Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Delores Ayotte




Tell us what you learned while writing I'm Not Perfect And It's Okay
I learned that without my faith and my relationship with God, I don’t know that I could have ever survived and made my way in life to this extent.  It was in the depth of my depression and despair, at my weakest moment when I felt like the biggest failure, that I found the unconditional and merciful love of the God I always knew existed.  By embracing my weakness, I actually found God’s strength and worked my way out of the pit I found myself to be in.

My faith has not only grown in my relationship with God, but in my self as well.  God lives in each and every one of us. I knew I had to look within in order to accomplish the feat of fulfilling my desire to have a closer and more personal relationship with God.

How old were you when you wrote your first book? How many books have you wrote?
I was in my late fifties when I wrote my first book. Over twenty-five years ago I attempted to write I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay ~ Steps to a Happier Self. At that time, I had neither the experience nor the expertise to realistically offer any steps to a happier self.  My book is written in retrospect based on a proven recipe. I have incorporated each and every step into my life on a daily basis over the last several years.  Over time, I eventually figured out the steps I suggest for better life coping skills and then decided to put pen to paper and write my book. 

In the book itself, I actually explain and go into more depth as to why it took so long for me to complete. I also discuss how I came about revisiting this life long dream of mine.

What sparked your decision to journey down the path of writing?
I have found that one of the most difficult things in life, for me and probably for many other people too, is to embrace our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Our basic human nature is created with faults, foibles, and frailties.  It is not to say that we don’t have many wonderful and desirable traits, but we seldom want to admit to some of the less complimentary ones, not even to ourselves.

I have found that when I honestly acknowledge and embrace my own weaknesses, they actually have less power over me and my actions.  It’s when I refuse to admit my personal weaknesses that I actually fail at being the true Christian I desire to be.  In essence, the more aware I am of my flaws, the more able I am to control what I say and do.

It took me years to be honest and open about suffering from depression.  Depression doesn’t always fall into the same category or receive the same compassion that physical illnesses do.  Based on my experience, I have found that many people are still very reluctant to openly discuss that they suffer from depression because it is considered to be a form of mental illness.  I decided that it was time to “come clean” in order to help educate others in an effort to, not only help those who suffer from depression, but to better educate and inform people that are exposed to those who do. 

It has been this realization that sparked my decision to journey down the path of writing and I haven’t look back. I know in my heart it was the right way to go.

What movie has inspired you the most?
I have seen many wonderful movies in my life time. The old classics, The Ten Commandments, Doctor Zhivago, and the musical Jesus Christ Super Star, all come to mind. On a lighter note, I really enjoyed Pretty Woman and An Officer and A Gentleman.  My husband and I go to a movie at least once a week during the winter months so we have seen many newer movies that I have enjoyed as well.



What are your hobbies other than writing?I have a variety of personal interests that have served me well since my retirement. First and foremost, I love spending time with my children and my grandchildren. They never cease to amaze me with their boundless energy!

I enjoy walking, zumba, line dancing, and other forms of exercise such as bike riding with my husband. I love gardening especially in the spring when I get to prune the shrubs and watch new life break through the soil as my perennials reach out to the sunlight after a long dark winter.

I also enjoy Crossword Puzzles, Sudokus, and the solving of Cryptoquotes. Reading, reviewing books, and playing bridge are also some favorites

If you could go any where in the world where would you go?
I would have to say Hawaii because after over 40 years of wanting to go there, just last winter that’s exactly what my husband and I did. We went on a lovely vacation with another couple. We’ve been friends since grade school and used to double date before we married our high school sweethearts.  It took a long time to happen but…I would have to say it’s where I would go because Hawaii is where we went when we had the opportunity and the timing was right.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
Matthew 22:36-40
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

What are you writing now?
I recently published my third book titled, “Up The ‘Down’ Ladder”. I haven’t been writing as much as usual the last few months as I pursue other projects that have been taking up much of my time. However, I do have a few ideas for future books and hope to revisit these when the opportunity arises. One of my manuscripts is near completion but it requires much more editing.

Do you have a blog or website where readers can stay in touch with you?

Yes, I have both.  My website is ~ www.doloresayotte.com
 My blog site titled “A Woman’s Voice” is ~ www.doloresayotte.wordpress.com

On a personal note ~ I would like to thank you Mary for taking the time to read and review my book. I appreciate the questions you have so adeptly prepared.  I would also like to thank all of your followers for spending a little time with me. Bright blessings to each of you!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rebecca's Rose By Jennifer Beckstrand

With her mother ill, Rebecca Miller must take care of the house, the farm, and her younger siblings. Although she feels trapped at times, Rebecca is determined to fulfill a promise made to a dying friend. Then she meets a boy with good looks and a mischievous glint in his eye who just might help her keep her vow.
Levi Cooper was born into an Amish community and lived there until his father died and his mother married an Englischer. When shunned by their Amish relatives, they lived as Englischers.
Now haunted by painful memories and on the path to self-destruction, Levi meets a lovely Amish girl who is looking for adventure. Rebecca’s growing attachment to Levi could lead to the loss of everything she holds dear. And will the secrets he keeps separate them forever?


Who is Jennifer Beckstand?

 
I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework.

After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript--a Western--in just under fourteen years. (Because all my children have finally entered the public school system, and I can now write a book in significantly less time.) I sent my manuscript to an agent, who asked me to try my hand at writing Amish fiction. After much research and travel, I fell in love with the people and the genre.

My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I've done my job.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate's Song and Rebecca's Rose are now available. Miriam's Quilt is scheduled for release in spring of 2013. Kate's Song was the #1 Romantic Religious Fiction download in the Free Kindle Store, and Rebecca's Rose is currently in the top 100 Religious Fiction books on Amazon.com.
Oh My Oh My what can I say about Rebecca's Rose, it was better then Kate's Song and I loved that book. Author Jennifer Beckstand is now on the top of my favorite Amish authors list. She can write like no other. I was so wrapped up in this book I had no idea what was going on in the world around me. I laughed, I cried, and I was one very happy women that it all ended so well. I LOVE Rebecca and Levi, this is a book I will reread many times. 5 stars is not enough I give it 10 stars. I must warn you, you will NOT put it down until the last page. I need Jennifer to hurry up and write the next book 2013 is way to long to wait!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Interview with Sheryl Young a Messianic Jewish believer in Jesus



Author Sheryl Young has written a new pocket-sized devotional called God, Am I Nobody?
It’s subtitled: Yielding Our Desire for Success to God's Will for Our Lives, and deals with how Christians might be conflicted between wanting “success” as the world defines it, or following God's plan for their lives. The big question is, why does God use some people in the spotlight, and others in the shadows?

Sheryl’s been a freelance writer since 1997 for newspapers, magazines and websites. This is her second book. I interviewed Sheryl about her journey with this project.

What made you write a devotional on how “worldly success” might differ from God’s plans for us?
It was so hard for me to give all the glory to God when first accepting Jesus as my Savior. I grew up doing modeling and musical theatre where there was lots of applause, so I suffered from what I call "attention-itis" - the need for recognition. Even after finding the Lord and starting to write on Christian issues, it took many years to become conscious of giving all praise to the Lord for my endeavors.

One day, I brushed against a shelf in a Christian bookstore. A book tumbled to the ground, and landed open to a short sermon by Hudson Taylor, A Higher Calling.

Taylor, a 19th century missionary who devoted his life to serving the people of China, wrote about Christians needing to fully turn themselves over to the Lord, no matter the cost, and to put our pride aside even if we had to work in obscurity. This really touched me and made me feel like a self-absorbed fool! It became the basis for the devotional.

So how is the devotional structured?
It’s a convenient, carry-anywhere little book consisting of 17 chapters. Each chapter includes segments of Taylor's sermonette, along with parallel Bible verses and thoughts for everyday application, like those I discovered during my own journey. The chapters are short enough to be studied one per day, but can also be absorbed at a reader’s own leisurely pace.

Who is this devotional good for?
This devotional is good for many kinds of people, starting with those like myself who’ve wondered when their personal success might come, even while doing good works for the Lord! But also, for people preparing for missions; Empty nesters who are wondering what’s next, how can I be useful? Stay-at-home moms who wonder what their career friends’ lives are like; or on the contrary, people whose careers haven’t given them the fulfillment they wanted; teens and young adults who aren’t decided on their careers or future ministries; pastors or pastors’ wives who’ve become discouraged in the ministry; and it’s also good for small group Bible studies on topics like pride vs. humility, waiting on God’s timing, etc.



God, Am I Nobody was released in November 2011 by Treble Heart Book’s nonfiction division, MountainView. Although it’s not in bookstores, it’s available at many places online:



-At the publisher’s website in paperback or e-book: http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVSherylYoung.html



By the way, Sheryl’s first book, What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People (she’s a Jewish believer in Jesus), is still available in paperback at the publisher’s website: https://www.winepressbooks.com/What-Every-Christian-Should-Know-About-the-Jewish-People/products/1852/9781414110745


Sheryl blogs about politics, faith and entertainment at http://20-20faithsight.blogspot.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @sheryltruth 



Monday, August 27, 2012

Susanna's Christmas Wish By Jerry Eicher

     
From the pen of bestselling Amish fiction author Jerry Eicher, (more than 400,000 books sold), comes a truly delightful and inspiring Christmas novella.
Fans will be delighted by this peek at an Amish Christmas, complete with the romantic wish of Susanna Byler to spend the holidays with the man of her dreams.  But who is the man of her dreams?  Is it the competent but plain Amishman she married for convenience....or is it her first love--an Englisha man with whom she has recently had an unexpected encounter--and who wants her back in his life?
A perfect holiday delight for lovers of Amish fiction...and those who love a heartwarming and tender Christmas tale.
 
Jerry Eicher's bestselling Amish fiction (more than 400,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah's Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he's been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

I am not sure who told Jerry it was alright for him to write a novella, but it was to short for me. Reading a book by him an hour does not cut it for me. Again Jerry has wrote a 5 star book. I LOVED Susanna, she made the whole story worth reading. I am now in the mood for CHRISTmas.  I really enjoyed this easy read.

                                                                                                                                            

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Season for Tending By Cindy Woodsmall

In a community where conformity flourishes, seeds of Rhoda’s odd behavior were planted long ago. Can she cultivate her relationships with the same care and tenderness that she gives her beloved garden?

Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler’s unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda’s “gift” is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business. 

Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family’s apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable. 

Meanwhile, Samuel’s younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda’s garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah’s poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions.
Rhoda’s expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn’t trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of ten works of fiction and one work of nonfiction, whose connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media and throughout Christian news outlets. She lives outside Atlanta with her family.
All of my Amish book lover followers are going to want to pick up a copy of this latest book by Cindy Woodsmall A Season for Trending. It was by far her best book yet. I would be in heaven in the middle of an apple orchard. I  just loved  Samuel King and I fell in love with Rhoda Byler (Rhodes) as well. There is so much going on in this book that you will not be able to put it down. I give this book 5 stars.  I can not wait for book two in the series to come out. Sherry Gore even provided a  couple of recipes at the end of the book, you will not want to miss those as well. Yum-O

I must warn you, you are left hanging at the end. That just makes you want to read the next one so bad!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Childrens Books By Jordan Crowl

I am so happy to get to share with you all these wonderful  childrens books by Jordan Crowl. They can be bought on Amazon or on Ed's website. They are each a life lesson in book form for your kids to enjoy and learn from. There are 7 books out right now. It would really make me one very happy women if each of you would pick up one copy for your kids or grandkids or just a friend.

Jordan is very talented he wrote each book as well as did all of the drawings. Please reach out to kids that you know and give them a gift of one of these books. I am sure after you buy one copy you will be back for the rest.You can get them right from Ed's website with your kids, www.edsjournal.com www.jordanscreations.com. Again THANK YOU all so much for supporting these wonderful authors!Follow us on Facebook and Twitter


LEAVE A COMMENT TO WIN A COPY OF ED'S NEWEST BOOK !

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where Love Grows By Jerry Eicher


In Jerry Eicher's conclusion to his popular Fields of Home trilogy, readers will be delighted to attend the wedding of Teresa, the young Englisha girl who has come home with Susan Hostetler to learn the ways of the Amish---and in fact to become Amish herself.
But Teresa is not the only young woman to find romance in these pages. Susan, long estranged from Thomas Stoll, the young man she had intended to marry from her childhood, reunites with him....just as another man appears on the scene with designs on her heart. Which man is the one Da Hah has chosen for her?
Amidst the happiness, there is also turmoil as Menno Hostetler, Susan's father, must face church discipline for a past sinful transgression he's hidden for many years.  At his age, can he endure the humiliation and the path to restitution?
With more than 400,000 books sold, Jerry Eicher's many fans eagerly anticipate each new novel that offers  readers a peek into the simple and interesting world of the Amish--a world Jerry knows firsthand.
 
Jerry Eicher's bestselling Amish fiction (more than 400,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah's Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he's been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.
Jerry has pulled it off again, Jerry is one of my top five favorite Amish authors. This is a super end to his Fields of Home series, Again Jerry's five star book was one I could not put down. I LOVED Susan she was what made this book a WINNER for me. I could not wait to see who Susan ended up with. I loved  Menno with his "New" son, the story just came together in such away that you will be thinking about the characters long after you have read the last page. A wonderful read you must go pick up a copy, if you love a happy ending.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Light Between Oceans



The debut of a stunning new voice in fiction— a novel both heartbreaking and transcendent
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss. The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

This is a book that you will long think about after you have read the very last page. I really enjoyed it. M.L. writes with passion and you feel what you are reading he is a forced to be reckoned with. I can't wait to see what he writes next. This is a must read. I gave this book 4 stars. I would like to know what would you do if you found a baby on your door step?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Amish Bride Review

Bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould offer readers The Amish Bride, Book 3 in the Women of Lancaster County series, which tells the stories of young Plain women as they explore their roots, connect with family, and discover true love.
Ella Bayer and Ezra Gundy are in love and hope to marry someday, but she is a young Mennonite woman while he is an Amish man. Though both Plain, one of them will have to forsake what they believe to embrace another way of life.
Hoping some distance will cool the relationship, Ezra's family sends him to work at an Amish dairy farm in Indiana. But Ella disregards what her family wants and follows Ezra. In short order she finds a place to live, a job in a bakery, and an unexpected but budding friendship with a handsome Amish farmhand, Luke. When a family tragedy forces Ella back to Pennsylvania, she must face all she's been running away from. And once she has made peace with those around her, she has an important decision to make: Whose Amish bride will she become--Ezra's or Luke's?
Mindy Starns Clark is the author of many books (more than 450,000 copies sold), which include A Pocket Guide to Amish Life, Shadows of Lancaster County, Whispers of the Bayou, and The Amish Midwife. In addition, Mindy is a popular inspirational speaker and playwright. Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including Beyond the Blue and Garden of Dreams. She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.
 
MY REVIEW
 I really liked book number three in The Women of Lancaster County. The Amish Bride was a very fun read. I loved Ella and her story. If you have read the first two in this series you are going to like this story of redemption. This book did have an unexpected ending. I did not see it coming, but I really did like it.You don't have to read the first two books in the series but it would be best to so that you can follow the characters better. I gave this book 4 stars.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Song of the Brokenhearted Review and Giveaway!

Ava has a loving family, a beautiful house, and a solid faith. 
Suddenly, her ideal life will be completely broken . . . in the best of ways.
Ava’s life is full of great things. Her daughter is getting married to just the right guy, her husband’s company has kept them financially thriving for years, her son is a freshman in high school, playing football and doing well, and the ministry she started is keeping her busy as she reaches out to those with “broken hearts.”
Then it all falls apart. Ava’s safe world becomes unanchored, and she is forced to face the childhood she’s run away from her entire life. Just as she’s trying to sift through the pieces, the doorbell rings and Ava is confronted with the surprise of her life.
Sheila Walsh is a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. A featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women  by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God's Word. Author of the best-selling memoir Honestly and the Gold Medallion nominee for The Heartache No One Sees, Sheila's most recent release, The Shelter of God's Promises, has also been turned into a DVD curriculum and in-depth Bible study. The Gigi, God's Little Princess book and video series has won the National Retailer's Choice Award twice and is the most popular Christian brand for young girls in the United States. Sheila co-hosted The 700 Club and her own show Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. She is currently completing her Masters in Theology.
I have read Sheila's other two books Angel Song and Sweet Sanctuary and loved them both so no doubt I was going to love Song of the Brokenhearted. She is such a women after Gods own heart. Sheila is a very talented author she pulls you in from page one and, you will not want to put the book down until the very last page. I loved this story so much. It is a story about life and how sometimes it is very hard, but in the end God works it all out for the best. I loved it and give it 4 stars. I can't wait to see what Sheila has in store for us next.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interview and Book Giveaway with Leslie Raddatz




Why did you choose to write Surviving the Flood?
Because my first session of (EMDR) Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing and Brain-spotting caused flooding - 32 years of repressed memories, emotions and body memories started to flow through my body too rapidly.  It only took a few days for my memories to start coming back but instead of them coming one by one they all came at once putting me in to crisis mode and I had to admit myself into the hospital because it was too overwhelming. 

This is very rare that this happens this way but my body just couldn’t repress it any longer.

As you wrote this book what did you learn that really touched your heart?
That my power woman is my three year old ego-state because she had a big heart and even though she was so severely abused and neglected all her life she never lost her identity and was able to forgive people.  She can still love people and as an adult I am still an outgoing happy person.

What are you writing now?
 I am writing a book that goes into how to stop repeating destructive patterns that all of us with abuse feel compelled to repeat even though we know it isn’t good for us.  For me it is drinking 6-10 sodas a day and overeating to stay safe in my mind.  If I am obese then no one will notice me or hurt me.

What do you hope that your readers will take away from your book?
It is okay to be on medication to help control their Mental illness and they are strong for getting help and reliving their traumas so healing can occur.

How does faith play into your writing?
The only way I could have survived my childhood, adolescent and adulthood was that God was watching over me.  In my adult years, I thought for a long time I was being punished by God for living my teenage life the way I did.  Now, I know it was so I can help others who are suffering like I was to lead them to their healing journey and to get them to reach out for help without fear of the unknown.

What is your favorite book and why?
The Courage to Heal A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. Because it was the first book I read on my healing journey and it told me why certain things were happening to me.  I felt normal for once because I could identify with what they said about sexual trauma.

What are your hobbies other than writing?
I like to knit and cross stitch but haven’t done either one for a very long time.  My books are going to take up a lot of my time for years to come.

Why did you write your book?
I wrote the book because I felt after learning everything I have learned so far that if I had a book like mine to outline what my traumas were and then showed me the way  to heal I would have received help a lot sooner.

Also to find those who think they are alone and confirm that they are not alone.
More importantly find the ones who aren’t getting help because they think they are going crazy like I thought.  I want them to read my book and see themselves in me and then understand they are not crazy and hopefully they will reach out for help. 

Also for those who  have loved ones that want to understand their loved ones with mental illness such as PTSD, Conversion, or Somatization even others such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, etc.

I feel that veterans can learn from my book because my dad didn’t get help right away and this affected his parenting and was part of the neglect and discipline turned into abuse when his anger got out of control from his PTSD.

Do you have a blog or website?


Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Seach Review and Giveaway!

In the midst of a murder investigation in the heart of Amish country, one young policeman finds his heart led astray.
The serenity of the quiet Amish community of Marion, Kentucky, is disrupted when the body of Perry Borntrager is discovered in an abandoned well. Now the small town faces the first death by mysterious circumstances in more than twenty years, and Detective Luke Reynolds is brought in to help investigate. But before he can solve the crime, he faces unexpected feelings for Frannie, the Amish owner of the local bed-and-breakfast. Though they butt heads at first, Luke finds himself drawn to Frannie's bedside when she's injured in a kitchen accident.
Soon it becomes clear that Frannie knew Perry better than she let on . . . they'd been secretly courting when he disappeared.
Has Luke fallen for the very woman responsible for the crime?

About Shelly

Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Families of Honor, Seasons of Sugarcreek, and Sisters of the Heart series. She lives with her family in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time.
MY REVIEW
 I own and have read all of Shelley's books. I love them all but  The Secrets of Crittenden County series has been her best yet. I really hate that she left us hanging on who the killer is, now I have to wait until next month to read Found to find out.
I really think that this is a must read.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Interview and 2 book Giveaway!

How does faith play into your writing?
Everything in life involves faith, literally. It’s not an irrational belief that weak people grasp for strength. Relationships, career, marriage, and parenting are biggies but minor areas require trust in something—hope for what is unseen. Toddlers learn to walk believing it will be worth it; someone will provide support along the way; and eventually they will succeed. We smile at a stranger, fully expecting a connection. Our feelings hinge on reciprocation from someone who values us.
Somewhere along the way, we lose sight of the big picture and our dreams crash down. Myopia begins to paralyze us. We know there’s someone who can make a difference yet we’re consumed with trying to do everything ourselves. My plot is based on the truth of a person’s worth—from misguided attempts that result in struggles and despair—to God’s intricate plans of glorious success for each of His treasured creations. He longs for us to sail across the water, to stop groping with our oars in an attempt to row in stormy seas. In essence, it all comes back to simple faith. Is there really a deity who cares? Will my life be different if I include Him?
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen…so they are without excuse…Professing to be wise, they became fools...” Rom. 1:20-22
“God not only desires for us to know Him, but to believe Him.” Is 43:10
 
What is your favorite Bible verse?
An awesome Creator reached down to this lonely little girl years ago and scooped me up in His strong arms. My life was changed forever when Jesus became personally involved. We developed an intimate relationship as we walked and talked. Most days, He was the only friend I had to play with. Scripture influenced my thinking, actions, and choices as I grew but two verses were extra special!!!
“You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy.” Ps. 16:11
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4
 
Why did you choose this genre?
Everyone enjoys escaping from his or her occasionally boring, painful, or stress-filled life. That’s why we usually read books. Fairy tales are great for children; and adults often need an inspiring break when dealing with tough, real-life situations.
When my oldest children were three and one, I birthed twins. The roller coaster never seemed to stop. Watching people interact, while discussing various issues and building relationships, helped give me balance. Unfortunately, some acquaintances seemed confused and in desperate need of intervention. My heart was broken for friends who had no peace or joy. You can only offer so much helpful advice. However, some didn’t even want that yet kept buying self-help books. Some people urged me to write a book—intrigued with my positive focus and zest for living.
“Write the book you would like to read,” was emblazoned in my mind after my first writer’s conference. To spend time reading, without gleaning something meaningful to hang onto, seemed a waste. So inspirational fiction, mixing strong characters with an interesting plot while adding creative and practical insight and offering hope, became my goal.
 
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that really touched your heart?
I’ve always enjoyed hospitality and we owned a Bed & Breakfast for a few years in Texas, where I began to actively write my novels. Many delightful guests offered insights about their careers, what was significant in their homes, and shared assorted bits of intriguing information when they learned about my pursuits. The exchange of interesting tidbits—personalized by people that cared—rocketed me into my writing world with gusto. Our camaraderie gave me the impetus to go places I would never have dared alone. Brief comments often turned into amazing treasures! Some of my cherished friends even began to care about my make-believe characters, because they represented people in their lives. Love and reconciliation are powerful incentives. It still overwhelms me how certain pieces fit together as the stories evolved; and my heart was definitely impacted personally.
 
What is the most important thing you hope that your readers will take away from your books?
We long to feel valued and be a significant part of a whole yet the storms of life often leave us bruised and broken. No matter what the circumstances, remember that sailors aren’t made on smooth seas. Our responses to adversity show what we're really made of. Granny offered a godly legacy. Lisa's faith resulted in a wonderful future for herself and others. Treasure your family members, nurturing those difficult relationships if it becomes necessary. Love requires selfless giving and forgiveness. Most important, life takes on new meaning when you encounter the Creator personally and enjoy creation in the way He intends. He offers a fresh sunrise and sunset every single day—in addition to many other masterpieces of beauty meant to provide enjoyment. In the end, only one thing really matters.
 
What are you writing now?
I’m currently finishing a novel, Fina’s Dötter, based on my mother’s life—that she started fifty years ago. A child of immigrant parents, she was orphaned early and bravely survived harsh conditions and bitter winters in Upper Michigan before her sadness and discouragement as a teenager was changed into joy. Mama left a wonderful legacy of love and kindness when she died on May 31.
 
Do you have a blog or website?
My website is www.cindyjeanwilson.com where I blog and have additional information about my books.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What book has inspired you the most?

I would love for you to leave a comment letting me know what book has inspired you the most other than the Bible. Thank you to all of my faithful blog followers. I love you all very much!
                                                              

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review of The Struggle by Wanda Brunstetter




Welcome back to Kentucky, where an Amish couple from Lancaster County seeks a new future in the land of tomorrow. When Timothy Fisher decides to move his wife, Hannah, and daughter Mindy to Christian County, where two of his brothers now reside, Hannah is very reluctant to go. Will the new home Timothy builds for them there do anything to lift her spirits? When a tragic accident occurs, Timothy and Hannah are inconsolable. Is an abrupt separation the beginning of the end of their marriage, or will they rally to seize a God-given second chance?

MY REVIEW

I LOVE Wanda Brunstetter and I own every book that she has ever written so it was Great to get book number three in the Kentucky Brothers series The Struggle. I loved the book but was very sad about Mindy, my heart was heavy and I thought I was going stop reading and put the book up on the shelf as soon as I read about sweet Mindy. I am so glad I went on to read the rest of the story. This book had THE BEST ending I could have imagined; God is so good! Mrs. Brunstetter has done it again.  I can't wait to read her next book!



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Interview and Book Giveaway - The Love Stairway




How does your faith play into your writing?
It is a huge part of our writing.  It is actually the foundation of our writing.  Sheila and I find the scripture verse “Be still and know that I am God” in Psalm 46:10 to be a stepping stone of our works.  When we knew we wanted to write a book together, we began in prayer.  We took time to be still and know that God would speak to our hearts and guide our thinking for the flow of the book.  Like many women and mothers today, we both live very hectic lives and taking time out to be still is not on our To Do Lists.  But, it is hard to listen to God when our minds and our surroundings are so noisy and busy.  We had to make time and keep Christ at the center of our journey.  We had to take time to sit down, pray, and spend time with God to start to see words in our hearts come to life on paper.  If we had not relied on our faith, we believe the outcome of this book would have not lived up to its potential and we may not have received as many blessings from the work as we did. 

Why did you chose this genre?
It is who we are, what we know, and what we still want to become.  Inspirational and faith-filled books have surrounded both of us our entire lives.  We simply felt a calling to live out our dreams of writing books in this genre.  It just made sense to us, and it gave us a lot of joy to do so.

What is the most important thing that you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
The most important thing we hope our readers will get from our books is a personal discovery.  We hope they become inspired, encouraged and blessed by the words we write as well as to become motivated to make positive differences in their lives one step at a time.  Our mission in our writing together is to help others discover a balanced, joy-filled life by taking action and creating the life of their dreams while loving and serving the Lord.  We hope that readers will be uplifted and spiritually fed by our books. 

What is your favorite Bible verse?
In addition to Psalm 46:10, our favorite Bible verse is “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13  We have so many other favorites, but this verse gives us hope, courage, and humility.  When we go it alone, we fall.  Our focus must always be on Him while we surrender, trust, and believe!  There are so many ways we can allow our minds to doubt, fear, and tear ourselves down.  This verse dispels the insecurities and eliminates the excuses.  This verse gives us a desire to get up every day and take leaps of faith through our lives’ journey. 

Tell us your favorite part in your book The Love Stairway?
Our favorite part of “The Love Stairway” is Step 6: Serving.  There are two points in Step 6 that seem so common sense, yet we either easily take them for granted or overlook/push them aside in our busyness. The first point is “Building Relationships through Loving Service.”  In this section, we have bulleted 6 keys to building special relationships.  These keys are: 
  • Be others-focused
  • Be ALL there
  • Be Christ-seeking
  • Be a Want to Lover
  • Be Caring rather than Knowing
  • Be Quality-Minded rather than Quantity-Minded

The suggested actions given in each of these keys are simple and are thought to be easy to implement in a person’s daily life.  However, they may not be as simple to live out as they may seem, such as to “Be Christ-seeking.” This key reads, “Imagine that everyone you meet has a name badge or sign that reads, “I am Christ.”  How does your service to that person change “seeing” this sign?  The key “Be Quality-Minded rather than Quantity-Minded” reads, “Mother Teresa said, ‘It’s not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.’ She also says that ‘In this life we cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great love.’  We will not be measured by how many acts of service we do in our lifetime, but rather by how much love we gave into a particular service.”  If a person were to tweak their actions to include one or more of these keys, the rewards can be great in building meaningful and loving relationships.

The second point in Step 6 that is our favorite is the section titled, “Be a Turtle.”  Many of us may struggle with where to begin with our serving others with love.  We want to make a positive difference and we consider many possibilities to offer our gifts and talents.  We look to world-wide organizations or to our local church ministries.  There are so many places to help and serve.  The options are endless.  There are constant needs all around us.  Sometimes our thoughts first turn to outward venues where our service will please God in extraordinary ways.  And for some, this is exactly where God may be calling them to serve Him with love.   For others, it is not.  One place of service is not any more important than another place of service if it is done with sincere love.  In fact, we can sometimes overlook the one place that we can serve with great love.  This one place is wherever you are with the people nearest to you.  This is where “Be a Turtle” is explained. 

Be a turtle means to serve your home with love first and then take your home with you wherever you go.  Home is where we are.  Love makes a home.  God is love.  Therefore, God makes a home, which is where we are.  Simply put, we are like a turtle.  We carry our home with us everywhere we go.  God is our home, so we take him everywhere we go.    But do we?  

Today, our family unit can be viewed as weakening and tearing apart for various reasons such as abusive relationships and addictive habits as well as infidelity and divorce.  Other increasing reasons can be a lack of respect and a lack of introduction of a relationship with God.  Another reason can be attributed to our leaving our “turtle shell” in the garage, cabinet, closet or other out-of-the-way spot where we can easily forget about it.  We may be a person with great loving and faithful intentions who simply overlooks some basic relationship building actions.   We get too busy trying to serve others all around us that we take for granted our service to those nearest to us, and we take for granted that we are serving them with sincere love. 

We may go to church, but leave Christ in the pews.  We may be nice to strangers, but be quick to snap at our loved ones or ignore them.  We may do good and spread God’s love in one place, but not in another.  The idea of “being a turtle” means to become one with God and allow God to be visible everywhere you go and in all that you do.  The more we can live out the other prior 5 steps (Receiving, Forgiving, Accepting, Living Gratitude, and Falling in Love With God), the more we will be able to serve another person with sincere love and take God everywhere we go!  

 


As you researched your book did you learn anything that really touched your heart?
We both thought we were writing a book to help others experience love in greater capacities in their lives.  We immediately learned that we were receiving lessons!  The book was helping us in very personal ways!  We learned that we needed to live out the 8 Steps in our lives on a daily basis.  We thought we were already living them out, but while putting the book together, we realized that we needed to apply the words consistently in our lives and not just put them on paper for someone else to read.  The scripture verses, the phrases, the stories, and the prayers were jumping out at us in ways we had not felt before. 

What is your favorite book?
We have so many!  Ones that come to mind are “Jesus, CEO” by Laurie Beth Jones, “The Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn, “The Coffee Mom’s Devotional” by Celeste Palermo, and “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young.  But, now, we have to say that “The Love Stairway” has become our favorite! 

What are you writing now?
We have written the Workbook to “The Love Stairway,” but we have yet to get into printed form.  We have it available via PDF file on a CD or we can email it to the customer.  As we were putting together “The Love Stairway,” other book ideas kept coming up, so we have a long list of future inspirational books!