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!

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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”: http://amzn.to/2lBaqcW

~*~
Connect with Donna:
Blog - www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com
Website - www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com
Facebook - www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor
Twitter - www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter
Amazon Author Page - http://amzn.to/2oUZfMD

~*~
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: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

Love,

Alexis

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:

Eva

“Mama!”

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

~*~
Connect with Kristen:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette
Twitter - https://twitter.com/KTerrette
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/kterrette2/


~*~
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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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring into Love: Laura Hilton's story


Let's welcome Laura Hilton to the blog! She's a familiar face around here but today she's going to share an excerpt from her book The Amish Wanderer. Here's the book cover:


Here's a review of her book that she selected to share with you today, followed by an excerpt:

A Valentine’s Day release Amish romance, sweets with a definitive kick, January 30, 2017 (Source: Amazon) by Harold Wolf

This review is from: The Amish Wanderer (Paperback)


Laura V. Hilton puts a buggy horse gallop into this story opening. A story hook as gripping as a horse’s bridle. A young gal falls down a hayloft ladder, swiftly followed by a wanderer but former heart-throb, while her Bishop-Daed is hospitalized awaiting possible imprisonment. Ach, sounds more like “Fanny Hill” or “Peyton Place,” ain’t so?

From that start this Amish adventure escalates excitement and incorporates innocent fun, leading rather predictably to romance. But actually the joy in relationship is as much in the “getting to” as the “I do,” ain’t so? Getting readers to the finale is another ingredient where Hilton excels.

There’s vivid, frightening action too, difficult reading, emotionally jarring. There’s tenderness to balance, and the mysterious encounter, and a . . . well, “The Amish Wanderer” is a fully packed picnic—and I devoured it. I enjoyed this ARC Amish book so much I just had to announce it to all Amish genre-loving readers. Laura Hilton NEVER writes “typical” Amish novels. “The Amish Wanderer” incorporates several Jamesport community characters from “The Amish of Jamesport” novel series (also recommended reading).

~*~
Excerpt from Chapter One of The Amish Wanderer:

November 

An unidentified sound, loud in the relative silence, jarred Bethany. Her blue pen made a squiggly line across the page in the fat little notebook where she wrote her thoughts. Maybe she should’ve found a more secluded place than the hay pile beside the loft ladder, but she rarely was disturbed. She raised her head and listened.

Nothing, except the squeak of the wood doors in the back of the barn as her younger brother, Timothy, put the cows out to pasture. The soft lowing of cows. The clucking of free-range chickens.

Hopefully, he was too busy to notice she’d left—and wouldn’t look for her.

But there it was again. From somewhere overhead. A sound that didn’t belong. A creak and a thump.

Hopefully, it wasn’t Hen. She’d hear if he were out of jail, ain’t so? A thread of fear ripped through her, unraveling the tiny bit of peace she’d been able to find.

Bethany capped the pen, shot to her feet, and hid the notebook under a loose piece of wood in the floor. Then she scampered up the ladder to the lower loft.

Nothing.

She climbed higher, to the upper one, some thirty feet from the ground.

Peeking over the edge, she scanned the open floor. And… there… someone was wrapped in the old ratty blanket Daed kept in the barn for strays, as he called them. Mamm called them wanderers. She wouldn’t be happy to learn one bedded down in their loft while Daed was gone—incarcerated, of sorts, in a mental hospital, after he tried to kill all the black cats in their district.

The cats lived. They had nine lives, ain’t so? But Daed was institutionalized and his assistant, the one who actually carried out Daed’s deranged wishes, Hen Stutzman, was locked up in jail awaiting trial for arson. As if a man should be punished for obeying crazy orders. Well, they had been horrible things, so it was warranted.

And here she’d thought Hen came around so often to see her. Though she’d come to dread his visits.

Her head, and heart, were permanently bowed in shame. Now no one would ever come calling.

Especially if they ever found out… Nein. They couldn’t. She’d never tell.

Life would never be the same.

Okay, maybe that was a bit overly dramatic. But still…

Bethany’s eyes burned. She blinked to clear the watery haze.

What were they going to do with Daed gone?

A black Amish hat covered the face of whoever slept up on the hay-strewn floor of the loft. His body was swaddled like a newborn boppli in an effort to keep warm, most likely. Almost like Baby Jesus in the manger. Except it was a man. Not a boppli.

And definitely not Hen. This man was taller and much thinner. Relief flooded her.

She started to descend the ladder. It wouldn’t do for a vagabond to discover her alone, almost in the loft with him. Not even if something about it reminded her of the live nativity scenes she’d seen downtown at one of the Englischer’s churches.

Little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay… The tune ran, uninvited, through her thoughts.

A board on the ladder creaked and snapped under Bethany’s weight. She dangled, her feet flailing, from the top of the ladder. Too far to fall without breaking something. Or killing herself.

Why hadn’t she noticed the crack in the wood when she’d climbed up?

She let out a strangled cry when her fingers started slipping from the worn wood. The man blasted upright, his hat falling away to reveal shocks of sun-streaked light brown hair. He struggled free of the blanket, and half-crawled to the edge of the loft.

“Are you okay?” His warm, callused hands closed around hers.

His hand was strong. Warm. Work-roughened. She glanced at his fingers, curled around hers. Unexpected sparks shot up her arms. It had nothing to do with her life hanging in the balance. Or maybe it did. She looked down at the floor thirty feet below again. And whimpered.

“Grab my hands. I’ll pull you up.”

Up. In the loft. Alone with him?

Nein.

Clinging to him seemed a gut idea though. And if it’d save her from falling…

Her shin made contact with the broken rung a moment before her tennis shoe found another ladder rail. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she held. “I’m fine.” Now. She pulled her hands free one at a time and lowered herself. A step. Two. Three…

He stepped out onto the ladder and started down after her.

Nice looking… Wait. He followed her? She needed to find her brother. Or call for him. “Timothy!” There was safety in numbers. Sidetracked watching his quick descent instead of concentrating on her own in her hurry to escape, her feet slipped off the rung. Her hands caught only slivers and—

~*~
Author bio:
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. 

When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children. 

Laura enjoys reading and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

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Book blurb for The Amish WandererBethany Weiss has been fascinated by Silas Beiler since he spent a couple of years in Jamesport, Missouri, before he and his family moved to another Amish community. They hadn’t kept in touch, but she hasn’t forgotten the friendly young man who brought her lemonade and took her home once from a Singing years ago. When she finds a man sleeping in her family’s barn, like Jesus sleeping in the hay, she is stunned to recognize Silas. He’s left the Amish and is backpacking across the country. She talks him into staying, at least until after Christmas.

Silas’ family has never been happy living in one area for long, and their vagabond ways are wearing on him. He’s lived in Amish communities all over the nation, moving whenever his daed became disgruntled with the leaders, and he’s looking for some sense of stability. His intentions are to make it back to Pennsylvania and stay with his Englisch onkle and his family—and pursue an education. Will Bethany be the one to bring Silas in from the cold? Or will he continue on his way to his extended family and become Englisch?

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Buy Laura's book: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ CBD 

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Connect with Laura:

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

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Celebrate Lit blog tour featuring Kathy Ide's book "21 Days of Grace"


Book: 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love
Stories compiled by Kathy Ide
Review by Alexis A. Goring



This is a sweet devotional book with a twist: short stories with a focus on Jesus Christ with a “Life Application” page following each story.

At first, I was unsure about how the author would be able to combine fictional stories with life applications and then put it all together in a neat little devotional book but Kathy Ide surpassed my expectations. She’s compiled these stories with skill and finished them with finesse. The stories only last a few pages but that’s enough to draw the reader in and prepare their appetite for the short paragraphs in the life application section that follow each story.

Seasoned authors who have a wealth of experience in writing Christian fiction wrote each story. The stories feature characters that are in need of God’s grace. Each tale teaches a lesson about life and God’s love for humankind. The authors in this book prove through their stories and life applications that God’s love is unconditional.

I found this book to be very inspirational and encouraging to my heart. The stories are relatable, true to real-life and uplifting. It is easy for the reader to absorb and enjoy each story.

This book features stories by Robin Bayne, Angela Hunt, Deborah Raney and many more notable authors! The authors achieve their goal of telling fictional stories packed with lessons that the reader can apply to their everyday life.

21 Days of Grace is well deserving of a five-star rating and should be on the shelves not only in bookstores but in the homes of readers who need God’s Grace.

~*~

Details from Celebrate Lit:


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book:


Book: 21 Days of Grace
Author: Compiled by Kathy Ide
Genre: Devotional
Release Date: March 24, 2015

Blurb: Love fiction? Looking for a devotional? Check out 21 DAYS OF GRACE, book one in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series (published by BroadStreet Publishing Group). Fictional stories followed by brief life applications written by best-selling Christian novelists and debut authors, including Angela Hunt, Cindy Woodsmall, and Deborah Raney. Great for individual or group study.

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About the Author:

Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She’s a full-time freelance editor and writing mentor, working with Christian authors of all genres at all levels. 

She teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and is the director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. 

She’s a co-owner of the Christian Editor Network LLC and founder of the four divisions that comprise the CEN: Christian Editor Connection, The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, PENCON, and The PEN Institute. To find out more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com

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Guest Post from Kathy Ide: I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen the power of fiction to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem quite appropriate. So a devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution. 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.

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Blog Stops for this Celebrate Lit tour:

March 23: Reading Is My SuperPower

March 23: A Reader’s Brain

March 24: ASC Book Reviews

March 24: autism mom

March 24: It’s Storytime with Van Daniker

March 25: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

March 25: Inklings and notions

March 26: Blossoms and Blessings

March 26: The Power of Words

March 27: Lighthouse Academy

March 27: Because I said so – and other adventures in parenting

March 28: Moments Dipped in Ink

March 28: A Greater Yes

March 28: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

March 29: Captive Dreams Window

March 29: Donna’s BookShelf

March 29: Southern Chelle

March 30: Pause for Tales

March 30: The Scribbler

March 31: Carpe Diem

March 31: Faithful Acres Body Soul Spirit

April 1: A Baker’s Perspective

April 1: Splashesofjoy

April 2: Christian Bookaholic

April 2: Karen Sue Hadley

April 3: Ashley’s Bookshelf

April 3: Lane Hill House

April 4: Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet

April 4: History, Mystery and Faith

April 5: God is Love

April 5: Reader’s Cozy Corner

April 5: Simple Harvest Reads

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Giveaway details:

To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away:

1st – 4th place winners: A set of all four devotionals in the series.

5th and 6th place winners: An autographed copy of 21 Days of Grace with a novel written by one of the contributing authors!

Click below to enter:

https://promosimple.com/ps/b2cd 

Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! 

Devotional by Laura Thomas: The Easter Sheep

The Easter Sheep
A devotional by Laura Thomas

Picture a garden. A cave. A large stone. And a woman crying—weeping uncontrollably, actually—for she had lost someone very special. Someone she would never forget.

Mary Magdalene had encountered Jesus many moons prior, back when he delivered her from demons—that’s something you don’t forget in a hurry—and she promptly became one of His devoted followers. She had been there at the cross where He was murdered, and now her heart was breaking at the empty tomb. Jesus’ body had been taken, and it was the last straw for her fragile nerves.

She was so caught up in her grief, her eyes so blurred by tears, her heart so crushed, that she failed to recognize Jesus outside the tomb.

“At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
~ John 20:14-15 (NIV)

She thought he was the gardener.

Her Savior was gone and she was devastated…until Jesus made Himself known to her.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’”
~John 20:16a (NIV)

He called her by name.

In John chapter 10, Jesus talks of Himself as being the Good Shepherd, One who would lay down His life for His sheep. The sheep would be us, you guys. Granted, not the smartest of creatures; they tend to wander off and get lost, and are in need of constant guidance. But they are also highly treasured by their shepherd. Loved. Protected. Cared for. Verse 3 (in John chapter 10) says, “He calls his own sheep by name”… just as Jesus called Mary by name. And He calls me by name. And He calls you by name.

At His resurrection, Jesus could have appeared to whomever He wanted—crowds, leaders, cities…but He chose to appear to one of His sheep first. It was personal and so typically Jesus in its simple beauty.

And Mary’s joy was complete! Can you imagine? As soon as Jesus spoke her name, she was safe again. Her Good Shepherd hadn’t deserted her in any way—He was fully there, calling her name, and she no longer grieved. She may not have fully comprehended the theological ramifications of the resurrection, but Her Lord was alive and that was enough! Is that enough for us?

This regular woman with a tainted past was given the honor of being the very first person to herald the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the world! That’s quite something, isn’t it? We have also been given the same message to proclaim to the world—that’s quite something, too!

It’s timeless and true. A message of redemption and restoration.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

As we ponder the path leading up to Easter, remember how personal the message of salvation is. Jesus died for us as individuals. He conquered death so that each of us might have eternal life. He did it for you. He did it for me. And He calls us by name, just as He called to Mary.

He really loves His sheep. I pray that we won’t be too busy or distracted wandering in other pastures to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice this Easter.

~*~
Author bio:
Laura is a published Christian author with a heart for inspiring and encouraging readers of all ages. 

She is truly multi-genre—with a published Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, children’s stories, devotionals for Union Gospel Press, musings on her blog, and she now has a literary agent representing her Christian romantic suspense novel. 

Laura is English and Canadian, married to her high school sweetheart, mom of three, passionate about faith and family…and chocolate!

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Connect with Laura:
Website - www.laurathomasauthor.com
Facebook - http://bit.ly/2o1eRyt

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring into Love: Angela Ruth Strong


Finding Love in My Own Life Story
A personal essay by Angela Ruth Strong

Last night a friend said, “I finished your novel. Talk about autobiographical.”

She’s right. There’s so much of me in Finding Love in Park City that I was afraid if people didn’t like the book, then it meant they wouldn’t like me. So far that hasn’t happened.

My friend asked, “Was it hard putting it into words?”

Enough time had passed since my personal experience with divorce that I’d made peace with the pain, so writing about it didn’t hurt, but I found it eye-opening to see how the story affected others. When my critique partners commented on my character, it gave me new insight into my own life. For example, after “the other woman” in my story made derogatory comments, my first reader said, “Your main character has to know that’s not true.”

Oh. I thought back to my own experience where “the other woman” had said those exact words verbatim. In my head, I’d known it wasn’t true, but the words still hurt my heart as if I believed them. Hearing it considered crazy talk from an outside source was very validating.

Then there was the, “Wow, your main character is really insecure,” which eventually became, “Oh, no wonder she’s insecure!”

Yes, I had these same insecurities, but I had them for a reason. Such a critique made me feel understood. Because this wasn’t a friend trying to reassure me as my friends all had, this was an unbiased opinion of a character my critique partner didn’t know actually existed.

I have to admit, my favorite comment so far has come from my mom. “I’m reading Finding Love in Park City right now, and I really like Sam. He’s such a great hero… Did you base him on Jim?”

Yes, Sam is based on my husband. And he really is a great hero. You guys, my husband puts great heroes to shame. He is the reason I write romance again.


Pictured above: The author (Angela Ruth Strong) and her husband Jim
danced together on their Wedding Day

I want to offer hope that love like this really exists because it’s hard to believe when the person you love is abusing you, and we all know someone who has been through—or is going through—this. Sadly, abuse is often misunderstood, and the church doesn’t always know how to help. I’d like to think my words can make a difference. I’m honored that at least one reviewer has thought so too: “This is the first book to speak so clearly about the effects of verbal abuse on a marriage and family in romantic fiction I've read.”

Back when I was in the midst of my divorce, I went to a prayer room where women prayed over me. They didn’t know anything about me, but one woman said, “This isn’t the end of your story.” She had no idea I was a writer or that I would literally write a happy ending to my tale, but it was the best advice she could have given.

I am grateful for everything I’ve learned. I’m grateful for where I am now. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my story with you.


~*~
Author bio: 

Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book, she's rereleased it as part of a new series titled Resort to Love, and she's excited to be writing for Love Inspired Suspense, as well. 

This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors. 

She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and three teenagers where she teaches yoga and works as a ticket agent for an airline when not writing. 

Find out more at www.angelaruthstrong.com or become an insider by joining her Facebook fan group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1557213161269220/.

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Book blurb for Finding Love in Park City, Utah


C.J. Lancaster’s job as a tabloid journalist takes her to the Sundance Film Festival to interview an actress. She tries to charm her way past the movie star’s youngest brother-in-law, Sam, and somehow ends up on an “undate” with him. If C.J. were ready to date, the fun-loving veteran would be her first choice, but since she’s still healing from her ex-husband’s affair, she knows it will be safer if she scares her new “friendboy” away.

Sam Lake is intrigued—he’s never had to pursue a woman, and he can’t get C.J. out of his mind. Whether it’s how she likes to eat ice cream in winter or the way she gets his nieces and nephews to gang up on him in a snowball fight, he feels more at home with her than his oversized family. But when his own issues arise, he realizes C.J. might be right about avoiding a relationship with him.

Can the two of them overcome the emotional mountains in their lives, or will they remain a “noncouple” forever?

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Buy Angela's book: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

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*Only United States Residents may enter this book giveaway contest for their chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below:

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