Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shattered:Finding Hope and Healing through the Losses of Life by Rita Schulte

About the book:
Shattered explores how grief-avoidance strategies can keep us from fighting the battle to reclaim and reinvest our hearts after loss, and what faith-based strategies are necessary for healing.

Too many people today are suffering from the catastrophic effects of loss. This year, three million people will die from diseases alone, leaving loved ones grieving, not to mention millions more affected by divorce, suicide, the rise of mental health disorders, war, terrorism, abuse, and economic failure. These statistics reflect the gravity of losses on today's culture.

Shattered explores how unidentified or unresolved loss impacts every area of life, especially our relationship with God. The long-range impact of these losses is often obscured, buried beneath the conscious surface in an attempt to avoid pain. This book calls the reader to ''notice'' the losses of life, and fight the battle to reclaim and reinvest our hearts after loss through faith-based strategies.


Check out her first chapter here:


CHAPTER ONE:

THE NECESSITY OF BROKENNESS

“Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” —Tina Turner

“I have come to bind up the brokenhearted.” —Jesus

The Winds of Change

It was a rainy Virginia day, warm enough to sit outside with a cup of tea but too dark and dreary to really enjoy it. Just the kind of day that surrounds one in melancholy. And that morning I had a reason to be sad. My faithful companion, my dog Spanky, had died the week before.

Wait, I am going to open a book about grief and loss by talking about my dog? I am. In the pages that follow I will share more of my story, about the seasons of heart-breaking loss that led me to write this book. But loss comes in many forms, and that morning on the porch, my sadness was about more than the loss of a pet. Spanky’s death represented the loss of an era, a snapshot of my life that I would never fully reclaim.

Sometimes we don’t notice how loss affects our heart. It can happen slowly, yet before we realize it, the effects of our grief have become catastrophic and death of our hearts inevitable. Loss throws us off balance, sometimes causing us to lose our way. If enough time goes by, and we don’t repair the distance between what we know intellectually about our grief, and what we feel deep within our souls, we’ll find that along the journey we will have sacrificed something precious at the expense of protecting ourselves from pain. That something is our heart.

The closing of one chapter of life gives way to the birth of another, offering us hope and promise—but not without cost, and certainly not without a glance backward, and a twinge of sorrow. Which brings me back to Spanky.

We brought Spanky home as a puppy, a gift to our son on his seventh birthday to comfort him after the death of his grandmother. He is grown now, a young man beginning his own journey. Our home is quiet, void of the cacophony of children’s voices and the sense of security provided by my parents’ presence. Another twinge of sadness. There was a time not so long ago when my soul was in mortal agony over the very thought of losing them. Where did the years go, and how could the pages of my life turn so swiftly?

Telling the Story

Everyone loves a good story. Stories are full of adventure, passion, love, and mystery. But the stories of grief and suffering aren’t usually happy, and they are not always easy to tell. So we don’t. We bottle them up, push them down, and close up shop. And our pain sits, sometimes for decades. We don’t pull it out or look at it, and so we miss the opportunity to really understand the event or series of events that were responsible for breaking our hearts.

Yet we must tell the story to walk the healing path. That is why I wrote this book—to help you understand your own story of where loss and grief have affected your journey, and more importantly, to show you where those changes will help you find and connect with the heart of God. The choices you will make will be difficult ones, but if you stay the course, freedom is possible.

How do I know? Because I have walked a journey of loss myself that has spanned twenty years.

The first real tragedy in my life, the one event that broke my heart, started one morning when my children were still young. The day started as usual with my morning devotions. I opened my Bible randomly, as busy moms are prone to do, and read John 11:25, where Jesus says to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” For some reason I kept thinking about it all day.

 


 

Rita has a video of her book here:
www.ritaschulte.com
Visit her website to see it.


To buy her book, go here:
amazon



Author bio and where to connect with her:
Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in the Northern Virginia/DC area. She is the host of Heartline Podcast and a short form feature Consider This. Her shows air on several radio stations as well as the Internet. They can be downloaded from www.ritaschulte.com/category/podcast or iTunes. Rita writes for numerous publications and blogs. Her articles have appeared in Counseling Today Magazine, Thriving Family, Kyria and LifeHack.org. Her book Shattered: Finding Hope and Healing through the Losses of Life releases in September 2013 by Leafwood Publishers. Follow her at www.ritaschulte.com, on FB http://www.facebook.com/RitaASchulte and twitter @heartlinepod



Rita is giving away a copy of Shattered: Finding Hope and Healing Through the Losses of Life. 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)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kansas Author Kelly Irvin

Congratulations on the start of your new series, Kelly! Is there a story behind Love Still Stands?

I wanted to give some of my characters from the Bliss Creek series a fresh start so I followed them to a new state where they started a new district. I asked myself this question: what is the thing Amish women most want, besides being faithful in following God’s will for them. They want to be wives and mothers. So what happens if I throw a big, fat stumbling block in front of them, something that keeps them from having this or being good at it. For many of us—Amish or not—being a wife and mother is entwined with our identity as women. For us, what happens when God says no? Or that which we long for becomes seemingly unattainable? When we pray for something and don’t get the answer we want. What happens then? How do we react? With whining or do we seek God’s will for us and follow the path he has set for us. That’s the story Love Still Stands tells.

You've published several books now. What distracts you from writing the easiest?

My children. They’re grown now, but I still worry about them, as all mothers do. When something is going on in their lives, it seeps into my thoughts all the time, making it hard for me to focus. I don’t expect that to change. Writing is important to me, but family is everything.

What characters in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

Bethel is a woman after my own heart. Her struggles reminded me of my own so she was really in my head as I wrote Love Still Stands. I didn’t get married until I was thirty, which is very typical now, but wasn’t so much in my youth. I began to think it was God’s plan that I remain single. I sought to have peace with that and be content as a single woman. Then I met my husband and three months later, we married. I was so relieved to think God’s intentions for me did include being a wife and mother. Then we lost our first child to a miscarriage. That’s the sort of thing that shakes your faith to its foundation. I had waited so long and I was so sure I was intended for motherhood. In those situations, you really learn that all you have is your faith to carry you through. That’s what Bethel learns from her trials. Exploring her journey reminded me of my own and I was able to draw from it.

Let's have some fun. If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

In thinking about this, I came to the conclusion that it changes as I go through seasons in my life. I recently finished writing the third book in the New Hope Amish series (A Plain Love Song) and in it, the main character writes country music songs and wants to learn to play a guitar (not something the Amish do). I listened to a lot of country music while I wrote the book and it reminded me of my childhood. My dad is a huge Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings fan. I associate country music with most everything I did as a child. With all the soap opera going on in my life these days, I feel like I am a country music song and my life is good material for several more.

What is your strangest habit?

I know I’ve answered this question before so I’ll pick another one (people who know me, know about my addiction to lip balm.) When I’m really stressed about an event I’m working on for my job as a public relations manager, I tend to have these conversations in my head as I work out the details and worry about logistics. My husband knows when I’m doing this because he will notice me shaking my head or nodding. It drives him a little crazy. I don’t actually talk to myself aloud (not usually), but I’m obviously having a conversation with someone not in the room.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My husband. Even after 25 years of marriage, he still makes me laugh. I believe humor is the number one most important tool in making marriages work. He’s a funny guy and he’s his own best audience. Even at 50-plus, he’s like a little kid and he does things that tickle my funny bones. Sort of balances out all the times he makes me want to skin him alive for being such a curmudgeon.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

For our 25th wedding anniversary, we went to Maui, Hawaii. Our anniversary is in February so it was cool and sunny with daily bouts of light, windswept rain. We hiked all over the island, spent a day zip-lining and another whale watching. We rented a convertible and risked our necks on the road to Hanna. We loved it and hope to go back. I love to travel and there are many places I want to go, but there will always be a special place in my heart for Maui.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

In preparation for writing the New Hope Amish series, my husband and I spent a week driving around the state of Missouri, visiting the locales where the three books would take place. What a great road trip. We stayed in Jamesport, which has a large Amish population, and attended an Amish school fund-raiser that brought in Amish folks from all across the countryside as well as “English” folks. It was 100-plus degrees and I thought I might melt or faint, but I learned a great deal just by observing. We went down to Stockton Lake and on to Branson, Mo., both which play important roles in books two and three in the series. I learned a lot and got to spend quality alone time with hubby, who did all the driving, and asked the questions when I was too shy.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?

The one that seems to pop up the most often in recent years is “unanswered” prayer. Is there such a thing or are we simply not receiving the answer we wanted or expected. In Love Still Stands, Bethel is forced to wait and listen for God’s plan for her. We want God to take away our pain, to take away our problems, to make life easier for us and we want it now. God hones our character and teaches us patience, empathy, concern for others, compassion, and so much more through our experiences in life—especially when those experiences are hard. The two scriptures that are the underpinning of the spiritual theme in Love Still Stands are:
“. . . but He said to me my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 1 Corinthians 12:9
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

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

The second book in the New Hope Amish series, entitled Love Redeemed, releases on February 1, 2014. This is a book very close to my heart. Here’s the cover copy:
  
Love Redeemed
Strong Enough to Heal

Phoebe Christner is thrilled when the families of her close-knit Amish community decide to spend a week at the lake. She feels she’s earned a break…and it doesn’t hurt that Michael Daugherty will be coming along. They’ll find ways to spend time together—she’s certain of it—and their romance will have time to blossom.

But when tragedy strikes, Phoebe and Michael are torn apart by their pain and the knowledge of their guilt. As they both cope with the loss of a loved one, they will come to discover that they can be forgiven not just by their community, but by God.

A tender novel of faith and family set in the heart of Amish country.


 Thanks for sharing with us today! Best wishes on the new series.

Connect with Kelly Irvin at:


Kelly Irvin is giving away a copy of Love Still Stands. 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.





Thursday, August 29, 2013

Love Still Stands by Kelly Irvin

Made Perfect in Weakness

It’s coming on winter, and a group of dedicated families is leaving Bliss Creek to establish a new community in Missouri. Among them is Bethel Graber, a beautiful young woman with a passion for teaching. But after being injured in a terrible accident, overseeing a classroom is out of the question . . . and romance seems a long-lost dream. Especially romance with Elijah Christner, the handsome young farmer whose very presence seems to set her heart racing.

Bethel begins physical therapy, determined to make a fresh start. But that won’t be easy in the town of New Hope, where the locals seem anything but eager to welcome their new Amish neighbors. Amid growing intimidation from the community, will Bethel find the strength to face her many challenges? And can she find the faith to believe that God still has a plan for her life?

Excerpt

Bethel Graber longed for the fresh air of a buggy ride. She craned her aching neck from side to side, trying to ignore the pain that radiated from her leg after hours of watching the mesmerizing white lines on the black asphalt of the highway whip toward her and then vanish underneath the van. Pain accompanied her daily now. Crammed between her nieces’ car seats, she had no room to evade it. Instead, she breathed through it, inhaling stale air scented with diapers and little boy sweat. The girls’ chubby cheeks and sleepy smiles made her want to pat their rosy faces, but she didn’t dare for fear they’d awake and the squalling would begin again.
The drive from Bliss Creek across southern Kansas to a tiny town in Missouri called New Hope should’ve taken under five hours, but the children weren’t used to traveling in a car. Poor William suffered from car sickness. Joseph needed to stop for the restroom at every gas station along the way. Fortunately, their driver seemed to have a limitless supply of patience. Bethel, on the other hand, had plumbed the depths of hers.
“Are we getting close?” She leaned forward to make herself heard over the rumble of the van’s engine. She didn’t want to wake Jebediah either. The youngest of Leah and Luke’s brood had cried a good part of the first two hours of the drive. Blessed silence, indeed. “Shouldn’t we be getting close?”
“You’re as bad as the kinner.” Leah rubbed her eyes. Her older sister had managed to keep her chestnut hair smooth around her crisp prayer kapp and her apron spotless, but dark smudges under her eyes made her look bruised and weary. “We’ll be there when we get there.”
“Your sister’s right.” Luke adjusted his arms around Joseph and William, who slept burrowed against their daed’s chest, one seated on either side of him. “But, having made this trip a few times now, I can tell you we’re about to go around a bend in the road, turn right, and make our way down a long, bumpy dirt road. At the end, you’ll see our new home.”
Our new home. Our new start.
Leah’s nose wrinkled, and her lips turned down in a thin line. She faced the window, as if interested in the landscape, more and more different from the flat plains they’d left behind. Bethel did the same, anxious for a glimpse of this new home. Towering oak, hickory, and sturdy spruce trees vied for space along the road, which seemed to rise and fall as the terrain became more hilly. The trees were dressed in autumn colors, their orange and red leaves brilliant against a radiant blue sky overhead. The spaces between the trees had their own decorations, mostly in yellows, purples and pinks—brown-eyed susans, sunflowers, sweet clover, morning glories, and tall thistle that hadn’t given up their colorful blooms to autumn weather just yet. In comparison, her memories of Bliss Creek already seemed drab.
“It’s pretty, Daed, it’s pretty, isn’t it?” Yawning widely, Joseph wiggled from Luke’s grasp and sat up. “I can’t wait to see the house. Are the horses there? And the chickens and the pigs?”
“Hush, son, you’ll wake your bruders and schweschders.” Luke tipped Joseph’s straw hat forward on his head. “The livestock will be there, as I told you before—three times—and your clothes and the furniture. It’ll all be waiting for us to unpack and start working.”
His gentle tone and good-natured smile endeared her brother-in-law to Bethel as it had many times in the past. Luke was a good man, a good husband, and a good father. Leah didn’t seem to register her husband’s words or her son’s question. She returned to her knitting, the needles clacking, the blue and gray yarn sliding smoothly between them. God had showered the woman with blessings. Yet she seemed only to notice the half empty glass.
Bethel tried to stymie her thoughts. They served no purpose. God made her a teacher; her sister, a mother. She tried, as always, to ignore the niggling thought that attempted to worm its way into her mind. If only it were reversed. Stop it. She should be thankful for the short time she’d been honored to be in the classroom. Still, it hurt to think about her new circumstances. Now, with her injuries, she had neither children of her own nor scholars to teach and mold and shape.
God’s plan?
 What is it, Gott? What is your plan? Bethel slapped a hand to her mouth, even though she’d hadn’t spoken aloud. Sorry, Gott, I’m sorry. I don’t have to know your plan for me. I have faith in You. You have a plan.
Sitting up straighter, she smoothed her apron, determined to be content with her lot. Better she should focus on helping Leah, easing her burden, with five children and only the boys old enough to be of any help. They could weed or gather eggs, pick vegetables in the garden, do small tasks, but the laundry, sewing, cooking, and cleaning? Leah had her hands full. Somehow, Bethel would help.
“When we get there, I can get the kitchen clean so we can start unpacking pots and pans.” Bethel offered an olive branch in the unspoken fray. “That way you can make up the pallets of blankets. Tomorrow when the furniture is unloaded, we can start putting together the beds.”
“It only looks pretty now, Joseph. The leaves will drop soon, and the snow will start.” Her tone soft, almost resigned, Leah spoke as if she hadn’t heard Bethel’s offer. Her gaze didn’t waver from her knitting. “We won’t have time to plant a garden, much less harvest anything before it’s too cold. We should’ve waited until spring to move.”
“The bishop decided.” Luke’s patient tone mirrored the one he’d used with his seven-year-old son. “We’re a little late, but we can still plant winter wheat and rye.”
“You said yourself the later we plant, the poorer the yield—”
“There. There’s the turn.” Luke cut his fraa’s sentence short. He leaned in front of her and pointed. “Turn right, Michael.”
“I know. This isn’t my first time, remember?” Michael Baldwin, Luke’s favorite driver and a friend who would be missed when he returned to Bliss Creek, navigated onto the dirt road with ruts so deep the van bounced and rocked. “Whoa, easy does it.”
They slowed to a crawl. To a speed more appropriate for a buggy. Bethel smiled at the thought. She wished again she were in a buggy. Then she could take the time to enjoy this new scenery, to smell the smells of her new home and hear the birds that surely perched in these trees. She needed this new beginning. She needed to leave behind the images of the furious storm that sent school desks flying through the air. She needed to forget the sounds of the screaming children on the day her career as a teacher had ended and her life on damaged legs had begun.
 “For now, Joseph is right, it is pretty. And I like snow. We had plenty of that in Kansas too.” She managed to keep her defiance from her voice. “It’s a good new start.”
Her brother-in-law grinned at her. It made him appear much younger than his thirty years. Under the brim of his straw hat, tufts of his walnut-colored hair sticking out, he looked like Joseph, a boy enjoying an adventure. Bethel grinned back. She saw her hope and excitement in his face.
“You’re right. A new start.” He leaned toward Leah as if he would touch her, but he didn’t. She didn’t look up from her knitting, but her frown deepened. “Look out there, Leah, that’s the land we’ll farm in the spring. We’ll have a bountiful crop and all will be well.”
Still, Leah didn’t look up. The van rounded another bend in the road. Bethel strained to see the house and the barn and the land that would be their new home, their new start.
“What’s that?” Luke scooted forward on his seat. “What is that on the front of the house?”
Bethel saw the semi that held all their belongings first. She saw the animal trailers that held the horses and the buggies. Then she saw the house and the reason for Luke’s dismay.
At first she couldn’t understand. This house? For this place they’d driven almost four hundred miles? Someone had shattered the glass in every window, first and second floor. Neon orange spray paint marred the once white facade, the wide strokes winding their way between the shattered windows in wide arching loops like a snake in search of its prey. The loops ended in words written in huge cursive. The edges of the windows had been blackened by fire that appeared to have burst out from the inside. Trash littered the porch and the front door dangled from its hinges.
None of them spoke, the silence filled only with their ragged breathing.
Luke withdrew his arm from around William. The little boy rolled away, then sat up, his eyes wide at the abrupt awakening. “Daed?”
“We’re here.” Luke’s tone had lost its gentleness. His jaw worked as he undid his seatbelt as if to get out. “Stay in the van—all of you.”
Michael looked up at the rearview mirror. “Hang tight. We’re almost there.”
“I have to—”
“We’re almost there, Luke.”
“What’s it say?” Bethel managed to breathe the words even though she had no air in her lungs. Their precious new start had gone up in flames, it seemed. “Those orange words, I can’t tell what it says.”

“It says GO HOME.” Leah’s voice barely rose above a whisper. “This is our new start?”

About The Author


Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series, which includes To Love and To Cherish,  A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, published by Harvest House. Her new series, New Hope Amish, debuts with Love Still Stands, on September 1.

Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. She also serves as secretary of the ACFW San Antonio local chapter Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers.

A graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. She studied for three semesters at the University of Costa Rica, learning the Spanish language. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso.


She has worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department for nineteen years. Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-five years, and they have two young adult children. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.

Purchase Love Still Stands at:







Kelly Irvin is giving away a copy of Love Still Stands. 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.




Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Weekly Winners

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

It's time for our weekly announcement and I know you want to know ... WHO WON?
But before we announce our three winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:
K. Dawn Bird who has offered her  YA Romance  Hotline girl.
Brenda J. Wood who offered her Grief and Recovery book The Pregnant Pause of Grief And to Ryan M Shelton for offering his YA Novel  The Mentor.
  
And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:

Sharon Miller  has won K. Dawn Bird’s  YA Romance  Hotline girl. Bonton (Bonnie) has won Brenda J. Wood’s Grief and Recovery book The Pregnant Pause of Grief And Cindi A. has won Ryan M Shelton’s YA Novel  The Mentor.

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. 

Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss seeing the winners list. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness by Janet K. Brown

Back Cover Blurb



    

I lost ninety-five pounds and have maintained the loss for seventeen years. One tool in my recovery remains the daily reading of inspirational books. I found my library incomplete when I searched for one that combined a twelve-step program with God as the Higher Power. The biggest secret to my success was giving up my will and letting God do it through me. I wrote a book of daily devotions that came from my journals and memories. This is one woman’s road for success. I pray these thoughts help others reach the same healing God gave to me. It’s all about God.





Excerpt:


January 7

7. The Protection of the Wren Cactus

   “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—“ Jude 24 NIV

     If food compulsion is part of our carnal life, danger lurks whenever we leave God’s protection.


     At a friend’s country home, we noticed a cactus bush three to four feet high with a nest of wrens on one side. We commented.

     “That’s our wren cactus, our sanctuary for birds,” our friend told us.

     On the other side of the bush, we spotted baby mockingbirds. Instead of flying to high places to be safe from the coyotes and deer, birds make their home here in a small bush. On examination, we noticed birds fly into the cactus without touching the prickly thorns. A larger animal would be unable to do that, so the birds make their nests in perfect safety right under the noses of their enemies.

     Like the birds, God is our wren cactus. He protects us from certain defeat and destruction while in the presence of food that would tempt us. His loving arms encircle us. The enemy can’t get past His defense.



Prayer: When I’m at a restaurant or party, a pot luck or home by myself, I’m vulnerable without your hedge. Please protect me today, Lord


To buy her book:
Amazon
Pen-L


About Janet:

Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles.
     Divine Dining published by Pen-L Publishing is the author’s second book. It encompasses her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.  Janet released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.

     She and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren, and work in their church. Find her at http://www.janetkbrown.com.


To connect with Janet:


Janet K. Brown is giving away a copy of Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. 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

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Janet K. Brown



 Is there a story behind your book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness?

I live the words of this book every day of my adult life. Nineteen years ago, God healed my emotions. With Him carrying me, I lost ninety-five pounds and have maintained it since then.

 I’ve taught classes on weight loss. I’ve written curriculum for many of those. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about allowing God to control my compulsive overeating. I searched for more books, more inspiration, more help as I walked this path of healing.

One night four years ago, God woke me up in the middle of the night. I went to my computer and quickly wrote fourteen devotions. That has never happened before or since. God spurred me to finish what I started that night and add 351 more to minister each day of the year. This is truly one woman’s journey, and the story of my heart.

Thank you, Duke Pennell, at Pen-L Publishing for taking a chance on this book.


What started you on your writing journey?
I’ve written all my life, I think. I sold some short stories when my girls were young. When I retired in 2006, I joined RWA. Margaret Daley came to speak to our local chapter, and from her, I learned about ACFW. Through another author, I learned about OWFI (Oklahoma writers’ Federated Inc.) Through these 3 organizations, I continued to study, go to conferences, and try to improve my stories. After many submissions and rejections, I finally got a “yes” & a contract back in 2011. I still write short stories as well as novels. I write fiction, but Divine Dining is truly the story of my heart.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Hands down, it’s social media.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I read a lot of different genres. I’m a slow reader, but I love to read. I keep a non-fiction and a fiction going most of the time. At present, the non-fiction I’m reading is Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul, and the fiction book I’m reading is Touched by Angels by Debbie Macomber.
Recently, I completed different type books such science fiction, Dark Planet by Charles Sasser, romance, Terri, by Sharon Srock, and a thriller, Lost and Found by Amy Shojai, non-fiction, Love Hunger,  by Minirth, Meier, Hemfelt, & Sneed, and a young adult, Refuge by Stephanie Gallentine.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I’d start the day with an opera. Through the day, I’d be all country music, but I’d end the day with soft rock.

What is your strangest habit?
Even in cold weather, I sleep with my feet sticking out, but my shoulders must be covered even in hot weather. Go figure.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
My grandkids.

What is your favorite season of the year? 
Spring. – a whisper of a new beginning

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
A friend and I planned our own backyard circus with pets, gymnastics, and clowns. We invited the whole neighborhood.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
I really have to pump myself up to make phone calls.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
None due out at present. I submitted the sequel to my YA book, Victoria and the Ghost to 4RV Publishing. We’re negotiating a contract as we speak. My WIP is a woman’s fiction involving a young lady dealing with (what else?) compulsive overeating.

Back Cover Blurb

     I lost ninety-five pounds and have maintained the loss for seventeen years. One tool in my recovery remains the daily reading of inspirational books. I found my library incomplete when I searched for one that combined a twelve-step program with God as the Higher Power. The biggest secret to my success was giving up my will and letting God do it through me. I wrote a book of daily devotions that came from my journals and memories. This is one woman’s road for success. I pray these thoughts help others reach the same healing God gave to me. It’s all about God.

To buy her book, go here:

About Janet:
     Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles.
     Divine Dining published by Pen-L Publishing is the author’s second book. It encompasses her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.  Janet released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.
     She and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren, and work in their church. Find her at http://www.janetkbrown.com.


To connect with Janet:


Janet K. Brown is giving away a copy of Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. 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


Sunday, August 25, 2013


 
Welcome, Carla! Is there a story behind Pattern for Romance? 
There is. My heroine had a terrible fall. Days later I got a call that my mother had also fallen and been taken to the hospital.

I had to care for my mom for 2 months, while my heroine waited for me to finish telling her story. Kind of eerie, but this isn’t the first time something like this happened.

In the story, my character’s life gets put on hold while she heals. Ironically, it is my own life that takes a similar turn when I was driving my mother to the doctor’s and we were struck by another vehicle on the passenger side. Mom was fine, but my death grip on the steering wheel as I tried to steer out of harm’s way resulted in a complicated wrist injury that required surgery. My writing of this story had to wait almost a year from the time I had begun it for its completion.

Every experience an author has influences how they write and this was certainly true for Pattern for Romance. I have no doubt that the story I told was different than the one that would have been if it had been written in those first few months after I started it. I think we all learned a lot in those days. My character included.


Wow! I'm sure it is worth the wait. Sounds great. Did you discover anything unusual while researching this book?
I was surprised to learn about two long perpetuated myths about quilting in early America and they profoundly impacted the book that I ultimately wrote which takes place in Boston, 1769. I discovered that:

Quilts of any kind were rare in New England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and it is unlikely that New England women were making quilts in any number until at least the 1750s.” (Bedcoverings in Kent County, Maryland: 1710-1820, Allen).

Colonial women did not have ample time to create piecework quilts with the multitude of chores required to maintain a household and care for a family. Nor were piecework quilts the earliest type of quilting in our country. Instead, garments were quilted, and later, bedcoverings using whole pieces of cloth. By the mid-18th century some pieces of chintz was appliqued to the whole-cloths (imported cloth was rare during the trade embargoes), and patchwork type quilts were not made until the end of the century.


Interesting and it makes sense! What’s your favorite genre of writing?
Inspirational Historical Fiction. I love to write about the 17th through 19th centuries, but have a special love for 18th century America. I think this stems from my interest in my early New England ancestors.


What character that you’ve created most resembles you?
I try to write my characters as unique individuals and allow them to teach me who they are. But if I had to pick, I’d say Eliana from The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter (Barbour) who loves the outdoors, photography, and spiritual burden for others. By the way, we also shared a similar experience that intersected while I was writing the book. In Pattern for Romance, the heroine, Honour Metcalf’s has vivid dreams like I do which I easily imagined.


What or who is the biggest influence on your writing?
God gives each of us talents and I’m grateful that He gave me words. I love stitching them together to create stories. The desire to share God’s redemptive love with others through meaningful stories motivates me to do so. Well written characters can be very relational, I know that novels have influenced me through them.


What’s the last thing you wrote?
A devotional for 31 Devotions for Writers. Compiled by Suzette Williams with contributions by authors who want to help encourage writers through God’s written Word.


When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Mistletoe Memories releases in September. My novella, ’Tis the Season, starts off the collection of Christmas stories. In 1820, Stephen Yost is the resident carpenter of Schooley's Mountain, New Jersey's fashionable resort. When he finds himself enamored by the spirited Annaliese Braun, he vows to build her a home by Christmas.


Sounds like a fun story, Carla!



To buy her book, go here:
amazon

christianbookwalmart
walmart


About Carla:
Carla Olson Gade has been imagining stories most her life. Her love for writing and eras gone by turned her attention to writing historical Christian romance. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. An autodidact, creative thinker, and avid reader, Carla also enjoys genealogy, web design, and photography. A native New Englander, she writes from her home in beautiful rural Maine where she resides with her “hero” husband and two young adult sons.


Connect with Carla here:
Website: http://carlagade.com

Blogs: http://writingtodistraction.blogspot.com & http://colonialquills.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Carla-Olson-Gade/316054038409932

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlagade

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/carlaolsongade



Carla is giving away a copy of Pattern for Romance. 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)



Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pattern for Romance by Carla Olson Glade

Book Blurb:
Pattern for Romance (1769, Boston, Massachusetts)
Sometimes God's pattern for our lives can lead us somewhere unexpected.

Honour Metcalf's quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager's niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. As he risks his relationships, reputation, and livelihood to prove her innocence, the two discover a grander plan.



Does Honour need protection or not? Read on to get a hint!

 

Boston, Massachusetts
July 31, 1769

The crack of musket fire resounded through the clouded sky. Hailstones, the size of goose eggs, pelted the cobbled thoroughfare as people ran for shelter. Thunder clapped and an onslaught of shouts and shrieks echoed nature’s vehement warning.

Honour Metcalf sank to her knees in a puddle of quilted petticoats and toile—her mitted hands encased her head, vying for protection against the artillery of hail and confusion.

“Miss Metcalf, Miss Metcalf . . .”

A muffled voice reached her ears and she dared peek at the one towering over her. Blue eyes—those eyes—flashed concern, then vanished as a dark cloak enveloped her. Strong arms scooped her up, pressing her against the firm chest of her rescuer.

Honour could scarcely make out the blur of damaged brick and clapboard as Joshua Sutton’s long strides carried her away in haste. Glazed windows popped and shards of glass flew as hail continued to wreak havoc on shops and offices. Fallen birds littered the street amidst the frozen ammunition. Lightning flashed and Honour squeezed her eyes shut, willing away the shrill neighs of horses and the cracking of the icy brimstone beneath carriage wheels.

The pair made their way through a heavy wooden door and into a dimly lit foyer. Mr. Sutton rested Honour upon along bench and stooped beside her. With trembling hands, she pushed back her taffeta calash. The boned collapsible bonnet provided some measure of protection from the torrent, but what would protect her from him?



To buy her book, go here:
amazon

christianbookwalmart



About Carla:
Carla Olson Gade has been imagining stories most her life. Her love for writing and eras gone by turned her attention to writing historical Christian romance. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. An autodidact, creative thinker, and avid reader, Carla also enjoys genealogy, web design, and photography. A native New Englander, she writes from her home in beautiful rural Maine where she resides with her “hero” husband and two young adult sons.


Connect with Carla here:
Website: http://carlagade.com

Blogs: http://writingtodistraction.blogspot.com & http://colonialquills.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Carla-Olson-Gade/316054038409932

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlagade

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/carlaolsongade



Carla is giving away a copy of Pattern for Romance. 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)



 
 
 
 
 
Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Friday, August 23, 2013

Max Elliot Anderson Stops By The Book Loft

Welcome back Max! Congratulations on your story contribution to Chicken Soup for the Soul, From Lemons to Lemonade. Is there a story behind the book?

Editors say this book, “Will inspire, encourage, and motivate you to turn any sour situation into a better one with its 101 personal stories from others who turned a negative into something positive.”

This was a nice writing project because it gave me the opportunity to tell how I came to write adventures and mysteries for kids. It’s a classic story of how when one door closes, another opens. We just have to be ready to walk through that door and embrace the opportunity. In my case, a career of professional video productions, for a stable of industrial clients, came to an abrupt end soon after the attacks of 9/11. Still, I never would have guessed that the new door would open to writing books for kids. The title of my story is, Who Would Have Thought?

What’s the last thing you wrote?

The last thing I wrote is a true story for a proposed anthology about miracles and near-death experiences. My story is called, “A Scar to Remember.”

What’s your favorite genre of writing?

I like middle grade fiction the most. This is a fun age, but it’s also a little young for having to write about some of the more adult issues faced by a writer of books for young adult readers.

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

I believe writer’s block is very real for some people. There are even some well-known authors who speak of writing as nothing but pure agony. Personally, I’ve never encountered writer’s block, and there are a few basic reasons why. Before each story, which always begins with a title, I tell myself the story into a small recorder. I used to tell my kids lots of original stories when they were growing up. So now, I visualize telling them each of the new stories that later become manuscripts. The notes are typed and put away and never consulted until the first draft is finished. This allows the basic story to go through me two times prior to writing; once when I tell it, and the second time when I type the notes. It also gives me a beginning, a middle, and an end. There are lots of other surprises along the way, but at least I can start out with a road map.

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

I prefer to work at a PC, in my writing room, with the door closed. This includes a lot of props for the story, a burning candle, and a few other rituals that help get me in the mood for each scene. I like to write winter stories when it’s freezing outside, summer stories when the weather is blazing hot, and I only write the scary scenes after dark.

Do you archive everything you write?

I do. Guess I’m just paranoid about losing original material.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written?

That’d be a little like asking which is the favorite of my children or of my two granddaughters. I like each child for who and what they are, as individuals, and I like each piece I’ve written for similar reasons.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

I try to focus on only one project at a time. When I commit to a short story, full manuscript, or magazine column, that is my single focus until the first draft is finished. I won’t start something new while working on another project.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Not at all. Sometimes, when I’m writing a scene, my fingers can hardly keep up with what I’m seeing in my head. The last things I want to be thinking about at that time are proper grammar or punctuation.

Does music help you write?

Most of my life has been involved in film production, video programs, television programs, and TV commercials. In all of those, music has been of primary importance. That’s probably why I have always listened to mood appropriate music for each scene I’m writing. I carry this idea into my classroom presentations where the students close their eyes, listen to a piece of music, and then tell me what they see. I find music to be a great motivator in writing, in setting the mood, and, again, in helping to fight against writer’s block.

How do you find the time to write?

Since writing is my near-fulltime work, it’s less of a problem than for others who might have other work or young family responsibilities. But writing is probably the most enjoyable work I’ve ever done, so finding time to do it isn’t that hard for me.

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

I have contracts for 10 more middle grade adventures and mysteries. Of these, three are nearing their release dates.

“The Secret Tunnel” This is the first of 6 books for educational publisher, Chestnut Publishing in Toronto. Along with 5 others, it’ll be sold to schools and libraries. This book teaches kids honor, and the importance of a good name.

“This Property is Condemned” This is the 4th book in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series from Port Yonder Press. It involves crooked developers trying to take away an old woman’s crumbling mansion. Sam and his friends decide not to let that happen. In the process, they have to take on City Hall, county government, and less than honest developers.


“The Great Cave Caper” This is my 7th book with Comfort Publishing. It teaches about how greed can get a person in more trouble than they ever imagined. Three friends on a camping trip, go into a cave to keep two bank robbers from getting to their hidden loot.

Thanks for stopping by to share all your news with us!

Connect with Max Elliot Anderson at:


Max Elliot Anderson is giving away a copy of Chicken Soup For The Soul: From Lemons to Lemonade . 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.


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