Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Roger Bruner!

Is there a story behind your book The Devil and Pastor Gus?
Absolutely! About thirty years ago—maybe forty—I wrote a little play called “B.L.Z.” When I say “little,” I mean little. Just a few pages. In this play, the Devil is disgusted with the fact that his son, Junior, always messes up his evil assignments by doing good instead and sends him to earth on one final assignment. If Junior succeeds in winning Pastor Gus Gospello’s soul, he’ll get to take his father’s place as chief of devils.

I won’t tell you the rest of the story, but about five years ago I realized I had a novel-sized idea if I just changed and enlarged the story some. Junior has been relegated to a reference and B.L.ZeBubb himself is the one after Pastor Gus’s soul.

I had a lot of fun making the transition, especially since I was using the story to make fun of the Devil’s pride, but also to poke fun at the way churches sometimes treat their pastors.

It’s not all fun, though. The Devil and Pastor Gus has some serious moments. Readers can definitely expect to cry as well as laugh.


What started you on your writing journey? 
I wrote my first poem in elementary school, but I never thought about doing more writing until I wrote my first song while in high school. I was in a folk trio, and we used it as our theme song. After college I wrote more songs, but also started writing short plays and monologs.

I always wanted to write a novel, but—like most people—it took many years to get around to doing it. After being downsized from my third career, I was too young to retire but too old to find a really suitable job. So, with Christmas coming, I got a part-time job at Target and stayed there three years.

That’s when I first had time to write a novel. Once I got the story idea, I hopped right to it. As an English major, I thought I was good enough to take a chance self-publishing (they didn’t call it “indie publishing” then).

But when I started reading writing books and attending Christian writers’ conferences, I realized how bad that first novel was. But that got me started on the journey I’m on today.


What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Even though I can’t imagine I’d ever write a suspense novel—too complicated!—that’s what I enjoy reading the most. I hesitate to give recommendations because I’m sure to leave out a couple of dozen of my favorite authors. But they include Al Gansky, Brandilyn Collins, and DiAnn Mills. I occasionally will read a women’s book by Deb Raney. And romantic suspense by Christy Barritt is always good. I don’t normally read speculative fiction, even though The Devil and Pastor Gus falls into that category, but I’ll automatically buy and read anything by Jim Rubart. And I’d do that even if he hadn’t written a wonderful endorsement for Pastor Gus. Oh, and I can’t leave out Donn Taylor, either, who’s written in several genres.


Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Pastor Gus himself. I’m not and never have been a minister, but I’m a PK—a preacher’s kid—and that gave me some real insights I could apply to Pastor Gus as a character and to the book as a whole. I was closer to middle aged when I wrote the first draft of this novel, so I could also relate to Gus’s mid-life crisis and his obsession with leaving a novel as his legacy. In many ways, I see this novel as my own legacy, no matter how many more novels I write.


What is your strangest habit?
I absolutely HAVE to have a flashlight on me at all times—other than in the shower. That includes wearing one to bed. With a dog and a cat, there’s no telling what I might trip over getting up in the middle of the night. I have no idea when my flashlight obsession started—or why—but many is the time I’ve been thankful for it.


What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
Uh, I had to laugh out loud at this question. I’m one of those people who smiles a lot and laughs internally, but seldom laughs out loud. Yet I have a crazy sense of humor. I like to make other people laugh—preferably with me and not at me.


What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
Can’t do “grew up in” because that implies I’ve ever finished growing up. I’m only sixty-eight, you know. But I love the area we live in in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, because practically everything we need is within a five-mile radius. Restaurants, shopping center, and grocery store are just a mile away. Our church is closer to five.


Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
I have to say Australia, which is one reason I typically have a reference to Oz in every book. In Pastor Gus, it plays out further because Gus came home from a mission trip to Australia frustrated that he can’t pronounce words with an Australian accent. Gus’s wife can. The Devil can. But not Gus.
I’ve been to Australia on a number of volunteer mission trips, once to teach at a computer users symposium, and several times on family trips. It’s my second home.


Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  
Definitely Isaiah 40:31: but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV). My first wife and I had a baby in 1976 who died three days after a normal birth. Turns out her heart was not properly formed, but they couldn’t tell that at birth.

In a Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible study soon after that, our pastor referred to this Scripture and explained what it had meant to a well-known minister who’d lost a daughter to leukemia. That verse became our support from that point on.

So much so that I ended up rewording it slightly and putting it to music. It’s still one of my favorite original songs.


Buy his book here:
Amazon print
Amazon ebook
Barnesandnoble Nook
Familychristian



About Roger:
Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. Roger enjoys reading, playing his guitar, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. Roger’s new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, has just released. Two Young Adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, came out in 2011. He’s also self-published a small book of his shorter, earlier writings, Yesterday’s Blossoms.


Connect with Roger here:
Website: http://RogerBruner.com
Blog: http://AsIComeSinging.wordpress.com
Blog: http://OnAgingGracelessly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roger.bruner
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerBruner


ROGER is giving away a copy of THE DEVIL and PASTOR GUS. 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 








Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Devil and Pastor Gus

Back Cover Blurb:
Fifty. Half a century old. Closer to the grave than cradle. And what does Pastor Gus Gospello have to show for his fifty years on earth? Not much. Shepherd of a small church. Married without kids. Faithful keeper of God's commands. Well, most of them, anyway. Gus longs to make a difference for God to have an eternal legacy. Now, as he comes to grips with his mid-life crisis, Gus acknowledges he'll never be another John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, or Billy Graham.

But can he become the next C.S. Lewis?

His wife thinks so. Fueled with the unbridled hope of a naïve novelist, Gus sets out to craft a novel so rich in spiritual symbolism and truth that even the Devil takes notice.

And that's never a good sign.

The last time the Devil and Gus met, Gospello's pen hovered over the signature line of a dangerous contract his soul in exchange for a child. But when Gus turned his back on the Great Deceiver, the news spread like Hellfire. Ever since, Satan's been obsessed with personally delivering Gus to Hell.

With his eye on Gus's new novel, the Devil tempts Gus with a peek into the spiritual realm of good and evil for a truthful account of his rise, fall, and enduring success. The Devil will feed Gus information few mortals are privileged to know. In return Gus will craft what's sure to become a best seller. Of course, Gus has no intention of making the Accuser look as winsome as promised. Instead, Gus plans to write a scathing satire, exposing the Devil's excessive arrogance.

But when the prologue to Gus's novel inexplicably appears in a popular Christian magazine and the Devil is shown to be a pride-filled fool, he seeks to destroy Gus and everything the pastor holds dear, including his precious wife.

Gus, willing to lay himself on the line to turn his little flock back to God, makes one last deal and signs the dotted line. Satan finally has claim on Gus's soul, and with it, vindication.

But Gus has a few tricks of his own. Win or lose, Pastor Gus is about to discover that striking a deal with Satan, even in jest, can have eternal consequences.


Read an Excerpt:

“Good day, my man.” The stranger might have been addressing the doorman at the finest of five-star hotels back on earth and not Heaven’s renowned gatekeeper, who leaned closer to the bars of Heaven’s outer gate to get a better look. “I have an appointment with God.”

Simon Peter grabbed the golden clipboard from a nearby stool and glanced over the names on the top sheet. Then he flipped to the second sheet. And the third.

Just as I thought. No new arrivals expected for another eight earth minutes. Nobody shows up here before his appointed time. Ever.

The stranger swaggered to a prominent spot several feet from the outer gate. Peter narrowed his eyes in shock. New arrivals didn’t do that. They stood back a respectful distance, bowed their heads as if they were already in God’s presence, and waited for Peter to call their names.

What was with this guy?

After giving him a discreet once-over, Peter mentally clicked through each of the pictures he’d viewed moments earlier—the next several groups of arrivals. He shook his head. None of them resembled the stranger.

He rubbed his chin and looked at the man. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know who—”

“Call me B. L. ZeBubb,” the stranger said before spelling his surname—twice. “The accent is on the L. Bee-EL-zuh-buhb. Sometimes people misspell it as B-e-e-l-z-e-b-u-b.” He crossed his arms and looked into Peter’s face. “And as I just told you, I have an appointment with God.”

“Bee-EL-zuh-buhb,” Peter said to himself as he wandered over to the computer at the check-in station and typed the name into The Lamb’s Book of Life search field. He double-checked his spelling before clicking Go. If the correct spelling didn’t work, he would try the misspelling.

A blood-red “No matches found. Be on the alert!” exploded across the screen. Peter narrowed his eyes. He’d never seen anything like that.

A message from God popped up on the screen before Peter could finish wondering what to do. “Not a problem, my child. Here’s how I want you to handle this…”


Buy his book here:
Amazon print
Amazon ebook
Barnesandnoble Nook
Familychristian



About Roger:
Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. Roger enjoys reading, playing his guitar, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. Roger’s new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, has just released. Two Young Adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, came out in 2011. He’s also self-published a small book of his shorter, earlier writings, Yesterday’s Blossoms.


Connect with Roger here:
Website: http://RogerBruner.com
Blog: http://AsIComeSinging.wordpress.com
Blog: http://OnAgingGracelessly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roger.bruner
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerBruner


ROGER is giving away a copy of THE DEVIL and PASTOR GUS. 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 









Friday, December 12, 2014

Cut It Out by Terri Gillespie

Back Cover


The Hair Mavens are back! Women are flocking to the newly remodeled Hair Mavens Salon. But the salon isn’t the only thing that has changed—two more mavens arrive and create chaos for the ladies; and if that weren’t enough Katya is about to bring on something new that will change all their lives.

KATYA: The former mousey Kathy has transformed into the beautiful Katya. She’s striving to leave her timidity behind, especially when she learns of a new program that trains hairdressers how to spot victims of domestic violence and abuse. Unfortunately, her secret may endanger them all.

SHIRA: Shira is yanked in so many directions she barely has enough time for Jesse. When he has a crisis of faith, she wonders if they will survive as a couple.

BEULAH: The heart of the Hair Mavens—is struggling with depression and she’s too overwhelmed to ask for help, not even from her handsome son, Tom.

HARRIET: Harriet’s predictable life threatens to change when God opens a door to an unexpected possibility, and she’s not sure she’s ready to walk through.

THE NEW MAVENS: Linda and Daye join the hair mavens and bring secrets, heartache and amazing style. Will their secrets destroy their chances of fitting in?


When a life-threatening situation arises, the mavens realize how much they need one another. But, did they learn the lesson too late?

Book Excerpt


1
“No More Kathy the Mouse”
Katya Stavropolsky
“I feel pretty, oh so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and bright …” Half-dressed for work, Katya Stavropolsky jumped onto her bed, holding her large round brush like a microphone.
She was no longer Katya—formerly the Mouse, Kathy Smith—she was Maria from West Side Story.
Pointing to the dresser mirror, she crooned, “See that pretty girl in the mirror, there—” The reflection pointed back at her. “See that pretty girl in—”
What was the rest of that line?
Saturday’s Mavens’ Monthly Movie Night choice had been Harriet’s. When Harriet found out Shira and Katya had never seen West Side Story, she complained about schools and how it was un-American.
Maybe Harriet was right, but one thing for sure, Katya had fallen in love with the musical—even though it was very sad. Since that night she had not been able to get this one song out of her head.
Her hand dropped to her side then lifted. “See that pretty girl in the mirror there?” Oh, how does it go?
She huffed. If she waited any longer for her memory to click in, she would miss her bus. There was no way she wanted to be late. Shira was back in town from Beverly Hills—for good—and had scheduled a big meeting. She jumped to the floor and opened her closet, then pulled her black Hair Mavens torso shirt with the capped sleeves off the hanger.
Someone had designed a nice logo for the Hair Mavens Salon—a curl with the salon name—and Shira had purchase different style blouses with it embroidered in pink and blue. She pulled the shirt over her head and thrust her arms through the sleeves.
The new logo was cool. The salon was nearly finished—all updated and beautiful. She examined herself in the mirror, gave a quick stroke of the embroidered pink lettering over the left breast, then fluffed her curls and dabbed some clear gloss on her lips. Her life was so different from what it was a year ago—thanks to the mavens. It was not like it was when she lived with Yuri in Manhattan, but in many ways it was better. She continued humming the tune as she grabbed her purse and black cardigan sweater.
Was that why she felt safe enough to not hide behind a fake name? She was learning to be the Katya Stavropolsky who was not so afraid. The Katya who felt happy almost every day. I feel pretty …
Her hand was on the door when she remembered Harriet’s reaction to the scene of Maria and her friends in the sewing shop. Harriet had jumped from her recliner with her fists on her hips singing, “I feel pretty …” She sang the whole song.
Every part—even what the shop girls sang.
Shira, Beulah, and she had laughed until tears covered their faces. Katya giggled at the memory as she opened and entered the quiet hallway.
Her cell jingled like sleigh bells. She fished her phone out of her purse, trying to swallow the last of her giggles. “Hello.”
“Hey, kiddo,” Harriet said. “I’m stopping by Delicious Bakery. You want a—”
Katya could not stop the laughter from spurting out like a dropped can of hair mousse.
“Okay.” Harriet sounded annoyed.
“I-I am sorry, Harriet.” She snorted. “I was remembering you singing ‘I Feel Pretty.’”
Harriet’s silence made her stomach do a flop. Her laughter turned to a hard hiccup. She remembered how the “old” Harriet got so grumpy and mean.
Finally, Harriet’s croaky chuckle broke the pause. “I feel charming. Oh so charming …”
"
The song continued to play in Katya’s head, as she rode the Septa to The Hair Mavens Salon. Oh how she wanted to belt out the song like she and Harriet had done a few minutes before, but the bus probably was not the best place to sing right now. Her elbow rested on the window, her palm cradling her chin. Outside buildings and people went by in a bumpy rhythm.
The other mavens thought it was time for her to learn to drive. Beulah even offered to teach her, but she liked watching the people and listening to their conversations. The crowdedness of the bus reminded her of growing up in Minsk. Drexel Hill and Gladstone were so much tamer than she was accustomed to. Still, sometimes a babushka or two would ride and she could speak with them in her native tongue and feel like she was back in Belarus.
Paying attention to the other people around her also helped with her English—at least that is what she told everyone who bothered her about driving.
Shira said her accent was exotic. That Shira noticed at all was most likely because before the fire—when she was too afraid to be Katya—she had not spoken much at all.
Life was good now, and not just because The Hair Mavens Salon was nearly ready to reopen, but because the mavens would be working together again.
Harriet and Beulah finished their last week in their temporary stations at Sarah’s Family Hair Salon. Shira had finished training her replacement in Beverly Hills. And Katya’s last day at the Hyatt Regency Salon and Spa had been yesterday. She was glad she had taken Beulah and Harriet’s advice to stop punishing herself and quit her maid job to take a temporary position at the hotel’s beautiful salon.
The bus hit a pothole, everyone groaned. She smiled. How so like what happened to The Hair Mavens. They had hit a few potholes and now life would be smooth. No one would believe her at the Regency Salon when she said she missed washing and setting her little old ladies. Her time at the hotel was good financially—for the tips were generous—and it allowed her to brush up on her more advanced skills. When the new Edna’s Beauty School opened in a few months, she would be teaching classes on styling and blow-drying. A teacher. Mama would have been so proud.
The bus driver stopped and pushed the lever to open the door. A few of the regulars boarded and found their seats. She smiled at those who made eye contact with her. The last one in was a tall, thin man with stringy, poorly dyed black hair. His pale skin was covered with black tattoos—arms, neck, and on his face was a black spider. Its legs held onto the man’s jaw as though ready to sink fangs into his cheek. He scanned the faces of the passengers, as though looking for someone.
Katya ducked down before he spotted her. Her heart stopped then picked up speed like a race car. She did not know him, but she knew that look—the look of a predator. Someone who wanted to—
She felt more than heard him walk down the aisle, his chains rattling and rings clicking on the metal seats as he grasped them. The bus had hushed.
The sound of a body flopping into a seat a few rows ahead released some of her tension. Seconds later the subdued murmur of conversations resumed. Still, Katya could not calm herself. Instead, the pictures of Justin slithered into her brain.
Justin pinning her against the wall. Slapping and punching her. Throwing her to the cold marble floor. Choking her. Then—
She shook her head trying to scatter the bad pictures attempting to etch themselves into her mind. Trying to ruin this sunny day. It frightened her how quickly she could be torn away from the light.
No one—not one maven—knew what had happened to her. And Edna had taken that secret with her to the grave. Her body shuddered. That was not true—there was one other, the man who raped her. Stop, Katya!

She too must bury her secret deeper inside her, not let anyone ever again force her to that dark place again. Ever.



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, such as Stories of Passing Strangers, 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 Best Women’s Fiction for 2013. Cut it Out! is the second book in the series.

To connect with Terri:
Twitter @TerriGMavens




To buy Terri's book:
Amazon

Terri Gillespie is giving away a copy of Cut It Out.  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

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Terri Gillespie

Can you tell us a bit about your family, and what it is like where you live?

My family is a typical Midwest family—some are country folk, others city folk. I do have a bit of trivia for you. I’m related by marriage to three famous people: Frederick the Great of Prussia, Vincent Price, and Rush Limbaugh.

 Is there a story behind Cut It Out!?

I knew I wanted the mavens to venture outside the world of hair and the quest for personal beauty to social issues. As I was researching ideas I came across an organization called CUT IT OUT®. Their Salons Against Domestic Abuse program is dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic abuse in communities across the U.S. by building awareness and training salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients, colleagues, friends, and family to local resources.

I further learned that 1 in 3 women will be abused by an intimate partner. This compelled me to bring this issue into the mavens’ world in the hopes that readers would be informed of this tragic state of affairs, and learn of ways to help.

For more information about CIO® you can check out their website at: https://probeauty.wufoo.com/forms/zywwjf80d18a7x/


What is unique about the setting? How does it enhance the story?

The reason I chose a hair salon is that this is a culture most women understand. You know that marvelous moment when your hairdresser finds the perfect cut and/or color and style for you—when you walk out of that salon feeling like a million bucks because the woman holding those scissors saw you and knew what you needed. If you have experienced this, then you can understand the impact of bringing a group of hairstylists—who are on their spiritual journey to Jesus—together who give more than good hair, they offer a life-changing style to women.

Do you have favorite spiritual themes?

Unity. It was Jesus’ passion—enough that He prayed for it in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Tucked inside The Hair Mavens series are modern day Ruth and Naomi stories. Ruth and Naomi were one of the first examples of how unity can change the world.

What is the last thing you wrote?

A devotional for Kimberly’s Musings Blog.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?

Jilly the Teddy Bear’s Adventures. Yeah, I was six.

What’s your favorite genre of writing?

To write? Women’s contemporary. To read? Thrillers and mysteries.

Who is the most fun character you ever created?

Hands down, Harriet. I love her. She speaks her mind, but has no idea how brilliant she is. And her wit? Golly, I wish I could come up with her one-liners at the drop of a hat. Oh wait—I guess I do. J

Who is the most annoying character you ever created?

It’s got to be Mrs. Nellie Talbot. She’s wealthy and compulsively superficial. Sometimes her humanity unexpectedly comes through and it’s always delightful.

How much research do you have to do for the genre in which you write?

Many readers ask me if I am/was a hairdresser. I’m not. For a number of years I sold advertising and specialized in hair salons. Just loved the culture.

Also, in our 40 years of marriage, my husband’s jobs have taken us all over the country, so I’ve gone to many different salons. Today, I have a wonderful stylist who lets me brainstorm my ideas and keeps me as authentic as possible.

Do you have a writing system? What works best for you?

Yes. It’s called the TIS system—Tush in Seat.

Where do you most like to write?

I have a gorgeous loft with snuggle-worthy chairs and an ottoman. Shelves and shelves of books and resources. A huge desk. A whiteboard. And where do I end up writing? In the kitchen, at the breakfast bar.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so how often do you get it? How do you fix it?

Yes. I believe God implants stories into those He has called to write when He weaves us together in our mother’s womb. These stories are waiting to be born. My theory is that writer’s block is rooted in those things in our lives that interfere with hearing from the Lord. At least, that’s what it has been in my life.

Once everything is cleared out and I can hear from the Lord—not necessarily about the story, just life in general—then I can write.

Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad? Any special reason for choosing to write this way?

Ooo. I love the romantic notion of using a typewriter—like riding the handlebars through a tree- and flower-lined lane, while my husband pedals the bike—but the practicality? Nope.

Otherwise, in the early stages of writing, I might use all the other media, along with scraps of paper, envelopes, my arm, etc.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?

Yes. The Hair Mavens Series had been abandoned for six years. She Does Good Hair was finished in 2007. Over the years I’d pull it out, dust it off, speak words of encouragement and commiserate with it. You know, the usual stuff. I had plotted Cut It Out! back in 2008, but didn’t begin writing the book until early this year.

I just learned yesterday that the children’s chapter book I wrote in 1979 is still on the “yes” pile of a publisher—and they want to further discuss a series. Like The Hair Mavens, periodically I would pull it out and try to make it better. Hopefully, next year will be the year for this “child.”

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Four I think. Book three of the Hair Mavens, Bad Hair Day—I think it may be the last one. But, it depends on the mavens—they may have more to say.

Another series called Hands of Mercy, the first book is, Holding Hand, The first draft is finished.

A fantasy for YA entitled, Shabby Throne.

Still waiting to nail down the contract (hopefully) for the children’s chapter book series, The Chronicles of the Voice.

What are your five favorite words?

Yeshua. Hope. Exquisite. Love. Yes.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft?

NO! Should I be?

How do people react when they find out you write?

Depends. People who know me, it’s no big deal. In fact, I can practically read their minds. “And she gave up her career for this?”

People who don’t know me are more impressed that I’ve published.

Do you have, or have you ever had a writing mentor?

Yes. Marlene Bagnull and Angela Hunt.

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

Book three of The Hair Mavens Series—Bad Hair Day, should be out in 2015.

The mavens venture into the streets with makeovers for homeless and “street” women. The juxtaposition of one of the character’s big expensive wedding and the needs of women in shelters will hopefully be an interesting one. You can be sure there will be lots of humor, inspiration, romance, and the climax of Katya’s confrontation with her rapist.


As one reader shared, “One minute I’m crying, the next I’m laughing out loud.” That’s always my goal, laughter from tears.






To purchase her book:












Terri Gillespie is giving away a copy of Cut It Out.  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





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Minnesota Author Adam Nitz

Hello Adam! Is there a story behind your book I Was There When the Giant Fell? 

My wife really inspired me to write a Christian fiction novel. I had always written poetry and some short stories but never thought of myself as a fiction writer. She is an avid reader of Christian fiction. She read my writings and suggested that I try writing Christian fiction. It was like a light bulb went off. I have always been extremely interested in Bible history and what it was like in Bible times. The idea came to me to write a book from the perspective of a little-known, barely-mentioned person in the Bible and have that person witness a key, famous event in Bible history. That concept lead me to create a story for Benaiah of Pirathon, a name listed among David;s 30 mighty men. I wanted to see the battle between David and Goliath through the eyes of a soldier on the sidelines. That is how this book was born. I have plans to continue to take little-known Bible characters and create a story for them in which they witness key events in salvation history.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

My children. It is a good distraction! My son is 6 and my daughters are 3 and 2 and they love to pull me away from my writing. My wife is pregnant with our fourth child and I can only imagine what that cute little baby will do to my writing focus. I usually try to write in the early mornings or during nap time so that I can still spend quality time with them and my wife.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

My favorite season is summer. The winters here in Minnesota can be brutal and I like trying to cool down a whole lot more than trying to warm up.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

I grew up in rural Wisconsin and always enjoyed going into the woods and tree lines and building forts, making up games and exploring in nature.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?

Lately, on Sunday evenings, my wife has been making this amazing spicy sausage and vegetable dish that she bakes in the oven. Then we spread a blanket on the living room floor and have a picnic with our kids. We all enjoy it and look forward to it every week.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

I enjoy getting up in the very early hours of the morning and I usually begin my day with prayer and Bible reading. It is the best part of the day and sets the mood for the whole day. Strangely enough I usually do my devotion leaning up against the counter in the kitchen.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
A passage that has always been special to me is Psalm 46. It is such an amazing promise from God that he is our refuge, our strong-place no matter what crazy things happen to us and around us. Most importantly he is our spiritual refuge. We can live in confidence because Jesus has suffered for every sin in our place and given us peace with God that lasts forever. All is a free gift from him, no strings attached. That radically changes how life is lived through all its ups and downs. This passage reminds me of that and quiets my doubts when troubles come.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?


I am just now starting work on my 2nd book. I am going to take one of the sailors on the boat with the prophet Jonah as he runs away from the mission God sent him on. Despite his attitude and actions, it is possible that some of the sailors on the boat began to worship the true God. The story of Jonah is another very famous bible story and I will enjoy taking one of these nameless sailors mentioned in the Bible and imagining a life story for him as he witnesses this important moment in salvation history and is changed by it. I do not have specific date for the release of this book, yet. But if you follow my blog at www.adamnitz.com I can keep you updated about the status. 

Thanks for sharing!

Connect with Adam Nitz at:


Adam Nitz is giving away a copy of I Was There When The Giant Fell. 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, December 8, 2014

I Was There When The Giant Fell by Adam Nitz

Disrespected. Rejected. Alone.  Join Benaiah as he struggles to prove his worth and make a name for himself until truth surprises him in one of the most famous battles in human history.


During the turbulent and tragic reign of Israel’s first king, Benaiah, an outcast from the village of Pirathon, turns his back on his troubled past and the love of his life and seeks fame and acceptance in the king’s army.  There he faces fears and foes that loom larger than life and experiences one of the most famous battles recorded in Scripture.  

When the dust settles will he have the respect he craves and the woman he loves or will he lose all he holds dear?

Excerpt 



The heat wraps around me as I bend over the fire. The pot sizzles. I breathe in deeply. Earthy fragrances—onions, carrots, lentils, fresh herbs fill me with pleasing warmth.  I stir the mixture, blowing at the rising steam. It’s almost ready. It’s almost time. My palms grow sweaty. That familiar tightness seizes me inside my throat. That familiar panic rises like the chaos of the seas inside my heart. Tonight I eat alone with Piram, my husband. Breath escapes from my lips in a soft, trembling sigh. I finish stirring the stew, tap the wooden mixing rod against the side of the pot, and set it aside. I rub my hands together, warm skin twisting against warm skin—a physical symbol of the twisting nervousness and panic rubbing together in my mind.

This is how it always feels when I know that we will be alone together.








About The Author


Adam Nitz is a graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI and a former pastor. He regularly contributes to the website www.breadforbeggars.com. He has always had a love and passion for writing, filling up notebooks with stories and poetry. He lives with his wife, Cara, and four children in North St. Paul, MN.  You can learn more about him and his writing and follow his blog at www.adamnitz.com.  




Purchase I Was There When The Giant Fell at:




Adam Nitz is giving away a copy of I Was There When The Giant Fell. 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, December 7, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Julie Arduini

Is there a story behind your book, Entrusted?
My writing includes surrender issues and in Entrusted, Ben and Jenna both struggle. Jenna wants to belong and Ben’s afraid of loss. They have to surrender those things to their Heavenly Father and trust that He’s taking care of them. Book 2 and 3 also give a clue to the surrender journey with Entangled and Engaged.


Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
I enjoyed all of them but Jenna was fun to write and in a few ways, I could relate to her. I did the opposite of her. I grew up in Upstate NY and moved to Youngstown, so I certainly understand such a change and trying to fit in. She also has a bit of sass to her and that was absolutely fun to work with.


What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
There’s quite a bit but I guess the most recent was being out late after church at an intersection where the first car must pull ahead to the line or the light stays red. The car ahead of me was far from the line and I was on my third cycle of sitting through what should have been a green light. A line was forming behind me. The car was dark with tinted windows but I got out, said a quick prayer, and knocked on the window. It was a young person who only cracked the window. I said, “I don’t mean to bother you but if you don’t pull up to that line, the light will not turn green. You need to move ahead.” He finally moved ahead, the light turned green, and we were on our way. I noticed as we did two police cars drove by and were looking, most likely at what is this middle aged woman doing at night knocking on a car with tinted windows?


What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
My family. We have a very healthy sense of humor. Our teen son will often ask if I’d like to watch videos with him, or, we’ll watch The Tonight Show together and just laugh and laugh.


What is your favorite season of the year?
Fall. I know it means winter is coming and I’m not a fan of that, but the vibrant colors and smells, it’s gorgeous. I drink it all in. I love it.


What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
Now that I live 300 miles away, I can see how I took this thing for granted growing up---the hills. There is nothing like the hills in the Finger Lakes region.


Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
We recently moved and I’m blessed to have an office with a view of our backyard that is surrounded by woods. I’m very much moved by God’s creation and nature backdrops really inspire me. I love to re charge and spend time with Him near woods, mountains, with sunsets.


Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  
Proverbs 3:5-6. It’s my life verse. It’s guided, challenged and helped me through ups, downs, gray areas and everything inbetween.


Please tell us if you have another book in the works.
I have one in early 2015 coming out with fellow Write Integrity Press authors, the sequel to A Dozen Apologies. It’s called The Love Boat Bachelor and readers will choose who the hero will propose to.
As for my own books in the works, Entangled should also be out in early 2015. This will be Carla’s story and I can’t wait for everyone to read it.


Thanks for joining us, Julie!

Buy her book here:
Amazon
Christianbook.com
Barnesandnoble




About Julie:
Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with 5 other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is a frequent contributor to Jasmine’s Place. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

Connect with her here:
 Website
 Christian Read Blog (I blog every other Wednesday)
 Facebook
 Facebook Author Page
 Twitter
 Google+
 Pinterest

 Instagram
 Goodreads



JULIE giving away a copy of ENTRUSTED 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

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Entrusted by Julie Arduini

Back Cover Blurb


Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows--literally--into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?




Read an Excerpt:  



Entrusted

Chapter One

Less than five minutes inside Speculator Falls village limits and the whirl of police lights invade my rearview mirror. Great. Just how I wanted to start my new life—with law enforcement tapping on my driver window. I push the button and form a strategy as the glass partition disappears.

“Officer, it’s not my fault.” My stubby index finger points to the GPS on the dashboard. “The GPS made me do it.”

The woman with sunglasses and a ponytail eyes the interior of my Chevy Cobalt and then rests her stare on me. “I’m not an officer. I’m the sheriff. Did that flower box do something to make you crash into it and split it into pieces?”

I attempt to hand my license and registration to the good sheriff.

She blocks my hand and shakes her head before pushing the documents back my way. “Oh, I know who you are.”

Is that a smirk?

“So, Ohio. GPS devices don’t work well in the Adirondacks. It’s too rural to pick up a signal. Even so, your attention needs to be on the road. You just reached Speculator Falls and I’m already on the scene for property damage.”

I’m pretty sure she’s trying to hide a grin.

We both turn our gazes to the flower box ruins on Route 8. Purple and yellow pansy remnants scatter past the debris. I’m thankful that’s all I hit.

Glancing over to the shiny badge that reads C. Rowling, her attempts to be tough appear as successful as my goal to arrive looking like I belong. Instead the sheriff gets a messy glimpse of the truth—I’m a city girl without a clue how to navigate the mountains.

“I’m sorry, I feel awful about this. My name is--”

She surrenders to a full smile, takes the sunglasses off, and faces me. “Jenna Anderson from Youngstown, Ohio. Sara Bivins told me you were moving here today.”

My shoulders relax, I’m pretty sure this woman in a bland uniform isn’t going to haul me off to jail over the cracked flower box. “That’s me, new girl ready to put roots down in Speculator Falls—.”

A black four-by four-truck squeals into place next to the squad car. A door slams and within seconds a well-built man who looks about thirty jogs from his truck to us. Half a minute later my car has the whiff of woodsy cologne that follows him.

“Carla, Howard Wheaton told me someone plowed through my grandfather’s handiwork. I presume this is your perpetrator?” He commandeers our conversation, his face is so red it resembles my Ohio State sweatshirt.

The sheriff pivots to the angry but tantalizing smelling man. “Hello, Ben. The situation is under control.”

He almost loses his fading New York Giants baseball cap before he finally stands still. He has enough beard stubble to cover a chin dimple, but not enough to hide a bobbing Adam’s apple. “Really? Because this mess of flowers says otherwise.”

She hesitates. “Ben, this is Jenna Anderson, the new senior center director. She lost control while she tried to figure out what was going on with her GPS. I looked at the box, and I think it’s repairable. You love doing that sort of thing, so how about you fix it?” Thank you, Sheriff Carla Rowling.

I can’t help it, but I smile. I think this woman might be my first new friend.

Ben whips off the hat and twists it until his knuckles bulge. “I’m sorry, destroying property is funny to you?”

I want to say something brilliant. More than eight hours on the road leaves me a little lost, GPS ineffectiveness aside. “At least I hit his box. Not him.”

His Adam’s apple movement seems to escalate. “My grandpa is dead.” He points the hat at me to emphasize each word. “You better hope this box isn’t.” He turns back to the sheriff. “Carla, I’ll repair it.” Then, directs his milk chocolate colored eyes toward me. “You, city girl, watch where you’re going. The people who belong here don’t need a GPS.” He pivots in his tattered sneakers and heads to the injured flower box. As fast as he comes on the scene, he leaves.

Carla offers her hand. “Welcome to Speculator Falls.”


Buy her book here:
Amazon
Christianbook.com
Barnesandnoble




About Julie:
Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with 5 other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is a frequent contributor to Jasmine’s Place. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.





Connect with her here:
 Website
 Christian Read Blog (I blog every other Wednesday)
 Facebook
 Facebook Author Page
 Twitter
 Google+
 Pinterest

 Instagram
 Goodreads



JULIE giving away a copy of ENTRUSTED 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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