Category Archives: author interview

Wait for Me Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Wait for Me

Author: Marguerite Martin Gray

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: February 9, 2021

A town besieged by the enemy with just one Sovereign order: wait.

Charles Town, South Carolina, 1780

With the inevitable occupation of Charles Town by the British pounding at the gates, Louis Lestarjette braces for possible imprisonment or worse. How can he provide for his growing family with the evil chains of the enemy binding his source of existence? The scenarios of imprisonment and starvation force him to realize he has no control over the outcome of the stronghold of the British. All that remains is a sense of survival at almost any cost.

Elizabeth Lestarjette faces looming confinement with both a drive to protect her children and a desire to do her part to undermine the enemy. They must thwart the British plans to imprison more men, but how? Who can they trust?

Just how long will Elizabeth’s confidence in justice withstand the constant battering of war and circumstance?
Discover the destiny of the Lestarjette family in the final book of the Revolutionary Faith Series as they hope and wait upon deliverance from a world under siege.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Marguerite enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in north Louisiana. She writes historical fiction.

More from Marguerite

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Thank you for stopping by the Wait for Me tour. I’m so excited about the release of this novel, the finale of the Revolutionary Faith series,

I have always been fascinated with the ordinary—the simple acts from day to day. When an historical event is added, I surround my fascination with questions. What did they wear or eat? Why did they marry? Did they have children? Where did they shop? What is incredible or surprising to me about the historical event or activity was at one time ordinary to the characters whether in fiction or nonfiction.

The ordinary that I like to encounter and write in historical fiction includes how the characters dressed. I even had the dress pictured here made for me just in case I want to present in costume!

Also, I like to explore the food my characters ate. I found a wonderful recipe for a beefsteak pie in an American Girl cookbook. I’ve made it several times. Yummy!

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The ordinary activities such as going to church or to the market or mercantile make the characters real. Their lives have depth in their interaction with society. My simple faith in God’s provisions and promises flow into the lives of my characters. What makes the story exciting is the historical element linked with the dramatic background of war.

Thank you for continuing the journey with Wait for Me, rooted in the ordinary from two centuries ago.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

What a great question, that takes me way back to when I was in fifth grade. I devoured every book I could get ahold of that had to do with mystery (Nancy Drew), horses (Black Stallion Series), Anne of Green Gables, and anything about King Arthur. I started writing children’s books that I kept in a journal. Later, I majored in Journalism thinking that would satisfy my writing urge. It didn’t. If wasn’t until my children were in high school that I took the time to put my thoughts and plots from a notebook into action. In two years I wrote six rough draft novels. Now, whether I get published or not, I write two novels a year.

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

I choose four to five hours a day for a month. During this time frame, I can write 60,000 words that I consider a nice rough draft. I then spend a few more weeks to complete an additional 30,000 words. Once the initial words are written, I take another month of two to three hours a day to edit, rewrite, edit, and rewrite until the novel is ready for new eyes and critiques.

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

This is going to sound strange but my hero Louis Lestarjette, 1770 Charles Town, S.C. resonates with me more than any other. It’s a little bizarre because he is a guy. Why didn’t I choose Elizabeth or Jeannette? His story is full of excitement and conflict and questions. How would it have been for a Frenchman to loose his title, land, direction, and faith and end up in the New World? He has the adventurous spirit that I lack. Could I have done it? I want to think I would cross the ocean to a new life, but I don’t think I have it in me. But he does, and he succeeds where I probably wouldn’t. In a way, I’m living my alter personality through him. Also, I love anything French—the language, the culture, the food, the people.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspirations through the many years have been my parents. They gave me the awesome opportunity to travel and explore the world at a young age. Daddy is an architect and student of history. He lives, writes, and loves the historic aspect of people’s lives, buildings, churches, cemeteries, and art. My mom stands by his side and supports his endeavors. My sisters and I lived in England with them where we received a life-changing education and experience. We traveled all over Europe, studied French, art, and people.  I “blame” them for my constant desire to travel. It really is a big deal for I’m constantly planning the next trip!

Yet, I cannot forget my husband as my biggest encourager. I would not have written one novel without his sweet, honest words of support and encouragement.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

This is such an important question. Two years ago I would say hands down—traditional books. I love the feel, the smell, the sound of the pages, the bookmark—absolutely everything about a print book. But, I also see the value of ebooks. I have a full library of books on my ipad. I like the availability of having a book for the road, the plane, etc., not forgetting the economical aspect. My bookshelves breathed easier because of ebooks. Audiobooks are a lifesaver when I on the interstate. For three years I drove 50 minutes twice a day to and from work. I “read” so many books and found some awesome authors. My answer? I’ll always lean toward traditional books but have huge libraries of ebooks and audiobooks.

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, March 26

Artistic Nobody, March 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 28

For the Love of Literature, March 29 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 29

deb’s Book Review, March 30

She Lives To Read, March 31

Betti Mace, March 31

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 1

Splashes of Joy, April 2 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 3

Texas Book-aholic, April 4

Inklings and notions, April 5

For Him and My Family, April 6

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 7 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Marguerite is giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of all five books in the series and a box of Charleston Plantation Tea!!

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/109d4/wait-for-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

Heaven and the Afterlife Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Heaven and the Afterlife

Author: Kathy Carmichael

Genre: Christian Non-Fiction

Release date: October 25, 2020

What lies on the other side?
In this relevant and life changing story, Kathy Carmichael details her experiences so that you may share, learn and receive comfort from them.
Imagine being given the opportunity to meet with Angels, Saints and Jesus Christ face-to-face. Imagine watching the recently-passed step through the Pearly Gates. Imagine knowing that if you ask, God and Jesus can be an intimate part of your life. This isn’t your typical self-help book, yet reading about these events may change you and your life forever.
Journey to heaven in this firsthand account of the Glory of God and the afterlife.
Wires and tubes were connected to almost every available space on Kathy’s body as she lay in her hospital bed awaiting surgery. In the days leading up to her illness and then later post-surgery, Kathy experienced incredible supernatural events. She has been tasked with sharing what happened to her with you, bringing you evidence of the afterlife.
In this inspiring spiritual flight to Heaven and back, you will learn more about prayer, blessings, miracles and the generous love and understanding available to each of us. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1
*Have you had a near-death experience also known as an NDE?
*Has an angel ever brought you a message, protected you from harm, or visited you?
*Has your soul ever been transported to Heaven?
This book explores events such as these, and you will learn you are not alone. You may come to a deeper and abiding love for God and humanity. It’s likely you will no longer have as much fear relating to death or dying. Heaven, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are real.
This volume also includes bonus material such as:
*Thinking About Heaven: Reader Questions
*Map of Near-Heaven and parts of Heaven
*Meaningful Scripture and Quotes
*Photos relating to Kathy’s life and hospital stay
*Foreword by John Carmichael

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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With a deep and abiding love of our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who came into this world to save us, Kathy Carmichael is compelled to share her astounding spiritual experiences with others. She believes part of her mission on this Earth is to help people feel better, whether it’s through her writing or her (at times, sophomoric) sense of humor.

A USA Today bestseller and award-winning author, she lives on a canal along Florida’s west coast with her Scottish husband of over 40 years, one son, two cats, a part-time grand-dog, and a bevy of dust bunnies and seagulls.

Kathy has written primarily comedic clean/sweet romance, cozy mysteries, and non-fiction articles and workshops. She has been recognized by the American Library Association’s Booklist magazine with starred reviews in both the Mystery and Romance genres. Kathy is well-known for her fiction-writing seminars, including her short synopsis workshop.

Kathy loves hearing from readers.

More from Kathy

Many times as I sat down at my keyboard to work on this book, I have been encouraged by Holy Spirit to count my blessings.

Has anyone reminded you to count your blessings? If so, when you examine the numerous ways you’ve been blessed and begin to list the numerous blessings in your life, do you feel eternally grateful?

It’s part of our humanity that we tend to lose sight of those blessings while dealing with our day-to-day cares. Yet when we stop to think about how many good things are steadfast in our life, outside of the setbacks, gratitude washes over us.

I believe I was encouraged to look at my blessings as a means for me to overcome my obstacles. Healing from my physical ailments has been time consuming and difficult.

Yet, when I look at my blessings…

Like you, I have been blessed in a multitude of ways. Recently I have been blessed even more so. A large part of that blessing was my being allowed to remain alive and still walking God’s green Earth. An even bigger blessing was the amount of time I was granted to spend in Near-Heaven, which is a setting running immediately beside Heaven, and the glimpses I was permitted of Heaven itself.

Not everyone has such amazing opportunities, and even fewer have the chance to tell about it afterward.
 Please allow me to share my story with you.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I always wanted to be a writer for as long as I can recall. While in third grade I distinctly remember writing and illustrating my first “book” – in crayon. When I got older I kept putting off writing a novel because I didn’t think I was old enough, or wise enough, or dead enough to be a good author.

I stayed home with my children after they were born, but before I had children I was a very busy advertising executive and a systems analyst. When my youngest was around two years old, my husband recognized the fact that my brain wasn’t as active as it once was, and he suggested that then was the perfect time to work on becoming a writer. I had read many books about writing, and one book said that lots of people wanted to become authors, but few ever wrote an entire book. They simply didn’t persist long enough to finish. Since I’m famously stubborn, that was a war cry for me to not only start writing a book, but to finish it.

That weekend, when my husband got back into town on Friday evening, I started writing my book—no outline, no synopsis. I merely wrote. I finished it in the early hours of Sunday, without having stopped to eat or sleep. It was 78 handwritten pages front and back—and as I learned later, it was nothing but dialogue. When I found a critique group, I expanded those pages into a full-length book (by filling in things like introspection, setting, emotional reaction, body movement and so on). I went on to write several more books that were never published, but that first revised book later became my second published book (My Lady Mischief – a sweet Regency) by Avalon Books. My first published book was Chasing Charlie. Back then Avalon Books was well known as a sweet and clean publisher, so it fit my style very well. Later, Avalon Books was acquired by Amazon and it no longer exists.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

I think there have been three authors who have had huge influences on my fiction writing. The first is P. G. Wodehouse (a famous comedy writer), the second is Georgette Heyer (sweet Regency historicals) and lastly, Agatha Christie (mystery). Mainly I have written romantic comedy and comedic mystery novels, so the influence is very clear.

Now that I am also writing Christian Non-fiction, I believe my writing is influenced by the above authors as well as by Holy Spirit. I sensed Holy Spirit making suggestions and giving me direction throughout the writing of Heaven and the Afterlife. It was an unusual experience that is difficult to describe. When I write fiction, yes, I do feel led in the writing of the books. But it is not in the same manner as when I wrote this book. I would start to write something, and a voice in my head (not my voice) would say, “Rethink that. You should write about XYZ now.” It was eye-opening in that I wrote the book in a way I would never have written it on my own. The book isn’t written chronologically or linearly. It was written revolving around events instead. I believe I was given amazing and blessed guidance.

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

My husband says I have five places where I write in my house. It’s not true, well, not usually. Mostly I sit either on my screened-in porch or in my dining room (that has windows onto the screened-in porch) because both look out on the canal behind my house. It’s a salt water, tidal canal that leads to the Gulf of Mexico in less than a mile. There is a bird sanctuary right on the canal, and we often have dolphins and manatees as well as incredible birds. It’s so nice to be able to look up and see all this beauty (when I’m not so involved in my book that I can’t see anything but the screen in front of me). I sit in other places based on what or how I’m writing. For instance, I sit at the kitchen table when I’m writing longhand.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I used to prefer print books, especially trade paperbacks, but not anymore. Now that my eyes are older (sigh), I truly prefer eBooks because I can adjust the font size. Also, it allows me to carry hundreds of books wherever I go. I prefer reading on my actual Kindle, but I’ve been known to read on my iPhone when I’m standing in line at a store or stuck waiting for an appointment. I wish I could listen to audiobooks, but I find them too immersive. I’m better off with words.

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

I love the 23rd Psalm and go back to it time and time again when I’m worried or feeling burdened. This line particularly helped me through various health issues.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

There is so much to learn when you’re just starting out as a writer, but my best advice is to be true to yourself and who you are, rather than chasing the hot new trend. People will say, “Oh, this is where the money is,” or “You’re more likely to sell a book if you write in that genre.” I advise you to ignore such advice.

What do you most love to read? Strongly consider writing that, whatever that might be. Genre trends come and go, but your voice, your style remains a constant. Work on improving your voice, learning all you can about writing, and ignore the temptation to follow the dictates of the market. Write to yourself as a market. If you love it, there will be many other readers who love it, too. Your goal as a writer is to write what you love and find your audience. Your goal as a Christian is to follow what you know is true and good and right, and never deviate from that. And if Holy Spirit suggests you write something, as happened to me, I strongly encourage you to do so. While I never thought I would find myself writing Christian Non-Fiction, it’s one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. It may not become an overnight success or a bestseller, but I’m so proud of being an obedient daughter and giving the book everything my skills and knowledge could provide. I want for you to have a similar experience.

Each of us have different paths and our own unique ways to spread the word. Sometimes it’s through making someone laugh during times of trouble, sometimes it’s providing an emotionally draining read to divert the reader’s attention from their own situation. And sometimes it’s testifying in person. You will know when you find the path intended for you. And don’t let anyone deter you from it. Be true to you.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10

Texas Book-aholic, March 11

Cats in the Cradle Blog, March 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 12

For Him and My Family, March 13

For the Love of Literature, March 14 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 17

Blossoms and Blessings, March 18 (Author Interview)

Godly Book Reviews, March 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 21

Through the Fire Blogs, March 22 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, March 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!

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/1095b/heaven-and-the-afterlife-celebration-tour-giveaway

Catching Hope Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Catching Hope

Author: Kathy Cassel

Genre: Young Adult, action/suspense

Release date: February 1, 2021

Catching Hope—a pursuit fraught with danger.

Newly adopted Lexi Michaels is taking her first real vacation as she, twin brother Levi, adoptive brother Chad, and new cousin Jen head to Haiti where their dad, a pediatrician, will be volunteering in an island clinic. But who is the man who displays such hatred for the Michaels when they arrive at their resort? Is an attempted burglary as random as it appears? Will Jen ever accept the newcomers to the family? When the four teens set out to explore Haiti’s sights and history on their own, an unexpected encounter and natural disaster plunge them into adventure and danger. With their very survival at stake, can the four teens work together or will Lexi’s dream of a “forever family” end in tragedy?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Kathy Cassel lives in the Florida panhandle with her husband and four of their eight children, five of whom are adopted. She is a motorcycle rider, scuba diver, and loves spending time with her family. Her debut novel, Freerunner, was published by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. in 2019.

More from Kathy

My Experience with Haiti

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Prior to the 2010 catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that caused immense damage to the country of Haiti, many people would not have been able to tell you that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola just a two hour flight from Miami.

I knew where it was because our family had adopted a child from Haiti in 1997. At the time the earthquake took place, my husband and I were in the process of adopting twins from a different orphanage in Port au Prince Haiti. It had been over three years and our adoption was not yet complete. During those three years I visited the twins at the orphanage five times. Other family members went with me on some of those trips, and at one point, all of our children still living at home went to visit the orphanage.

This was an eye opening experience for my family. In fact, I volunteered us to do the daily wash. That meant hand washing clothes and sheets for 135 orphans using large metal tubs and harsh soap, then rinsing the clothes in other tubs before hand wringing them and hanging them on clotheslines. Once home, my children no longer complained about unloading the dryer!

Cooking was done in large pots over open fires and mainly consisted of rice and beans, or red sauce over rice. The cooks originally prepared the food in a wooden shack, but more than once one of them would get so hot she’d pass out, so an outdoor area was set up for food preparation.

After the earthquake, there was a mountain of paperwork to be done to get refugee status for children in the orphanages who had families waiting for them. Finally the children were brought to the United States, although some of the orphans went to other countries too, to be united with their forever families. Sadly, many were held in the airport for days before being released. For our family, the long wait was over January 25, 2010. Now our family is complete with three birth children and five adopted children, three of whom are from Haiti.

Some of the places mentioned in the book resemble real places in Haiti, although they have been fictionalized. I hope you will not only read Catching Hope, but will also take time to learn more about the country of Haiti.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I always enjoyed writing but never thought it could be a career, so I went into teaching. But moving around with my Air Force husband meant trying to recertify in different states, so instead of teaching, I parented and worked on my writing. I had several devotion books published before feeling a passion to write issue-based teen fiction.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

James Scott Bell. I reread Write Your Novel from the Middle and Plot and Structure quite often, especially when starting a new project.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I want to understand my characters, their hobbies, interests and so on. This had led me on some interesting adventures such as whitewater rafting, certifying in scuba, and getting my motorcycle certification. I never know where my writing will lead me.

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

I have to grab a little time here and there to write. But if I need to get a lot done and have time free, I head to the library where there are no distractions.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A pantser with a few key points in mind. I have a vague idea of where the story is going, but write it as I go. I really need to learn how to create an outline.

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

I have a home office I’ve fixed up, but more often I simply set on the living room couch with my computer.

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

There are some really amazing authors who write historical fiction in an authentic way. I’m not one of them. I want to reach today’s teens by tackling the issues they face each day in order to provide hope and healing.

Describe your book in five words.

Despair gives way to hope.

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

Lexi. She so badly wants to fit in with her new family, yet she’s afraid to hope for that coveted happily ever after.

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

No. I just want them to identify with the main character, be riveted by the story, and find a sense of hope for themselves.

What are your hobbies?

Scuba diving, photography, traveling with my family and finding new places to visits and things to try.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

Don’t really know.

What is your favorite book?

No one book, but Mary Higgins Clark is my favorite author. I like her style and sense of story. I like her Under Suspicion series.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I drive a lot, so I listen to books much more than read them.

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

I really like the key verse for this book, I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NLT. My other favorite is Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

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

That’s a tough question. I know I would not want to live in one of Mary Higgins Clark (favorite author) books for fear I’d be the victim!!

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

Mary Higgins Clark. Unfortunately she passed away, so that won’t happen.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Study your craft. Invest in the James Scott Bell books I mentioned earlier or other writing books that appeal to you. Read the kind of books you want to write—but don’t copy them. Find your own voice.

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 27

For the Love of Literature, February 28 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, March 1

Inklings and notions, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Wishful Endings, March 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, March 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 5

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 6

Artistic Nobody, March 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 8

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Simple Harvest Reads, March 10 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, March 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million Gift Card!!

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/1089e/catching-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Midwife’s Heart Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Midwife’s Heart

Author: Brenda Ray

Genre: Historical

As Abraham’s descendants prepare to cross into the Promised Land, led by Moses, Hannah, a disillusioned midwife will be tested in ways she cannot imagine. She wanted love, a home, and children, but gave up on that dream long ago. One heartbreak and humiliation was enough.

Ze-ev is a commander in the army, protecting his people. Busy doing what must be done, finding a wife is not his priority. Besides, when his childhood sweetheart marries another, he lost interest in securing a match to be his bride.

When he meets Hannah, they are both tested. Will either of them let down their guard long enough to trust again?

Set on the Plains of Moab, amidst attacks on the camp, spies, plague, and the unprecedented request of Zelophehad’s daughters, Ze-ev and Hannah must navigate the thorny path of the heart.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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RWA award-winning author, Brenda Ray, grew up along the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida. A University of Florida trained nurse-midwife, she traveled as a military wife and raised three remarkable sons. She is now retired and writing full time in Vero Beach, FL. A graduate of the University of Florida, as well, she is always confused during football season, but she is never confused about loving feedback from her readers. You may contact her at: www.wildwolfwomanwriter.com

More from Brenda

I didn’t set out to be a writer. In 1997, I was a practicing nurse-midwife, blessed to have delivered hundreds of babies. In one day, latex allergy abruptly ended my career, ended my job, and took my health. Seven years of college felt like a waste. At times the grief felt bottomless.

My strong faith in God got me through that dark time. My daily meditation and clinging to God’s Word were by lifelines. One morning, while reading the second chapter of Exodus, (which I had read many times before) the story of Puah and Shiphrah struck me in a new way.

I began asking myself how that came to be. Why would a pharaoh order his future workforce murdered? Did all the babies arrive before the midwives could arrive or did the midwives lie? With much research and study and my own experiences as a midwife, the answers to those questions became The Midwife’s Song: A Story of Moses’ Birth.

The book started a flood of writing that continues today. Writing is a creative process and as the Holy Scripture teach, “In the beginning, God created….” We are told we are made in God’s image. Thus, we ourselves are destines to create. For me, it has been quilting, sewing, cooking, and writing. I also write under the pen name of B. K. Ricotta. Two of a Kind is my first book under that name. A sweet novella will be released soon by Wild Rose Press entitled A Love So Sweet by B. K. Ricotta. Finally, the finishing touches are being done on a historical romance set in Northwest Florida when it was a new state.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

Writing chose me.  In 1997, I was a practicing nurse midwife.  When I anaphylaxed to latex, my career was over.  One day I was reading my Bible and I re-read the verses in the second chapter of Exodus that talks about Puah and Shiphrah, the midwives of Egypt.  It grabbed me.  In asking myself questions about how that transpired, a book was born, which was The Midwife’s Song: A Story of Moses’ Birth.  I knew that I could write, but most of my writing prior to that was technical for my master’s thesis.  So, I began studying creative writing. I joined RWA, and began plotting the first book in the Hebrew Midwives Trilogy.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

In the past, my stories have been written intuitively, but I am now working on writing with plotting the stories before writing them.  I think that when I master that, I can be more productive, and the storylines will be tighter.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  It is a very spiritual book, but not religious.  It teaches us how we live as women.  It was life changing for me.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I adore a print book.  Over my lifetime I have probably owned thousands of books, but as a former military wife, I could not take them all with me, so I learned to read books and only keep the one’s that are most loved or those I know I will read again.  I also keep research books.  With that said, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve downsized and only own a small bookshelf of books now.  I read most of my pleasure reading on my Kindle.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I would advise them to study creative writing as if it were a job, because it is a job.  Study things such as plotting, character development, etc.  They should network with other writers, such as joining a critique group.  If they have a favorite genre, join professional writer’s organizations, and get involved with their chapters for various genres.

Second, if someone wants to write and be successful, they must treat it like a job.  Set aside time each day to just write or work on writing projects.  Create a space that is dedicated to and conducive for writing.

Finally, never give up.  I heard Susan Wiggs speak many years ago and she told the story about how when her husband built her writing studio, she wallpapered the bathroom in it with her rejection letters.  Great writers must learn to keep moving forward and don’t take rejection letters as a sign that you are no good.  It’s simply a “this story is not right for us” letter.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 5

For the Love of Literature, February 6 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 6

Artistic Nobody, February 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Texas Book-aholic, February 8

For Him and My Family, February 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 11

Older & Smarter?, February 12

Inklings and notions, February 13

Through the Fire Blogs, February 14 (Author Interview)

Our Whiskey Lullaby, February 14

Connie’s History Classroom, February 15

deb’s Book Review, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Brenda is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of “The Midwife’s Song: A Story of Moses’ Birth (1st edition) and a few rainy day comfort items!!

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/1073f/the-midwife-s-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

About Face, Rest, and Intents & Purposes Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

Book: About Face, Rest, and Intents & Purposes

Author: Tonia Colleen Martin

Genre: Illustrated Poetry

Release Date: 2019 and 2020

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The terrible accident happened too long ago to remember the specifics. Having lost what she doesn’t remember owning, it takes the miracle of crossing paths with Hush, Shush and Silence, to reveal the truth. The shock of realizing she struggled to maintain an identity never meant to be hers, floors her. From a position of surrender, the surface of her tears mirrors who she has always been but hasn’t seen and does not know. Unimaginable possibilities, surprising choices and thrilling freedom ensues.

At the core of all anxiety is mistaken identity. About Face invites readers to consider who they might be apart from other people’s expectations and who they might become.

Click HERE to get your copy of About Face!

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A perennial gift book for the stressed and beleaguered. Falling into the growing category of children’s books for adults, Rest: An Invitation to Freedom, lures readers out of frenzied productivity into a state of peaceful contemplation. Written for exhausted high achievers, this story is suitable for office lobbies, coffee and bedside tables.

“The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. At its best, the fairy story or fantasy is far from being a flight from reality; it is, rather, a flight to reality.”- JRR Tolkein

“The trumpet of imagination, like the trumpet of the Resurrection, calls the dead out of their

graves.” – GK Chesterton

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” — C.S. Lewis

Click HERE to get your copy of Rest: An Invitation to Freedom!

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This story took longer to live than to transcribe. For daydreamers, truth-seekers, joy-feeders, and those longing to let your heart instruct your mind, this little book is for you. Falling into my own stylized category of children’s book for adults, Intents and Purposes, chronicles the path of a life abandoned by disconnection and loneliness as it moves to the threshold of hope and contentment.

Both text and illustrations are mine. Although countless versions reside in my constantly reconfiguring memory, this compilation seems to be its truest version.

Click HERE to get your copy of Intents and Purposes!

About the Author

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I earned my MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, received the Hallberg Award for Art; Best of Show, Blue Line Gallery, Membership Medley; published in The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies; Ruminate Magazine; Metonym; Sierra College Journal.

More from Tonia

They are ready! Finally! These three illustrated books are condensed chronicles of various phases of my spiritual development. Over the years, I’ve learned that the deepest matters of the heart seem to be resistant to the confines of words. Images aid in the capture of emotions, but even still, the heart is shy. It runs from impatience and requires a concentration of listening and a suspension of judgment.

Each one of these books hovers over distinct territories and touch down in depths most avoid. I struggle to put my experiences into a kind and beautiful package, hoping to lure readers into places of feeling many might avoid. Not realizing they would be officially released during this unnerving pandemic, I am now so grateful for the message of hope that invites readers into possibilities and faith in our merciful Father of Lights who brought all things into being and is, even now, administering Peace to those who simply ask and expect. For those who suffer in the unknown, as I have and often do, I invite to include the reading of these missives of encouragement and their distribution of the message of Hope hidden in their pages. They were written to uplift you on the days when you can find no words for your longing, no relief for your uncertainty and a deep desire for encouragement. I am eager to get them out in the world.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I was in my late 20’s.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

C.S. Lewis; Frederick Buechner; Wendell Berry.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I take forever to write. I often start from a “lyrical impulse and work backwards, ”which is the funniest description I’ve ever heard.  But some fancy editor told me that and its always rolled around in my mind.

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

I write almost everyday but rarely at the same time or the same amount or on the same thing.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Definitely a pantser.

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

Yes, in my office. I need to be quiet and confined.

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

No I like a wide variety of books and articles and poetry and subjects.

Describe your book in five words.

BOOKS YOU WANT TO GIFT

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

The characters all speak for me from regions I couldn’t access any other way.

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

Not intentionally.

What are your hobbies?

Gardening, cooking.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

Frederick Buechner

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

The Story of Esther inspires me. I wish I had Esther’s courage.

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

Oh wow! What an interesting question. The more I thought about it, the more frightening it became. The idea gives me claustrophobia. I think I love reading stories to experience characters making difficult choices and speaking up when I’d be too much of a coward to do the same. I can be inspired but I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a book.

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

Mike Mason or Frederick Buechner.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Get a group of like minded writers and commit to being a “tribe.” A group like the Inklings…that’s what every writer needs.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 19

Texas Book-aholic, September 20

Beauty in the Binding, September 21 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 22

For the Love of Literature, September 23 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 26 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, September 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 29

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 30

Through the Fire Blogs, October 1 (Author Interview)

Mary HakeOctober 1

Emily Yager, October 2

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Tonia is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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/100e9/about-face-rest-and-intents-purposes-celebration-tour-giveaway

Good and Faithful Servant Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book:

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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

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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

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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

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

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About the Book

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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

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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.

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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

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The grand prize is a $50 Amazon gift card!

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

Widowhood Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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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

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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

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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

Fierce Wholeness Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

 

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Book: Fierce Wholeness

Author: Robin Meade

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: March 5, 2020

When the Bible talks about the third- and fourth-generational curse, that’s so true. If the curse is not broken by you, then who will stop it dead in its tracks? Dealing with forgotten pain, things you stuff down just to survive, is serious business. But that’s what Robin Meade did. Growing up, she was criticized, put down, and stomped on—by her own family. She chose to bury her pain.

Fierce Wholeness: Finding Myself after Childhood Emotional Trauma is Robin’s story—in all of its raw and messy but authentic and beautiful transparency as she unpacks the trajectory of her life from childhood to adulthood and seeks to repair the dam that had been busted, the riverbed that had been washed away, the landscape that had been obliterated by her family of origin.

Readers who grew up in the clutches of the branches of emotional abuse will be empowered by Robin’s story because of the freedom that Jesus gives. Robin’s story is raw and authentic, and readers will be encouraged by how they too can find fierce wholeness in Christ.

 

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

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Robin Meade grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but now she walks with God in the beautiful suburbs of Chicago. For nearly five years she has led and taught as part of the women’s ministry team at New Life Brookfield Church. She loves her dog and great food, but mostly she loves Jesus, and strives to encourage people to experience God’s restorative healing and for God to be glorified through it.

 

More from Robin

 

There’s a level of ‘fierce’ that we all need to reach in our journey with Christ; to be real about the journey. When you experience abuse as a child, there is a ‘normal’ way of perceiving your surroundings that’s set, and if not corrected, stays with you into adulthood. My desire for this book is that people who have suffered childhood emotional abuse know they are not alone, that they can experience of healing through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible talks about being ready to give an account and running the race striving for first place and working out our salvation with fear and trembling – some of that has been lost in our Christian culture. Jesus isn’t a wimp or a doormat because he is kind and forgiving and neither should we be. I hope my story will be a blessing to many in their faith walk, to get to their level of ‘fierce’.

 

Author Interview

 

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

Charles Dickens and CS Lewis.  They both speak the truth in a profound way through their characters that is very relatable, that I feel very deeply.


Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

I would say my children.  They are all adults now.  Each one of them pushed me to be a better person, a better mother, to pursue my faith harder while they were growing and still do now as adults.


What are your hobbies?

Love puzzles – play sudoku daily
Love maps & pit bulls & making crafts
Volunteer to help – everything from event planning to making crafts to donate
Favorite games are cribbage and backgammon
Favorite color is lavender
Favorite praise songs – All the Power You Need (HillSong), When the Saints (Sarah Groves), Better Word (Leeland), Still Rolling Stones (Lauren Daigle)
I love to travel.  I think you learn the most when you are in a different setting.  My travel companion is a stuffed Moose.  I take him wherever I go.  Moose has been everywhere from Alaska to Italy.  Moose takes great pictures.  😊


Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I like to write in books that I’m reading for study so then I need a paper copy.  But I really really like audiobooks.  I’m a kinetic learner so if I’m crocheting or cleaning while listening to an audiobook, I will remember the content longer than reading a traditional paper book.


What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If God has given you the gift of writing, don’t ever give up. You’ll know because you will feel the tug to write. You may not believe that you have anything worth saying. That’s total crap from the enemy. Don’t believe it. If you feel the tug, write. Pray and ask God for wisdom and write some more.

I went to the same writer’s conference for 9 years before I was brave enough to put my writing ‘out there’.  At year 5, an author speaking at the conference cautioned me to not let my dreams of writing wait.  That conversation really struck me, but I wasn’t ready yet.  Other pieces of me had to heal.

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 3

My Devotional Thoughts, August 4 (Author Interview)

Genesis 5020, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 6

Blossoms and Blessings, August 7 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, August 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 8

For Him and My Family, August 9

Simple Harvest Reads, August 10 (Author Interview)

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

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 12

For the Love of Literature, August 13 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, August 14

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

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 16 (Author Interview)

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away the grand prize package of a basket with a signed copy of the book, the Fierce Wholeness Companion Journal, and $10 gift cards to Joann’s, Starbucks, Amazon and a stuffed moose!!

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/fe95/fierce-wholeness-celebration-tour-giveaway

Six Years and a Quarter Way Through Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Six Years and a Quarter Way Through

Author: Cassandre Brissot

Genre: Christian Romance, Coming of Age

Release Date: April 19, 2019

Six Years and a Quarter Way Through is a story about a young woman who’s lost her way. Like many of us, Leah believed that the vision supersedes the process until, at age twenty-six, she stops believing in the vision and the one who gave it to her. Leah has lost her faith, her job, her confidence, and maybe her mind. Utterly defeated and without hope that her dreams to become a star would come true, she meets Trenton Shaw, a rich, powerful, handsome, hot-shot producer who has spent the last six years of his life trying to find her. Leah is weary of Trenton initially, particularly since he is adamant about enlisting her for a new reality show that he is putting together called “Star Quality.” However, after reasoning that she has nothing left to lose, she consents. If she wins the show, she will receive a cash prize, an agent, and most importantly a part in a brand-new feature film; even if she loses, people would still know her name.

Trent and Leah quickly fall for each other, forming an intense and sometimes volatile relationship, which only gets more complicated after she moves into the house she’ll be sharing with her costars and meets Brice. Frightened awake from a nightmare, Leah stumbles into the living room, where she finds Brice looking as haunted as she feels; he confides in her about his dead fiancée, and she in him about her nightmares and anxiety attacks. Her nightmares recur, worsening with each night as the competition intensifies and her relationship with Trent deepens. Gradually it becomes apparent that Leah’s way of getting everything she’s ever wanted may have taken her on a road she should not have traveled.

At its core, this is a story about the journey we all must take: What do we believe? How strongly do we believe it? Will that belief be steadfast in the face of temptation? Although everyone’s story is different, you only either chose to do it God’s way or your own.

 

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

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Cassandre Brissot is the author of debut novel, Six Years And A Quarter Way Through. She completed her bachelor of fine arts in Television and Radio production at the City University of New York Brooklyn College. She then went on to work as a TV production assistant until becoming a flight attendant in 2014, which is the same year she was crowned Miss Black New York USA. Nowadays, she can still be found on set but in front of the cameras, though mostly as an extra, thus far. When she’s not on a set, she’s writing for her blog. She also enjoys dance parties with her young nieces and karaoke, very much.

 

 

 

More from Cassandre

 

The best part of being young is the possibilities. In your minds eye you’re the next president, or celebrated surgeon, maybe a coveted fashion designer, you might even be Superman. As a child I dreamed fanciful dreams of stardom, celebrity, vast fortune, and a handsome prince to boot. I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could start living the fabulous life I knew would be mine. In spite of the hardships of my early years, I never doubted that my life would go according to plan, when it didn’t, it just about killed me.

I received my college diploma with a dangerous amount of pride. I was certain that after one of the best years of my life, which included interning at a prominent television network, success on the pageant circuit, and getting cast in and shooting a great pilot, that the world was my oyster. I had the talent, ambition, drive, and connections. Not to mention, I knew God. Why wouldn’t things work out for me?

Nearly two years passed before I was able to gain employment-as a sales associate, in a small boutique. No one would hire me let alone cast me in a project. The pilot I’d banked all my hopes on was never picked up. Each day that went by brought me to new lows. The successes of my friends and former classmates made the pain all the more acute. I was depressed, making terrible decisions in every area of my life, and loosing it. Thinking about my shattered hopes gave me an anxious feeling in the pit of my gut. Often that feeling turned into a full-blown anxiety attack. I was fledgling and inconsolable until The Holy Spirit spoke to me. What’s more important, He asked, the fame and the money or a relationship with Him?

It’s ironic, I called myself a Christian but I never consulted Christ about my life. I prayed for better but never did I ask God what His will was for me. I wanted what I wanted. I didn’t stop there. I wanted God to bless my endeavors regardless of whether it was His will for me or not because it was mine. Everything I’d done to that point answered the question loudly and clearly. I’d lived in yearning for things not Christ. It was heartbreaking coming to terms with that, however it was also the wake up call I needed. I finally understood I couldn’t serve two masters at the same time. I decided to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the rest of the things would come in His divine time.

The Holy Spirit taught me a lot of things during that season of my life: who you are-your character-is more important to The Lord than where you’re trying to go. Sometimes God will allow you to falter for the sake of truly finding Him, and perhaps most prominently, that nothing matters more than a true relationship with Christ. Six Years And A Quarter Way Through, was born of those lessons and the desire to honor Christ as a witness to His redemptive power and love.

Leah Albanese is a young woman who chooses the things-including the boy who is offering them-over God, but she soon learns that even when you give up on God He doesn’t give up on you.

 

Author Interview

 

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

I’ve never considered that I was ‘hiding’ things in my stories for readers to find, although that’s exactly what I’ve done. There are key moments in Six Years And A Quarter Way Through where I mirror a biblical scene or lesson. I’m always waiting for someone to point out the correlation. The perfect example of this is when Leah and Trent meet for the first time and he offers her a spot on his new reality show. Leah’s enticed through the three temptations of sin: lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.  1 John 2:16 describes this principal and warns against it. I used Genesis chapter 3 verse 6 to frame Leah’s seduction. Eve ‘sees the tree is good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise.’ It is after that she sins and eats of the tree. Leah sees that Trent is attractive, has a physical desire for him, and comes into agreement with his plan to give her everything she wants. It’s after that she gets involved with him.

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Most of the books I own are electronic. For four years I was a flight attendant basically living out of my suitcase, between my clothes and toiletries I had no space for books. I’m grateful for eBooks however there is nothing like curling up with a physical copy.

 

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

Not to sound cliché, but if I could meet any author living or alive, I would want to meet Jane Austen. I love her work¾how she was able to create strong female characters that were equally feminine, witty, and moral. If I had the opportunity to speak to her it wouldn’t be out of a desire to enhance my writing it would be for the pleasure of getting to know the brilliant mind that weaved wonderful stories.

 

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

I absolutely love the parable of the Prodigal Son. It convicted me when guilt and shame wanted me to stay where I was; it has shaped my understanding of Grace, The Gospel, and the love of The Father. I’ve been so affected by The Prodigal son that it has fashioned my story telling. One of the hidden things in my book I hope readers pick up on is that Leah is a prodigal daughter.

 

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

The character that speaks most to my heart is Leah because she’s loosely based on me. When the story begins Leah’s in a bad place spiritually, mentally, and emotionally; the despondency she feels I’ve felt. Many of Leah’s despairing emotions and their cause are a reflection of my own desolation during a particularly painful time in my life. By the end of the book we see the beginning of redemption and reconciliation. Bringing Leah to life brought back some bad memories but it also reminded me of God’s love for and patience with me. Leah is a witness to myself and other young women who may have made mistakes that in Christ there is forgiveness and newness of life.

 

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Rebecca Tews, August 2

Splashes of Joy, August 3 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, August 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 4

Inklings and notions, August 5

Simple Harvest Reads, August 6 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, August 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Texas Book-aholic, August 8

A Baker’s Perspective, August 9 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 10

For Him and My Family, August 11

For the Love of Literature, August 12 (Author Interview)

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

Pause for Tales, August 14

 

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate her tour, Cassandre is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Six Years And A Quarter Way Through, 1 journal (My Story His Way: Journaling your journey to a closer walk with Him), and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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/fe94/six-years-and-a-quarter-way-through-celebration-tour-giveaway