Thursday, December 31, 2015

Words of Faith: The Introduction

Dear Wonderful Readers of "God is Love" (blog): 

I'd like to introduce a new series coming soon to my blog! Starting on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, we will have special guests talking about their faith journey with God. We will host a special guest every Friday throughout the year 2016.

"Words of Faith" will provide YOU, my readers, with a focus on faith in God as told through real-life experience from followers of Jesus Christ! Our special guests want to share stories of their faith in God with you to encourage you along your journey through life.

An emphasis on Bible verses that teach us about faith will be a focus throughout this series. So, at least one bible verse on faith will be included in every story told for this series.

Every Friday, you can expect a devotional or a personal essay (guest post) about what faith means to one of our guests. Example of talking points from our guests include but are not limited to: talking about how and when they first found faith in God, sharing a testimony about how their faith in God helped them to overcome an obstacle, showing us how to "grow up" in the faith, speaking on why faith without works is dead, sharing how they apply their faith in God to their everyday life (and how you can too), talking about how their faith has helped others find a relationship with Jesus Christ, sharing how their faith impacts their world and why they choose to keep the faith....the variety of topics and depth of story may be the very hope and inspiration you need.

"Falling in Love with Jesus" told us WHY people have faith in God, now "Words of Faith" guests will show you HOW people can find faith and hope in a broken world. 

So that's all for now. Stay tuned for more every Friday, right here on this blog! 



Monday, December 28, 2015

Devotional by Mary Manners: Christmas Lights

Christmas is over but I believe that you will enjoy this holiday devotional by our friend Mary Manners! She's sharing a story set at Christmastime that is near and dear to her heart. My hope is that you will be encouraged as you read Mary's devotional! 

Christmas Lights
A devotional by Mary Manners

“You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”
~ 2 Samuel 22:29 (NIV) ~

When the subject of Christmas gifts comes up, most people think of packages wrapped in colorful paper and shimmery bows, sitting under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened.

When I think of Christmas gifts, I think of my dad, who passed away fourteen years ago this holiday season. He was a man of many gifts, including the joy he shared for the traditions of Christmas.

Dad loved light—especially the light that brightened a fresh-cut pine tree in honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each December first, like clockwork, Dad piled his family—all seven of us—into our Chevy station wagon and drove us to the tree lot where, shivering in the Chicago-winter cold, we oohed and aahed over each and every tree until we found the perfect one.

Once home, with the tree safely arranged in a metal stand and watered, Dad climbed the ladder to our attic (a mysterious place, indeed) where the Christmas lights were stored. He’d lower the battered cardboard box (re-used, season after season) to the floor below and dust it off.

Then my brother and sisters—five of us—gathered 'round him in the living room and waited, eyes huge with wonder, as he carefully unraveled the strands of lights and tested each one. No matter how stubborn the bulbs, dad always managed to get them working.

Beautiful, vibrant colors turned the room to a kaleidoscope, dancing over walls and windows with the feel of winter magic. One by one, my siblings and I each took the place of honor beside Dad, helping him to adorn the tree with light. Pine sap clung to our tiny fingers, but we didn’t care. All the while, our hearts soared with happiness and child-like wonder.

Finally, Dad gently gathered the Christmas star from the box. Hushed with awe, we waited while Dad chose one of us to hoist to his shoulders for the greatest thrill—placing the treasured beacon of light—the Baby Jesus Star—atop the highest limb. Somehow, Dad always sensed who needed that extra touch of attention, and there was never any argument.

With the lights in place (just in time for nightfall—always) we circled the tree and held hands to sing "Silent Night." In the earliest years, the tune didn’t always carry and the words were sometimes off, but Dad didn’t mind. He knew we understood what the tree—and especially the lights—symbolized, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. The most wonderful gift of all!

It’s sometimes easy to get lost in the tangle of this world—the troubles and stresses that everyday life presents. Sometimes we feel as if the darkness will consume us. During these most trying times, we must move toward the light, and the Father who loves and guides us. He will remove the darkness and fill us with His holy light.

Author bio:
Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters, Lucky and Gus.

She loves swimming, running, flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.

Mary believes everyone has a story to tell, and she loves to share hers. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Song Spotlight: His Plan

I love this song! Here's what I want you to remember as you listen to it: God is working out His plan. The proof is found in real-life AND in Scripture. Read the following texts: John 3:16, John 10:10, Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28.

No matter what you're going through or how long you've been going through it, REMEMBER, God is still in control and HE is working out His plan for you. He's promised to save you if you just believe in Him. As you believe, you must also trust. Trusting God gets tough when life gets hard but hold onto HOPE because HE will never let you go!

Be encouraged, dear hearts! 



Merry Christmas!

25 Days of Christmas Stories: The North Pole, a devotional by Joi Copeland

Merry Christmas! I hope you all will have a delightful day filled with happy memories, good food, quality time with loved ones and the best gift of all (Jesus Christ)! I also hope that you will join me in welcoming Joi Copeland to the blog today! 

She's the author of the delightful book, Christmas Rayne and she'd like to give away one copy of her book for your Kindle! Enter the book giveaway contest by filling out the Rafflecopter widget below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Meanwhile, enjoy Joi's devotional about a Christmas movie that inspired her to write this devotional! 

The North Pole
A devotional written by Joi Copeland

I was watching the Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, with Tim Allen and Martin Short, the other day with my family. Something struck me that has never hit me before. Tim Allen who plays character Scott Calvin, had just shown up to the North Pole after Jack Frost became the new Santa Clause. He stands at the entrance of this new North Pole Theme park and is very disturbed.

Reindeer grunt in frustration, children demand to have money spent on them, and parents are forking out the dough in hopes of making their kids happy, yet at the same time, they themselves are miserable. Scott scans the scenes before him. A look of utter sadness and heart break are shown on his face. This isn’t what the North Pole was created to be. It was to be a place of magic, of joy, of giving. And by golly, he was going to make it right.

I was having my prayer time, thanking Jesus for coming to the world He created. And I had to wonder if He felt a lot like Scott did when he returned to the North Pole. Jesus came to the very place He created. The world was created for joy and peace. His creation wasn’t created for selfishness, greed, corruption, or sin. Yet, that is what He entered into the day He was born.

We don’t know a lot about Jesus’ growing up years. A few stories here and there, but few details. As He began His ministry, I imagine Him glancing around the world He made, sadness breaking His heart at how far they’ve come from what it was originally intended.

And by golly, Jesus is going to make it right. And He does, too. He gives us hope and redemption. Isn’t that fantastic? He redeems us! But He isn’t done yet. No sir! He is going to come back and make ALL things right!

In Christmas Rayne, my Christmas novella, Justin comes back to town and runs into his ex-girlfriend. His heart’s desire is to make things right. Without giving too much detail, that is his primary focus.

This Christmas, don’t just focus on the baby in the manger. Focus on the reason He came, to bring His world back to Him!

Author Bio: 
Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She lives in Denver, Colorado, but within the year, hopes to be living in Galway, Ireland. 

Joi’s love of writing began at a young age. She wrote short stories for several years, and in 2009, she began writing her first novel, Hope for Tomorrow.

Joi’s books include:
Hope for Tomorrow, book 1
Hope for the Journey, book 2
Hope from the Past, book 3
Letters of Love
Christmas Rayne, a novella 
Sheriff Bride Rob's Story, a novella


Blurb for Joi's book Christmas Rayne:

Rayne Adams loves Christmas time. While shopping for a Christmas tree, she runs into a love from the past. 

With a possible new love forming on the horizon, will the past continue to haunt her or will she be able to let it go and move on? Or is there room in her heart for her former love? 

Justin Thomas made the biggest mistake of his life three years ago. Now, finding himself face to face with the one he hurt the most, can he regain her trust and her love? Or will he lose her to another?

Christmas Rayne:
Amazon -
Barnes and Noble -
Books-A-Million -
Connect with Joi:

Amazon ~ Blog ~ 

Falling in Love with Jesus: He loved me first

Welcome Brandy Heineman to the blog today! She's here to share her story about how she first fell in love with Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. 

Brandy's story reminds me of the song, "When You Walk Through the Water" by Allison Durham which is based on the Bible verses in Isaiah 43, which Brandy quotes in her story.

I hope you will enjoy reading Brandy's story. It is the final post for my blog's Falling in Love with Jesus series. I found it to be very inspirational. I pray that Brandy's story and Allison's song will encourage your heart. 

He loved me first

A Falling in Love with Jesus story written by Brandy Heineman

Ah, love. The inexhaustible supply of poems, songs, romance novels, and love letters written in just about every language seem to suggest that words hardly do justice to the big, heady thrill ride of falling in love, though we never seem to tire of trying.

When I met my husband, I was not-quite-recovered from a broken heart. I enjoyed the time we spent together, but he had to put his heart on the line first before I came around to loving him back.

As it turned out, our love modeled what it meant for me to fall in love with Jesus.

Michael and I started dating in the summer of 2004. When we started getting serious, i.e., attending church together, our Sunday School teacher shared a thought that I had never heard before when he told us, “The Bible is God’s love letter to mankind.”

I probably nodded in agreement and smiled, liking the way that sounded. I knew John 3:16, of course. God had proved His love for us by sending His Son to die for our sins and reconcile us to Him.

Nonetheless, that was the first time I’d heard it put quite that way. Although I had attended church many times before and often prayed, I did not possess a deep well of Bible knowledge at the time. The idea of the Bible as a love letter sounded good in theory, but if you’d asked me for specifics, I doubt I could have offered any.

That pleasant idea tucked itself away in my memory and waited patiently as Michael and I became members of our church in 2005 and married there in December of the following year. I remember the verse I used on the front of our wedding programs: 1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.”

In the meantime, I began taking Bible study classes as I was able. I can’t say that I recognized exactly how dry my well was, but God placed the desire in me for more of His word.

That first year and a half of marriage was exhausting in every way imaginable. In roughly chronological order: my car quit immediately after the wedding, I took on a significant increase in responsibilities at work, and my husband survived a layoff only to find himself in a very different professional landscape. In addition, we had three deaths in the family, and a fourth family member nearly died.

Jesus brought us through, but it was hard. Those are the times when you really need a deep well of Bible knowledge, to pull out like a treasured love letter and reread the lines for comfort and hope. To rest in their beauty. To drink in the Living Water.

It took one of those in-depth Bible studies for me to find it, but in Isaiah 43, I saw what our Sunday School teacher had meant about God’s love letter to us. It turns out that words do just fine to describe love when they are spoken by our loving Creator God, to His passion and prize, as in the powerful words of verses 1-2 (quoted from NASB):

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,

And He who formed you, O Israel,

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name; you are Mine!”

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,

Nor will the flame burn you.”

And especially the explicit, passionate declaration found in Isaiah 43:4 (NASB):

“Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you…”

I can’t describe how those words affected me the first time I read them. How they still do. If I’d had them for those difficult days—but never mind. They are tucked away in my heart and mind for when they are needed again.

In closing, I’ll offer a thought that occurred to me as I was sifting through memories and thinking of what to write about falling in love with Jesus: that we would, each one of us, live our lives as our love letters back to Him.

Author bio:
Brandy Heineman loves stories of faith and family history. 

She’s a graduate of Wesleyan College and an author with Elk Lake Publishing. 

She is also a first-generation Southerner who occasionally gets caught saying things like, “Y’all want some pop?” 

Brandy lives in metro Atlanta with her husband, Michael. Find her on Twitter as @brandyhei, or visit her online at

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thankful Thursday: God Loves You

It's Thursday and I'm thankful that God loves you!

He loves me too. He loves ALL of his creation which means the flowers of the field, animals, lakes, beaches, the ENTIRE Universe, really!

The song "You Are For Me" by Kari Jobe is a beautiful reminder of the fact that not only is God for you, but He loves you AND is for you! Meaning when no one else is there to support or encourage you, God is on standby just waiting for you to call upon Him. I think that too often we "go to the phone" before we "go to the throne" which means we're quick to go to mere mortals to share our burdens instead of going to God who is Lord over all.  

Lately, I've realized how important it is to talk about my issues and concerns with GOD first, not family, friends, counselors, pastors or prayer warriors. Songs like "You Are For Me" remind me how important it is to trust God in every area of your life and to take your problems and praises to Him.

I love resting on the fact that God's got my back. I love being able to trust Him to direct the story of my life. He's my Best Friend, Redeemer and Savior. Each and every day is a new adventure with God. I love spending time reading His Word (The Holy Bible) and listening to songs by musicians like Kari Jobe who have a heart for Him.

I hope and pray that you will enjoy this holiday season.

May God bless you with His presence and His peace. *Philippians 4:7*



25 Days of Christmas Stories: Interview with Louise M. Gouge, author of A Western Christmas

Welcome a new person to the blog, Louise M. Gouge! She's an author of Christian fiction and today she's here to share details about her story "Yuletide Reunion" which is one of two stories in this book, A Western Christmas:

Here's the blurb for Louise's story, "Yuletide Reunion": Emma Sharp's family needs to rebuild their barn before Christmas. All help is welcome—even if it comes from the handsome neighboring rancher who jilted her two years ago. Can Jared Mattson prove that he wants to build not just a barn with Emma—but a bright future together?

Louise wants to give away one copy of A Western Christmas to one U.S. resident reader who WINS the book giveaway contest. Contest entries can be made through filling out the form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now enjoy learning about Louise through the following interview! 

*Questions from Alexis are in bold, answers from Louise are not in bold

Alexis: Why is the overall title for your book called A Western Christmas?

Louise: The Love Inspired editors at Harlequin choose the titles of our books and anthologies. They have to balance about fourteen titles every month, so they have to make sure there aren’t any duplications. I was very pleased with this title because it captures the essence of both my story and Renee Ryan’s.

How did you and the other author choose the setting for your book? Where is it, exactly?

When our editors invited us to write our Christmas novellas for this anthology, they let us choose our settings. I chose a fictional town in New Mexico not far from Santa Fe because I have family living there and I know the setting and history quite well.

Your story in this two-story book is called "Yuletide Reunion". What’s the inspiration behind that title?

Again, our editors chose this title. I think they liked the idea of a Christmas reunion because it’s about a reconciliation between two people who love each other but have some things to work out. And of course, Yuletide is an old-fashioned word that refers to Christmas. Again, I think the editors did a great job.

Tell us about your heroine Emma Sharp. Describe her personality and heart. What makes her mad? What is she passionate about? What role does she play in this story?

I think any person, woman or man, who’s been jilted has some anger or at least a broken heart. My heroine, Emma, sets aside these sad emotions and dedicates herself to her family and her father’s ranch, both of which she loves deeply.

Why do Emma and her family need to rebuild their barn before Christmas?

My fictional community is trying to bridge the gap between two cultures by combining Christmas traditions. They need a warm place where the entire community can gather for the final celebration of Las Posadas, the Spanish tradition. The Sharps’ old barn was the only one close enough to town and large enough to hold everyone. When the old barn burned down, they need to finish the new one by Christmas Eve. With everyone working together, it also helps to bond the community in a whole new way.

Tell us about your hero Jared Mattson. Describe his looks, personality and flaws. What role does he play in this story?

Like any romance hero, Jared is tall, dark, and handsome…and strong. As the fourth of five sons, he has many examples of traditional manly cowboy strength and determination. But Jared has a tender spot, too. You’ll have to read the story to discover what it is.

What is it about Emma that draws Jared to her and inspires hope in his heart, a hope of a future together?

Emma is a strong woman who can overcome the difficulties of building a home and a ranch in the Wild West, where trials and tribulations abound. Many women, including Jared’s mother and sister-in-law had failed the tests and abandoned their families, returning to the East. So it’s hard for Jared to trust any woman with his heart and his future.

What was the easiest part of writing Yuletide Reunion and what was the most challenging?

I loved writing the whole story because I have a great love for the area and its history. This story sort of wrote itself, which is always fun for an author.

What was your favorite scene to create in this story? Explain.

I love the scene with Emma and Jared in the kitchen when the kittens make their arrival. As a cat “mama” and cat lover, it was very special to me.

How did your faith in God play into your storytelling?

I can’t imagine writing a story without showing God’s hand in the lives of my characters. Just as the Lord Jesus Christ told parables to help people see their need for God and to show how God works in our lives, I tell stories for the sole purpose of helping people come to the Lord.

What’s the moral to the story?

Usually love stories have a built-in “moral,” which is that two people can overcome difficulties and find lasting love. In this love story, Emma and Jared both have to learn about forgiveness before they can truly love each other in a selfless way, as God loves us.

What was your go-to food and beverage when writing Yuletide Reunion?

Oh, always my Earl Grey/green tea combination. And because I live in Florida, year round my tea is iced tea with no sugar EVER. My stories are sweet enough as it is. LOL! For munchies, I like Brazil nuts, walnuts, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries and yogurt.

What are you most looking forward to in this holiday season? Why?

I always look forward to the big gathering at our house when our children, grandchildren, and a host of special friends gather for a feast. Why? Well, I suppose because spending time with loved ones is the greatest gift I can ever receive.

Complete this sentence: I write Christmas stories because _______________________.

I write Christmas stories because: this is a very special time of year when we remember that God became man so He could save a lost world. If I can show His great love to my readers and help them appreciate the first and greatest Christmas gift ever, salvation through Jesus Christ, then nothing could make me happier.

Thanks for the interview, Louise! If you want to do a book giveaway, leave a question for my readers to answer.

Louise's question for my readers: What are you looking forward to this Christmas?

Author bio: 

Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical Romances. 

She received the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in 2005 and placed in 2011 and 2015; and placed in the Laurel Wreath in 2012. 

When she isn't writing, she and David, her husband of fifty years, enjoy visiting historical sites and museums.

Buy A Western Christmas:
Amazon -
Barnes & Noble - -

Connect with Louise:
Please visit her website at
See all of Louise’s books at
View more about A Western Christmas at

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

25 Days of Christmas Stories: The Durgin Christmas Miracle

Let's wish a "Merry Christmas" to a familiar author who is visiting with us again today! JoAnn Durgin has returned to the blog to share her real-life story about a miracle that God performed for her family many Christmases ago.


The Durgin Christmas Miracle
A guest post written by JoAnn Durgin

I’ve told this story a few times in the past few years, but I’m not going to apologize if you’ve read it before. Why? Because, in my humble opinion, it bears repeating. You might say this story is for those skeptics who say, “That couldn’t happen!” I’m sure you’ve heard how truth is sometimes much stranger than fiction? Well, my friends, this is one of those stories.

Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and snuggle up…this is also one those warm blanket moments!

In the late 1990s, we lived on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and my husband, Jim, was an associate pastor for youth/music/worship. It was during the six-year period when I was a stay-at-home mom with three small children under the age of ten. Heavy snow was predicted for Christmas Eve, but that didn’t stop our excitement as we packed up the minivan and headed on our way to Grandma’s house in my native southern Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky (where we now live). Stops included, driving straight through, we anticipated it would take about 12 to 14 hours.

The further we drove, however, the more treacherous the highway became. Huge trucks were skidding and sliding into ditches and guard rails, the roads were winding and narrow, and there were numerous fender benders and stalled cars everywhere. Did that stop the Durgins? No way! We were all singing, happy as could be, and nothing could stop us! At one point, I started to get a little apprehensive because of the blinding snow and icy road conditions. I remember giving Jim one of those looks and mouthing to him so the kids wouldn’t hear, “Do you think we should pull over and stop?” His response was to grip the steering wheel that much harder with fierce determination.

Our rumbling tummies finally forced us stop at a truck stop (still on The Pennsylvania Turnpike; it’s a really long stretch of highway). The warmth inside and the smells of a holiday buffet greeted us as we walked through the door. It was so welcoming! We knew we couldn’t stay long and needed to keep moving if we had a prayer to get to our destination before Christmas. As it was, we’d been delayed by creeping along at speeds of less than 20 miles per hour for several hours.

This is where it gets pretty wonderful. Our waitress came to our table with a radiant smile. Her name? Angel. She was sweet and as friendly as could be in spite of being hectic and busy with a number of customers. When Jim went to pay the bill, the cashier said, “Already taken care of, folks. Merry Christmas.” We’ll never know who paid for our meal, but it was one of those random acts of kindness we’ll never forget.

Now, for the part that makes my eyes mist all these years later. When we walked outside to our van, we discovered a man—who’d been sitting at the counter when we walked in (and greeted the kids with candy canes and a warm smile)—had been hard at work shoveling around our van in order to make sure we’d be able to get out of the parking lot. The man told us his name was Chris (or was it Kris?). In a red plaid flannel shirt with jeans and a heavy overcoat, he had a long white beard, thick white hair, wire frame glasses, and yes, I’m pretty certain there was a merry twinkle in those eyes. In case you think this is a case of an overactive writer’s imagination, I have witnesses (Jim and the three kids), and we all share this same marvelous memory (well, except for Matthew since he was very young at the time but he knows all about it!). To this day, we still marvel over the miracles of that exceptional trip.

The snow was falling and accumulating faster than I’d ever seen it. Spying a small motel a few miles down the highway, I exchanged a glance with Jim. He raised his brows and I shrugged. Then we both looked at each other a few seconds later and he said, “Indiana or bust.”

Nearly 18 hours after we started out, we finally made it to Indiana, and never was it so warm and welcoming! But the story’s not quite over yet… Jim had a mechanical problem with the van the day after Christmas. I can’t remember what it was, but we took the van to my mom’s mechanic (a lookalike for Larry Bird, a fact which thrilled my Celtics fanatic of a husband). Know what the mechanic said? “I don’t know how you made it that far, especially in the bad weather. This van should have broken down somewhere along the way.” I remember stopping somewhere in Ohio and filling a tire with air, but wow. I mean Wow! The Lord’s constant watch care and protection for us is amazing and awesome, isn’t it?

Psalm 46:1 - "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble."

Isaiah 41:10 - "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Author bio:
JoAnn Durgin is the author of six novels (and counting) in the bestselling Lewis Legacy Series, as well as Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other novels include Catching Serenity, Heart’s Design, Love So Amazing (Book #1 in The Wondrous Love Series), Perchance to Dream, Echoes of Edinburgh, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series. 

JoAnn lives with her husband and three children, as well as new grandbaby, Amelia Grace, in southern Indiana. 

She loves to hear from her readers at or
Buy JoAnn's Christmas stories from the Starlight Christmas Series:

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD)
Starlight fire captain Jake Marston meets his match in Nurse Julia Sinclair.

Starlight, Star Bright (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD)
Italian Cowboy Dante might take Amanda’s heart with him when he returns to Italy after a brief stopover in Starlight.

Sleigh Ride Together with You (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD)
When love comes calling at Christmas, what’s network executive Alex to do when he falls in love? Nicole discovers her true home in her heart when she returns to Starlight.

Starlight in Her Eyes (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD)
A cheeky Brit falls in love and wonders if a Christmas trip to Starlight will be his personal Christmas miracle to win Serena’s heart.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

25 Days of Christmas Stories: A Christmas Promise

Tamera Kraft wrote a historical Christian story called A Christmas Promise. It is a Moravian holiday story set in the year 1773. Here's the lovely cover for her book:

She's here today to share an excerpt from A Christmas Promise as well as a review written by a famous author plus a few more delightful details! 

Enjoy your visit with Tamera! 

Book blurb for A Christmas Promise:
During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away two days before Christmas to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Book Excerpt:

December 23, 1773, Schoenbrunn Village, Ohio

Brother Paul stepped over to them and put a hand on John’s shoulder. “Brother, we must go now.”

John nodded.

Anna swallowed back the lump in her throat and spoke in English. It seemed too intimate a moment with her husband to let Paul understand her words. “Will you be home in time for the Lovefeast tomorrow night?”

John’s brow furrowed. “I don’t know.”

“You can’t miss the celebration of the birth of our Savior.”

“I’ll try to be back in time.” John’s jaw twitched. “I promise to be home for Christmas.”

Anna wanted to argue with him, tell him not to go, but it wouldn’t do any good. She forced her breathing to slow to a normal pace. “Then I’ll make it the best we ever had.”

“That won’t be hard,” John said. “Any Christmas with you and the girls is good.”

“Brother John.” Paul nodded towards the door. “They’re waiting.”

“I’ll meet you outside.”

The door made a thumping sound as Paul closed it on the way out.

“Children,” Anna said. “Papa’s going on a journey. Come say good-bye.”

The girls ran to their father and hugged him.

“When will you be back?” Belinda asked.

“Maybe tomorrow in time for the Lovefeast.” John wiped his hand across his neck. “If not, I’ll see you Christmas Day.”

John took Anna into his arms once again and kissed her. The heat of the moment swept through her as she leaned into the kiss with parted lips. He rested his mouth against her neck, and then pulled away. After strapping on his supplies and musket, he opened the door.

The blast of winter filled the cabin and sent a chill through her. She scampered to the fireplace, grabbed her ladle, and dished stew onto tin plates. “Children, come to the table to sup.” The door shut with a dull thud behind her.

John was gone.

Book review: 

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Written by Julie Lessman

Buy Tamera's book:

Amazon -
Pelican Book Group -

Author bio:

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio. Soldier’s Heart and A Christmas Promise are two of her historical novellas that have been published. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. Her third novella, A Resurrection of Hope, will be released in March.

Connect with Tamera:
Word Sharpeners Blog:
Revival Fire For Kids Blog:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Song Spotlight: "Your Destiny" by Kevin Levar

The music video above this note says it all. But as a reminder: Do NOT give up on your destiny! Do NOT get distracted! Stay ON course! Do NOT lose your focus. You have a work to do for the Lord (God)! He's brought you this far, trust Him to lead you to your destiny!

Be encouraged!

25 Days of Christmas Stories: Interview with Carole Brown, author of Sabotaged Christmas

Let's welcome Carole Brown to the blog! She's here today to answer all of my in-depth questions about her book, Sabotaged Christmas AND she's giving away a copy of her book to the winner of the book giveaway contest! 

The winner can choose a Kindle e-book or paperback copy.  To enter the contest, fill out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now on to the author interview. Enjoy!

*Questions from Alexis are in bold, answers from Carole are not in bold

Alexis: What inspired your book title, Sabotaged Christmas?

Carole: Originally, I wrote a three book romance series, but when that didn’t work out, and the opportunity opened, I asked my editor about turning them into romantic mysteries. She was enthusiastic. With a bit of editing and rewriting, I was able to increase the mystery. A woman’s construction business, her birth and the co-protagonist’s past all intermingle and create subplots that not only keep the reader’s interest high but threaten Toni and her employees with a sabotaged Christmas. 

Tell us about your heroine Toni DeLuca. What does she look and sound like (describe the sound of her voice)? Why did you give her an Italian heritage? What does she love about owning DeLuca Construction. How did she get that job?

Toni’s petite, but a strong woman. Dark black-haired, flashing brown eyes (with what Perrin calls golden flecks), she’s friendly, loves life and a vivacious type of person. She has a quick temper but is also kind hearted and a true Christian. She inherited DeLuca Construction from her deceased father, and although he taught her everything he knew about carpentry, she now leaves the labor to her supervisor and her four employees and contents herself with overseeing the business.

What is Toni’s relationship with her father? Do they get along? Did he raise her by himself or with her Mom? Why does she think he has deceptions?

She adored her father, and they had a good relationship. He did his best as a single parent, by attending her school functions, setting rules, but giving her the independence to see and make the right choices. In Sabotaged Christmas, someone is accusing her father of deception. Since Toni’s never heard such a thing, she’s a bit shocked at the news.

Tell us about those “mysterious pink notes” that Toni receives. What are they? Who are they from? What significance do they have in the story?

They are coy accusations with an intent of upsetting Toni. The culprit has his/her “harsh” agenda, and they play a big part in the plot.

Tell us about your hero Perrin Douglas. Start with his first name—what’s the origin. Did you create that or find it somewhere? Continue talking about Perrin by describing his looks, personality, strengths and flaws.

It’s an English name, meaning, in a general way: “Little Peter.” Most times, unless there’s a name that comes to me, a name I hear or love, or a name that has a significance to me, I use my trusted baby book. One of my favorite research books.

Perrin is tall, a bit of a academic, a history professor sans adventure/romance author. Although he’s published several nonfiction articles and books, he’s now venturing into fiction and has taken a hiatus to finish his book. He has brown hair, and blue/green eyes, wears glasses and is a bit awkward at times. He loves his son very much but isn’t an easy man to get to know.

What attracts Toni to Perrin? Why?

Toni’s kind heart draws her to the Douglas family, first of all. She can sense their need, sees deeper than either father or son realizes, feels their cry for peace and happiness, and knows that something is very, very wrong in their lives. In her attempt to “rescue/help” them, she ends up attracted to a man who sometimes lets his bitterness and fear of trusting get the better of him.

Why does Perrin have his doubts about women and God? Explain.

I don’t want to spoil the story, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but I will say, his past is not pretty. He not only blames those from the past, but himself which causes him to mistrust women and not having been raised in a godly home, he has no real sense that there is a God or one that could do anything for him.

Several factors may “ruin” Christmas for Toni. Can you tell us what they are and why?

There’s basically three: #1: The question about her father, causing her to view her upbringing with sadness and disappointment. #2: The damages on the construction sites that not only cost money but a loss of time and the possibility of her business reputation being ruined. Not being able to pay her employees due to these, is a big problem for Toni. #3: Last, Toni’s attraction for the one man who interests her, may not pan out. How can she be happy knowing she’s lost the one chance of being with him?

Why did you choose to set your story in West Virginia? Is Appleton a real town? What do you love about setting your story in that location?

West Virginia is a charming state. I wanted a homey, laid back community, and having visited WV numerous times, with lots of friends from there, I knew I could create what I needed from the area. Besides, I love WV.

Appleton is not a real town. The setting is not too far from the state capital, Charleston.

What can you tell us about the culprit and how he or she may “destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness”?

Resolving the puzzle of the three subplots might just destroy Toni’s natural happiness. The reputation of the parent who raised her is thrown into question. The possibility of a ruined business, and her own happiness all are at stake.

The culprit has one main agenda, but I can’t reveal that without ruining the novel story for readers. I encourage everyone to read the book and find out more of what’s happening in Toni DeLuca’s life.

Complete this sentence: I wrote this book because ________________.

I wrote this book because I wanted a romantic mystery series that featured different people in a small town setting. People who are friends who have their own unique lives that touch each other as they go about their daily lives. I want readers to sense the community spirit, and not only the love and friendliness but also the jealousies and problems and hurts and pettishness that can exist too. Life is not always pleasant, but when you work hard, trust God, and do the best you can, you can have peace and an inward joy. Hard decisions have to be made, forgiveness and hope has to be in place. It’s only then you can truly be happy. Toni DeLuca and Perrin Douglas made the right choices, eventually. 

Thanks for the interview, Carole! God bless you and Merry Christmas!
If you have a question for my readers, please ask it now. 

Carole's questions for my readers: Can any of you guess Toni’s first name, her real name?

Author bio: 

Carole Brown not only has her award-winning (2015 Winner of the USA Best Books Award, 2015 Small Publishers Book Award, RWA International Digital Award finalist, Clash of the Titles Laurel Awards finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel but The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, is available for purchase now.

A companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel is also available.

The first book in her Denton & Alex Davies mystery series, Hog Insane and Bat Crazy, the second book are fun, lighthearted novels that not only deal with the mysteries the Davies land in, but relationships too.

The first book in a new WWII Spies Romantic Suspense series, With Music In Their Hearts are nostalgic, warm-hearted books that place readers firmly in that era. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Brown released the first book in a new series, in November 2015: The Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mysteries, Sabotaged Christmas.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Book blurb for Sabotaged Christmas: Toni DeLuca, the Italian owner of DeLuca Construction, finds herself confronted with doubts about her father and his possible deceptions--all because of the mysterious pink notes she’s receiving.

Relations with Perrin Douglas who has a troubled history—but the first man in years who’s interested her--is building to a peak. Yet Perrin‘s own personal problems and his doubts about women and God, keep getting in the way. 

Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business all converge to play a part in ruining Christmas for Toni’s employees. Will the mysterious person behind it all succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen? 

Will this culprit destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams?

Buy Carole's book: -
Barnes and Noble -
Books-A-million -

Sunday, December 20, 2015

25 Days of Christmas Stories: A Season of Encouragement

Simply wonderful is the message today from our guest Marianne Evans! She's an award-winning author who has a passion for creating "Faith Affirming Fiction" and she's great at encouraging the hearts of her readers.

Marianne's latest release is called Christmas at Tiffany's and it is a true, creative delight! Read more about her book toward the end of this blog post. 

Now Marianne would like to share a short guest post that she wrote with you in mind, hoping to encourage your heart. I hope you will enjoy reading it!

A Season of Encouragement 

A guest post written by Marianne Evans

My publisher, Pelican Book Group, launched a most encouraging Christmas campaign via Twitter, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Editor in Chief Nicola Martinez encouraged PBG authors to share uplifting quotes, re-tweet them, and give a boost to those who are struggling during this emotionally charged and very busy season.

While I prayed for discernment, while I scoured the Internet and Bible for hope-filled quotes, I considered what an enormous mission field we face at the moment. 

Our world, at the surface level, seems so devoid of Christ’s light and hope. I strive to make it part of my job as a Christian writer, as a missionary and disciple, to let modern culture know that God’s love and joy endures, that Christ lives and breathes in the actions of each one of us. All the same, I become overwhelmed. I cry out in a desert and wish for calm, for peace, for a a ramp-up of simple joys. Even though I know the truth of Christ’s providence, I sometimes become lost in the stress and bustle of the holidays. It’s then that I do my best to pull back, focus within, and remember who I belong to, and what exactly it is I’m celebrating…and honoring.

Christmas isn’t just about a birth. It’s about a promise. It’s about a bridge from brokenness and sin to our Father’s perfection. It’s about redemption and the purest love mankind will ever know resting in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes.

I hope this social media exchange provides meaning and light in the face of darkness. Do you crave a helping of Spirit and encouragement? Log on to Twitter and check out #NeverGiveUp and #HaveFaith. If you face challenges that leave you struggling this Christmas season, always remember—in the words of Matthew West—“You are a child of the One True King.”

Read Psalm 16:8, a message filled with hope, that says, "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Click to Tweet the following links:

Do you crave a helping of encouragement this Christmas?

In the bustle of the season, remember: You’re a child of the One True King

Author bio:
Marianne Evans is a multi-award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction with over twenty titles to her credit. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.

Happily married and the mother of two, Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan who is active in a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.

Book blurb for Christmas at Tiffany's:

All she wants for Christmas is her Master’s Degree. All he wants is a one-way plane ticket back to Los Angeles.

Tiffany Zelling’s mission is to become a crisis therapy counselor using specially trained animals as comfort tools. She's focused on reaching the end of her school career, and nothing will stand in her way—not even a fantasy-world attraction to colleague Mitch Alexander. 

After a year as interim Director of East Coast Operations Mitch's tenure has been a resounding success. Now, he’s set to return to California and lay claim to a well-deserved promotion. He can’t wait to leave behind the cold and snowy darkness of Manhattan, but when corporate bullying and a massive snowfall throws him together with Tiffany Zelling, Mitch wonders if heading west is his best future.

As two hearts build a pathway to love, goals shift and evolve. But as Christmas joy and hope move through the streets of New York, critical decisions must be made. Can their lives truly meld? Can Christmas at Tiffany’s be God’s answer…for them both?

Connect with Marianne:
Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon ~ Pinterest

Saturday, December 19, 2015

WGTS 91.9 FM Words of Hope: News

25 Days of Christmas Stories: The Least of These, a devotional by Patty Smith-Hall

Welcome Patty Smith-Hall to the blog today! She's here to share a Bible-based devotional about the value of helping people who cannot help themselves.

Patty would like to give away not just one of her stories "A Home for Christmas" but a whole box set of five historical romance novellas! See the photo of your gift below:

Now is your chance to WIN this gift and make it your own! Simply fill out the book giveaway contest entry form in the Rafflecopter widget below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Keep reading to enjoy Patty's devotional! 
The Least of These
A devotional written by Patty Smith-Hall

When I was growing up, my parents always made Christmas special for our family. Over the years, Momma had collected boxes of ornaments and knick-knacks, each one with a story of when it became a part of our Christmas celebrations. There was always homemade fudge or frosted sugar cookies on the kitchen table when we sat down for dinner at night. And Christmas morning! It was a child’s dream come true to walk into our living room and find the stack of presents with your name on them, clueless of the hours Daddy had worked overtime to pay for the certain present you were sure you would die without it.

But my parents’ giving wasn’t limited to just us or to just the Christmas season. Momma or Daddy would hear of someone in need—a friend going through chemotherapy, a young mother worried about paying her bills, sometimes someone they’d never even met—and Momma would make up a card with a little money tucked inside and mail it off. Or Daddy would give up his day off to give a bed-ridden old man a shave and a haircut or take him to the doctor. Through out my teenage years, I saw many acts of my parents’ kindness. Sometimes, I wonder how many I didn’t see.

One day when I was still very young, I asked my daddy why they did all this when there was never a chance they’d be repaid to which he asked me a question in return. How could we expect people to be receptive to Christ when they were cold and hungry? Shouldn’t we continuously show His great love for us by helping provide for those in need? Because, there’s nothing loving or good about an empty belly or worrying about how you’re going to keep a roof over your family’s head.

I didn’t understand until later that my parents were living out Matthew 25:31-40. That they were taking care of the ‘least of these’ as Jesus had called them, that in caring for others, they were showing God’s love. 
This is the legacy my parents have left for me, one they continue to live out today.

Author bio: 
Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Heartsong. 

She currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter. 

She calls North Georgia her home which she shares with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. 

Her next release, New Hope Sweethearts is now available on Amazon.