Monday, August 31, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Back to the Garden of Eden with God


Walking with God in the Garden of Life
A devotion by Tema Banner

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” 
–Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV)

The Garden of Eden was designed to perfection with complete harmony and with no sadness, tears, pain or sickness. Sin was completely absent from this original paradise that God created. Our first parents (Adam and Eve) who were the first humans created by God, spent time daily walking with God in the garden and talking to Him.

Can you image how perfect this place was and how special it was to walk with God and spend time in His Presence face-to-face? Try though I may, I cannot. My feeble abilities to ponder what that experience would be like, I am sure, fall short of reality.

Many times, the thought has occurred that “back to Eden” is God’s plan. He wants us to return to a time of no pain, tears, sickness, or sin. To once again walk with Him in His garden of perfection. God has done a great deal to enable us to return to communion with Him. He has been patient, loving, forgiving, compassionate, and most important of all, sent Jesus Christ to provide the ultimate, permanent sacrifice: His life for our sin. 


Such love I cannot fathom. It is deeper, wider, higher and more encompassing than the human mind and heart can comprehend or conceive.

There is proof of God’s love in every small detail of the world in which we live. The majestic beauty of the earth, even when at times it seems she is coming apart with hurricanes that lash the shores and rip plant life from their roots and homes from their foundations; earthquakes that are untraceable in the destruction they cause, until they have ended with objects, lives, and thoughts turned upside down; tornados, their unknown path of destruction starkly definitive as it wipes one home off the face of the earth but leaves its neighbor untouched. 


The strength of nature in these storms leaves me amazed. I recognize that they represent a fraction of God’s might and power. The majesty of God should make us tremble at the audacity we exhibit in our thoughts and behavior when we barely acknowledge God or spend time praying to Him. How easy it is for us to forget about His Sovereignty as we go about our daily lives in this sin-filled world.

Proverbs 3:6 has pressed on my mind and made me ask myself, “Do I want God to direct my path?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” I have tried my way frequently enough to know that it is not the right way. God’s great love for us is once again shown in this verse (Proverbs 3:6): He desires to direct us, to show us His good will for us, which will give us peace, even in the storms of life.

God desires to walk with us for all of our days, both here on earth and in Heaven. God desires genuine friendship with us. But He doesn’t force us to be His friend. God gave us the freedom to choose Him, to acknowledge Him. He wants to be part of all your ways, as God was in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, He wants now to walk with you through the garden of life.

Will you accept God’s invitation to walk with Him and talk with Him? He’s waiting with open arms, eager to guide you through this life on Earth and bring you “Back to Eden.”

~*~
Author Bio:

Writing stories that take the reader on a journey to parts unknown has been a lifelong love for Tema. She enjoys all history and continues daily to hone both her knowledge of history and her writing skills. 



God is her guiding light and the reason for every endeavor in her life. She is a member of the South Carolina ACFW chapter as well as an active member of her local RWA chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

Tema has served as past President and Secretary as well as holding various chair positions. She is the honored recipient of the Harold Lowery Service Award, presented by the Carolina Romance Writers.

God has gifted her with a loving husband, two children and three grandchildren who are the delight of her life. In her spare time, she gardens and digs into genealogy for nuggets to use in her stories.

~*~
Connect with Tema:
Website: https://temabannerauthor.com
Blog: www.temabannerauthor.com/blog
Instagram: Instagram.com/temabanner

My Blog's 10th Year Birthday Bash: Vanessa Riley's book giveaway


Welcome to the 31st day of my blog's birthday bash!

Please welcome my author friend Vanessa Riley as she closes out my blog's birthday bash (today is the last day of the month-long celebration)!


Vanessa is here to give away one of her books!


Enter the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget the end of this blog post. Only residents of the USA are eligible to receive a signed paperback copy of this author's books. International residents will only receive ebook copies due to costs of mailing books outside of the USA.

Let's learn a little bit more about Vanessa and her book ...

Author Bio:
Vanessa Riley writes Regency and Historical Romances of dazzling multi-culture communities with powerful persons of color. 

Vanessa writes for historical romance readers who admire and acquire books that showcase women who find joy in sweeping kisses and strong sisterhoods. Even in the darkness, she promises to give you laughs and to show you how light always prevails and how love always, always wins.

Vanessa holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. 

She has been a radio anchorwoman and church announcer. Vanessa is President-Elect of The Beau Monde, a specialty History Chapter. She is also a member of Georgia Romance Writers, NINC, and Historical Novel Society. She is on the Board of Directors of Christian Book Lovers Retreat where readers escape for a weekend of fun, faith, and connection to the author community.

Vanessa loves cooking her Trinidadian grandma's cake recipes and collecting Irish crochet lace.

Vanessa is represented by Sarah Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

~*~
Back Cover Blurb for The Bittersweet Bride:


Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller turned estate owner posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears. 

Ewan Fitzwilliam has been at war for six years. Now, the second son of a powerful earl is back but his beloved Theo needs a husband and will not consider him. She believes Ewan left her—in desperate straits—so she denies the feelings she still harbors for the handsome, scarred soldier. 

Theo and playwright Ewan must overcome bitter lies and vengeful actions that ruined their youthful affair. Theo must reveal her deepest secret in order to reclaim the love that has long been denied.

~*~
Connect with Vanessa:

~*~

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, August 30, 2020

My Blog's 10th Year Birthday Bash: Trish Perry's book giveaway


Welcome to the 30th day of my blog's birthday bash!

Please welcome my author friend Trish Perry.


She's here to give away one of her books!


Enter the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget the end of this blog post. Only residents of the USA are eligible to receive a signed paperback copy of this author's books. International residents will only receive ebook copies due to costs of mailing books outside of the USA.

Let's learn a little bit more about Trish and her book ...

Author Bio:

Award-winning novelist Trish Perry has written 17 inspirational romances for Harvest House Publishers, Guideposts/Summerside Press, Barbour Publishing, Winged Publications, and Mountain Brook Ink. She has co-authored five devotionals for Guideposts/Summerside, Broadstreet Publishing, and Worthy Inspired. 

She has served as a columnist and as a newsletter editor over the years, as well as a 1980s stockbroker and a board member of the Capital Christian Writers organization in Washington, D.C. She holds a degree in Psychology. 

Since the 2006 release of her first novel, The Guy I’m Not Dating, Trish has woven romance, humor, friendship, and faith throughout her stories of people seeking fulfilling lives together, and in spite of one another. 

She loves to entertain readers while exploring how even the faultiest of characters can grow, especially when they get out of God’s way. That growth is sometimes frustrating, sometimes poignant, and often hilarious. This theme colors all of Trish’s books.

Trish’s latest romantic suspense, A Special Kind of Double, released May 2019.

~*~
Back cover copy for Trish's book: 


When she attends a Washington, D.C. dinner party thrown by friends far wealthier than she, writer Maddie Travers is distracted by internal debates. 

Should she move back to D.C.? Should she seek work she might find more fulfilling? 

She meets the appealing “regular guy,” Dom Sebastiani, at the party and consequently wonders whether she’s ready to seek romance again. So many decisions! 

At the stroke of midnight, a shocking turn of events sets Maddie on a path that holds at least as many questions for her as it does answers.

~*~
Connect with Trish:
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/trishperry

~*~
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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Saturday, August 29, 2020

My Blog's 10th Year Birthday Bash: Toni Shiloh's book giveaway


Welcome to the 29th day of my blog's birthday bash!

Please welcome my author friend Toni Shiloh.


She's here to give away one of her books!


Enter the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget the end of this blog post. Only residents of the USA are eligible to receive a signed paperback copy of this author's books. International residents will only receive ebook copies due to costs of mailing books outside of the USA.

Let's learn a little bit more about Toni and her book ...

Author Bio:

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. 

Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Virginia Chapter.

You can learn more on her website at http://tonishiloh.wordpress.com.

~*~
Back Cover Blurb for Deck the Shelves:


Kendall Jackson is the proud owner of Heartfalls’ bookstore, The Cozy Shelf. 

Her life is one straight out of the pages, except she’s missing that leading man. 

Although she has a crush on the handsome auto mechanic, Quinton Hendricks, Kendall wants an old-fashioned type of romance—the stuff swoon-worthy romance books are made of. But Quinton seems to need a little prodding. 

Something about Kendall sparks hope in Quinton Hendricks that love could be his again. Only being abandoned by his ex-wife has made him cautious to the point of non-moving. 

Can two people hesitant on second chances find love as they Deck the Shelves? 

~*~
Connect with Toni:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortonishiloh

~*~
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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Friday, August 28, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Did you know that God has a tattoo of you?


God’s Tattoo
A devotional by Amy Odland


“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hand; your walls are ever before me.” 
–Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV)

Do you have a tattoo?

Tattoos are usually a pretty taboo topic amongst Christians, especially with earlier generations.

Nowadays there is judgment on both sides, whether you have one or don’t, the reasoning behind getting a tattoo or what they symbolize, etc.

It used to be that it was the hardened criminal or biker dude kind of individual pictured when talk of having or getting a tattoo came up. Nowadays there are worship leaders and suburban moms sporting tattoos. They are becoming more and more common in the church and if you attend a hipster church, you may even feel pressure to get a tattoo to fit in.

Usually tattoos have some kind of meaning to them: a remembrance of someone lost, a reminder of a battle won, or a symbol of a new beginning. They can be small and easily hidden or they can cover a whole portion of the body. The Guinness Book of World Records holder for the most tattoos has 91.5% of her body covered in tattoos!

Here’s the thing: No matter what your stance is on tattoos as a Christian, something you probably haven’t ever heard in church is the fact that God has you “tattooed” on his hand.

The word “engraved” in Hebrew in the verse above means to cut, to set, to inscribe or engrave, as in cutting into something (picture the commandments being cut on the stone tablets) or setting something into law (as in inscribing laws on a scroll). Engraving something onto stone or wood requires tools that cut and chip away; engraving something onto your skin would require cutting or burning it badly enough that it scars.

Tattoos are a little different in that they use pigment to highlight the scarring caused by the needles, but the same result is produced: a “permanent” mark on the skin is left. Modern tattoos are painful enough they scare off people with lower levels of pain tolerance, imagine how painful the older, more barbaric forms of tattooing and engraving would have been.

Have you paid attention recently to how sensitive the palms are?

They can tell you when something is hot and going to burn you, when you are feeling the softest of textures, or when you feel pleasure by holding hands with your loved one.

The most experienced tattoo enthusiasts know the palms are one of the more highly sensitive areas of the body and thus should be avoided when considering where to place a tattoo – as an example, the world record holder I mentioned above doesn’t have ANY tattoos on her palms. God says He has placed a remembrance of you right there on one of the most sensitive and one of the more painful areas we know. He has cut and set your name right there in His palms.

When things are hard and overwhelming, when it feels like you are forgotten and invisible, remember that God has done this to remember YOU.

God has you ever before him, engraved on His Hands. He is always reminded of you and will never forget you. Isaiah recorded God’s promise of this long before the nails had been driven into Jesus Christ’s Hands. God has your name tattooed on His palms and Jesus has holes in His. Both God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son have scars on their hands for you.

Live like you are loved and remembered, friend, because you are by the One (God) who holds the whole world in His Hands!

~*~
Author Bio:


Amy Odland has been serving in church ministry as a volunteer leader for over 16 years, in various worship, prayer and women’s ministry roles.


Her passion for helping women stems from her own struggles and lessons learned in her journey as a Christian since first deciding to follow the Lord in 1994.

Amy’s priorities after her faith include her family — husband Rick, and their four kids — as well as extended family who all live close in proximity and the many friends she’s made over the years.

In addition to a love of teaching and helping her husband with the bookkeeping for their many businesses, Amy has recently expanded her stay-at-home work to include leading author’s book launch teams for publishing companies like Baker, Revell, Barbour, and Lifeway.

She also enjoys teaching new authors about platform building, self-launching, and online marketing.

~*~
Connect with Amy:
Facebook: https://facebook.com/amyodland
Instagram: https://instagram.com/amy_odland
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amy_odland
Website: https://amyodland.com

My Blog's 10th Year Birthday Bash: Terri Reed's book giveaway


Welcome to the 28th day of my blog's birthday bash!

Please welcome my author friend Terri Reed.


She's here to give away one of her books!


Enter the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget the end of this blog post. Only residents of the USA are eligible to receive a signed paperback copy of this author's books. International residents will only receive ebook copies due to costs of mailing books outside of the USA.

Let's learn a little bit more about Terri and her book ...


Author Bio:

Award winning, multi-published author Terri Reed found solace from a chaotic childhood in the pages of books that took her far away to different realms and realities. 

When she discovered Christian fiction, she also discovered her own story telling voice. Now she writes books of heart-warming romance and heart-pounding suspense infused with faith. Her romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher's Weekly top ten and Nielsen BookScan top hundred lists, and have been featured in USA Today. 

She's a member of the Honor Roll of Romance Writers of America. Her books have finaled in Romance Writers of America RITA contest, National Readers' Choice Award, Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, and the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award. One of her romance novels was adapted into a Hallmark movie for Christmas 2019. 

Terri resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and running the agility course with her Australian shepherd.
~*~

Back Cover Blurb for Treasure Creek Dad:


Single father Jake Rodgers's daughter isn't happy about moving to tiny Treasure Creek, Alaska. So the former big-city businessman trades his suits for hiking boots and he books a father-daughter wilderness tour to acclimate her. 

But Veronica isn't buying it. Perhaps guide Casey Donner is just the person to help the girl appreciate the Klondike state's natural beauty. 

But could tomboy Casey, in her ponytail and cargo pants, also be what this city boy needs for a lifetime of love?

~*~

Connect with Terri on Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads

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

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

My Blog's 10th Year Birthday Bash: Tara Grace Ericson's book giveaway


Welcome to the 27th day of my blog's birthday bash!

Please welcome my author friend Tara Grace Ericson.


She's here to give away a copy of one of her books!

Enter the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget the end of this blog post. Only residents of the USA are eligible to receive a signed paperback copy of this author's books. International residents will only receive ebook copies due to costs of mailing books outside of the USA.

Let's learn a little bit more about Tara and her book ...

Author Bio:

Tara Grace Ericson lives in Missouri with her husband and two sons.

 She studied engineering and worked as an engineer for many years before embracing her creative side to become a full-time author. 

She loves cooking, crocheting, and reading books by the dozen. Her writing partner is usually her black lab - Ruby - and a good cup of coffee or tea. 

Tara unashamedly watches Hallmark movies all winter long, even though they are predictable and cheesy. She loves a good “happily ever after” with an engaging love story. 

That’s why Tara focuses on writing clean contemporary romance, with an emphasis on Christian faith and living. She wants to encourage her readers with stories of men and women who live out their faith in tough situations. 

~*~
Back Cover Blurb for A Date for Daisy

He thinks she’s the captain of the Hot Mess Express.
She thinks he’s rigid and wound too tight.
And this renovation is about to get complicated.


Daisy Bloom is determined to turn her 100-year-old house into a bed and breakfast. The only problem? She knows nothing about renovations.

Enter Lance Matthews, construction guru and business owner. He is determined to tackle this project with his usual methodical, organized approach. His only problem? The beautiful and infuriating homeowner -- deeply involved with the project and completely averse to lists, schedules, or any form of organization.

When sparks fly between these wildly different personalities, will they find common ground? Or does God have other plans for each of them?

~*~
Connect with Tara:
Free Story/Newsletter Signup: www.taragraceericson.com/mailinglist.html

~*~
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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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Jesus Christ is waiting for you to invite Him in


Waiting Here for You
A devotional by Julia Wilson

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you. And you will eat with me.” –Revelation 3:20 (ERV)

Waiting. We are all waiting for something. In these uncertain days of COVID-19 and lockdowns, we have all been waiting for the opening of shops, restaurants, pubs, gyms and swimming pools. We are also waiting for that precious day when we will be able to hug our loved ones. In Britain, we are used to waiting patiently in queues.

When a person becomes a new Christian, we often hear people say, “All my life I was waiting for something and now I know I was waiting for God.”

Have you ever realized that God is waiting for you? God is a gentleman. He will not force His way into your life. God stands patiently, knocking on the door of your heart. Will you answer His call today?

I love the famous painting by Holman Hunt that illustrates Revelation 3:20. He depicts Jesus Christ standing outside the door of your heart, holding a lamp. He has knocked but cannot go through the door because there is no handle on His side where He stands outside of the door. You must open the door from the inside and invite Him into your life.

Wow! What are we waiting for? Why are we keeping Jesus waiting? If we knew that the Queen of England was coming to our house for tea, we would be constantly at the window looking for her and as soon as she knocked, we would open the door.

Jesus has issued us an invite… He wants to come for tea. Will you open the door and let Him in?

We see another instance of Jesus waiting in Luke 15:11-32 in the story of the prodigal son. In this story, the father waits for his son to return home. And when he finally does, this is what happens: “So the young son set off for home. From a long distance away, his father saw him coming, dressed as a beggar, and great compassion swelled up in his heart for his son who was returning home. So the father raced out to meet him. He swept him up in his arms, hugged him dearly, and kissed him over and over with tender love” (Luke 15:20 TPT).

What we need to know here, is in biblical times, it would have been shocking to see a father figure pick up his robes, run towards his son and hug him. Fathers were more dignified than that but the father does not care what others think, he is focused on his son returning home.

This is a picture of God waiting for us. He is constantly looking out for us to come home to Him. Imagine the scene … we were lost, wandering in the wilderness of life, when suddenly we see the Father running towards us and enveloping us in His love. We have come home. We are loved.

Do you know the Father (God)? Would you like to know the Father? He is knocking on the door of your heart. But the question is, “Will you let Him in?”

If you want to open the door to Jesus for the first time, or maybe you are returning to Him, please may I lead you in a prayer?

Let’s Pray: Dear Father God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for knocking on the door of my heart. I want to open the door to you today. Come into my life and lead me always in your love. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

~*~
Author Bio:

My name is Julia Wilson but I also go by Christian Bookaholic.


I live with my husband and five cats in a small town in Worcestershire on the banks of the River Severn (England). We have four grown up children and three granddaughters.

I have always loved reading and have always been surrounded by books. I used to work as a teaching assistant for special needs in the local high school. Ill health forced me to stop working in December 2015. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (known as M.E.) and fibromyalgia. I now have plenty of time to read and review books!

Our eldest son set up my Christian Bookaholic blog. I review every book I read. I read over 300 books a year. I read Christian and mass market. I prefer stories set from 1850 onwards. My favourite type of books to read is stories set in WWI and WWII, and Russia under Czar Nicholas II.

I am a historian, having a Combined Humanities degree where I majored in History and minored in English. I also love swimming. I only learned how to swim in 2017 and go swimming four mornings a week for 90 minutes before breakfast, it keeps my joints going.

I am also a crazy cat lady. I absolutely love my cats. I have grown up with cats and cannot imagine life without them. My dream is to own an old fashioned seal point Siamese … but not while we have our young rescue cat as she hates other cats!

I love God and love going to a large lively church called Lifecentral. I cannot imagine life without God. He gives a peace even when life does not. He guides my life. He is my Rock.

My Blog's 10th Year Birthday Bash: Regina Rudd Merrick's book giveaway


Welcome to the 26th day of my blog's birthday bash!

Please welcome my author friend Regina Rudd Merrick.


She's here to give away one of her books!


Enter the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget the end of this blog post. Only residents of the USA are eligible to receive a signed paperback copy of this author's books. International residents will only receive ebook copies due to costs of mailing books outside of the USA.

Let's learn a little bit more about Regina and her book ...


Author Bio:

Regina Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and ultimately as a full-time writer. 

She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. 

Married for 30+ years and active in their church, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts. 

She is the author of three books, Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), Carolina Grace (February 2019) in the Southern Breeze Series with Scrivenings Press, LLC, and her novella, “Pawleys Aisle,” a Southern Breeze novella in the Coastal Promises collection, with Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC. 

Her story, “RenoVating Christmas,” was part of the Hope Is Born collection with the Mosaic Collection, and introduces the character and setting in book one of her new RenoVations Series, Heart Restoration, releasing August 5, 2020. 

Connect with Regina on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or on her website at https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com.

~*~
Back Cover Blurb for Heart Restoration:


For interior designer Lisa Reno things go from bad to worse when her contractor brother falls off a ladder and breaks his leg. 

Now she has to deal with the past coming back to haunt her, an old house with a corpse in the creepy cellar, and her best friend trying her best to fix her up with any man that moves.

Nick Woodward is willing to do his old college roommate a favor – especially since it involves renovating his own inheritance. 

The last thing he wants is to get involved with anyone. When he lost his wife and unborn child so suddenly, he had made the decision to keep God and everyone else at arm’s length. 

So far, so good.

Ah, the difference a trip to a dingy basement makes.

~*~
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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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

My Blog's 10th Year Birthday Bash: Pamela S. Meyers's book giveaway


Welcome to the 25th day of my blog's birthday bash!

Please welcome my author friend Pamela S. Meyers.


She's here to give away one of her books!


Enter the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget the end of this blog post. Only residents of the USA are eligible to receive a signed paperback copy of this author's books. International residents will only receive ebook copies due to costs of mailing books outside of the USA.

Let's learn a little bit more about Pamela and her book ...

Author Bio:

Pam has written most of her life, beginning with her first diary at age eight. Her novels,
set in and around her hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, include Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; Safe Refuge, and Shelter Bay, Books One and Two in the Newport of the West Series.

Pam resides in northern Illinois with her two rescue cats. She’s an hour or so away from Lake Geneva where she can be found researching and nosing for new story ideas. 

~*~
Back Cover Blurb for Tranquility Point:


Hannah Murphy is determined to make the summer of 1916, the best it can be before she heads off to law school in the fall. Like her mother and grandmother before her, she is inclined to “break the mold” when it comes to societal expectations of a young woman of means. Her mother was the first woman in town to wear bloomers, and Hannah becomes the first to ditch swim dresses in favor of a practical swimsuit that allows freedom to move through the water.

At the first gathering of the summer, she reacquaints with tall, handsome Ted Bauer, also an aspiring attorney. Ted, who is of German descent, had a huge crush on Hannah when he was in eighth grade, and she was in sixth. He’s no longer the gangly boy she remembers and is quite appealing. With Geneva Lake as their backdrop, their summer romance escalates, until the dark cloud of the Great War can no longer be ignored. 

Although the U.S. has not yet joined the fray, people of German descent are seen with mistrust, and Ted enlists with the British Army to take the heat of discrimination off his family. With the future on hold, Hannah bids her fiancĂ© farewell as he goes to war. 

Only God knows if she will ever see him again or if they will ever be able to recapture what they had those few short summer months.

~*~
Connect with Pamela:

~*~
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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Romantic Reads: A Girl’s Guide to the Outback (book) by Jessica Kate


Welcome Jessica Kate to the blog again! 

Today, she's here to share an excerpt from her second book, A Girl's Guide to the Outback which was published after her debut story, Love and Other Mistakes.

Happy reading!

~*~
Excerpt from A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate:

This was a terrible plan.
Kimberly twisted the strap of her handbag as she stood by a park bench and flickering streetlight and watched the bus that had deposited her here roar off into the night. Though maybe the old diesel engine’s struggle into third gear only sounded like a roar compared to the utter lack of other noise. The town of Burradoo at 3:00 a.m. had about as much life in it as the lump of pungent roadkill that lay next to the town’s welcome sign.
She scanned the main street in both directions. Lit by a full moon, Burradoo appeared to consist of single-story tin-roofed buildings scattered along both sides of a minor highway, with two notable exceptions: the sprawling two-story pub in the center of town and the twenty-foot-tall fiberglass orange located opposite.
Kimberly blinked at the gigantic fruit.
Yep. It really was a massive orange, topped by a short stem and one leaf. It rested beside a dilapidated shack with the optimistic sign Tourist Information Centre. Yikes. Could there be any explanation for this phenomenon besides an abundance of spare time, a lack of amusement, and possibly something nefarious in the water?
A rustle stirred in a bush nearby. Kimberly dragged her eyes from the orange and scanned the park behind her. She’d made the mistake of watching Wolf Creek last week as part of her learn-Aussie-culture-via-movies initiative and now had a phobia of strangers who offered to help stranded travelers.
No further rustles. Probably just a bird, not a deranged serial killer. Or a lunatic obsessed with oranges.
She wiped wet palms on the legs of her jeans. Even at this hour, she was sweating. But surely Sam wouldn’t leave her stranded here till morning. She’d sent her estimated arrival time when she boarded the first bus back in Brisbane twelve hours and two transfers ago.
But who was she kidding? Sam would probably love nothing more than to leave her perspiring on a chewing-gum-covered bench for a few hours. He certainly hadn’t sounded enthusiastic about her arrival. But whatever. She should be immune to his jabs by now.
She huffed and wiped her hands again. It had to be at least eighty degrees, and every breath she took carried the weight of humidity. This kind of weather in the final days of November was obscene.
She checked her phone. The Australian SIM card she’d purchased in the airport had worked earlier, so that couldn’t be the issue. No service. Terrific. She was in the middle of town, for goodness’ sake.
She dropped the phone back into her bag.
Headlights swung onto the road a hundred yards away. Kimberly’s stomach performed a triple pirouette. Maybe her overactive sweat glands had more to do with a disgruntled Australian preacher than this un-Christmassy weather. She fought the urge to sprint after the long-gone bus.
Eighty yards.
There was no way this could work. Sam had made his feelings pretty clear by resigning. Apparently leaving the ministry he founded was preferable to working with her and her expansion plan. Maybe she should have taken that hint.
No. Think positive.
Fifty yards.
Perhaps in a different setting, such as his home turf, she could figure out what it was that made them clash so much. Maybe they’d work out a permanent truce. Maybe he’d remember everything awesome about Wildfire and come back to where he belonged.
A pinball of fear pinged around her consciousness. Or maybe he’ll confirm that I was the problem all along.
Thirty yards.
She gritted her teeth and kicked a bottle cap into the street. Stuff Sam and his opinions. All she’d ever done was give Wildfire the best she had to offer: her brain and determination. If he had a problem with that, then she didn’t give a flying purple baboon. And if she’d spent the week after he left watching every sci-fi series in her collection, then that was just a coincidence.
Five yards.
Time for Prayer of Desperation #23. Oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God.
The pickup truck crunched to a halt on the loose gravel scattered at the roadside, and a familiar figure stepped out of the vehicle. Kimberly squinted. The darkness and then intensity of the headlights as he crossed in front of the vehicle obscured his expression.
Time slowed as he paused in front of her and the yellow light finally illuminated him. Him, his moleskin pants, and the cotton shirt that flexed over his folded arms. He could’ve passed for Hugh Jackman’s younger brother in the movie Australia. Her breath left her in a rush.
She’d manage to convince herself in the last six months that, taking into account his irritating personality, she would no longer find the disarray of his hair endearing, his open expression trustworthy, or his ready smile comforting.
She’d been an idiot.
And if that triple threat wasn’t enough— “Welcome to Australia.”
Oh, that voice. A shiver danced between Kimberly’s shoulder blades. It was enough to make a girl throw her passport into the Pacific.
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Author Bio:
Australian author Jessica Kate is obsessed with sassy romances.

She packs her novels with love, hate, and everything in between—and then nerds out over her favorite books, movies and TV in the StoryNerds podcast (official podcast of Reading Is My Superpower!) 

When she’s not writing or discussing fiction, she’s hunting the world for the greatest pasta in existence.

Her debut novel Love and Other Mistakes released July 2019, while A Girl’s Guide to the Outback hit shelves in January 2020.

Receive her sassy shorts "The Kiss Dare" and "The Kiss Thief" for FREE when you sign up for her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com.

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Back Cover Blurb for A Girl's Guide to the Outback:

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.



Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. 

His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. 

As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. 

As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster looms, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

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Book review by Tabitha on Amazon about A Girl's Guide to the Outback:
5.0 out of 5 stars Rom-com at its finest
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2020

How should you read this book?

Well, first, cancel all your plans because once you open the book, you’re done for.
Have plenty of snacks and something to drink nearby. Because, again, you’re not going to want to stop reading long enough to do things like cook or make coffee.

I want to say, prepare yourself, but I’m not sure that’s possible. There’s so much going on within these pages, so many beautiful proses and broken people finding their hope.
I’m not a mushy person, but experiencing Kimberly’s moments of rejection and seeing how deep her wounds ripped her heart made me a little teary.

The enemies-to-lovers trope was well executed and the rom-com hit all the high points at just the right times to pull everything together into a perfect bundle. I could go on and on about what I loved, but I’ll leave it here. Rom-com at its finest. An excellent portrayal of two people finding their strength and learning how to love.


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Buy Jessica Kate's book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Christian Book

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Connect with Jessica Kate:
Facebook and Instagram: Jessica Kate Writing

StoryNerds podcast: Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at www.storynerds.podbean.com.

The McLeod’s Daughters Podcast: Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at https://player.whooshkaa.com/shows/the-mcleods-daughters-podcast.