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,