Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Why is Reading Christian Fiction Important for Youth? ♦ Glenn Haggerty

 Why is Reading Christian Fiction Important for Youth?

 by Glenn Haggerty

Jesus said that living in God’s word (hearing, reading, studying and doing) is crucial to discipleship (John 8:31-32) Children need reading skills to study God’s word for spiritual growth. Christian fiction applies biblical principles to middle grade and teen characters with both positive and negative examples helping kids think through issues and form their own conclusions. Often Christian books include excellent discussion questions. Jesus used the power of story to teach and explain spiritual truths. As children transition through the teen years and into adulthood, they need to embrace their own relationship with the Lord.

As kids read more, they become better readers, enhancing academic performance. However, the converse is also true. Therefore encouraging children to read is an important parental responsibility. Good fiction also enables the vicarious experience of different times, locations, cultures and perspectives of other people when kids can’t or shouldn’t experience them directly.
Author Eddie Jones, among others, says that “readers become leaders.” This seems self-evident when you consider the volume of information that most leaders must assimilate and analyze to make informed decisions.

Pure Entertainment. Recreational reading has brought joy into the lives of countless youth (and adults alike) for generations. What is more entertaining than curling up on the couch with your favorite snack and beverage and vicariously entering into a great story with a positive message of hope!

Therefore, I write to entertain and encourage students with inspirational fiction with an edge. I want people to finish my stories saying, “Awesome book!” and, “Yes. I can do this life thing too.”

A mom left a testimonial on my blog site, saying her teenage son hated reading. She picked up "The Last Thing I Remember” by Andrew Klavan, at the Christian bookstore  and gave it to her son. She said “He read it in two days! He said, ‘it was impossible to put down.’ And this non reading boy became a reader.” My latest endeavor is Chase, Intense Book 3, and I’m hoping I can get the same reaction from my student—and adult readers!

 Chase, Intense Books 3:
Setting: Small Town in the Appalachian Mountains
  “There they are.” Chase’s voice rolled up the slope. Even hollering his voice sounded flat and lifeless like someone had drilled a hole in his body, and his soul had leaked out.

Drugs infiltrate Tyler Higgins’ middle school turning ordinary kids into brain dead druggies. When his friend is infected, Tyler decides to cut the small town drug flow by ratting out the dealer before it’s too late.

Shadowing drug runners is risky business. A bowhunter has already disappeared, and Tyler’s true adversary remains veiled. After his first spying mission misfires, Audrey, his classmate, volunteers to help, but Tyler can’t imagine where this mission will lead. Everything goes sideways, but he doggedly follows the twisting trails, risking his friendships and his own neck. In the end, he isn’t sure who he can trust or if he can rescue anyone—including himself.

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo and iBooks https://books2read.com/u/3yZOW6

About Glenn:

Glenn writes inspiring adventures with an edge. No matter how dark the day, finding hope to pursue the prize is the core of all his novels and studies. He is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), a graduate of Vision Loss Resources and Bethel Seminary, the father of six and grandfather of seven.

Glenn likes tandem biking, kayaking, and daydreaming and lives in Minneapolis with his wife. He is also an award-winning author with short stories published in SplicketyHavokCadet Quest and PartnersChase, the third book in his Intense series is scheduled for release April 1, 2018. You can visit him at http://www.glennhaggerty.com  and reach him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GlennHaggertyAuthor, and on Twitter, @grhaggertyjr

Monday, March 19, 2018

Does God Pursue Us? ♦ Carrie Daws ♦ Giveaway


Does God Pursue Us? – with a Giveaway

by author Carrie Daws

Have you ever taken the time to consider how much God pursues us? If a person walked away, what kind of plan does He put in motion to watch over them? Protect them? Love them? In my Crossing series, I wanted to investigate what that might look like, and what might happen if a family committed to serving where they saw God working. Some of the answers for Amber Griffin are found in a room covered with purple and white pansies.

CROSSING VALUES, Crossing series book 1
For years, Amber traipsed around the Northwest avoiding the skeletons in her closet. Job-hopping every few weeks, she refused to let anyone get close to her. As winter plants itself firmly across the Rockies, she decides to take a chance on a job at a logging company with a family different from any she's ever known before. Watching the family interact creates more questions than answers for Amber. Feeling like she's entered the happily-ever-after written at the end of fairytales, she watches for cracks in the façade. Surely as the days pass, the play-acting will cease and the real family will emerge. Or could she be wrong? Could they be genuine? Could this family hold the key to what she's seeking?

God rewrote Carrie’s dreams to include being an author. With a background in weekly devotions, a mentor and several friends encouraged her to try fiction. The writing monster that she now barely keeps contained was born. Since then, she’s completed several books including her new romantic suspense, the Embers series. To learn more about her books, click here. (LINK: http://carriedaws.com/my-books/)

Carrie is offering copies of Crossing Values to TWO of this blog’s readers. To enter, just leave a comment and your contact information in the section below. Giveaway will run one week from today, ending at midnight on Monday, March 26, 2018, Central Time.

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Petty Cash" ~ Leeann Betts ~ Behind the Story ~ Giveaway

 Please welcome author Leeann Betts for the Everything Old is New Again feature this week, and the 'Story Behind the Story of her book Petty Cash. Take it away, Leeann!

The Story Behind the Story – Petty Cash
By Leeann Betts

My parents once owned a timeshare property in Hyannis, Cape Cod, back when timeshares were overpriced and didn’t hold their value. In fact, this particular property was so bad in the years after they bought, that they couldn’t even get anybody to rent it for their week, which happened to be the last week of August each year.

I actually went and stayed in this condo one year because I hated the idea of my parents losing money, and I wanted to see how bad it could be that nobody would rent.

Well, it was bad. Tired. Worn out. Almost but not quite sagging. Perhaps sagging emotionally.

However, I had a blast that week, swimming, shopping, seeing the sights on the Cape. So, when I was looking around for ideas of where to send Carly this time around, Hyannis came to mind.

Mind you, I have her staying in a much nicer house, overlooking the beach, in a fictional town, but my time on the Cape provided some insights into the setting.

Leave a comment and enter to win a free print (US only) or ebook copy of Petty Cash. Details below.

About the book:
Petty Cash, book 7 in By the Numbers series featuring Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, finds Carly headed off for another mystery. She and hubby Mike travel to Cape Cod as emotional support for their daughter Denise and her dentist husband Don who finds himself in the middle of a potential practice dissolution. But when their host fails to make an appearance, and a tropical storm blows through the area, things are topsy-turvy. Then when their host’s body washes ashore, Don is suspected. After all, they’d had several arguments witnessed by a number of people. Can Carly figure out who the real killer is before her son-in-law is shanghaied into a life sentence?

Chapter 1

“Ooh, some days I could just kill that man!”
Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant by day and wife, step-mother, and grandmother all the time, sighed and closed the computer file she’d been reviewing when Denise’s call came in. “Calm down, and tell me what’s going on.”
A long quiet filled the line—well, not exactly quiet, given the voices intruding in the background—from Denise’s end of the call. Don, her husband and Mike and Carly’s son-in-law, asked about a clean shirt. Margie, eight going on twenty-eight, nattered on at her younger brother Toby about not drawing on the walls.
Several gulping breaths, reminding Carly of a drowning goldfish, filtered through before Denise continued, her voice a notch lower than before. “Don’s partner. Maurice, but everybody calls him Mo.”
“Don is nearby, right?”
“Right. And I don’t want him to know I’ve been talking about Mo.”
“Why ever not?” Carly closed the cover on her laptop. If she didn’t, she’d think about all the work that needed doing and not concentrate on Denise’s call. Which would merely lengthen the conversation. “Is it a secret?”
“No, not exactly, but Don doesn’t want gossip to start. You know how it is in a small town.”
Carly resisted the urge to snort. Although married to a native for eleven years, the residents of Bear Cove, Maine, a tiny hamlet of less than four hundred souls at the height of lobster season, still didn’t think of her as “one of them”. “Understood. But it’s unlikely I’ll ever sit around and chat with folks from Riverdale.”
“True. But they do go outside the town limits occasionally, and since they don’t wear signage indicating where they live, you just might bump into one of them.”
Carly chuckled. Denise ran into much the same attitude about the fact she’d swooped in and stolen one of Riverdale’s most eligible bachelors, although the residents did at least treat her better than out-of-towners, as they called anybody not from Riverdale.
Unlike Bear Cove, whose town motto—if they had one—would be: if you don’t live here, go away.
“So what can you tell me? Other than you have homicidal thoughts about the man.”
“He has been so unreasonable lately.”
“Maybe he’s under a lot of stress.”
Now Denise did snort. “Stress? Why do you think people become dentists instead of medical doctors? No emergency calls. No late night outings. Closed on weekends. Four weeks of vacation every year.”
“Point taken. So if not stress, what?”
“I think he’s always been this way, and we’re just beginning to notice.”
“Unlikely but possible.” Carly chewed on the end of a pencil, wishing she’d brought in a granola bar and soda on her last trip to the kitchen. “What are you going to do about him?”
“Can’t do much, can I? He’s Don’s partner, not mine.”
“How has he been acting?”
“Coming in late. Leaving early.”
“Maybe he has a girlfriend.”
“The last time he asked a woman out on a date, he talked about it for a week before and two weeks after. But he never got up the nerve to ask her out again, so that was the end of that.”
Carly pulled open a desk drawer. Maybe she’d left a candy bar or a package of crackers. Nothing. She sat back in her chair. “Okay, so not a woman. What else?”
“He got angry at a patient last week for being three minutes late to her appointment. Her car wouldn’t start and she had to call a tow truck. She called the office, and the receptionist assured her she was fine. But he tore a strip up one side of her and down the other when she came in. Threatened not to treat her and to charge her for a missed appointment.”
“That does seem overboard.”
“And after he spent fifteen minutes haranguing her in the waiting room, in front of other patients, he finally agreed to see her.”
“Okay, so he had one bad day. What else?”
“Don says one minute he’s smiling and jovial, the next he’s sullen and moody. He said it’s like walking on eggshells around the office. And he’s taken to wearing these old red rubber boots everywhere. I saw him in the grocery store last week and commented on them. He looked down at his feet as though he didn’t know what I was talking about. And now Don said he wore them in the office and refused to change into his regular shoes. Said he left them home. But Don saw them under his desk.”
“I expect your hubby is bringing this stress home, and so now you’re unofficially involved. Well, has Don asked Mo what’s going on?”
“Sure. And Mo says everything is fine. Not to worry. Or he turns it back on Don and accuses him of meddling in his private life.”
“Could he be on drugs?”
“Don isn’t sure. But get this. This is the strangest thing of all.”
Carly leaned in as though Denise were in the room with her. “What?”
“Yesterday, Mo asked Don to meet him for coffee. Don went. In fact, he was fifteen minutes early. But Mo was walking out of the coffee shop, red in the face, angry. The veins in his forehead were bulging, Don said.”
“Maybe Don got the time wrong.”
“He thought so too, but as he walked in, he checked the text Mo sent him. He was early.”
“Maybe Mo’s fingers were faster than his brain that day. Happens to me all the time.”
Denise sighed. “Mo admitted Don was early. But he said he was done sitting around and waiting for Don to grow up and take responsibility. Implied he’d been carrying the practice all these years, and Don did nothing to bring in patients.”
“Well, Don and you and I know that’s not true.”
“Don tried to get him to sit down and talk like adults, but Mo took offense to that. He shoved Don aside and said he never wanted to see him again.”
Carly exhaled. That was one thing she liked about working alone—no partners or employees to deal with. “Sounds like Mo wants out of the partnership.”
“Sounds like it.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your troubles.”
“You’d think that was the end of it, but it isn’t. Today Mo texted Don and said he was sorry and wanted to see if they could patch things up between them. Invited us and our guests to spend a week on the Cape at his summer home. Said he has a six-bedroom house, and we can fill up five of them.”
“I’d take that as an apology and jump at the chance.”
“So we asked Tom and Sarah to join us, and to bring Bradley so he could spend time with our two. And we wanted you and Dad to come, too. I’d feel better if we had several calm males there in case Mo gets weird again. Please say you’ll come.”
Carly opened the joint calendar she and computer programmer husband Mike kept and scanned the days ahead. “When do you leave?”
“Wow, that’s not much notice.” She ran a finger along the week. “But our schedule looks pretty open for the next few days. I have to be back to testify in a big court case on the day after Labor Day, though.”
“Yeah, the kids start school that day, too, and Don has to be back to work, too. Tom and Sarah will also leave on Monday. I’m hoping we can at least have a party or picnic to celebrate the end of summer before we all scatter to the four winds.”
“Then we have a plan.”
“Great. Tom and Sarah are driving down today. They’ll stay here overnight, and we can connect with you at that restaurant on the highway in Augusta around ten. The kids will be ready for a bathroom break by then, and I’ll be glad for a coffee.”
“We’ll be there. Looking forward to seeing everybody. It’s been a while since we did anything together.”
Carly hung up and opened the cover of her computer. Mike would be home soon, and hopefully he’d be excited to hear about their impromptu vacation. Surely he wouldn’t blame her for looking for a mystery where none existed.
After all, this wasn’t her idea.
So if they found a mystery, it couldn’t be her fault.

About Leeann:
Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released seven titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers. 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. 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 in digital format.

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

About the Giveaway:
As stated above. Leeann is giving away a free print copy (US only) or a digital (eBook) copy of Petty Cash to one of the readers of this blog. To enter, just leave a comment below with your contact information (so we can notify you if you win).
Giveaway ends one week from today on Monday, March 19, at Midnight O'clock. Winner will be drawn the following Tuesday. We're eager to hear from you!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Embracing Mary When You're a Martha ~ Barbara Britton

Embracing Mary When You’re a Martha

(click to enlarge)
a devotional from author Barbara Britton

I’m a task oriented, list maker. I get the work done around my house so fast, sometimes I don’t remember doing it. I also have a nutrition degree, so put me in a kitchen and I can make something edible. When I read Luke 10:38-42, the story of Mary and Martha, I immediately sympathize with the frazzled sister, Martha.  Have you ever grumbled about a sibling that left you to do all the work?

Jesus travels to a village with his disciples and we are told a woman named Martha opened her home to him. Yay, Martha! Hospitality is a gift, and one cherished in a time without motels and McDonald’s. But somehow in all the commotion, Martha forgot who she invited. She let cooking and food preparation dampen her joy and take her attention from her guest, the Son of God.

I feel for Martha slaving away while Mary sits and revels in the wonder of God, but then I must do a mirror moment. Am I letting tasks and life’s happenings take my eyes off Jesus? Am I blocking time on my calendar for devotions and Bible study or am I too busy doing life that I forget the Creator of life?

Having a busy schedule isn’t bad. After all, being hospitable takes time. But as we go about busy lives we need to remember to abide in God’s presence. We can rest at Jesus’ feet anywhere. I pray in the car—out loud. No one thinks I’m crazy. They probably think I have a high-tech car. I listen to Christian music and remain focused on what Jesus has done for me. I lead a Bible study once a week. I’ve thought of giving up my leadership position, but then I ask myself if I would stay active in studying the Bible. Maybe not.

Martha learns her lesson about keeping her thoughts on Jesus (even if she’s washing wooden plates and chopping leeks). In John 11:20, when Jesus arrives in Bethany after Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s brother, has died, who do we see running out to greet Jesus? Martha. Mary stays at home and Martha goes out to meet her Lord, the Son of God. Martha has learned to enjoy Jesus’ presence no matter what she is going through.

Life isn’t always easy, or fun. Sometimes it’s stressful and we can feel alone. Let’s remember to focus on Jesus and spend time with Him. He will change our focus and renew our spirit, and He can multiply our time.

If you’re cooking dinner tonight, or driving car pool today, remember to pray to Jesus and abide in his goodness. Run out to meet our Savior. He will always be there to greet you. Chances are, He already has his arms outstretched.

About Barbara
Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and Mainstream markets. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her stories. 

Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.

“Jerusalem Rising” is Barbara's latest book. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website www.barbarambritton.com

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Story Behind the Story ~ Evelyn Hill ~ The English Lieutenant’s Lady

Please welcome author Evelyn M. Hill as she shares the story behind the writing of The English lieutenant's Lady.


by Evelyn M. Hill

While doing research into Oregon history for my first book, His Forgotten Fiancée, I ran across a reference to British spied being sent to Oregon during the time of the Oregon Border Dispute, when Britain and the United States were thinking of going to war over who had the better claim to the Oregon Territory.

That is what led to my writing The English Lieutenant's Lady. The British didn’t send professional spies on this mission. They picked a pair of ordinary army officers named Lieutenants Vavasour and Warre. One was an engineer and the other had a talent for painting watercolors. The Colonial Office sent them to Oregon from Montreal, with instructions to pass as gentlemen of leisure on a scenic tour. Their mission was to evaluate the territory and its population to determine whether the British should declare war against America to defend their claim to the land.

The two men travelled across the continent to the Pacific coast, where they tried to purchase the aptly named Cape Disappointment. Failing at that, they went up the Columbia River and then the Willamette, evaluating sites for potential forts and even drawing up a plan to occupy the only town of any size in the area, Oregon City.

clip_image004My story focuses on a character based on one of the actual lieutenants, Vavasour, and a fictional woman from the Oregon Territory. At least, I thought she was fictional. But looking through the records, there is evidence that the lieutenant was involved with someone while on his mission.

Looking through the accounts of items purchased by Vavasour at Fort Vancouver, I found evidence that he purchased not only the standard supplies he would need for his stay in the territory, food and such, he also made some intriguing additional purchases. He purchased a pair of ladies shoes and several yards of gauzy material. On a couple occasions he purchased hair ribbons.

(Editor's note: The list is a little blurry, but if you click on it it will enlarge and you can read some of it a little better.)

All these purchases went on the official record. He was given an allowance to buy what he needed for his mission, and he included these items in the list. Therefore, it is logical to assume he was prepared to justify the act of buying ladies shoes and fripperies as being required for his mission.

Hmmmn... supplies for his mission? Ladies shoes and hair ribbons? Even if I weren't a romance novelist I would be starting to suspect that love was in the air.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Combatting Spring Fever

by Peggy Blann Phifer @pegphifer

Yes, I know there’s only sixteen days left before it’s “officially” spring, but …

Winter still has a firm grip on NW Wisconsin, and there’s another big storm approaching sometime tonight or early tomorrow morning. With predictions of six to nine inches of more snow … and as much as eleven inches in certain ‘locations.’

I’ve had enough! Yeah, I know there’s nothing I can do about it, And complaining about it won’t change anything.

But there’s something I can do about me … and my attitude.

While I haven’t felt much like writing these past two days, my creative self wanted to do something … so I played. What you see here today is the result. New header, a s slight change in background …

In case you don’t remember the former ‘theme’ I’ve copied it below.

Whispers 2018 Header-1400

So, what say you? Improvement? or not.

If you care to, leave a comment below.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Making of The Reluctant Groom ~ Kimberly Rose Johnson

The Making of The Reluctant Groom

By Kimberly Rose Johnson

My favorite kind of stories have always been marriage of convenience stories, but I thought since I wrote contemporary romance I’d never get to write one, that is, until this story came to me.

I was laying in bed one night back in 2016, when the idea began to percolate. It was one of the few times I dragged myself from bed and wrote my thoughts down. I took the concept and the framework of my story to my readers group on Facebook. They helped me come up with a way to make a modern day marriage of convenience not only believable, but also acceptable. 

I had other books to write so it took a little time to get this one written, but then the unthinkable happened. Someone else wrote and published my story! Okay, it wasn’t  exactly my story but there were enough similarities that I hesitated to publish mine. In reality the only thing they really had in common was the set of circumstances I used to justify the marriage. Anyway, I set it aside and literally forgot about it until ...one day ... I remembered.

I brought up the project to my readers group once again and explained why I had not yet published the story. They encouraged me to publish it anyway. I finally relented and set the release date.

About the book:

When everything goes wrong, can two friends discover true love? 

When Ray O’Brien’s world is turned upside down, Katie Fairchild wants to help, but the personal cost is high. Neither desires a marriage of convenience, but when Katie blurts the first thing that comes to her mind Ray can’t dismiss her offer of marriage. It would solve all his problems except for one thing—they aren’t in love. 

Can these two friends team up for the greater good and perhaps find love along the way, or are their expectations impossible? 

About Kimberly:

Faith Hope and Love Reader's Choice Finalist, Kimberly Rose Johnson, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 

You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2FoJ00s