Friday, April 28, 2017

God and the Credit Card ♦ June Foster

What God Taught Me Through My Credit Card
by June Foster

I bet some readers will think this post is about wisely spending money. Wrong. God taught me something through my credit card that has nothing to do with my monthly budget or wise use of my resources.

In Wal-Mart, I went to the ATM machine to get cash. I inserted my debit card, keyed in the code and the amount, and waited. All of a sudden, my card disappeared into the bowels of the machine, out of my reach. An ominous message appeared on the screen. Something about how they took my card, and I should see my banking institution. 

If I thought it would do any good, I would've kicked the machine and demanded it give my little piece of plastic back. I looked around for help and the lines at customer service were ten deep. Besides, those people had nothing to do with the machine. I didn't dare leave the spot. What if the machine generously returned the card later, but to another person?

I called the 1-800-Walmart number that was listed on the wall. After going through 10 mazes, I finally talked to a woman who wasn't able to help me. By that time, I couldn't think straight, I was so rattled. I could barely tell her what my problem was.

Long story short, my husband called our banker 2,000 miles away, and they canceled that account, promising to send a new card.

So what did God teach me through my credit card? The next morning I was reading 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I hadn't prayed at all, much less rejoiced or gave thanks for the circumstances, knowing God would use it for my good. Instead I was consumed with panic. Ridiculous, now that I look back.

Needless to say, I've asked God the next time I'm in a stressful situation to remind me to pray and trust in Him to work. That's not saying I won't take action, but to pray and trust Him first. And there are other situations much worse than losing one's card in an ATM machine. 

♦ ♦ ♦

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June's book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC's eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan's Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT's Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan's Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew, and Almond Street Mission are available at June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, and Restoration of the Heart
Visit June at 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Romance on the Pony Express, with Donna Schlachter


Here's the overview of the collection as it appears on Amazon:
Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express.
Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials?

Hi, Donna, so good to have you as my guest here again. I have some questions for you about this Pony Express Romance Collection. You’re in good company, I see.

So, tell me … how did you come to be a part of this collection?

Donna: I met one of the dreamers and asked what she was working on. She said she was doing a proposal for a Pony Express Romance Collection. I said, "I'd love to be in on that." She told me all the slots were filled, but if something came up, she'd let me know. About a month later, she emailed to say one of the other authors dropped out and was I interested. Was I interested? I knew nothing about the Pony Express, didn't write romance, but wanted in anyway. And they were gracious enough to take me under their wing.

Peg: Who dreamed it up?

Donna: Mary Davis and Debby Lee came up with the original idea.

Peg: I love historical fiction, and the Pony Express part of our country’s western expansion captivates me, and it certainly is romantic. Tell me a little about your story featured in this book.

Donna: Catherine Malloy responds to an advertisement for a mail order bride on behalf of her best friend Maggie who can't read or write. But Maggie dies, and Catherine sees this as her way out of the menial job she's been forced to take. Plus she's developed feelings for Benjamin through his letters. Benjamin, who is also illiterate, needs a cook/housekeeper, and a friend offers to put in the ad and write and read his letters. But the friend knows Benjamin needs a wife, so he changes the ad.

Peg: How much research did you have to do while writing it?

Donna: I originally was going to write a completely different story, one set in Echo Canyon, Utah. In fact, originally the book was going to be set at one station. So I traveled the Pony Express route and since I was the only author in the collection who had, we chose Echo Canyon. But there was some lag time, and I went ahead and wrote the first story as a full length novel, and when the project resurrected again, I decided to choose another station I had visited, the Hollenberg Station in Marysville, Kansas. I visited there three times, went to the museums at least twice, as well as all the other research I did both in person and online and reading.

Peg: There are nine (9) authors involved in this project. How did you work together to make sure each story was different from the others?

Donna: That began with the proposals we each had to do. Then we shared the proposals around. Since all the stories are set at different stations, it wasn't difficult for each author to have a different set of circumstances.

Peg: What about your characters? Were they fun to write? Who was your favorite?

Donna: I loved my characters. I think the most fun to write was the Pinkerton Agent. Although he's a minor character, I always pictured my dad, who was a modern-day Pinkerton man, in that role.

Peg: Please share the blurb / synopsis for Echoes of the Heart.

Donna: Can a woman running from her past and a man with no foreseeable future find love along the Pony Express trail?

Peg: What’s new on the writing horizon for you?

Donna: I am currently under contract with Barbour Publishing for two more novella projects due out early next year, and then I have another cozy mystery releasing in June from my alter ego, Leeann Betts.

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. Her current release, Echoes of the Heart, a 9-in-1 novella collection titled "Pony Express Romance Collection" released April 1. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She will be teaching an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers in June 2017, “Don’t let your subplots sink your story”. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both.


Monday, April 24, 2017

We Cannot Save the Ones We Love

Guest post By Christine Lindsay

We humans were created with a wide variety of personality bents. A
strong trait in my family is that of “caregiver.” Scientific lists
describe this attribute as a “savior” type, or supporter. Certainly not a
bad thing, and a characteristic we find in most doctors or nurses,
firemen, police officers, and so on.

But personality traits can have a negative aspect as well as the positive. Some of us can carry this virtue to a fault.

How can one be faulted for having strong desires to help others? Unless
your kind of service, your fixing of the situation, actually hinders God
from doing what He wants to do in that person’s life.

Have you ever stopped in the middle of helping others out of a jam, and
thought, maybe it would be better if they took their lumps and learned
from their unhappy circumstances?

As parents, we use a “time out” session or some other form of discipline to teach our kids about life. God does the same thing.

In my latest historical romance Sofi’s Bridge, both the hero and the
heroine are “savior” or “supporter” personality types. Sofi’s Bridge
showcases the valuable truth, that these characters, alone, cannot save
their loved ones. In fact, in both Sofi and Neil, their traits to “save”
others actually deepens the trough of predicaments, grief and despair
in the lives of the people they want to help most.

Here is a brief excerpt from Sofi’s Bridge where Irish hero Neil learns this important spiritual lesson:

Back when Neil and Jimmy were only lads, the two of them hanging on to
their father’s hand as they walked to church on a Sunday morn. Bells
chimed all over Belfast. Inside the gray stone building, Neil had
listened to the minister preach of what Christ had done on the cross for
all mankind, taking the punishment that people like him deserved.

Now in this jail cell, Neil sat up and leaned his elbows on his knees.
His hands dangled between them like heavy weights. As a boy he’d
believed in what Jesus had done. But as an adult he’d demeaned that
sacrifice. Instead, he’d tried to be Jimmy’s savior. But how could he
save anyone, him a fallible human being?
Both Sofi and Neil must learn that sometimes true love is letting the
people we love go through difficult times, and not manipulating the
circumstances to alleviate their discomfort. True love means placing
them in the hands of God, even if it will hurt them and us for a while.

 About Christine: Irish born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama.

Christine's fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest.

This author’s non-fiction memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me is the true-life story that started this award-winning career in Christian fiction and non-fiction. This book is a must for anyone whose life has been touched by adoption. Christine is currently writing a new fictional series set on the majestic coast of Ireland and loaded with her use of setting as a character that will sweep the reader away. Subscribe to her newsletter on her website
About the Book: Seattle Debutante Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to rotect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father's
death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a
sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue
her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade
Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them.
But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the
handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she
trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized
sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Nei, the gardener
continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man
wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love
will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Author Spotlight: Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are longtime writers of non-fiction books in the educational and inspiration markets. They have for most of their lives been avid readers of mystery/suspense. AS A SHIELD and a previous mystery title are the result of a desire to entertain themselves and others as well as drive home important spiritual messages. Their passion is now “mysteries with a message.”
AS A SHIELD is one of four planned Davis Morgan mysteries set in a small North Georgia town. Davis, a pastor for almost twenty-five years, returns to his hometown after the death of his wife, to operate a rare and used bookstore. He is promptly appointed chaplain of the small police department and recruited by city officials to write a history of his home town. Mystery and romance seem always to be lurking around the corner for the popular bookseller.The reoccurring characters such as Charley Nelson, young police officer; Amy Morgan, Davis’s young daughter who is an English teacher; her roommate Deidre, who Davis is more and more drawn to as time passes; Miss Helen, the local historian and a host of others add to the fun and excitement.

 A visit to little Adairsville, Georgia will surely be a memorable event for anyone who chooses to drop-in. In AS A SHIELD, Davis, through his encounters with two strange villains, comes to experience for himself the truth of Psalm 5:12, “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”

About the Authors: Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are a husband/wife team who in the past were active writers of non-fiction material, having, between them, cranked out several books. They are both graduates of Point University and Danny has a Masters from Kentucky Christian University. Danny has spent most of his adult life as a pastor and Wanda as a teacher.Their interest at present lies in the creation of mysteries with a message.

Danny and Wanda are the proud parents of two daughters and five grandchildren. They reside in a little Cape Cod style cottage in the small town in North Georgia that is the setting for their mysteries.

About the Book: Davis Morgan, having left the ministry after the death of his wife, returns to Adairsville, Georgia, his hometown. There he operates a used and rare bookstore while being appointed chaplain of the police department. He and Charley, a young policeman, after discovering the body of a tattooed man find themselves in a serious battle to bring justice to two strange villains who are threating the safety of Davis's daughter. While all this is going on, Davis is struggling with interpreting his relationship with a young history teacher who happens to be his daughter's roommate.

Friday, April 14, 2017

What do 1940's Movies and "Alice's Notions" have to do with each other?

Please welcome Tamera Lynn Kraft as my Guest Blogger today. We're featuring her brand new release, Alice's Notions, plus a bit of 'the story behind the story.'

 Hi, Tamera, let's chat. First, tell us about the book.

Book Title: Alice’s Notions
Author Name: Tamera Lynn Kraft
Publisher: Desert Breeze
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Genre: Christian Historical Romantic Suspense
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Target Audience: Christian Women

Brief Synopsis:

In this quaint mountain town, things aren't always what they seem.

World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn't know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn't know who she can trust.

 How Classic Movies from the 1940's Made Their Way into My Latest Novel

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

One thing I loved about writing my post World War Two novel was my main character’s passion for movies. Alice Brighton and her late husband loved to go to movies on Friday nights. Now, even after the war made her a widow, Alice still loves movies and compares everyone she meets to a movie character.

Of course for Alice, all these wonderful classic movies and movie stars and a part of her culture, but for me, it was so much fun because I love classic movies. In the novel, Alice compares her landlord to Cary Grant. Cary Grant is one of my favorites. After starring in movies like Suspicion, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Notorious, Grant was one of the biggest stars around in 1946 when Alice’s Notions takes place. My favorite Cary Grant movie wouldn’t be made until a few years later. An Affair to Remember, released 1957, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is one of my all-time favorites.

At one point in the novel, Alice thinks back to when her late husband always said she reminded him of Judy Garland. Garland would have been twenty-four at the time, just a bit younger than Alice, but she became a big star in her teens. She began acting at two years old when she debuted as Baby Francis and sang Jingle Bells. After playing in various roles including a few movies with Mickey Rooney, Garland had her big break in The Wizard of Oz. She went on to star in a ton of movies and had a thriving singing career until she committed suicide in the 1960s. One of my favorite Judy Garland movies released in 1945 during the war was The Clock. The Clock was about a woman who met and fell in love with a GI on leave. Their romance was intensified because they only had the weekend before he was shipped out again for the remainder of the war. This movie must have been in Alice’s mind since she had lost her husband shortly after the movie came out.

During Alice’s Notions, Alice goes on a date to see the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. It was released in 1946 and was considered scandalous at the time because the two main characters have an affair and murder her husband. The main theme of the movie is you can’t get away with your sin. The truth will be revealed. In Alice’s Notions, the truth being revealed is also a main theme.

So you may be wondering what classic movie Alice’s Notions reminds me of. Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn was released in 1963. In that movie, Hepburn is being pursued and doesn’t know who she can trust. The movie has light-hearted intrigue, suspense, and romance just like Alice’s Notions. Alice, also, doesn’t know who she can trust. 

About Tamera:
Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest,  is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest, and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. Tamera has two novellas in print: A Christmas Promise and Resurrection of Hope. Her first full length novel, Alice’s Notions, has just been released. 

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.
Word Sharpeners Blog:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Hymn Story for Easter ♦ Lucy Adams

‘The Old Rugged Cross’ is a Beautiful Blessing
by Lucy Adams

How could it ever be a blessing to think of Jesus, the perfect son of God, being sent to the cross? His twelve disciples, in those early days of walking with him, saw no blessings in such an event.
In the Gospel of Matthew we read, “From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matthew 16:21)
The last few words — “and on the third day, be raised” — are the source of our great joy as we study this passage during these days of Lent. As we look toward Easter, we know the ending from the beginning, praise God!
That experience was the turning point in the life of composer George Bennard. Born in 1873 in Youngstown, Ohio, he was a young man who had some difficulties in his life.
But when he attended a stirring revival, he wrote in his journal, “After a very trying experience in my soul, I have discovered a loving kinship with Christ's sufferings.” Even though the details of this experience are not known, the results are the hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross.”
As he prayed and searched the Scriptures, a theme was born. But before he even wrote the words, the lilting melody was composed in his heart. Then the words seemed to fall on each note as he wrote of new insights about the crucifixion of Jesus.
This became George Bennard's testimony in music. The manuscript was sent to the famous hymn writer, Charles Gabriel, whose immediate reply was, “We will certainly hear from this song.”
It proved to be a prophetic statement.  Soon it was the most widely published song, sacred or secular, in America.♦Regardless of our doctrinal differences, we can all lift our voices in song and renew our love to the one who died for all on that cross of Calvary:
“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross / ‘Til my trophies at last I lay down. / I will cling to the old rugged cross / And exchange it someday for a crown.”
Bennard and his wife joined the Salvation Army. He was always grateful for their input into his life during his great conversion experience. They served there for several years. Then he was ordained into the Methodist Episcopal Church and became a traveling evangelist.
At Albion College in Albion, Michigan, a 12-foot cross was erected to honor this beautiful hymn and the composer who was a beloved graduate of the college. He died on Oct. 9, 1958, when he was 85-years old and exchanged the “old rugged cross for a crown.”
♦ ♦ ♦
Many thanks to my dear friend Lucy Adams, for this beautiful Hymn Story devotion. To add to Lucy's offering, I found a special video to go along with it.
This was filmed live at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, Israel, featuring members of the Bill and Gloria Gaither Homecoming Family. I hope you will find it as much of a blessing as I did. Make sure the volume on your speakers is turned up.

Lucy Adams is the author of “52 Hymn Story Devotions.”
Learn more about Lucy and her book at:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Another 'Story Behind the Story' guest blog post ♦ Shannon Taylor Vannatter ♦ Giveaway

Please join me in welcoming author Shannon Taylor Vannatter to Whispers in Purple. Shannon is sharing the Story Behind the Story of her newest release, Winning Over the Cowboy.

Take it away, Shannon, the floor is yours!

While writing my last book, I wanted my hero to escort my heroine to a wedding. She was in danger, so the wedding was a chance for him to protect her and for him to see her all dressed up and realize she’s a girl, since they’d always only been friends. I came up with a wedding for her cousin. That way, she’d have to go even though she was in danger.

I didn’t really want to get into the wedding, just the trip there and back. Since I’d recently heard a headline about a jilted bride who donated her reception food to a homeless shelter, I went with the groom dumping my heroine’s cousin at the altar. This gave my heroine more reason to ban men from her heart. And fodder for the next book.

Sure that bride in the headlines did a good deed. But how did she move on after that. How could her fiancé hurt her so badly? He had to realize he didn’t want to marry her before all the food was ordered. Right?

In Winning Over the Cowboy, Landry Malone is trying to move on after her ex-fiancé dumped her ten months before. On the heels of her prospective groom shattering her heart, her best friend died in a tragic accident only weeks later.

With heavy backstory, the book begins with Landry arriving at the dude ranch her deceased friend left her. The problem, her deceased friend’s brother owns the other half. From the beginning, Chase pegs her as scammer. Unwilling to tuck tail and go home—where everyone feels sorry for her—Landry is determined to win his respect and manage an amicable relationship with her new business partner.

As Chase begins to see her hurt and how much she loved his sister, her unflustered attitude as she tackles issues at the dude ranch earn his grudging respect. Things get complicated when they run into her ex-fiancé and Chase pretends they’re in a relationship to save face for her. And even more tangled when he accompanies her to her hometown. Tired of everyone feeling sorry for her, Chase—well, I’ll let you read the book.

Landry was a challenge to write, but also fun. She’s everything I’m not. Doesn’t mind getting dirty, baits her own fish hook, cleans her own catch, and gets way too acquainted with a cow for my comfort level. I may live in Arkansas, but I like a nice sturdy fence between me and farm animals. Watching Landry chip away at Chase’s armor was fun to watch and I’m glad I got the chance to share her story.

Question for Readers: Are you outdoorsy like Landry? Or squeamish like me? Share something that tested your limits whether outdoorsy or squeamish.

Giveaway details: Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Winning Over the Cowboy. Eleven copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from April 3 -20. One winner will receive a fishing themed memory board personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special because my son loves to fish as do the characters in the book. Great for displaying kids or grandkids or as a gift for the little fisherman in your life.

Go to my website and sign up for my newsletter to enter more giveaways and get a free book download.
Deadline: April 27th. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on April 29th.

Follow my blog tour for more chances to win Winning Over the Cowboy:

  Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market.

Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her family, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.

Thank you so much for sharing this peek behind the writing of your book, Shannon. I think these glimpses into a writer's processes is fascinating.