Friday, July 31, 2015

Congratulations to Dianne J. Wilson!

Thank you to all of our authors

To quote one of our Clash of the Titles visitors

 This is “Another WOW reading list for us avid readers.”

And the winner is!


Finding Mia by Dianne Jennifer Wilson

Isobel is on the hunt for her missing muse. What she finds instead is an abandoned toddler who is sunburned and close to death. Dr. Liam Brigham keeps little Mia alive, but needs Isobel to save the girl from a far greater danger--a killer with an agenda for kidnapping.

With Mia's life next in line, Isobel and Liam have to put aside their differences, face their past and throw their trust at the only One able to save.

From our voters

Finding Mia sounds amazing...and I love the cover!

Well done, Dianne...Your book sounds very intriguing!

Thank you Dianne Wilson for an amazing book, Finding Mia

Finding Mia for me-ah!!! Love this Dee-Lightful lady...Go Di Wilson!

Dianne J. Wilson, hoping we can look forward to many more wonderful books from you. You are truly a Blessing. Dianne J. Wilson, keep writing and being as inspiring as you are!

An Amazon Review

“I’m glad I found Finding Mia. This author has a writing style that drew me in and kept me involved with the story from the very first page. There were passages that I still remember vividly, and I felt the joy, hope, fear, angst, or confusion right along with the characters. And there’s a scene with a broken mirror- WOW! This is romantic suspense at its best. And Mia? I just want to hug her tight. God bless that little girl even if she is “just” fictional. Well done, Ms. Wilson. I will keep a sharp eye out for your next book! Jan Elder

What Inspired Dianne to write Finding Mia

At its heart, Finding Mia is about restoration. I wrote prompted by the John 10 v 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” It is my hope that as my readers laugh and cry along this journey with Isobel, that they will come to trust that God’s intentions for them are always good and loving, no matter what they face.

Buy links for Finding Mia

Barnes and Noble


Bio: Writer by night, Dianne J. Wilson is a graphic designer and ballet school administrator by day. Working as a freelance writer has paid the bills, but communicating Truth through fiction is her passion, whether through words in books or by dance, music and drama on stage.

She lives in East London, South Africa with her husband, Scott, and three daughters.

Fun Friday Challenge…for Writers…and a Giveaway

Courtesy of Edgar Allan Poe. Seriously!

Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve spent the better part of this week brainstorming my new writing project. You know, lining up my characters—this is the third volume of a series—making sure I’ll tie up things in the previous two volumes, and taking everyone and everything through a What If journey.

At the same time I worried over what to write for my blog post today.

Around midnight, I shut the computer down and crawled into bed. Of course, though I turned off the computer, I could not turn off my brain. My mind was still awhirl with thoughts of my story, images of my characters and setting, and on and on. I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

I’m obstinate enough to refuse to get back up and boot up the computer, convincing myself I’d fall asleep soon. Eventually I did, but somewhere in that ‘not-quite-asleep’ haze came the thought for today’s blog. How, from where it came, I have no idea. I can’t explain it. Usually, in the morning, those random thoughts are gone.

Usually. Not this morning. The idea was still there, pulling at me.

So, I followed through, and this post is the result. Probably a product of my restless night.

Whatever . . . here we go.

Edgar Allan Poe was the master of the macabre, frequently dipping into horror. Some considered him mad. Others thought him genius. Whichever way the opinion pendulum swings, his work has endured the test of time. And I’m not here to challenge that.

I’m here to challenge YOU.

The House of UsherBelow is a link to Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, one of his stories, written in 1839, one I’ve never quite been able to forget.Some of his phrases/descriptions intrigued me, such as: A deep dank tarn. or, a barely perceptible fissure. They fascinate me.

Anyway, here’s my challenge: Click on the link which will take you the the story online. Unless you want to, you don’t actually have to read it, though it is short. What I’m asking you to do is skim through the writing and see if you–as writers–can spot how many of today’s writing rules we’ve been taught he has broken.

Then leave a comment below listing the things you caught and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $5 Amazon Gift Card.

I require a minimum of FIVE entries to hold the drawing. Ends one week from today, Friday, Aug 7. 

Are you game? Here’s the link:

And, have fun with this!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First and Goal, with Holly Michael and Jake Byrne

"Maybe God wants me to have diabetes for a greater purpose."

My son spoke those words to me more than ten years ago after getting diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

I admired Jake for his faith and for his determination in not allowing diabetes to block him from his goals…and as a fourteen-year-old he had big ones, like getting to college on a football scholarship.

Jake reached that goal. He played football for the Wisconsin Badgers as a tight end for four years. While in college, he looked toward the next goal—the NFL—a long shot for a diabetic kid struggling to manage the disease along with football and college life.

With a lot of hard work and the grace of God, Jake accomplished that goal too, playing for the New Orleans Saints, the Houston Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the San Diego Chargers.



FirsandGoal-Jake Byrne

Today, he has reached a new goal. Jake is an author! And this proud mom couldn’t be prouder.

Though I played a role in ghostwriting First and Goal, the words are all Jake’s and the Lord was definitely with us as we undertook this very fun and inspiring endeavor to share in devotional form Jake’s determination to never give up, no matter the obstacles.

Published by Harvest House, and released on August 1, First and Goal is already coming out as a bestseller in Teen & Young Adult Football.

A great gift for any teenager pushing toward goals, the devotional has also been read and reviewed from kids to grandmothers and has received rave reviews.


51P3l-0MnSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Book Blurb:

Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive...but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes.

Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.

Jake's journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You'll feel as if you're lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you're about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You'll discover...

• what to do when God calls an audible in your life

• how to respond when God puts you on special teams

• why prayer is never an incomplete pass

These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God's dream for you.


PhotoBio for Jake: Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. Jake lives in Dallas with his wife, Emma, and two four-legged kids: Duke the Dogo Argentino and Yeti the Great Dane.

  • Jake blogs at
  • He can be reached through the following social media:
  • Facebook Page (Type Won):
  • Twitter: @sugarfreejb82
  • Instagram: Jakebyrne81
  • Email:


Bio for Holly Michael: Holly Michael has enjoyed a writing career as a journalist, features writer, and a regular ghostwriter for a Guideposts magazine before authoring novels and nonfiction books. Married to Anglican Bishop, Leo Michael, Holly has three grown children; daughter Betsy and football-playing sons—Jake (NFL) and Nick (University of Louisiana-Lafayette). Kansas City, Missouri is home and she blogs at

Contact her at or on Facebook @ or Twitter: @HollyMichael

IMG_1177First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up

Holly Michael joins her NFL player son, Jake Byrne, in this football-themed devotional published by Harvest House August 1, 2015. First and Goal can be purchased at most book stores and online book sellers.

Link for

We Have Winners!

Congratulations to:

Gail Kittleson


Terri Tiffany

Winners of Sally Chambers' book "The Stonekeepers"

Many thanks to Sally for sharing her book with us and to all who entered.

Friday, July 24, 2015

COTT: Five Summertime Reads!

What a great bunch of books to take on vacation or read under a shady tree this summer. Selections include a Regency romance, a thriller, the story of an abandoned child found by the shore and two Westerns. Peruse below and let us know which one you’ll put on top of the stack in your beach bag. Scroll down and vote in the survey box. Then let your friends know about these interesting reads.

Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley

A young woman reconciling the lies of her birth must learn her true worth, unmasking her heart to true love, but will she find her soul mate in a duke running from scandal? With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by a powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?

Rodeo Reunion by Shannon Vannatter

Slade Walker, the bronco-riding rodeo chaplain breaks all of widowed Raquel’s rules—find a father for her son with a safe occupation, who’s home every night. He can’t turn his back on the cowboys who need him, but Raquel and her boy need him, too.

Two Days in Caracas by Luana Ehrlich

In this pulse-racing Christian thriller, Titus Ray, travels from Costa Rica to Venezuela in an effort to stop Ahmed, a Hezbollah assassin, from murdering a high-profile government official.

Finding Mia by Dianne J. Wilson

Isobel is on the beach hunting for her muse. What she finds is a toddler, sunburnt and close to death.

The Rancher Takes a Cook by Misty Beller

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. 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?

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Amish Fiction from a Man’s Point of View: Patrick Craig

Writing Amish Fiction from a Man’s Point of View, by Patrick Craig

PCraig2aWhen I first started writing Amish fiction, I had a short story in mind about a master quilter from Apple Creek, Ohio who found God, a little lost child, and a new life in the heart of a snowstorm. When I showed the story to my agent, he encouraged me to turn it into a full-length series of three books. Now, three years later, the last of those books, Jenny's Choice, has been released and I am still telling the story of the Hershbergers and the Springers in The Amish Heiress. The setting has moved from Apple Creek to Paradise, Pennsylvania, but the characters and the stories are part of an ongoing thread that has captured my heart and kept me busy since 2010.

The interesting thing about my foray into Amish fiction is that before I started the Apple Creek Dreams series, I knew nothing about the Amish or about quilting—absolutely nothing. I had never read an Amish fiction novel, even though, as I discovered, Amish fiction was the largest selling Christian genre for years. And I think that this has been a good thing. I'm not exactly known in Amish circles as someone who writes a typical Amish novel. I think that's because I read too many Zane Grey books when I was a kid. His books had adventure, mystery, and danger and, for those of you expecting a typical light-hearted romance dressed in Amish clothing when you read my books, you will certainly find far more than that. Adventure aside, Zane Grey was also one of the best romance writers that ever put pen to paper and, in the end, good Amish fiction has to have romance, and plenty of it.

I, along with most men, am a romantic at heart and as a Grey devotee, I know that two things captured the hearts of his readers: enduring male characters that were noble and strong, protected women, kept their word and were not afraid to face down evil even if it meant their death, and female characters that were pure, noble, capable, and worthy of the love that the men in his stories lavished upon them. So those are the men and women I try to bring to life in my stories.

Also, when I write, I try to keep in mind that there are certain archetypal themes—plots and conflicts— that the characters, both men and women, need to be set inside to cause their noble qualities to rise to the surface. Then the reader can have their own character changed for the better by identifying with the strength of my protagonists, be they men or women.

Another thing I always remember as I write: the written word is powerful in its capacity to pervade the mind and heart of those who read it. When someone picks up my book, there is an implied acceptance of the ideas I am trying to get across in my writing. The reader is thereby opened to my words and thoughts. Like a baby bird with its mouth gaping open waiting for mother to feed it, my reader has given me the right to speak into their lives. Because of this acceptance, my words can penetrate a resistant heart, simply because the choice to read my book opens the door to the truth it contains.

Because of that, as a Christian writer I always try to remember this: stories should be about love, deep abiding love—love between people and ultimately, they should be about the love our God had for us when He sent His own son to solve the dilemma of the ages and bring peace and joy to our hearts. And that is the greatest story ever told.

As a Christian, what are the qualities you look for in a book?

My Latest book, The Amish Heiress will be available in August on Amazon, B&N and GoodReads.

My Latest Book:

The-Amish-HeiressBook Title: The Amish Heiress

Author: Patrick E. Craig

Publisher: P&J Publishing, Caldwell Idaho

Release Date: August 5, 2015

Genre: Amish Fiction / Romance /Adventure

Book One in The Paradise Chronicles series

The Amish Heiress Back Cover Blurb

Rachel Hershberger’s life in Paradise, Pennsylvania is far from happy. Her papa struggles with a terrible event from the past, and his emotional instability has created an irreparable breach between them. Rachel’s one desire is to leave the Amish way of life and Paradise forever. Then her prayers are answered. Rachel discovers that the strange, key-shaped birthmark above her heart identifies her as the heir to a vast fortune left by her Englischer grandfather, Robert St. Clair. If Rachel will marry a suitable descendent of the St. Clair family, she will inherit an enormous sum of money. But Rachel does not know that behind the scenes is her long-dead grandfather's sister-in-law, Augusta St. Clair, a vicious woman who will do anything to keep the fortune in her own hands. As the deceptions and intrigues of the St. Clair family bind her in their web, Rachel realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. But has her change of heart come too late?

Author Bio:

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. The books are historical Amish fiction and the first book, A Quilt for Jenna, was released February 1, 2013. The second book in the series, The Road Home, was released September 1, 2013. Book number three, Jenny’s Choice, came out February 1, 2014. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book, The Amish Heiress, will be out in August 2015. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

Where can readers find me online? (Webpage)

Where can readers purchase my books? (Amazon)


Thank you, Patrick, for being a guest on Whispers in Purple today. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and your background into becoming a writer of Amish fiction. Fascinating.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What’s in a Name? Part I

“That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Romeo and Juliet (II.ii.43-44)


In the seemingly never-ending process of cleaning out old files, I came across and old article, with the same title, I wrote for Northwest Christian Author, a publication of the Northwestern Christian Writers Association which appeared in their 2001 November/December issue.

Of course, there my cleaning-out venture came to a halt as I read through it again, after almost 14 years.

I’ve updated the article a great deal and, with your indulgence, I’m sharing it here. Of course I had to find a purple rose!

Shakespeare had it right. But, suppose you’d never seen or heard of a rose, or smelled its heady fragrance, and someone pointed to it a said it was Skunk Cabbage, or Stinkweed. Would you be willing to bury your nose into its petals and discover that intoxicating scent?

Names are important, not only in naming babies , but giving our story characters the right name is extremely important. We have to get the right one to make them believable. And the name must match our characters' basic makeup, behaviors, personalities characteristics, and so forth.

Character naming is a craft by itself. For example, you want to portray an honest person? Frank or Mary Candhor. Clever? Wiley. Courageous? Daniel Lyons. Insightful? Hawkeye Pierce. <Grin>

Choose a name with the right sound. Say it aloud. Many times the way a name strikes the ear will be a better choice than its meaning. Take Bond and Scaramanga. Any doubt as to who’s the bad guy? Next, make sure the name is easy to pronounce out loud. Some readers will just skim over a name like Pryzloskivitch, but others–like me–want to know how to say it. Yes, I’m aware there a many differing opinions on this. That’s just my opinion. And there are exceptions. Ethnic names, for example. You have to be true to your story and setting. In that case, you might want to find a way, perhaps through dialog, to let the reader ‘see’ how it’s pronounced. Then again, if you’re writing War and Peace, or Dr. Zhivago, unpronounceable names come with the character of the story. I’ve read both and I had to take the time to study the gender nomenclature.

As a writer, the task of naming the ‘child’ you have created is far more laborious than it would be for the ‘normal’ parent.

I’ve devoted a lot of time in studying names, their meanings, and am almost obsessive in naming my characters.

Come back next week, Wednesday, for more on this naming game.

Now, I have a question for you–IF you’re a writer . . . how do YOU go about naming YOUR characters? C’mon, join the conversation!

TWEETABLES: [bctt tweet="As a #writer, how do you choose the names of your characters? Join the #conversation, click the link. Looking forward to your answers."]

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Character Interview: Lexi Christensen, from Sally Chambers’ “The Stonekeepers” w/Giveaway

Welcome, readers! The other day, I had a golden opportunity to lure Lexi Christensen–the lead character in THE STONEKEEPERS–away from Sally’s office to ask her a few personal questions while Sally was away.  Shhh…don’t tell Sally, okay?



Hi, Lexi, thanks for coming over. To get started, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Hello, Mrs. Phifer! Thank you for inviting me to visit with you and share a little about myself and of what’s happened in my life lately.

You asked what the most interesting thing about me is?

Well, right now my creator is kicking me under the table. ☺ She knows I’m bursting to tell you something that would be a spoiler for readers. So I’ll back off a little and tell you that I think my middle name is the most interesting thing about me (among a half-a-dozen other things she tells me are off limits!) Usually one spells Evangeline like this. Not my middle name. Mine is spelled Evengeline, and     E-ven means stone in Hebrew. I never paid much attention to it until recently when its Hebrew meaning was shown to me. In that moment, it became crystal clear how important stones are in my life.

Q. Your creator? You mean Sally found us out, after all? Oh, well, just shows what a close watch she keeps over you! Anyway, let’s continue. What’s your most favorite thing to do for fun?
Mmm—not an easy question—too many favorite things to choose from. Okay if I tell you about two favorites? I love being outdoors and I love horses, so when there’s time, horseback riding on the beach with my two best friends is the best! But one other favorite fun thing my best friend, Jenni, and I do is help with and read to kindergarteners and first graders once a week. They are totally adorable!

Q. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Ever try to coax a stubborn 70 pound dog into a tub? I dread that scene! My dog has a paranoid aversion to water—but not just any water. He’s fine with the ocean, ponds, sprinklers, hoses, faucets, even swimming pools, but just mention the word bath and he’s on his back, whining for mercy, or halfway under my bed, probably thinking I can’t see him. He just hates getting a bath. But guess who stands still as a statue, loving it when the hair dryer flips on? The old guy’s a conundrum!

Q. I know you are still very young, but…what are you most afraid of?
Age is a state of mind for me—I feel at least 25 after all that’s happened so far this summer. I used to be pretty fearless. Now I suppose I’m most afraid of being in a crowd of noisy, pushy people. It’s a recent fear. I was at Boston’s Logan International Airport, and what should have been an uneventful boarding ended up terrifying instead. Keeping really busy is helping me work through it, and a few other borderline traumatic things I’ve had to confront.

Q. What do you want out of life? How do you envision your future?
Finishing college is primary. Career, marriage, children—and I’m not worried about in what order they occur. I know my life is in God’s hands and it will happen in His perfect timing.

I’m going for a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science—focus on Computer Science. Since it looks as if I’ll be staying in Nantucket after college, I’ve decided to take Dad up on his offer to shadow him as he runs his company, sort of become his protégé. Who knows where that might lead? And all along the way, I pray I’ll make a difference in others’ lives.

Q. Name something that is the most important to you.
My relationships—with God, family and friends. They never walked away when I went through the most tumultuous few weeks of my life. They helped when they could and when they couldn’t they encouraged, supported, and loved me through it. I’ve found that there’s nothing, no one, in this world more valuable and irreplaceable than family and friends.

And I’m thankful for a deep, abiding, knowing, that God will never leave nor forsake me. He’s proved it over and over—like when I’d wake up panicked at choices I faced, as well as when I looked into the ugly blackness of mortal danger aimed in my direction.

Q. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Yes, I love to read—always have. I grew up reading richly illustrated children’s books and wandered through the classics. I love reading anything that inspires, uplifts, stretches, or challenges me, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, including suspense, mystery, adventure, intrigue, historical, and creative nonfiction. One author I like, Tom Clancy, challenged me in his first book with learning the anatomy of a submarine—just one of the types of books I enjoy.

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be much less of a perfectionist, which would make me more patient and understanding with others and with myself. (And I could reel off all the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 right here!) My two best friends, Jenni and Ridge seem to always be running late and it drives me crazy!

Q. I know you have a dog that is precious to you. Tell me about him.
My McDuffy McGillicuddy McFee? I’d love to! We call him Gilly. He’s a gorgeous golden retriever with chestnut eyes. Hard for me to remember, but on my third birthday, Mom and Dad tell me he was one lively puppy when he was delivered in a big wicker basket. I’ll share a little scene from my story with you. He was in my bedroom while I was deciding what to take with me to college and I stooped to stroke his silky fur, thinking about him. My throat got tight and my eyes blurred with tears. Dogs should have a place in dorms. “I’m going to miss you so much, old guy,” I said to him. But my tears turned to laughter when his rough tongue started swiping away at my salty, wet cheeks. Love that dog!

He’s a dear old man now, and it’s a wonder he’s still alive after . . . well, that’s another scene for another day.

Q. You had a wonderful–but dangerous–opportunity to go to modern-day Israel. Have you ever thought you’d like to time-travel back to ancient Israel?
You must have been looking around in my dreams! Yes. I have wondered about what it would be like to be in ancient Israel. But I‘d like to drop into the days when Jerusalem was besieged by Babylon’s king, Nebuchadnezzar and the Lord allowed two kinds of treasures to be taken from the city.

The first of the treasures that were taken were some of the articles of the house of God, the temple. I want to see what those things were. Were they some of the gold and silver? Or maybe the even the Ark of the Covenant?

And then the second of the treasures that were taken were “some of the children of Israel,” in particular, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Our children are our national treasure and these young men were Israel’s. I want to see how these four young men, exceptionally “good-looking, wise, knowledgeable and quick to understand, with the abilities to serve and teach language and literature,” reacted when they were first found, tested, and chosen by the marauding Babylonians.

And then—many generations later, I’d like to join the shepherds on the hillside near Bethlehem, hear the Good News from the lips of angels, and, with them, kneel beside Mary to praise God and touch the soft, precious hands that saved me. I want to run with them into Egypt, watch Jesus as he learned carpentry from his dad in Nazareth, and stand beside Him in awe at His first miracle of water into wine at a Cana wedding.

Those were all fun questions to answer! Thanks again for inviting me to share with your Whispers in Purple blog readers, Mrs. Phifer!

My pleasure! Thank you so much, Lexi, for sneaking away to help me out. Though I guess we weren’t as clever as we thought, huh?

  ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~

GNow, about that giveaway mentioned aboveGIVEAWAY CLOSED
The Stonekeepers Cover 2Lexi and Sally are offering to give away TWO copies of THE STONEKEEPERS: one paperback (sorry, Lower 48 states only) AND one eBook copy, (KINDLE version only) to give our International readers a chance to win. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your email information so we can contact you if you win. To keep the ‘bots’ from stealing your email, disguise it. E.G: zippity [at] doodah [dot] com. Easy. Also be sure to tell us where you live (US or other) as there will be two (2) drawings.

Giveaway will run for two weeks, ending Tuesday, July 28, at Midnight Central Time.

Don’t have a Kindle? Amazon offers a free Kindle App you can download for your PC, MAC, or other Android tablet. Just go to:

Extra Incentive: Be sure to check out  the two previous posts about this book: Sneak Peek, and What Floats Sally's Boat? and come back here and mention something from BOTH posts in the comment section and you will receive a second entry in the drawing. Invite a friend to visit and comment, have them mention you sent them. Your friend will get an entry, and you will get a THIRD entry. How ‘bout that?


[bctt tweet="Meet Lexi Christensen, #whispersinpurple #The Stonekeepers by #Sally Chambers #YA #fiction #CR4U @sallychambers2" via="no"]

[bctt tweet="Look out, Lexi's on the loose! #The Stonekeepers by #Sally Chambers @sallychambers2 #fiction #CR4U #whispersinpurple" via="no"]

Sunday, July 12, 2015

When Heroes are Not Heroic: An Inside Look at "Blue Columbine"


Blue Columbine, book one in the Grace Revealing series by Jennifer Rodewald

Welcome, readers! This week we're going behind the scenes of Jennifer Rodewald's new book, Blue Columbine!! Find out why her hero, Andrew Harris, drew such a reaction, and why this "non-heroic" hero makes the perfect star of this beautiful contemporary romance. 

The main character isn’t your typical Christian Fiction hero. What is he like?

Andrew Harris insists on living on his own terms. Angry because of life’s injustices, he is determined that failure will not cross his path again. He is also adamant that he is not an alcoholic. When he reunites with Jamie Carson, finding her to be rooted in the faith they’d grown up with, and every bit as sweet and lovely as he remembered, he is plunged into an emotional whirlwind. Guilt, a longing to be better, frustration that he is not enough, and a rekindled love for his childhood sweetheart all swirl inside with maddening strength. But for all his faults, he is still loyal, supportive, and generous when he wants to be—all qualities that keep Jamie’s attention and devotion. Which keeps their close friendship—edging on more than friendship—complicated, to say the least.

What was the hardest part of writing this story?

This is a tough one, because the greatest difficulty didn’t come during the writing part. The hardest thing was taking in the amount of very strong negative reactions to Andrew as a Christian fiction character during the critiquing stage of the novel. Andrew’s a mess. An alcoholic in denial, angry at life and at God, selfish, and overall just not pretty. I knew that, but I didn’t expect to have vehement reactions insisting that such a character did not belong in Christian fiction. One comment labeled him “unredeemable.” That broke my heart, because as I shared before, God reminded me through this story that no one is beyond the Hand of Grace. I think it’s important that sometimes Christian fiction confirms that truth, even if it means starting with messy characters.

Where did Blue Columbine, the story, come from?

I’m not sure there’s one single, straight shot answer to that. The story unfolded in my mind and I was compelled to write it. I’ve had several years to look back and wonder, “Why this story?” since it first gripped me. Looking at it from hindsight, I think God was pouring truth into me through this book. I was at a point in my life when I was praying for loved ones…and losing hope. I see now that God was teaching me that nothing is beyond His reach. I needed to see that, to believe it again.

What messages/ themes do you hope your readers will get out of this book?

The first is this: NO ONE is beyond redemption. No one. I need to know that, because I love some messy people. God showed me through this book that my prayers do not go unheard, that His hand is more powerful than I give Him credit for, and His time and storyline are not necessarily mine.

And second: Jesus saves. From white lies to powerful addictions, Jesus saves the lost, washes sin completely clean, and offers new life with real hope.

What an amazing message! This book's hero proves that when our characters are not perfectly heroic, that only proves that God is! Thank you for sharing your book with us.
Now for a closer look at this book--and the gorgeous cover that sets the tone!

BLUE COLUMBINE, Book 1 of the Grace Revealing series

Best Friends—maybe more—until addiction shatters everything.

Childhood sweethearts reunite, but Andrew is not the boy he had been, and Jamie hasn’t changed. Their connection, however, outlasts time and offense.

Loyalty, love, and then betrayal….For Jamie, one thing becomes clear: Andy needs a savior, and she cannot be it. Will Andrew allow the hand of grace to redeem his legacy of addiction, or will he and Jamie remain the casualties of heartbreak?

What her readers are saying:

~ “Delicate. Humorous. And plumbing the depths of God's redeeming love.”

~ “This book does not disappoint. Instead it takes you through the emotional upheaval of loving someone with a problem you can't solve--and lets you witness the glory of the One who can.”

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit and excellence. Blessed with a robust curiosity, she loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new.

Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

She would love to hear from you! Please visit her at or connect with her on Facebook. Author Jen Rodewald.

Friday, July 10, 2015


scattered_afterthoughtsHave you ever had a head-thwack moment…or two…or three?

According to the Briggs-Myers test, I am 80% Introvert. (True) That means I do not think well on my feet. Definitely not quick-on-the draw. By that I mean—well, let me explain.

Last night I was guest on a blogtalk radio show, totally extemporaneous. No idea what to expect, and I was a little nervous. No, make that a LOT. This was new territory for me.

Anyway, it turned out to be an interview. I should have expected that. Anticipated that’s what it would be. The host (one of my publishers) asked me about my writing, we talked about my books and the like. Then he asked about a blog post I’d written for their blog. I shared part of it on my own blog: Where do Writers Get Their Ideas? with a link to the complete blog post. If you read it you may be able to understand what happened next.

The whole blog post centered on my people-watching experiences while I lived in Las Vegas where I lived for 33 years. In the interview, I failed to explain how I ended up in Vegas.

Head-thwack #1: I didn’t mention that it was due to a divorce and a longing for warmer, dryer climes.

Head-thwack #2: I failed to mention that at the time of the divorce my three kids were young adults and stayed in Wisconsin.

In my blog article, I mentioned a funny incident one day that involved a red Jaguar with vanity plates that read WAS*HIS that made me laugh out loud, and the fun I had pondering the story behind it.

Head-thwack #3: But did I mention that I used that red Jag in my first indie book? Of course not.

Okay, so we talked a bit more and then he asked me if I watched football. I said yes, that my husband was a fanatical Dallas Cowboys fan,

#4: but I failed to explain that my husband was from Texas. I said that I’d turned ‘traitor’ now that I’m back in Wisconsin after 33 years in Vegas, and am now a Green Bay Packers Cheese-head.

#5: I didn’t say that my husband had passed away and that was why I was back in Wisconsin after those 33 years away and that I was finally living near my kids, grand’s and great-grand’s.

And #6: I closed with a colossal, stupid comment that 33 years is a long time to be away from family. Thinking about all those things I HAD NOT mentioned, when the call ended, the poor man’s head had to have been whirling.

The moral of my sad tale? BE PREPARED…for anything! Or, if you’re an 80% introvert, stay away from telephone interviews!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Where do writers get their ideas?

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE!I was privileged to be asked to write a guest blog post on my publisher’s blog. It is up now for your reading pleasure. My post answers the question above: Where do writers get their ideas?

Here’s the first two paragraphs:

“This is one of the most often asked questions writers get. And the answers can be as varied as there are writers. But the overall core answers are usually a combination of WATCH, LOOK & LISTEN!
I’m not going to shoot you a whole long list of ways to gather ideas. If you’ve ever asked this question, you’ve heard them all. You can go to Google and search for writing prompts and find 12-million sites!”

(I’m just sayin’…the article contains some of MY favorite, fun, was to glean writing ideas.)

You can read the rest at: Helping Hands Press: WATCH, LOOK & LISTEN-Peggy Blann Phifer

I’d love it if you’d click on the link to read the rest of my article, and would be even more grateful if you’d leave a comment. Thanks!

We Have a Winner!

     Many thanks to all who entered the giveaway for Sally Chambers' debut novel, The Stonekeepers. Unfortuntely — there can be only ONE winner.

And tht winner is:


Congraetulations, Lily.

Your email address has been forwarded to Sally. She will be contacting you to set up the details for delivery of your free book. Enjoy the read!

For those whe entered and did not win, BE SURE to come back here on Wednesday, July 15 for another chance. On that day, I'll be interviewing The Stonekeepers main character Lexi Christenson. Don't miss it!

Monday, July 6, 2015

November 28, 1997

DAD-TN 1962

This picture was taken on one of his many business trips. Some of you will recognize the setting. Click to enlarge and you’ll see the date and time. And all that time we thought he was working! Smile

Early in 1997 I was working on building a website in tribute to my parents, trying to collect stories and anecdotes from them. I asked Dad if he would be willing to send me an abbreviated–mostly because of space limitations at the time—autobiography for me to use.

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I loved my daddy. More than that, I adored him. He was my ultimate hero right up to the day he left these earthly bonds. We had a very close father/daughter relationship down through the years, and I am a lot like him in many ways.


Okay, back to Daddy’s autobiography. Below is what he emailed me on the date above:

Dear Peggy,

Preparing an abbreviated autobiography is pretty difficult! I tried to put together some highlights in a condensed form. Since my memory and dates are fallible, I asked Mom to look at my draft and she wants to expand it!

So my purpose is to give you a background from which to extract whatever you want to condense further. The dates are as accurate as Mom can supply.

We were married while I was in Graduate School at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, after going together for several while in college at Oneonta, NY. A year and a half without Alta was long enough, so we became one in Corning, NY just two days after Christmas in 1937.

On January 18, 1939, Peggy was born at Northville, NY…the same home and place where I was born on July 6, 1914.

[With a Master’s Degree in Chemistry] My first job was with American Cyanamid Chemical Company in Stamford, CT, where we built our first home at 145 Ridge Park Avenue.

In Stamford we were active in the Swedish Evangelical Congregational Covenant Church, where we made many wonderful friends. It was in Stamford that Martha was born on April 16, 1941, and Bobby on March 17, 1943.

While living in Stamford, my work evolved into developing a sugar refining process, and working in Meridian, MS; Baton Rouge, LA; Alvarado, CA’ Clewiston, FL; Manatee Cuba, and Chicago, IL Then I accepted a position as Plant Superintendent at Inland Sugar Company, and moved to Milwaukee, Wi, in 1949. There we bought our second home.

In Milwaukee we helped start the first Pilgrim Holiness Church in the state of Wisconsin. One of our favorite pastors there was Dr. O. D. Emery. After the merger with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, or pastor was Rev. Lowell Davis, who is with us here today. [at the time of this writing.]

When the Inland Sugar was sold, I was employed at Allis Chalmers Mfg. Co. for 12 years in Process Engineering. The first project to which I was assigned was the the starting of of a Soybean Plant sold to Spillers Ltd in Cardiff, Wales, during part of 1952/53. Upon returning to the States, I entered the Pyro Processing Division working with Rotary Kiln processing of paper Mill Lime sludge., Florida Phosphate Rock, Limestone and Cement. I had a special experience in the selling of and the starting up of a new limestone process for Dow Chemical Company in Ludington, MI, which involved many tripe on the car ferry across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee and back.

In 1956, responding to an urgent call for help, we moved to Wilson, AR for a period, to serve as Superintendent at a soybean mill at Wilson Soya where the company built us a new house for us to occupy. While there we found a Pilgrim Holiness Church to attend Sunday mornings–60 miles away in Jonesboro, AR. There, at that church, daughter Martha met her husband-to-be, Jerry Payton, one of the Payton twins. Peggy, for the last part of our year there was at Owasso Bible College in Michigan.

At South Shore, KY, Charles Taylor & Sons purchases a special Traveling Gate-Kiln Plant to process making high temperature furnace rock. The success of this process evolved into the sale of a similar plant erected in the Negev in Israel, where Alta and I spent several months there, living in Beersheva and Mitzpe Ramon.

After returning from Israel in 1966, radical change was taking place within Allis Chalmers and I decided to retire, and for several years worked with a friend (Rev, Don R. Good) as house builder and Real Estate Broker in Manitowoc, WI. Back in Milwaukee (1972) my next position was with Globe Union Mfg. as an Environmental Engineer for lead battery plants in 14 different states. After 6 years at Globe Union–now The Johnson Control Co.–I retired and spent some time as Vice President at Ackerlow Industries in Grafton, WI. Following that I worked for a friend for a time in Brandon, MS, before moving to Brooksville, FL in 1980.

We became active in the Brooksville Wesleyan Church where Dr. Jack Adams had become pastor. When a group gathered tor starting a new church in Spring Hill [Florida] we moved there to be part of building it. Our Founding Pastor was Rev. Jim Den, and then Dr. Jack Adams [again] after Jim retired. Soon after that Rev. Wesley Wright was called to be pastor there.

We left Florida to be with our daughter  Martha in Missouri for a few years, but just had to return to Mom’s beloved Florida in June 1995.

Peg here. As I retyped this from the email Dad sent me that day, my mind flashed back through all the years and my heart swells with pride. Daddy was a remarkable man, earning the love and respect of all with whom he connected. Through many of those years and his travels, we frequently traveled with him–except Cuba and his overseas trips—even during school months, some of my most treasured memories. I think Mom was the pioneer homeschooler, taking our lessons with us as we traveled around the country. Smile

For more information about my dad—if you’re interested–visit my two previous posts at: and

Thank you all so much for letting me talk about my dad, whom I loved so much…and still do… and whom I miss so terribly much.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Dad-edgedToday, were he still living, my daddy would be celebrating his 101st birthday. I’ve been going through some old email correspondence between Daddy and me over the years, and came across a copy of his personal testimony. Please allow me to share.

“It was July 6, 1930, my birthday. I was sixteen years ole. My dad, pastor in the church where I was born (we lived upstairs over the church auditorium,) a building in the center of town. The US Post Office was across the street. You might say I was born IN the church.

Every year since I can remember, we went to a camp-meeting called the Victory Grove Camp, held over the 4th of July, so I was always there for my birthday. The camp was located on the main highway connecting Schenectady and Albany, New York. It was a delightful, rustic setting in the woods with several small cottages with just enough room for several beds and a few chairs. The main attraction was the Tabernacle with benches of pine made rom the trees on the property. Camp lasted for ten days, and the best preachers in the country were booked for the speakers and Bible study services. Sawdust and straw covered the ground inside. The other structures were a dining hall and a bookstore.

Since I was brought up in Church and Sunday School (I had a wonderful teacher; he owned a glove factory in our town,) I not only knew the Bible from my mother and father, but my Sunday School as well. And the Plan of Salvation was completely familiar to me. Actually, I was teased and sort of persecuted at school because I was a PK…a Preacher’s kid.

But there came a time when I deliberately chose to go all the way and make a firm commitment to follow the Lord Jesus. And it was on that specific date: July 6, 1930! In the straw and sawdust at the rough wooden altar, with my brother-in-law, Theodore K. Knapp, at my side that it happened…a lifetime decision…and it is still good today, July 6, 1997.

An old song we sang back then tells the story. I use it today to explain that event in my life.


I remember when the Lord spoke to my soul,

I would feel the heavy burden from me roll.

When He spoke the gracious words, “wilt thou be whole?”

Then I settled the question forever.


I no longer walk the ways of sinfulness,

But I daily tread the paths of righteousness.

Since the day the Lord has come my life to bless

I have settled the question forever.


I will choose the holy joys that always last,

And reject sin’s pleasures that will soon be past.

To the treasures of true worth I’m holding fast,

I have settled the question forever.


Others my deny the Lord and live in sin,

But the race that I have entered I must win,

Through the pearly gates I mean to enter in,

I have settled the question forever.



I have settled the question, hallelujah!

I will never turn back from the narrow way.

I am going through with Jesus, hallelujah!

Till I reach the gates of glory some sweet day.

Peg here:

And Daddy gained those Gates of Glory on Sunday, April 7, 2002.

If you will forgive a daughter’s pride, indulge me one more time and come back tomorrow as I share Daddy’s autobiography. To say I loved my dad is a massive understatement.

If you’d like, you can read a previous post I shared that reveals what a true Bible scholar Daddy was. Just go to: 


Friday, July 3, 2015

COTT Presents Sedona Sunset

Welcome, readers! As summer moves into full swing and fireworks can be heard ringing through the skies, we’re still cranking out a steady stream of must-read books! Today we are taking a closer look at one of our recent competitors, Sedona Sunset by Tanya Stowe

About the Book

After an auto accident leaves her crippled and takes her mother’s life, Lara Fallon completes her mother’s dream of opening a school and offering scholarships to promising young artists. Although Lara is struggling with survivor’s guilt, she is thrilled to fulfill one more of her mother’s dreams when she hires Alexander Summers, world-renown Flamenco player and professor of art, to perform at the grand opening of The Fallon School of Art.

But Alex has a secret. He investigates art theft for UNESCO, and when pieces of Chaco pottery suddenly appear on the black market, Alex is certain The Fallon School of Art is a cover for this illegal operation. He’s determined to uncover the link...even if it means romantically pursuing the lovely Lara Fallon.

Alex’s investigation leads him on collision course with Lara’s inner struggle to cope with her mother’s death and her own wavering faith in God. Now, Lara’s school and her heart are in danger. But is her life as well?
Woo! Art! Flamenco! Scandal! What's not to love??

Readers’ Comments

A great story. Wonderful characters. A joy to read.

Lara is a woman coming into her own potential and personal power. She is encouraged to create a new life for herself by a mysterious man hoping to be there when she does. Alex is just as intriguing as Lara with his secrets and double life. The characters were strong and real, both individually and together. I was impressed with how Stowe beautifully handled the budding relationship with passion, but without the need for graphic sex. The Sedona, AZ area has always had a special mystique and it is a perfect location for this tale. Add in a well-thought out mystery and you have one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

I was given this book in return for an honest review and I am very happy to give it high marks. It's a truly well-written story that I can recommend highly. This book makes it to my “save and reread” list.

~Amazon reviewer K. Frost
I loved the characters. Lara is left to finish what her mom started a school for the gifted and being able to offer scholarships to the young artist. Lara hires Alex Summers to help bring in the donations needed for the school. But there is something shady going on at the school and Lara is determined to see what is going on. She is wondering what happened to the 3 missing checks? Who all is involved ? Loved the story and has a romance but done in good taste which Tanya always does. Look forward to what is next. You like mystery with some romance you will want to read this book by Tanya Stowe.

~Amazon reviewer D. L. Montgomery
Ready to dive in? Purchase Sedona Sunset here:




About the author:

Tanya Stowe is a Christian Fiction writer with an unexpected edge. This Pelican Book Group author fills her romances with the unusual…gifts of the spirit in Tender Touch and spiritual warfare in Haunted Hearts. In Never Ending Night she explores the horrors of a Civil War battle and unravels a mystery. Tender Trust treks to the Old West. Leap of Faith brushes wings with an angel and White Christmas wraps romance in the traditions of a small town holiday. No matter where Tanya goes…on a journey through the past or contemporary adventures in new lands…be prepared for the extraordinary.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Repeat Offender – Book Review

When you hear the name Las Vegas, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Elvis? Jerry Lewis? CSI? Long-running shows with BIG names, like Wayne Newton or Celine Dion? Lavish shows with half-naked dancing girls? The Strip with all those fantastic bright lights and flashing marquees?

Yes, there is that, but everyone’s first thought is G.A.M.B.L.I.N.G. Am I right? High-rollers with millions of dollars exchanging hands 24/7.  In his debut novel, Repeat Offender, Det. Bradley Nickell, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police [LVMPD] will introduce you to a different kind of high-roller.


*This is a spoiler free post*

Basic Info: 434 pages, released April 4, 2015, from WildBlue Press. The book has 76 customer reviews, 91% of which are 5 Stars, and the rest have 4 Stars! Impressive. Read on to see what this reviewer thinks.

From the Back Cover:

Las Vegas Police Detective Bradley Nickell brings you the inside scoop of his harrowing investigation to catch the most prolific criminal Las Vegas has ever known. Daimon Monroe looked like an average guy raising a family with his schoolteacher girlfriend, but just below the surface he was an accomplished thief and sex offender with an uncontrollable lust for excess. REPEAT OFFENDER gives an insider’s view of the intense crusade to stop Monroe, set against the bright lights, colorful personalities, and seamy underbelly of America’s Sin City. It’s an epic battle between a driven cop and the remorseless criminal who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted, including a plot to kill his pursuer and others.


My rating: 5 STARS! (5/5)
“Early one evening, I left the Detective Bureau and soon noticed the same compact car had been in my mirror for a few blocks. A silver-colored Toyota, beat-up looking with no front license plate, driven by two Hispanic-looking men. I wasn’t sure if they were following me, but I didn’t want to take a chance. My nerves were shot. I’d been dreading this exact thing for weeks.”

Whoa, how’s that for an attention-grabbing opening paragraph?! It sure pulled me right in. The next paragraph shows that Detective Nickell was prepared for what he expected might happen…with a shotgun across his lap.

Nickell, as the narrator, obviously writing in first person, is, of course, the main character. But master-thief Daimon Monroe is always present in one form or another, along with his partners-in-crime. Monroe is as narcissistic as they come. A man with neither conscience nor remorse. He delighted in thumbing his nose at the law, playing a  ‘Catch me if you can…I’ll deny everything’ game. But the overly self-confident, egotistical Daimon hadn’t counted on the bulldog tenacity of one Las Vegas Police Detective named Bradley Nickell.

REPEAT OFFENDER is a True Crime novel that takes the reader through the years-long–even life-threatening–pursuit to take this habitual criminal down.

I guess, in a way, this could be called a legal thriller. The author takes us step-by-step through his investigation. The long grueling, endless hours spent listening to recorded phone calls from inmates to the outside, for example. These guys know they’re being recorded but they need that outside communication. So they invent a special code when they discuss ‘'’business,’ and it’s up to our detective to decipher them. Along with Det. Nickell, we sit in court rooms listening to testimonies for both defense and prosecution. We read his own testimony when called on. We wait, along with him, biting our nails, for the juries to return with their verdicts. Yes, I used plurals. Our man Daimon, so self-assured, loves litigation.

I like court room scenes. It’s fascinating to me to ‘watch’ each attorney try to one-up the other with their arguments, examination and cross-exam, opening and closing statements.

Would I recommend this book? Oh, yes. We have the privilege of seeing behind the scene police work. Their tenacious pursuit for justice to protect you and me, our loved ones, our neighborhoods, communities, and cities from predators like Daimon Monroe.


IMG_1665About Bradley Nickell:

Out of high school, Bradley Nickell spent almost four years in the United States Air Force, working on the super-secret SR-71 and U2 spy planes. In the last two years of his military service, Bradley also worked as a Reserve Police Officer in Marysville, California.

In 1992, Bradley joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and was promoted to detective in 1999. For the past sixteen years, Bradley has been assigned to the Repeat Offender Program, specializing in identifying, catching, and helping convict career criminals who prey on the citizens of Southern Nevada.

Although still a police detective, Bradley is a credentialed member of the press and has written several law enforcement-themed features for both American COP Magazine and POLICE Magazine.

Bradley has been interviewed on TruTV (formerly Court TV) as a subject matter expert and was a key speaker at the Fifth Annual LeadsOnline ® Law Enforcement Leadership Conference (2012).


What others have to say:
“This will be the ride-along of your life…Fasten your seat belts!” ~Anne Bremmer, attorney and television legal analyst

“If you like mayhem, madness, and suspense, Repeat Offender is the book to read. It’s a provocative journey into a world one rarely uncovers, with shocking twists and turns that will keep you riveted!” ~Aphrodite Jones, New York Times bestselling author

Wednesday, July 1, 2015



One song can spark a moment,

One flower can wake the dream.

One tree can start a forest,

One bird can herald spring.


One smile begins a friendship,

One hand clasp lifts the soul.

One star can guide a ship at sea,

One word can frame the goal.


One vote can change a nation,

One sunbeam lights a room.

One candle wipes out darkness,

One laugh will conquer gloom.

                                                                                                                                     Author Unknown.  “One”