Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winner of the Courageous DVD and CD Package!

I hope you all had a VERY Merry Christmas:-) Is anyone wiping their brow in relief that the festivities are over? Well... not quite over– New Year's Eve is right around the corner. Which means that a whole year has passed. W-O-W! It feels as if just yesterday 2012 was beginning– and now, it's almost 2013. God's word is truly being fulfilled. In Matthew 24:22 it says,"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

I don't know about you, but I certainly feel that time has been cut short– there's hardly enough hours in one day to accomplish all that I need to! And as humans, we tend to complain about the never-enough-time malady. However, we ought to rejoice, because God shortened the days for our sake. So next time you feel like complaining about the shortened time, turn that complaining into praise. God loves us so much that He'll even shorten the days– an amazing thing, to be sure– for our sake. Hallelujah!:-)

And (clearing my throat), because of the shortened days, I haven't been able to post the winner of the Courageous DVD and CD Package;-) But I was able to spare some precious time today in order to reveal the winner... and the winner IS (drum-roll, please):

Ladette Kerr!!!

Congratulations, Ladette! Please email your mailing address to me by using my "Contact Me" page. If you haven't seen Courageous yet, you're in for a treat. I have enjoyed every movie Sherwood Pictures has released– with Facing the Giants earning first place– and I'm eagerly awaiting news of their next release.

For those of you who are interested in purchasing Courageous, you can buy it on Amazon.com (I am confident that if you do purchase it, you won't be disappointed.) And if you would like to purchase the Courageous CD, you can purchase it on Amazon.com, as well. Oh, and have a HAPPY New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Author Interview: A Log Cabin Christmas Collection– Michelle Ule

Welcome to the CBRB, Michelle! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a “retired” Navy wife who lives in northern California with her family. I’m a noted genealogist on some of the more obscure corners of the Internet and today’s story, “The Dogtrot Christmas,” from A Log Cabin Christmas Collection is based on my family history.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?  

As a child I always loved the writing assignments, but it really has more to do with my love of stories. Like many children, cuddled close to a parent and hearing a story transfixed my imagination and gave me insight to a different time and place. I love that power of story and am thrilled God gave me the ability to both tell and write stories that can move people.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?


I’m fascinated by the “whys” of life—why events happen. I’m also interested in “the rest of the story,” how people live through a harrowing experience and then get up the next morning to continue living their lives. In The Dogtrot Christmas, we’ve got Luis returning home from a grueling two years wanting nothing more than to live in peace, only to find his dreams dashed by Anglos who have moved onto his property.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?


I’m an uber-responsible individual whose husband worked tremendous hours in the Navy. I had trouble finding time to write when my four children needed me, particularly with all our moves. I didn’t really get serious about writing in a dedicated way until my husband retired and our youngest child was in school.

Has writing changed your life in any way?


Yes. It’s helped me, personally, be more disciplined but also exposed me to the wonderful world of writer friends. I’ve met so many fascinating, helpful and encouraging people! I love the stories I find in my research and I’ve traveled to some of the locales. It fits me, my interest and personality, very well.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?


God used Job 2:10 at a difficult time in my life to challenge me on what I believe about him. It reads as follows: “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

This taught me the purpose of my life is to glorify God, not to be happy or to only “get” good things from him. I believe the Lord brings events into my life for HIS purposes and my responsibility is to trust him and move forward.

The passage changed the Point Of View (POV in writer language) from mine to God’s—which is a much healthier place from which to view life and circumstances.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

I adore Carlos Eire’s Waiting for Snow in Havana—which is a memoir. He tells a fantastical story of growing up in pre-Castro Havana, with a chorus of unusual characters behaving in memorable fashion. His words are exquisitely Latin, and paint colorful pictures that made me laugh—when I wasn’t crying. A glorious book from a very fine writer.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

The list is endless . . .  How about this video I made to explain what a dogtrot cabin is:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6LNPHFNPq0

Please tell us about the featured book.
Buy At Amazon

“The Dogtrot Christmas” from A Log Cabin Christmas Collection (Barbour, September 2011)
 When a conscripted war-weary Tejano returns to the family ranchero in 1836 Texas, he is enraged to discover an Anglo couple has built a dogtrot cabin on his very land. Luis carries many disappointments and horrors but is captivated by Molly Faires’ devotion to her widowed brother and toddler nephew. His past, though, finally finds reconcilliation by the listening ear and forgiving heart of his old tutor, Rev. Thomas Hanks. Christmas provides Luis and Molly and opportunity to find the unity under the roof of Jesus Christ’s posada story.

A Log Cabin Christmas appeared on the October 2, 2011 New York Times best seller’s list.

 You can read more about the writing and research for this book, at its own page here: http://michelleule.com/books/the-dogtrot-christmas-outtakes-and-research-details/

Can you please give us the first page?
 

The Dogtrot Christmas
Chapter One
East Texas, June 1836
             
Balanced on top of the sticky pine cabin wall, Molly Faires clung to the end of the log roof beam while Jamie fought to place it.
               “Easy now. I think I’ve got it. Get down and out of the way.” Jamie didn’t take his eyes off the log as Molly scrambled down the unchinked walls to the ground.
               Molly tucked a strand of blonde hair back into her sunbonnet as she watched her brother wrestle the log toward the notches.
               “Is it lined up?” he called.
               “Almost there.” She held her breath. This was the first one. If the two of them could set the beams, they wouldn’t need to bother the neighbors for more help. Once they got the beams secure, Jamie could build a single roof covering the two small cabins and the breezeway in between: a “dogtrot” cabin.
               When his straw hat blew off in the direction of the flourishing vegetable patch, Jamie stayed on focus, inching the heavy log into place. But then a swallow flit too close; he jerked and lost his hold. “It’s going. Watch out!”
               Molly sprinted a dozen yards north to where she’d tied the young’un Andy to a loblolly pine stump already trying to sprout again.
               The log shuddered down the side of the western cabin wall, landed on end and fell forward with a mighty thud into the stump-studded yard. Belle, the yellow dog who had followed them all the way from Tennessee, hightailed it to the woods.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Real Virtue by Katy Lee

Welcome to the CBRB, Katy! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Katy Lee writes higher-purpose stories in high-speed worlds. As an inspirational author, speaker, home-schooling mom, and children’s ministry director, she has dedicated her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Her fresh and unique voice brings a fast-paced and modern feel to her romances that are sure to resonate with readers long after the last page. Her debut novel Real Virtue is a finalist in many writing contests, and took second place in the 2011 Georgia Maggie Award of Excellence. Real Virtue is currently an EPIC Award Finalist as well. Katy lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two cats.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?

I wrote my first story in the 5th grade, and knew right away I would do this “for real” someday.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

Everyone has a story, but so many don’t have a voice to share it. It is my hope through my stories of my fictional characters that real people will find their voices to share theirs.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

Time.
 
Your in good company here:-) Isn't time an obstacle for everyone!? But, um, how did you overcome it... or maybe you didn't?;-) Has writing changed your life in any way?

Freedom to be myself. I love that when someone asks me what I do, I can say wholeheartedly, “I am a writer.’

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Buy At Amazon
Please tell us about the featured book.

Did you know video game addiction is becoming an increasingly difficult problem with the youths in America today? It can affect the everyday life and social situations of children through young adults. Video game addiction can hinder a child's learning skills, cause real life problem solving to become more difficult, and cause a child to spend far less time with family and friends.

In Real Virtue, the story opens with my heroine, Mel Mesini, reaching the highest level in this online interactive game she plays. A game that promises her a life she can love. She’s playing while she is supposed to be working. She plays because she doesn’t feel so great about her real life. She plays because it’s a world she can control.

Or so she thinks.


In a virtual reality game where she can fly, someone’s aiming to take her down.

Mel Mesini is a New York City restaurateur and an avid, virtual reality world traveler. She’s risen above her misfit life and now bears a striking resemblance to her glamorous, gaming avatar. But her successful life—both online and in reality—takes a swerve the night her father is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Mel is careened back to her judgmental hometown, where being the daughter of the town’s crazy lady had made her the outcast she was. To make matters worse, Officer Jeremy Stiles, the man whose harsh, rejecting words had cut her the deepest, is heading the investigation.

Jeremy knows he hurt Mel and attempts to make amends by finding her father’s assailant. When he realizes she’s the actual target, his plan for reconciliation turns to one of protection—whether she wants his help or not. What he wants is answers, especially about this online game she plays. Is it a harmless pastime as she says? Or is she using it to cover something up? As a faceless predator destroys the things that matter to her, Jeremy knows he’s running out of time before she loses the one thing that matters most—her real life.

Can you please give us the first page?

Chapter 1

With one nudge of her gaming controller, Mel concealed her avatar behind an immense African baobab tree. Its wide, silvery-barked trunk perfectly shielded her videogame character from her competitor’s eyes. Legend had it that the gods grew tired of listening to the baobab complain about not being slender like the palm and not bearing fruit like the fig, so they pulled the tree up by its roots, replanting it upside down to keep it quiet.

Now, from its gnarled, root-like branches, a green and gold snake slithered down this distorted tree of life. Mel’s lips twitched as the slender, virtual arm on her flat-screen monitor extended with a fluidity an experienced ballerina would envy. Her avatar invited the computer-graphic snake to coil around her hand and then slither down her side. Mel delighted in the fact her avatar’s ruby red smile never wavered. Not a trace of fear glimmered in the dazzling blue eyes of Mel’s virtual self.

She felt bad for the baobab, silenced because it wished for a better life. Mel didn’t see anything wrong with modifying your appearance if it made you a stronger being. She was living proof of how a makeover could help you stand a little straighter, and there would be no one shutting her up because of it.

Not in her new life anyway.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

I would love for you to contact me at www.KatyLeeBooks.com. You’ll see links for Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads, too! Join me!

And be sure to keep a look out for my next Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense to be released in 2013!


**********
GIVEAWAY!
  Katy has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of Real Virtue (or an eBook copy– winner's choice)! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Saturday, December 22, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through Random.org,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Kaydie by Penny Zeller

Welcome to the CBRB, Penny! It’s great to have you back! Can you please share a little bit about yourself? (BTW, readers, the winner of McKenzie has been posted under the "Winner's Announcement" on the sidebar. Winner, please contact me!)

Hello Aizess, thank you for the privilege of having me back as your guest on the Christian Book Review Blog. I am a Christ follower, wife, mom, author, speaker, blogger, and volunteer. My most recent series is my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series and includes McKenzie, Kaydie, and Hailee.  I am also the author of 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference, and three other books. When I’m not dreaming up new characters, I enjoy spending time with my family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball.

What is your favorite book that you have written? 

That is a great question and nearly impossible to answer! I have been blessed to write all of my books, nonfiction and fiction alike.  The Montana Skies Series is my favorite so far; however, I have a special place in my heart for McKenzie (Book #1) because of the testimony behind it. God enabled me to write it while I was recovering from a car accident and multiple bacterial infections.

Is there a character from one of your books that you’re particularly fond of? 

I actually have three characters that I am especially fond of (one in each book in the series):

Zach Sawyer (McKenzie)

Jonah Dickenson (Kaydie)

Hailee Annigan (Hailee)

What was your journey to publication like and how long did you write before you were published?

I was bitten by the writing bug at age seven when I began writing Bible stories in my own words. In fourth grade, I started to write fictional stories and “publish” them in homemade, wallpaper-covered cardboard books. Fast forward to the year 2000, when I quit my job in a social services agency to stay home with my infant daughter. I began writing magazine articles for national and regional publications on a variety of topics ranging from health, motherhood, and faith. I’ll never forget when my first article was published!  A few years later, my first book was published, followed by six additional books.

Getting published is not an easy road and it takes determination. It took me awhile before I was published. I always encourage yet-to-be-published writers to give their writing to the Lord, follow His lead, and then persevere.

What people have inspired you on your writing journey? 

I first of all give God the glory for my writing. As far as people who have inspired me, that would include my husband and daughters, my grandma, my dear friend Barb, and Mrs. Vernon, my second grade teacher who encouraged me to become a writer.

Are you currently working on anything new? If so, what is it? 

I am currently working on a historical romance series that takes place right after the Civil War. I’m excited to introduce a new cast of characters to my readers!

What are you currently reading? 

I am reading Galatians in the Bible. I’m also looking forward to reading Anita Higman’s new book Texas Wildflowers, which I plan to start reading over the Christmas holiday.

How has your relationship with Jesus affected/influenced your writing? 

My relationship with Jesus has fully affected and influenced my writing in many ways. For one thing, I have grown closer to the Lord and am learning everyday to fully depend on Him.

As far as influencing my writing, I desire to use my writing to glorify Him. I pray that I will impact lives for Him through my writing and that I will glorify Him with each sentence, paragraph, and page that I write.

In addition, some people will never reach for the Bible, but they will read Christian fiction. If I can inspire my readers for Christ (in a non-preachy way) then I will have achieved my goal.

Buy At Amazon
Please tell us about the featured book. 

The featured book is Kaydie, Book Two in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series. Following is the blurb:

For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily. Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead. Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother–in–law, Zach Sawyer, at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to protect. As she looks forward to her baby's birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won't be easy to tear down.

Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother. He does not, however, envy Zach's new role as a husband. Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships. But there's something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor.

When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie's, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises. Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts. Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?

The book trailer for Kaydie can be seen here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwihs6rsqDk

Can you please give us the first page?

Absolutely!

Pine Haven, Montana Territory, October 1882

“No, Darius, I’m not going with you!” Kaydie Kraemer winced in pain as her husband, Darius, grabbed her arm and pulled her out the door of her sister’s house toward his waiting horse. She tried to pull her arm loose from his tight grasp, but her efforts were futile.
Darius then reached around and grabbed her other arm, squeezing it so hard that Kaydie could already see the bruises he would leave behind. “You don’t have a choice, Kaydie. You’re my wife, remember?”
“No, Darius. I’m staying here. I don’t want to be married to you anymore.” Kaydie fought back her tears, hating that they would be sign of weakness to her husband.
“You don’t have a choice,” he snarled. “Now, you can either come willingly, or I can carry you. Which will it be? Because I ain’t leavin’ without you.” He turned his head to the side and spit on the front porch.


Excerpt from Chapter One of Kaydie by Penny Zeller, © 2011, with permission of the publisher, Whitaker House.

Where can readers learn more information about you? I love to connect with my readers:

On my blog: “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, & Author” www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com
On my website: www.pennyzeller.com
On my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/PennyZeller

Thank you again, Aizess, for allowing me to once again be your guest. It has been an honor to be here and I appreciate all you do to help support Christian authors and spread the word about their books.

**********
GIVEAWAY!
  Readers, here's your chance to win a book by Penny: Kaydie, the second book in Penny's Montana Skies series! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through Random.org,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: Mckenzie by Penny Zeller

Buy At Amazon
"'Desperate times call for desperate measures' is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston’s high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband—whom she’ll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

'Desperate times call for desperate measures' is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God’s own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.

When McKenzie arrives at Zach’s ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart—and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie will soon see."

I really enjoy mail-order bride stories. Penny made McKenzie unique in that McKenzie (the heroine) didn’t apply to Zach’s mail-order bride ad because she wanted to get married (as is usually the case in other mail-order bride stories), but because she needed a place to stay and someone to provide for her daily needs while she looked for her sister, Kaydie. This unique premise intrigued me from the start. And Penny’s smooth writing lulled me forward. So much so that I finished McKenzie fairly quickly.

The letter communication between Zach and McKenzie in the beginning of the book went on a mite too long and, although the story was interesting, it started to drag towards the middle. But after slogging through some mud, the story continued on its smooth pace.

To be honest, when McKenzie arrived in the Dakota Territory, I didn’t like her much. She seemed like a stuck-up, incompetent, and partially heart-less rich girl. Her only redeemable quality at that time in the book was her love for Kaydie and her willingness to “sacrifice” so she could rescue her sister. As the book progressed, however, the more McKenzie slowly transformed, the more I came to quickly like her– which, I suppose, was the author’s intent.

Now Zach, I liked from the start. And my admiration for him grew as I witnessed the way he handled his marriage in a godly way, overlooking McKenzie many faults, and bringing his cares to God. I loved how Zach’s faith infused every part of his life, including his willingness to search for McKenzie sister after he found out about her. And Davie was a wonderful addition to the book. He brought laughter wherever he went. Oh, and I can’t forget Lucille– the town’s busybody!

Seeing McKenzie and Zach fall-in-love was sweet. It was a painful moment when Mckenzie’s true intentions came to light. And to have her mother come to “rescue” her was the icing on the cake. But through this situation, we saw how far McKenzie had come in changing. And I loved her for it.

The finding of Kaydie was a joyous moment. Her plot ended a little too clean-cut for my liking and I’m fairly certain of how her story will end up; nevertheless, Penny created a satisfying ending to a satisfying read. I give this book 3.5-4 stars. An interesting, clean, and Christ-centered read. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Much thanks to the author and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given**

Book Review: Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy

Buy At Amazon
"Jenny's allegiance lay with the Confederate Army. But her heart belonged to the enemy. Faithful to her family and the land of her birth, young Jenny Jordan covers for her father's Confederate spy missions. But as she grows closer to handsome Union soldier Buck Brownell. Jenny finds herself torn between devotion to the South and her feelings for the man she is forbidden to love. Overwhelmed by pressure to assist the South, Jenny agrees to carry critical information over enemy lines. But when she is caught in Buck Brownell's territory, will he follow orders to execute the beautiful spy or find a way to save his Beloved Enemy?"

Guest Review by Ali

Beloved Enemy was a Civil War tale of intrigue, romance, and God's faithfulness. The spiritual lessons throughout this book were a continuous blessing to this reader. To see how God worked everything out in the end for the good of the character, was very motivating. I was able to see God's goodness amiss the gruesome facts of war.

Being transported to the battle field was both interesting and saddening. Al Lacy wrote the battle scenes with such vivid actions you could easily picture the horrors of war. Though this was a somewhat fictional account, some things were based on true events, everyone felt real. You felt the characters losses. Though vivid as the author wrote, I wouldn't say it was pg-13 or anything. 

Not all was gloom and sorrows in this novel, there were some very thrilling and funny moments. I immensely enjoyed the sweet romance the author portrayed among the two characters, Buck and Jenny. Such clean romance that was found in this book is highly lacking in today's books. I enjoyed the fact that the author did not compromise his beliefs on writing the romantic scenes, but stood up for his convictions.

Overall, this was a great read. Allowing you to meditate on deeper truths than just about fictional characters. It included many suspenseful moments that made this book a 5 out of 5 read. It can be bought at Amazon.

**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Much thanks to Ali for her guest review**

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Review: Abducted by Janice Cantore

Buy At Amazon
"After solving the mayor’s murder and exposing corruption among the top brass in Las Playas, Carly Edwards is happy to be back on patrol with her partner, Joe, putting bad guys behind bars. For once, everything in life seems to be going right.

But then everything starts going wrong. Slow to recover from an injury, her ex-husband, Nick, begins pulling away just as they were starting to get close again. Meanwhile, when Joe’s wife lands in the hospital with a mysterious illness, their baby is kidnapped. As Carly chases down every lead in a desperate search to find the baby, her new-found faith is pushed to its limits."


I was eagerly anticipating this second installment in the Pacific Coast Justice series and Janice didn’t disappoint. While not as good as the first book, Accused (click HERE to read my review), there was enough action and intrigue to keep me turning the pages. And a curiosity as to how Carly and Nick’s relationship would end.

The main plot thread– finding Joe’s kidnapped son– took center stage, with a few added twists that kept my interest. I was expecting the ”finding” of the baby to be a little more suspenseful and closer to the end of the book, but Janice surprisingly held my attention even after the main plot was resolved.

I was relieved to discover that Andrea was not as sinister as I initially suspected, although there were a few shocking incidents that involved her. And, of course, I enjoyed seeing the continuation of Carly and Nick’s budding relationship. Despite another love interest for Carly and Nick’s stubborn withdrawal because of his injured leg, Janice– thankfully– ended their relationship on a satisfying note– the same with the overall ending, with a nice dramatic ending flair.

Overall, this was a satisfying, cop-thriller sequel to Accused. I look forward to reading Janice’s next installment, Avenged. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given**

Monday, November 19, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: The Road To Mercy by Kathy Harris

Welcome to the CBRB, Kathy! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an author by way of a “Divine” detour into the Nashville music business.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?

I started writing my first book when I was seven or eight years old and decided then that I wanted to be a writer “when I grew up.” I followed that dream through college and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a communications degree. But I couldn’t find a writing-related job, so I took a 30-year detour into music.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

I love writing women’s fiction (although I also write some suspense and romance) because it reflects the reality of life’s ups and downs. For me, books should be cathartic for the reader (and often the author).

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

Finding the time to write. Writing in the evening, after my day job, wasn’t working for me. So, I changed my schedule and started writing in the morning before work. I found that I was more creative (or, at least, more focused) in the morning.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

It has been fulfilling to tackle the challenge—one that was much bigger than I expected—of learning the craft and doing something I dreamed of doing as a child.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

Luke 12:31, which reminds us to focus on God… the rest will fall into place.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

Wow... so many. A few which come to mind:  Chris Fabry’s Almost Heaven, Gina Holme’s Crossing Oceans, Eva Marie Everson’s Things Left Unspoken, and Ginny Yttrups’s Words.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Maybe buying a puppy, sight unseen? Rinse and repeat two more times. It was never anything I expected I would do, but I fell in love with the Shiloh Shepherd breed, and there are no breeders within 150 miles of us. My husband and I have owned three Shilohs, and we love them. One came from upstate New York, one from Philadelphia, and one from Washington State.

For those who aren’t familiar with the breed, they look a lot like oversized German Shepherds. You can see pictures of our dogs at http://www.kathyharrisbooks.com/dogs.html.

Please tell us about the featured book.

The Road to Mercy is about finding God’s forgiveness, even when you can’t forgive yourself.

The tagline
Tragedy, love, and secrets meet on a journey of faith.

The premise
Dr. Ben Abrams, rescued as an infant from a fiery crash that killed his family, turned his adversities into success but lost his heritage of faith. Fifty years later, Josh and Bethany Harrison face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth's carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death, even as she's pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Abrams urges her to abort the baby to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and
 continue the pregnancy.
During the next few months, Josh, a contemporary Christian singer, struggles with his faith while Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.

Can you please give us the first page?
Buy At Amazon

Sure. The first page is part of the prologue, which takes place 50 years prior to the main part of the book.

October 10, 1959

Jack Randall jerked his foot from the accelerator and instinctively applied the brakes. His mind raced as his Plymouth Belvedere slowed to a stop. Police cars with lights blazing blocked the intersection that led to his home. The reflection off the wet pavement created an eerie blur, and shadowy figures danced across the sides of the squad cars.

Must be a bad accident. The storm that passed earlier in the night had soaked the black asphalt.

As he watched the policeman walk toward his car, Jack cranked down the driver’s side window. The uniformed officer flashed a bright light in his direction, not quite in his eyes.

“Sorry, sir, no through traffic this morning. A small plane crashed on the Neimann farm.”

Jack’s heart pounded. “Anyone hurt? I need to see if my family is—”

“No one on the ground was hurt, sir. Everyone in the plane was killed. May I see your driver’s license?”

Jack reached into a back pocket for his well-worn wallet. From it he pulled a small piece of paper, which he placed into the gloved hand of the Illinois State Trooper.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

I interview authors and entertainers regularly on my blog at www.DivineDetour.com. My personal website is www.KathyHarrisBooks.com. My author Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/KathyHarrisAuthor. Twitter: @DivineDetour.

Thanks for having me here, Aizess! God bless.

**********
GIVEAWAY!
  Kathy has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of The Road to Mercy! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through Random.org,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Buy At Amazon
"A dream of a better life...
A tragedy aboard a wagon train...
A tentative agreement..
Will it lead to love for two seeking hearts?

Hoping to escape the poor conditions of 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines and her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher and their two children set off for Kansas aboard an unusual wagon train. But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into a partnership with Joss that leaves them both questioning God and their plans for the future. 
As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will they give up and go their separate ways? Or will God use their time in Drayton Valley in a way they never expected?" 

Beautiful. If I could sum up this book with just one word, it would be beautiful. The setting, the writing, the plot, the characters. Mrs.Sawyer painted such vivid word pictures, I could feel the wind tangling my hair, the Kansas grass tickling my feet, and the characters' joys and pains. From the first word to the last, Mrs.Sawyer spun a seamless tale of enjoyment with the redemption power of Christ shining forth as a beacon of light.

The plot flowed effortlessly. Entangling me from the first page to the last. The fact that we meet Mary, Joss' late wife, and come to care about her was an interesting factor. Surprisingly, it didn't hinder me from later wanting Tarsie and Joss to fall in love.

But what really held me captive was the characters themselves. Mary was so sweet-- and selfless. Her trust in God was a great lesson. She trusted the Lord with her life and the lives of her loved ones and it was somewhat heart-wrenching to see her suffer. Tarsie was a wonderful friend to Mary and a great mother figure in Mary and Joss' children's lives. I loved her faith and her Irish spitfire ways. Mrs.Ruth, her husband, and their family-- a "colored" family-- were wonderful secondary characters-- especially Ruth. Her and her husband's love for each other was so sweet-- and they were such a wonderful, godly influence on Joss... which leads me to my most favorite character.

Any book with a not-ideal-not-Christian hero, I love all the more. One who embeds himself on my heart because I'm just yearning for him to come to Christ and turn from his ways. One where I can rejoice in any little change in him because he's the type where he's changing... but gradually. Which makes his complete surrender to Christ that more satisfying-- where I'm crying tears of joy. This sums up Joss. A cold man who loves his drink. Knowing that he was the hero made him a little less revolting, because at the beginning of the book he was def-inite-ly not an ideal hero. But seeing the oh-so-slow changes in him warmed my heart. And when he fell (not literally), my heart ached with Tarsie. But to experience the scene that played out at the end was worth all the pain. It was hard to contain my tears!

I could go on and on. As is evident, I LOVED this book. An uplifting, unique, and uber-spectacular read. A must need addition for your library. Needless to say, A Home in Drayton Valley earns my 5 star badge:-) It can bought at Amazon.

** Much thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

Monday, November 12, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: McKenzie by Penny Zeller

Welcome to the CBRB. Penny! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Hello Aizess, thank you for the privilege of having me as your guest on the Christian Book Review Blog. I am a Christ follower, wife, mom, author, speaker, blogger, and volunteer. My most recent series is my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series and includes McKenzie, Kaydie, and Hailee.  I am also the author of 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference, and three other books. When I’m not dreaming up new characters, I enjoy spending time with my family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball.

When did you first discover that you loved writing? 

In second grade, I would rewrite Bible stories and hand them in to my teacher – a sort of grade school commentary  In fourth grade, I began to write fiction stories about a dog named Muffie and her adventures, as well as other short stories, neatly composed in homemade wallpaper-covered cardboard books.

By the time I was 10, I had graduated to a suspense series where the main character was the handsome and fictional police officer, Josh McClain. Everyday, my younger sister and cousin would excitedly ask me what was going on in Josh’s life and what crimes he had solved. I shared with them the ‘current episode’ about Josh McClain that I had made up in my mind from the night before (usually when I should have been sleeping!) and would leave them at a cliffhanger until I could make up some more details the following night. We still laugh about those stories!

I continued through the years to develop my love for writing. In 2000, I quit my full-time job in a social services agency to stay home with my infant daughter and committed my writing to the Lord. I began writing magazine articles for national and regional publications, followed by writing books.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

Historical romance is my favorite genre, both to read and to write. My goal is to create realistic characters who struggle, just as we in real life do. My books are character-driven, and I develop those characters and grow them – not to perfection – but grow them in the Lord via themes of faith, forgiveness, love, redemption, hope, and dependence on God.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

I never realized it before I began writing, but being an author is a full-time career. I have to be intentional about setting aside time and setting goals or my writing can easily take a backseat to the other “necessary” daily chores of being a wife, mother, speaker, blogger, and volunteer. Because I work from a home office, I have to be intentional also about allowing the answering machine to “field” calls and be realistic about time management. Effective prioritizing has been a huge learning experience for me! Each morning, I pray that the Lord would help me to do only what He would have me to do.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

I have been blessed to be able to share about the Lord in a way that I love – through the written word.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most? 


Psalm 91 is a chapter in the Bible that has impacted my life the most. During a difficult time after a car accident, this Psalm really ministered to me and continues to be my favorite in the Bible.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular? 

Reading is a favorite pastime of mine and I have read several good books. I especially enjoy historical romance, but I also enjoy nonfiction, and my favorite book is the Bible.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done? 


What a great question, Aizess! I love humor and laughter and am a practical joker at heart. I also blog about some of the humorous happenings on my “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, & Author.” Probably the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done would be the prank phone call I made to my husband while we were both in high school that later led to us meeting in person and ultimately getting married.

Please tell us about the featured book.


Buy At Amazon
I wrote McKenzie during a difficult time in my life while recovering from a car accident and back-to-back bacterial infections. However, the Lord took something difficult and turn it to good. Following is the blurb for McKenzie…

Desperate times call for desperate measures is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston's high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband-whom she'll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

Desperate times call for desperate measures is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God's own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams. 

When McKenzie arrives at Zach's ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart-and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie and Kaydie will soon see.

Can you please give us the first page?

Absolutely!

September 18, 1881 Boston, Massachusetts

    Clutching the envelope that had just been delivered to her home, McKenzie Worthington walked into the parlor and closed the doors behind her. Sitting down, she ran her finger over the familiar, hasty penmanship on the outside of the envelope. There was no return address, but McKenzie already knew who had sent the letter. Bracing herself for the words on the pages within, she carefully opened the seal and unfolded the tattered, soiled piece of stationery.

    My dearest sister, McKenzie,
    I write this letter with a heavy heart and a fearful spirit. I am convinced that Darius is not the man I thought him to be when I married him. He drinks almost continually, and when there is no more money to purchase his whiskey, he places the blame on me. He used all the money in my trousseau long ago, and we are constantly on the run to avoid the law. His threats are many if I dare turn him in to the local sheriff.


Where can readers learn more information about you? 


I love to connect with my readers:

On my blog: “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, & Author” www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com
On my website: www.pennyzeller.com
On my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/PennyZeller

Thank you again, Aizess, for allowing me to be your guest. It has been an honor to be here and I appreciate all you do to help support Christian authors and spread the word about their books.

**********
GIVEAWAY!
  It is my pleasure, Penny! Okay, readers, Penny has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of McKenzie! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through Random.org,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig

Buy At Amazon
"New York City, 1897

She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she's found is a web of danger.

Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.

She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother--but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.

With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke... a man she's grown to love?"


No Safe Harbor was a pleasant surprise. Aye, it was more than I expected. First of all, I loved all the Irish references-- especially the accents! And the stubbornly determined Irish spirit, of course. Cara, Rourke, and the whole cast of secondary characters were made three-dimensional by the depth of  their pasts. The way in which almost all of their pasts intertwined was interesting to see unfold. And the Irish culture and the prominent place Irish politics played in the book intrigued me immensely.

The mystery plot was well done. I'd be close to thinking I understood the full mystery when the author would throw another surprise my way-- and they weren't little surprises, either. The romance portion was wonderful, as well. Surprisingly, it was believable-- something not many romances can claim to posses. And sweet. However, it was somewhat discouraging to see that a major factor in the change of heart in Rourke and his family towards Cara's brother, Eoghan, was the knowledge that Eoghan was most likely not responsible for their fellow kinsman Daniel's death. But this in no way detracted from the overall enjoyment of the book.

Towards the end, Elizabeth [Ludwig] really amped-up the pace. The ending was bittersweet, yet satisfying. I'm very eager to continue Eoghan's story, which Elizabeth mentioned we could expect in the next installment of the Edge of Freedom series. I am most definitely planning on reading the next book. This book proved to be a 5 star book and I'm sure the next one will be, as well. No Safe Harbor can be bought at Amazon.

** Much thanks to the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given**

Monday, November 5, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: When Shadows Fall by Tina Pinson

Welcome to the CBRB, Tina! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife, 30+ years to HS Sweetheart, a mother, to 3 grown sons, a grandmother, to five with two on the way, and, as I tell people, a blonde when I get the mix right. Up until a year ago I was living where hubby and I hoped to settle. Close to family. We had our own business, Omega Avionics. Hubby installed aircraft radios and components and I kept the books and did the paperwork. Lots of paperwork.

Then the economy tanked and we lost 65 to 70% of our business and were forced to close. Looking for work brought us to Arizona. Which in my view is a whole nuther world. Warm, hot, and brutally hot define the seasons here. But here is where we are, for now.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?

I started writing as a young girl. Had worked up some novels by the time I was in JrH. And just kept on. I always had a vivid imagination. Which until I learned to use it for better things than lying, got me in trouble. Thank goodness for fiction.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

Since I write historical, contemporary, and speculative, I may seem like I don't have a type, but my books are all Christian Fiction with an emphasis on God's abounding love, grace, and mercy. My stories take a look at life and how living with Christ can get you through and sometimes it takes a while for the characters to see that. But that's life.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

That would probably have to be myself, my fear of failing, my belief that at any moment someone was going to read my stories and find out what a fake I am. I had to remind myself that God had given me this imagination, this desire to write, and I needed to use this talent for God.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Oh yes, I now have a mansion in Aspen, with an indoor pool and landing pad for my helo. I can jump in my jet when… oh wait this isn't supposed to be fiction. Actually, I had dreams that it might be different. A bit more recognition, a bigger paycheck… I do a touch more editing, and promoting which, if I'm not careful, cuts into my writing time, but life hasn't changed much.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

Among my favorite verses Jeremiah 29:11 rates high. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

It's a reminder that even if I don't understand it or see it, God has something wonderful for my life. And I can put my trust in him, because he loves me and holds my life in his hands.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

This is where I should mention my books right? LOL No I don’t know that I've ever read a spectacular book. But there have been some that are very thought provoking and heart wrenching. One book that held my interest was called Shades of Gray. No, this has nothing to do with the trilogy that's out there right now. This was a story of a girl, a Russian Jew, and what happened to her and her family during WWII, Sarah's Key and the story behind it really made me think. And there are others.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

I fell in an open manhole… it wasn't funny at the time, it was more like embarrassing, but taking into consideration my klutziness all these years later, I can look at it through different eyes

Please tell us about the featured book.
Buy At Amazon

When Shadows Fall the first in the Shadow Series (#2 releases this Nov.) is what I call my Oregon With the Wind saga. I say saga because it follows Rebekah and Matthew through the battlefields and losses of the Civil War, and then onto the Oregon Trail. I wrote it to be one full story, but no one cares to read a 900 page novel by an unknown author, so I split it into smaller bites, hoping people will take the journey with me and my characters.

Matthew and Rebekah are childhood friends, who love each other but are afraid to say so. They go their separate ways, in life, in marriage. Years later, they meet again when Rebekah returns home to find her husband, Robert, who is being held in a Yankee prison. With the help of Abraham Lincoln, her godfather, she secures Robert's release only find that he's lost his legs and his will to live. She fights for him, but realizes a part of him lays dying back in the prison and he'll never come home again. With Robert's passing, Rebekah decides to leave her worn torn world and head west to Oregon, hoping to find a world of peace for her and her son, Andrew.

After seeing Rebekah again, Matthew is determined to never lose sight of her again. When he learns that Robert has died and Rebekah is heading west, he makes plans to help her, hoping that she will, over the ensuing months, learn to love him as much as he does her.

Can you please give us the first page?

Stay open. Rebekah held her eyes wide, but after a ten-day wagon trip with her friends, Harland and Martha Graves, with little rest, her mind couldn't keep them propped -- even amidst the commotion. She hoped the White House staff would call her before they found her strung out between two chairs.
A child darted past, brushing Rebekah's skirt, catching her attention. Her head lifted on a rubbery neck as her gaze trailed the boy around the room in a dizzying manner. He trotted around, weaving through the chairs and ducked beneath one.
It seemed everyone wanted to see the president. How many of the women had come for the same reason as she? She eyed the door and thought about leaving so as not to burden him. Where else could she go?
Stifling a yawn, she got up to walk. Straightening her gray skirt and her bonnet, she went to look out the window.
Paved streets and traffic-laden thoroughfares -- how different from home. She envisioned the Washington she knew as a child, remembering little. The landmarks were hazy. New buildings filled the skyline, and so many people lined the walks. Had there been so many when she was young?
They all seemed to be at the White House today -- in the East Room, waiting for an audience with the president.
She removed her bonnet and fanned herself. Were summers always so hot? Her clothes soaked up the heat and held it. Only an idiot wore wool in the dead of summer. Idiot. Leaning against the wall, she studied the scenery outside, the opulence inside. Despite her best effort, her eyelids grew heavy.
She went in search of a chair.
"Miss. Miss." The sound buzzed in her head, followed by a firm shake. She came to, blinking to focus, and found the steward over her. He straightened. "It's time."
She gave her grainy eyes a thorough rub.
"The president will see you."
She covered another yawn, licked her teeth and lips, ran her knuckles along her eyes, and took the steward's hand. He pulled her from the chair. Snatching her bonnet, she pressed it on her head, fighting to get it over her loose, rebellious chignon. Forfeiting, she flopped the bonnet on the chair and concentrated on her hair.
Once satisfied with the way it lay, she bent to retrieve her bag. A shock of blond curls escaped, tumbled into her face. She battled to right it in a dignified manner and realized she had an audience. At the far end of the room, a man with a full beard and hat low on his head, watched with interest.
She matched his stare.
A broad grin lit his face.
Their eyes locked. He looked almost familiar. Too familiar. But he couldn't be. And she didn't have time to find out why. After a couple of faltering steps, craning her head to study him, she followed the steward.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

My Website
My Blog
Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
Tina Pinson Facebook
Tina Pinson FB Author Page

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GIVEAWAY!
  Tina has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of When Shadows Fall! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through Random.org,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

Give me liberty or give me death. Patrick Henry’s words swirl around my brain. An incessant mantra. Give me liberty or give me death. Unbidden tears spring to my eyes. Why? I do not know. Perhaps it is the careless trampling of freedom. Many willing to kill liberty for the sake of selfishness. Give me liberty or give me death. Disregarding future generations by allowing money to snatch all we hold dear. Too focused on the material, willing to toss freedom to the wind for the sake of security. Give me liberty or give me death. Deeming unworthy the pain our forefathers endured. Disregarding the blood of our heroes. Give me liberty or give me death. Silencing God. Removing Him from our leadership, our schools, our homes, our heart. Slowly diminishing the right to praise Him in spirit and in truth. Give me liberty or give me death.



May we never relive the struggles of our forefathers. But if we must… If it is necessary, may we never hesitate to stand for our Christian values-- with Jesus as our head. May we resist all threats to our God-given liberties. May we never back down if it comes time to choose between God and security. And may we always boldly proclaim… Give me liberty or give me death.

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P.S. Check out my updated review of Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden HERE. And be watching out for my review of No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig.

P.P.S. Check the Sidebar for the winner announcement for Shattered Silence by Margaret Daley. Winner please contact me!

P.P.P.S. Praise Jesus! All is well in my area of the East Coast. Where I live is probably one of the least devastated areas-- all to the glory of God. Please continue to keep those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy in your prayers.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Fruit of My Spirit by Deanna Nowadnick


Welcome to the CBRB, Deanna! Thank you for being here! When did you first discover that you loved writing?

Great first question! I graduated from college with a major in English, but never really enjoyed writing. I think it had more to do with being told what to write, rather than the writing itself. Working on my first book, I finally admitted my love for writing. I recognized the gift I’d been given and the wonderful opportunity God was giving me to share my stories.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

Both my featured book and second book are both memoirs of short stories. I am privileged to share messages of hope and inspiration. I have been blessed as a child of God, someone who has known great joy and the frustration of life’s challenges, major and minor. The books are a joyful celebration of mercy and grace.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

More a challenge than an obstacle was my awareness that my books are about God and His love and faithfulness, not Deanna and her mastery over the elements. It’s easy to think that life is all about me, but we all know differently. Trusting God to give me the stories and the words is a walk of faith, especially for someone who prides herself on her ability to micromanage any- and everything!

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Ten years ago (or two years ago, for that matter), if you had told me I would one day be responding to an Author Interview, I would have rolled my eyes and then laughed you out of the room. May I just affirm the saying, “God’s not finished with me yet.” He never is, is he?

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Notice I use the King James Version. I love the beauty of the words and their message. Oh, to have a heart like David!

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

There are many books that have been truly spectacular for different reasons. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird gave me the courage to write and to keep writing. Jane Austen warms my heart. Beth Moore feeds my soul and nurtures my faith. Steig Larsson wow’s me. And honorable mention has to go to Carolyn Keene who gave a young girl her first real love of reading. In third grade I really just wanted to grow up and be Nancy Drew.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

I’m a study in contrasts. The competent, Type-A part of me assists in the management of a very successful investment advisory firm, cares for all things financial at church, and leads where and when she can. The ditzy, quirky part of me has been known to talk so much to my latte lady that I’ve left without paying. More than once I’ve gotten back to my desk and then turned around with a red face and the dollars owing.

Buy At Amazon
Please tell us about the featured book.

Fruit of My Spirit is part Bible study, part memoir, part confessional. What started as one story for my sons about how I met their father quickly became a much larger story about God’s love and faithfulness. As you’ll read, God has encircled me during joyous, sad, cringe-worthy, heartwarming, forgettable, memorable moments in life. The book is for anyone who’s ever questioned God’s ability to love and forgive, who’s ever wondered about their place in God’s family or God’s place in theirs.  

Can you please give us the first page?

            I’m a mess.  The highlights in my hair hide a pre-gray drab.  One hip and one knee have been replaced and another knee should be.  I’m overweight and under the illusion that I’m going to wake up one morning to a younger, skinnier self.  On good days I whine and complain.  On bad days I whine and complain more.  I’m impatient whenever life has the audacity to thwart my plans.  I get frustrated whenever life presents a detour or a hurdle.  At one point I planned to live to 125.  When I remembered that the Bible says Moses only lived to 120, I decided on 119.  I can’t imagine God needing me around longer than Moses!
            Life has its challenges.  Life is a challenge.  I know my existence is about more than this body.  I know it’s not about gray hair, failing body parts and excess pounds.  I know the important stuff’s on the inside, but honestly, I’m not so sure that the inside stuff’s any prettier.  Perhaps I’ve been expecting God to act as my own fairy godmother, ready to pop into the scene any moment now.  With a twinkle in His eye and a wand in His hand, I’ve been waiting to be tapped ever so gently on the forehead and magically transformed into a loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled delight in His life, adorned in a nice white ensemble, cute shoes, and fresh nail polish.  In thinking that, I’ve not only trivialized God’s love and forgiveness, but I’ve missed the magnitude of His mercy that’s been shared with me over and over again.  I’ve overlooked the fruit of His Holy Spirit that’s already a part of my own spirit in all that I do and all that I am.
            So now what?  Filled with His Holy Spirit, do I step back from life as I’ve known it?  Do I need to tiptoe around the messiness of each day, avoiding the dirt and grime of my daily existence?  If not wearing a white ensemble, something off-white?  With His fruit, will I have this new aura about me that parts the seas and calms the storm within?

Where can readers learn more information about you?

I love connecting with readers!
·         Website: www.deannanowadnick.com (note: my website is being redone, so check back September 1st!)
·         Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FruitofMySpirit
·         Twitter: @deannanowadnick
·         Books: Barnes & Noble and Amazon

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GIVEAWAY!
Deanna has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of Fruit of My Spirit! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
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(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through Random.org,