Well, let's see, I've been to quite a few countries. Haven't visited Australia yet, though. I'd pick that one. Wild and beautiful land.

I would love to visit there if it wasn't for the loooong plane ride! I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
I don't like technology when it doesn't work. Methinks we all usually love our computers—until they act up. Then we hate 'em. Sometimes I'd love to throw mine in the hot tub.

Wait a minute. I did that with a dead body once …

I remember! I even blogged about it on this blog on June 5, 2008. As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
Oh, goodness, writing itself is a stretch. It's hard. I struggle with every book. Always think I'll never finish the thing, and when I do, it's certain to be The One That Will Ruin My Career.
You are always so helpful to new writers, Brandilyn. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
Enjoy the period before you're contracted with a traditional publisher and you're learning the craft. If it all gets to be too much then, you can quit. Or take a break for awhile. Once you're contracted, you can't do that. And by the way, getting a contract isn't the end—it's just the beginning. I worked for 10 years to learn fiction before earning a contract. (I didn't have the Internet and all its resources, as we do today.) Once my craft was ready, the contracts came hard and fast. It's a lot to keep up with.
Why are you suddenly writing a contemporary series, when you're known for your Seatbelt Suspense®?
The main first response from readers when they hear about That Dog Won't Hunt is, "What? You wrote a book and didn't kill anybody?" 

Readers who go all the way back with me to my first books will remember that I started out writing in both the contemporary and suspense genres. I wrote the Bradleyville series—a three-generational saga of interconnected family in rural Kentucky. These books were popular and won quite a few awards, especially the second in the series, Color the Sidewalk for Me. When I began writing suspense full time I did miss writing contemporaries. (My readers let me know they missed them too.) Now with the advent of self-publishing I can write these contemporaries again, in between my Seatbelt Suspense®.

I had the idea for the Dearing Family series years ago, but just when I was ready to write them, my publisher wanted me to go into suspense full time. So the books were set aside. Now that I've taken up the idea again, I wanted to write about this boisterous family using plenty of humor. But a light-reading, humorous book isn't enough for me. I also want to tackle a difficult issue amid the humor. That Dog Won't Hunt looks at the fall-out in an adult's life after suffering an abusive childhood. How that past can ruin current relationships, even if those relationships promise to be very good. So into the midst of the crazy Dearing family I bring Christina, who's endured a terrible childhood.

The reviews reflect this mix of humor and poignancy. Readers are soaking in the substance of the book. I'm glad to see that. The best letter I've received so far was from a reader who'd been raised by alcoholic, abusive parents. She said Christina's reactions to being thrust into a big family were exactly what she'd felt in a similar circumstance. She totally related to Christina's character and felt the book would be helpful to many readers.

That Dog Won't Hunt is only $2.99 in ebook form and $9.69 in paper. Please go to my web site for various links to order. If you'd like to sign onto my mailing list in order to be notified of my next releases—suspense and contemporary—please go here.

The second in the Dearing Family series, Pitchin' a Fit, will release in November.

Now for the directions to be entered in the drawing for a digital copy of That Dog Won't Hunt drawing to be held next Monday, July 22nd: to put your name in the hat, leave a comment. If you tweet about the book, or put it on FB,--and link to amazon to buy—your name will be put in the hat again. Here's a sample tweet to get you started--
Check out THAT DOG WON'T HUNT—a humorous and poignant new release from Brandilyn Collins. $2.99/ebook, $9.62 paper. http://is.gd/4fQXKW

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Shannon Vannatter, New Office and New Book Giveaway

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom and pastor’s wife. Her debut novel won the 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband, their son, and church congregation. Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, and three dachshunds in weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she’d rather write. Her goal is to hire Alice from the Brady Bunch.

Over the years, my office has moved around a bit. I started with an old wooden desk we bought at a yard sale. It wasn’t pretty, but it was huge. It was in the front corner of our living room with my white wicker furniture.
After my husband answered the call to preach, we converted our den into a joint office for both of us. We painted the walls a dark sage green. He had lots of ships and I had seashells. I put up palm tree border to try to make our styles blend. I didn’t like it. It was too dark for me, but I did enjoy sharing an office with him creating sermons at his desk and me creating fictional characters at mine.
When my husband became a full time pastor, he started doing most of his sermons at the church. He didn’t really need a home office as much as he needed a place he could talk privately with church members seeking his counsel. So, we redid his office with all the dark manly things he likes. He calls it a den again—I call it a man cave. And I moved back into the front corner of our living room. He got me a new white desk for Christmas to go with my wicker. I painted my corner in pastel shades I like, put up seashell border, and cluttered it with gifts, family pictures, and books that inspire me.
 A few things in my office that inspire me: A blue sequin hat just like the one my heroine wears in my November release, Rodeo Queen. A cotton boll. My parents picked cotton when they were growing up. I’m thankful I didn’t. The ballerina that came off my ninth birthday cake. A Noah’s Ark music box statue that was in my son’s nursery. A picture of a seashore my mom got me before I was published. It says: Dreams When you find a dream inside your heart don’t ever let it go. . . for dreams are the tiny seeds from which tomorrows grow. . . I read that poem a lot during the years I was getting rejections. Now it’s a reminder that I achieved my dream. Question of the day: Do you have a talent, hobby, dream or occupation you devote an area of your house to? your house to?

Read below to see what Rodeo Regrets is about, and to be entered in for a chance to win a copy, leave a comment with your email addy by next Sunday evening, July 21st.

Rodeo Regrets: 
Natalie once dreamed of finding true love. Then Lane Gray broke her heart. After running wild to fill the emptiness inside her, she heads back to her hometown to heal. But when she sees the cowboy she once loved so much, she finds him hard to resist.
Lane Gray is a changed man. The handsome cowboy wants Natalie's forgiveness-and more. Natalie has made plenty of mistakes in her life, but so has Lane. Could falling for each other again be the worst one yet? Or the path to redemption?