Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Promise by Beth Wiseman

Back Cover Blurb:

Mallory’s search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal--and danger.  Can the only man she’s ever loved rescue her before it’s too late?

Mallory Hammond is determined not to let her boyfriend, parents, or anyone else get in the way of her #1 goal--to save a life.  She had that chance when she was a teenager, and the opportunity slipped away, leaving a void she’s desperate to fill.  Then a new friend she met online offers her the chance she’s dreamed of. But she’ll have to leave behind everyone she loves to take it.

Tate Webber has loved Mallory for years.  He understands that Mallory’s free spirit has to fly, and when he gives her the space she needs, he hopes that when she lands, the two of them will be in the same place and can marry at last.

In a bold move—and with lots of resistance from Tate and those closest to her--Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfill her dream.  Tate begs her not to go, but Mallory embarks on the dangerous journey to Pakistan anyway, only to discover how swiftly and easily promises can be broken.  Her new friend isn’t who he says he is.  And Mallory can only pray she’ll make it out alive.

Inspired by actual events, this riveting story will take you on a wild journey and have you asking yourself: how far would I go for love?

Read an Excerpt:

Mallory put the pan of lasagna into the oven and set the timer. Tate wouldn’t be at her house for at least an hour. She went back to the couch and resumed her research on Peshawar.

Ismail couldn’t have been any more transparent. Her boss knew she wanted to save a life, and he was clearly planting the idea in her head. She couldn’t blame him for wanting to help his niece. Abdul had told her the same thing as Ismail—that the media only showed the ugly parts of the country, that where he lived was very safe and beautiful. But as she scoured the Internet, she found photos to validate both the beauty of Pakistan and the fact that it was a war-torn country.

She’d been thinking about her cousin Kelsey all day. Would bringing Majida to the United States guarantee Mallory a place in heaven—or paradise, as Ismail called it? Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. She knew it was in the Bible, but she couldn’t recall who said it. She wished her parents had raised her and Vicky in the church. She should have at least been properly introduced to God when she was young. At the very least, would helping Majida ease her guilt over not being able to save Kelsey?

She tried to picture the look on Tate’s face if she told him that she was going to Pakistan to marry Abdul and hopefully save his daughter’s life. He would have a fit, even if it was a marriage in name only. Then she thought about her mother and father and Vicky; it was a toss-up as to which of them would be most upset. But then, somewhere in the midst of all the negativity, she pictured the look on Abdul’s face if she told him she was considering a way to help him and Majida. A very different vision.

To Buy her book, go here:




About the Author:
Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.3 million books, her novels have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2018, and she has published twelve novels and nine novellas to date.

As a former newspaper reporter, Beth was honored by her peers with eleven journalism awards, including first place news writing for The Texas Press Association. She has been a humor columnist for The 1960 Sun in Houston and published articles in various publications. However, writing novels is where her heart is. She left her job as a journalist in 2008 to write novels fulltime.

Beth has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas. Her first non-Amish, contemporary—Need You Now—released in April 2012 and landed on the CBA Bestseller List. She enjoyed writing the story based in a town near where she lives, and she chose another small Texas town for her next non-Amish contemporary—The House that Love Built—which is based in Smithville, the same quaint town where movies such as Hope Floats and Tree of Life were filmed.

In a daring new novel, Beth jumped way outside the box. The Promise takes readers far away from Amish Country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by actual events, Beth believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time.

Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying the country life in Texas with three dogs, two cats, two potbellied pigs, and nine roosters. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, paint, and enjoy time with friends and family. You can find Beth at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook where she interacts with readers or visit to learn more about Beth and her books

Connect with Beth here:

BETH is giving away a copy of THE PROMISE. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Blizzard Full Of Book Winners

Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.

And before we announce these eight winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:

Raelee May Carpenter who offered her Young Adult book: The Lincoln High Project.
Misty M. Beller who offered her Historical Romance The Lady and the Mountain Man.
Virginia Tenery who offered her Inspirational Romance And Then There Were None.
Lillian Duncun who offered her Mystery/Suspense Redemption
Patricia Bradley who offered her Romantic Suspense A Promise to Protect.
Kimberly Rose Johnson who offered her Romance A Holiday Proposal.
Jodie Bailey who offered her Romance Quilted by Christmas.
Sherry Kyle who offered her Historical Romance Watercolor Dreams.
And Bill Garrison who offered his Time Travel Mystery The Day She Died. 

And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
Patricia Bradley has won Raelee May Carpenter’s Young Adult: The Lincoln High Project.
Danie Walther has won Misty M. Beller’s Historical Romance: The Lady and the Mountain Man.
Deanna Stevens has won Virginia Tenery’s Inspirational Romance: And Then There Were None.
Kelly Y has won Lillian Duncun’s Mystery/Suspense: Redemption
Diana Flowers has won Patricia Bradley’s Romantic Suspense: A Promise to Protect.
Angela Holland has won Kimberly Rose Johnson’s: A Holiday Proposal.
Ann Payne has won Jodie Bailey’s: Quilted by Christmas.
Mary Zander has won Sherry Kyle’s Historical Romance: Watercolor Dreams.
And b100 has won Bill Garrison’s Time Travel Mystery: The Day She Died. 
Congratulations Winners! Remember, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 

Be sure to check past winners posts. Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss seeing the winners list.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Florida Author Victoria Buck

Welcome to the Book Loft, Victoria! Is there a story behind your book, Wake the Dead?

I studied transhumanism—something most Christians have never heard of—for a while before I began writing Wake the Dead. But that wasn’t what I intended to write about. I’d planned on writing a satire about game shows—how people go nuts when they win any little prize. But I couldn’t stretch the premise into a novel. Then I wondered what it would be like if the prizes on my game show were outrageous. And that led to the show’s host becoming a transhuman.

What started you on your writing journey?

Learning to read. As soon as I could read, I started writing. I have some poems I wrote when I was six.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? 
Of course, it would have to be Chase Sterling. He’s not very likable in the beginning of the story. But underneath the self-serving ego is a man with a good heart. I loved peeling away the narcissistic layers and discovering why God chose to use Chase in such a surprising way.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I wrote a book about transhumanism. I’m still getting asked why I did it.

What is your strangest habit? 

I have conversations with people in my head. They might be real friends or they might be characters. On the surface, I’m an introvert. I don’t really like to talk too much. But I love to write dialogue, so I guess that habit has a purpose.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My three-year-old grandson. He’s one of the brightest people I’ve ever met.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Fall. It’s such a relief when the air stops sticking to me.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

Laundry. I hate it. I would like to invent disposable clothes—wear and toss. (Biodegradable, of course.)

Hmmm. Biodegradable disposable clothes. I like it!
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

The simplicity of the Gospel. The future of the Church. The reach of God beyond my own experience in the comfortable world of the American Christian.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I have turned in the manuscript for what I hope will be the next book about Chase Sterling.  Patiently waiting word on that submission.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Connect with Victoria Buck at:

Victoria Buck is giving away a copy of Wake The Dead. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wake The Dead by Victoria Buck

What if the first man reborn of an evolutionary leap doesn't like his new life? Is escape even possible? 

The time is right for introducing the world to the marvels of techno-medical advancements. An influential man, one loved and adored, is needed for the job, and who better than celebrity Chase Sterling? After suffering injuries no one could survive Chase is rebuilt like no one has ever seen before. 

In the not-too-distant future a man-–if he can still be called a man–-breaks away from the forces taking over his life and finds new purpose in the secret world of hiding believers. 


In the near future…

Chase Sterling, with great pride and sentiment, announced the unmatched prizes awarded by his primetime unreality program, Change Your Life. “A hundred million in a world exchange account and a ninety-foot yacht to take you to the Caribbean island mansion built for you and your family, Judy Bamber.”
The five thousand fans lucky enough to hold tickets to the show that night applauded in wild astonishment.
Chase lifted his hand, and the cheers fell off to a low roar. “That’s not all, Judy. You’ll have the best surgeons we can find to turn you into a goddess, and a WR Selfdrive dealership sure to gross millions every year.”
The cries of the throng rose louder. But without the glint of a tear or a single word of gratitude, Judy Bamber dropped to her knees and her portly middle-aged mug slapped the golden stage.
Chase pored over his shocked and simmering congregation. He had to sustain the momentum. The fans had just witnessed the biggest win in the show’s history. And the most dramatic reaction—Judy’s face hit hard. Not that a broken nose mattered now. She’d soon have a new one.
Electric blue beams coursed through the auditorium and the music reached its peak, but the crowd hushed. Along with them, millions, maybe a billion, likely held a collective gasp in front of their GrapheVisions.
Chase had to deliver, to pull yet another miserable soul from the ranks of the poor, the sick, and the unattractive. His mission, his destiny, was to make winners out of losers. That’s what he planned to do for the rest of his life. No one could stop him.
The glorious anthem that accompanied every win ebbed to the melodic equivalent of bated breath. Nice touch. The director played the situation well. But he’d better not flood the stage with medics. Chase could get this dumpling off the floor.
He knelt on one knee next to the show’s newest chosen one and turned to the crowd. “People, help me out. Judy is missing the moment.” He hoped it worked. “Scream loud enough to wake the dead!”

About The Author

Victoria Buck is a lifelong resident of Central Florida. She clings to the Gospel, serves in the local church, relishes time spent writing, and curiously contemplates the future. Wake the Dead is her first novel.

Purchase Wake The Dead at:

Victoria Buck is giving away a copy of Wake The Dead. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Where Treetops Glisten by Sarah Sundin

Back Cover Blurb

Turn back the clock to a different time and listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In White Christmas by Cara Putman, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and God’s plan for a future?

Book Excerpt

From I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Sarah Sundin
Friday, December 3, 1943
Lafayette, Indiana

Grace Kessler poked harder at the typewriter keys, trying to drown out the song. Her fingers betrayed her and tapped to the rhythm. Why did Ruby Schmidt insist on singing in the secretarial pool? Why did she have to choose Christmas songs? And couldn’t she at least pick a song with a faster beat?

Grace deciphered her shorthand notes on the spiral-bound tablet to her right and finished a business letter from Mr. Dubois in Alcoa’s procurement department to Mr. Parkhurst with the War Production Board. She zipped the letter out of the typewriter, removed the carbon paper, and laid the original in her outgoing basket and the copy in the file basket.

Alcoa was America’s top producer of aluminum, crucial for the production of airplanes and other defense materials. A secretary’s work might not be as glamorous as a nurse or a WAVE or a Rosie the Riveter, but it allowed Grace to support both her daughter and the war effort.

Grace’s gaze slid to the silver picture frame on her desk, which held the last photo taken of George and Linnie together, over two years earlier. Linnie had just turned four. She sat on George’s lap, and father and daughter grinned at each other with total adoration. No little girl could have loved her daddy more.

Pain rose in Grace’s heart, and she ripped her attention back to the typewriter. The faster she typed, the faster Alcoa could produce aluminum, the faster planes could come off the assembly line, and the sooner this war would be over and no more men would be shot down by Japanese bullets over Filipino jungles.

They never even found George’s body.

“I’ll be home for Christmas . . .” Ruby’s song drifted closer.

Grace winced. No, he wouldn’t.

Something scratched the top of Grace’s head, and Ruby giggled.

“Ouch.” Grace extracted a little leafy branch from her hairdo—and a couple strands of her own dark brown hair.

“Mistletoe, sweetie.” Ruby puckered lips as red as holly berries. “You need some Christmas spirit.”

Grace replaced a bobby pin and forced herself to smile and wink at Ruby. “I need to get back to work, and so do you.”

Ruby fluffed her platinum hair. “You need a date in the worst possible way. Bobby knows the nicest young man—”

“No.” Grace pinned her strongest look on the girl. “No blind dates. Besides, who in this town would agree to baby-sit Linnie?”

“She’s a handful, isn’t she?”

“Yes, she is.” Grace rolled new paper into her typewriter, flipped the release lever, and aligned the sheet. “You’d best get back to work before Norton sees you.”

Sure enough, the door to the supervisor’s office swung open. Grace swept the mistletoe into her lap and handed a blank piece of paper to Ruby. “Thank you for taking care of this, Miss Schmidt.”

“You’re welcome, Mrs. Kessler.” Ruby skedaddled back to her desk.

“Mrs. Kessler.” Mrs. Norton glared at Grace. “Phone call. Your baby-sitter.”

Sympathetic murmurs rose from the other secretaries, but Grace’s lips and fingertips went numb. Not again.

Somehow she stood. She hid the mistletoe in the hip pocket of her bottle-green suit jacket and walked on wobbly ankles down the aisle between all the clattering typewriters.

“Thank you, Mrs. Norton.” She edged past her matronly supervisor and through the doorway to the office.

Mrs. Norton crossed her plump arms. “You’re the only one, Mrs. Kessler. The only one who takes so many personal calls. You need to get a handle on that child of yours.”

“Yes ma’am.” Grace turned her back on her supervisor to hide her anguish, and she picked up the receiver. “Mrs. Harrison?”

“I’ve had it. I’ve had it up to here.” The baby-sitter’s voice climbed and shivered. “When she’s here . . . oh, my nerves! And when she goes wandering, well, just how much can a woman take?”

Grace clenched the cold black receiver. “Is Linnie there?”

“Of course not. She’s trying to kill me, I’m sure of it.”

Inside Grace, frustration with Mrs. Harrison wrestled with worry for Linnie. The clock read 4:05. Linnie should have arrived half an hour earlier. Teaching her daughter how to ride the bus had been necessary when Linnie started school in September, but it only encouraged her wandering. Her searching.

Mrs. Harrison jabbered about her nerves, and guilt filled Grace. What kind of mother allowed her six-year-old daughter to roam the city alone?

“Excuse me, Mrs. Harrison. I need to call the police.” Again.

“This is it. This is the last time. I simply cannot take it any longer. I quit.”

Outside the tiny office window, Alcoa’s red brick smokestack jutted into the gray sky. Grace laid down the receiver, missed, and finally settled it in place.

Mrs. Norton sniffed. “Don’t even think about asking to get off early.”

“I know, ma’am.” Grace’s voice came out choked. “May I make another call, please?”

“I ought to charge you.”

Grace dialed 4045 for the Lafayette Police Department, a number she knew by heart. While the phone rang, she rubbed the aching knot at the base of her skull. Lord, please keep my baby safe.
So many horrible things could happen to her little girl. And her job. She’d worn out every available baby-sitter.

How could she stay employed without a baby-sitter? And without a job, how could she pay the bills?

Worst of all, Grace’s love wasn’t enough for her daughter.

That knowledge hollowed into her soul.

Author Bio

Sarah Sundin is the author of historical fiction set during World War II, including Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook, September 2014) and In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

Connect with Sarah at:

You may purchase her book at:

Sarah Sundin is giving away a copy of Where Treetops Glisten. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Welcome Back to Sarah Sundin

Is there a story behind Where Treetops Glisten?

Several years ago, Cara Putman asked Tricia Goyer and me if we’d like to write a WWII Christmas novella collection, and we loved the idea. The plan rested for several months, then at Christmastime, a story idea hit me with such force that I knew I had to write it, whether or not anyone else was on board. A Christmas song on the radio prodded up an image of a child wandering the streets, looking for something she’d lost…and a man determined to help her…and since it’s a romance, the mother is widowed…and the child decides the man is going to be her new daddy…however, the man had bullied the mother when they were young, and she wants nothing to do with him. Can he convince her he’s changed? Most of my story ideas build slowly over time, but this one flew together within an hour. I couldn’t take notes fast enough.

Who is the most fun character you ever created?

Almost every book has someone fun, but Linnie Kessler in Where Treetops Glisten might be the most fun. She’s six years old and too bright for her own good. She never stops moving and never stops talking, which drives her teacher and babysitter crazy. When her father was killed in World War II, her great-grandmother tried to comfort her by saying Linnie would see her daddy in all the places they used to go. Linnie takes this literally, and she often runs away to wander downtown where she hopes to see her daddy in the store windows. This aching hole in the child’s heart made her real and vulnerable to me, but she’s also hysterically funny. And no, I don’t know where she comes up with some of the things she says—I just transcribed the words she spoke.

Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad?

I wrote my first five novels longhand in pencil on scratch paper (the Wings of Glory series and two unpublished “starter novels”). When I entered the chapters into the computer, it served as my first edit. However, when I wrote Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final Wings of Glory book, I realized what I was entering in the computer was almost exactly what I’d written by hand. My writing had become tighter and cleaner and better planned. Now the longhand phase was wasting time—and for the first time, I was writing under contract with a deadline! When I started the Wings of the Nightingale series, I wrote straight into the computer and haven’t looked back. However, I do much of my pre-writing—brainstorming, notes, character charts, early outlines—by hand. Creativity seems to flow when I put pen to paper.

Do you archive everything you write?

I’m kind of obsessive about this. I print hard copies of each chapter when I finish, because I still have a mortal fear of ALL computers EVERYwhere DYING. But at least I’d have my hard copy! Yes, I come from a long line of chronic worriers. But my hard copy also looks pretty, and I love watching my binder get fatter and fatter. Then I get emotionally attached to my pretty binders, and I hate the idea of just recycling them as if they meant absolutely nothing to me. Yes, I come from a long line of packrats. So my big fat binders are accumulating. Someday soon I must be brutal and purge.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

I have. My very first novel came from a dream. In fact, that dream turned me from a pharmacist/stay-at-home mom to a writer/pharmacist/stay-at-home mom. That morning in 2000, I woke from a dream so compelling I simply had to write it down. I felt weird and uncomfortable doing so, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. That’s one rough draft I’ll never recycle because its sheer awfulness humbles me. However, my love for that story led me to connect with writers’ groups and to attend my first conference. Then I began to learn to write.

Does music help you write?

Yes and no. I listen to big band music in my car when my teenagers aren’t around to mock me. Those songs put me (prepare for a bad pun)…”In the Mood” to write about World War II. The rhythm of the music, the lyrics, and the emotion inspire character and scene ideas. However, when I’m actually writing, music distracts me. I work best in silence, with normal household background noise, or even at the karate studio—but not with music.

How do you find the time to write?

I make the time to write. I don’t believe anyone in the history of the world has ever found time. If there are any minutes floating around waiting to be found, they get instantly gobbled up. We must make time. When my kids were little, I wrote during naptime, then during school hours or during homework time. I’ve written at the ballet studio, on the sidelines waiting for a soccer game, at the DMV office, and once I even sketched out a scene on a napkin in line at Disneyland. Now that my kids are teens and young adults, I’m able to spend forty hours a week in my home office, but even now I have to guard that time jealously.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

Through Waters Deep (Revell, summer 2015) kicks off the Waves of Freedom series, which follows three American naval officers based in Boston during WWII. In 1941, as America teeters on the brink of World War II, Mary Stirling works at the Boston Navy Yard and renews an old friendship with naval officer Ens. Jim Avery. Jim’s destroyer escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic, but problems on his ship point to a saboteur at the shipyard. As Mary works to find the culprit and Jim battles U-boats, their friendship promises to blossom into something more. But could a deeper friendship rip them apart?

To purchase Sarah's book:

Sarah Sundin is giving away a copy of Where Treetops Glisten. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Terri Gillespie!

We're happy to have you visit today, Terri, and looking forward to reading your answers to our questions! Is there a story behind your book Making Eye Contact with God?
Oh my, yes. This book was the result of encounter I had with a sparrow. I was home alone when I heard a commotion; a sparrow had trapped itself between our storm and regular window. He frantically threw his tiny body against the glass to escape. I unlocked the sash and lifted it a few inches. The sparrow became so agitated I was afraid the little guy would have a heart attack.

What if he flew into the house? I’d have a bigger problem on my hands.

Speaking in soothing tones I attempted to guide him into my hand. He hopped away from me.

Impulsively, I grabbed the sparrow by the tail feathers. With my other hand I formed a cell over him. He reacted more violently than I expected. I could barely hold him. Standing in the middle of the living room holding him with both hands, I wondered how I was going to open the doors to release him. I continued to alternately speak to him and pray.

Then we made eye contact. His shiny bead-like eyes and mine connected. Immediately his struggle ceased. I was able to remove one hand. He sat quietly in my palm as I opened the doors. Seconds later, he was free, and I was left in wonder.

For months afterward every time I saw a sparrow I replayed the event in my head. As much as I hated to admit it, the incident was a graphic picture of my relationship with God.

When I was in trouble, how many times had He reached out to rescue me, but I flew away in fear or confusion? How often was He forced to grab me by the tail feathers to prevent me from getting into more trouble? How many times had He held me in His hand only to have me fight Him, thinking I was trapped?

How much easier it would have been had I turned my eyes toward the Lord—to make eye contact with Him—and allow Him to set me free.

Awesome story! What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Great question! Life distracts me from writing. Unfortunately, I find most of those detours are created by me. I’m at the age where wandering into a room and forgetting why I’m there is commonplace. I can sometimes wander into a sentence and do the same thing.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
I devour mysteries and thrillers. Anything by Brandilyn Collins, Terri Blackstock, and Colleen Coble, I’ll finish in a day or two. Contemporary women’s I take a little longer—love Angela Hunt.

A recent development in the last few years is historical. This new interest began with one of my favorite authors, Cathy Gohlke. She did something I never thought possible which is to get me to read and enjoy historical fiction. Cathy has a way of taking historical events and giving them such life and context that I come away with a challenge to improve my life. Her most recent book, Saving Amelie is one of her best. I just read the first draft of her next book and I have to say, in my opinion, it is my favorite.

Suspense? Nice. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
How do I choose? My life is a series of quirky. When I was little I always positioned my bed against the wall because I prayed facing the wall. Many nights I cried myself to sleep facing that wall.

The first time I traveled to Jerusalem and prayed at the Kotel—the Wailing Wall—God brought that memory to me.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood? 
My dad had flipped a coin to see whether my brother or I would spend the night with my grandparents.
I won the toss.

Normally grandma would have activities planned for us when we visited, but this being a serendipitous event she had to make do. She put aside her usual chores and took me by the hand. As we made our way toward the expansive front porch, we stopped by grandpa’s glass jar of lemon drops and snatched one for each of us.

We sat on the porch swing rocking back and forth, sucking on those sweet and sour treats, as she told me stories. Stories about her father, Dr. Robert Terry who made house calls in his horse and buggy. Some were spooky, like something you’d share around a campfire.

I don’t remember which story, or stories, she told me that particular day, I just remember she stopped what she was doing, spent time with me, and fed my imagination.

By the way, I have a photo of my great-grandfather the day he upgraded from buggy to an automobile. He’s sitting at the wheel, parked in front of his office. He looked so proud.

Lovely memory. Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
A simple question with a complicated answer. My favorite place to travel is Israel. Actually it’s where I left a sizeable portion of my heart—somewhere in Jerusalem. Hubby and I would love to retire in northern Israel, that’s our dream. I have family and friends who live in Israel. Besides, it’s the place where Yeshua (Jesus) walked and will return one day. Wouldn’t you love being there for that?

My favorite place to vacation is Jamaica—specifically Negril. Beautiful sand, pristine water, and nice folks.

Wonderful thoughts. Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
As you can imagine, my trips to Israel have greatly impacted my life and subsequently, my writing. One particular incident happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. If you’ve ever been there, you have seen the magnificent ancient olive trees. It’s estimated they are around 2,000 years old, which means they were there when Yeshua (Jesus) prayed before His crucifixion.

Over the years they built a tall fence to protect the trees, but for those of us who love the tactile journey that is Israel it is was very disappointing to not be able to touch the bark, or search the ground for a leaf to treasure.

I remember trying to get my stubby body up high enough to reach a branch and lower to reach a leaf. Both failed attempts. I walked around the whole perimeter searching the sidewalk. Nothing.

I wanted a leaf—something to keep in my Bible to remind me of what my Messiah and Savior did for me. I gazed through the tall branches into the sky and asked my Heavenly Abba if I could have just one. I looked down and there were two leaves.

When friends learned of my discovery I told them to ask the Lord for their treasure. They did, and He did. People were finding leaves everywhere on the sidewalk. Yes, the same sidewalk that had been leaf-free minutes earlier. No one saw them falling to the ground—they were just there.

A sweet little miracle, but it demonstrated to me how much God loves us and cares for us—even in the little things. More than anything, I want a reader to come away with that understanding when they read both my fiction or nonfiction.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
Through the American Christian Fiction Writers organization I met two writers, Cathy Gohlke and Carrie Turansky who have become very dear friends. We try to get together 2-3 times per year for a writers’ retreat. Over the years we’ve learned when to give each other space and when to encourage each other to share our burdens. It’s been a blessing.

Since I resigned from my position as director of domestic operations and development for the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, I have more time for introspection and relationship-building with the Lord. My favorite location? The kitchen breakfast bar. I perch on my favorite stool with a cup of coffee and study the word, pray, and just be. I can look out the sliders to the backyard and watch and listen to the birds. Very pastoral, very centering.

I just realized something, our house is next to a 100-year-old stone wall. It seems I’m still praying next to walls.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)   
I had the honor and privilege of overseeing the copy edits of the Old Testament for a brand new Bible translation, the Tree of Life Version (TLV). The TLV is a Genesis to Revelation, word-for-word translation from the original Hebrew and Greek by a team of sixty scholars—Messianic Jews and Christians—from around the world. Through that process I’ve developed an even greater love for the Word.

An obscure passage that came alive during that process was Genesis 48:19. Jacob had asked Joseph to bring his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim so that Jacob might bless them. Jacob did so much more—he adopted them as his sons. Any children Joseph would have would be Joseph’s, but these two sons were Jacob’s.

That’s was significant.

Then Jacob did the cross hand blessing—he blessed Ephraim as the first-born, instead of Manasseh, who was the rightful first-born. When Joseph questioned his father, Jacob said:
“But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. 
He also will become a people and he also will become great. 
But his younger brother will become greater than he and his seed will be the fullness of the nations.’”

Most profound. As a non-Jew—one of the nations—I find great comfort in knowing that God gave this prophetic insight to Jacob that one day, we who believe in Jesus (Yeshua) the Jewish Messiah for all would be God’s and Jacob’s adopted.

It was a worshipful, gratitude moment when I read that.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Right now I’m working on book two of The Hair Mavens series, CUT IT OUT. The mavens—Shira,
Harriet, Beulah, and Katya—are learning what it means to be a team and more importantly a community of believers that step outside themselves. One of the characters—possibly two—will come to faith in this book. And one of the mavens will get married.

I had outlined this book three years ago, but it has taken a different direction in some regards. It’s been interesting, the mavens decided they needed two extra characters—both polar opposites, of course.
I finished the first draft October 12th. Then, on to the revisions. Watch for the release date.
Still waiting to hear back from a publisher who had asked for my children’s series.

Thanks so much, Terri, for joining us. Very interesting interview!

Buy her book here:

About Terri:
Terri Gillespie is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, and speaker. She is head writer for the Restoration of Israel Minute heard on 25 stations in 11 states and Canada, has contributed to several other books, magazines, newspapers and published her first book, Making Eye Contact with God—A Weekly Devotional for Women. Her first novel—The Hair Mavens: She Does Good Hair—won BWB’s Lyra Best Women’s Fiction for 2013.

Connect with Terri here:

TERRI is giving away a copy of MAKING EYE CONTACT with GOD. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!

Caroline Brown

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Making Eye Contact with God by Terri Gillespie

Book Blurb:

What kind of eyes do you have?
Are they downcast and sad, or are they full of God’s passion?

This weekly devotional, for women only, enables you to really see God in a new and fresh way.

Using real life anecdotes, combined with scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women see God.

Read an Excerpt:

Are You a Porch Swing or a Tractor? 
“For indeed the body is not one part but many … 
If the ear says, ‘I’m not an eye, so I’m not part of the body,’ 
that doesn’t make it stop being part of the body.” 
1 Corinthians 12:14, 16 

The old insecurities rolled in like a dark cloud.

A conversation with my friend about intimacy with the Lord and Secret Places brought back how awkward and clumsy I had always felt in life. In the hallowed Secret Place, surely God must favor someone like my friend—gorgeous, slender, and soft-spoken with a voice that would move angels.

I imagined elegant women like her waiting for the Lord in their bucolic Secret Place, swinging on porch swings with fragrant flowers everywhere. Beautiful praises pour from their lips.

The Lord appears in the distance and opens his arms. The stunning women skip and twirl gracefully into his loving embrace. Together, they walk into the sunset holding hands; butterflies dance about their heads, and birds chirp sweetly. Then, I imagined me in my Secret Place. Vrroom! Vrroom! I wait on a tractor belching smoke and fumes. Off in the distance, I see the Lord. He opens his arms. My foot presses the accelerator. I’m bouncing over mounds of dirt, whistling (because I can’t sing), and pulling a trailer full of yesterday’s and today’s responsibilities to show the Lord how much I do for him. Although he smiles, he’s also coughing and waving away exhaust fumes. I pause, cup a hand to my ear, and listen as God yells his message of love to me above the noise.

The elegant worshippers must have God’s favor, right? My clumsiness must be a barrier to true intimacy with the Lord. That’s what I’ve told myself. I can’t raise my eyes toward him because I’m ashamed that my very nature disrupts the quiet and tranquility of the Secret Place.

Insecurities keep us from making eye contact with the Lover of our soul.

The truth is each of us is capable of pleasing and loving God in ways no one else can. He formed us for that purpose—to praise him. And his Word tells us that he loves all types of praise and worship (Ps. 148).

Do you love the quiet type of praise and adoration in the morning? God does, too.

Or maybe you love to talk out loud to him as you take an evening stroll and enjoy his creation. He loves that, too.

Perhaps you take pleasure in worshipping him in dance, even if you are too afraid to participate in your congregation. Know that he also takes pleasure in this.

The greatest form of intimacy is to look the Lord “in the eye” with the confidence of someone who knows his or her identity in the Messiah. Think about this the next time you feel distracted with thoughts of how you aren’t like someone else.

Now, I know he looks forward to me on my tractor. And I try to remember that my trailer of good deeds and responsibilities isn’t what makes me attractive to the Lord. He simply wants—me.

I still struggle with the insecurities, but I’m not as shy about trying new ways of worshipping and praising the Lord—I even climb off my tractor from time to time.

This week, allow the Lord to introduce you to you. Permit him to reveal those insecurities that keep your eyes downcast. Explore who you are in the Secret Place—with the One who created you.

Okay, LORD, you made me. Help me to be the best tractor—or porch swing—I can be. This week, expose the areas of insecurity keeping me from making eye contact with you. And LORD, I also want to explore the unique ways you created me to praise and worship you. I commit this week to learn how to overcome my insecurities and take joy in who you created me to be—even if it’s a little scary and I discover that I’m even more unique than I thought. In Yeshua’s Name. Amen. 

Let’s take it to the Secret Place: 

Are there insecurities that keep me from freely worshipping the Lord in my Secret Place? 
In the congregation? 
What are they? 

How do insecurities manifest themselves at these times? What do I hear that is contrary to God’s Word? 

What are my unique qualities? How can I praise God through them? 

What did I learn about my insecurities? 
What did I learn about my uniqueness? 
How did God speak to me in my Secret Place? 
Has our relationship improved? 
 In what ways?

Buy her book here:

About Terri:

Terri Gillespie is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, and speaker. She is head writer for the Restoration of Israel Minute heard on 25 stations in 11 states and Canada, has contributed to several other books, magazines, newspapers and published her first book, Making Eye Contact with God—A Weekly Devotional for Women. Her first novel—The Hair Mavens: She Does Good Hair—won BWB’s Lyra Best Women’s Fiction for 2013.

TERRI is giving away a copy of MAKING EYE CONTACT with GOD. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

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