Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IS GOD EVER LATE IN ANSWERING PRAYER? GOD'S PERFECT TIMING BY JENNIFER HALLMARK



Book blurb for Unlikely Merger
No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?
Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

God’s Perfect Timing
By Jennifer Hallmark
God is rarely early and never late.
An oft-repeated statement in today’s church, I agree with a hearty Amen. Until the job I’ve held for twenty years is gone and I don’t know what to do. Or my teenage child is veering off the straight and
narrow path. Maybe my marriage seems to be in a nosedive or I can’t seem to recover from that simple surgery. During these times, I need to dig into the Word and see what God has to say on this subject. Here’s a scripture I’ve clung to over the years.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
This verse has helped me realize I can’t trust my understanding on any subject, but must trust God. His timing is perfect and God works all things out in His way and in His time according to His Word. These are three thoughts I try to remember during tough times.
(1)    God’s way-He has a plan and purpose for each of our lives with our good in mind but He brings these plans about in His way. He directs our paths. All of our figuring out does no good. Reasoning in our human capacity only leads to frustration and discouragement.
(2)    God’s time- Only God sees time from beginning to end. He sees everything that has been, everything that is, and everything that will be for each person. He painstakingly weaves life together to benefit His children. We might be settling for less with our asking than God has plans to give.
(3)    God’s Word- everything must line up with the Word of God. God speaks promises through His Word. People encourage us with the rhema or spoken word at times, but even this must line up with the written Word of God. Line your circumstances up with His Word and trust Him.


What do we do during the wait? Do we sit passively and wish for better days? Do we moan and complain to anyone and everyone who will listen? The Word of God links waiting with earnest expectations.  We share everything in our life with Father God including our sins and weaknesses, then repent, remain teachable, and stand on His Word in prayer. He gives us peace that passes understanding as we take everything to Him. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and teaches us what is our part to play in the situation and Jesus intercedes for us continually. What could be better than that?  God’s timing is always perfect. Look to Him!

“Arise; shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJV

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WANT TO WRITE CONTEMPORARY FICTION?





SUMMARY OF IN FIREFLY ALLEY

She’s lost her dream job—but has she found the man of her dreams?

Devastated by a downsizing, Marisa St. George has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it means a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow’s End resort. The only silver lining: Blake Kendall, a new guest who might make her believe in love at first sight. But will Marisa’s dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers Blake’s real identity?

This warm and witty story of dreams deferred and mistaken identity will have you believing in second chances.

 MEET AUTHOR AMANDA CABOT

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming. 


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS



The Challenge of Writing Contemporary Fiction

By Amanda Cabot

When aspiring authors tell me they’re writing contemporaries because it’s easier, I do my best not to laugh.  The reality is, a contemporary is just as difficult as an historical, although the challenges are different.  Let’s talk about a few.
Challenge #1: Location – Are you planning to use a real or a fictional location?  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.  Real locations engage readers immediately, but if you choose one, be certain you’ve got all the details right.  The last thing you need is a reader telling you there’s no bakery at the corner of Fifth and Main.  (While real locations in historicals face this same challenge, there are fewer people who can say with certainty whether or not that bakery existed at the time you set your book.)  Fictional locations give you more flexibility.  You decide what building is on which corner.  The downside is that you have to do more work to create a fictional location.  If you a choose a fictional location, I strongly recommend creating a map of it.
Challenge #2: Date – Will your story be set in a specific year or in what is sometimes called the ‘timeless present’?  The advantage to using a specific timeframe is similar to that or choosing a real location – reader identification.  The disadvantage is that, depending on how many details you include that are date-specific, your book may feel outdated within a couple years. 
Challenge #3: Technology – How much technology will you include?  This is a corollary to the second challenge.  If you’ve chosen a specific date for your story, there is no reason not to include references to all the current technology.
  Readers who pick up the book twenty years from now may be amused by what seems antiquated to them but was state-of-the-art in 2015, but they’ll know that they’re reading a period piece.  On the other hand, if your goal is to create an evergreen story, you’d be better served by minimizing references to things that will likely be dated.  The same advice applies to pop culture references.
Challenge #4: Research – Do you think contemporaries require less research than historicals?  Repeat after me: all writing requires research.  It’s true that research for contemporaries is different from historicals, but it’s still essential that your details are correct.  If anything, readers are more critical of contemporary authors who get their facts wrong because it’s so easy to get them right.  Do you have a scene involving a fire investigation?  Interview a fire chief to make sure you’ve used the correct terminology and have properly described the procedures the investigators use.  Is your story set in a real location you’ve never visited?  Besides studying the related web sites, you might call the Chamber of Commerce to learn little known facts that will give your story added authenticity.  Research, research, research.  Yes, it takes time, but your readers will thank you.

The bottom line is simple.  Writing is hard work, whether the story is set in contemporary or historical times.  The key is to ensure that you’re writing the book of your heart, the one that wakes you in the middle of the night.  That’s the book you’re meant to write.

Friday, June 26, 2015

THE MIRACLE OF PUTTING INSPIRING WORDS ON PAPER by Guest Misty Beller




By Misty Beller

God's been teaching me a critical lesson about my writing.
For a few years now, I've been amazed at the love God's instilled in me for writing novels. It's become my passion , where I can invest my energy and brainpower and every ounce of the creativity I never thought I had. Something I can work at, and be constantly learning. A place where I can strive for perfection.
But, through this process, God has made it abundantly clear to me that the writing is His. The words—whether they flow onto the page in harmonious magic, or whether I have to build each one from a desert of nothing.
The words are His.
What He chooses to do with them, whether they only plant a seed for one person, or whether they touch hundreds of lives. The difference these words make is His difference.
This may seem like a basic concept in the Christian life, but it continues to completely changing the way I approach not just writing, by every area of my life. My entire existence is to be a tool for God's work. That took me a while to wrap my mind around, but I now approach things with a new perspective.
Everything I do should point to Him.
We sing a song at church with the words, "I breathe in grace, I breathe out praise." And that's the concept. God fills me up with his grace, so that I can pour out His praise in everything I do.
And as He chooses to bless this writing in some areas, and close the doors in other areas, it's not my choice. These are His stories, and He has a master plan to use them in ways I may never know.

So now, I'd love to hear from you! How has God used you as His tool? How have you seen Him work in ways you would never have imagined? Here's your chance to breathe out His praise!



Author Bio:
Misty M. Beller was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and two daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
You can find her on her website, reader blog, marketing blog for authors, Goodreads, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Or check out her books The Lady and the Mountain Man or The Lady and the Mountain Doctor. Her latest book, The Rancher Takes a Cook, released June 26, 2015, from Prism Book Group.





Back Cover Blurb for The Rancher Takes a Cook:
When their South Carolina home burns to the ground, Anna Stewart’s only choice is to move with her younger brother to the wilds of a Texas ranch.
Their prospects are beginning to look better, until the rancher’s son, Jacob O’Brien, shows up with his alarmingly blue eyes to put a kink in Anna’s well-controlled plans. 
When danger escalates in the form of a band of cattle thieves with deadly intent, can Anna learn to release control to God’s capable hands…and those of the blue-eyed cowboy who’s stolen her heart?


Monday, June 22, 2015

GONE WITHOUT A TRACE: AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR TELLS ABOUT HER CALLING TO WRITE



On May 9th Ian Acheson wrote a blog for ACFW that you can read here. It was about whether or not a writer is called by God to write. Since that time, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about his blog and whether I was called to write or if I’m writing and offering it up to God as an act of service.
When I first started writing I was about as far away from God as a Christian could be. You know, one of those carnal Christians Paul talked about in his letter to the Corinthians. Why, I even lived in Corinth. Not the Biblical Corinth, of course. But in 1998, I realized just how far into the wilderness I had traveled and recommitted my life to Christ. I laid my writing on His altar and picked it up in His power rather than my own.
I imagined I would have a contract within the year.
It would be fourteen years before my writing would be where He wanted it. And part of that time was spent on a six-year side trip—teaching the abstinence curriculum I co-wrote with a friend.
Then, one day after the curriculum was finished, I was having my quiet time and a woman popped into my head and told me someone was trying to kill her. YES! (Imagine me sitting there pumping my fist.) God had given me my beloved suspense stories back. The character turned out to be Taylor Martin from Shadows of the Past, and five years later brings me to 2012.
In 2012 fourteen years after I thought it would happen, Revell offered me a contract, 32 years after I started writing. For twenty-seven of those years, writing was my main focus and five were spent teaching. I know I was called to co-write the abstinence curriculum, RISE to Your Dreams. God removed all distractions, including a desire to write fiction.
But did he call me to write fiction?  I believe He gifted me to write fiction, and I am being obedient to honor the gift He gave me by choosing to write day in and day out—an offering. And as I plan out my next series, cold cases set in Memphis, I feel compelled to write a certain story—a calling.
How do you view your writing?
***
Gone without a Trace
A Novel
Patricia Bradley


BACK COVER

The past is repeating itself—and time is running out

It’s been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds’s cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts her concerning a senator’s missing granddaughter who was last seen in Logan Point, Livy notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. With self-doubt plaguing her after killing a teenager in the line of duty and an almost instant dislike of the self-assured PI, she’s finding this investigation an uphill battle. But with the prospect of finding her cousin on the horizon, she’ll have to find a way to work with Alex—before it’s too late.

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley keeps you on the edge of your seat with a case—and a relationship—that is anything but certain.

“Patricia Bradley has hit a home run. The suspense is high, the romance is sweet, and the villain is one you want to see caught and brought to justice. Gone without A Trace, a novel of forgiveness and finding one’s place in the world, brings home the point that while not everything in life may go the way you want, God is still in control. Can’t wait for the next book!”—Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Hidden Identity series

Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love
Award and was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award. The author of Shadows of the Past and A Promise to Protect, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Bio:
Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. Her workshops on writing include an online course with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she’s not writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.
Connect with me at:


Links to books:
Shadows of the Past: CBD; Amazon; B&N; Books A Million
A Promise to Protect: B&N; CBD; Amazon; Books A Million
Gone Without a Trace: Amazon; CBD; B&N; Books A Million

Matthew’s Choice:  to buy a paperback—Harlequin: http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=53665
For an e-book: B&N, Kobo Amazon


Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect and Matthew’s Choice can be found at my Author Page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00FFR8T1U

Friday, June 19, 2015

Obsessive-Compulsive? Or spiritual Lessons? By guest author Anita Higman


My Sweaty Little Grasp
By Anita Higman

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)

            Life can be like a pretty yellow kite, soaring and dipping in the breeze, but that same kite can also plummet to the earth in an unexpected gust, breaking it into pretty yellow pieces.
            In other words, I can’t fully control the kite. It’s controlled by the currents that are out of my reach. The kite string may be in my sweaty little grasp, but its final destination is anyone’s guess.
That was a lesson I learned when I traveled to Australia to meet up with my husband who was working there temporarily on assignment. I left the house, knowing I wouldn’t be back for three weeks, so I planned for every kind of troubling scenario. I made sure all the faucets weren’t dripping. Check. Gates closed. Check. Electrical devices unplugged. Check. Windows and doors locked, alarm system armed. Check.
To be honest, my slight case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder flared up into quite a blaze. After I checked and rechecked everything as best I could, I finally let the house go. When the driver picked me up to take me to the airport, I felt satisfied that our home was somewhat disaster-proof. Yeah, right. Not even close. There was no way I could have known that my husband and I would have to fly home from Australia early because Hurricane Ike would hit our neighborhood and ruin one of the rooms in our house. It was impossible to plan for everything because I never really had our home under my control. Not even for a minute. I only thought I did.
The spiritual lesson here was hard to miss. Only God was and is in control of our house, my life, this world. We cannot know what tomorrow will bring, whether our pretty yellow kite will soar into the sky or smash into bits, but I do know God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He will always be right here, holding us and helping us, ever by our sides working things for good no matter what life bring. These are promises that the world loves to make, but only the Almighty can keep.

Lord Jesus, I thank you that even in this fallen and broken world, you will never leave us or forsake us. Amen. 
MEET ANITA HIGMAN
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has forty books published. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, traveling to exotic places, and brunch with her friends.

Please check out Anita’s latest novel, Summer’s List, through Moody Publishers. Feel free to drop by her website at www.anitahigman.com or connect with her on her Facebook Reader Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnitaHigman. She would love to hear from you!

SUMMER'S LIST--AN ADVENTURE
Life and love keep going awry for Summer Snow, until her grandmother sends her on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree—a kind and quirky young man from Summer's past. With Laney the Chihuahua along for the ride, a childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WHEN YOUR GET UP AND GO GETS UP AND GOES: FORTITUDE OR ATTITUDE?




By Linda Rondeau

The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we 'get up and get going.' God does not give us overcoming life--He gives us life as we overcome."--- Oswald Chambers

Oswald wrote these words a long time ago. How did he know that our culture today would be so draining we’d have problems plodding through our days? So what should I do when my get up and go gets up and goes? Should I simply sit and wait for it to come back? There are days I think it has permanently left the building.
  
That Sinking Feeling
Sometimes my kids would complain that they didn’t feel like going to school. Of course, I dumbly retorted with, “Well, some days I don’t feel like going to work. So what would happen if I didn’t go to work?”

Kids are smarter than that. They equate a job with money. Kids aren’t paid to go to school. So the analogy falls short and the kids’ incentive to attend school is by no means enhanced. I revert to the old
standby sans rationale, ”Get out of bed. You’re going to school because I said so.” After they complied, their agile joints finally got their juices flowing. Often they’d come home saying their day ended up being good after all.

Often, the body will eventually fall into sync with the mind.  Exercise gurus are quick to point out that the feel- good hormone lags behind the action. In other words, the getup and go will return once my get up and go gets going.

I suppose that is true with our spiritual life as well. There are aspects of the Christian life that demand energy often at times when I feel the most depleted. That is when the Father reminds me, “Let his mind be also in you…”

                                                                               So which comes first? Fortitude or attitude?




THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS

By Linda Rondeau

Summary
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them (Isaiah 42:16).

After setting out on a forced vacation, and literally running into a moose, Manhattan Assistant D.A. Samantha Knowles finds it’s not so bad being stranded in a quirky but intriguing Adirondack town. But when her three-year prosecution against convicted killer, Harlan Styles begins to unravel, she’s thrust into a whirlwind of haunting memories, fear, and danger. And suddenly, Haven isn’t so safe, after all.


 With no future in Haven, and no way to escape the small town, teacher Zack Bordeaux fears he’s doomed to a life of mediocrity
.
Haunted by the deaths of his wife and son, landscape artist Jonathan Gladstone feels bound to an estate he both loves and loathes. But when Zack and Jonathon meet Samantha, their lives take on a different course.

Three lives intertwined, tied together by dangerous circumstance and the faint echoes of an elusive hope. To make it through, each must find their way to the Light that’s found only on the other side of darkness.


A SELAH AWARD WINNER 


Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes blended contemporary fiction that speaks to the heart and offers hope to those with damaged lives. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.  A Christmas Prayer, (aka A Father’s Prayer) was a finalist for both the 2014 Selah and Carol Awards. 

It Really IS a Wonderful Life, inspired by the author’s personal experience, quickly became a Christmas classic. Watch for Fiddler’s Fling and Red Sky Promise, inspirational romances expected to be released later in 2015.

For sci-fi lovers, Rondeau offers a free download of her book, The Fifteenth article, from her website. Feel free to share with friends and family.

Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com, her blog, Salt and Light, or email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.

   




Friday, June 12, 2015

Encouragement for Single Mothers

By Dawn V. Cahill

CRUMPETS AND TEA – Encouragement for Single Moms

tea potPsalm 68:5 – A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.

ABOUT “CRUMPETS AND TEA

In the far northwest corner of the United States lies an island-studded body of water called Puget Sound. Boats of all shapes and sizes ply the waters of the Sound—from super-sized freighters to stately ferries to skinny canoes.  Excursion boats take guests on high-speed tours between Seattle and the English-themed city of Victoria, BC.

One of these tour boats, the now-defunct Princess Marguerite, was once known for its catchy radio jingle. “Take a Princess to sea,” sang a British-accented gentleman. “Have some crumpets and tea.” If you closed your eyes, you could visualize yourself dropping all your cares overboard while you relaxed and indulged in the decidedly British custom of afternoon tea in plush surroundings. Uniformed bodies would hover nearby, waiting to meet your every need. You relish in the sensation of letting someone else do all the work for once.

Isn’t this what most of us single parents, especially moms, dream about? And that’s what I want to do for you…let you sit back and take a short breather from all your burdens. Just as though you were relaxing on the Princess Marguerite like a queen.

I’ll share encouraging Bible verses, nuggets of wisdom that others have passed on to me over the years, and strategies I learned as a single mother that made my job a little bit easier.
I’m glad you’ve joined me for crumpets and tea. Now, sit back, put your feet up, and exhale out all your worries. It’s your turn to be queen for a day.

About Dawn

Since I was a small child, I've loved stories, both reading and writing them. One of my earliest stories got high accolades from my third grade teacher. It was about a little Manx kitten whose mother rejected her because she didn't have a tail. Until an older, wiser cat helped the mother understand the importance of accepting her children the way God made them.

Over the years, I cranked out many a story, started and stopped several more. The most memorable one I started as a teenager, and I've promised myself and my sons I'm going to finish it someday. I called it "Mitch and the Martians." A group of Martian buddies visit Earth, just happen to land on the State Capitol building in Salem, Oregon (my home at the time), saw the brass-plated statue of a pioneer on the dome, and assumed all Earthlings looked like that. So they turned themselves into brass men and walked the streets of Salem. Strange adventures ensue!

We know much more about Mars now. When I finish the story, I'll include the premise that the residents of Mars live underground, which is why the NASA explorations never saw them!

I put writing on the back burner once I began raising my sons as a single mom. That was the hardest job I've ever done, but now I feel a nudge from the Lord to encourage other women who are facing the same struggles I did. My blog section called "Crumpets and Tea" is targeted especially for single mothers, and includes personal anecdotes and what I learned from them, as well as Bible verses and how the Lord used them to encourage me during my darkest days.

I started my first novel two years ago, and now have two completed ones to my name. And I'm one-fourth of the way through my third. I'm excited that the Lord reawakened my passion for writing, and am looking forward to seeing what He does through me!




Your readers might enjoy my latest post. It's a recipe with a twist!

Dawn's First  Published Book

A short story available only in ebook, When Lyric Met Limerick. Here's the blurb:
  Aspiring rock star Howard McCreary only wants to be rich and famous. At least that’s what he’d always thought until Luna Rickles, the cute poetess, walked into his life. But when disaster strikes, his rock star career comes to a screeching halt. As his troubles escalate, Howard makes a desperate bargain with God. But as the walls crumble around him, is it too late for Howard? Or can God really redeem his mistakes and turn them into something good?

Here are the links to my book. On the bookshop manager link, all formats are available for download.

Here's my Facebook author page:
And my website: