Monday, April 24, 2017

Litfuse Publicity Group's blog tour stop for "Unsinkable Faith" (book)

Let's welcome the famous Tracie Miles to the blog today! She's written this beautiful book, Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies to Transform the Way You Think, Feel, and Live.

She's been on tour all month (April 2017) with Litfuse Publicity Group, stopping by a different blog each day to tell people about her new book. Today, she's stopping by my blog!

I hope that you will learn more about this wonderful author and enter the giveaway contest (details are toward the end of this blog post) for your chance to win cool treats from Tracie!

God bless you!

Book: Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies to Transform the Way You Think, Feel, and Live 

Author: Tracie Miles

Book Reviewer: Alexis A. Goring

The Review: Whenever I read a new book, I make marks with my ink pen on its pages. I mark the words, phrases, quotes and anecdotes that stand out to me. Often, I’ll underline entire passages and I’ll circle the page number for the section that I highlighted so that I can easily find it and refer to it in the future. The more marks I make in a book show how much the author’s message impacted me.

Unsinkable Faith is an unforgettable book that was skillfully written by Tracie Miles. I marked nearly every page from the start to finish.

As an author, Miles knows how to captivate her reader’s attention and take them on a journey that ends in a satisfying destination. She knows her target audience and she’s not afraid to speak to them directly by sharing scenes from the struggles in her own life story.

In this book, Miles wears her heart on her sleeve as she details her heartbreak caused by with divorce and describes her battle against negative thinking. She’s openly honest. The reader can infer that she believes that her transparency and straightforward talk will help to heal hearts.

Miles opens the door for readers to get a front seat view of the silent battle she’s faced against negative thinking. But she doesn’t just open her heart up, she shows readers solutions in Bible-based strategies that they can use defeat the enemy and overcome negative thinking.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, she’s passionate about sharing her faith in God on the pages of this book. It’s clear to the reader that through years of practice and pressing forward, she’s learned how to take her thoughts captive and allow God to transform her mind. Romans 12:1-2 is a key text that is referenced in this book. Look it up. It will breathe life into your soul.

Life is hard. But it’s not impossible to win at life. They say if you change your mind, you’ll change your life. In this book, Miles does more than support the cause for positive thinking, she shows how the reader how they too can achieve unsinkable faith.

As a reader who has struggled with overcoming negative thinking, I found this book to be very inspiring and encouraging. The author’s storytelling style in this nonfiction narrative is fluid and carries the ability to touch your heart. I love how the author kept God in the center of the story and showed me how I can overcome anything—negative thinking included—with His help.

Miles encourages the reader to get into God’s Word and rise above the challenges in the battlefield of their minds by applying Biblical principles and utilizing God-given tools to win the battle against spiritual warfare. She shows the reader that when your heart is anchored in God, you will not sink. No matter how strong the storms of life rage around you, you are safe in His arms. She proves that in her words, “When we change the way we think, we can change the way we feel and live, even if our circumstances remain the same. Intentionally embracing the opportunity to experience a transformed heart and a renewed mind opens the door for a changed life because a positive mind will always lead to a more positive life.”

Women all over the world should read this book. It’s so encouraging and contains a message that has the capacity to help you change your thinking and in turn, improve your life story as you journey through this imperfect world.

The message in Unsinkable Faith will bring joy to your heart. It will enrich your life, if you are persistent in applying the Bible-based words of wisdom. Miles is now one of my favorite authors. I look forward to reading more books by her that encourage and inspire!

*Alexis A. Goring received a complimentary copy of "Unsinkable Faith" from Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for an honest review. 

About the book:  For many people, remaining optimistic and feeling positive about themselves and their lives is a constant battle - especially when circumstances are difficult and life is hard.

For others, negativity is something that only sneaks up from time to time, yet still wreaks havoc in their hearts. Regardless of the root causes, once pessimistic thoughts permeate our minds, our feelings and emotions begin to control us instead of us controlling them. 

Eventually it doesn't seem possible to stay positive, happy, and full of joy, and negative thought patterns shake our faith, causing us to sink emotionally, mentally, and spiritually over time. But it doesn't have to be that way. Despite what storms roll in, hearts anchored in God don't sink. When we change the way we think, we can change the way we feel and live, even if our circumstances remain the same. Intentionally embracing the opportunity to experience a transformed heart and a renewed mind opens the door for a changed life, because a positive mind will always lead to a more positive life.

In Unsinkable Faith, author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Tracie Miles offers hope for women who struggle with negativity. Each chapter explores Tracie's and other women's personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. 

Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life. This book will equip you to:

-Replace pessimism with positive thinking by becoming the captain of your thoughts;

-Learn how true joy and happiness are based on choice, not circumstances;

-Overcome unhealthy habits of negative thinking by intentionally implementing three easy mind-renewing steps;

-Stop feeling hopeless and pitiful, and start feeling hope-filled and powerful instead; and

-Discover that when you change the way you think, you change the way feel, and in turn you can change your life completely.

About the author: 
Tracie Miles is a national speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries and a bestselling author who's spent the last twelve years inspiring women to become who God called them to be. 

She's the author of "Your Life Still Counts" and "Stressed-Less Living," and a contributor to Proverbs 31 Ministries daily devotions.

Find out more about Tracie by selecting this link.

A Special Message from Litfuse Publicity Group: Tracie Miles' "Unsinkable Faith" Prize Pack Giveaway

Have negative thought patterns overtaken your life and shaken your faith? Learn how to anchor your heart in God despite what storms roll in in Tracie Miles' new book, Unsinkable Faith. Each chapter explores Tracie's and other women's personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life.

Join Tracie and other readers on April 25th for a fun Facebook Live event and the Anchored in Faith Prize Pack Giveaway (details below)!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 25. The winner will be announced at the Unsinkable Faith Facebook Live event. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and others searching for unsinkable faith, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word! Tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 25th!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring into Love: Donna Schlachter's story about The Pony Express

Interview with Donna Schlachter, author of “Echoes of the Heart”:

Alexis: Tell me about The Pony Express Romance Collection. What is it about? How did you become one of the authors for this story collection?

Donna: This is a 9-in-1 novella collection from Barbour Books centered on the Pony Express, which ran from April 1860 through November 1861. The Pony Express already seems to be a romantic snippet of Americana, and so it seemed to make sense to write a collection of historical romance set on the trail. My story, “Echoes of the Heart”, features a mail order bride responding under an assumed name, a crippled station master who thinks no woman will want him, and their search for a future—together or separately.

I met up with Mary Davis at a writers’ conference a few years ago, and asked her what she was working on. She told me about a Pony Express proposal she was putting together. I said, “I’d like to do something like that”. She said she had her authors, but would contact me if anything came up. I did some research, visited a few stations within a day’s travel, and about a month later, she emailed and said one of the authors had to drop out and was I still interested. I sure was!

Alexis: What inspired you to write your story in the collection, “Echoes of the Heart”?

Donna: The process I described above sounds easy, but in reality, the project was out for consideration for a long time. I’d given up on it, actually, but I loved my original story, so I went ahead and turned it into a full-length novel. When we got the approval for the proposal, I had to come up with another idea and move the story to another station since the new 9-in-1 had the stories take place at different stations. I’d had this idea in my head, although not originally set at a Pony Express station, so the transition was easy.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the heroine of your story, Catherine Malloy. What is she running from? Why is she running? What does she fear? What are her greatest hopes and dreams?

Donna: Catherine is running from an employer who made indecent advances toward her. She was raised in a loving family, but basically sold out when her parents died and a crooked uncle became her guardian. Her best friend, Maggie, saw an advertisement for a mail order bride, answered the advertisement, and was going to travel west when she died. Catherine, wanting to escape her situation, decided to pretend she was Maggie. She doesn’t want to get found out and sent back, and longs to have a husband and family—a marriage like her parents had.

Alexis: What makes Catherine answer a personal ad in a magazine? Would you say this is the inciting incident in her journey? Why or why not?

Donna: Catherine didn’t answer the ad, but she wrote the letters because Maggie was illiterate. During the writing, she began to have feelings for the man Maggie became engaged to. The inciting incident is the indecent advances and expectations of her employer. She is stuck—she cannot stay, and she has nowhere to go. When Maggie dies suddenly, this seems like her way out.

Alexis: Why does Catherine believe that the God who her parents believed in abandoned her?

Donna: Like many people, Catherine had only a surface relationship with God. She was living on the faith of her parents. When her parents fell ill, she prayed for God to heal them, and when He didn’t, she felt He had abandoned her.

Alexis: Benjamin Troudt is the hero of your story. Describe his looks, personality, strengths and character flaws.

Donna: Benjamin has brown hair and eyes, a cleft chin and strong jaws. He also has a pronounced limp because he was thrown from a horse when he was trying to qualify to ride for the Pony Express.

Alexis: Why is Benjamin resistant to romantic love and how does his faith in God help him?

Donna: Benjamin had big dreams of making enough money to buy his own place while he worked for the Pony Express as a rider. However, when he is injured then offered the job as station master, then his employment is tenuous because he is illiterate and he can’t keep up with the work, plus he has a pronounced limp, he doesn’t think any woman will want him. With all the bad luck heaped on him, he is certain God doesn’t hear his prayers.

Alexis: What does Benjamin like about Catherine? Is there anything about her that he dislikes?

Donna: Benjamin has no idea Maggie/Catherine is coming, because he didn’t place the ad. Once he gets her to stay, he appreciates her feminine touch and the fact that she is a good cook, but he doesn’t want to get too close because he knows she will leave. 

Alexis: How does Catherine feel when she first meets Benjamin? Is it good or bad? Why? 

Donna: Catherine is confused about why a man would advertise for a mail order bride and then not want her. He must see something lacking in her. She won’t stay where she’s not wanted. But she agrees to stay to help out the woman in labor. She doesn’t want to get too close to him because she knows he’ll send her away as soon as the woman is well enough to travel.

Alexis: What is the moral of this story?

Donna:  That God is bigger than our past if we’ll only surrender to Him.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Donna! God bless you.


Author bio:

Donna Schlachter lives in Denver with husband Patrick who is her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. 

She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. 

Her current release, "Echoes of the Heart", a story within the 9-in-1 novella collection titled "Pony Express Romance Collection", released April 1. 

Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She will be teaching an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers in June 2017, “Don’t let your subplots sink your story”. 

Donna loves history and research and travels extensively for both.

Blurb for “Echoes of the Heart” and The Pony Express Romance Collection: 

This is a 9-in-1 novella collection from Barbour Books centered on the Pony Express, which ran from April 1860 through November 1861. The Pony Express already seems to be a romantic snippet of Americana, and so it seemed to make sense to write a collection of historical romance set on the trail. My story, Echoes of the Heart, features a mail order bride responding under an assumed name, a crippled station master who thinks no woman will want him, and their search for a future—together or separately.

Buy Donna’s story “Echoes of the Heart”:

Connect with Donna:
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Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thankful Thursday: A God Who Calls Us to Be Still

It’s Thursday and I’m thankful for a God who calls us to be still.

Growing up, a classic song that often played on my favorite Christian radio station at that time was “Be Still and Know” by Steven Curtis Chapman.

I never knew what that song meant until I grew up. The lyrics to this song are based on a Bible verse. Psalm 46:10 reads: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

But what does God mean when He tells us to “be still” and “know that He is God”? As I was driving one day earlier this week, this thought came to me and I realized several real-life scenarios in which God calls us to be still.

Here’s a short list (because the scenarios are boundless):

For Mothers of young children: When your babies are turning your house into chaos with activity, noise, and wailing, God calls you “be still” even if it’s just for a moment and “know that He is God”. In your situation, that means that He will bring peace and order to your household. Remember, Jesus loves the little children and beckons them to come to Him. He gave you those kids because He loves you and trusts you will raise them well. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you are tempted to think that because of the chaos, you are failing as a mother. God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, He expects you to be faithful to Him and He’ll take care of all the details. So by taking a moment to be still, breathe and remember He is in control, you are recognizing that He is God and He knows what He’s doing even when you feel that you don’t. He will help you and bless your efforts to be a faithful servant of His and a good mother to your kids.

For students in school: Assignments and tests given to you by your teachers can be stressful, especially when you’re struggling with learning the content. So for you, being still and knowing that God is God means that you’re taking a moment out of your rigorous life as a student to turn to God and ask Him for guidance. The very act of being still and acknowledging God, even if it’s just for a moment, should bring you peace and a better perspective on your situation. The Bible says to ask God for wisdom and He’ll give it to you. God created your brain. He’s perfectly capable of helping your brain master the content of what you’re studying. He can bless you with understanding and help you get good grades. If you have a tough teacher, God can soften your teacher’s heart and inspire them to grade a challenging test “on the curve” or make it so that they become a more effective teacher that helps every student—struggling or not—understand the content and ace every test. When you’re a student and you’re taking all of those classes, trying to get a good education because your parents said it is the key to your future, being still and knowing that God is God will help calm your nerves. God’s got this! Believe it.

For professionals working in careers: Congratulations on getting and keeping a job! Maybe you’re working your dream job or maybe you’re transitioning from another career. Maybe you love your work or you strongly dislike it. Either way, there is great value in taking  time to be still and know that God is God. Start your mornings with prayer and devotional time with God. My pastor always says that “Mornings are better when you talk with God first.” Christian leaders say that “Prayer is the most important conversation of the day.” Why? Because when you talk to God first—not reaching for your phone to check messages and reply to texts, or engage in any other activity before spending time with your Creator—and you ask Him for guidance throughout your day, you will experience His peace and sense His presence. You will be calm when dealing with a difficult boss, employee or client. You will be peaceful when your colleagues are stressed about deadlines. People will notice your peace and inquire why there’s something different about you and then my friend, God’s given you a chance to witness for Him!

Those are just three key examples that I believe a lot of people in those situations can relate to in real-life. But when it comes to situations in my own life, let me tell you what it means for me to “be still” and “know” that God is God…When I’m stressed or worried, I take a moment to be still, breathe and acknowledge that God is God. He is Lord over all! He is in control, not people. When I recognize His Lordship over my life, it creates a sense of peace in my mind and calms my heart. I put my faith and trust in Him because He is Good and His plan for my life is perfect (Jeremiah 29:11). So I know that when I’m bothered by the troubles of the world and struggling in my personal life, all I need to do is send my problems up to Him in prayer then leave it at His throne and trust Him to work all things together for my good (Romans 8:28). Someone once said that when you have “F.A.I.T.H.”, it means that you are “Forwarding All Issues to Heaven.” It’s an acronym. Get it?

I take solace in the fact that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and since He lives in the heart of believers (in God), I can trust Him to give me peace. But His peace is not just for me; it’s for everyone He sends my way. See, being still and knowing that God is God doesn’t just help you, it helps everyone because like it or not, we are all connected and affected by each other. So when you’re peaceful in the midst of chaos, people are going to marvel and wonder why. They may even be bold enough to ask you and then again, you have a chance to share your faith in the One who is Lord over all.

Sharing your faith in God with words of love (Ephesians 4:15) instead of shoving the gospel truth down someone’s throat (metaphorically speaking) attracts people to God and encourages their heart when they see how much He loves them.

I know that when I take the time to reflect on all God has done for me and I read in the Bible how God is good and He will never change, I am encouraged and inspired to live my life for His glory. His goodness and love for humankind, at times renders me speechless. My heart overflows with joy to know that God is my Father (and yours too). The lyrics to this song “Be Still and Know” encourage me to go to God for rest and embrace His heart of love that beats so strongly for His children. 

Knowing that God is God and just taking a moment every day to be still and remember that truth will change your life!

So there you have it, that’s why I am thankful this Thursday!

In closing, I’d like for you to listen to the song.

God bless your hearts!



Sunday, April 16, 2017

What Easter Sunday means for you

What does Easter Sunday mean for you?

It means that if you believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as your Risen Lord and Savior then you have the HOPE of gaining eternal life when your time on Earth is over and Jesus Christ returns to take His people home to Heaven.

I think that this Biblical truth is best described in this song "Forever" by Kari Jobe.

Enjoy this song and know that there is a God who loves YOU with ALL of His divine heart! :)

A beautiful testimony from music recording artist Lacey Sturm

Spring into Love: Safe Harbor by Kristen Terrette

Let's welcome Kristen Terrette to the blog today! She's here to share an excerpt from her novel, Safe Harbor. She's also giving away a copy of her book to one lucky winner! Details for the book giveaway contest are toward the end of this blog post. Enjoy! 

Book blurb for Safe HarborEva Elliott is left with a jaded heart after the death of her boyfriend while she was pregnant. She pushed away the idea of God and love, focusing solely on her daughter, Willow. She accepts an offer from her mom to move to Moanna Island, off the coast of Georgia. She hopes the move will help her tuck away the guilt for the role she thinks she played in her boyfriend’s death. 

Thad Smith is the local youth mentor and football coach, who’s finally recovered from his fall from grace when his NFL career ended. The day Eva arrives, Thad saves her daughter from drowning in the ocean the day, instantly connecting the pair. Eva stubbornly fights the stirring in her heart the moment Thad smiles, but since Thad coaches the football team where Eva teaches, and lives down the street, God continues to intertwine their lives. Eva will not agree to a date, so Thad uses his adventurous spirit to his advantage.

She doesn’t expect Thad’s ex to throw a kink in the fragile plan, nor for Thad’s relationship with God to convict her own shame and brokenness. Just when she opens the door to God, finally ready to make things right, an accident occurs that could leave Willow an orphan and Thad all alone again.

Book Review:
Inspiring - a great read!, February 4, 2017
By Vanessa Trainor
This review is from: Safe Harbor (Moanna Island Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

"From heartbreaking to heartwarming, this book takes you along Eva's wavering journey to discovering love, learning forgiveness and ultimately finding her way back to God again. An inspirational read that really allows you to connect with the characters! I look forward to this author's next book!"

Chapter One excerpt from the book, Safe Harbor:



The gurgling, panicked voice snapped me out of my stare on the horizon. I spun around to see a flash of tanned skin and muscles dive into the water after Willow.

“Willow!” I screamed as I took off into the water. I dove for her, but she was too far, and in between my strokes and pulls, I watched my baby roll and tumble, unable to gain her footing.

“Willow!” I screamed though the water hitting my face muffled the sound as I kicked harder, my adult body having to fight hard against the waves.

I will not lose anyone else!

In between the crashing waves, my vision cleared long enough to see the man snatch her up in his arms. I planted my feet as he gained his balance, stood up and hugged her to his chest.

“Baby! Is she alive?!” He rushed to shore, his giant frame unmoved by the powerful tugs and pulls of the ocean as I chased after him, horrified, terrified, and scrambling. When he was out of the reach of the waves, he laid her down and I heard her cough.

My knees hit the sand. “Willow! Are you breathing?!”

The guy sat back to give her some room, and I got down to her face. She tried to talk, but couldn’t through her coughing.

“Turn on your side so you can breathe better.” The guy pushed on her shoulders, prompting her to roll over. “That’s it. Take a deep, solid breath, and try to let it out slowly.”

His husky voice settled over us, and I found myself doing what he was telling Willow to do.

Willow recovered some, and locked her beautiful blue eyes on me. “Yeah, Mama,” she said softly, though a sob that was beginning to take over, “I’m…I’m breathing.”

She started coughing again, though this time it didn’t have so much force behind it. I pulled her to me and she gripped me tight around the neck. “Oh, Willow, my goodness, you scared me to death!” I closed my eyes attempting to ward off the tears, though it was useless. The utter vastness of the ocean had always unnerved me, and now my very worst fear had almost come true in it. I took a deep breath to compose myself. “I’m sorry honey. I didn’t mean to sound so mad. I was just scared, really scared. But I’m not mad at you, okay?”

She nodded into my neck. I looked up and locked eyes with Willow’s savior. His relief shown by the happy grin he wore. Through my range of emotions—panic, relief, and even anger—I now had to add giddy as his smile shot through my heart like an arrow.

“You know, I didn’t want us meet like this.” He laughed when I knitted my brow. “Never mind.” He was still showing off his killer smile and now I noticed he had a rather country accent. It didn’t seem to fit this dark tanned, completely drool-worthy man who looked like he was from Hawaii. He stood and reached to help us stand.

I took his hand, gripping Willow tight with the other, as he heaved us up. I realized just how tall he was as his frame hovered over my head, and I had to look up cause my eyes stared right at his chest. “Th…th…thank you,” I rambled. “I’m not sure how I could ever properly say thank you for…” I squeezed Willow, now resting on my hip, “for rescuing my girl.”

“Well, you just did. And don’t worry about it. I take any excuse to get wet.” He laughed and ran his fingers through his shoulder-length, almost black, wavy hair.

“We were not planning to get wet.” I held out my free hand to refer to our clothes, dripping with ocean water.

“Oh, that’s not your bathing suit?” He cocked his head and looked at Willow.

She giggled. “No, my bathing suit is hot pink with ruffles.”

He looked at me. “Are you and your husband new to the island?”

“Uh, no husband.” I stuck my hand out to him to cover the flush on my face. I always dodged that question. Being an unwed mother brought sadness, shame, and embarrassment. “I’m Eva by the way, and this is my daughter Willow.”

What is it about this guy that makes me nervous? Oh wait, maybe it’s the muscles and the four tattoos I’ve already noticed on his six-foot-something-really-tall frame.

No, even as those thoughts left my brain I knew they weren’t true.

“I’m Thad.” He shook my hand, but lingered a moment before letting go. The heat from his hand lit more than just my fingers. He had this easy way about him, this peacefulness that dripped off him and made its way into your soul.

Uh, what’s happening?

Author bio: Kristen Terrette has been an avid reader since childhood, a self-confessed book nerd, and always had characters running through her mind- ones she made up. She went back to school years ago to obtain a Master's degree in Theological Studies because she felt God's tug towards ministry, but she didn't know then what God had in mind.

After five years on staff at her church, she followed God's leading to a different kind of ministry: one with words, love, pain, and real-to-life characters. She now stays at home during the day while the house is quiet writing stories she hopes will bring readers to a stronger understanding of how God works and His love for sinners like us. 

She always has contemporary romance characters and plots running through her mind and considers romance her first love...but she has a few amazing literary fiction novels up her sleeve as well. Both genres fight for time occupying her mind.

Buy Kristen's book on Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

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