Monday, February 20, 2017

Blog tour: Control Girl book review and Giveaway with Shannon Popkin

Alexis A. Goring’s review of Control Girl by Shannon Popkin:

Welcome! You’ve reached my stop on the Litfuse blog tour for Control Girl by Shannon Popkin. 

The full title to Popkin’s book is, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, and she stays true to it. 

This is a book about learning how to “let go and Let God” as many people in Christian circles say. It may sound like a cliché but it is such an important skill to learn and apply to your life. 

Popkin shares stories from her personal life as a wife and mother throughout this book. She’s real, honest, raw and her message will touch your heart. She touches on the lives of women who lived in the era that is written about in The Holy Bible. Her insights about these women of faith who lived back then are powerful! The way that she ties in their real-life situations with present day realities for women is very inspiring. She knows how to make a connection between the faith of Bible characters like Sarah who was impatient in waiting on God’s promise for her to bear a child, and Leah who was unloved by her husband…and use that connection to teach the reader lessons which women can learn today from those who lived in the past. 

Popkin challenges her reader to let go of how they think that their life should be and trust God to provide His perfect peace and trust that He knows best. 

The author shares her struggles and discoveries that she’s learned in her own faith journey with God. Her honesty and fearlessness in sharing personal stories from her life story is inspiring. 

Popkin does everything that she can in this book to encourage women and motivate them to lay down the “burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who is truly in control”. 

This book is worth a four-star rating and definitely worth sharing!

~*~
Read the blurb and giveaway contest details below from Litfuse Publicity Group:

Are you trying to stay in control of your quest for peace, joy, and security . . . and you're exhausted? Shannon Popkin's debut book, Control Girl, is a must-read for anyone with a heart that craves control. Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.

Learn how to give up control to God and become a Jesus girl! Enter to win a prize pack that will help you give up your Control Girl tendencies.


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on February 21. The winner will be announced February 22 on Shannon's blog.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

"He Is My Hope", a personal essay written by our guest Kara Swanson

Kara Swanson writes "Words that Bring Worlds to Life" and today, she's here to share her story about a personal struggle. 

Enjoy!

~*~
He Is My Hope
A guest post written by Kara Sawnson

Hope.


Its such a simple concept, but one that can change a life. Its presence can keep us afloat—or its absence can drown us in our own despair.

Can hope be found in pain? When your body and your mind are telling you it’s hopeless—can something else give you the assurance that it’s not? That you are never without hope?

These questions swirled around in my head as I curled up on the floor outside my dorm, tears leaking through the fingers that covered my face. My shaking hands clenched a phone that had just made one of the hardest calls of my life. I’d told my parents to come pick me up—that I couldn’t handle college any longer. My body hurt too much.

Can I find hope in this?

So much of my life I’d spent waiting for this moment. For the chance to be someplace where I could find purpose pursuing my dreams—and make lasting friendships. Where I wouldn’t be alone. I’d been alone so often.

Now, I’d never felt more desolate.

How can this be for a hope? For a future?


As the daughter of missionaries, I grew up in the jungles of Papua New Guinea—a small island located above Australia. I spent sixteen years there, watching as His light illuminated a tribe of people trapped in the darkness of an animistic worldview. People who’d lived in fear for so long. I witnessed first hand as their despair was transformed into a hope that could not be shaken because of the One it was founded in. The God-man who spent his own blood for them.

And for me.

He had been with me through the years that stretched on, often times lonely as I was the only English-speaking girl in our tribe. In the constant moves, in the goodbyes and the uncertainties.

He had brought me this far, to this moment, and he wouldn’t just let me fall.

As I sat outside my dorm, having only been able to survive college for three weeks before the symptoms of my disease had grown too overwhelming to function, I clung to that truth. He won’t let me go…He won’t let me go.

That college experience had promised so much more than just a career doing what I loved, it had promised that I would finally not be alone. That I would be surrounded by those my age.

Instead, it turned into another painful goodbye to the fast friends I’d made in that short time. I’d said so many goodbyes, but as I lay in the back of my parent’s van as we drove away from the campus, I realized those goodbyes never grew easier. If anything, they grew worse.

How can I find hope in this?
Dreams shattered. Body broken. Heart torn.

But my soul? My soul still lived.

He has gotten me this far, He has always been my hope—and will continue to be.

Days turned into months, and while my symptoms receded to a steady plateau, they didn’t change enough for me to function normally. Lyme Disease, a sickness received from a tick bite, was very little-known. No clear cure.

But, while my chances of being well enough to return to college the following year dissolved, I began to realize something.

I couldn’t control Lyme Disease anymore than I could control the loneliness I’d felt while in the tribe. I couldn’t control the circumstances that had shaken my plans.

But, that was okay. It had to be okay.

You see, I began to realize that my hope couldn’t be founded in a sense of happiness. If I could only find joy when I felt well, I’d never smile. No, my hope had to be founded in something so much deeper, just as it had been during that stint of loneliness.

That hope had to be rooted in the one who formed me before time, who knew every step and every heartache. Who had wrapped his arms around me when I’d felt alone—and who gave me the strength to rise every morning from bed when my bones felt like they were on fire.

He was my focus. My hope.

The reason I was alive. The reason I had enough brain capacity to write, if nothing else. He was my reason for life—whether or not I ever was cured of Lyme disease.

Because, it’s not about me.
It never has been. If my only purpose in life was my own happiness, I’d never be satisfied. It would never be enough. But with Him? With Him I can have a peace that transcends understanding. I can laugh in the pain and stand through the rain. I can trust that every emotional and physical trial is going to be used to bring Him glory. Just as the countless martyred saints in his Word brought Him glory, even in their deaths.

When my focus shifted, no longer on myself but on how I could use my story and my pain for His glory, things began to change. Not all at once, but changing none the less. I was able to relate to those who struggled, because I’d fought that battle. Fight it every day.

Again and again, I saw Him working small, glorious miracles in my life. From the energy needed to volunteer at a week long camp for abused foster kids—to being able to hold a part time job working for an editor, or attending writers’ conferences. You see, even in this waiting period, He had continued to provide ways for me to strive for my dreams. To make a difference. To impact people.

And on the days when it feels to hard to bear, when I want to curl up and cry like that night at College—I remember. I remember that I am not alone. Never have been alone. That my life is a living reminder of His goodness. That my pain could be that salving balm to someone else’s shattered life. That my joy and my happiness isn’t dependent on how I feel. Because His grace is so much greater than that.

I can smile through the tears, because I know that He is continuing to sustain and use me in ways I can’t imagine. That He will give me the strength. He always does.

Because He is my hope.

~*~
Author bio:
As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself.

At seventeen, she independently published a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story “Distant as the Horizon” is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom

She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine. She received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer Award in 2015.

You can find her online at readwritesoar.com (soon to be karaswanson.com) or on her Facebook page (Kara Swanson, Author), Twitter (@kara_author), and Instagram (@karaswanson_author).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Interview: Kimberly Rose Johnson, author of "A Love Song for Kayla"

Welcome Kimberly Rose Johnson to the blog today! She's here to talk about her new novel, A Love Song for Kayla

Look at the cover of her book. Isn't it pretty?


Here's the blurb for Kimberly's book:

When two strangers cross paths their lives are forever altered.

Ever since she was sixteen Kayla Russell has dreamed of her perfect man. She even went so far as to make a list of desired qualities. The list has proven to be a bust since no man is that perfect, at least until she meets Derek. But will his secrets come between them and destroy what could have been something wonderful?

When music superstar Derek Parker comes to small town Oregon to escape the paparazzi he goes incognito as a deliveryman. He wants to leave his old life behind, but it proves to be harder than he realized when his past finds him. Now the woman he has come to care for feels deceived and no longer wants anything to do with him.

Formerly published under the title A Valentine for Kayla.

~*~
Now, on to the interview! Enjoy! 
. . . 

Alexis: What inspired the title for your story, A Love Song for Kayla?


Kimberly: Music plays a strong role in the story, and let’s just say that Derek is a composer as well as a singer.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Kayla Russell. What is her dream? What in her life prevents that dream from coming true?


Kimberly: Professionally, Kayla is doing well, but on a personal level she has yet to find the man of her dreams, which has caused her to grow discontent with her life.

Alexis: What inspired Kayla to make a list of desired qualities that she believes compose her dream man? 


Kimberly: When she was a teenager a series of bad experiences with guys made her decide she needed a list of qualities a man would have to have for her to consider going out with him.


Alexis: What age is Kayla when the story starts? What are her thoughts about that list now that she’s older and has not yet met her “dream” man? 


Kimberly: I don’t think I ever state exactly how old Kayla is. In my mind though she is in her middle twenties. She feels hopeless about finding Mr. Right and has already crossed a couple of her original qualities off the list. 


Alexis: Tell us about your story’s hero Derek Parker. What makes him “perfect” to Kayla? Share the hope in his heart and his character flaws.


Kimberly: Derek, loves the Lord, is good looking, and he can sing. Derek is attempting to leave his past behind because he doesn’t like the person he has become. He wants to simplify his life and believes he will be able to do so a thousand miles away from his old life.


Alexis: Can you give us a clue about the secrets that Derek is keeping? If revealed, in what ways will his secrets affect his relationship with Kayla?


Kimberly: My lips are sealed. It will have a drastic affect on his relationship with Kayla. 

Alexis: Let’s not forget the fact that Derek is a music superstar! Awesome! What were the challenges and joys in researching and writing his character? 

Kimberly: I tossed around making him a jazz signer for a while, but then decided to go more mainstream. However, I didn’t go heavily into that part of his character. It’s more about who he is now.


Alexis: Why does Derek go undercover as a deliveryman? What is it about his “old life” that he is trying to escape? 

Kimberly: Derek wants to be treated like a normal guy, and he wants to be liked for himself, not his celebrity. He’s tired of pretending to be something he’s not and wants a more simple life.


Alexis: Why did you set this story in Oregon and not elsewhere? 


Kimberly: I set all my books in the Pacific Northwest. I live in Oregon and thought it was about time I set one here. This book was originally my fifth book ever published, and up to that point all my books had taken place in Washington State. 


Alexis: What was the most fun scene in this book for you to write? Why? 


Kimberly: I love the opening. I can actually remember writing it as it reflected how I felt on that day—Valentine’s Day. I also really enjoyed the final scene. There was a lot of tension in the one. I don’t want to give it away, so that’s all I will say.


Alexis: How did your personal taste in music affect your storytelling? 


Kimberly: I don’t think it did actually. I don’t listen to the kind of music Derek performed. I prefer contemporary Christian music and seldom listen to secular music.


Alexis: What food or beverage could you not live without as you wrote this story? 


Kimberly: Oh my, I don’t remember. But right now dark chocolate is my biggest vice.


Alexis: What’s the moral of this story? 


Kimberly: I think the story will speak to each person differently, depending on his or her life story. For me, it was letting go and trusting the Lord. 


Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Kimberly! Would you like to share any closing thoughts? 


Kimberly: 
This book was originally published as A Valentine for Kayla. It’s one of my favorite stories I’ve written because I can relate with Kayla. Thanks for hosting me, Alexis! This was fun.

~*~
Author bio: 

Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

~*~

Friday, February 17, 2017

Another visit with Judythe Morgan, award-winning author

Let's extend a new welcome to a returning guest! Judythe Morgan visits us again today with an excerpt from When Love Returns, which is the second book in her Fitzpatrick Family series. 

Here's the book cover:


Isn't it lovely?

I'm sure that you want to know more about this book so dive into the rest of this blog post with Judythe and enjoy your time here today.

God bless you! :)

~*~
Excerpt From Chapter 5 of When Love Returns by Judythe Morgan:

A brittle silence descended in the dining room, now empty except for the two of them. The sound of water from the kitchen faucet echoed like Niagara Falls.

Becca finished off the last of her coffee and shoved away from the table. As she lifted the saucer to take to the kitchen, Ethan spoke, “We really do need to talk. Why don’t you come out to the farm with me so we can have some privacy?” His eyes never left her face.

The cup rattled on the saucer. She set it back on the table. Panic coursed through her muscles, like a slowly advancing paralysis. Go with him to the farm where they’d spent so much time planning their future? A future that his disappearance destroyed.

She might want answers, to know where he’d been, why he hadn’t contacted her, why he’d returned, but the memories at the Wells’ farm would suffocate her. She needed a more public place.

And being alone with him? Becca wasn’t sure that would be a wise move either. She’d fallen head over heels the moment she’d met Ethan Wells in their kindergarten Sunday school class. The crush had grown through the years and they’d planned a life together after graduation. His disappearance caused a heartbreak that had never completely vanished. A heartbreak she’d never openly shared. Not even with her twin sister. She’d simply put Ethan out of her mind and moved on. Now if he was back to stay, she wasn’t sure what would happen.

“We could go out on the porch swing,” she replied. At least there, if the discussion became too intense she’d have a safety net of her family close by.

His jaw tightened ever so slightly before he stood and pushed his chair under the table. “Becca, what I have to say is for your ears only. There are too many distractions around here. Come to the farm with me. Or I’ll go to your place.”

“I live with Sarah. She and Nick plan to go back to the house to play board games with Rachel. They do that on Sunday afternoons.”

He tipped his head, acknowledging her point. “Okay then, the farm it is. I’ll bring you back here when we’re finished.”

“I’m quite capable of driving myself.”

“I’m sure you are.” He uttered a short, little laugh and headed to the front door. “Don’t take too long. I’ll be waiting.”

Becca snatched her cup and stomped into the kitchen where she pulled Sarah aside. “Ethan wants me to meet him at the farm to talk.”

“Give the guy a chance,” Nick said over his shoulder and placed a dinner plate in the dish drainer.

Sarah gave her a tight hug. “Nick’s right. Go. There may be a logical reason why Ethan never contacted you. I never understood the real reason Nick left me until he came back. Ethan could surprise you too. At least you’ll have answers.”

Becca wasn’t sure what answers she wanted or what Ethan could say to explain his disappearance. For so long, she had hoped and prayed for his return, but hope had only been a tease, preventing her from accepting the reality that he wasn’t coming back.

She refused to consider his return meant anything.

~*~
Author bio:

Award-winning author Judythe Morgan juggles many hats. 

She’s an Air Force daughter, Army wife, one-time Department of Army Civilian, mother/grandmother, antiques dealer, teacher, mayor’s wife, and sometimes-church pianist.

Her diverse experiences bring life to her characters and you’ll always find a happy ending because she believes in true love, second chances, and forgiveness.

~*~
Blurb for Judythe's book, When Love Returns:

Becca Fitzpatrick fell in love with Ethan Wells at age five. At eight, he proposed. At seventeen, he disappeared and broke her heart.

Twelve years later, he returns with a new name - Ethan LaMotte - and a new life in Paris. He claims he’s never stopped loving her.

Once upon a time, Becca believed him. Not anymore. Now family, friends, and adoring students fill her life. Plus, she has an opportunity for the job of her dreams in her small Texas hometown.

Although their lives and jobs are an ocean apart, Ethan won’t lose Becca another time. But, will she risk her heart again and accept this new Ethan’s proposal?

~*~
Review of When Love Returns, as posted on Amazon.com from Amazon Reviewer LovesRomance


When Love Returns is a beautiful story with fully-formed characters that will grab your heart. The Fitzpatrick family is warm and big, and just the kind of family we'd all like to belong to. Ethan and Becca are complex characters who have some hard choices to make. This story is about second chances and letting go of the past to embrace an uncertain, but hopeful future. There are a couple of nice twists that kept me reading. I can't wait for the next book in this series.

~*~
Buy When Love Returns:
Kindle ~ Nook ~ iTunes ~ Kobo 

~*~
Connect with Judythe:
Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Goodreads
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Award-Winning Author Judythe Morgan shares a devotional and book

Welcome Judythe Morgan to the blog today!

She's here to share a devotional that she wrote that's based on a Bible verse and she's sharing information about her book, When Love Blooms. It is the first book in her Fitzpatrick Family series.

Enjoy! :)

~*~
The Promise of Romans 8:28
A devotional written by Judythe Morgan


“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." ~Romans 8:28 (NIV).

This is one of my favorite verses. It says in all things God works. That’s so powerful.

Our God choreographs the “molecular movement” in every second of every minute of every day in every cell in the entire universe. In case you didn’t know, one cell has approximately 200 trillion molecules.

That’s a lot of molecules to work with. Not a problem for our Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God.

As He orchestrates those molecules, He’s forming our lives into a design specifically patterned for each of us.

In our human mind, it’s hard to wrap our heads around that idea isn’t it?

But, think about it, when you look back at your life with 20/20 hindsight, can’t you see God’s hand at work? I sure can. He has unfolded events, sent people and things into my life to bring me to where I am now – a fiction writer.

Being a writer was not something I aspired to be. Yet, God synchronized events to bring that to pass. And it is good like Rom. 8:28 promises. I love my work.

So how did God arrange my life to accomplish that purpose for me?

I had no idea when I entered a writing contest called “Hearts Crossing” back in 2009 that the entry would become the first book in the Fitzpatrick Family Series about eight preacher kids, each with a sweet romance story of his or her own.

God knew because He’d planned my life so that I married a preacher’s kid. Five years later, we had a son, who became a preacher with his own ministry called NotByWorks.

All my life God has provided opportunities to serve in church ministries wherever we lived. I’ve made good Christian friends and writing mentors. Those friends began to prod me about writing a story set around my ministry experiences.

Finally conceding to their pressure in 2014, I pulled out that old contest manuscript and began a rewrite. In the process of the rewrite, Andy's seven brothers and sisters begin chattering in my head wanting their stories told and thus the Fitzpatrick Family series begin.

God took care of the plotting ideas when He moved my husband and me all over the U.S. and overseas. Lots of experiences to draw from. No need for extensive setting research.

The Fitzpatrick series takes place in a small (fictional) town in Texas like so many small towns where we’ve lived. You'll recognize Pastor Colin Fitzpatrick, his wife Ms. Pat, and the congregation if you've ever attended a small church.

When Love Blooms is the first Fitzpatrick Family novella and tells Andy and Darcy's story. Andy's twin sisters, Rebecca and Sarah Fitzpatrick, found their soul mates in When Love Returns. Brothers Joshua Fitzpatrick (an Army sniper), Samuel Fitzpatrick (a missionary), and, baby sister Faith (a lawyer) will share their stories over the next three novellas. I’m praying my readers will have as much fun reading the stories as I am creating them.

Sometimes I may balk at God’s leading, where He leads. It’s a human tendency we all share. We shouldn’t because wherever we are, whatever we’re doing we are there by His design. 

Remember the molecules. He’s in control. All. The. Time. working for our good.

That’s the promise of Romans 8:28.

~*~
Author bio: 

Award-winning author Judythe Morgan juggles many hats. 

She’s an Air Force daughter, Army wife, one-time Department of Army Civilian, mother/grandmother, antiques dealer, teacher, mayor’s wife, and sometimes-church pianist. 

Her diverse experiences bring life to her characters and you’ll always find a happy ending because she believes in true love, second chances, and forgiveness.

~*~
Blurb for Judythe's book, When Love Blooms:

Eight preacher kids, each with a sweet romance story of his or her own.

After a hit-and-run accident leaves her mother confined to a special care facility, Darcy Clark abandons her dreams of becoming an architect and moving to New York City. Instead, she stays in her small town to run the family’s struggling landscape business.

At-risk students from her old high school become the labor force on a city park project, and Andy Fitzpatrick shows up to supervise his students. The chemistry between Darcy and Andy is instant.

But will a secret link between Andy and her mother’s accident kill the attraction before love can blossom?

~*~
Buy Judythe's book:
Kindle ~ 
Nook ~ iTunes ~ Kobo 

~*~
Connect with Judythe:
Website ~ Blog ~  Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Goodreads 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book Spotlight: 21 Days of Love, short stories compiled by Kathy Ide

Welcome Kathy Ide, the famous writer and editor, to the blog today! She's here to talk about her new collection of stories, a book titled, 21 Days of Love: Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships.

Kathy agreed to give away not one, but two copies of her book! You can read the details about that toward the end of this blog post.

Here's the blurb for Kathy's book: 21 Days of Love is book 3 in the Fiction Lover's Devotional series--collections of short fictional stories followed by brief Life Applications, each chapter written by a different author.


Love can be found in many treasured relationships: boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, parent-child ... with a special friend, teacher, or pet ... in the kindness of a stranger. We even have a national holiday to celebrate love.

The greatest love ever known is God's abundant love for us, His children. And He often demonstrates that perfect love through imperfect people.

This book offers engaging, inspirational short fiction stories written by new, intermediate, and well-know nauthors including Cindy Woodsmall, Susan May Warren, Sherry Kyle, Renae Brumbaugh, and more.

These stories represent all kinds of love. Woven through each story is the sustaining hand of our loving heavenly Father. On Valentine's Day and every day--whether your life is chocolates and flowers or loneliness and pain--let these stories fill your heart with hope, peace, and most important, love.

Enjoy reading this devotional that Kathy's written about her book! 

~*~
Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams
Devotional book promo for 21 Days of Love written by Kathy Ide

Have you ever had a dream that just wouldn’t let you go…but it didn’t go anywhere, either?

Sixteen years ago, I had the idea of doing a devotional for people who love fiction. I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen its power to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. When I read a novel, I relate to the characters and their situations, even when the details are vastly different from anything I’ve experienced. And reading how those characters responded to their trials and conflicts helps me see how I can do things better in my own life.

But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem appropriate. A devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution.

So I decided to create one. Since I’ve been a professional freelance editor for several years, I could edit the submissions I chose to use, polishing them without losing the authors’ unique voices. And since I’ve been teaching and speaking at writers’ conferences across the country for years, I’ve connected with several authors at all levels, including well-known best sellers. So there were a lot of people I could personally ask about submitting to the books in this series. And I’d developed a strong social media presence, so I could get the word out to other writers as well.

I started pitching the idea to the publishers I met at writers’ conferences. Some of the editors were really excited about the idea, but the proposals never developed into a contract. In spite of numerous rejections, I just knew God had a plan for this concept, so I kept pitching it—working on other books (and my editing business) in the meantime.

Finally, BroadStreet Publishing caught the vision I had. They created these devotionals as beautiful hardcover gift books, with full-color interior pages, even ribbon page markers. They’re so gorgeous, I’m actually glad the other publishers turned me down!

21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love
, the first book in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series, was launched in June of 2015. 21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift, followed that. The third book, 21 Days of Love: Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships, released on September 1, 2016, followed by 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. Each book contains twenty-one short fiction stories, followed by brief life applications, each written by a different author: some best sellers, some mid-range authors, and some new writers.

The short chapters in these books are perfect to read over breakfast, at lunch break, before bed, or curled up in your favorite chair with a cup of coffee or tea. And you can take these purse-sized devotionals wherever you go, to read when you have a few minutes of down time. It’s a great way to get “inspiration on the go.” And they make fantastic gifts for friends and loved ones. If you love Christian fiction, you’ll recognize some of the authors. And as you read these books, you’ll probably discover a few authors who may become new favorites.

This series would also work great in a women’s group, Bible study, book club, life group, or even just a bunch of friends who want to get together once a week and share how the Holy Spirit spoke to them through these stories. Study guides are available for all of these devotionals as free PDF downloads from www.FictionDevo.com or as 99-cent e-books from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this dream. I know God made sure these books got published in just the right way and at just the right time … according to His plan. He will make sure they get into the hands of the people He had in mind when He called me to do this in the first place.

~*~
Author bio: 

Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. 

She’s also a full-time freelance editor and director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and Mount Hermon Christian Writers ConferenceShe’s co-owner of Christian Editor Network LLC

Visit Kathy at www.KathyIde.com

~*~
Buy Kathy's book, of 21 Days of Love:
Amazon
 ~ Barnes and Noble
 ~ Christianbook
 ~ Cokesbury ~ MoreToLife
~*~
Connect with Kathy:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kathy.ide
Facebook Fan Page - Kathy Ide Author/Editor https://www.facebook.com/KathyIde.AuthorEditor/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/kathyide/


~*~
*The author (Kathy Ide) wants to restrict this book giveaway contest to residents of the United States of America (U.S.A.) because it's too expensive to ship a book overseas.  

So only if you live in the United States of America (U.S.A.), are you eligible to enter this book giveaway contest. 

If you are a U.S. resident, fill out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to WIN a copy of Kathy's book! 

TWO winners will be selected and each will receive one copy of her book. Here's the widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

14 Days of Sweet Stories: Whisper to My Heart by JoAnn Durgin


Book blurb for Whisper to My Heart by JoAnn Durgin:

The unlikely romance between a concert pianist and a construction worker. 


After a decade of touring the globe, Manhattan-based classical concert pianist Annalise Redmond needs a break. What’s a Juilliard-trained musician to do when she wants to live a “normal” life for six weeks? 

Weston Galloway, a former firefighter and member of an Atlanta-based construction crew, is as much into soul-winning as building the new bank in little Darling, Georgia.

Anna’s barely been kissed. Weston’s not looking for love. When these two souls collide in small-town Americana, is their time together destined only to be a precious memory or will they listen to the whispers in their hearts and dare to dream of a future together?

Throw in Anna’s quirky sister and brother-in-law, Weston’s challenging coworker, spirited employees at The Darling Diner, and a cast of lively townsfolk, and you won’t want to miss this journey to Darling!

Whisper to My Heart. A contemporary Christian romance celebrating love, faith, community, and family.

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Excerpt from the opening chapter of Whisper to My Heart:

Anna cringed, waiting for the inevitable crash. The accident couldn’t have been prevented. Not really. She’d tripped over a child’s forgotten toy, sending that stack of slippery plates flying. Slapping her hands over her face, she waited for the impending wrath of Roz the Terminator.

Her first mistake? Rinsing her hands and then forgetting to dry them before bussing tables. Who knew there’d be so many details to remember? She’d thought this job would be easy. How could people do this for a living? After only three days on the job, she should turn in her apron and acknowledge the truth—she was a terrible waitress.

Wait a second. No crash. Only the sound of clattering, not shattering, plates. And people were…clapping?

“Go, Weston! You are the man!”

Splaying her fingers wide, Anna dared to peek. One of the construction guys who’d been sitting in the back corner booth—Weston, apparently—crouched in front of her. He attempted to stabilize the stack of wobbly plates in his hands while his comrades whistled, stomped, whooped, and hollered. Appearing unsteady, his forehead creased with a deep frown.

Anna wanted to tell his cronies to pipe down their rowdiness in case it made Weston nervous, but they probably wouldn’t listen. She glanced at the floor. Surely she’d missed one of the plates falling in the midst of all the loud cheering? Nope, no shards lay scattered across the hard floor. How had he managed to corral them without any casualties?

“Let me help you.” Anna started forward but then hesitated. On second thought, that wasn’t the best idea considering she seemed especially clumsy tonight. Who knew what chaos she might create? They’d probably both end up on the floor. That’d be interesting but would solve nothing.

“No problem. I’ve got them.” Weston’s focus didn’t waver, and he’d captured the attention of everyone in the diner. A slow grin spread across his face as he cautiously rose to a standing position—six feet or thereabouts of controlled muscle in a white but dirt-covered T-shirt and worn jeans. His light brown beard was neatly trimmed and curls peeked out from the bottom of his backwards Atlanta Braves cap. Cute guy.

Anna clapped with the others as Weston moved to the front of the diner and carefully deposited the plates on the counter. The other waitress, Candee, scooted beside her and leaned close. “Let him be your hero for the day.” She patted Anna’s arm and winked. “Every gal needs one of those. And every man wants to be one.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Walking over to the counter, Anna gave him a weary smile. “Thank you for saving my job. At least for now.”

They were only plates. She shouldn’t even care. But for some inexplicable reason, she did.

“Welcome. You looked like you could use some help. Glad I came in, well…handy.” Weston shot a disparaging glance at his clothing. “As you can see, nothing’s going to make me dirtier than I already am.” He lifted his baseball cap and scratched the side of his head. “Okay, that didn’t come out right.”

Maybe not, but she liked his deep, charming southern drawl. Baby blue eyes, offset by tanned skin, settled on her. “I’m Weston Galloway. And you are?” She appreciated how his gaze didn’t dip south of her name tag. In spite of how he was dressed, and the somewhat rough-cut company he kept, Weston seemed like a gentleman.

“I’m Anna. Anna Redmond. It’s nice to meet you.” Was it wise to give him her last name? At least she’d only given him the shortened version of her first name. The odds were against Weston recognizing her name or knowing who she was.

“You, too.” He started to wipe his hands on the front of his T-shirt. “I’d shake your hand, but it’s better if I keep my hands to myself.” His cheeks flushed, and dimples peeked out beneath his beard. “I’m saying all the wrong things tonight.” Laughing under his breath, he raised both hands. “I promise you, I’m not weird or anything.”

An embarrassed Weston was even cuter. If only he knew what a refreshing change he was compared to most men.

“Hang on a second. Don’t move.” Anna hurried behind the counter.

“Yes, ma’am.”

After lightly rinsing a paper towel in the sink, she squeezed out the excess water and then handed it to him. “Here you go.”

“Thanks.” Weston wiped his hands and glanced at her feet. “Is your ankle okay?”

“What? Oh, yes. It’s fine.”

“Good.” He tossed the used paper towel in the trash can beside the register. “Before all the excitement, I was coming to ask for our check.”

“Sure. I’ll have Candee bring it over to your table in just a minute.” Should she offer to comp their check? Probably not. Guys could be weird about a woman paying for things, and it might come across as odd. Besides, a woman working in a small-town diner wouldn’t be able to afford it, so it wouldn’t be a normal thing to do.

Normal. Above all, that’s what she wanted, what she needed. She hadn’t lived a normal life in so long, she wasn’t sure she remembered how. But she could try.

~*~
Author bio: 

In addition to Whisper to My Heart, USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin is the author of eight novels in the beloved Lewis Legacy Series, as well as Prelude, the prequel to the series. 

Her other works include the Amazon bestselling Catching SerenityHeart’s Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain, the Wondrous Love Series, Echoes of EdinburghPerchance to DreamWhisper to My HeartThe Christmas Challenge, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series. 

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana.

JoAnn loves to hear from her readers! Please feel free to connect with her online via the following sites:


Website: www.joanndurgin.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gr8treads

All of JoAnn Durgin’s books are sold exclusively on Amazon. com. Visit her Amazon Author Page for details, http://amzn.to/2jpDxOK

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Book Review written by Elaine Holt and posted on Amazon.com on November15, 2016:

Title for book review: An Old-fashioned contemporary romance!

This review is from: Whisper to My Heart: A Contemporary Christian Romance Novel (Kindle Edition)

Another fabulous romance from JoAnn Durgin. A sweet story of love at first sight between Anna and Weston. Even when you are not looking for love, sometimes love finds you - in unlikely places. Anna is looking for a "normal" life and finds it in small town Darling, GA. Working her first job in a diner, she bonds with and is accepted by the locals in this town even though Anna will only be around for a couple of months. Along with the "normalcy" she meets Weston, a contractor temporarily working on a project in Darling. Weston is a man strong in faith and character. One of the highlights of this story is watching Weston live out his faith and standing firm against the sinful world and temptations that surrounds him. His desire to court Anna, like generations past, really warmed my heart. Can Anna and Weston have a future after they both leave Darling, GA? Can they remain pure and true to God's word, overcoming fleshly desires? What will Weston think of Anna when he finds out who she truly is?

JoAnn Durgin creates realistic characters that have every day struggles and flaws. They show us, the readers, how we, too, can live out our faith in everyday lives. I am hooked with every one of her books and I can't put them down! I love her writings and genuinely care what happens to her characters. You will too. JoAnn's books never disappoint.

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