Good and Faithful Servant Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

qL-JrSX4

About the Book:

Gexx-Zfw

Book: Good & Faithful Servant

Author: Wes Daughenbough

Genre: Non-fiction, leadership

Release Date: July, 2020

The greatest need in the body of Christ today is for spiritual leadership training, and the first law of spiritual leadership is that you are not the leader—the Holy Spirit is! If you follow him, you will lead many to righteousness.

Veteran pastor Wes Daughenbaugh, a Christian leader for nearly fifty years and author of five books, presents a wealth of spiritual wisdom designed to help Christian leaders develop skills for true godly leadership.

Key topics:

  • The differences between secularized leadership and spiritual leadership.
  • How to avoid using people to obtain a secularized vision and instead have God’s vision for the individuals you are leading.
  • How to have influence with God (power in prayer).
  • The importance of spiritual warnings.
  • Seven ways to live in Christlike character virtues.
  • Over sixty professional drawings to help you “see” spiritual truths.

If you long for intimacy with God and want your life to glorify Jesus, you’ll find Good and Faithful Servant to be a comprehensive, timely resource to help you be a Spirit-led servant of Jesus Christ and his church.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

WtnYWL_A

Multi-published author Wes Daughenbaugh understands pastors and church leadership. He has served forty-six years in ministry as associate pastor, lead pastor, and traveling teacher-evangelist, preaching in fifty US states and several foreign countries. With the gift of teaching, Wes turns complex truths into easy-to-remember illustrations for leaders and readers. Ordained with the Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, Wes lives with his wife, Bonnie, in western Oregon. They have two daughters, three grandsons, and one granddaughter. Learn more at www.EncouragementExpert.com.

More from Wes

WHY I WROTE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT

During my many years in the ministry I’ve tried to feed my leadership gift with books on leadership but I never bonded with them. They were so dry. Then never talked about being rich in God, how to get supernatural faith, have a dynamic prayer life or live in the power of the Spirit. I finally decided I just must not be a leader but only a “teacher.” During those years I “led” thousands to Christ and led thousands more into forgiveness and lessons in Christ-like maturity. Two years ago I began to pray earnestly that God would restore spiritual POWER to the American Church. Then to my surprise, God strongly impressed me to write a book on SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP and gave me the title and subtitle. The book gushed out of me in eight days of writing and I’ve spent the last year and a half perfecting the copy and getting the sixty plus drawings finished. This book has the leadership lessons the Holy Spirit personally taught me. They are not DRY. You’ll find God’s presence in this book. It will teach you how to be a great follower of the real LEADER of the church, the Holy Spirit.

ONE MORE THING: These lessons are for every Christian. We don’t need titles and positions to be spiritual leaders. Just desire to “lead many to righteousness” by being a great follower of the Holy Spirit. God will use YOU to bring “massive glory” to His name.

Author Interview

When and how did I decide to become a writer?

I started writing serial stories when I was in grade school and students would sometimes stay inside during recess to hear my next episode.  But when I was twenty-three I said to God, “I love you so much I wish I could put myself in that copy machine and make thousands of me to serve you all over the world.”  God spoke instantly and firmly, “DO IT!”  Every tract, booklet, audio CD, DVD, and book is a “copy of me.” I’ve been writing these things for forty-seven years.  Many such “copies of me” (hundreds of thousands) have gone out all over the world.

Which Author has most influenced my own writing?

The Apostle Paul.

What is my own interesting writing quirk?

I think in pictures.  I love to think of ways to illustrate a truth with a drawing and I have a great artist to work with.  I want people to REMEMBER what I write and our brains remember pictures way better than mere words.  God has used me to “say it in pictures” so that people not only hear their answers—but SEE them.

DESCRIBE MY BOOK IN FIVE WORDS

YOU CAN BE A SPIRITUAL LEADER!  (six words)

YOU CAN LEAD MANY TO RIGHTEOUSNESS!  (Six words)

YOU CAN TRAIN SPIRITUAL LEADERS! (Five words)

Who is my biggest inspiration?

My greatest spiritual inspirations have always been hearing directly from God.  Of all of those experiences, perhaps the most important one of all was when the Holy Spirit showed me the heart motive of Jesus and then compared my motives to His until my heart was taken over by the motivations of the heart of Jesus.  This burning motivation to bring glory to God has been the usher of God, leading me into all the other truths and experiences.  A favorite Bible verse from which I received this revelation is John 17:1-5.

What are my hobbies?

I love every aspect of the ministry and I’ve preached in all 50 states and several foreign countries.  So “work” never feels like work to me. Sending boxes of books to prisons is especially fun!

We live in Oregon and enjoy walking on the beach or costal trails. We enjoy picking blueberries, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, peaches, pears, apples, etc.  I love family times with m wife, daughters, and grandchildren.  Board games with grandchildren—that’s lots of fun.  We also like to fish.

What kind of book do I prefer?

I like audio books and traditional books.  I don’t like to read books from a phone or computer screen.  I love to “mark up” books so that I can find what I want to use in sermons, or what I want to remember to apply.

My advice to those writing spiritual books—Hear from God.  Ask what He wants to say.  Ask how He wants it said.  Dependency is the key word in being a great achiever—depending upon God is the first step in the cycle of success.

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 8

Texas Book-aholic, September 9

By The Book, September 10 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 10

Inklings and notions, September 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 13 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 14

For the Love of Literature, September 15 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 15

For Him and My Family, September 16

Artistic Nobody, September 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 18 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 19

Through the Fire Blogs, September 20 (Author Interview)

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Giveaway

Gexx-Zfw

To celebrate his tour, Wes is giving away the grand prize of a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10094/good-and-faithful-servant-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Other 3:16s Review and GIVEAWAY!

zWHiuOrA

About the Book

x0J2P7cs

Book: The Other 3:16s

Author: Malinda Fugate

Genre: Christian Living

Release Date: May 12, 2020

”For God so loved the world . . . “

Many of us could finish that sentence in our sleep. John 3:16 is a beautiful Scripture that neatly and simply sums up the message of the Gospel. But what do all the other 3:16s in the Bible have to tell us?

The words of the Bible weave a tapestry of love, particularly the love that our Heavenly Father has for His children. But a love so deep and so wide cannot be contained in one memorized phrase. It takes multiple authors of sixty-six individual books to begin to explore the mystery of God’s care for us.

The Other Three Sixteens by Malinda Fugate examines each third chapter and sixteenth verse in the Bible and invites a fresh, new perspective to help readers uncover surprises or remind them of forgotten truths of a faith that has become routine.

Through Genesis to Revelation, we can soak in its depth, wonder at its intricacies, and be moved at how much the Lord truly does lavish upon us. Together, we discover God’s love under the weight of Eve’s sin in the garden. It’s there in front of Moses, burning in a bush that is somehow not consumed. God’s love sits in the dark with Job, rebuilds a wall with Nehemiah, and encourages a young pastor named Timothy. Together we will find a deeper understanding of the way our Heavenly Father cares for each of us today.

Click HERE to get your copy! 

About the Author

jy-PUQJU

Malinda Fugate grew up in children’s ministry. Now, after two decades of dedicated volunteer service, she now serves full-time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California. Malinda studied communications and theatre at Azusa Pacific University, then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA. Her writing includes The Other Three Sixteens, Bible Time for Active Kids, commercial copywriting, various faith-based stage and screen plays, as well as co-producing A Single Girl’s Guide To, a lifestyle blog and web series. Her lifelong study of God’s Word continues to reveal more about the Lord every day. She lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.

 

More from Malinda

It’s the first verse many of us memorized in Sunday School and perhaps the most familiar to any Christian: “For God so loved the world….”

In one sentence, we celebrate the incredible love of God and the amazing gift of salvation that Jesus gave through the cross. John 3:16 is a beautiful Scripture to keep in our hearts and minds.

Of course, John did not assign chapters and verses when he penned his gospel. Those were added later to help us reference as we study. Yet, years of reciting John 3:16 have etched these lines into our brains, making it an easy combo to remember. What if we looked at the other 3:16 verses in each book of the Bible? What treasures would we unearth hidden in our well-worn pages?

We find Adam and Eve in their last days in a garden paradise, dealing with the consequences of a terrible decision.

There is a young boy training to be a priest who suddenly hears the audible voice of God.

A king’s cup-bearer journeys to his homeland to lead a massive construction project despite adversity.

We sit next to Job in his darkest days, crying out to God for answers.

We meet a young pastor named Timothy, experience miraculous healings, and witness the baptism of Jesus Himself.

Most of all, in every verse, we discover the immense love of God. We learn that it cannot be contained simply in one phrase; such a great love is too full of rich detail. Most of all, we find that His love is alive and active in our very own lives, right this minute.

My Review

A unique approach to studying the Bible, Malinda Fugate’s The Other 3:16s considers the universally-known John 3:16 and the Bible’s resounding message of love and explores the third chapter and sixteenth verse of the other books of the Bible that have them. She bases her analysis on the fact that God is love and that He has an overwhelming love for all of His children. Proceeding in order, she begins with Genesis and moves through both the Old and New Testaments, ending with Revelation and John. Not only is this logical and easy to follow, but I love that she includes the Old as well as the New Testament. The former tends to be written about less often, and it is challenging reading. I am impressed with the effort that the author has put into the organization and presentation of this book.

The Other 3:16s offers the big picture of the Bible in the form of a continuing narrative related by the author. As such, it can be read as one would a regular book, or it can be used as a devotional. This latter option is bolstered by the discussion questions that the author has graciously provided at the end of the book; they are merged with a Bible reading plan and formatted into either 6-or 10-week time spans, although this could be adjusted to the reader’s preference. Along these same lines, Fugate has arranged each chapter to discuss a book of the Bible. The verse corresponding with chapter 3 verse 16 is written out, and then she explains the setting and historical background, which is so important of any writing, but especially to a text as sacred as the Bible. In order to gain an understanding of the Lord and His workings from the earliest times through the book of Revelation, it’s necessary to have at least a basic knowledge of the individual Bible books and also be able to put them together as one cohesive narrative. Also, Fugate ties in the most-often-quoted verses from the Bible book from which they come, which is also helpful in bringing everything together. With an e-book copy, when I pulled up my notes section to read the passages that I highlighted, I was surprised and delighted to find that each one had the Bible book noted above it.

Speaking of the content itself, aside from a few isolated instances, this nonfiction book follows Scripture and provides information and clarification about the historical and cultural milieu, which helps readers to more fully understand what is transpiring and how it is significant. This, in turn, draws readers closer to the God who “welcomes questions from His children when they come from humble, reverent hearts.” I appreciate that Fugate acknowledges the tough questions that we all ask at some point, the answers to which we will probably never fully know on this side of eternity, concluding that we simply need to trust God because He always has everything under His perfect control, and His plans for His children are always for our good and for His glory. And so, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4

Texas Book-aholic, September 5

Inklings and notions, September 6

deb’s Book Review, September 6

For Him and My Family, September 7

Hebrews 12 Endurance, September 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 9

Artistic Nobody, September 10 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 11

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 12

For the Love of Literature, September 13

Mary Hake, September 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 14

Lights in a Dark World, September 15

Splashes of Joy, September 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 17

Giveaway

8SLyFaFg

To celebrate her tour, Malinda is giving away the grand prize package of A John 3:16 glass water bottle and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fffc/the-other-3-16s-celebration-tour-giveaway

Widowhood Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

8tV84WfY

About the Book

rIDhlFhM

Book: widowhood

Author: Mary Bruce

Genre: Personal Growth

Release Date: May 12, 2020

A woman may have many names and many titles, but “widow” is not necessarily one she plans for. And when the unexpected happens, she is thrust into the role of being the captain of her ship, the decision-maker, and the one solely responsible for the direction of her and her family’s future. The emotions a widow experiences as she faces her life from this new position of aloneness are as varied and unique as each widow is. But what all widows share is a calling to be a leader in the midst of the chaos of the death of their husbands.

In Widowhood: A Calling to Leadership, Mary Bruce encourages widows to embrace their new role with hope and to unashamedly rely on the resources God provides to sustain them through his Spirit and through his body, the church. She illuminates for church leaders how to direct and mentor widows in their church families and how to provide these women with opportunities to express their new God-given calling of leadership.

This book will give you a fresh perspective on widowhood. It will help widows to see the energy they possess as fuel for godly leadership, and it will help church leaders to see their widows as esteemed gifts instead of burdens.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

fWX-ilHY

Mary Bruce is a registered nurse, a former homeschooling mother, and a widow since the weekend before 9/11. Born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut, she still resides there and works as an associate pastor. In the early 1990s, she initiated a grassroots movement to pray in Connecticut on the National Day of Prayer. Since then she has served as a state coordinator for the National Day of Prayer Task Force and is currently its National Area Leader for the nine northeast states.

More from Mary

Have you ever wanted to wake up one morning with a new start, a brand new start?

I can say that, during the 2001/2002 school year, for 360 of 365 days that is exactly what I learned to do, wake up with a new start. Mine was the school of hard knocks. After 9/11, there were many of us who found ourselves on a daily automatic wake-up call before sunrise. No alarm clock was involved. Perhaps it was the stress of a new start for so many. It’s not like we went to bed super early so we could wake up early. Sleeping just wasn’t the same.

For me, by the time daylight started , I was already sitting on the steps of our back porch, waiting to greet the day, watching the eastern skies over the 5 acre mowed field behind our house. Each morning I would grab a cup of coffee, my journal, a pen and my Bible, wrap myself in winter coat and blankets and sit there waiting: waiting on the sunrise, acknowledging the earth’s stillness, waiting for some revelation from God or insight into my own life situation. It was not a worrisome time, that came later in the day. It was just a sitting and waiting time. Even my reading would have to wait until the dawn’s early light grew sufficient to see the print. There was nothing to interrupt, to distract from that alone time of solitude and meditation.

Then, like a shot in the dark, the 7am bell would ring out from high school across the street, a roar of automobile sounds would drift over the house, and the magic quiet spell would be broken.

In those early moments, I saw things I had been too busy to notice before. In spring, I watched fog roll over the field, literally roll on the grass from east to west, from the field to the road. In summer, I noticed nearly a whole year of early mornings without pouring rain. Pouring rain was my only hindrance to sitting outside. In autumn, I saw a female doe pulling apples off the low branches and her 3 young charges dancing on hind legs trying to reach the apples. In winter, I realized that I could sit out in freezing weather, when I did not even like to walk from the house to the car in the cold. I learned to take the outward opening storm door off before the snow fell, so that I could just open the inside door and step out. I said, “Good morning” to the Maker of the universe as my first spoken words of the day.

I don’t think I was alone. 2001 was a hard year for many widows. I was fortunate to spend each start of the day with the Maker, appreciating his faithfulness, which is new every morning – a new start. “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” NLT Lam. 3:23

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

At age 22, while on a nursing job interview, I was asked to write out my 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, 20 year and 50 year goals.  I could add well and knew that by age 72 I would not want to be lifting patients off stretchers, so I thought of what I could still do at age 72 and writing seemed less physically straining.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

Two authors have influenced me most:  C.S.Lewis and Lynn Austin

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know what a writing quirk is.

What drew you to the time period that you write about?

I love history and believe that by journaling we each can document a part of history. I love to read books about life between 1850-1900.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

Dorothy Gilman

Describe your book in five words.

Giving permission to change perspectives.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Up before or at 6am daily, personal prayer and devotion time, writing from 8:30/9a until 11:30 or so.  On some days, writing from 10a-2p

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A plotter

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

Kitchen table.

What are your hobbies?

Cooking, prayer-walking, piano worship.

What is your favorite book?

The Bible.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Audiobooks.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

Mark 5:19,20 tells Jesus response to the demoniac who was delivered of the demons and wanted to follow Jesus. “And he (Jesus) did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you. And he (the delivered demoniac) went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.”(NASB)   Another version, the KJV says  ”he began to publish…..”   This was an affirmation of God’s desire for me.

Is there a particular literary period that you’re drawn to (Regency, Victorian, Romantic, Modernism, etc.)? Why?

The Romantic Period, especially American writings of how they lived out what was set before them in our American government. I love this nation and believe that the birth of our nation was unlike any other on this earth.

lf you could live inside a book, which one would it be?

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin.

If you could meet one author, living or passed, who would it be?

Lynn Austin

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Journal everyday of your life, even if all you can write is the date. You will be writing history from your perspective as you comment on what is happening in your lifetime.

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 5

Beauty in the Binding, September 6 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, September 7

Through the Fire Blogs, September 8 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 9

For the Love of Literature, September 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, September 11

For Him and My Family, September 12

Simple Harvest Reads, September 13 (Author Interview)

By The Book, September 14 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 14

Artistic Nobody, September 15 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 17

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 18

Giveaway

JU5Gmauw

To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fffe/widowhood-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Season to Dance Scavenger Hunt and Author Interview with Patricia Beal

A Season to dance scavenger hunt

About the Book

FinalCover

Book: A Season to Dance

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: May 6, 2017

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

About the Author

Head Shot

Patricia writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. She is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance and Desert Willow (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017 and 2020). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Visit her at http://www.patriciabeal.com for more.

More from Patricia

When I wrote the first line of my first novel in January of 2011, I wanted to get published because I was desperate to feel important.

I finished writing A Season to Dance that fall and hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.

She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent a year rewriting.

During that year, my husband got orders to move the family from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Germany, and he deployed for the sixth time soon after we settled on a lovely mountaintop in Idar-Oberstein.

When I finished rewriting, Gloria said the novel looked good and had everything a novel was supposed to have. But… “Something’s still missing. I don’t know what it is. We’ve covered it all.”

So of course I did what any writer desperate for validation would do. I told my coach that surely nothing was missing and that it was time to query. I hired a service to blast queries everywhere for me. I know… Shame on me… But God used that.

God’s Plan—Phase One

One query ended up with Mrs. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary. The novel wasn’t Christian—I wasn’t a Christian. She shouldn’t have received my query. But she did. She sent me a note saying she liked the storyline but that in Christian novels the protagonist couldn’t live with her love interest without being married. She was very kind and said that if she was missing the point and if the novel was indeed Christian that I should resubmit explaining the living together piece.

When I read it I laughed and rolled my eyes. I started typing a condescending reply. Something about Christian fairy tale brains and me living in the real world, but I decided not to send it.

Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.

See, up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” and that somewhere, somehow, being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty German kitchen—husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died. And I looked at that inbox full of rejections and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”

Mercy. Surely I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. But I know that He was in that kitchen with me. And phase two of His plan was about to start.

Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

God’s Plan—Phase Two

As I lost all restraint and became the worst version of myself, God removed me from my green German mountaintop.

After less than eighteen months in Germany, we were sent back to America, to the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. To a place called Fort Bliss—a place from which you can see a Mexican mountain with the words: “Cd. Juárez. La Biblia es la verdad. Leela.” That translates to “City of Juárez. The Bible is the truth. Read it.” Gotta love it. God is good.

During the first six months back in America, I went to two secular writers’ conferences and met more rejection. My lack of restraint and my selfishness didn’t really make me happy. I wanted to go to therapy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…

But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life. Even the shrink kept double booking, closing early, and somehow cancelling on me. It was ridiculous.

The One Open Door

When God planted our family in the desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.

I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.

Gloria’s “Something Missing”

I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “You silly goose of a girl. You wrote a salvation story without the salvation piece.” My first coach, Gloria Kempton, had been right all along. There was something missing!

A Season to Dance isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

I deleted Mrs. Hart’s email that week. Yes, it was still in my inbox. Job well done, Mrs. Hart.

Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the novel. Five ladies from my Sunday school read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support. God is good.

Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. God is good.

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. God is good.

ACFW 2015 was fantastic and many houses are looking at that first manuscript. God is good.

My family got saved, too. My husband in July of 2013. Our son in December of 2013. My mom in the fall of 2014. And our little girl just this past summer, the summer of 2015. God is amazingly good.

Is - Sarah

Author Interview

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser all the way. The novel began in my mind as a single scene—a ballerina stuck at the top of a marquee, something that kind of happened to me once. From there it grew a chapter at a time, one per Saturday, during a six-month period.

I wasn’t a Christian when I wrote the first version of A Season to Dance, so the story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but for most of my life I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important. But in the summer of 2012, that early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired and lonely, and I freaked out. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god, if there was a god at all.

Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely.

Then Jesus passed by. I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I cancelled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a fourteen-month rewrite. This book, A Season to Dance, wrote me—not the other way around. I journeyed with Ana and pray that now others will journey with us, beyond expectations and suffering and to the very heart of Christ.

I think God is a plotter. He knew where the whole thing was going all along. But how could I have known that I was writing my own salvation story? ❤


Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

Do I ever! I’m big on this. Huge! If you go to the reading guide at the end of the book, I reveal several hidden things one might have missed… 😉


Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

Yes! I love all the stories about less-than-perfect people who were greatly used by God. How sweet of Him to show us time and again that we don’t need to be stellar to be family and be His hands and feet.

Remember the story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32? That might be my absolute favorite… So much in. I love both God’s actions and Jacob’s refusal to let go.

What does God do before blessing Jacob (self-reliant, self-seeking) and naming him Israel (prince, powerful with God)? God touches the hollow of Jacob’s thigh. The hollow of Jacob’s thigh was now out of joint. Jacob would be forever weakened by that injury. God saps strength out of Jacob. He breaks Jacob of Jacob.

God grew him by making him weak. He grew Peter by making him weak (let the devil sift him as wheat). He grew Paul by making him weak (didn’t remove the thorn in the flesh).

Our trials are making us weak and loosening us from the shackles of self-reliance that are holding us back. All we have to do is cast ourselves at His feet daily and acknowledge that we can’t do life and service on our own. He already knows. He wants us to know.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5 😊

Celebrate Lit Scavenger Hunt page:

http://www.celebratelit.com/a-season-to-dance-scavenger-hunt/

Giveaway

-P02bXD8

The grand prize is a $50 Amazon gift card!

https://promosimple.com/ps/10068/a-season-to-dance-celebration-scavenger-hunt-giveaway

Swift Review and GIVEAWAY!

p67CswKw

About the Book

BAtJMeew

Book: Swift

Author: RJ Anderson

Genre: Christian Fantasy

Release Date: August 18, 2020

To save her people, a wingless girl must learn to fly.

As a piskey girl born without wings and raised underground, Ivy yearns for flight almost as much as she misses her long-lost mother. But the world outside the Delve is full of danger, and her dreams seem hopeless until she meets a mysterious faery who makes her an enticing offer: If Ivy helps him escape the Delve’s dungeon, he’ll teach her how to fly.

Freeing Richard could cost Ivy her reputation, perhaps even her life. But when her fellow piskeys start to disappear and her beloved little sister goes missing, Ivy has no choice but to take the risk.

Deadly threats and shocking revelations await Ivy as she ventures into a strange new world, uncovers long-buried secrets about her family’s past, and finds that no one—not even herself—is entirely what they seem.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

nhJQ6cx8

Born in Uganda to missionary parents, R.J. (Rebecca Joan) Anderson is a women’s Bible teacher, a wife and mother of three, and a bestselling fantasy author for older children and teens. Her debut novel Knife has sold more than 120,000 copies worldwide, while her other books have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, the Christy Award, and the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Fiction. Rebecca lives with her family in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

More from R.J. Anderson

FEAR, FAITH AND LEARNING TO FLY

What would you give to feel safe? If you could hide from all life’s dangers and anyone who might harm you, and spend your whole life in a beautiful, comfortable home surrounded by friends, family and all the necessities of life, would you?

That’s the kind of place that Ivy, the teenaged heroine of Swift, has grown up in — a glittering underground complex called the Delve, where safety and protection are paramount, and young girls especially are warned not to take foolish risks. Like climbing the wall of the Great Shaft that leads to the surface, for instance. Or going outside for any reason, except for two special nights of the year. In the world of modern-day Cornwall, the converted tin mine where Ivy and her fellow piskeys live is their only refuge from scheming faeries, greedy humans, and their deadliest enemies of all, the spriggans. And since Ivy’s mother was stolen by the spriggans six years ago, Ivy knows all too well how dangerous the outside world can be.

But as Ivy discovers when she stumbles on a mysterious Shakespeare-quoting prisoner in her people’s dungeon, safety isn’t everything. If “Richard” is telling the truth about what happened to Ivy’s long-lost mother, there may be more going on in the Delve — and outside it — than Ivy ever guessed. How far will she go to find the truth?

When I first started writing Swift, one of the ideas I wanted to explore was how much our prejudices and false perceptions limit us. Ivy’s been taught to fear everything and everyone outside the Delve, and that her poor health and lack of wings means she will never be worthy or whole. But when she starts to ask questions and search for answers, Ivy discovers that much of what she’s always believed is a lie.

What I didn’t realize until I’d finished writing the whole Flight and Flame trilogy is that in many ways, Ivy’s story parallels that of Moses in the book of Exodus. Like Moses when God first called him, Ivy doesn’t think she has anything to offer her people, or any chance of convincing the stern, suspicious piskey queen to set them free. But when Ivy learns to look beyond her fears and self-doubts and step out in faith — even if she’s not sure yet what it means or where it will lead her — extraordinary things happen and her world begins to change.

We all crave safety and security. But if we refuse to step outside our comfort zones or ever question our prejudices, our lives and hearts will stagnate. It’s only when we open ourselves up to truth and act on it, even if it’s hard or unpopular to do so, that we can truly soar.

I’ve loved writing Ivy’s story. I hope you’ll love reading it, too.

— R.J. Anderson (www.rj-anderson.com)

My Review

R.J. Anderson has written a compelling, twisty novel with Swift, the first in The Flight and Flame trilogy. Although marketed for young adults, I think that it is just as suitable for adults; I enjoyed it! Furthermore, I am thrilled that it did not contain a romantic thread, as do almost all young adult books, and I felt the same way when I did fit into the target age group, so it’s nice to know that there are books coming out for those who can do without a lot of romance. Instead, this story focuses on adventure and fantasy, providing enough thrill and distress to keep readers glued to the page, but without inducing horror. There is a strong psychological element that takes root quietly at first but grows more steadily as the novel progresses.

Pondering the folkloric identity of the creatures mentioned in Swift and the tense relations between them is a reflection of the rampant issues of race relations in today’s society, where blind hate and a thirst for vengeance overtake common sense and compassion. This misguided sense of justice leads inevitably to betrayal, as well as to some startling revelations about several characters’ identities. It reminds me of what has happened throughout history, and how someone can be judged for their assumed identity when they may actually belong to another group entirely.

As for the characters themselves, I have to admit that I did not feel a deep connection with any of them. Each seems to be motivated by self-centered goals without taking into consideration how their actions will affect anyone else. This does add to the suspense, however, as I could not guess what the next scene would bring, which is always a boon. While I did not come across anything overtly Christian in this novel aside from one instance of a character offering a short, desperate prayer, it is a clean read. I am eager to find out what happens next in books two and three and intend to read both when they have been released.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, August 31

Blogging With Carol, August 31

Through the Fire Blogs, September 1

Pause for Tales, September 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 2

Worthy2read, September 3

Texas Book-aholic, September 4

The Book Chic Blog, September 4

For Him and My Family, September 5

deb’s Book Review, September 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 7

Mia Reads, September 7

Artistic Nobody, September 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, September 9

Daughter of Increase, September 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 10

Simple Harvest Reads, September 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Vicky Sluiter, September 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 12

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 13

Giveaway

ZFEEq1Yk

To celebrate her tour, R.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a signed and personalized bookplate, two bookmarks, and two beautiful blank-inside notecards with artwork by Kirk DouPonce and Rory Kurtz!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fff5/swift-celebration-tour-giveaway

Seven Sevens in the Gospel of John Review and GIVEAWAY!

zXHjAvDw

About the Book

6Z8Bx9Yo

Book: Seven Sevens in the Gospel of John

Author: Sinikka Smothers

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: January 22, 2020

The number seven is significant in science and history as well as in the Bible. When a science educator applies the lens of seven onto the gospel of John, intriguing patterns emerge. Author Sinikka Smothers says, “God has a purposeful design for every area of His creation—including the use of numbers. God loves numbers, especially the number seven. He used mathematical algorithms to construct the matrix we call our universe. Mathematics is God’s language of creation.”

Discover refreshing insights into the life of Christ through this study of seven themes embedded in John’s gospel narrative. The author presents John’s message in seven parts, each one divided into seven sections. Revisit the familiar seven “I AM” statements of Jesus and other sevens that are not widely written about:

  • Seven signs and miracles Jesus performed
  • Seven witnesses that testify of Jesus
  • Seven ministries of the Holy Spirit
  • Seven life-changing conversations of Jesus
  • Seven women
  • Seven questions Pilate asked Jesus

This unique commentary includes rich historical details and paints a vivid portrait of Jesus the Son of God as Master, Savior, and Friend. Relevant stories and personal applications bring the familiar accounts of the book of John to contemporary contexts.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

Sinikka Smothers emigrated from Finland to Alabama to study after receiving a college scholarship. While her original plan was to become a missionary, meeting her future husband, Jim, in college changed the direction of her life. She worked twenty-five years as a science teacher with individuals who are visually impaired, and earned her doctorate in education from the University of Alabama. Recently retired, she enjoys teaching Bible classes and spending time with her husband of forty years, two children, and three grandchildren.

More from Sinikka Smothers

A mob of men, women, and children were climbing up the hillside by the Sea of Galilee. “There he is!” someone shouted from above. Those withing hearing distance turned quickly and began to hasten in the direction of the voice. The rest of the large crowd followed their lead, trapped in a current of motion. It was difficult for them to see ahead since the number of people had grown to more than five thousand. Mothers and fathers picked up their young children to protect them from the travelers pressing against them while trying to move ahead to the front of the throng…

Seven Sevens in the Gospel of John began with hand written notes overflowing the pages of my devotional journal. The journal led to several hundred typewritten pages of commentary on John’s narrative of the life of Jesus. After teaching two bible studies based on my emerging outline of seven sevens, I ran into Athena Holtz with Redemption Press. Athena connected me with an editor who condensed my tub-full of writing to a sleek 195 pages. The ten-year-long writing project reached its finish line in January 2020 when I received my “author’s copy”. I will always remember the joy I felt at the first sight of the shiny book cover featuring a summer sky above the gold colored pages of an old parchment. Indeed, if John’s gospel is the treasure map, the timeless treasure it points to is Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Seven Sevens in the Gospel of John does not add anything to John’s masterful presentation of Jesus as the Son of God and the Son of Man who invites everyone to live in a personal relationship with Him. It merely offers refreshing perspectives and a novel framework for the reading and rereading of this well-loved gospel. Each of the seven themes in my book contains seven subtopics, totaling 49 chapters. The chapters include special anecdotes, personal stories, and information pieces that connect the themes to contemporary contexts. It is my hope that the reader will find the book useful as a Bible study companion, book study, teaching outline or a devotional reading.

After my book project was completed, something new and surprising began to rise up in my spirit: I became inspired to experiment in visual arts. I wanted my Facebook posts for my book to stand out and speak to diverse audiences; as a result, I constructed collages, used mystery photos from the Holy Land, searched through our family’s Google photos, and began to paint images on old wooden boards I found in our shed. This explosion of artistic expression has led me to rent a booth at a local antiques and crafts mall. If you visit Huntsville, Alabama, please stop by at the Top Key Market to see my booth, at the center of which stands a worn pulpit featuring Seven Sevens in the Gospel of John.

I inherited my love for words from my mother who always spoke the right words for every situation. She often quoted wonderfully quaint Finnish folk sayings that carried centuries of wisdom. I became an avid reader and writer at the age of 6. Academic studies occupied most of my professional life as a teacher, but after retiring four years ago, I have plunged into reading and writing to make up for the lost time. My husband and I have been married for 41 years. Our two children and four grandchildren live nearby and add a lot of fun to our weekly calendar. I look forward to writing a biographical book in the near future. The theme, of course, will include the number seven.

My Review

Numbers have great significance in the Bible, from the days of creation in Genesis to the churches addressed in Revelation. Even being someone who cringes away from math, which is definitely not one of my talents, I find God’s use of numbers fascinating. The intricacy with which God has crafted every slight detail of the world is truly awe-inspiring and something that only He could have accomplished. Lest we become lackluster, however, it is important to continually study and acknowledge the creativity and genius of the Lord.

With the Bible itself being the best resource and the one that should be consulted and used over and above any other, there are also other good supplementary books that draw attention to specific topics or areas of Scripture. Seven Sevens in the Gospel of John by Sinikka Smothers is a relatively short but detailed and well-thought-out book about how the number seven continually appears in John’s Gospel account and how it relates to us today. I don’t think that there is necessarily a wrong layout for putting forth this information, and the author does well in arranging seven main parts into seven smaller sections. Although I am familiar with what is discussed, I appreciate the change of perspective that comes from considering the groupings of events. The seven main sections include the signs and miracles that Jesus performed, the seven women who met Jesus, Pilate’s seven questions for Jesus, seven life-changing conversations, God’s plan of the ages, and the seven ministries of the Holy Spirit.

Interspersing contemporary stories and anecdotes within the chapters, Smothers reinforces the personal connection that we each need to have with our Savior. I appreciate how she ends each chapter with the Resurrection, either chronologically or by suggestion, because it further impresses upon readers the fulfillment of Scripture and the promise of eternity for the faithful. One of the things that I learned while reading this book is that the Pharisees particularly sought to kill Jesus after He resurrected Lazarus because according to Jewish beliefs, once someone died, their spirit could remain nearby for a brief period of time, but being dead for four days, Lazarus’ spirit would no longer be present and he would have begun decomposing. I also came to further realize the significance of the Resurrection in tandem with the Day of Atonement and the role of the high priest. The Jewish high priest would annually enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood of a sacrificial animal on the mercy seat. In a beautiful and prophetic manner, Jesus became our High Priest by entering the Holy of Holies, sacrificing Himself, sprinkling His own blood on the stone where His body had lain, and rising from the dead. The two angels who appeared to Mary Magdalene in Jesus’ tomb represent the two cherubim guarding the ark of the covenant. Somehow I had not fully made this connection before, and it took my breath away when I read it. I love closing a book with a renewed sense of faith and joy in the Lord and more knowledge of Him.

I recommend this book for both new and mature Christians as well as skeptics because it provides an excellent overview of the New Testament, particularly the gospel of John, and it focuses on the events of Jesus’ life that are related in Scripture.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 29

Artistic Nobody, August 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, August 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 1

Texas Book-aholic, September 2

Inklings and notions, September 3

For Him and My Family, September 4

deb’s Book Review, September 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 5

Writing from the Heart Land, September 6

For the Love of Literature, September 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 8

Mary Hake, September 9

Splashes of Joy, September 10

Giveaway

Tqb4wuTw

To celebrate her tour, Sinikka is giving away the grand prize of a surprise piece of art by the herself!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ffb8/seven-sevens-in-the-gospel-of-john-celebration-tour-giveaway

Christmas Carol Society Review and GIVEAWAY!

7fUZnPaI

About the Book

616-BFS8

Book: Christmas Carol Society

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Christian Fiction

Release Date: October 30, 2019

Christmas Carol Society – How Do You Impersonate a Christmas Ghost?

The Christmas season has arrived. The members of the newly-formed Christmas Carol Society are beginning their weekly meetings. Charlie Baker finds the first meeting odd enough, but when the assignments start, he has to wonder why he allowed himself to get roped into attending. Miss Dartmoor tells her members to impersonate the Ghost of Christmas Past for their own personal Scrooge.

Just how does a mere human accomplish such an absurd task? Charlie tries to figure it out, but begins to see the Lord might plan for the assignments to have a deeper impact on him than he expected.

An impact that Charlie isn’t sure he wants to face.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

0-TsS5aw

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.

Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah Jones

Christmas Carol Society is a book very near and dear to my heart. Partly because of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, which is among my favorites, and partly due to my characters. Especially, Charlie Baker.

Charlie is very special to me. He wants to hide in his tiny corner of the world, and give up. He wants to give up on a world that has hurt him tremendously or taken people he loved. He wants to push away any possibility of repeating the past; he doesn’t want to be hurt again.

Charlie doesn’t want to join the Christmas Carol Society. He doesn’t want to find a “Scrooge.” He doesn’t want to make new friends. He doesn’t want to do any of it.

He joins because he loves his cousin. He doesn’t do it for any other reason.

His father encourages him to do it right, if he’s going to do it at all. His cousin calls him out, when his Christianity is at odds with his behavior. And Albert, his would-be friend, just doesn’t give up on him.

In a sense, Charlie is a Scrooge – and yet, he’s not. He has to find a Scrooge of his own. And through it, he finds himself doing all the things that he really doesn’t want to do at all – and it’s a good thing. Painful sometimes, but good. Scary at times, but good.

The characters that the LORD uses to teach me the most, end up being particularly special to me. Charlie is one of them. In some ways, I relate to Charlie rather a lot, and writing this story drove me to prayer often, so I would know what to do next. I frequently wasn’t sure where the story would go. But I learned along with Charlie.

I hope that my readers will love Charlie Baker as much as I do, and that his story, along with the others in this book, will in some way bless and encourage my readers for the LORD’s glory.

To the KING be all the glory!

My Review

It’s easy to label someone a Scrooge or a villain. It isn’t as easy to remember beyond the stereotype to the human behind the label, even when we know A Christmas Carol back to front.

Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors, and A Christmas Carol is subsequently among my favorite holiday stories. Having come across countless adaptations in both film and literature, it would seem to be one of those tales that has become too cliched to hold up to the scrutiny of another retelling. However, Rebekah Jones has proven this to be false with her novel Christmas Carol Society, which I enjoyed just as much as (if not a bit more than!) the original classic.

A contemporary novel, Christmas Carol Society nonetheless exudes a timelessness supported by the author’s old-fashioned turn of phrase, which only enhanced my enjoyment of this tale. Jones has written a story that is easily identified with its Dickens namesake yet also distinctive enough to stand on its own. Protagonist Charlie Baker is a reluctant member of the Christmas Carol Society, an eclectic group of individuals tasked with emulating the spirits of Christmas for the Scrooge in each of their lives. Quirky characters make the narrative even more entertaining, yet at its core this story is poignant and thought-provoking. The author takes readers through a well-formulated literary analysis of A Christmas Carol through the eyes of her characters as events unfold. While some are clearly parallels to Dickens’ characters, others stand on their own merit. I feel that I identify the most with Charlie because of his introversion, faith, and quiet nature. Those qualities are challenged in Albert’s extroverted personality and serve as the basis for his own spiritual journey.

This variation on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is fitting for any season because its lessons are immutable. As Charlie remarks early on, “We aren’t God and only the Almighty can wholly change someone.” Throughout the course of the story, Charlie undergoes a transformation of his own as he learns things about himself and his approach to life: “I’ve come to realize that fixing him—or anyone else for that matter—isn’t my job. I’m not giving up, but my purpose is different. At the end of this, my hope isn’t that I’ll have fixed him, but that I’ll be a means of pointing him to the Savior.” We never know who is watching, so we need to imitate Jesus in everything that we say, do, think, and speak, being the light of Christ to those around us, be they Bob Cratchits or Ebenezer Scrooges.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 26

deb’s Book Review, August 26

Inklings and notions, August 27

Splashes of Joy, August 28

Mary Hake, August 28

For Him and My Family, August 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 30

Captive Dreams Window, August 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 31

Blogging With Carol, August 31

Just the Write Escape, September 1

Get Cozy Book Nook, September 1

She Lives To Read, September 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 3

Artistic Nobody, September 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Batya’s Bits, September 4

For the Love of Literature, September 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 6

Connect in Fiction, September 6

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 7

Emily Yager, September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 8

Giveaway

gF4AcboQ

To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Christmas Carol Society, a copy of A Christmas Carol, and an ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ffb6/christmas-carol-society-celebration-tour-giveaway

Isobel’s Mission of Courage Review and GIVEAWAY!

qf988CM8

About the Book

9anhsIXY

Book: Isobel’s Mission of Courage

Author: Susan K Beatty

Genre: Christian Woman’s Fiction

Release Date: September 8, 2020

God had hardwired mission work into Isobel’s DNA.

So what’s He doing bringing a homeless woman into her life… to help her?

Recovering from surgery and chemotherapy means Isobel has little time or energy to spend on anything or anyone else, but when she sees a homeless woman hanging around her neighborhood, she can’t just ignore the need.

Homeless and ticked off at God, Noolie might just be the last person Isobel would ever imagine helping her, but Isobel needs it. Can she muster the courage to face her needs and allow a woman with nothing to meet them?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

uvfDWwKE

“Courage: The intersection of faith and Grit”

Susan K. Beatty is passionate about finding courage through faith and grit, particularly through the trials of breast cancer. Her daughter is a metastatic breast cancer “thriver” and has been an inspiration for her writing. Susan retired from a full-time job in 2017 and is now pursuing a novel-writing career. Her first novel, “Faces of Courage,” is in revision. Susan is the author of “An Introduction to Home Education” (AKA “California Homeschool Manual”), was the assistant director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and is the president of her local ACFW-OC Chapter. She is a professional writer/journalist. Susan is proof you can begin a fiction writing career after age seventy.

More from Susan

Thank you for joining me on my blog tour! This is my first, so I’m kind of excited.

A few years ago, my dream of writing fiction unexpectedly intersected with my daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis. I started out writing a variety of stories, but my critique team said the one which featured a breast cancer patient was filled with the most strength and passion. The courage it took my daughter to face her diagnosis and treatments sparked a passion in me to write about it. God was apparently leading me to combine the ideas of cancer and courage with my call to write.

In Isobel’s Mission of Courage, Isobel’s courage is challenged not only by her breast cancer, but also by her “mission.” God had hard-wired mission work into her DNA, yet He brings a homeless woman, Noolie, into her life who wants to help her. And Noolie isn’t shy at pointing out Isobel’s spiritual weaknesses.

Isobel’s Mission of Courage is part of a series called Faces of Courage. Each story in the series looks at living with cancer, but there’s always more at stake than the disease, including financial difficulties, loss of property due to the elements, spiritual flaws, an abusive husband, and death of a loved one.

The Lord seems to either have a sense of humor, or more likely, wanted me to write from experience. While writing Isobel’s Mission of Courage, I had to face my own surprising cancer diagnosis and was challenged to draw on my previously untested courage. Having written about cancer and the courage to deal with it prepared me to live it, bringing a deeper knowledge into Isobel’s story.

Even before my own experience, the theme of my writing became, “Courage: The Intersection of Faith and Grit.” Our walk with Him builds hope which develops faith. Whatever He’s asking us to do, the first step begins with faith and is fueled by grit. Whether it’s to face an abusive husband, a financial catastrophe, a pandemic, the loss of a loved one, or cancer.

How does Isobel face her cancer? How does she deal with her own spiritual weaknesses while trying to fulfill her mission in life by helping someone else? I hope you will read Isobel’s Mission of Courage not only to find out, but perhaps to find your own courage at the intersection of faith and grit.

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

My Review

The second novelette in the upcoming Faces of Courage series, Isobel’s Mission of Courage by Susan Beatty can be read as a standalone, although I would encourage readers to also pick up House of Courage to avoid missing out on more wonderful characters and faith lessons. While I am usually not a big fan of works that are not novel-length, I enjoyed the first novelette and am now impressed by Isobel’s Mission of Courage. Beatty has condensed her story into fewer than 100 pages without the narrative feeling rushed or incomplete. All things considered, it seems realistic, as well—neither too idealistic nor overwhelmingly melancholy.

Deeply insightful, Isobel’s Mission of Courage turns to a different source of courage than one would probably expect: that of recognizing how we as Christians may be erecting idols and using our God-given gifts as trophies and perhaps even currency toward trying to earn the salvation that is already paid in full by Jesus’ death on the cross. To bridge the gap in our understanding, this spiritually-aware courage is placed alongside the more easily-recognized bravery of fighting breast cancer and the side effects of treatment. I love how this is done because it illustrates that we can truly “Fear not” when we stop trying to do things for God as a means to build ourselves up and instead start doing things with God to glorify His name. As Todd tells Isobel, “It’s easy to remember to ask for help when we feel weak. But when we feel strong, we tend to forget we need as much help if not more. Besides if we’re not asking for help, are we really working alongside God? Or are we working on our own?”

This is a story that will pull you in and, ultimately, convict you, which is what we all need right now in this strange year. The Lord doesn’t call us to prove ourselves; He calls us to love each other.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

For the Love of Literature, September 3

Inklings and notions, September 4

Mary Hake, September 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 6

Texas Book-aholic, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 8

lakesidelivingsite, September 8

For Him and My Family, September 9

Through the Fire Blogs, September 10

Artistic Nobody, September 11 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Christian Bookaholic, September 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 15

Batya’s Bits, September 16

Giveaway

HOSv16Fs

To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/100f0/isobel-s-mission-of-courage-celebration-tour-giveaway

Trouble in the Ruins Review and GIVEAWAY!

R8d_pf4Q

About the Book

uoEzYGu4

Book: Trouble in the Ruins

Author: C.L. Smith

Genre: Biblical fiction

Release Date: September 2019

Return to the turbulence of ancient Canaan in Book Three of The Stones of Gilgal. Even the raging floods of the Jordan could not stop the Israelites from crossing the river and setting up camp near Jericho. Canaanite kings and kingdoms—even the Anakim giants—are in turmoil. Former enemies jostle for power in new alliances, united only in their determination to destroy the Israelite invaders.

When the massive fortifications of Jericho collapse, Salmon rushes into the ruins to save Rahab, the beautiful harlot who had rescued him and his fellow spy from certain death. But saving her from her own city is not so easy. And that is only the beginning of the trouble, treachery and devastating ruins they and their friends face as they settle into their new life in the Promised Land.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

sfr7gRyo

C.L. SMITH, former missionary, retired junior high English/history teacher, has captivated audiences around the world for years with the timeless thrill of biblical tales. Now her six-part Stones of Gilgal saga brings the mayhem and miracles of the book Joshua to life. Well researched and beautifully written, the author weaves her lifetime love of learning and people into the fabric of the biblical text, creating a tapestry of rich scenes and colorful characters the reader will not soon forget.

Learn more at www.stonesofgilgal.com

More from C.L. Smith

The Stones of Gilgal biblical novels follow the epic adventures of a group of ordinary young Israelites. As they battle evil together, they sink their roots deeper and deeper into the bedrock of God’s Truth and Love, slowly growing from a stand of saplings to a forest of giants.

Oak-Ad-final-J

Two of the seven young characters in my series have to deal with a lot of Trouble in the Ruins in this book. Lots of trouble. Lots of ruins.

Rahab the Harlot barely escapes the ruins of Jericho, but the ruins of her former life threaten to keep her ever an alien among the people of Yahweh.

Abihail is Acsah’s best friend from childhood, but she is also a fictionalized daughter-in-law of the biblical Achan. Her life is slammed with heart-rending trouble and ruin as that horrific Old Testament drama unfolds.

The Title: Trouble in the Ruins

The inspiration for this title comes from a couple of “plays on words” in Hebrew.

Trouble: The name Achan in Hebrew sounds very similar to the word Achor meaning trouble. The story of the biblical character Achan is forever tied to the word trouble at the end of Joshua 7 when the valley where he was stoned and buried under a “monument” of rocks received the name the Valley of Achor.

Ruins: Achan’s sin led to defeat at a little fortress known as Ai which means ruin. Some scholars suggest that the fortress was built on or near the ruins of a city destroyed in an earlier time. Following the glory of the crossing of the Jordan and the crumbling walls of Jericho—the Hebrew mind would find great dramatic irony in Israel being defeated by a “ruin.” The story jolts us out of complacency, underscoring the life and death consequences of obedience versus breaking covenant with God.

My Review

“Grandpa’s generation, the Exodus generation, found significance in teaching their children to live in covenant with Yahweh. You are the Gilgal generation. The shame of failure is rolled away, and tonight, we celebrate a new beginning.”

Biblical fiction is a difficult genre to write, and in my experience, it tends to be either hit or miss. Enough detail to inform readers about the time period and pique their interest, but without ever adding to the inerrant word of the Bible. Telling a story that will lead readers to the Bible to learn more without compromising THE story. Despite the challenges, I’m glad that there are authors who are willing to produce books set in this era, to make us examine Scripture more closely and to develop an understanding of what life was like for the people who actually lived the Bible.

Book three in The Stones of Gilgal saga, Trouble in the Ruins details the Israelite take-over of Canaan after their miraculous crossing of the Jordan. Author C.L. Smith again writes an engaging, page-turning novel replete with action, reality, and faith. In my case, I know that I tend to become so familiar with accounts from the Bible that I can gloss over them without really studying them and considering the details, whether there are any provided or not. That is part of why I love this series so much. I feel as if I am truly an eyewitness to what is unfolding as the scenes and characters come to life on the pages. Trouble in the Ruins focuses primarily on Rahab and the fate of Jericho, including its aftermath. I recently read Rahab: Woman of Jericho by Diana Wallis Taylor (see my review HERE), but I felt that Rahab was portrayed there with a much cleaner backstory and an overall too-much-improved image. Here, on the other hand, Smith presents Rahab as a former prostitute who is nervous and unsure, a refugee along with her family. She is unfamiliar with Israelite customs but willing to learn, which I think may be a part of the reason that she was spared and later given the honor of being in Jesus’ lineage. This also raises a connection to society today: Even if you come from a sketchy background or have a sinful past, all that is needed is to repent and accept the Lord as Your Savior. He will turn every broken piece of your life into a beautiful masterpiece.

A few other facts particularly drew my attention, too. For some reason, my mind never fully grasped the fact that the cord hung in Rahab’s window was scarlet for a specific purpose, as well: “The color of blood and death. The color of Passover faithfulness.” Just as Yahweh miraculously saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, led them through the forty years in the wilderness, brought them safely across the flooded Jordan, and delivered Jericho into their hands, His supernatural providence and power provided for them again as Rahab and her family transitioned into life with the Israelites. This, along with the parts of the narrative that feature Salmon and other Israelite characters, underscore the human-ness of the characters, who face fear and doubt but stand behind the God who protects them. Also, the Israelite purification ritual made much more sense to me after realizing that they did this in order to remain clean while in the presence of God, Who inhabited the Ark of the Covenant. I also can’t help but think that America in 2020 greatly resembles Jericho, with its corruption, chaos, and rampant sin, and I think that we would do well to heed Rahab’s story and repent and follow the Lord before it’s too late.

Included at the end of the book is a List of Characters, a very useful guide to both the true and fictional people in the story (I personally think it would have been more useful to place this at the beginning, but that’s just my preference).

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 1

For the Love of Literature, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 3

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 4

Emily Yager, September 4

Artistic Nobody, September 5 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 7

Inklings and notions, September 8

Betti Mace, September 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 10

Batya’s Bits, September 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 12

Mary Hake, September 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 13

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 14

Giveaway

-P02bXD8

To celebrate her tour, C.L. Smith is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!! (U.S. Only)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fff7/trouble-in-the-ruins-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Year the Stars Fell Review and GIVEAWAY!

I5XAk09Y

About the Book

ky8MbaEg

Book: The Year the Stars Fell

Author: Elizabeth Wehman

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: April 14, 2020

In the spring of 1833, newlywed Betsey Baker-Swain’s simple life changes when she and her husband, Aaron, make a hasty decision to join Betsey’s family on a move from Pennsylvania to Michigan Territory.

Along the way, rainstorms, freezing temperatures, seasickness, and lack of privacy pale in comparison to what the family will encounter once arriving at their destination. Soon, daily trials will include ear-piercing howls of wild wolves, bad weather, clouds of mosquitoes, and disturbing situations with the natives. Even then, Betsey wonders if this trip will finally quench her father’s adventurous spirit.

Over the next year, the Baker family will gain incredible strength, divine trust, and unexplainable courage, but will it be enough to keep them at the tiny cabin by the twisting Shiawassee River? Will uncertainty overtake their determination or will God’s intervention sustain them enough to become a part of the history of a new land?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

_3sX8AK8

Elizabeth Wehman’s writing career spans over thirty years and encompasses curriculum, periodical, journalism, and novel writing.

Her dream has always been to write novels and Elizabeth launched her first contemporary fiction, Under the Windowsill, in 2014. Since then, she’s added four titles to her shelf. They include: Promise at Daybreak, Just a Train Ride, Mere Reflection, and her latest complete historical work, The Year the Stars Fell.

She found the historical genre to be filled with rabbit trail research as well as walks through bygone cemeteries. The pioneers, of the early nineteenth century, reflected an amazing stamina and a determined courage to venture into the unknown. The Year the Stars Fell is based on a forgotten village established in the Territory of Michigan in 1833. She fell in love with the Baker family and the information she discovered about them gave way to folklore and tales of the early homesteaders. Two future novels are planned that will include the continuation of the nineteenth century farming community. The series will be called, ‘The Newburg Chronicles’.

In her spare time, Elizabeth loves to read and enjoys being out in nature. Her favorite places are digging in her flower garden, listening to the birds as they herald a new day, or taking a walk on the country roads surrounding her home in Michigan.

Elizabeth has been a trucker’s wife for over thirty years which helps supply the needed solitude to produce extraordinary stories. She has three grown children, four grandpuppies, and two sons-in-law.

More from Elizabeth

My “Stars” book began to emerge after doing research about the county where I live, here in Michigan. On an information discovery about another book, I came across the story of the Baker family. They were highlighted as the one of the first farming families to enter Michigan Territory in 1833. Hosea Baker brought his entire family from Pennsylvania to settle on 600 acres in an area beside the Shiawassee River.

Joining him there were his wife, Sally, his grown son Ambrose, his daughter and her husband, Betsey and Aaron Swain, and some younger daughters. While there, they hooked up with a boy named Alexander Stevens. Their first year included: building a home and barn, clearing and planting the first crops in the county, setting up a household, and Betsey giving birth to the first recorded child in the county. Betsey and Aaron named their new baby, Julia.

So much intrigued me about their story. I was excited to flesh it out with the help of short excerpts written in a Shiawassee County history book from 1888. From these short tidbits about the family, I soon embellished a story which is a mere glimpse into what their story could have included during their first year as settlers in a vast wilderness.

Much of the story is from my own imagination, but many of the highlights include the excerpts written about the family in 1888. After writing their story, I now feel a specific kinship to them. This is my first complete historical fiction work. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

My Review

If there is a historical fiction book that can make the challenges and woes of 2020 seem a matter of course, it is Elizabeth Wehman’s The Year the Stars Fell. It is always a wonder to me to consider how the early settlers overcame the innumerable obstacles to survival. A lifelong devotee of the American frontier era, I never tire of reading about it, and while I tend to live simply, I still find myself amazed at the sacrifice and travail of the pioneers.

As quaint and peaceful as the lives of America’s settlers seem from the comfortable distance of history, in reality the truth is much more complicated. So much of what we take for granted was nonexistent for those living on the frontier, including something as simple as neighbors. As is the case when the Bakers first arrive in the Michigan Territory, they are unable to effectively communicate with the Chippewa tribes who already live there, resulting in fear. Wehman depicts the conflict caused by both the Cass land agreement and the government’s offer of inexpensive land in what is now Michigan state. Little Alexander is in some ways a product of this discord. As in most cases, it is those who are familiar with the other side who learn how to negotiate and coexist.

Some of the hardships mentioned in The Year the Stars Fell are not ones that ever came to the forefront of my mind before but are actually still prevalent in various forms today. This novel highlights the constant need to work almost around-the-clock just in order to survive, often without the help of nearby neighbors. I also realized the irony of spouses, despite living and working together, not having enough quality time with each other due to the long working hours and the close quarters of families. However, resiliency and faith in God turn tragedy into triumph if we learn to trust Him and rest in Him. In this regard, I always enjoyed Hosea Baker’s natural affinity for spouting Scripture in every circumstance, and his younger daughter’s nearly constant hymn singing. Wehman has written her protagonist, Betsey Baker-Swain, as a young woman who faces a plethora of trials and encounters that contribute to her fearful state, to which we can all relate in some way. Betsey gradually comes to realize that “She couldn’t concentrate on her fears. It would drive her crazy. She needed to cling to hope. To life.” Thankfully, we don’t have to live in fear either because God takes good care of His children and provides for every need: “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure (Psalm 147: 4-5).

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25

lakesidelivingsite, August 25

Inklings and notions, August 26

For Him and My Family, August 27

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 27

Connie’s History Classroom, August 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 30

deb’s Book Review, August 30

For the Love of Literature, August 31

Older & Smarter?, September 1

Joanne Markey, September 1

Artistic Nobody, September 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Betti Mace, September 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, September 5

Pause for Tales, September 6

Giveaway

_9bM-HVM

To celebrate her tour, Elizabeth is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Year the Stars Fell and a $25 gift card to Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, which can be used online!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fff0/the-year-the-stars-fell-celebration-tour-giveaway