Friday, October 31, 2014

BECOMING BEA By @LeslieJeanGould | Kindle Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Leslie Gould is back with the latest book, Becoming Bea (based on Much Ado about Nothing), in her Shakespeare-inspired series, The Courtships of Lancaster County. Don't miss the other books in the series, Courting Cate (retelling of The Taming of the Shrew), Adoring Addie (inspired by Romeo and Juliet), and Minding Molly (inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Leslie is celebrating the series with a Kindle giveaway and a Facebook party on November 11th.

becomingbea-400

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy each of the entire The Courtships of Lancaster County series: Courting CateAdoring Addie, Minding Molly, and Becoming Bea.
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 11/11. Winner will be announced at Leslie's 11/11 Becoming Bea Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Leslie and Amish fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!


BecomingBea_mck.indd

{MORE ABOUT BECOMING BEA}


The Courtships of Lancaster County series
Can Bea and Ben Turn Rivalry Into Romance?
Beatrice Zook knows God wants her to learn patience toward others. When assisting a family overwhelmed by triplets proves surprisingly successful, her confidence in dealing with others, both young and old, grows.
One person she’ll never be able to find peace with though is Ben Rupp. They’ve known each other forever, and Ben understands precisely how to antagonize her. What neither she nor Ben will admit is that beneath all their bickering, attraction awaits. When friends decide to try and bring the couple together, will the pair be able to find true love? Or will they damage their relationship beyond repair?
Leslie Gould

{MORE ABOUT LESLIE GOULD}


Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller “The Amish Midwife,” a 2012 Christy Award winner; ECPA bestseller “Courting Cate,” first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and “Beyond the Blue,” winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She and her familyl live in Portland, Oregon.Learn more at www.lesliegould.com.
Find out more about Leslie at www.lesliegould.com.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

New book from the illustrator of The Beginner’s Bible brings rhyme and humor to story time

An interview with Kelly Pulley,
author of Treasury of Bible Stories

Q: Who was the Treasury of Bible Stories written for and what are some of the best ways parents can use the book within the home? Can Bible class teachers use it too?

I’ve illustrated many children’s Bible storybooks over the years; most are for toddlers or early readers. Treasury of Bible Stories, however, was created primarily for more advanced readers (4-8 years). It’s meant to be fun and entertaining, yet it follows the original Bible stories very closely; it has no made-up characters or talking animals, etc., and the stories all have clear messages. So, yes, I think it could be a very useful tool for church or at-home Bible classes.

Q: You’re a well-known illustrator, having done the art for the most recent release of The Beginner’s Bible, which sold 1.5 million copies. How did you transition from being a graphic designer to illustrator and writer?

I had a lull in illustration projects so I thought it would be a good idea to try something new during my down time. Writing children’s stories was an obvious choice since I was already illustrating them, but I had no idea if I could write a decent story or not. I’d never tried. My first attempt was Food for a Fish. I showed it to my publisher, and she liked it! That was in 2008.

Q: Why is it so important for parents to make sure their children are getting a steady diet of Bible stories?

As we get older and busier it gets harder and harder to find/make time to read our Bibles. At least that’s what I’ve found in my life. Getting in the habit of reading our Bibles as early as possible seems to me to be a good idea. And when something is fun for kids, they will more likely want to do it.

Q: Treasury of Bible Stories has been called “The Bible . . . if it were written by Dr. Seuss.” Has his work been an inspiration for you?

Yes, definitely. When I was in grade school, and I was in the school library, I would always head straight to the Dr. Seuss books. I loved the rhyming stories and the fantastical illustrations. I still do. It’s not that I try to make my stories sound “Dr. Seuss-like,” but I enjoy writing in the same meter he usually used. It works well for longer, more complex stories.

Q: Do you think the cadence of the rhyming in this book will help children remember the stories better?

The stories are a lot of fun to read, not only because of the rhyme and meter, but also because of word plays and the wacky pictures. I think because they are so fun, they will be reread over and over, which will help them to be remembered.

Q: In our world of slick marketing and non-stop stimulation, kids are more media-savvy than ever. How will Treasury of Bible Stories hold their attention? Why does using it as a bedtime storybook work well?

The illustrations in Treasury of Bible Stories are more contemporary and the stories more entertaining than most Bible storybooks. The stories are long enough to get the entire story and message in without dragging on and on. Most of the stories take around ten minutes to read. Just long enough for an end-of-the-day wind-down.

Q: Kids love repetition — but all parents have had a moment where they’ve thought they cannot read a particular book to their children one more time. Why won’t parents mind picking this book up night after night?

I have four kids, so you know I’ve been there! I must admit, I’ve tried hiding books or skipping pages to get through them faster . . . that never worked! I think the writing is clever enough to make them enjoyable for adults as well as children. I still like them, but I doubt that counts.

Q: How did you decide which Bible stories went into this book?

I started out with the most popular stories: Noah, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Whale and the story of the Nativity. The stories leading up to and including Christ’s death and resurrection were a must. For the rest I chose the most interesting stories with a good message that brought to mind the best images for illustrations. A good story should stand without illustrations but also work with only illustrations and no words.

Q: Which story in Treasury of Bible Stories is your favorite?

I have two favorites. One is “A Shout for the Lord (The Convincing Story of Gideon’s Doubt).” I like it because it has a lot going on (it has action and soldiers and such), but also because I can relate to Gideon. Many times I’ve felt God leading me, but I doubted I was the right guy for the job. My wife has warned me more than once that I was thinking like Gideon.


My other favorite story is “He Has Risen!” It’s the last story in the book and the last one I wrote. Sometimes during the writing process the right word or phrase will just pop into my head without any thought at all, as though it were a gift from God. This story has many gifts in it!

Read more about Treasury of Bible Stories by clicking here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Judith Miller to introduce new series to readers via web event

 Click here for giveaway!

Author to host a Facebook party on November 4
to celebrate release of The Brickmaker’s Bride

Author Judith Miller invites readers to join her to celebrate the release of The Brickmaker’s Bride (Bethany House Publishers/October 7, 2014/ISBN 978-0764212550/$14.99) on November 4 at 8:00 PM EST when she hosts a live Facebook party. The online event is a part of the launch of Miller’s Refined by Love series set in West Virginia in the years following the Civil War.

“I’m excited about the prospect of sharing this new series with readers,” Miller shares. “The Refined by Love series is near and dear to my heart because it is set in West Virginia where I have lots of family ties. I look forward to visiting with readers about the post-Civil-War era and the professions I’ve featured in the series. I can’t wait to get some fun dialogue going!”

During the Facebook party, Miller will talk to readers about The Brickmaker’s Bride, introduce the Refined by Love series and answer questions submitted by participants. Throughout the hour, readers will also have an opportunity to interact with other fans and answer trivia about the book. Participants in the conversation will be eligible for prizes, including copies of Miller’s books and gift cards. At the end of the webcast, the winner of a Kindle Fire HDX will be announced. The Kindle giveaway is being held in conjunction with blog tour for The Brickmaker’s Bride, being coordinated by Litfuse Publicity Group during the three weeks leading up to the webcast.

“We are really excited to share The Brickmaker’s Bride with readers. It’s been getting great advanced praise, including a starred review from Library Journal that calls it ‘a must read,’” said Noelle Buss, fiction marketing manager at Bethany House. “Beyond the book, Judy is such a delightful and funny person. I am sure readers will be cracking up as they learn more about her and her writing during the party.”

Booklist describes The Brickmaker’s Bride as “written with an elegance that reflects the social graces of the time. Readers will enjoy intriguing themes of personal, professional, and spiritual integrity; prejudice; and caring for those in need.”  

The author chat for The Brickmaker’s Bride will be hosted on Miller’s Facebook page. Leading up to the party, readers can RSVP for the event and sign up to receive an email reminder. From October 16 – November 4, fans can also enter the contest for the Kindle Fire HDX via the author’s Facebook page


About The Brickmaker’s Bride:

In the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it's Ewan's job to get the company up and running again.

Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he'll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?

About the Refined by Love series:

The Refined by Love series is a family saga that follows Ewan McKay and his family from Northern Ireland to the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia after the Civil War. Determined to carve a new life, the family faces myriad obstacles as they begin to forge a living from the rich clay of the West Virginia hillsides. Their personal, professional, and spiritual integrity are tested as they encounter financial failure and family betrayal in the midst of blossoming love.
  
About Judith Miller:

Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. When time permits, Judy enjoys traveling, visiting historical settings and scrapbooking the photographs from her travel expeditions. She makes her home in Topeka, Kansas.
  

Readers can learn more about Miller and her books at www.judithmccoymiller.com, by becoming a fan on Facebook (authorjudithmiller) or by following her on Twitter (JudithMiller18).


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Doctor ministers to Peru's poorest


Doctor finds proof of God’s

existence in the highlands of Peru

Dr. Klaus-Dieter John founds first-class hospital
serving some of the world’s poorest people

Imagine being medically trained at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world — Harvard and Yale — and turning your back on a lucrative medical career in private practice to care for the poor. As Klaus-Dieter John writes in his book, I Have Seen God (Monarch Books/November 27, 2014/ISBN: 978-0857215741/$16.99), it was a dream he had since he was a young child, growing up in Germany. In high school, John met his future wife, Martina, who shared a similar dream to become a missionary doctor. After medical school, the Johns set out to fulfill their goal. “We shared exactly the same vision for our future,” John shares. “We wanted to get the best medical training available and then work as missionary doctors for the rest of our lives.”

John’s journey took his family around the world, including stops in Ghana, South Africa and Ecuador, before settling in the highlands of Peru where he founded the Diospi Suyana Hospital. He has written I Have Seen God to tell the world about the miracles God is doing in this top-quality health facility serving the Indians of the Peruvian Andes.

Descended from the ancient Incas, the Quechua make up approximately 40 percent of Peru’s population but have largely been either neglected or exploited by authorities for centuries. The majority of them lives in abject poverty, without windows, doors, running water, electricity or sewage systems. As a result, they have a significantly reduced life expectancy.

The healing that comes from the state-of-the-art medical care isn’t the only miracle seen at the hospital, which serves 150 patients a day. If faith can move mountains, it can also shake wallets and transform hearts; astonishingly, more than 50,000 private individuals and 180 companies from around the globe have donated more than $21 million to this work. Patients only contribute to about 20 percent of operating costs, can attend daily church services and while they’re seated in the waiting rooms will most likely catch the Jesus Film on TVs.

I Have Seen God explains how the hospital, whose name is translated into the Quecha language as “we trust in God,” has overcome the mire of bureaucracy and united Catholics and Protestants in one love for God and their fellow people. The ministry also reaches beyond the walls of the hospital — with a dental clinic and teams that go into the villages to mentor and teach children.

John believes the stories told in I Have Seen God have the power to change lives, including his own. “When I was a medical student I would wonder whether God was real or if it was just wishful thinking. One night I shouted at the top of my voice, ‘God where are you?  I want to see you!’ In the history of our hospital, God has become very visible to me and to the hundreds of thousands of people who have heard the story.” John hopes readers will close the covers of his book more convinced than ever in the truth of a living God.


About the Author

Dr. Klaus-Dieter John grew up in Germany and met and fell in love with his wife, Martina, during his term as high school class president. The two bonded over the strong call they felt to obtain medical degrees in order to serve the medical needs of the poorest of the poor.

Dr. John began medical school in Germany, eventually completing his surgical training at Harvard and Yale in the U.S., as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. Martina was trained in both Germany and the U.S. and is now a certified pediatrician in both countries.

Their medical missions work took them from Ghana to Ecuador, eventually bringing them to Peru, where they helped found the ministry Diospi Suyana in August of 2002. The main goal of Diospi Suyana was to maintain an interdenominational mis­sion hospital, which was opened in the highlands of Peru in 2005. The ministry also operates a dental clinic, a school and a children’s ministry in Curahuasi, Peru.


For more information about Klaus-Dieter John and the work of the Diospi Suyana Hospital, visit www.diospi-suyana.de


Monday, October 27, 2014

THE BACHELOR By Stephanie Reed | Kindle Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Don't miss Stephanie Reed's newest book in the Plain City Peace series, The Bachelor. This compelling second book deftly weaves together the strands of a solid, simpler time with the turmoil of an era of change, revealing the strengths of both in its powerful narrative.

Join Stephanie in celebrating the book's release by entering her Kindle giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook launch party on October 28th!

The Bachelor, Stephanie Reed

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bachelor by Stephanie Reed
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 11/9. RSVP for the Facebook launch party today for a chance to connect with Stephanie and Amish fiction fans and a chance to win some great prizes! Winner will be announced November 10th here.

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The-Bachelor, Stephanie Reed

{MORE ABOUT THE BACHELOR}


A Plain City Peace book, (Kregel Publications, October 2014)
In this sequel to The Bargain, Betsie Troyer is back home in her Amish community where she knows she belongs, free from the confusing Englisher way of life.
She and Charley Yoder have made promises to each other, and her life is back on track–until Gerald Sullivan shows up with his young daughter, asking for Betsie’s help. He’s on his way to find his estranged wife, and begs Betsie to take young Sheila in. When she agrees, Betsie’s carefully planned life is shaken up again. Sheila’s newfound faith is troubling to Charley–and his attraction to another girl is beginning to be a problem. But how can Betsie confront him when she is still trying to confront her own feelings about Sheila’s brother, Michael? Keeping the peace between the Amish man she’s always loved, a twelve-year-old Englisher girl, and a draft-dodging hippie is more than she ever thought she’d have to deal with in her simple, orderly life. Still, Betsie is convinced she can keep things from falling apart completely. Then during her best friend’s wedding, tragedy strikes and her world is upended. She has to make a decision: does she love Charley or Michael . . . or is she craving a deeper love that only God can give?
The compelling second novel of the Plain City Peace series, The Bachelor deftly weaves together the strands of a solid, simpler time with the turmoil of an era of change, revealing the strengths of both in its powerful narrative.

Stephanie Reed

{MORE ABOUT STEPHANIE REED}


Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio, as she did for her previous books, “Across the Wide River” and “The Light Across the River.”
Find out more about Stephanie at www.facebook.com/StefReedBooks.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

O How I Love Jesus

This has become one of the favorites of the fourth grade kids.


Oh How I Love Jesus

(girls) Oh, boys, do you love Jesus?
(boys) Oh, yes, we love Jesus?
(girls) Are you sure you love Jesus?
(boys) Yes, we’re sure we love Jesus.
(girls) Tell us why we love Jesus.
(boys) This is why we love Jesus.
(everyone together) Because he first loved me.

Oh, how I love Jesus
Oh, how I love Jesus
Oh, how I love Jesus
Because he first loved me.

Can also alternate between teacher and kids and insert each child's name in.



Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Fire phone experience lasted about 36-48 hours

 It just screams "buy me!"
It just screams, "buy me!"
When Amazon came out with their Fire phone a few months ago, I kind of wanted to try it and find out what it's 6 cameras did. At the introductory price of $649, I wasn't that curious though.

When prices dropped to 99 cents about a month or so ago, I was drooling. Alas, my two year contract wasn't up.

Since then, my poor refurbished 8 gig HTC One X was on life support. During the day I would have to plug it in at my desk to keep it charged. I deleted lots of pictures to give it room. I installed a lot of apps. How did I ever function at less than 8 gigs? When I got it, that was great!

I had it marked on my calendar. October 23. I can upgrade on October 23.

Thursday I was all pumped to order my Fire phone with its Mayday button (I should have tried it), Firefly technology (whatever that actually does for you - my computer, TV and satellite radio tell me what I'm watching and listening to already), and dynamic perspective (which some reviews claimed to cause motion sickness).

I can sideload Google apps I told myself. I can live without them, maybe, I tried to convince myself.

I couldn't wait to finish my work day to play with my phone. AT&T had made it so easy to transfer contacts. The easiest move ever, or so I thought.

Here it is Saturday night, and I plan on calling Customer Care before I go to church in the morning and take advantage of the 14 day buyer's remorse clause in my contract.

I promise the reviews were not this bad when I started seriously considering buying it.

I want to chunk the stupid phone at something.

Why? Well, I'll share...

  • The screens freeze a lot. In middle of doing normal things. Turn off the screen. Turn it back on. Start all over of finding what you were trying to do.
  • You cannot delete multiple people out of the contact lists. One app did supposedly, but everyone I follow on Twitter shows up when I scroll thru to find someone to call.
  • Deleting 2000 people one at a time is necessary for above prob because the book is so huge it won't download to my car's Bluetooth to be able to hands free call. I practically fell asleep on the couch after the repetitive action of deleting out the extras of A-K.
  • Every time you get in the car it starts beeping when it connects to Bluetooth. Once is fine to know your connected, but the random beeps? What's all that for?
  • There's no easy way to pin apps for easy access that I figured out off the bat. Or to rearrange to put them somewhere you can find them quicker.
  • There are too many steps to check to see if you have notifications if you turn the sound off. I can't handle the thing beeping all the time, but I don't want to go through numerous steps for visual notification. 
  • While technically an Android, Amazon has it's own app store, and they do not have all the apps. 
  • It times out about half the time when looking up a web page. Especially when looking for apps you can't get in the Amazon store. 
  • You are supposed to be able to sideload Google apps not in the Amazon app store. You know, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps. Those things I use often. I haven't been successful in doing anything without being routed through the Google Play store. The Fire doesn't like the store and store won't recognize the phone.
  • Instagram won't recognize my Twitter account even after changing my Twitter password. 
  • I don't need to see Candy Crush recommendations as I scroll across most used apps because it's consumer focused with recommendations under every icon. Buy this, buy that, buy all Amazon. STOP IT!
  • I like the Firefly feature in theory, but it's not necessary. I didn't actually use it to recognize anything. 
  • The dynamic perspective is cool. Tilt this way, tilt that. Swivel your wrist. But that gets old quick. 
  • It's taking some getting used to trying to swipe from bottom to top instead of hitting a back button. 
  • I still haven't figured out the purpose of 5 forward facing cameras, but you can do panoramic shots. I didn't take a panoramic of myself or a room of my house... It takes better pictures than my old phone.
I'm not willing to waste any more time on it. I want my Google apps and easier ways to find my apps and get my notifications. I'm not adaptable this time. And I usually like figuring out new electronics.

The worst part? Amazon is going to soon figure out that I returned my phone and they are going to revoke my Amazon Prime Membership!

I've only used it once to order a cover for the phone. And now, when it arrives tomorrow, I'm going to have to send the stupid cover back too!


Friday, October 24, 2014

New Regency from @SarahLaddAuthor AND a Kindle HDX giveaway!

Award-winning author Sarah E. Ladd examines how to escape the clutches of a tainted past in the final installment of her Whispers on the Moor series. A Regency-era novel, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall cleverly shows that even though our pasts may be shameful or painful, God can take the darkest personal histories and turn them into the brightest futures.

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Celebrate with Sarah by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 2nd. Winner will be announced November 3rd here.

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A Lady at Willowgrove, Sarah Ladd

{MORE ABOUT A LADY AT WILLOWGROVE HALL}


Whispers on the Moors series
Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness.
His secret traps him in a life that is not his own.
Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could strip away everything she holds dear. But soon after accepting the position of lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years.
Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own – one that has haunted him from birth and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breath a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to find his own way in the world. He’ll never be free to fall in love.
When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and build a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long suffered?
Sarah Ladd

{MORE ABOUT SARAH LADD}


Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. “The Heiress of Winterwood” was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance and a finalist in the Debut Author category of the 2014 Carol Awards. The second book in the series, “The Headmistress of Rosemere” (2013), was on the ECPA best-seller list for several months. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.
Find out more about Sarah at www.sarahladd.com.

Read more about A Lady at Willowgrove Hall here.
Also, search this blog for more about the first two books in the series, The Headmistress of Rosemere and The Heiress of Winterwood!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

“Too Loved to be Lost” Kindle HDX Giveaway and Facebook Party with Debora Coty!

In our world a woman’s acceptance so often seems contingent on her looks, behavior, or talents. This can lead to fearing loss of acceptance, trying to outperform one another, and a warped view God as a ruthless, judgmental, stern entity just waiting for us to crash and burn. Debora M. Coty's new book, Too Loved to Be Lost: Discovering God’s Intentional, Unconditional, Without-Limits Loveoffers women simple, practical steps for finding healing, security, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith.

Celebrate being "Too Loved" by entering Debora Coty's HDX giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 6th.


tooloved-400

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Too Loved to Be Lost by Debora Coty
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 6th. Winner will be announced at the Too Loved to Be Lost Facebook author event on 11/6. Join author Debora Coty for a humorous and encouraging evening centered around God's unconditional love. Debora will be hosting a fun chat, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at her next book, and much more!

So grab your copy of Too Loved to be Lost and join Debora and friends on the evening of November 6th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

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Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

Too Loved to be Lost pk

{MORE ABOUT TOO LOVED TO BE LOST}


In Too Loved to Be Lost (Barbour Books, October 2014), you’ll find simple, practical steps for healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith. Whether you’re struggling with issues related to trust, depression, patience, relationships, hurts, or hopes. . .this humor-filled volume will deliver a much-needed smile and equip you with simple-to-implement tips for attaining the kind of guidance and belonging you crave—the kind that can only be found in the unconditional love of Papa God.

Debora Coty

{MORE ABOUT DEBORA COTY}


Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, columnist, lifelong Bible student, internationally published freelance writer, and award-winning author of numerous books, including “Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” and “More Beauty, Less Beast.” She’s also an orthopedic occupational therapist, writing instructor, and tennis addict. Mother of two grown children, Debora lives and loves in central Florida with her husband, Chuck, and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway.
Find out more about Debora at http://deboracoty.com/

Read more about Too Loved to Be Lost here!



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Robin Caroll talks about her latest, Hidden in the Stars

An interview with Robin Caroll,
Author of Hidden in the Stars


Where do you turn when a dream you’ve cherished in your heart for your entire life is completely shattered? In her new release, Hidden in the Stars (Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press/September 16, 2014/ISBN:9781426773600/$13.99), Robin Caroll introduces us to a young woman who must find the strength to continue living after losing everything she cares about.

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer — still at large — silence her forever?

Q: Tell us about the main thread or theme that runs through Hidden in the Stars.

The strength of the familial bond is the strongest thread in the story, but another theme would be the sacrifices we make for the people we love.

Q: How important to you is the faith element in your stories?

I never “plot” the faith element of my books in advance. I always pray for God to show me the spiritual arc for the characters, and then I let it grow organically from the characters as I interview and write them. Sometimes I’m lucky and the arc is apparent in the beginning of the story — sometimes it doesn’t become clear until near the end (that’s usually when God’s using my own story to teach me something or refine something in me). It’s my job to put that on the page with realism, but not beat anyone over the head.

Q: The main character in Hidden in the Stars, Sophia, loses not only the person she loved the most in life, but also her dream of becoming an Olympic gymnast. What can readers learn from how she manages this loss?

So often we begin to believe our dreams define who we are. What we do becomes our identifier. I wanted to portray a character who had worked hard for something all her life — something her mother had sacrificed much to help her attain — yet she had it snatched away with no hope of reclaiming it. I think we (myself included) sometimes need to realize we are, first and foremost, a child of God and not a dream or a goal.

Q: Sophia suffers a brutal attack, and the criminal remains at-large, leaving her feeling vulnerable and afraid. We all face moments in life when we feel that way, even if the events in our lives vary. Where do you go for strength in those times?

God. Yes, I have family members who are loving and supportive and encouraging and helpful. Yes, I have friends who are there for me through thick and thin. But when it comes down to brass tacks, as my grandmother used to say, God is my source of strength, comfort and peace.

Q: Why is it so challenging to forgive people who have hurt us?

Because we’re human and our initial reaction is based on our own thoughts and feelings. When we’re hurt, we don’t WANT to forgive. Sometimes, at least for me, the choice to forgive is more about wanting to be obedient to God and wanting to keep that pain from clawing at me.

Q: The attack left Sophia without a voice — is this a metaphor in any way?

Yes. When we’re attacked — physically, mentally or spiritually — we often feel like we aren’t heard . . . that our cries for help fall on deaf ears.

Q: Which character in the book do you identify with the most and why?

Sophia. She was strong and determined and wouldn’t let her attack and the murder of the one person she loved the most stop her from living a good life.

Q: Tell us about the quilt in Hidden in the Stars.  How does it play a role in solving this mystery?

The quilt itself was made from the costumes of Sophia’s mother, Nina. It’s like a large declaration of her life’s ballet work. Once the police get the quilt, they determine it holds the key to solving the mystery and the murder.

Q: Tell us a little more about the Quilt of Love series and how you became involved in it.

As a young girl, my family lived in the country. We didn’t have many friends close enough during the winter where we could just hop on our bikes and ride down to a neighbor’s house. During those lonelier times, my mother taught me how to quilt. I will always associate quilts with the strength of the mother-daughter bond. When I heard about the Quilts of Love series, I wanted to be a part of it.

Q: How have you seen the Lord’s hand in your writing career, whether it be open doors, prayer partners, etc.? 

I’d spent many, many months studying the craft and learning as much as I could. After finally getting up the nerve to start the submission process, I found myself faced with rejection slips, one after the other. I was extremely blessed to have strong critique/prayer partners who encouraged me, but I also had a mentor who pushed me and helped me develop the ability to separate my writing from myself as a person.

One day, fully frustrated and on the verge of tears, I prayed the scary prayer: that if writing wasn’t what He called me to do, then I’d walk away from it, but He’d have to remove the desire from my heart because I wasn’t strong enough to do it myself. I was lucky enough to get my first contract not too long after that, but I truly was willing to walk away if that’s what He told me to do. It was really scary because, for me at least, writing was, in my mind, tied to my identity. I learned that writing, while important to me and I love it, is still what I do, not who I am. I love being an author, but I’m also so much more: wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, etc.

Q: Do you ever hear from readers about how they have been touched by reading your books?

I hope each of my books brings glory and honor to God. Some of the reader mail I’ve received has put me in tears of praise for being allowed to share stories with readers. For instance, one reader wrote me after reading one of my books and thanked me for showing that it was possible to reconcile with God after being angry with Him. It truly blesses me for God to use me in such a way.

Q: What is the one thing you hope your readers will walk away with when they close the cover of Hidden in the Stars?

I hope they will feel they were entertained, but also they will be reminded that no matter what their circumstances, what the Enemy means for evil, God will turn to good.

For more information about Robin Caroll and her books, visit her online home at www.robincaroll.com. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.


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