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The Me I See in You Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Me I See In You

Author: Angeles Echols

Genre: Coffee Table Inspirational

Release date: November 7, 2022

Take a peek into the eyes of our future…and be encouraged.

The Me I See in You is a testament of the commitment, dedicated educators and caring communities have in changing the trajectory of young lives. In it, you’ll meet graduates with incredible stories and extraordinary outcomes, thanks to the academic, emotional, and social resources provided by EYM and a caring core base of teachers, mentors, family, friends, funders, and the EYM board of directors.

“When asked what I see on the horizon for our youth, I see in my youth the essence of what it is “to be human,” to dream, do the work, to love, and forgive with grace. Through tears, triumphs, disappointments, successes, failures, inequities, biases and racism, I see a world full of hope because our youth with guidance and support will not waiver. They will continue to strive to be and share their best selves with unlimited potential.
I think not only of these former students but each child that has come across my path and the me I see in each of them!” –Angeles Echols

Yvette, a little chocolate beauty who was once teased, but now with an MD and Master’s degree, is a role model for young Black women and girls.
LaShia, who rolled her neck and eyes at me and adamantly told us what she was and was not going to do at EYM… I smiled and asked her mom to leave the room. (What was said in that room, we will never tell)
Todd, who sat at my desk and reviewed EYM’s online programming, discovered flaws, said “Don’t cry, Ms. Echols, I can fix this,” and built EYM’s online interactive platform, Access/No Excuse (ANE).
Adam, who built the teacher, student online tutorial component of (ANE) while attending Cal Tech and teaching at EYM part-time.
Ashley, who gave me a hug and said, “Take my credit card and get what you need for EYM. I will bring my team and design the landscape for EYM.” Shot during a drive-by, she’s forgiving and, refuses to be bitter.
Rob, seeking that street credit as a teen, now a film producer and director, reminds me frequently that EYM saved his life. I then remind him that he saved himself, with God’s grace and the support of his family and village!
Themba, reminds me that the potential of an EYM graduate is without boundaries. Never giving up or giving in, he passed the California State Bar and continued to reach back to help others, producing the first EYM golf tournament!
Suha, a gentle soft spoken EYM graduate, now in Medical School, who became a tutor at EYM and quietly showered me with love and encouragement as an adult.

When you look upon a child whose eyes have already begun to dim due to deferred hope don’t speculate on how long it will take before the light is completely extinguished—find a way to set it ablaze.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Angeles LaRose Patricia Echols was born in Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated from Cornell University, where she earned her B.A. in psychology, with an emphasis in child development and human behavior. While attending Cornell, Angeles discovered a love for the arts and teaching. In Ithaca’s downtown community centers and in the local Baptist church. After much prayer and soul searching, the path was chosen for her. She would become an advocate for children: an educator and mentor, empowering children, parents, and families.

Angeles founded Educating Young Minds Tutorial Program, reaching at-risk children and their families, channeling their energies toward achieving excellence. She accomplished this by linking high expectations with socio-academic improvement, proven teaching and learning strategies and activities for students with varied needs, skills and abilities.

The truest testament to Angeles’ work is the young men and women who graduate from EYM, succeed at college, and then return to their communities as role models and as leaders.

Her new book, “The Me I See In You” highlights some of the students that have graduated from EYM, accomplished many of their academic and professional goals and have come back to support EYM in various ways. You will be encouraged by their stories.

This is not Angeles Echols’ first foray into writing. She is the author of interactive bio- Ray Charles, The Man. The Music, The Legacy (commissioned by the Ray Charles Foundation).

Angeles lives in California with her husband. When she is not running her business or writing, Angeles travels with her husband.

More from Angeles

As an educator, there are days filled with profound rewards. To see the light go on in a student’s eyes when they grasp a concept or make a connection from one end of a logical stream of thoughts to another. Learning.

The hard work of making sure each student receives the right type of stimuli, attention, and motivation is rewarded in many different ways. Sometimes the reward comes in the form of the discovery of a new approach or technique. Other times it comes in seeing the student advance in such a way that the indelible mark they make on society or the world is a reason for celebration.

“The Me I See in You” is a celebration of some of the students that have attended Educating Young Minds, Inc. (EYM), a learning center that utilizes the holistic approach to educating and serving their students and the families of those students.

Now in their adulthood, these former students are teachers, attorneys, doctors, film producers, computer specialists, and social workers, just to name a few, and they are sharing stories on the impact EYM has had on their lives. Each of the twenty-one students also leaves the reader with a few notes of encouragement and advice.

Since this is a coffee table book in its paperback and hardback form, there is a great amount of attention given to the pictures on the covers as well as those placed in the interior.

I believe this is an exceptionally beautiful way to share encouragement and inspiration. I am proud that I was able to celebrate these students in a creative way that draws those that will read everything from cover to cover and those that just wish to scan the writing and look at the attention-grabbing pictures.

Author Interview

Describe your book in five words.

Timely and Beautiful

Engaging

Unexpected

Rare

Encouraging

What are your hobbies?

I don’t have any…….would love to learn to horseback ride and speak 2 other languages

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Traditional books.

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

I love all of Psalm and Matthew

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep a pencil and paper nearby at all times and write with patience and freewill, unapologetically…but not to destroy or discourage others.

Blog Stops

Lots of Helpers, January 12

Texas Book-aholic, January 13

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 16

For the Love of Literature, January 17 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, January 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 19

Cover Lover Book Review, January 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 22

Guild Master, January 23 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, January 24

Artistic Nobody, January 25 (Author Interview)

Naked and Unashamed, January 25

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Angeles is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon gift card and a hard 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/23a0f/the-me-i-see-in-you-celebration-tour-giveaway

Judy in Disguise Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Judy in Disguise

Author: Jennifer Lynn Cary

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release date: November 4, 2022

She wants her history to stay hidden…

…He’s trying to break free of his past

But as they reveal themselves to each other, can they carry out their covert mission?

Judy Larkin has been shy to show her true self ever since the worst day of her life. Which makes her the perfect target for her Simon Legree wannabe boss. He knows the right buttons to push making noncompliance next to impossible. But is she really the type of person to do this kind of thing? Especially with the boss’s preppy nephew?

Geoff Spooner has let himself be manipulated for too long but coming out from under his uncle’s thumb will cost him. Is he willing to pay the price? Could be this last demand will be the straw that breaks him free, but what will he lose in the bargain? His self-respect?

It’s 1972. Join Judy and Geoff in this quirky misadventure as they go undercover to discover who they really are, what the cardinal in the sycamore has to say, and what they are truly equipped to do.

You will love this sweet, clean tale inspired by the song “Judy in Disguise” because everyone roots for the underdog.

Get Judy in Disguise today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Historical Christian Romance author, Jennifer Lynn Cary, likes to say you can take the girl out of Indiana, but you can’t take the Hoosier out of the girl. Now transplanted to the Arizona desert, this direct descendant of Davy Crockett and her husband of forty years enjoy time with family where she shares tales of her small-town heritage and family legacies with their grandchildren. She is the author of The Crockett Chronicles series, The Relentless series, and The Weather Girls trilogy as well as the stand-alone novel, Cheryl’s Going Home, her novella Tales of the Hob Nob Annex Café, and her split-time novels The Traveling Prayer Shawl and The Forgotten Gratitude Journal. Judy in Disguise is the first book of her spin-off series The Weather Girls Wedding Shoppe and Venue.

More from Jennifer

Have you ever been to a party and had so much fun you hated to leave? That’s how I felt when I finished up The Weather Girls. I fell in love with the characters and the memory lane saunter through my hometown of Kokomo, Indiana.

Then, chatting with a good writing friend, I realized I could have a spin-off series where Ferguson House, the business, and of course the cardinal and the sycamore tree all play a part.

The friends from the original series could drop by the stories, but these would be stand-alones. I also wanted to make these stories fun as well as heartwarming.

Then I had the question–where to get the story inspirations?

The same place I got it for Sunny, Stormy, and Windy—the oldies station.

That’s when I Googled song titles from the 60s that had girls’ names in them. When “Judy in Disguise” popped up, I knew it had to be the first of the new Weather Girls Wedding Shoppe and Venue series. The story ideas came fast and furious.

I am so excited about this new series, and I hope you will be too as familiar song titles get new plot points. Come join me at the Weather Girls Wedding Shoppe and Venue.

Author Interview

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

I like to write Monday through Friday. When I start a book, I generally have a feel for how long it should be and will use that word count number to decide on how many chapters as well as scenes per chapter. Once I have that, I can set weekly and daily word count goals.

So, after breakfast and a quiet time I get started on writing. If I meet my goal in an hour or two, then I’m done for the day. But if the words aren’t coming so easy and it’s taking a long time, I still have to keep my bottom in my chair until the goal is met. I handle the business portion of things on Saturdays.

Occasionally things happen—appointments, emergencies, etc.—that will require my attention. That’s when I use Saturday to complete my weekly goal.

I don’t write or do any writing business on Sunday. I’m learning to show more respect for the Sabbath.

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

My husband is a computer guru. He designed me a desktop and that’s where I got started but… Okay, I’m short and my legs started to swell when I would spend too much time at my desk. So he got me a laptop and I have my grandmother’s old recliner and I can write to my heart’s content there. One of these days I should add up how many books I’ve written from this chair.

What are your hobbies?

Until recently, I would have answered that I crochet. However, last Christmas my youngest daughter bought me a Cricut Explorer Air II. If you don’t know what it is, that’s okay. Just understand it is a gadget and I am addicted to gadgets. This machine lets me make greeting cards, stickers, vinyl cutouts for signs and decorations and wall art, t-shirts, mugs, and something I’ve used with my readers—window clings. I like to make cardinal window clings and will occasionally offer them in my newsletter. The cardinal goes with so many of my books and fits into a regular-sized envelope, so it is easy to mail.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

It depends on what I’m reading. I’m not into audiobooks so much yet, probably because I prefer to listen to the oldies station when I’m driving. But if I’m reading fiction, I like to read on my Kindle. However, if I’m reading nonfiction, then I want the hard copy so I can mark it up.

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

Yes, Isaiah 41:13. I have held onto this verse for a very long time. The reminder that God is holding my hand gives me great comfort and gets me through the tough times.

Blog Stops

Pause for Tales, December 17

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 18 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 19

Connie’s History Classroom, December 20

Texas Book-aholic, December 21

deb’s Book Review, December 22

Spoken from the Heart, December 23

Cover Lover Book Review, December 24

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 25 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 26

Stories By Gina, December 27 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 29

For the Love of Literature, December 30 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 30

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card and an eBook 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/23239/judy-in-disguise-celebration-tour-giveaway

Forever Home Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Forever Home

Author: Hope Toler Dougherty

Genre: Sweet Romance/Christian Fiction

Release date: August 16, 2022

With a fulfilling job and a home of her own, former foster child, Merritt Hastings, relishes her stable, respectable life. Dreaming for more is a sure way for heartache. When a contested will turns her world upside down, she must reevaluate what’s important to her, what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth sacrificing.

Patience has never been Sam Daniels’ strong suit with his history of acting quickly and asking questions later, and he’s ready for changes in his life…now. Too bad the plans for acquiring a radio station didn’t include a contract. Now he’s out of a job, out of a radio station, and out of prospects.

While his life is in flux, at least he can help Merritt steady hers, or will he rush in and overstep …again?

Will the sparks flying between these two opposites lead to a happily-ever-after or heartbreak for both?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Hope Toler Dougherty holds a master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her novels include Irish Encounter, Mars…With Venus Rising, Rescued Hearts, Forever Music, and Forever Home. Her recent novella, “A Hatteras Surprise,” appears in Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams and is also available as a standalone novel. She and her husband delight in visits with their two daughters and twin sons.

More from Hope

When I introduced the Daniels family in Forever Music, the first story in the Forever Series, I wrote about Josie, the little sister. I wanted to write about her brother Sam next, but after about eight chapters, the words stopped flowing and then the pandemic struck. Instead of writing during lockdown, I cleaned out closets, crocheted mask bands, and perfected a killer sourdough loaf.

I wanted to write. I tried to write. I loved Sam and wanted to discover his story, but…nothing.

When my publisher offered a slot in a novella collection, I pushed Sam to the back of my mind and wrote about his older brother, Ben. Ben’s story is set on the beautiful Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check out his romance in A Hatteras Surprise.

Sharing Ben’s courtship with Ginny Stowe freed me to get back to Sam and Merritt in Forever Home. Their story highlights foster care, music, friendship, and radio stations.

Impatient Sam usually acts first and thinks second. His happy-go-lucky personality chafes Merritt’s stick-with-a-plan attitude. Too bad she needs his help with her livelihood. They don’t hit it off at first, but both are definitely intrigued with each other.

Readers can find subtle Italian references throughout the story. Here’s a favorite recipe friends might find in Merritt’s kitchen. I hope you like it and the story, too!

Orange Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredients:
2 C plain flour                                                                               1 egg white
1 t baking powder                                                                        2 T orange zest
¼ t salt                                                                                           ½-1 C chopped pistachios
1 C sugar                                                                                       1/2 C candied orange bits
2 eggs orange juice, if needed

Directions:
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl. In another bowl, beat eggs and egg white together, then add to flour mixture. Stir in orange zest, nuts, and orange bits. Mix until dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry, add orange juice a tablespoon at a time.

Flour hands and scoop half the dough onto one side of the cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray. Shape the dough into a 15×3-inch log. Repeat with remaining dough. The logs should be several inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Tops of the logs should be firm.

Remove to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Cut logs on a diagonal into ½-inch-thick slices. Place the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack. They will harden as they cool. Yields about 48 cookies depending on size

Author Interview

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

The character from Forever Home who speaks to me most is Sam Daniels. He loves helping people, but he usually rushes in before he thinks. I love his humor and his enthusiasm. He keeps trying no matter what and always looks for the positive. He has a lot to learn but always follows through with the lesson, even the painful ones.

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

Yes, I do hide Easter eggs in my stories, either names of people or places or family anecdotes with changes to fit the plot. In my first novel, Irish Encounter, I named a street Quinn Lane, the names of our twin sons, Lane and Quinn. It amuses me to hide references that slip by regular readers but will be treats for people who know me personally.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Ere is a strong-willed orphan who, no matter the circumstance, remains true to her moral compass even if it means rejecting what her heart most desires.

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

I have several favorite Bible verses. One is Ephesians 3:20: (God) can do more than we can ask or imagine. This verse really speaks to God’s vastness and His sovereignty and to how much He loves us.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Aspiring writers, write every day. Read the best authors in your genre. Read books on the craft of writing. Write. Attend writing conferences. Meet other writers and join critique groups. Keep writing. In other words, don’t be a writer; be writing.

Blog Stops

Pause for Tales, December 14

For Him and My Family, December 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

Inklings and notions, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 17

Cover Lover Book Review, December 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 19

Beauty in the Binding, December 20 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, December 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

For the Love of Literature, December 24 (Author Interview)

Susan K. Beatty, Author, December 25 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, December 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 27

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, one signed copy of Forever Home, and book swag!

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/23236/forever-home-celebration-tour-giveaway

Falling Apart, Falling for You Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Falling Apart, Falling for You

Author: Chris Posti

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction with Elements of Romance

Release date: April 29, 2022

With their lives in a free fall, three women gather for their 40th high school reunion. At 57, is it too late to make a fresh start?

Suzanne – After spending most of her adult life working as a traveling trainer for an airline, untethered and mildly content, Suzanne feels a stirring in her heart for a seemingly perfect guy. But when she abruptly loses her job, she lands in surprising new territory.

Rachel – Seeking distraction in the wake of her husband’s sudden passing, Rachel helps organize her class’s first reunion in 40 years. Stunned by an old friend’s shocking secrets, she struggles to learn forgiveness as she tiptoes into her new-found freedom.

Marla – After selling her thriving business, Marla revisits high school friendships and her mysterious past. Seeking family and a renewed purpose, she adds her marketing expertise to the group’s strategy for revitalizing the blue-collar town that brought them back together.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Chris Posti’s writing experience comes in a variety pack: novelist, nonfiction author, newspaper columnist, blogger, freelancer, and business writer. She was self-employed for 30 years as a career and executive coach. She once lived in a tiny town similar to the Western Pennsylvania setting of “Falling Apart, Falling for You.” Her latest book, “Before You Write your Novel: What to Know from the Get-Go” was launched on July 25, 2022.

More from Chris

If you’re over the age of 50, you’ve probably noticed the female protagonists in most novels are younger than you. Yet the lives of older women are filled with challenges, changes, growth, fun, and even romance. They want to read about characters they can relate to. That’s precisely why I wrote “Falling Apart, Falling for You.”

All women, but particularly women 50+, will identify with three women whose lives are in a free fall when they reunite for the first time since high school graduation. The story is fun, clean, and wholesome, with plenty of reality and just a little bit of wine and a few beers.

Suzanne, who is divorced and dating the seemingly perfect guy, abruptly loses her job as a traveling trainer for an airline. She’s convinced it’s due to age discrimination, and even her normally disagreeable daughter concurs.

Rachel loves her rosary, cooking, and daily routines, but when she suddenly becomes widowed she must learn to support herself by running the family gas station. Her son Pete is eager to help, and so is her widowed neighbor Frank.

Marla has been known to have a fling, but in fact, it’s her business she’s in love with. After an offer to sell makes her an instant multi-millionaire, she celebrates too hard and lands in a hospital. Now, she needs to find a new purpose in life.

This is the first book in a series of three.

Author Interview

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Anytime I hit a wall with my writing—which can happen multiple times in a day—I stop typing and read my last few sentences out loud. The next logical sentence or scene almost always comes to mind after that.

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

I can be obsessive about writing. When I’m on a roll, I do not like to stop, so my time at the computer can be many hours straight. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, and when that happens, I’ve learned to just get out of bed and go type. Otherwise, I’ll just roll around in bed trying unsuccessfully to fall back asleep.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I would dearly love to be a plotter. It would make everything so much easier. And believe me, I’ve tried to be one, but I’m not.

For both my debut novel, “Falling Apart, Falling for You,” and the novel ’m writing now, I spent many hours laying out plot points on my computer, on tablet paper, and on sticky notes. But once I begin writing, the characters take over, sending me in all sorts of new and unexpected directions.

Describe your book in five words.

“Sweet Magnolias” without the southern accents.

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

I love to turn Romans 12:1-2 into a prayer: “Therefore, in view of Your mercy, Lord, I offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You. This is my spiritual act of worship. I don’t conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but am transformed by the renewing of my mind, letting me know Your good, pleasing, and perfect will.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

The road to getting published in any format is challenging. If you are looking for monetary success, you might want to set your sights on a corporate communication job, rather than trying to become an author.

However, if you are up for the challenge, you will find this path monumentally rewarding. It will change your life. I don’t know how, of course, and neither do you, but I promise you it will change your life and it is worth all the effort.

And by the way, Colleen Hoover, who was a nobody just a handful of years ago, now has six books on the bestseller lists, and so far in 2022, her current book is outselling the Bible.  It can and does happen! (Although I hope and pray the Bible will outsell all other books by the end of 2022.)

Blog Stops

Guild Master, December 6 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 7

Texas Book-aholic, December 8

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 9 (Author Interview)

An Author’s Take, December 10

Inklings and notions, December 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 12

Artistic Nobody, December 13 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, December 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 14

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

For Him and My Family, December 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 17

Vicky Sluiter, December 18 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 19

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chris is givign away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of the book, and a matching bookmark!!

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/22eca/falling-apart-falling-for-you-celebration-tour-giveaway

Christmas Crime Cover-Up Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Christmas Crime Cover-Up

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspy Suspense

Release date: November 29, 2022

From USA TODAY bestselling author Dana Mentink…

A violent attack

Isn’t the homecoming she expected.

When an ATV tries to run her down in Death Valley, animal rescuer Nora Duke knows it’s a sign she never should have returned. Now she’s stuck on Seth Castillo’s ranch until Christmas with a pregnant donkey—and a criminal desperate to silence her. Facing her past is as terrifying as uncovering a killer’s twisted plan. But can Seth convince her to stay…if they live through the holidays?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Desert Justice

Book 1: Framed in Death Valley
Book 2: Missing in the Desert
Book 3: Death Valley Double Cross
Book 4: Death Valley Hideout
Book 5: Christmas Crime Cover-Up
Book 6: Targeted in the Desert

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, and the recipient of a Holt Medallion. She’s written over fifty titles in the suspense, lighthearted romance and mystery genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.) Her monthly newsletter features plenty of goodies, gab and giveaways. https://www.subscribepage.com/b8q0y5

More from Dana

Well here we go! Book five in the Desert Justice series features Nora (Chief Jude’s estranged sister), a wild donkey who needs rescuing, and a crime from the past that intrudes into the present. Twisty, right? I was inspired to write this story after visiting Death Valley and learning about the feral donkeys which inhabit the region. They’re cute, visitors love them, but the burros can encounter health problems and cause environmental damage if they aren’t settled into a safe area. It’s amazing to me that wild donkeys are adept at detecting underground water sources. They dig “wells” which can benefit many thirsty animals. Fascinating, right? Hope you’ll enjoy meeting Bubbles the donkey and the helpful humans who rescue her in this novel. God bless and thanks for reading!

My Review

The Desert Justice series, authored by Dana Mentink, continues with book five, Christmas Crime Cover-Up. Each story builds upon the others with regard to the characters and their relationships but does come to a conclusion, so although I would recommend reading them in order, it isn’t required to enjoy the series. I have thoroughly enjoyed each book, but Christmas Crime Cover-Up is now my favorite. There is so much that I love about it, from the donkey connection to the seasonal setting to the intriguing cover itself, which instantly reminded me of Moses and the burning bush. God might not speak as directly as He did during that encounter, but He definitely communicates with the characters in the novel, just as He does with us.

In Christmas Crime Cover-Up, Mentink tells the story of Furnace Falls resident Seth Castillo and prodigal daughter Nora Duke, who left home abruptly after graduation and never looked back, taking her best friend Felicia Tennison with her. Now working with animal rescue in Colorado, capturing a feral donkey brings them home, but they soon become targets of an unknown assailant. Nora finds herself stuck in her old hometown with a killer and the helpful, affable Seth, bent on protecting her. However, as she sees it, “Prayers were for people who needed saving. Nora intended to do the saving herself.” Her independence and stubborn streak cause her to hold people at arm’s length, especially after the decisions she made in her past, and she avoids revealing her “weak and vulnerable places, places she did not want to acknowledge.” Can she really go home again, and does she even want to? As Seth, who always wants to do as much as he can for those he loves, acknowledges, “Need made people stay close for a while. Want was the thing futures were built on.” The same holds true for a relationship with God; someone can hold tightly to the Lord while they feel that they need help or intervention and then drift away afterward, but true faith means remaining close to God regardless of circumstances because they want to out of love, not just necessity.

I love the inclusion of the donkey, Bubbles, in this story, and because it takes place at Christmastime, I can’t help but make a symbolic connection with the birth of Jesus in a stable. The theme of the prodigal and the burdens of the past speaks to a wide audience, counterbalanced by the man who always does the right thing but starts to think that he will always be overlooked. The best lesson in Christmas Crime Cover-Up, I think, is that although you can run away from home, you can never run away from God. He is always there, loving us and waiting for us to surrender to His love, no matter what the season.

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, December 3

deb’s Book Review, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

Texas Book-aholic, December 4

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, December 4

Betti Mace, December 5

Genesis 5020, December 5

Bizwings Blog, December 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 6

Bigreadersite, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Daysong Reflections, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 9

Empowermoms, December 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 10

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 10

Pause for Tales, December 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 11

For Him and My Family, December 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 12

Holly’s Book Corner, December 12

Blogging With Carol, December 13

Vicky Sluiter, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 14

Lily’s Book Reviews, December 14

Cover Lover Book Review, December 15

Simple Harvest Reads, December 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Blossoms and Blessings, December 16

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 16

Labor Not in Vain, December 16

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

(If the winner is outside the U.S., then he or she will receive an eBook.)

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/22ec8/christmas-crime-cover-up-celebration-tour-giveaway

Passages of Hope Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Passages of Hope

Author: Terri J. Haynes

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release date: November, 2022

Discover the Story Behind a Secret Passageway

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Gracie Kingston begins renovations on the Philadelphia house inherited from her grandmother and finds a secret room. It is connected to a house nearby, the home of William Still, the man known as the father of the Underground Railroad. As she researches, she discovers a mystery in her house’s ownership. In 1855, Olivia Kingston helps a mother and her young child by hiding them in a secret room in her home. As she helps, she learns that there may be an impostor conductor in their community. As Gracie’s and Olivia’s stories intertwine, they learn the meaning of sacrifice and love.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband). She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As she grew, her love for writing grew as she tried her hand at poetry, articles, speeches and fiction. She is storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers in the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.
Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include: Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Urbanfaith.com, Vista Devotional, and Publisher’s Weekly.
Terri holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and a certificate in creative writing and graphic design, meeting the minimal requirements of being a geek. She and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.
Website: www.terrijhaynes.com
Blog: www.inotherwords.terrijhaynes.com

More from Terri

Family, Underground Railroad, two strong Black women, and knitting in one book? Yes.

As an author, I explore my world with curiosity. I find many subjects interesting and it shows in this book. It’s not often that an author can combine such a range of topics in one novel. I’m so glad I got to do it for this one.

In addition to being an author, I am a knitter, crocheter, indie yarn dyer, business owner, unofficial historian, wife, mother, and sister. At first glance, all those things seem too different to combine in one book. But they weave together so perfectly.

Life is a tapestry of many colors knit together and my goal was to show that. That family and history, grieving and crafting, struggle and triumph, are all entwined threads. Their vibrancy can be combined to create a beautiful project, the pain and joy both add hue and color to life. This is what I hope you find in this book.

My Review

Able to be read in any order, the Doors to the Past series weaves together a historical and a contemporary storyline that demonstrate the resounding impact of the past upon the present through the situations of the characters. Each book reveals the connections between the contemporary characters and their historical counterparts and how their lives reflect an extraordinary continuity between generations. History, suspense, and romance await!

For every dreadful, tragic event, there is a hopeful side, a thread of redemption interwoven to encourage us to press on and to hold fast to our faith in the Lord. The blight of slavery in the United States led to the creation of the Underground Railroad, the effect of which continues to have an impact today, as Terri Haynes demonstrates in her novel Passages of Hope. A dual-timeline story set in Philadelphia, the two main characters are Gracie in the present day and Olivia in 1855. Gracie is not used to having help with anything, and Olivia tries to do everything without help, both shouldering more than necessary as we all do at times because we think that is easier than surrendering control. The truth, however, is that while hard times are inevitable, loving friends help lift us up, and the Lord tells us to give our burdens to Him.

Passages of Hope deals with the topic of grief in a unique way. Herself a free Black, Olivia experiences the sorrows of slavery through her work as a stationmaster on the Underground Railroad while also deeply longing for a family with her husband: “To tell her children the story of their history. That their grandparents and parents were conductors and stationmasters and took up this sacred work to help others.” Over 150 years later, Gracie has had a difficult life of just scraping by but had a special relationship with her grandmother, and “her life was better with Gran in it. Now Gran, like her mother, had gone to the sweet by-and-by and left Gracie in the grim here and now.” I felt a special empathy for Gracie because my own mom passed away not long ago, and the grief still feels fresh. Again, though, hope whispers; while she sees herself as a failure and believes that she does not deserve her inheritance, Gracie’s name itself serves as a reminder that God’s grace is unmerited. Indeed, may we, too, realize the Source of our hope and love: “And she now knew that no matter how bad things were, she could always hope in love.

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, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29

lakesidelivingsite, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Cover Lover Book Review, December 1

Inklings and notions, December 1

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 5

Connie’s History Classroom, December 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6

Holly’s Book Corner, December 6

Blossoms and Blessings, December 7

Mary Hake, December 7

Remembrancy, December 8

For Him and My Family, December 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 9

Lis Loves Reading, December 9

Through the fire blogs, December 10

Spoken from the Heart, December 10

Pause for Tales, December 11

Labor Not in Vain, December 11

Betti Mace, December 12

Marriage, Motherhood, & Homeschool, December 12

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print 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/22cd0/passages-of-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wellspring of Life Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Wellspring of Life

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Middlegrade Christian Fantasy

Release date: November 4, 2022

Lauren (12), Aiden(9), and Ethan(5) have been reunited with their mortally wounded Father. But, they must take him to the Wellspring of Life before it’s too late.

The Dark One suffered a massive loss when twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers Aiden and Ethan rescued their father from his clutches. However, the battle left Father horribly burned and barely hanging on to life. However, they found a clue to his salvation, the fabled Wellspring of Life.

As the children trek across the wildlife of the prairie, take sides against them to drive them off their path. Meanwhile, the giant known as Skull Crusher hunts them mercilessly while seeking to master the Darkness so he can destroy the family once and for all.

New friends join them in their quest to save Father, but they could also choose the Darkness and lead them further astray. The children’s mission to save their father will fail if they can’t find the Wellspring of Life in time. Will they have the faith to stay on the narrow path to redemption?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. He began writing the Towers of Light series for his own children to help him illustrate the deep truths of the Bible in an engaging and age appropriate way.

He’s dedicated 18 years of his life to volunteer roles in children’s ministry and youth development. Now that his own children are off to college he’s telling stories and sharing clean humor on social media @allenbrokkenauthor, and through his website allenbrokkenauthor.com.

More from Allen

Wellspring of Life was a blast to write! As a writer, one of the things I’ve had to contend with is that my characters rarely take me on an easy linear path from the start of a book to the end. As I work on a story, things tend to develop organically, and suddenly, the story’s conclusion is very different than when I put the first word on a page.

That’s where I found myself at the end of book 4 in the series, Armor of God. Unfortunately, the devastating way Father was wounded wasn’t in the original outline of the story or the series as a whole. So I had to write a whole book to determine if he survived. I also wanted to collaborate with a good friend, K. A. Cummins, author of the Snowglobe Travellers series, on a possible crossover. These combined to let me try out some new things as a writer.

For example, Wellspring of Life has a glitter bomb, a murder of wicked crows, and no good egg stealin’ prairie dogs, to name a few of the twists and turns you’ll find in this book. The kids also meet some new friends along the way. I enjoyed this the most because the new kids reflect the personality of my kids’ best friends from our homeschool co-op. Despite these kids now being off to college, we all had fun brainstorming their roles in the story.

Speaking of homeschool co-op, the book is dedicated to the Wellspring Homeschool Co-Op that my kids grew up in. Their verse is Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart because it’s the wellspring of life.” I couldn’t find a more appropriate theme for this book that deals with the consequences of an unguarded heart.

So I hope you take the time to pick it up, because it’s a wild ride across the prairie with a message of redemption I’m sure your family will enjoy.

My Review

The Towers of Light series has found a special place in my heart. It is just the sort of story that I would have loved and devoured as a child, and the same is true now a few decades later! As such, these books are versatile enough that older children can read them on their own or adults can read them out loud. As author Allen Brokken notes, he intentionally identifies the adults in the stories by titles rather than proper names—such as Father, Knight Protector—in order to make them more relatable to the young audience. These books should be read in chronological order, as they do build upon each other and form an ongoing storyline. With that in mind, something that I greatly appreciate is the brief summary of each previous book that Brokken provides, along with a description of each faction from the story, a cast of characters, and notes on the world of Zoura. Placing these at the very beginning of each book is so helpful, and can also help to facilitate discussion between adults and children as they enter again into the battle of light vs. darkness, good vs. evil.

Book five in the Towers of Light series, Wellspring of Life returns readers to the perilous circumstances of siblings Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan, whose seriously injured Father is in desperate need of healing from the Wellspring of Life. They face even more challenges to their faith as they continue on their quest to find healing for their Father and to dispel the darkness from Zoura. In keeping with the series, each book becomes more intense and slightly more complex, and Wellspring of Life is no exception. I think that this encourages readers to truly think and to engage with the story and with the conflicts therein, right alongside the main characters. The Biblical teaching that Brokken infuses into Wellspring of Life is age-appropriate for a middle-grade audience and is interspersed cohesively into the narrative without feeling stilted or sanctimonious. Not all of the children’s friends share their devotion or even their faith, an accurate portrayal of real life, and these exchanges prove to be some of the most enlightening. The theme explored in Wellspring of Life is redemption, and Brokken demonstrates how redemption applies not only to those caught in Darkness, but to those who belong to the Light, as well.

Wellspring of Life, along with the rest of the series, blends the simplicity of rural life with the ingenuity of fantasy to create a story that fuels the reader’s imagination in all of the best ways. I love that Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan work hard and are respectfully obedient yet able to think for themselves, and that they will challenge authority when it goes against their conscience. Brokken portrays them as true children, with humorous quirks, and they do make mistakes, as do the adults. In our current world where many kids are hooked to screens all day long, I find it incredibly refreshing and heartening that the children in the Towers of Light series naturally spend their time outdoors and that they compassionately connect with animals and interact with each other face-to-face with truthful, honest discussions. The dialect and colloquialisms in this fifth book, in particular, are endearing and provide comic relief. We are all always learning while, hopefully, growing and maturing in our faith in Christ, and Wellspring of Life encourages readers of all ages to let their light shine no matter the circumstances.

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, November 9

Texas Book-aholic, November 10

Inklings and notions, November 11

Blossoms and Blessings, November 12 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, November 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 14

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 15 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

For Him and My family, November 18

A Reader’s Brain, November 19 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, November 20

Lights in a Dark World, November 21

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, November 22 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Allen 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://www.celebratelit.com/wellspring-of-life-celebration-tour/

Curtain Call Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Curtain Call

Authors: Hope Bolinger & Alyssa Roat

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Release date: November 5, 2022

With their future in theater on the line, can a newbie actress and overwhelmed playwright put on a production to remember?

Part-time thespian Griffith Williams can’t seem to do anything right in his parents’ eyes, especially compared to his brother, a missionary in the Dominican Republic. But if he can pull off the biggest play of the year, the Christmas play, he could win a job as a full-time director, and prove to himself—and his family—that he hasn’t mistaken his calling to the arts.

Would-be actress Hadassah Wright spends her days teaching and corralling her many, many younger siblings in a large homeschool family. Her only escape seems to be through marriage to a childhood not-so-sweetheart—until a casting call for a local play provides an opportunity to act, perhaps for the last time.

When the two end up as leads in the play, the chemistry they feel isn’t just on the stage. Hadassah finds refuge from familial pressures through helping Griffith at the theater, and Griffith finds a kindred spirit in Hadassah’s longing to pursue the art she loves.

But when an envious stage manager, a director with far too many demands, and a relentless suitor threaten to derail the show, will the curtains close on any chance of romance?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Authors

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Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat are the authors of more than twenty books both independently and co-authored. They have worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as agents, editors, writers, journalists, and publicists.

When not writing, Hope is a theatre nerd who loves to hike, and Alyssa is a history geek and game enthusiast. Both are proud cat moms. You can learn more about them on social media @hopekbolinger and @alyssawrote.

More from Alyssa

When you think of calling, what comes to mind? Pastoral calling? A call to missions?

What about a call to theater?

Hope and I (Alyssa) found ourselves with a feeling of calling from a young age. We both felt the Lord leading us to writing and publishing.

I, for one, didn’t listen too well at first. Writing? But I wanted to serve God! I wanted to live a life that mattered for God’s kingdom! So instead, I studied math and science to prepare for a future in the medical field so I could work in medical missions.

The problem was, I didn’t enjoy it. Words beckoned to me. Books and writing gave me deep joy other endeavors never quite could. But if I didn’t go into traditional ministry, how was I supposed to serve God?

In Curtain Call, our characters struggle with calling. Griffith feels pressure to be a missionary like his brother. Hadassah feels obligated to be a good wife and mother like her own mom and sister. But they never feel quite as alive, quite as themselves, as when they’re on the stage. Is it possible that God might…want them there?

As you may have guessed, I eventually learned that God calls all of us to different things. He put the love of words inside of me. He guided me to writing, and doing what He has called me to do brings the greatest joy of all.

As Hadassah and Griffith in the book struggle with identifying their calling, I pray that we all may explore the unique joys and talents the Lord planted within each of us. We hope you enjoy reading Curtain Call as much as we enjoyed writing it. May His still, small voice lead you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Author Interview

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

Alyssa and my (Hope’s) work schedules will look a little different, but we both work nine to five jobs. Alyssa and I will frequently talk about writing during “pockets” of time, five or ten minutes here or there between breaks in emails or tasks. Whenever people are shocked at how fast we write, we tell them we’re used to doing it in really short spurts of time.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’ll answer this question for both Alyssa and myself. Alyssa is definitely a pantser, and I am a plotter. So when we work together, it creates something really beautiful. She’s pushed me to pants more, and I’ve pushed her to plot more.

Describe your book in five words.

Adorable Christmas play romance

What are your hobbies?

I (Hope) absolutely love doing theater (hence why I loved writing Curtain Call so much), modeling, hiking, singing, and playing tennis. I tend to keep really busy.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I’m a paperback gal myself (and hardback gal, when I can find a good deal), but I absolutely love that we have so many formats! We’re meeting readers where they’re at, and I love that technology has brought us this far.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

deb’s Book Review, November 7

Inklings and notions, November 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 9

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

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 12

For Him and My Family, November 13

Susan K. Beatty, Author, November 14 (Author Interview)

Blossoms and Blessings, November 15 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, November 15

The Sacred Line, November 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 17

Guild Master, November 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, Alyssa and Hope are giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card and copy of each of the three books in the series!!

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/22670/curtain-call-celebration-tour-giveaway

His Brother’s Atonement Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: His Brother’s Atonement

Author: Amy Walsh

Genre: Contemporary romance – western

Release date: April 26, 2022

Shane Phillips had given up hope of ever meeting the nephew born to the woman his brother assaulted. After checks he sent to Aubrey Anders were returned, Shane decided the most he could ever do was pray for the Anders family. When Shane discovers that he and Aubrey work for the same graphic arts company, he must find a way to assure her he means no harm before both Wyoming branches meet for a conference.

Aubrey thinks she has worked through most of her trauma with the help of her psychologist and loving community. However, meeting Shane Phillips seems to have unleashed suppressed anxiety and insecurity. But as their paths continue to intersect, Aubrey begins to wonder if Shane could be part of God’s plan for her despite their painful connection.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Amy Walsh is a 5th-grade teacher who loves teaching children about what she loves to do herself: reading and writing. She enjoys outdoor activities, especially hiking and camping. Amy also appreciates opportunities to share her faith through singing, teaching, and writing for her church family. Amy and her husband, Patrick, have three children: Bree, Spencer, Liz, and a son-in-law, Kyle. Amy and her family love to spend time together celebrating special occasions, listening to great music, swimming and kayaking, and having occasional ping pong tournaments.

More from Amy

Thank you for helping me spread the word about my first Whispers in Wyoming novel! I am thrilled to be part of this gospel and heritage-themed series! If you haven’t read any of the novels yet, you are in for a treat! There are thirty-three novels ahead of His Brother’s Atonement – and they are all STANDALONES, so they can be read in any order!

Meet Aubrey, Shane, and Jayson

Aubrey is a young mother and graphic designer from Engelmann, Wyoming. Her terrible experience during college has caused her to keep to herself. Aubrey has no close friends and has never dated. But her parents are supportive, her son keeps her happy and busy, and she loves her job. Aubrey believes she is doing pretty well emotionally until the brother of the man who assaulted her turns up in town.

Shane suffered quite a bit when his brother was tried and imprisoned for assaulting Aubrey. People actually turned their backs on his family, and Shane’s fiancé ended their engagement. Even worse was watching how it affected his parents. After Shane’s brother died in a freak prison accident, their mother spent several days in the ICU. For years, Shane has yearned to do something to help Aubrey and her son, wanting to atone for his brother’s terrible action. But Shane gave up hope of ever meeting his nephew years ago.

Jayson is Aubrey’s six-year-old son. He is obsessed with cowboys, horses, and the wild west. Art runs in Jayson’s genes from both sides of his family, so it is not surprising that he loves drawing and helping his grandpa with woodworking. Jayson never seemed to notice that he doesn’t have a dad, but when he finds out that his father died, he is so heartbroken that Aubrey promises to let him meet his uncle. So much for her thinking that she would never have to see Shane again!

The Creation of His Brother’s Atonement

I never really know when or how a story idea will enter my head. I can drive by a house that catches my eye, and the next thing I know, I am imagining the characters that live there and writing their story in my imagination. Sometimes watching the interactions of people prompts a story. Other times my ideas come from research.

For His Brother’s Atonement, there were a bunch of factors that came into creating Aubrey and Shane’s story as far as the setting. I had just been to a writing conference where one of the speakers said that many readers still love contemporary westerns. Adding to that, I had been following the multi-author group Whispers in Wyoming and other authors who wrote westerns, and I had been enjoying their posts. Additionally, one of my teacher friends has spent portions of her summers out west and I love to hear her talk about landscapes and small communities. A camping trip to Yellowstone and other western parks has been high on my bucket list for several years.

As for the situation that Aubrey is in, how she became a single mother and how she now deals with anxiety, her story just came to me while I was brainstorming. Her and her son’s personalities developed in my mind as if they were real people. I have wondered what it must be like to have a family member who is a criminal, the conflicting emotions it must bring: to still love that person; to be ashamed for what that person has done; to yearn to find a way to help the victim. So I am sure those thoughts helped me create Shane’s struggles.

I wrote most of Aubrey and Shane’s story while I was spending nights with my grandmother in hospice. Grammy was often sleeping while lovely hymn instrumentals were playing, and I felt as though I was in a sacred space. I think some of my own inner struggles with trusting God’s sovereignty, with remembering that God does work out everything for our good, may have become part of the novel. And in the last chapter when Aubrey prays during the Thanksgiving dinner, you can see some of my own angst about life changing and my own feelings of grief being resolved.

His Brother’s Atonement is a fundraiser!

As I was researching for this novel, I read too many firsthand accounts of women who had been assaulted and the devastating effects of the violence in their lives. According to rainn.org, every 68 seconds another American is assaulted, and one out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. According to multiples sources, there are at least 30,000 rape-related pregnancies in the U.S. each year. Sexual violence is a significant problem in the U.S., and in other countries around the globe, it is even more rampant.

As I was delving into Aubrey’s thoughts and pondering how her assault had affected her and her family, I decided that I needed to do more to help women and children who have been victimized. As a first step, ten percent of the profits from the sales of His Brother’s Atonement will be donated to Heaven’s Family. To find out more about this organization, follow this link: https://www.heavensfamily.org/ministries/victims-of-sexual-violence/

Here is the recipe for Nana Ander’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pie. Bloggers can copy and paste or just share the link.

https://walshmountainpublishing.com/2022/03/26/nana-anders-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-pie/

Shane and Aubrey’s Anti-Meet-Cute

Aubrey and Shane don’t get to have a “meet-cute”, you know that sweet moment when a couple-to-be meet for the first time? In fact, when Aubrey sees Shane across Engelmann Park, she almost has a panic attack thinking that he is the man who assaulted her.

In the next book about Engelmann Wyoming, Portrait of Redemption, Cody will help Shane set up a “meet-cute” redo. I think it is so adorable that Shane wants to do that for Aubrey!

Two special characters mentioned in His Brother’s Atonement are from another of my novels, Elsie Whitmore. Elsie meets famous actor Graham Thurston for the first time when he tracks her down at her school, determined that she will audition for a movie he is producing. A somewhat spoiled star, he is annoyed that she hasn’t taken calls from his talent agency, so he is cold and judgy during their first meeting. In return, she thinks it is ridiculous for Graham to assume that she would consider giving up teaching just because he liked one of her YouTube videos. They also do not have a cute first meeting!

Here is my meet-cute! I worked part time at a Sears in a mall while I was going to college. My husband, Pat, was a loss prevention agent there. A coworker who had a crush on Pat asked me to draw a Christmas card for her to give to him. In the PS, she told Pat that I was the one that illustrated the card. That led to Pat investigating who I was, and soon he was regularly stopping by my register at Sears to make small talk. He would have silly excuses to stop by, like having me help him put a baby outfit on a stuffed animal to purchase for his nephew. It could have become very awkward if my co-worker hadn’t developed a crush on someone else in the meantime!

During the launch party for His Brother’s Atonement, some of the readers shared the stories of their first meeting with their husbands. Some were adorable, and some were so awkward. Have you shared your “meet-cutes” with your children and grandchildren? Surprisingly it is something we forget to talk about, but it is part of their heritage!

Author Interview

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I think I have some unique favorite places to write:

One of the best writing opportunities is when my husband is playing one of his role playing XBox games in bed and I am snuggling next to him. If he were watching a show, it would be too distracting, but his games are boring enough (to me) and the background noise is repetitive enough for me to stay in my own characters’ heads. This is a great writing situation because it provides no-guilt writing time of togetherness!

Another of my favorite places to write is on the trampoline in the backyard. I pull it under our giant spruces so it is partially in the shade. When I am writing, I stay on the shady side. When I need to stretch and get some sun, I roll over to the other side. When I need exercise, I put my laptop down on the chair next to the trampoline and I can run and jump and listen to some music. And the entire time I am outside, I can listen to birds singing and feel like I haven’t wasted the day indoors.

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

I adore the Victorian Era. To be honest, I am a bit drawn to strange and morbid things, and the Victorians were also drawn to the strange and morbid. Some of their beliefs and traditions are so bizarre!
I also love studying contrasts and unearthing hypocrisies. Perhaps Charles Dickens said it best, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens is an example of these extremes himself. This same Victorian author whose writing instilled a global compassion for the impoverished treated the woman he had pledged to love until death terribly. The story of the Dickens Marriage is heartbreaking.

Two of my novels so far take place in the later part of the Victorian Era, both in the 1880s: A Misplaced Beauty and A Dark Lustre.

Describe your book in five words.

God redeeming a hopeless situation

What are your hobbies?

I love so many things. Sometimes I only have time to dabble due to my work and writing schedule, but I would love to have the hours in each day extended so I could focus on these more! Some of my favorite things to do are: reading, singing, racquet sports, hiking, arts and crafts, fancy teas, antiquing/ thrifting, card games/murder mystery games. I also love to “research” via traveling adventures!

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

I have so many wonderful people in my life that inspire me and hold me to a higher standard of diligence, discernment, and compassion.

One special person who I would hope to emulate is my Grandpa Cooley. He laughed all the time and he enjoyed the simple things of life. He would laugh until he cried reading Dr. Seuss books to his grandkids, no matter how many times he had already read them. He enjoyed sitting on his porch watching birds, and he delighted in visiting with people.

Grandpa had such a giving spirit and he was so consistent in noticing the needs of others and being willing to sacrifice for others. His pockets were deep in supporting missionaries, those in the community who were struggling, and taking care of his own family. He gave of his time so willingly. Some Sundays, he did multiple rounds of picking up people who needed rides to church. Since he lived in the country, those multiple rounds might have meant a couple hours of driving before the service started.

He never said an unkind word about others and his love for others was truly unconditional even though he had very high standards for himself as far as his convictions.

Grandpa was an avid reader. He would read every book that I borrowed from the library, borrowed, or purchased no matter the genre. We read everything from Georgette Heyer to Trixie Beldon to Louis L’Amour to Frank Peretti. And I will never forget his wild laughter while reading Patrick McManus and Gilbert Morris’s Barney Buck series.

Grandpa Whitmore, from Elsie Whitmore: A Star of Oak Hills, is a character very much like my Grandpa Cooley. He even tells a story about his siblings and a box of “donuts” that my grandfather told about his own brothers.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

deb’s Book Review, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1

A Baker’s Perspective, October 2 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, October 4 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 6 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 6

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amy is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 gift card along with His Brother’s Atonement, a Rocky Mountains Shirt and a Rocky Mountains wooden bookmark!!

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/21a6a/his-brother-s-atonement-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tethered Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Tethered

Author: Eleanor Bertin

Genre: Christian Contemporary

Release date: July, 2020

Perfectionistic librarian Jacqui Penn is ripped up by the roots when she’s dumped by her longtime boyfriend. She is drawn two thousand miles west across Canada to the last place she ever thought could offer stability—the old homestead where her father grew up.

Renovating the derelict house soon becomes a personal battle as it stubbornly resists her efforts. While Jacqui struggles to renew the home, she spends time with the family Pops bitterly resented. Her hunger for roots grows stronger as she fights to discover the long-buried reasons her father fled the house as a beleaguered teen. But will she ever find the belonging she craves?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Eleanor Bertin loves books, people, and the sweeping skies of the Canadian Prairies where she was raised.

She studied Communications in college and returned to writing after raising and home-educating a family of seven children. The author of Lifelines, Unbound, Tethered, and the memoir, Pall of Silence about her late son, Paul, she lives in central Alberta with her husband and youngest son where, much like Jacqui, they are coaxing to life a century home.

More from Eleanor

Long before Jacqui came to be, I had the title Tethered, drawn from the first book in the Ties that Bind series, Lifelines. I was taken by the rope imagery that played so well into biblical themes of God drawing people to Himself. The second book, Unbound, deals with the way cables of guilt and fear can keep us in bondage to legalism.

But ropes have positive uses too. Tethered explores how ties of family and home provide the roots and grounding we all crave. Through each of the books, we see Anna, a widow of deep trust in God. She may seem insignificant, but her influence is powerful. Through her Jacqui, who’s been raised by Anna’s bitter brother, finds the foundation on which her family history is built, and makes it her own.

One of my favourite scenes in Tethered is where Anna teaches Jacqui to bake pie. It’s a piece lifted from my own life. My mother, now 94, was renowned for her pies, which she often gave to the bereaved or struggling. Like Anna, she generously taught her techniques and tips to the women of our family who carry on the tradition.

Here’s where Mom’s tips make all the difference. We don’t freeze whole pies. Instead, we freeze pie crusts already rolled out to size, layered between parchment paper, or better still, the plastic liners from cereal packaging cut to size. (Mom was “green” long before it was fashionable.) Making a batch of skins ahead of time saves space in the freezer compared to fully assembled pies, yields a fresher result when baked, and saves so much time. Whenever you want a pie, pull out a couple of the prepared crusts. While they quickly thaw, prepare your pie filling, assemble, and bake! Even our menfolk have been able to proudly say they baked a pie themselves.

Here is the recipe we use:

Pie Skins

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

In mixer, mix dry ingredients together. Then, a half cup at a time, cut in (with wire whips):

1 lb. lard (vegetable shortening will not give the desired flakiness)

Cut into flour mixture until crumbled to the size of peas. Do not overmix!

In a 2-cup measuring cup, beat:

2 eggs until frothy

Add: 2 Tablespoons vinegar

Add enough cold water to the liquid to make 1 cup. Then add to flour/lard mixture.

Using dough hooks, mix gently just until dough forms and will hold together. Again, do not overmix.

Divide dough into six or seven balls.

On each floured piece of cereal box plastic, roll out pastry from the center outward to just over 1/8-inch thickness. Keep flouring the rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Cut the crust to size of pie plate with ½ inch extra all around. Re-roll the scraps into the next ball of dough.

Freeze skins in a plastic pie keeper or even in a zippered plastic bag on a flat surface.

Bake pie on bottom rack of oven, 450F for 15 minutes, then 375F until golden brown (another 10-15 minutes). No pale, anemic pies for us!

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

My older sister praised a brief story I wrote when I was eight. She was impressed with the line, “Mother’s voice trailed away.” Rank plagiarism! However, throughout school, I did well in English and various teachers encouraged me to continue writing though I was set on other careers like pediatrician, real estate tycoon, and fashion designer. Ha! By high school graduation, reality struck, and I recognized my natural bent – which definitely was not medicine! I went on to study Communications in college.

After spending a year and a half as a reporter for a farm weekly newspaper, I settled into a long, rewarding vocation as a wife, and homeschooling mother of seven children. But the nest has a way of emptying, despite filling it so full.  At fifty, I wondered what to do with my newfound time and freedom. Out of the bucket list I compiled, “write a book” seemed the least expensive and most possible. My first novel took four years to write and another two to publish, but the best advice I ever received was to keep at it faithfully, even if only a few words a day, and walk through every door of opportunity that presents itself.

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

My first novel, Lifelines, centers on a character named Anna Fawcett, a 60-something widow with an adult son, Jesse, who has Down syndrome. Patterned after my own 94-year-old mom, she reappears in each of the Ties That Bind novels (Unbound, and Tethered). Like Mom, Anna is a selfless mentor, a devoted mother, sister, and friend, and a sort of Christ-figure in her sacrificial, faithful love of her Lord. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. My mother would laugh to know I’ve written a Christmas anthology short story in which she receives a marriage proposal and accepts.

And of course, her son Jesse is special to me, too. My youngest son, Timothy, 25, has Down syndrome and still lives with my husband and me. Only after I had written the trilogy did it occur to me that each of the novels features an individual with special needs: Jesse in Lifelines, Carol, a severely brain-injured woman in Unbound, and Lewis, a teenage boy with autism in Tethered. Having a disabled son myself has opened my eyes to a whole world of interesting and God-beloved people who deserve notice, both them and the caregivers who devote themselves to them.

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

What an interesting question! I haven’t consciously hidden things in my stories, but a funny thing has happened with readers’ responses to my books. I’ve been asked for sequels about some of the most minor characters – even a dog! I suspect this is because in real life, I love people and in writing, I abhor flat characters. After all, even the hair stylist, caterer, or banker has an essential inner life uniquely their own. So, when I mention them in my books, I give enough quirky detail to reflect their value and humanity. Which backfires on me as a writer, because readers seem to want more of what I had no intention of giving. Sigh.

What are your hobbies?

If a hobby is something that’s enjoyable and costs, rather than earns us money, I could certainly say writing. But although I find it so satisfying, it’s also hard work at times. The things that most often distract me from writing are home décor (you’ll find references to it sprinkled throughout my books), flower gardening, and sewing (especially quilts). If the Lord gives me time, I also have a hankering to try oil painting, learning Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, and taking up the cello again. There should probably be something on this list pertaining to physical fitness, but you asked about hobbies, not personal tortures.

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

I have always felt subpar in Christian circles because I could never pinpoint a favourite Bible verse or story. The reason must be that whatever book or passage I’m studying or memorizing at any given time is my favourite. Scripture is so rich and deep that it wows me no matter where I dig into it. So currently, my “favourite” is the book of Romans which is taking me forevah to memorize. I began in mid-April, 2021, and I’m still not quite half through, yet every day it speaks to my heart.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 21

deb’s Book Review, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

lakesidelivingsite, September 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Guild Master, October 1 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

For the Love of Literature, October 3 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 3

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Eleanor is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 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/21aad/tethered-celebration-tour-giveaway