Friday, December 7, 2018

Experiencing the Hope of Christmas ~ Linda Shenton Matchett ~ Devotional ~ Book Spotlight

Experiencing the Hope of Christmas

Image courtesy Pixabay.com
By Linda Shenton Matchett

During my growing up years, we moved several times because of my dad’s job. But no matter where we relocated to, my grandparents showed up on Christmas Eve bearing armloads of gaily wrapped gifts. Shortly after my dad’s parents arrived, the presents would be stacked under the tree, and the four of us kids were cautioned to leave them alone.

However, one by one we’d creep into the living room to poke, prod, and shake the boxes. Over the course of the day, we would nag the adults until they agreed to let us each select one package to open. As the years passed, this became a traditional game, and we kids enjoyed bugging the adults about allowing us to open a present as much as tearing off the wrapping paper of the chosen gift.

Even though I’m one of the adults now, I still love the thrill of wondering what is hidden in the collection of presents tagged with my name. It’s all I can do not to handle them in an effort to guess what’s inside.

Fortunately, I’ve matured and what has become more important than the gifts under the tree is the Gift sent by God over two millennia ago. Yes, the Christmas season has been commercialized and seems to appear in the stores earlier and earlier each year, but for me, that means I can begin my celebration of Jesus’ birth sooner rather than later.

During the research for my books, most of which are set during WWII, I’ve spoken to men and women who lived during the war on both sides of “The Pond.” When asked about Christmas they indicate they typically received one or two gifts, greatly cherished because, even as children, they understood the sacrifices their parents had made to secure the presents. These conversations always remind me of the ultimate sacrifice God made in sending us His Son, the true Gift of Christmas.

May you experience God’s joy, hope, and love this Christmas season.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10, 11 (NASB)


Book Blurb: 


A Doctor in the House (part of the Hope of Christmas collection)
Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?

Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?


Bio: Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @lindasmatchett

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Can't Live Without You ~ Ginger Solomon ~ A Christmas to Remember ~ Giveaway


A Christmas to Remember Anthology,

featuring author Ginger Solomon
 and her book 
Can't Live Without You.
Image courtesy Pixabay.com



Welcome, Ginger, thanks for being willing to do this interview with the Whispers in Purple blog's readers. Ready?

First, Tell us About Your Writing:
  
How do you go about finding names for your characters?
I search baby-name sites until I find one that clicks in my head. That sounds simplistic, but sometimes it takes me hours of sifting through different sites to find JUST the right name. When writing this book, I had Sawyer’s name right away. Clarissa took a bit more finessing to find out her name because I wanted one that could have multiple nicknames. When naming the brothers and sisters, I chose names with similar letters for Sawyer’s siblings, and for Clarissa’s they just were. *shrug* There have been times when I’ve named my characters, and as I write the story, they let me know that *name given* isn’t right, so I go scouring the sites again. Crazy writing tidbit.  

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how did/do you overcome it?
*I* am my most difficult writing obstacle. I spend too much time wasting time. I struggle with reading FB, playing games, watching TV, randomly researching stuff that is irrelevant, clicking through Pinterest ... you name it, I’ve probably used it to procrastinate – even CLEANING.

To overcome it, I downloaded an app called FOCUS. The timer runs for twenty-five minutes, and then you get five minutes to walk, rest, whatever. It does that a few times and then you get a fifteen-minute break. It keeps me on task.

Okay, now share something About You:

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I LOVE reading. I also dabble in paints, crochet, and knitting. I have actually given up knitting for the most part as it tends to hurt my hands too much.

When reading, what is your favorite genre?
Romance. I don’t care about the sub-genre too much; I read a lot. I like fantasy, sci-fi, Amish, suspense, mystery, and ... well, I can’t think of any others, but if it includes romance, I’m game to read it. Mostly. I don’t read anything that’s not clean–no open-door sex or foul language.

Now, let's talk About Your Book:

In "Can't Live Without You," Clarissa Harding’s fiancĂ©’s betrayal doesn’t hurt as much as learning her best friend, Sawyer Chasin, knew his brother’s secret and didn’t tell her. The marriage would have been fake, but her feelings for Sawyer aren’t.

Clarissa’s upcoming marriage is a business arrangement. When he dies, and his secret comes out, she’s hurt. When she finds out her best friend, Sawyer knew his brother’s secret and didn’t tell her, she’s devastated. Feeling betrayed, she walks away from God, her family, Sawyer, and their newly-discovered love.

Sawyer hated keeping secrets from Clarissa, and now he may have lost the only person his heart wants. Recovering from the same car accident that killed his brother can wait. He needs to find her and make her understand the choice he had to make.

Love covers a multitude of sins, but betrayal stretches its boundaries.

Wow, that sounds intriguing. 

Is research something you enjoy? To what extent do you go to find answers?
Yes. I’d love to be able to travel more and see the places I write about, but since I can’t, I use Google Earth a great deal for locations—landscape, rivers, mountains, etc. I also research moon phases, temps, precipitation (how much and what kind). For one of my books, I had to research how people in the north keep their cars warm in the winter. (I’m a southern girl through and through.) We don’t need heaters to keep our cars warm. LOL

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Oh, well, I am just now planning 2019. I hope to release a non-fiction book, my first, in February. It’s been ruminating for over a year, and I think I’m ready to get it done and published. I also plan to release two more books in my Scottish Castles Series—a historical romance series I started earlier this year. I have two more partially completed contemporary romance books I’d like to finish and publish. That’s five if you’re counting, for 2019, and I hope to release most, if not all, of those in the first six months. The rest of the year ... well, I can only say stay-tuned. I’d like to publish the first book in a new series I’ve been tossing around for several months. To keep up with my releases, subscribe to my newsletter. The form can be found at the bottom of my home/blog page on my website, www.gingersolomon.com




About Ginger:
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, books are on her mind. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.



Author Links:

About the Giveaway:
Ginger is giving away an eBook copy of Can't Live Without You, her novella in the Christmas Anthology pictured above. (The print version is not yet available)
To enter, just leave a comment below with your name and contact info (e.g: you (at)123xyz(dot)com ) and answer this question: 
What is your favorite Christmas Memory? 
Giveaway runs for one week, ending on Thursday, December 13, 3028 at Midnight CST. 





Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas Angels ~ Carole Brown ~ Recipe


Image courtesy Pixabay.com

 Please welcome author Carole Brown as she talks about her Christmas novella Christmas Angels, why she wrote it and shares a tempting, delicious recipe. 
Thank you, Carole!


Christmas Angels has a tiny bit of suspense, nostalgia, and romance in it. The novella has been called a tear-jerker. Written some time ago, I loved this short sweet tale set during WWII.

  • I love to add quirks or special touches to evoke the spirit of the story, the characters, and/or the era. Below, I will share a short scene that touches on the era—the “call to action”—that the people from WWII lived through—that of rationed food.
  • I love to bring to life characters that convey emotional reactions to their storybook life. In all I write, I want strength, goodness, and faith to prevail. In Christmas Angels, Abigail's wavering faith is barely flickering, her fear and doubts are crushing, so is God truly listening? Does he see her struggles?

And most of all, what kind of Christmas miracle could possibly save her?


Here's a brief scene
Gingerbread Scene from Christmas Angels (From the Lake to the River Anthology)

He beckoned with his gnarled hand “Come in. Come in, Abigail. Want some tea? That dismal Dana—even if she is a good cook—brought me some gingerbread last evening. Have some. Have some. It’s good even if I didn’t make it. Sit down, child, for a minute.” Albert toddled over to the fridge and brought out a quart of milk. “Want milk with your tea, Abigail?”
Where had he gotten real milk?
But she shook her head, not wanting to use up his precious supply, and sniffed. The spicy, delectable smell of the gingerbread wafted toward her, and she closed her eyes to savor it. When was the last time she'd had such a treat? Suddenly ravenous, she couldn't wait any longer and crammed her mouth full of the sweet bread. A little sound of moaning escaped from between her lips. This was so-o-o good.

And the reasoning behind all this...
During WWII most people were food rationed. Delights such as nuts, milk, sugar, and eggs were sometimes hard to come by making delights such as gingerbread non-available throughout the war. Everyone was touched by the rationing and all encouraged to participate in “giving up” for the soldiers and the war. 

In Christmas Angels, elderly Mr. Albert, Abigail's boarding house neighbor, shares his loaf of gingerbread that another resident (Dana) had given him. Though reluctant to eat any of his treat, knowing how hard the ingredients were to come by, Abigail can't resist. Both Mr. Albert and Abigail enjoy this special blessing through Neighbor Dana's generosity.

May you be blessed as you feast on this moist, delightfully spiced dessert.

Gingerbread Loaf
Ingredients for the loaf:


1 stick real butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup of applesauce
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
chopped walnuts, for topping (optional)

for the frosting:
1/2 block (4 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray (or shortening and flour). Using a stand mixer or an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla and the egg. Blend in the apple butter (or applesauce.)
Slowly add the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.)

When everything is mixed, pour the batter into your loaf pan. Bake for about 55 minutes until it has risen and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a rack before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese with the vanilla and then add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add a little more sugar if it’s not as thick as you like.
Spread a thick layer of the frosting over the gingerbread cake. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Enjoy!

About Carole:
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten fiction books, 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?

Brown's books include:
The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
2015 USA Best Books Winner
2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year
2015 EPIC's eBook Awards, Romantic Suspense
2014 Selah Debut Fiction finalist
2014 Genesis semi-finalist
2014 Clash of the Titles, Laurel Awards finalist
2014 Oklahoma RWA International Digital Awards, 2nd place

The Denton and Alex Davies Mystery series:
Hog Insane
Bat Crazy

Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series:
Sabotaged Christmas (bestseller and award winner in book and cover)
Knight in Shining Apron
Undiscovered Treasures
Toby's Troubles

The Spies of WWII series:
With Music in Their Hearts
A Flute in the Willows

Christmas Angels, a novella in the From the Lake to the River collection
Connect with Carole here:

  
 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Bonnie Engstrom ~ Restoring Love at Christmastime ~ Giveaway

Everything Old is New Again

with author Bonnie Engstrom

Can romance still flourish after fifteen years?
Will a teacher and a former stable boy remember their first kiss?

Hi, Peg! Thanks so much for having me on Whispers in Purple. I’m excited to share one of my favorite stories because it was so much fun to write.

The original Restoring Love, a Five Star Readers Favorite book, has been reissued. When my publisher and I realized the love story takes place at Christmastime we updated it. It has a dynamic new cover with the same couple on it (isn’t Jake so handsome?), but the love story is the same.

Restoring Love at Christmastime is based on a sentimental journey Jenni takes to an historic hotel where she had her first kiss at fifteen with Jake the stable boy. She also rode Traveler, a special horse, thanks to Jake’s encouragement. She never forgot. And, she never dreamed, well maybe a little bit, that Jake would still be there fifteen years later.

Why was Jenni taking this journey back in time during the Christmas holidays? Surely, Jenni didn’t expect to see Jake the stable boy. She had moved on from sneaking kisses in the barn after trail rides. He must have, too. Who on earth would stay in the tiny town of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania?

At least no one knew where to find her, none of her friends, and not even her family.


The internet site for Pleasant Springs Hotel highlighted an annual holiday production of A Christmas Carol that guests played parts in. That sounded like fun. Hopefully, some handsome guest would play Scrooge.

She wanted to soak up memories, alone. Unless by a Christmas miracle Jake was still there to share them.

This is my favorite scene:
They raised their heads, and their eyes met – brown and blue. Both sets of lips grinned and they dug in. Jenni was glad the kitchen had included a large spoon for her to twirl her pasta on. Her Italian friend Corentina had taught her that when she was growing up. It seemed more civilized than sucking the strands into one’s mouth.
Jake watched her with curiosity. “You always eat spaghetti that way?”“Yes. It’s the proper way to eat long pasta. You don’t?” 
“Naw. I just chop it up.” He proceeded to do so, almost mashing it. He shoved a big forkful in his mouth. 
“But, that takes the fun out of it. And, it’s easy to twirl.” She demonstrated. “See!” 
“Oh, boy! You gonna make an issue of how I eat?” He put his fork down and glared at her. “If there is any future for our relationship, we shouldn’t squabble over eating habits.”

Squabble? Future? What was he insinuating?
This is what readers are saying about Restoring Love at Christmastime:

*Jennie and Jake meet as teenagers and fall in love, then time and circumstance pull them apart. Many years later, Jennie returns to the Inn where she met her first and only love . . . . Jake tries to please her, but his efforts sometimes miss the mark. . . . A very enjoyable light-hearted read.

*I quickly got immersed in the setting and the characters, I kept turning page after page until I realized I was so far into it I would have to finish it then--all in a single sitting. And so I did!

I think this would have made an even better longer book. I especially appreciated the Christian elements in the story. And the humor. And the animals. And the humor related to the animals. (I say that to avoid giving a spoiler.)

* I started this book thinking I would read a couple of chapters before going to bed, but I didn't want to put it down. I read half of it before I forced myself to stop and go to bed.

I hope you will read Restoring Love at Christmastime and enjoy it. Jenni and Jake are special characters of my heart.

To order the book please go to https://amzn.to/2AIEatl.
To visit Bonnie’s Facebook author page click https://www.facebook.com/bonnieengstromauthor/ where she is giving away prizes once a week on WACKY WEDNESDAY. Be sure to enter!

To see her grandchildren go to http://bonnienegstrom.com. Aren’t they cute?
Her Twitter handle is @BonnieEngstrom1, but she’s not very good at it!
She loves to chat with readers, so contact her via email at bengstrom@hotmail.com. Be sure to put BOOK in the subject line so you don’t fly off into cyberspace.

About Bonnie:
Bonnie spends her time between writing and driving four Arizona grandkids to and from school, with Starbucks stops on the way. Her psychologist husband, Dave, takes his turn, too, when he isn’t on a Skype meeting with his University of Phoenix colleagues or preparing doggie dinners for Sam and Lola their rescued mutts who aren’t in this story but appear in her Candy Cane Girls Series.

They have two surfer grandchildren who live on the beach in Costa Rica. Can you pick them out on her website? The youngest one recently got baptized with Bonnie.  http://bonnienegstrom.com - Life is busy for Bonnie and Dave, but filled with love and blessings.
Giveaway: Bonnie will gift two Restoring Love at Christmastime books. An eBook and a signed print copy. She hopes you will give a review on Amazon or Goodreads after you read and enjoy it. To enter, leave a comment below with your name and contact info (e.g: you(at)123xyz(d0t)com) so we can notify you if you are a winner. Giveaway ends one week from today on December 10 at Midnight, CST.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Counterfeit Detectors ~ Leeann Betts ~ Giveaway ~ Devotional

Counterfeit Detectors
By Leeann Betts

A television program recently discussed counterfeit money, and all of the schemes that man has devised to try to duplicate paper currency. Every year, billions of dollars are illegally printed in the United States, using the most incredible methods, from color copiers to printing on stolen currency paper. Forgers are in great demand to duplicate the printing plates needed to print good quality forgeries.

            On this program, one of the fraud detectives was asked how he could so accurately spot a counterfeit bill. His reply was, “Because I have spent years studying the real thing.” He handled the money, felt it, learned the smell of it, held it up to the light.  He could detect a counterfeit bill 100% of the time because he knew the real thing.
            Ezra 7:10 says that the writer devoted himself to study and observe all of the Law of the Lord. He didn’t mean he just read it through once and tried to apply it in his life.  He means that he read and studied, and compared, and delved deeply into the Word. He examined the Word of God, precept upon precept until he understood the intent of the Law. Then he applied it in his life and used the Word of God to show him where he, and others, were falling short.  Why would he do that? So that when a false word came, he would know it was false because he knew the Truth.
            In the same way, we need to know the Truth so well that when the enemy comes with a false word, we will know it is not from God. When a word comes from someone that is against the Word of God, such as “I am so broke”, you can remind them Whose we are: “My God will meet all your needs” (Phil 4:19). When a doctor tries to pronounce a diagnosis that is not in alignment with God’s Word, our reply should be: “By His stripes you are healed. . . ” (Isa 53:5)  We need to hold every word up to the Light of the World, to see what it’s made of, and to recognize whether it’s from God or not.
            The only way to know the Truth is to spend time with Him, to touch Him, to feel Him, to know His fragrance, to study His Word, and to learn to apply it in our lives. We are to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. (James 1:22) We are to study to find ourselves approved, by God and by man. (2 Tim 2:15) In this way, we will be able to detect a false word before it can cause us to question our faith, and possibly to stumble.

About A Deadly Dissolution:
The total lunar eclipse of October 2004 leaves more than Bear Cove, Maine, in the dark. The town’s newly-elected mayor, Walter Akerman, hires Carly to audit the town’s books but is then caught in a compromising situation with his secretary Evie Mack. A journalist in town to cover the eclipse turns up dead. Tom and Sarah’s adopted son Bradley comes to stay overnight to see the eclipse, then goes missing on a walk in town. When Mike’s car is in a serious wreck which the police say is an accident, Carly thinks somebody is trying to send her a message to stay away. How can she solve all these mysteries while not completely wearing herself to a frazzle? 





About Leeann:
Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released eight titles in her cozy mystery series. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published two books on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold and More Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft, as well as a contemporary suspense, In Search of Christmas Past. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com All books are available on Amazon.com in digital and print, and at Smashwords.com in digital format.

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.
Books: Amazon http://amzn.to/2dHfgCE  and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2z5ecP8

Giveaway: Question for readers: Have you ever found yourself caught up in a counterfeit situation of life? How did God help you out of it? Leave a comment below with your contact info (e.g: you(at)123XYZ(dot)com) and enter to win a free print (US Only) or ebook copy of A Deadly Dissolution. Giveaway runs for one week, ending Friday, Dec. 7, at Midnight, CST.