Thursday, January 31, 2013

Unconditional by Tanya Eavenson

Leave a comment for a chance to win this amazing story! Here's Tanya!

How did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I started writing three years ago when my husband left for Israel. I remember saying with ready fingers pressed on the keyboard, “Are you sure, God? I never wanted to write. Never cared to write.” But there I was, typing away at the keys with a burden to share a story I had no idea where it was heading. The title of the story is Live by Faith, Not by Sight. Though it may never see an editor’s desk, that story is dear to my heart, more than any others because of what it represents. The interesting thing is, those characters are the same ones in my debut novel Unconditional that released January 10.


What is the hardest thing about writing?

For me, believe it or not, it’s not the critiques, rejections, or the loneliness a writer feels at times, but finding myself and where I belong in the scheme of things as an author. I’ve had time to sit back and look at the past year and have seen God in every step. Yet, it’s the tangible things I desire, like for instance, to have an agent. Someone who will help me along this path God has me on, but what happens if my journey doesn’t include this mentor/friendship that I desire? This is the hardest thing about writing, desiring something that might or might not be in God’s will, and waiting for His answer. I think every writer feels this way in their writing journey at one time or another.


What is your newest release?

My debut novel Unconditional is dear to my heart. Statistics show Christian and non-Christian marriages are failing at the same rate. I believe in marriage there needs to be an unconditional love as God shows and displays in our lives. At times, we may feel like our spouse is our enemy, but God tells us to love our enemies, so what is that saying for our marriages today? We need to show a love that isn’t possible from us alone, but a love that comes from God who ordained marriage to last.

I wholeheartedly believe that if we fight for our marriages and follow after Christ, He will be the One to grow in us an unconditional love for our spouses.

I grew up in a family were divorce is common, like most people today, with the idea once you “fall” out of love, and you can’t get along anymore, it’s time to get a divorce. It was almost engraved in me witnessing everyone in my family get divorced one time or many times. I, too, almost went down that route with divorce papers in hand. I told myself many things at the time, but the truth. I was focused on our failures, not the hope that with God, all things are possible. The question was, were we willing to save our marriage at all costs? Would we fight for each other, whether we felt like it or not?

The story opens in a situation some married couples might find themselves in, losing a child, being in a loveless marriage, experiencing hurt by feelings of abandonment, adultery. Faced with the choice to fight for the marriage at any cost or give up. In my story, as in real life, there is a choice.

Here is the blurb to Unconditional.


He will fight for her at any cost…

Elizabeth Roberts can't remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter's death, her husband's affair.
When his wife's coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can't erase his betrayal, but with God's help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.
She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?



What are you currently working on now?

I’m in the process of editing a Historical Romance that’s set in Boston during 1889 called The Rescue. I’ve also started the next in the series to Unconditional, so I’m having a wonderful time writing and editing.


What is your favorite season of the year?

Oh, I love winter! I grew up in Florida where the seasons never changed, so when my husband and I headed to Texas for seminary, I couldn’t wait. When we arrived, the sky was grey and there wasn’t a single leaf on a tree. My husband looked at me with worried eyes and said “I’m sorry it’s not pretty here.” I laughed. I told him it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Ever since then winter has been my favorite season, not only because of Christ’s birth, but also because it was the start of our ministry and an excitement of change.


If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?

My husband and I always wanted to take a family trip to Bass Pro Shop in Missouri and stay in their log cabins, rent a boat, and go fishing. Twice we planned it, but we’ve had to cancel for various reasons. It’s a simple dream, but I hope we’ll be able to do in the future.


What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?

Oh, I know I’m quirky, but one thing I did as a child was climb on top of the roof of my house with a telescope and watch the stars at night.


Who is your biggest support and why?

My biggest support comes from four friends and my husband. I believe God brings people in your life that encourage you, help to strengthen your faith, and walk alongside you through whatever you face. God has blessed me and I’m so thankful, because I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if it wasn’t for them.


Where can fans find you on the web?

Fans can find me at:

My Website:
http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tanya-Eavenson/129609683872033

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/@Tan_eave

Google Plus:
https://plus.google.com/111621198804346509165#111621198804346509165/posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tiffany Colter....Find out about her special deal!

Today, we're joined by Tiffany Colter!


How did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I have always wanted to be a writer. It was just a part of me. When I was 6 years old I was already writing stories and telling people that I’d be a writer when I grew up. When I was 10 years old and my friends were reading, “Teen Bop”, I was reading Writer’s Digest.

When I was 14 my English teacher saw potential in me and encouraged me to write. When I was a Freshman in High School my Lit teacher challenged me to “Become Famous Someday”. It wasn’t until I was in the 10th grade and a teacher gave me a D on a creative writing project that I put down my pen for a decade. I got my degree in Political Science and History. I studied to be a CIA political analyst or go in to diplomatic work. I needed a “real job”. Then my husband and I decided to start a family just before I graduated from College. I wanted to stay home with her. I worked in my mom’s daycare, then my own candle business before remembering my childhood dream.

The rest, they say, is history.


What steps did you take to follow this dream?

I started out by getting in to Jerry Jenkin’s Christian Writer’s Guild program. I loved it, but had to stop because I couldn’t afford it. Still, I made it almost to the end and learned SOOOO much. I think that is why I became the Writing Career Coach. I realized how much writers need someone to help show them the ropes. It can be a tough and confusing industry and now I have the pleasure of going across the country speaking to other writers and helping them get further, faster than I ever did.

That is the good news. The bad news is that, like all dreams, I had lots of work, rejection, insecurity, work, and learning. Oh, and did I say work?


What is the hardest thing about writing?

This will sound weird but the fact that everyone does it. I know I cannot be a doctor right away because I don’t know medicine. I cannot be a pilot, because I don’t naturally fly. The problem with writing is we all do it to some extend in school. Since I do content edits for writers of all levels as well as judge lots of writing contests, I get the opportunity to see writing of many levels. I encounter a good number of writers who have real potential but that potential needs to be refined. Instead of working with their natural talent they assume that it is the READER [or editor] who is wrong and so they never become the great writer they could be. I even heard one almost-there writer tell me once, “I stopped trying to publish because my writing went over the heads of most people.”

Writing is such a subjective industry that it honestly hard to gauge how far along you are sometimes, and it is easy to lie to yourself to make you feel better about rejection.


What is your newest release?

My newest releases are my Fiction and
Non-Fiction workbooks, but the project I really want to tell your readers about came out last spring. It is a brand new way to learn craft. It is called a training novel. What I did was I took two of my novels that were not published [but one was a requested full twice and one won the Daphne du Maurier award in 2007] and I added lessons on craft throughout the book. This is because you can learn so much about how to improve your own writing by fixing someone else’s writing. These two books are each 440 pages and one client [who is a Doctor and becoming a novelist] told me that I had an entire college course on writing in that book. My goal these last 5 ½ years has been to teach writers to write and earn a living with their writing. My training novels are a great tool to help writers learn how to improve their craft in a safe environment. That is also the book I decided to give away on today’s blog. It is a $40 book!

I didn’t ask Joi, but as I was typing I decided I really wanted to do something for everyone, so I am offering the book through Feb. 7th as a digital download for $10 by using this paypal link. And IF you buy it and then are selected to win it free, I’ll let you select any of my digital products to replace it as your free gift!! In order to give this at this low price I’m going to have to email it manually, so give me until Feb. 9th to get them all mailed. Paypay Link.
 

What are you currently working on now?

I am working on four non-fiction books and one novel right now in addition to the editing I’m doing for my clients.

-A Christian Mom in Business

-(Untitled) book on craft

-A new comprehensive coaching plan for writers

-Earning a Living as a Writer: How the good ideas you have can get you what you want. [This is currently an audio or DVD seminar with a workbook, now we’re going to take that and make a book.]

-It Cuts Both Ways [this is my novel]


What is your favorite season of the year?

Without a doubt, summer. I love watching baseball. I love the warm weather. I love the long days. I love that my kids are done with school (I homeschool three of my four daughters). I love gardens and flowers and trees and green grass.


If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?

Quimper, France. I was an exchange student and I haven’t seen my host family in 14 years. I miss them terribly and I’d love for them to meet my family.


What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't know already?

Well, many of my readers already know that I have a hobby farm, but that is the quirky thing about me. I grew up in the city [in a fairly rough area], but I now have 2 sheep, 3 chickens, about a dozen outside cats, three large dogs and 8 ducks. I love sports and am a tomboy, but I have 4 of the girliest girls you’d ever meet. I also speak 3 languages [other than English].


Who is your biggest support and why?

Is it cliché to say my family? Well, too bad. They are my biggest support, not just as a writer, but as a person. My husband works 2 jobs and goes to school because he wants our girls to be homeschooled and have a mom at home. He also works his schedule around all the traveling I do to speak at writing conferences. My kids are also huge cheerleaders. Whenever I am working on a book they want to know all about it and applaud when it is done. They tell all of their friends about it too. That is pretty great when you consider my four girls are 9, 11, 12 and 14. Generally people assume that kids no longer would encourage me at those ages.


Tiffany gives us a special deal today! You don't want to miss this one!


Where can fans find you on the web?

Everyone can find me at www.WritingCareerCoach.com I have SOOOO many free things and oodles of information on my blog. Please, go take advantage of it. I just got back from spending 2 hours at the library [like I do every Monday] gathering new material to study. There are hundreds [possibly thousands] of hours of studying and research that goes in to the materials on my website. I make them because when I started writing we were broke. I continued to write while my husband was battling cancer, while I worked a full-time job and part-time job [when he couldn’t work] to try to stay above water. I know that we have to write in less than ideal times. I also know what it is to still have a writing dream. I want to help writers make that dream a reality.
And, if you’d like to see me live I will be teaching a continuing track this year at Write to Publish. I will also be speaking at other writing groups and conferences. Get my newsletter for updates. Or invite me to your group. If you have a low speaking budget, still contact me. I’d love to come.


Thank you for taking the time to share with us!

Thank you so much for having me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meet JoAnn Durgin

It has been such a blessing having so many people guest on my blog! Today is no exception! Here's JoAnn Durgin.....


How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I’m not sure there was ever a time when I made a conscious decision to be an author. Learning to read was one of the highlights of my life as a child in first grade, and I became a voracious reader. I loved writing essays and book reports, unlike the majority of my classmates. They’d groan about English assignments, but I absolutely thrived on them. I think reading Nancy Drew books cultivated my love of creating stories and planted that creative “seed” in my mind.


What steps did you take to follow this dream?
It wasn’t until I was a stay-at-home mom in Philly with three small children that I first dabbled in writing full-length romance novels. While they napped, I wrote. It was never a question in my mind that I would write Christian books. I garnered a bit of attention from my first attempts, but then we moved to the Boston area where my husband, Jim, was a pastor, and our lives were full. Then I put my writing—but not the desire for it—on the back burner for a decade to raise our children. The last manuscript I wrote was Awakening, a love story very loosely based on my love story in Texas with Jim. I finished it in less than two weeks before putting it aside. I feel the Lord honored that decision to wait on His timing for my writing career. Awakening became my debut novel and it subsequently sold to the first publisher who requested the full manuscript. I still don’t have an agent, but to-date I have four books in this same series, The Lewis Legacy Series from Torn Veil Books, a Christmas novella with Pelican Group/White Rose Publishers and a short story in an anthology published by Oak Tara, all within a little more than two years. The Lord has truly blessed, and I am so thankful.



What is the hardest thing about writing?
For me, the joy and most creative aspect is the actual writing. I can honestly say I’ve never suffered writer’s block. My books are longer than most (110,000+ words as opposed to the usual 85,000 to 100,000 words for books in my contemporary Christian romance genre). Part of the fun for me is seeing where my imagination and the Lord will take me with a story. “E-D-I-T” used to be a four-letter word for me, if you understand my meaning, but now I embrace it as crucial and integral to the entire process. I’ll be honest in that the hardest part for me is when the occasional negative review hits. Thankfully, my books have been very well-received, but it can be nerve wracking. The Lord’s working on me in this regard.


What is your newest release?
Daydreams, Book #4 in The Lewis Legacy Series. Each book can certainly be read alone, but I believe it enriches the reader’s experience by knowing the background of these characters which can be found in the previous books in the series. The books are available online in both eBook and paperback editions.


What are you currently working on now?
I’m working on two more novella proposals, one a story with Americans in Scotland and a second Christmas novella. I have a standalone, full-length novel, Catching Serenity, and I plan on editing it next. My series is a long one and I’ll also start edits on the next one, Moonbeams, soon. I work full-time as an estate administration paralegal or I’d be able to produce even more books quicker. In order to produce the best quality books I can, I don’t rush them. No book is perfect, but I want to be able to hold up my head and know I’ve done the best I can and the Lord will not be ashamed of anything I’ve written. It’s all about giving the reader hope and glorifying Him through my books. It’s my prayer my readers will gain some spiritual insight she can apply to her own life.


What is your favorite season of the year?
Spring, and I adore daffodils! My heroine in Daydreams, Amy Jacobsen, shares this love of daffodils. For Amy, as for me, that sturdy and bright yellow flower represents rebirth and the reawakening of the earth after the long, cold winter. They usually start poking up through the ground about the time of Easter and also represent to me the resurrection and the Lord’s promise to return one day.


If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?
The answer to this question varies greatly depending on the season and my frame of mind. I love to travel and am blessed to have done quite a bit B.C. (before children). Europe (anywhere) is one of my favorite destinations. Last year, I was dying to return to Texas. Jim and I hadn’t been back to the Lone Star State since we met there. So, we combined the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas with our 25th anniversary trip. We visited Dallas, San Antonio (where most of the events in Awakening are set), Austin (did some research there for a big section in Daydreams), Houston and Baton Rouge. However, today my answer would be a cruise. Jim’s never been on one and it’s a dream for him. I might have to start planning soon…


What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?
I’ve shared a number of quirky things with readers before. Here’s one I don’t think I’ve ever shared, and I’m running the risk here of sounding really strange. To this day, I still do something occasionally that my dad once told me I did as a baby in my crib. I call it nipping; it’s a self-soothing, comforting thing I do with the corner of a sheet or some type of fabric by running my thumb over it. It’s a tactile thing, for lack of knowing how to explain it. Okay, now you know how truly weird I am.


Who is your biggest support and why?
My family, without a doubt. They listen, they hug, they encourage, they support, and they put up with me. They are my heroes, and I couldn’t do it without them.


Where can fans find you on the web?
Please visit my website at www.joanndurgin.com, and I have an Author JoAnn Durgin page on Facebook. I love meeting new readers and sharing with them, so feel free to send me a message!



Thank you for taking the time to share with us, JoAnn!
Thank you, Joi! I’ve really enjoyed being here. I’d love it if your readers could leave a comment for the opportunity to win a signed copy of one of my books, either Daydreams or any one of the others in the series. Winner’s choice.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Darlene Franklin and A Bride's Rogue in Roma, Texas

 Today, we have Darlene Franklin talking to us about herself and her newest book, A Bride's Rogue in Roma, Texas. Leave a comment and be entered to win a copy!


    How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
    One day in the wake of my divorce, I wrote my first devotional. I found so much power in spilling my emotions onto paper, that I kept on writing. Before too long, I turned to my first love, fiction.
          
           What steps did you take to follow this dream?
    I’ve been writing, every day, for twenty-one years. I attended writing conferences, joined critique groups, and took classes. After my first novel was published, I began working part-time, and when I moved to Oklahoma three and a half year ago, I realized my dream of writing full time. At the moment I have 26 in print or under contract.
    What is the hardest thing about writing?
    The writing! New ideas are fun. Talking with people about books through interviews is fun. Sitting down and pounding two or three thousand words? Now, that’s work.
     
    What is your newest release?
    I had two releases last September: A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, as well as Merry Christmas, With Love in Postmark: Christmas.
    In Bride’s Rogue, a straight-laced Victorian Maiden inherits a steamboat—and the resident gambler. In Postmark: Christmas, four couples find love through the post office that stamps cards from “Christmas, Florida” every year.

    What are you currently working on now?
    I’m putting the finishing touches on Golden Dreams, which will release next September.

    What is your favorite season of the year?
    Spring! I live in Oklahoma, where the summers are horrible. Arthritis gives me fits in the winter. But spring, with its color and growth, brings joy to my heart.

    If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?
    I have always dreamed of making it to California, Hawaii and Alaska. I wouldn’t mind a tour of Washington, D.C. either.

    What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?
    I am a resident in a nursing home.

    Who is your biggest support and why?
    My son is a big supporter. He proudly tells everyone I’m a writer! Aside from him, I am blessed with several faithful followers who broadcast every post I make.

            You can find Darlene at: darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com

Friday, January 25, 2013

Deana Klingel and Cracks in the Ice

Today's guest is Deanna Klingel. Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of her book, Cracks in the Ice!




 


And now, Deana!

  1. How did you know you wanted to become a writer? I’ve always been a writer, even as a girl. I just didn’t know about being a published author.
  2. What steps did you take to follow this dream? I waited until my seven kids were grown,then started writing, joined some organizations, attended conferences, took some college classes. Most important, I just wrote.
  3. What is the hardest thing about writing? Life and all its distractions and responsibilities make it hard to stay at it for the endless hours I need to when I’m working.
  4. What is your newest release? Cracks in the Ice was released last October by Write Integrity Press.
  5. What are you currently working on now? I’m working on a middle grade historical fiction.
  6. What is your favorite season of the year? I like spring the best. I hate being cold, and I don’t like being hot. I think spring is perfect. Oh goodness. I just realized that the character in my book has said the exact same thing. I guess I’m really in his head!
  7. If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why? I’d like to visit the former Soviet Union, the small Baltic nations.
  8. What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already? Probably everything they already know about me IS quirky. Like how I drive eight hours to do a thirty minute presentation at a school, then drive back home. That’s pretty quirky.
  9. Who is your biggest support and why? My husband is absolutely my biggest support. He helps me with all things technical, never complains about things like question # 8 and gives me great business advice. He’s a fantastic business manager, and my number one fan.
  10. Where can fans find you on the web? I’d love them to visit me at www.BooksByDeanna.
Here's a snippet of what her books is about:


“We skate deliberately over the wide dangerous cracks, where lesser skaters might fall and never recover ...” Gina Mangalli, niece of a mafia don, has dreams of Olympic gold as a figure skater. When tragedy strikes, her life spins out of control, and then a rash decision changes Gina's life forever. The burden of guilt causes a spiral that carries her further from the life she had always dreamed for herself. Have things gone too far? Can her hopes and dreams be restored or is it too late?




Thursday, January 24, 2013

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult by A.B. Brownell

Today, we have the wonderful opportunity to hear from A. B. Brownell. Leave a comment at the end and you'll be in the drawing for this wonderful story!


WHY A FICTIONAL CHARACTER CAN BE IMPORTANT

By A. B. Brownell



When proof copies of Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult arrived, my husband read the book for the first time.

What did you think of it?” I asked.

The question isn’t so much what I think of the book, but what I think of my wife for creating all that!”

Yet he read the teen novel in a couple of days—and he rarely reads books. That encouraged me.

I believed Joe Baker’s story was important, although I have a couple of other manuscripts waiting in the wings. The just released novel about Joe shows a teenager’s struggle with faith while everything around him seems to turn to dust. Joe desperately wants to believe God answers prayer because his parents are missing. They just disappear one evening after visiting a friend in the hospital.

Yet, Joe saw one of the men he thinks is involved. The man peeped into the kitchen window and then broke in the front door and burglarized Joe’s parents’ home. Joe and his 10-year-old sister, Penny, hid in the crawl space. By the time police arrived, the man was gone with Joe’s computer and a family photo.

The two Baker children end up having to live with an uncle and aunt who haven’t even been polite to Joe’s family in the past.

Then Joe and his pal, Pete, hook up with a Christian gang committed to preventing and solving crimes with fairly harmless things such as water, sand, marbles, noise, rope, and a pet skunk.

But we have radicals working to erase Christianity from America, robots, catapults, computer chips for the brain, a mental hospital’s juvenile unit, a glimpse of miracles from the Bible, dreams, praying. Put all these in the proper places and you have Joe’s story.

Joe the Dreamer was birthed as teaching entertainment in an after-school and summers program to draw students into studying the Bible for themselves. But the book remained unfinished, nagging me from the depths of my computer until I let it out and began sending it to meet critique group members of American Christian Fiction Writers under a different title, Terror Blasters.

Revision after revision, and Joe and the other characters grew stronger and the manuscript went back to part of the original title: Joe the Dreamer. It’s always had a castle and a catapult, but they didn’t make it into the title until close to publication.

Did I believe teens would read it? There is so much fantasy, speculative fiction and books with wizards and all sorts of weird creatures for teens, and this is a book about ordinary youth who do extraordinary things with their faith, knowledge, and simple things like pumpkins.

Yet, we find Joe locked into the bowels of the juvenile unit of a mental hospital with severely disturbed young people.

In the sub-plot, Joe’s parents are building a wall around a castle. They are warned that if his dad doesn’t change his computer software program from eliminating seizures to causing seizures in Christian opinion leaders, they’ll get their children. In addition, the radicals who snatched Joe’s parents plan to use Joe’s dad eventually in building bombs to kill Christians.

Will the radicals snatch Joe too, or leave him in the mental hospital for shouting and getting excited at night when he slips into the skin of a Bible character during his dreams? Will his parents be found and released? Or will Joe give up having an ordinary life again?

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult may be purchased at http://buff.ly/XeqTvH or https://www.createspace.com/3962829

Check out more of Ada’s writing at http://www.inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com


A.B. Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a BS degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo., where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books.


 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jeanette Windle and Congo Dawn

Here's Jeanette Windle! Don't forget to leave a comment so you can be entered to win this exciting book!


CONGO DAWN-JEANETTE WINDLE



How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
Writing has always been such a part of my life, I can’t remember ever consciously wanting to write. Our missionary kids boarding school had a heavy emphasis on writing and literature; we thought doing full term papers with footnotes in junior high was normal. I wrote one story for publication in college, then became a pastor’s wife and missionary. I never really thought again about writing for publication until I was stuck down in a small town in southern Bolivia with three preschoolers, no transport, phone, radio, or TV, and my husband gone for two weeks at a time to teach in jungle and mountain churches. By the time I’d read my few English books until I had them memorized, I was so bored I wrote my first book in the evenings after the babies were asleep. That became Kathy and the Redhead, a children’s novel based on my growing-up years at an American missionary kid boarding school in the Andes mountains. From there, I began writing as a missions journalist, then sixteen more fiction novels, and somehow never quit since.


What steps did you take to follow this dream?
Like much in my writing career, my first writing break as a novelist fits no industry norm. After writing Kathy and the Redhead, I began a juvenile international mystery series. I'd bought a Sally Stuart's Christian Writers Market Guide and was working my way through publishers (no email submissions then; hard copy sent to the U.S. with travelers). I'd received some encouragement and far more rejections when our family flew north for a three month ministry trip in the U.S. By then I'd gone through every publisher on the list and was truly ready to give up. I can remembering praying and asking God to either open a door or close it completely if my writing was not His will so I would not waste more time that could go into other ministry.
Shortly before we headed back to Bolivia, we were at a missions conference in Wenatchee, WA, when I was informed I had a call. To my astonishment, it was the editor of a new juvenile department for Multnomah (then Questar) Press. Multnomah had already sent me a rejection, saying they didn't publish juvenile, but would be interested if I ever wrote a teen novel (which became my one teen novel, Jana's Journal). The editor informed me that when Questar had merged with Multnomah, they'd found some wonderful children's mystery chapters tucked away in a drawer. The phone number of my husband's parents was on the proposal as our USA contact. My in-laws had passed on our current location at the conference. Would I possibly still have the books available for publishing?
Would I! The manuscript was in the mail the next day. The contract arrived just as we headed back to Bolivia, the first of six mysteries in The Parker Twins Adventure Series and the beginning of my CBA career. That out-of-the-blue phone call at a missions conference would be too improbable for fiction. Which simply goes to show that one can follow every guideline, jump through every hoop, but in the end, delightfully, unexpectedly, there is always the 'But God' factor that turns all our own plans and efforts on end.


What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest part of writing is--writing! Nor am I alone in feeling that way as a writer! Getting the story down on paper (or computer screen) is a hair-tearing, heart-yanking, exhausting outpouring of spiritual, emotional, and creative energy. It is eminently worthwhile, but the hardest work I will ever do.
But once the story is birthed, I do enjoy rewrites, going back and working through each scene, polishing it up, cutting, adding, tweaking until I am sure every sentence says exactly what I want to convey, is both enjoyable and eminently satisfying. And, of course, the very best aspect of being a writer as opposed to actually writing is receiving that positive feedback from readers who are loving the story and characters you've spent so many countless hours creating. Even more so, who've been touched spiritually by the message of the book.


What is your newest release?
My latest Tyndale House release Congo Dawn takes place against the backdrop of the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri rainforest war zones. Why this particular setting?

Growing up in the world's largest rainforest, the Amazon, I was captivated by missionary biographies from its second-largest African counterpart, the Congo. Among them the story of Dr. Helen Roseveare, who helped establish several mission hospitals and medical training centers in the Ituri rainforest despite violence and unrest of impending Congolese independence, herself held captive for five months during the 1964 Simba rebellion. The largest of those centers Nyankunde was in turned razed in 2002 during the continuing conflict that has taken more than five million Congolese lives in the last decade. Today's fighting is greatly aggravated by the value and pursuit of conflict minerals in that zone.
As always, it has been the mission pilots, medical personnel both expatriate and Congolese, and other followers of Yesu, Jesus Christ, who have been first back into the conflict zones well ahead of United Nations, embassy, local law enforcement or any other humanitarian and corporate interests. Their courage in shining bright the light of Yesu's love in one of the planet's darkest corners gave voice to this story.
As to Congo Dawn's actual suspense thread, I've had personal opportunity to witness what a multinational corporation is capable of in back alleys of the Third World when no one is watching (an experience in itself too unbelievable to write up as fiction). In Africa as elsewhere, both the protective and striking arm of such corporations has historically been hired foreign mercenaries. But today's private military corporations are vastly different, possessing more fire power than the average country. What struck me was the lack of any accountability to outside oversight beyond some paid-off local warlord.
So what happens when a multinational corporation with unlimited funds hires on a private military company with unbridled power in a Congolese rainforest where the ultimate conflict mineral is up for grabs? Coming up with one very plausible possibility birthed Congo Dawn.


What are you currently working on now?
After seven consecutive international intrigue titles, I am actually buried currently in a project that is very much outside that box, more Michael Crichton's Timeline meets The DaVinci Code than anything I've written to date. It is a story that has been bubbling for years, and I am excited about where it is going. But I hope I won't be leaving you in too much suspense if I reserve the details until I am much further along.


What is your favorite season of the year?
I have no favorite, but do have a least favorite. I've grew up on the equator and have spent most of my adult life in tropical climes south of the equator. Seasons divide into rainy and dry, and Christmas is at the height of summer dry season. So you can imagine my dismay at discovering how cold that pretty white stuff is that they show even overseas in Christmas specials. For me that was Bible college in Alberta, Canada. Now that I am based in North America, I go outside in winter only for church, speaking engagements and travel.


If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?
Having been privileged to live in travel in only 30+ nations to date, I don't think I could pick just one among the remaining 150+,. But among my top ten would be 1) Puerto Rico--because it has all the beauty, culture and delicious food of the best Latin American countries I've lived while having all comforts and safety of a United States territory. 2) Greece, because I'd love to explore all the history. 3) Turkey because so much of biblical history from Noah to the early church lies within its borders.


What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?
I am a mirror-image identical twin (I am left-handed, she is right-handed).


Who is your biggest support and why?
Definitely my husband. We are a team, and he always supports me when I need to hole up and write or travel in ministry. I do likewise for him (and serve as his in-house editor!).


Where can fans find you on the web?
I'd like to invite any reader interested in knowing more about Congo Dawn, my other titles, or my own life journey to visit me at my website (www.jeanettewindle.com) or contact me directly at jeanette@jeanettewindle.com. I'd also be delighted to participate with your local book club or discussion group through Skype video or on-line chat conference (or in person if I am in the vicinity).




Jeanette Windle has more than a dozen novels in print, including bestselling Veiled Freedom and CrossFire. Daughter of missionary parents, the award-winning author and journalist grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Columbia, now guerrilla hot zones. The realism conveyed by her detailed research and writing has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty. Her novels have been Christy Award, Carol Award, and ECPA Christian Book Award finalists. Visit her at www.jeanettewindle.com.




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

K. Dawn Byrd and Something Beautiful

K. Dawn Byrd is our guest author today! She'll be giving away an e-book of her newest book. Leave a comment at the end of the interview, and we'll pick a winner!


  1. How did you know you wanted to become a writer? I've always been an avid reader and my personality is such that I absolutely love a challenge. I thought it would be a challenge to write a book, so I did it and found out that I love writing so much that I can't stop. Every book is a new challenge.

  1. What steps did you take to follow this dream? I joined ACFW to learn more about Christian fiction and I studied every book I could buy on the craft. I also read a lot of blogs on writing.

  1. What is the hardest thing about writing? The hardest thing about writing is the fact that I must write in total peace and quiet. I would be a lot more productive if I could tune everything around me out.

  1. What is your newest release?
    My new release is called Something Beautiful. Here's the cover blurb: Lauren Milton has always followed the rules, but when she meets Antony Marcos, she discovers just how much fun it is to do her own thing. When Antony, the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, professes his love for her, her life is complete. He's her soul mate, but when she finds that he's harboring secrets, can she forgive him?

    Antony is terrified that his secrets will destroy their relationship when Lauren finds out the truth. Does he tell the truth and face losing her or continue his activities, possibly placing her in danger? Can they make things work even though her family and friends are against him?

    Lauren has PTSD from the car accident that killed her boyfriend and her mother. Can she face her greatest fears while risking everything for the guy she loves? Can they overcome the obstacles facing them to find their happily ever after?

  1. What are you currently working on now? I'm working on Hotline Girl, a young adult novel with a release date of June 2013.

  1. What is your favorite season of the year? I love spring. Everything is fresh and new.

  1. If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why? I'd like to take my husband to Hawaii. It's his dream vacation.

  1. What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already? I used to ride a Harley Davidson, but gave it up to have more time to write. My husband still has his, but I don't ride behind him.

  1. Who is your biggest support and why?  My husband, Mark, is my biggest support. No matter what crazy thing I decide I want to do, he's right there beside me, supporting me all the way.

  1. Where can fans find you on the web?

Thank you for taking the time to share with us!










Monday, January 21, 2013

Anita Higman Gives Away Texas Wildflowers

This week I'm having guest bloggers. Today, I am blessed to have Anita Higman discussing Texas Wildflowers. Anita will be giving away two copies of Texas Wildflowers. Leave a comment at the end of the blog post and in one week, I'll randomly pick a winner!


1. Tell us a bit about Texas Wildflowers.
Texas Wildflowers is a 4-in-1 novella collection through Barbour Publishing. Each novella is set in an exotic location in Texas. They are lighthearted romances, and they’re all tied together with the four McBride sisters.


2. Which of the four novellas was the most fun to write?
They were each fun to write in their own way, but my favorite character was Lily, the counselor, in Forget Me Not Lily. She was quirky and fun, relatable and loveable. At least that’s what I hope readers will feel.


3. Was it hard to write four separate stories and keep them fresh?
That task was very hard, because it is so easy to repeat plot elements and character traits and bits of dialogue. I had to constantly check myself to make sure the stories and characters were as unique as they could be.


4. All these novellas are set in Texas. Are the towns and parks real?
Yes, in fact one of the novellas is set in Big Bend National Park, where my husband and I went on vacation. So, when you read about the characters on certain trails, they’re real, and we hiked them!


5. Did you have a favorite book when you were a child?I loved fairytales. Cinderella was my favorite.


6. Do you have a vacation spot you’d love to visit?
I’m dreaming of Ireland. My husband and I plan to travel there next summer. Can’t wait! Then I’m going to use the emerald isle as a setting in one of my novels.


7. How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
When I was very young (I don’t remember my age) I started working on a novel about a man from Mars who wanted to go to college in New York. I never finished that novel, but it left an impression on me. I knew deep down that telling stories was my dream, even though I didn’t get around to fulfilling it until I was in my thirties.


8. When readers finish the last page of Texas Wildflowers, what do you want them to come away with?
I would love for them to be inspired, challenged, and entertained. If I accomplished even one of those things I would feel my writing time wasn’t wasted.


9. What are 5 things that your readers might not know about you?
  1. While I was in college I tried working in a pillow factory. I was terrible at it. I got so weary with the repetition I started yakking with the woman next to me. We got reprimanded over and over until I quit. I discovered one thing from that college job—talking is something I excel at.
  2. I once won a hog-calling contest at a banquet. I was not embarrassed, but I should have been.
  3. I have a bird phobia, and yet I love birds! (That is, from a distance.) My house is filled with the fake kind—prints on the walls, statues, and general bird doodads. Go figure.
  4. I keep some interesting treasures near me when I write—a wooden jewelry box my son made me when he was in school, a candle from the 1960s, a hat once owned by a famous mystery writer, the inner parts of a music box, a birthday card that plays The Twilight Zone theme song, and an old family toy helicopter that says, “Going up.”
  5. Thirty-four years ago I rappelled off a cliff alongside the man I was dating. We kissed in mid-air while dangling off that cliff. I ended up marrying that man, and we've celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary!


10. Where do all your ideas come from?
Ideas flood in from everywhere—while I’m running errands, or chatting with a friend, or drifting off to sleep. I have pieces of paper all over the place with scribbles about book ideas and characters and titles. Sometimes I can’t read my notes later. I need a full-time assistant to help me stay organized. Any volunteers?


11. Where can your readers connect with you online?
Please drop by my website at www.anitahigman.com, or visit my Reader Page on Facebook and chat with me there at http://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorAnitaHigman.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Frappaccino Friday Giveaway

What's your favorite Frappaccino from Starbucks? Is the Mocha Frap or perhaps the Caramel? Do you like the regular taste of the Coffee Frappaccino? Or do you go for the more exotic flavors such as Chocolate Cookie Crumbe Creme, Java Chip Frappaccino, or the Coconut Creme? Better yet, do you build your own? I'd start mine out with Decaf (of course) and then perhaps do the Mocha Frappaccino. While I love a cold drink on a hot day, I'm still a sucker for the Peppermint Mochas.
I'm admit, I'm a creature of habit. I rarely try something new if I go out to eat. Why bother? I typically think. If I'm spending money, I want to make sure I'm going to enjoy what I buy. It's not like I can send it back for a refund. "I'm sorry. It just wasn't to my liking." Nope. Not me. I pretty much get the same thing whenever we venture out to eat. Starbucks is no exception.
Unlike my husband. While he doesn't enjoy change, he enjoys trying new things. He'll try something new because the picture looked good or the description sounded good. He wants to try new places because he's never been there before. While my thought is "What if I don't like it?" his is "What if I find something I love?"
Change. It happens to everyone no matter how hard we try to keep things the same. Our children grow up, our bodies change (sometimes for the better), even our relationship with God changes. It's just the way things are. Two things in life are promised: Taxes and change. Yep. That's life.
How do you deal with the change? Do you embrace it like an old friend? Do you stomp your feet and refuse to allow it into your home? Are you wary of it? What's your reaction to change?
I struggle with it every so often. I've come a long way over the last several years. I can do change. I may not always like it, but I can do it.
So, in going with the theme of change today, over the next two weeks, I am going to have a change in my blog. But this is a good change! I'm having guest bloggers introducing us to their new books, and they are also doing giveaways. Some are ebook giveaways, while others are hard copy. This is only for those in the U.S. To encourage this change, I am going to have a little giveaway myself. Since I've pretty much written about coffee drinks and tea this week (mostly from Starbucks), I'm going to do a random drawing at the end of the month to see who gets a gift card to Starbucks. Leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered to win! Who doesn't love a free drink or two? Now that's a change I can wrap my head around!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tazo Tea Thursdays

Have you seen all the fantastic things Starbucks can do with Tazo Tea? Aside from the regular brewed tea they serve, they can make tazo tea chai lattes, tazo vanilla rooibos latte, tazo iced green tea lattes, and on and on and on.
While I am a tea drinker, I haven't experienced any of these tea concoctions because they can't make them in decaf. But when I saw all the things they do with tea, I was amazed. One single ingredient can turn into many different things.
That took my mind to a whole new place. One single ingredient. A willing heart. And wow! The things God can do with just a willing heart! And what's even more amazing is that He works in so many different ways with each willing heart. One person will be moved to another country as a missionary while another will be home, working an 8-5 job, yet reaching those around him. God can use a willing heart to serve Him by visiting orphans and widows or by being a stay-at-home mom who homeschools. The Lord doesn't use each of us in the same way. No sir. He's creative.
He uses people in worship and creating music for Him. He uses people to write fiction and non-fiction books to draw others into a deeper relationship with Jesus. He uses those who are artistic to cause the hearts of people to give Him glory through paintings and pictures.
It's amazing that God can use one single ingredient, a willing heart, to make such wonderous things. Quite similar to the tazo tea. One simple ingredient. Many wonderful drinks. What a great God I serve!
What about you? How does God use your willing heart?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

White Chocolate Mocha Wednesday

I love white chocolate mochas. As a matter of fact, that was my signature drink whenever I'd go into the Coffee Klatch with Kim Broadwell and Jeannine Galindo or Chris. I know white chocolate isn't something everyone likes. Actually, I think only one of my children like it. Chris doesn't at all. There's just something about it that is so yummy, though.
Now, when I take my nephew, Dylan, to get coffee at Starbucks, he gets white chocolate. Love that.
As I sit here and think about white chocolate, I think about how it isn't the norm for my family. Less than half of us like it. It's just not the thing to eat or drink. It's not available at my fingertips, unlike my peppermint mochas. Those are easily accessible.
Which leads me to ponder my time with some mormons today. They came in December, and it was so stinkin' cold, I invited them in for a hot drink and fudge. They took me up on the fudge, not the drink. They came back another day I wasn't feeling so well. Today, they returned in the midst of my cleaning. I had a towel in hand when I answered the door, and apologized. I told them I was in the midst of cleaning. Their response? "Would you like us to help?"
Boy, that caught me off guard! My goodness, I don't hear that a lot at all! Yes, my boys and husband will periodically ask if I need help (they really do...not just saying that). But I don't get that from people who drop by or from two guys I just met a month ago.
And that led me to think on other things. How often am I accessible to help others? Not when they ask for it, but just because. Am I like my peppermint mocha, ready and willing? Or am I like the white chocolate mocha, where I have to go search for it? Hm. Not something I want to be.
I really was surprised at how available these two young men were to help me. Of course, I turned them down (kicking myself now though), but they looked too nice to get down and dirty and scrub my floor. Although, I have no doubt they would have.
Do I? Am I willing to get down and dirty to help others? While I will not turn to mormonism, I certainly did learn something from these two gents today. Lord, may I be willing and available to help others.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday Tea for You and Me

As I was thinking about tea, I remembered Sue, in Hope for Tomorrow, had something to say about it. Her sister, Josephine, had come over to Sue's house, angry. Sue did something she thought her mom would do. Take a look at her thoughts:


“Can I get you some tea to help you calm down?” Sue did her best not to get defensive, but needed to have a gentle voice. She had been meditating on verses in the bible that had said things about a harsh word stirs up anger, but a soft answer turns away wrath. Now, with everything in her, she forced herself to be calm.

“Tea? Are you kidding me?” Josephine’s look was flabbergasted. “I came over here to talk to you. I can only assume you talked with Steven since he has a habit of running to you whenever there is a problem with me. And you want me to have tea?”

Sue gently took Josephine by the hand and drew her into the living room. “Isn’t that what Mom would have done? Wouldn’t she have said lets start this conversation out with a bit of tea?”

“Well, you are not Mom, and she isn’t here, so why bother?” Josephine tossed her keys down on the coffee table and turned on Sue.

“Jo, I know I’m not Mom. I never claimed to be. I happen to agree with her, though. Tea has a calming effect on a conversation. First of all, it takes a bit of time for the water to boil, so we don’t have to hurry. We can sit and think before we say anything. Second, the tea is hot and takes time to drink. That's good because instead of saying things quickly, we can sip the tea and relax. Third, I enjoy the taste of tea.”
 
 
I have to say, I totally agree with Sue. On all accounts. I love tea for this simple reason that you can't rush it. Sure, you can toss a cup of water in the microwave, but you still have to wait for a bit for the tea to settle in your cup.
I thoroughly enjoy having tea with a friend. Sarah Wakefield is one of my "tea" girls. We'll sit at her house, cup of tea in our hands, and just talk. Our time isn't rushed because we can't drink a hot beverage that fast. Over tea, we discuss almost everything under the sun! How I appreciate our tea time!
I have a few favorite teas, one Sarah introduced me to. My first favorite is herbal peppermint tea. I love the minty flavor! The one Sarah introduced me to is decaf chai tea. I also enjoy herbal apple cinnamon. Of course, for me, I love a splash of cream in my tea, too. No sugar. Yum!
What about you? Are you a tea drinker? What is it you enjoy about this yummy beverage? And what's your favorite?
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mocha Monday

What kind of coffee do you like? Are you the type of person who likes coffee black, perhaps with a little cream and sugar? Or, are you like me, and enjoy one of life's pleasures, a specialty coffee drink? Do you prefer americanos, vanilla lattes, or mochas? I'm one of those people who take it a few steps further: I love me a peppermint mocha, non-fat, decaf, extra hot with one shot of decaf espresso. Yep, I make the barista's life difficult.
To make a mocha, you have to have the right ingredients. You can't make a mocha with tea. You can't make it with orange juice or apple juice. No sir, you've gotta have the right stuff (oh no! I just quoted New Kids on the Block!). Espresso, milk, chocolate, and if you like it flavored like me, peppermint. Can you imagine what it would taste like if I had orange juice and peppermint? Yuck!
The same goes for life. To make it through this life, you've got to have the right ingredient. Jesus. He's what makes life worth living. You see, I can't imagine my life without Him. I've gone through some pretty difficult times in my journey. Without Christ, I'd be drinking an orange flavored "coffee" drink. He's the main ingredient, just like my espresso. If I took out the espresso in my mocha, I'd have hot chocolate. Not what I really want.
Jesus. He's what matters. He makes this "drink of life" so much better. No, I am not saying easier. I am saying better. I don't have to worry about my problems, because I know Jesus has it all under control. I don't need to stress over big and little things, because Jesus knows what I'm going through. He's been through it. He's seen my troubled past, my frustrating present, and my stressful future. He's seen the ups and downs of my life, even when I don't. He's walked with me through my failures of my past, my victories. He's holding me in the present, loving me as I find triumph over struggles and loving me when I stumble and fall. He's already in my future, preparing the way for me.
Jesus is my espresso in my mocha. He makes me go, "Ahhhh." just like I do when I take my first sip of my peppermint decaf mocha. He encourages me to lay my burden down and come to Him. To trust Him with all of it.
When I take a sip of my mocha, I'm reminded that Jesus is all I really need. Everything else is just the whipped cream.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Fun-Your Opinion

Well, I've been doing my daily blog for a bit now (except during Christmas and New  Year's). I really want to get this blog up and rolling, and I need some help from people who "lurk" or comment or just happen to stumble on my blog.
What do you like about blogs? What are your suggestions to making this blog better? What do you think I can do to bring people in and keep them interested? So, while this blog post today is short, I'm hoping you'll leave a comment and let me know! I appreciate your help and your thoughts on the subject!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Throwback Thursdays-Christ's Church of the Valley

I honestly cannot look back at my early years of Christianity and not think of Christ's Church of the Valley when it was located on Lark Ellen in West Covina. It's the church I grew up in, I discovered Christ in, I met some incredible friends in, and where I  deepened my relationship with Jesus.
The very first time I went to church was with my sister, Steffanne. In was in February of 1990 on a Sunday night. I recall walking through the doors before the service started and thinking, "I like it here." I don't know what caught my attention. It was just a feeling of belonging, even though I hadn't officially met anyone yet.
I only went on Sunday night's for a while. TRW, or Totally Radical Worship, was on Wednesday nights, and I believe they were going through the book of Revelations, and that scared the ibby-jibbees out of me, so I opted for Sunday nights. March 18, 1990, I was baptized, and so began my journey with Jesus.
One of the things I loved about CCV was the worship. I would get lost in songs like, "Awesome God" or "Our God Reigns" and "Sweet Jesus".  I would kneel or raise my hands with complete abandon. I just remember feeling so alive when the lights would dim and we'd worship the Lord.
It would be impossible to bypass the teaching, too. Chuch Booher would preach on Wednesday nights (when I started going). It was awesome because he would encourage us to live like Jesus called us to. He taught on many topics like, "The 15 Non-Negotiables of a Mate" and living pure lives. He'd dig deeper on Jesus' life and challenge us to read the Bible and pray. He'd make me laugh, cry, and whoop with excitement. One of the reasons I had so much respect for Chuck was because he'd call people out if they were messing around during his sermon. And there were a lot of us kids, too! I'm talkin' hundreds!
I've posted already about the people in my life when I first became a Christian, but they are still worth mentioning. John Greg, Joanne Long, Chris Harbit, Patrick Mesker, Julie Storlie, Jesse Stiles, Ronda Stewart, and so many others came along side me and walked with road with me. We'd talk about Jesus, pray to Him, and worship together outside of church. We'd do fun things together and spend loads of time laughing.
I'm so grateful for this church and how blessed I was to grow up attending it! My prayer is my kids will get the same kind of opportunity I had. But to be honest, CCV was and still is a rare commodity. I'm so very thankful for the foundation this church helped me lay!
What about you? How did your church shape who you are today? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wonderful Wednesdays-Peace At Last

  I used to homeschool my kids. We'd homeschool year round because we would take vacations, have people visit us, or have sick days. So, we would continue homeschooling through the summer. This year, the boys are in public school. They go to a great school now. They've made friends and are understanding the concept of public school.
All three boys loved Thanksgiving break. They thought having that many days off was great! Then Christmas break came, and boy, did they have a blast not doing homework or having to get up early. Until today. My three boys start back today. What does that mean? For them, it means getting up early, having homework, and going to bed early.
But for me? That means peace! No more breaking up arguments. No more grumpiness because their brother did something they didn't like. No more interruptions while I write! Oh my goodness! I get to write! And for me, it means having a clean house for at least eight hours a day! Wow. I seriously cannot believe how excited I am for school to start again today!
My immediate thought is to dwell on the summer and how they are going to make me nutty. But no. I'm not going down that road. I'm going to relish in the first day back for my boys.
While I am so glad I have three kids, I am equally as glad they are in school this year, and not just for me. Gage is learning how to deal with his learning disability. Gavin is being challenged to push himself and not be satisfied for mediocrity. And Garrison is being forced out of his comfort zone. All around, this has been a great decision for my family for now. Who knows what two years will bring? But in the meantime, today, I am going to enjoy my peace.....at last!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tickled Tuesdays-Lynnette Bonner

One of the best things about having a kindle is I can get books inexpensively, and most times, for free. I have over 300 books on my kindle, and I love it! I get introduced to authors I never would've known about. One of those authors is Lynnette Bonner. I read her book, Rocky Mountain Oasis, the first in the Shepherd's Heart Series. Here's the blurb:

He's different from any man she's ever known.
However, she's sworn never to risk her heart again.

Idaho Territory,
Brooke Baker, sold as a mail-order bride, looks to her future with dread but firm resolve. If she survived Uncle Jackson, she can survive anyone.
When Sky Jordan hears that his nefarious cousin has sent for a mail-order bride, he knows he has to prevent the marriage. No woman deserves to be left to that fate. Still, he's as surprised as anyone to find himself standing next to her before the minister.
Brooke's new husband turns out to be kinder than any man has ever been. But then the unthinkable happens and she holds the key that might save innocent lives but destroy Sky all in one fell swoop. It's a choice too unbearable to contemplate...but a choice that must be made.
A thirsty soul. Alluring hope. An Oasis of love.
Step into a day when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat.


Without meaning to, I read the third book, as well. I plan on reading the second one soon! Here's the blurb for the third book:
She’s loved him for as long as she can remember.
But can she trust her heart to a man haunted by constant danger?

Shiloh, Oregon, April 1887
Victoria Snyder, adopted when she was only days old, pastes on a smile for her mama’s wedding day, but inside she’s all atremble. Lawman Rocky Jordan is back home. And this time he’s got a bullet hole in his shoulder and enough audacity to come calling. Since tragedy seems to strike those she cares for with uncanny frequency, she wants nothing to do with a man who could be killed in the line of duty like her father.
But when an orphan-train arrives at the Salem depot, Victoria is irresistibly drawn toward the three remaining “unlovable” children…and stunned by a proposal that will change all of their lives forever.
Can she risk her heart, and her future happiness, on someone she might lose at a moment’s notice?
Two stubborn hearts. A most unusual proposal. Persevering love.
Step into a day when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat.

I look forward to reading the second and fourth books in this series. I was drawn back into a time I wouldn't have discovered before. If you enjoy reading, whether it be on a kindle or hard copy, might I suggest Lynnette Bonner? She's great!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Matters-What Drives You?

More often than not, I'm faced with new challenges, new opportunities. Or so it seems this year. My kids started public school for the first time ever in August. That decision allowed me to work. So I began looking for a part time job. It's quite difficult finding a job, even part time. So many people are out of work. It's truly amazing and sad. From August to November, I searched. Then, I was hired at a coffee shop.
I love coffee shops. I love going to work in a coffee shop. One day, I hope to own one. It's not a dream I don't think I'll ever fulfill either. Chris and I are really looking into it and preparing for it. It may take years, but that's ok. I want to own a shop where Jesus will be glorified. Buy coffee beans that will donate the money to the people who grow them or something like that. I want to own a place where I can reach out to people, at first with a smile and encouraging word, and then with the gospel. This is one of my dreams.
Sadly, the coffee shop went out of business within one month of me working there. And so, the hunt for another job began. I applied to places ranging from secretarial/receptionist work to other coffee shops to waitressing to bagel shops. My prayer the entire time has been this, "Lord, put me where I can be used for You." The money doesn't matter. I'm not interested in making millions. Just enough to help us get out of debt. I'm not interested in taking time away from my family either. A few hours here and there is fine, but I don't want to work all nights and not spend time with my husband and kids.
Then I got a job at a bagel shop. To be honest, I wasn't particularly thrilled at first. I mean, I'm 37 and working with bagels. But then I realized, it's not about me. It's about the people I come in contact with on a weekly basis. It's about sharing Christ's love by going above and beyond what I'm asked to do. Paul tells us in Corinthians to "let the love of Christ compel you." That's what I want to drive me, to push me. Not the title I may get from working, not the money, or even family time. I want Christ's love to push me, compel me to live for Him and draw others to Him. I haven't perfected it yet.....not even close. But overall, that's what I want. That's what I desire to drive me. What about you? What drives you?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Fun-Pay It Forward

I woke up this morning with no idea what I was going to write about today. Many thoughts came in and out of my head. I thought about writing about fun facts (and probably weird facts) about myself that many of you wouldn't know about. I thought about telling about my birthday and the great day I had. I even considered sharing about my new job. Then, one woman posted about Pay it forward on Facebook and I knew that's what I had to do.
I love the idea of paying it forward. Have you ever been in line somewhere and someone says, "Oh, your bill has been taken care of?" I have!
One Sunday morning, I really wanted a peppermint mocha. I had my gift card all ready to use. I walked up to the counter ordered my drink. She got it all together and told me my drink had been paid for! What a great way to start off the day! That was the day I decided to pay it forward.
I tried at least once a month to pay for someone's drink when I went to write at Starbucks. I would get weird looks every so often, but mostly, the barista was pretty shocked and often thanked me. I didn't do it to get the thanks. I did it to give a blessing to someone as they started their day. I tried to make it so that the person behind me wouldn't know I was doing it, too. That's even more fun than getting a thanks from them!
So, my challenge to you this year, 2013, is to pay it forward. Give it a try. Bless someone in a small or big way. I promise you won't be sorry!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Throwback Thursdays-My Junior Highers

I had such amazing youth sponsors when I was in high school. Women who took me under their wing and guided me to the cross. They'd listen, laugh, and love me. Because of these amazing women, I knew I wanted to work with junior high when I graduated from high school.
Jackie Hetzer (a.k.a. Beatle) was my youngest sister's friend. I remember discipling each other. I know I should have been discipling her, but I learned as much from her as she did from me, if not more.
I had a group of junior highers that I really connected with from the get go. I didn't reach out to them, they reached out to me. Micol Gonzalez, Teresa Lui, Monica Eck, Linda Bernal, Liz Olson, Johnny Vasquez, Cara Cutruzulla, and David Wilkinson were some amazing  kids truly seeking God's kingdom. The girls and I had many sleep overs. We'd stay up late playing games, tping (of course), and talk. I had the blessed opportunity to bond and connect with these amazing young women. They'd pour into my life. I honestly believe I learned more and was stretched more because of these ladies than I could ever do for them. I sit back and see some of them and their dedication to Christ, and my heart rejoices they've continued in this path. I love seeing them on Facebook with their families (gosh, I'm old) and hearing the things they are doing!
Johnny and David were two of the guys I was pretty close with. Johnny and I would sit and talk for a long time about life and love. David's smile and laughter still ring in my ears and my mind when I think of him as a young man. These two guys were pretty amazing. I'd seen some awesome men of God in high school, and I knew these two would follow in that path.
I had such a blast with these kiddos. They were all strong believers in Christ, seeking His ways above all others, and truly desiring to do God's will. I'm blessed and proud to say I've had the chance to work with them. They taught me, inspired me, and challenged me to go deeper in my walk with Jesus. Thank you, dear ones! Truly blessed by the love you poured into my life!