Monday, April 14, 2014

Emily T. Wierenga’s A Promise in Pieces reveals how love conquers loss


 God mends the most broken of hearts
Emily T. Wierenga’s A Promise in Pieces reveals how love conquers loss

God has a way of piecing together His promises in ways we would never expect. In her debut novel, A Promise in Pieces (Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press/April 15, 2014/ISBN: 9781426758850/$13.99), Emily T. Wierenga presents the story of two women who met under the worst of circumstances but were able to turn their grief into healing for those they came into contact with.

After nursing school, Clara Wilson feels the call of freedom pull her away from both her small town and the watchful eye of her strict parents. In the midst of World War II, Clara and her best friend, Eva, see the hurt in the eyes of those who have already lost loved ones in the war. Hoping to save the lives of more soldiers, the two join the Army Nurse Corps and soon find themselves in Normandy.

Once the war is over, Clara must fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish: convey his love to his young widow, Mattie, by delivering his last letter with apologies for the missed life they planned to share. Struggling with her own post-war trauma, Clara doesn’t think she is prepared to handle the grief of this broken family. After meeting Mattie and receiving a baby quilt that will never cuddle the soldier’s hoped-for child, Clara vows to honor the sacrifices that family made.

When Clara returns to her hometown, she settles into life as a midwife. She wraps each newborn in the gifted quilt and later stitches the child’s name into the cloth. As each baby is welcomed by the quilt, Clara begins to wonder whatever happened to Mattie — and if either of them will ever experience love and a family of her own.  Having witnessed so much loss, Clara fears marriage and motherhood most of all. Little does Clara know what God has in store for her or the importance of the quilt in the lives of those it touches. Years later, she will have the opportunity to re-gift the special quilt, carrying even greater significance than when it was first bestowed.

“I connect with Clara, who is a very broken person,” says Wierenga. “She’s a pastor’s daughter who, like me, was disillusioned about religion and desperate to encounter God for herself. I too needed to get away from home in order to realize that God had been there the whole time. My relationship with God was restored upon returning home to care for my mum. I’ve also battled infertility and miscarriage and could relate to Clara’s fear of loss.”

Wierenga hopes in reading A Promises in Pieces that readers will find the courage to love, especially if loss and fear have been standing in their way. “God mends the most broken of hearts and places the lonely in families.”

Readers can join Wierenga and fellow Quilts of Love authors for a live Facebook author chat in July. Watch for details on the Quilts of Love Facebook Page.
  

About the Quilts of Love Series

The premise of the Quilts of Love series is that quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family history. Featuring contemporary and historical romances, as well as Amish fiction, women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery, readers are drawn into the endearing characters and touched by their stories.

A special tradition the Quilts of Love authors have instituted with each release is the donation of a quilt to their chosen charity or individual in need. Emily T. Wierenga will be giving her quilt to Destiny Villages of Hope—an orphanage funded by World Help Organization—which she and her husband are planning to adopt from. World Help is a ministry focused on meeting people’s physical needs by providing humanitarian, medical and education assistance, ensuring access to clean water and attending to their spiritual needs by providing Bibles and establishing churches in as many communities as possible. Wierenga is a blogger for World Help and recently traveled with a team to Rwanda and Uganda.

Keep up with the Quilts of Love series online at: 

About the Author

Emily T. Wierenga is a former editor, ghostwriter, freelance writer and staff journalist. She was a monthly columnist for The Christian Courier and has written for numerous Christian publications including Focus on the Family, In Touch and Today’s Christian Woman. Wierenga is the author of three previously released non-fiction titles: Save My Children: The Story of a Father's Love, Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy. Her memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I thought to Look, will release July 1, 2014. A Promise in Pieces is her first novel.

In July 2013, Wierenga wrote a letter on her blog to Kate Middleton on the postpartum body. The post went viral, receiving more than half a million views in one week, and was shared by Dove. Currently, Wierenga is a blogger for the World Help Organization

Wierenga speaks at women’s retreats, universities, churches and conferences, about her journey with anorexia nervosa and was one of the keynote speakers at the premiere Christian eating disorders conference, Hungry for Hope 2013. She serves as an Official Ambassador for FINDINGbalance and is a Navigator with the National Eating Disorders Association.

Wierenga is wife to a math-teacher husband and mother and foster mother to four boys. The Wierengas make their home in Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada.

For more information about Emily Wierenga and her books, visit her online home at www.emilywierenga.com. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thou shalt not slaughter

We always go off topic on Sunday mornings. And I mean way off track. Way. Off. Track. This week, one of the boys (Nate) brought up a cow having broken its back and being slaughtered (hamburger). That drifted over to conversation about the recent youth expo and how Grant was not happy about having to give up his pig. Let's just say Nate and I did not help matters (ham, bacon...). I am a terrible person, this I know. Grant got beyond upset, and for that reason alone, I was thankful Peyton wasn't there or she may have too. Or may have made it worse.

I missed her terribly because she's my loudest girl singer seeing as you have to strain to ever hear Macie. You hear me on "Living by Faith" which we did this week because we talked more about faith and we practiced it last week.


Since I upset him, I let Grant sing his song of choice. Complete with his old man country twang accent. I really don't know what was up with that.

 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

It was even worse than I anticipated

I made good on my promise to try to make it by the two dealerships I had been emailing with today.

It was an absolutely frustrating, depressing, infuriating experience.

After Peyton's three back-to-back-to-back games, I took Paige to meet her friends at the mall and helped her buy softball cleats. I made a quick detour through Hobby Lobby where I found fabric to make cushion covers for my bench - you're going to love it when I show you pictures. Except I don't know who I'm going to be able to pay to make them for me yet. I don't think I can pull off sewing this tapestry fabric, but it's really cool and matches the other stuff I have around the bench already.

At the Jeep dealership, I finally got to see the color blue I thought I was interested in. I don't know that I'm not interested in it now, but I thought the interior was going to be lighter. The guy I had been emailing was busy, so I got a back-up guy. We went on a test drive, I filled out some information, then I just wasn't feeling right about how the guy kept wondering around back and forth while getting my trade-in appraised and such. And I was really, really thirsty from being wind-blown and sunburned at the softball games. I just wasn't comfortable with the whole thing.

I considered it a sign from the Almighty when the electricity went out. I really did. It gave me an escape that they didn't have computers available to run numbers and try to talk me into anything. I told them they could email me with more information. Thankfully, I only gave them my home phone number. I'll get back to that in a minute.

From there, I went on to the Hyundai dealership that Dad and I stopped at the week before. As I pulled up, there had to be at least 7 salesmen out front, and the one woman came up to me. Once I got inside and said I had emailed the sales manager about my trade-in, they actually pulled in the salesman I had spoken to the week before as well. I got tagged teamed with the man and woman.

When I first arrived, I told them what I wanted to test drive. I wanted a sport turbo or a V6. Not the 4 cylinder. My mom has a 4, and that's the one major thing I don't like about her Santa Fe. My Jeep is a V6 and I don't want to go down unless it is the turbo boost.

It seemed like it took forever to put me in the computer and get my query sheet together. They went off to get my trade-in appraisal - which I tell everyone straight up is major factor in the whole deal. Finally, when I get to drive a car, they put me in the 4 that I already told them I didn't want.

I much preferred the turbo sport, but the only thing was... the car was white and after 10 years, I don't want white again regardless of the fact this white has sparkles in it. Regardless of how much resale value it has. I do not know what color I actually want I tell them because I cannot tell what color blue their blue is by the printed tiny color chip. However, this is a major speed bump for me.

Anyway, when I first get started, I tell them (this is the third time I've gone through this) what I want my payment to be. What I want to get in trade. This is where I need to be. These are my numbers.

They come back out at least $50 more a month than I say, and it's a big deal because I thought my number was pretty high as it was. Defeated, I just stare at it. They tell me what a great deal it is. I tell them, it's not happening.

So, they go back and forth, and like last week, we play this game three or four times. They give you a pen. You write down and initial your terms this time. You write the dreaded word TODAY so that the bosses will know you are serious and it isn't just the salesman making it up.

No matter how many times you tell them it won't happen today, they try to wear you down. And down. And down. This time, they got the numbers close and proclaim they aren't making anything - in fact, they are losing money. Like I believe that. I ask what I'd be getting if I got that "end of the month" deal they were pushing on me on March 31. On the last day of the month I heard talk of taking $5000 off of sticker price. That sure as heck isn't what I'm seeing today.

After wearing the two salesmen down, they bring out the "big dog." Recall, I went through this last weekend. This is how I know this is just a big, fat, ridiculous skit they go through training to learn. A fact that infuriates me all the more. Instead of the sales manager that's been wondering around the whole time who was actually nice last week and met my dad and gave me the quote in email, they send out another sales manager. This is the big, intimidating, burly guy.

This guy is convinced he can make me say yes. He all but literally twisted my sunburned arm. I'm told that my paid for car could fall apart last week. Instead of being jovial and friendly, it's the intimidation factor.

I don't really know who this works on. This has to make people mad. This has to send people out the door. The sales manager went as far as to tell the sales woman to go get the car cleaned up because he KNEW he was going to make me submit.

There was a point in time in my life, maybe not even that long ago that I caved to the pressure of others, but a series of events has led me to not let myself be run over any more. I finally told the guy I wanted to make a phone call.

A person should never go to a car dealership alone because everyone should have moral support. I didn't need my dad to help me make a decision, but I did need a word of encouragement to more forcefully say know because he knows me well enough to get me wound up and to know what I'm thinking. The big bully should have stood further away in my opinion. He lurked way to close. Even he gave up. Having done some online calculators, I knew something wasn't adding up. I asked what interest rate they were even offering because this was ridiculous.

My sales people came back, bless their hearts. They finally realized I was really conflicted and had been pushed to the point I was not committing. I had mentioned having called Dad since he had met my Dad. He wanted me to call again when he got prices down one more time to see what he thought. I told them my Dad didn't know my budget for that to make a difference - I called because he could tell where I was in my resolve.

The salesman had to even give me a hug when I left. He appreciated my humor up until the point he could tell I was beyond frustrated. I'm thankfully for my sunburned face or he might have been able to tell I was ready to break into tears.

I spent at least two hours there, and walked out ready to walk when my transmission and everything else the sales manager prophesied happening to my current vehicle happens.

When I got home, I had a message from the Jeep dealership that they still hadn't gotten their electricity back up. Then, they had called again. A little later, I had an email that they were able to meet my numbers and that they could bring my car to me that night.

WHAT IS IT WITH PEOPLE? I don't want these stalkers coming to my home. I spent the rest of the evening jumping at every slam of a car door in the neighborhood convinced they were coming to my house to torture me with mentions of TODAY and NOW.

Words can not describe how maddening this whole experience has been for me. Sales people should not be so shady on something that is such a commitment for a person. I don't HAVE to buy. I'm not in a desperate situation. This is an option for me. I haven't had a payment in years. I do good to drive anywhere 4 days a week. That's a big reason I'm not so eager to commitment. They should play nice.

Maybe that's just me.

MONDAY UPDATE TO THE SATURDAY POST:

The first salesman who asked about my "boo" is hot on my trail again. He's wanting to know if I will buy from him now that he has gotten the approval on almost doubling the original trade-in amount I was quoted there. That's further proof I was getting screwed on the original deal. He still wants to bring the car to my house. I'm screening my phone calls (he tried to call twice today), but letting him email me.

The guy at the second Jeep place (the one that was busy) called. I answered, and he tells me they have the numbers where I want them and can I come up today. I told him I was working, but what I really should have asked was, "it was just hailing! Why on earth would I come up to buy a new car during a hailstorm?!?!" I also told him to email me the numbers. He too was offering to bring the car and paperwork to my house.

In a case of deja vu, the numbers were considerably more than what I told them I wanted. I may have him off my back after telling him I am going to wait and save more money since the numbers were not what I said I wanted.

No wonder car salesmen have a bad reputation. In any other context they would be considered harassing stalkers. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Submitting myself to torture

Since the trip to a dealership last weekend, I've been annoyed by salesman. The guy that asked about my "boo" has been emailing and calling. He's gone so far as to say he can bring the car and paperwork to my house.

I've actually emailed two dealerships after my stop on Saturday to see if I was getting as ripped off on trade-in numbers as I thought I was. Without even seeing it, I've confirmed that I have been.

I made the mistake of reaching out to the dealership that has the color that I am interested in, so they have been relentless about when I can come up. They have been emailing me at least once a day, if not more if I don't answer right back on email. In fact, I have two or three emailing me plus phone calls.

I've bought four cars in my life, and I've never had this experience in the past. For one thing, the last two times, my car salesman was a family friend and I didn't have to deal with this. Every time before now, I knew what I wanted and was ready to commit. I wasn't looking just because I could. That's what happens when you total your car in a wreck or have a car that won't hold oil.

Now, I am kicking myself for even starting any of this. However, I don't know how I am supposed to get a deal these days - and you have to go for that - if I don't shop around. Mainly, if I don't find out if I am getting ripped off.

So, with that said, wish me well as I set out to stop by two places tomorrow while I'm up around Arlington to see Peyton's tournament. In addition to Jeep shopping, I'm going to go by the Hyundai dealership my dad and I went by after Opening Day to get some numbers.

I'm already dreading it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

In need of variety

There hasn't been a lot of variety in what I've had going on as of late, and even less variety to blog about. Even Instagram has been shots of the same old.

However, here are a couple of recommendations and topics of discussion around the Litfuse Publicity Group "water cooler" aka our Facebook chat with one another.

SWEET TREATS!!!

If you live in a region of the country that does not have Blue Bell ice cream, I am so very sorry. with a tagline, "the best ice cream in the country," it is the best store bought ice cream. 

Many of my friends and co-workers know I have a special affinity for anything salted caramel. The thought of this made me quite happy.

My review: Good, but it let me down. The problem is, I had the best salted caramel ice cream ever at a place in Seattle, and it didn't live up. The best salted caramel anything needs to have a salty bite to it, and it just didn't have it. 


Today's conversation among the co-workers was M&Ms. Some of the new varieties probably shouldn't exist. The originals are probably best -- plain and peanut. I like peanut butter and pretzel too. 

I really like coconut and mint too. Candy corn is awful, and I held myself to one and only one red velvet when my mom got a package of those a few weeks ago. 

There were conflicting opinions on the latest flavor I recommended... CARROT CAKE!


They are white chocolate and taste like cream cheese frosting. They are a lot better than they sound. My mom heard about and found these for me. 


Have you tried anything good lately?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Billy Coffey talks about The Devil Walks in Mattingly

An interview with Billy Coffey,
author of The Devil Walks in Mattingly 

What can’t be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Everyone has a past and has made mistakes, but what happens when those secrets grow and control our lives? “We can all be hampered by our pasts, but that in no way negates the power of choice that’s available to us all. We can choose to become more. We can choose to live better.” Billy Coffey knows life isn’t easy, and like the characters in his latest release, The Devil Walks in Mattingly (Thomas Nelson / March 11, 2014 / ISBN: 978-1401688226 / $15.99), he hopes to guide people who are shrouded in the darkness of regret to the hope and light of redemption.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the storyline for The Devil Walks in Mattingly?

He was a short, awkward boy plagued with acne and a head of greased auburn hair that he kept parted to the side. I shared seven years of my life with him, from the sixth grade through our high school graduation. He wasn’t the only one I spent that time with, of course. There were others, eighty or so of us, all bound by the same small town. Spend that many years with people, you get to know them. We hung out with one another and got in trouble with one another, hated and loved together, all of us but him.

He was the loner, the outcast — the shy boy who was never bright and whose mother was rumored to be a witch. It was easy to pick on him, this boy who never spoke up in class and could not look you in the eye. He was the perfect target: a ready-made punching bag for every bully and a gullible scapegoat for the rest of us.

Aside from the occasional nod in the hallway between classes, I never had dealings with him. I never picked on him, never blamed him for anything. He was a nonentity to me, a barely-there ghost I chose not to see. I knew even then that made me an accomplice in some way, just as guilty as the football players who once wedgied him to tears in the gym locker room or the girls who taunted him for his ugliness. They did much to bring him down; I did nothing to lift him up, and so we all harmed him.

Even now, some twenty years later, that boy will cross my mind. I have not seen him in my small town since our graduation. I don’t know where he’s gone or what’s become of him. I like to think he’s made something of himself. I often think he hasn’t, and I wonder how much of that is because of me.

That boy became Phillip McBride’s character in The Devil Walks in Mattingly. In many ways, Jake’s, Kate’s and Taylor’s struggle to atone for their sins somehow of what happened to Phillip mirror my own struggle to come to terms with that boy so long ago. The novel is three people’s quest for redemption, but it is also my attempt at an apology.

Q: In The Devil Walks in Mattingly, we meet three characters whose lives are crippled by secrets. We all must deal with failure and regret, but many struggle moving forward. Why do you think we allow our pasts to dictate our future?

I think a lot of it centers upon the fact that we’re largely powerless to do anything about what’s been done. We can try to make amends, try to move on, but yesterday often finds a way to leak into today. The past can be a great source of comfort, but it can also be a ghost that rattles its chains whenever things get dark. What makes it scary is that ghost is us — it’s who we once were. And no matter how far we’ve come, those rattling chains can tempt us into believing people never really change at all.

Q: One of the character says, “Secrets fester on your insides, but you live on the outside.” What are the consequences of holding on to secrets?

Those secrets grow. You hold them in and there they sit, tucked away in some dark corner of yourself, and soon they sprout and bloom and spread. But you still hold them in because you think it’s noble — you’re suffering so others won’t. That’s what’s happened to Jake’s character in the last 20 years. On the outside, he’s just as calm and strong and confident as he’s ever been. But on the inside, he’s little more than a boy. I think that’s the biggest consequence of holding on to secrets. They end up hollowing you out, robbing you of you.

Q: What advice do you have for people who find themselves constantly reminded of their mistakes? How do we move forward?

I believe the only way forward is through forgiveness. God’s forgiveness, absolutely, which is always given and given freely. But I’m talking about forgiving yourself as well, and that is much harder. We’re taught to be merciful to others, show them grace. We understand there isn’t a soul in this world who isn’t fighting a great battle every moment of every day. Yet when it comes to ourselves, all that teaching and understanding goes out the window. We can’t grow up until we screw up. It’s as important to remember that as it is to remember that God is our judge, not ourselves (which is a good thing because He’s much more loving).

Q: Sometimes we try to justify or rationalize our bad decisions by saying what we did was for the greater good or was for the best in the long run. Do you think that is just a way of trying to cover our guilt, or do we really believe a wrong somehow makes a right?

Speaking just for myself, I’d say both. Our current culture seems to believe a wrong somehow makes a right — that it doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it, so long as the end result leaves you better off than you were. And more than anything, we certainly want to justify ourselves in the things we do, even if we know justification is a lie, if only to preserve our egos. We’re great masters of deception, but we have yet to learn that we don’t deceive others nearly as well as we do ourselves.

Q: One of the commonalities between the main characters is having abusive or absent fathers. What encouragement do you want to offer your readers who come from similar backgrounds?

I witness secondhand the plague of fatherless children every day, especially when it comes to young boys. My wife is an elementary school teacher, and the vast majority of the troubles facing her students can be traced to the disarray of their home life. I wholeheartedly believe in the presence of a strong male role model, just as I believe life without one can leave young children unmoored in the world. But I have known many boys who grew up with abusive or absent fathers and are now wonderful fathers themselves. To a man, they’ll always tell me the same thing — some kids have the benefit of being taught what to do, but they learned to love and live well by experiencing what not to do. We can all be hampered by our pasts, but that in no way negates the power of choice that’s available to us all. We can choose to become more. We can choose to live better. And we can choose to devote our lives to ensuring that the sins of our fathers (and mothers, for that matter) will not be visited on our own children.

Q: Do you tend to write yourself and your own faith journey into your stories? If so, what are some similarities in The Devil Walks in Mattingly and your own life?

I don’t know of any authors who can’t help but include a bit of themselves into their stories. I’m no different. The characters I create are always some part of me, whether large or small. In this case, I’d say I’m no different than anyone else with regard to regrets and remorse, much of which haunt me still and perhaps always will. And in the process of learning to deal with those feelings, I became all three of Devil’s main characters at one time or another. I was Jake, trying to push it all down and keep it hidden. I was Kate, trying to balance scales that could never be balanced at all by my own power. And I was even Taylor, trying to craft some sort of righteous reason for the mistakes I’ve made.

Q: One of your characters quips, “God laughs at what we say we’ll never do.” What “never” have you said at one time or the other that God may have gotten a good laugh out of?

I discovered I wanted to be a published writer in high school and devoted the next 20 years of my life to that single goal. In all that time, I swore I’d never, ever be a novelist. I was a personal essayist at heart and maybe still am. I could not fathom fiction — conjuring characters and crafting entire worlds from the imagination. Even though I still spend much of my time not fathoming fiction, I’m pretty sure God hasn’t stopped laughing over that one.

Q: What is the key message you hope readers walk away with? Is there a Bible verse that goes along with The Devil Walks in Mattingly?

Forgiveness comes through the grace of God, unearned and free, and that through Him our broken pieces can be made whole again. I thought often of Psalm 68:19 as I wrote this story: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

Q: Your books seem to get progressively darker and more intense — what made you delve into weightier issues?

I’d say it’s been a process. I had to decide early on if I was going to consider myself a Christian fiction writer or a fiction writer who happens to be a Christian. I’ve opted for the latter. Redemption is a big theme in all of my novels, but to find that is to start out in a bad place and fight and struggle and lose and win your way out. As strange as it may sound coming from someone who’s written a novel about haunted forests and holes in the world, my aim as a writer is to remain as true to reality as possible. To me, reality is that none of us were made for this world. Reality is that we will experience pain and loss and confusion. That we will always carry questions we will never be able to answer. And that perfect endings exist only in fairy tales. Life is a hard thing. To me, pretending otherwise is a disservice to anyone willing to spend both their time and their money reading about what I have to say. There are novelists out there who build careers on helping you escape that hard life, and I think that’s wonderful. But I don’t want you to escape the world around you. I want you to face those hard questions. I want you to embrace hard life and live it better.

Q: What are you working on next?

I’ve just finished my fifth novel, titled In the Heart of the Dark Wood. It picks up a little more than a year after the events of When Mockingbirds Sing and focuses on Allie Granderson’s character from Mockingbirds and Zach Barnett’s character from Devil. They have quite the adventure together. It’ll be out in November of this year.

For more information about Billy Coffey and his books, visit his online home at www.billycoffey.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Now touring Pam Hillman's Claiming Mariah!

Don’t miss Pam Hillman‘s latest novel, Claiming Mariah. Julie Lessman gave it a thumb’s up, saying: [Hillman is] gifted with a true talent for vivid imagery, heart-tugging romance, and a feel for the Old West that will jangle your spurs.
Pam is celebrating with a fun giveaway. Click the banner for details.
PHpromo
Click here to enter!

Check out the reviews from the Litfuse tour!
Claiming Mariah

{MORE ABOUT CLAIMING MARIAH}


After her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.
With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until the rest of the Donovan clan arrives at the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed changes their futures forever.
Pam Hillman

{MORE ABOUT PAM HILLMAN}


Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of!
Find out more about Pam at www.pamhillman.com.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tracie Peterson to celebrate 100th book in print with webcast

Author to host a live web event on April 29
to celebrate release of A Sensible Arrangement

In honor of the release of her 100th book, A Sensible Arrangement (Bethany House Publishers/April 1, 2014/ISBN 978-0764210587/$14.99), best-selling author Tracie Peterson will be hosting a webcast. During the live event on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 8:00 PM EDT, Peterson will introduce readers not only to her latest release, but to her new Lone Star Brides series, both of which hold a tender place in her heart.



“Wow, what a journey! A Sensible Arrangement is book 100 for me, and I stand absolutely amazed at what God has done with and through the books He's given me to write,” explains Peterson. “This new series — Lone Star Brides — ties together two former series (Striking a Match and Land of the Lone Star) by marrying characters Jake Wythe and Marty Dandridge together and following their lives and those of others the readers will recognize from the previous series. This was so much fun and came about because readers kept telling me they wanted to see more of Jake and Marty, so I thought, ‘Why not put them together?’”

Peterson feels blessed to have this writing ministry and loves the way the readers continue to connect with her, sharing how God has used her stories to bring them closer to Him. With the opportunity to connect with so many readers at once, the possibilities for new inspiration are endless! During the hour-long event, Peterson will host a book club discussion, answer reader questions and offer an exclusive sneak peek of the series. Readers will have an opportunity to chat with other fans, answer trivia about the book and submit their own questions for Peterson to answer during the evening. A number of prizes will be given away to those participating in the discussion, including copies of Peterson’s books and gift cards. At the end of the webcast, the winner of an iPad Mini will be announced. The iPad giveaway is being held in conjunction with the blog tour for A Sensible Arrangement coordinated by Litfuse Publicity Group.

The webcast will be hosted on Peterson’s Facebook page, as well as Litfuse’s website for readers without a Facebook account. Leading up to the webcast, readers can RSVP for the event and sign up to receive an email reminder. From April 14-29, fans can also enter the contest for the iPad Mini via the author’s Facebook page. 

“Tracie Peterson is an amazing author who has such a heart for her readers,” states Noelle Buss, marketing manager at Bethany House. “Her desire to keep encouraging and entertaining them has helped make the release of A Sensible Arrangement her 100th book in print. That is an incredible feat, and we are so honored to be able to be a part of her long and very successful writing life.”

Readers can watch Peterson’s Facebook Page (Tracie Peterson Author) for more details.


About A Sensible Arrangement:

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past. Answering an advertisement for a “Lone Star bride,” she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn't know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her. Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake's yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty's dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.

What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways . . . and dreams and secrets collide?

A Sensible Arrangement (April) is the first book in the Lone Star Brides series. A Moment in Time will be available in June followed by the release of A Matter of Heart in October.


About Tracie Peterson:

Tracie Peterson is the award-winning, best-selling author of 100 novels, both historical and contemporary. She has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.

Peterson published her first book in 1993 and has co-written with a variety of authors including Judith Pella, Judith Miller, James Scott Bell, and her daughter Jennifer. Having a special heart for new authors, she frequently speaks to writers’ conferences.

Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana and Alaskan Quest series. Peterson and her family make their home in Montana.


Visit Tracie's website at www.traciepeterson.com or keep up with her on Facebook.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Faith is the Victory


This week, our lesson focused on Hebrews 11. It was good to review some of the Old Testament, but sad what they didn't know or remember.

When it came time to do our song of the week - about faith, of course - we tried two. They always sing so much better with me, but I try to let the video be just them. In addition to "Faith is the Victory," we tried "Living by Faith," but couldn't quite pull it off.

And the good news... We made it through class without anyone getting thumped upside the head!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What will it take?

I don't know why anyone would want a job in sales. I have done retail sales. That's doable.

Ad sales... wasn't a fan of the class in college and get worn out with the contacts that ask me about ads for our clients. I'm just thankful that we don't buy ads. It's helpful to get people to move on by saying, "we don't ever buy ads -- that's the publishers' call."

Some might say that being a publicist is a sales job because you sell the author to the media outlet for an interview. That's true in a sense. I hate trying to "sell" to an outlet I don't think that's a fit because someone really wants to be on a show. (It used to be Oprah.) Thankfully my job isn't dependent on a commission though. I can also be rejected by email, phone or just being ignored without an email or call back.

What I could not handle is regular face-to-face rejection. Being a car salesman must be a beating.

Since I have had my car for almost 10 years, I'm thinking about buying a new one. I've had a couple of minor things to fix lately, and my thought process is that I might want to trade-in before something bigger happens and while I might still have in some trade-in value. Granted, my problems are loose wires, thankfully. While I love not having a car payment, I know I won't drive the same car forever and might as well think about it.

Because Dad has to take Mom's car to the Hyundai dealership around Dallas for warranty repairs, he talked me into stopping by on the way back from the Ranger game on Monday. They've been trying to sell him on a new Santa Fe, and thus he turns it around on me.

I almost laughed at their "what will it take you to walk away with a new car TODAY?" I was at the point of "you'd have to give it to me." The word today came up a few times, but I assured them that I wasn't that serious as of yet.

Being partial to my Jeep, I went to the local lot, but the only thing they had was the souped up version way beyond my means.

My curiosity grew through the week, so since I was meeting some friends up the road tonight, I made arrangements to get my car looked at for a trade-in estimate and take a look at the Jeep I was most interested in.

Big mistake on multiple levels.

A) When you drive it you want it.

B) My car is worth more than that, I can assure you.

The first salesman I talked to (one I had emailed because I got sucked into having to give my contact info on an estimator) was trying to playing the charming, almost flirting card. He asked if I was married or had a "boo." My friends got a laugh out of that because they didn't know anyone ever used that term. I don't care how nice his eyes were, he got no where.

He had to hand me off to a newbie and told me to take it easy on him. No matter how many times he asked, "what will it take for you to go home with a new car TODAY?" I was not in. He even went and re-crunched number to get closer to what I said I wanted. I don't know where these numbers were coming from. They were ridiculous. I told him he should have come up with better numbers to start with.

After finally realizing it wasn't going to happen, he drug over his sales manager. Sigh. Oh, puh-leeze. At least 15 more questions followed with the word TODAY somewhere in there. My firm stance eventually even wore him down.

Had you been there to witness it, you would have found it comical. "Would you say yes for $1 a month?" "No, because that would take me something like 1000 years to pay off."  I kid you not. What kind of stupid question is that anyway? I honestly can't think of anything that would have me saying yes TODAY.

LOOK: 1) I told you to begin with I was just starting to look. 2) This is the first time I've seen a model that I was considering. 3) The color I think I want isn't even on this lot. I haven't seen the car in question because it's on a lot further up the road. I don't know if I want it without looking at it. 4) You aren't getting my car for that.

"I'd have to go crazy to give you what you're wanting for yours. I mean, I'd have to go crazy... and it would be a TODAY only deal."

Now, I know everyone has to make a living somehow. If I walk today, you may never see me again. But, seriously, get as serious as I am about reality.

Seeing as I don't get out of the house most days, I can keep what I have. I don't NEED more than what I have. That's where I have the advantage. Now it's just keeping the WANT in check.

Monday update: In emailing two other places, I know I can get more for my car, and they haven't seen it yet. I also fixed the A/C hose issue and my cruise wire for $120 total so I'm back to everything working as it should anyway. I never should have even looked at anything new.