Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Making Research Fun ~ Donna Schlachter ~ Giveaway

Please welcome author Donna Schlachter, sharing some fun facts about research. She is also offering a free copy of her book The Physics of Love. See details below.

I’ve seen the way some authors’ eyes nearly roll up into their heads at the word, “research”. After all, that’s just dry, boring stuff. We’re always told to ‘write what we know’. If we have to research a topic, we aren’t writing what we know.

I used to write what I knew. My first novel was about an accountant, which is what I trained for. Except everybody thinks accountants are boring. So I went looking for an exciting accountant, and I found one in a forensics accountant. No, they don’t count dead bodies — forensics accountants uncover hidden assets for estates, divorces, and the IRS.

My character, Carly Turnquist, uncovers dead bodies — or at least, she gets involved in mysteries and murders, has her life threatened a couple of times, finds some missing money and saves her daughter from doom. All in the first book.

The funny thing was, even while I was writing what I knew — accounting — there were things I didn’t know. Like the details about numbered companies. How to distinguish if someone died from a plunge over a cliff or a knock on the head. How to suffocate someone by plugging up a chimney. How the banking system works in a small town.

When I started writing historical suspense, I needed to do a lot more research. So I found some locations, some topics, and some characters that caught my attention, and wove them into a novel. My first historical suspense included a woman running from her husband, a Pinkerton agent who was working for said husband, a bank manager who embezzled from his bank, and a boarding house lady who I envisioned as looking like Miss Marple. The year is 1882, and the location is Indian Rocks in Florida. Since then I’ve written about the Pony Express, and about a rancher woman in 1940’s Colorado, and wagon trains in the 1860’s, and photographers in 1912.

How did I come up with these details?  My dad was a Pinkerton agent at one time. I worked in the banking industry and had some idea how a manager could finagle a naïve woman on the run into doing his dirty work for him by cooking the books. I have a friend who had a condo in Indian Rocks and the idea of a story set there before tourism took hold caught my attention. The boarding house lady? I love Agatha Christie’s work. For ranching in Colorado, I called the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association to answer a question about ear tags. For wagon trains, I visited the setting in Echo Canyon, Utah, and for photographers in 1912, I took the lazy way out—I went directly to the internet.

A recent release is about a woman looking for love, a boy looking for a family, and the man who found both. It’s loosely based on my father’s life, and set in Newfoundland. I spent a lot of time interviewing my sources, checking old census records, looking at old newspapers, and reading source documents such as diaries and store cash books to get the details straight.

Research doesn’t need to be boring, dry, or dusty, if you select a topic you really enjoy. Work together different parts of stories from different regions and see what you come up with. Take some liberties with locations and eras. Craft a character based on someone who really lived during that time but mix up the details with other characters. And even if you’re writing a contemporary story, don’t be afraid to toss in a few details that you don’t know all the ins and outs about. And then do some research.

About Donna:
Donna lives in Denver with her husband Patrick, who is 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 has published a number of books under her own name and her pen name, Leeann Betts. Donna is a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and online at: www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com and www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com. Her books are available at Amazon.com in digital and print. 

About the Giveaway:
Donna is offering a free copy of her book The Physics of Love to one of the readers of this post, either print (U.S. only, please) or eBook. To enter, just leave your name and contact information in the comment section below. Contest runs for one week, ending Tuesday, November 6, at Midnight CST. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Take a Good Look at the Negatives ~ Michelle De Bruin ~ Devotional

Remember the days of 35 mm cameras that stored images on rolls of film? When the rolls were full, we took them to a store with a lab and had them developed. And always, in the envelope along with the developed photos were these seemingly unimportant dark brown strips of the original film from which the photos were developed, known as the negatives.
In the negatives, shining objects and light looked dark. Sunlight, white teeth, light-colored clothing, and whites of the eyes appeared black on the negatives.
Often we found ourselves wondering what the odd shapes and people were in these dark little squares. By holding the negatives up to a lamp and with the help of the light shining through, we could make out the images of the people or places represented on the film.
Even motion and angles were backward from the actual photo. What was the real picture? Certainly not the negative. Yet, the negative was necessary for developing the image into a photo. Without the negative, you could never have a picture.
Genesis 1:27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image…so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.'” Our will, emotions, creativity, relationships, and our very beings themselves are made to store his image.
We are God’s negatives. Our dark places are where his light shines brightest. Our most difficult and negative circumstances offer the most space for his love to shine through. God sees the total picture. What looks dark to us is light to him. What looks backwards to us might actually be the right direction to God. What seems unnecessary to us might be God’s design for growth and development.
Whether caught in a difficult relationship or a painful situation, take a good look at the negative. God’s light and love just might be shining through somewhere.

While you're here, take a look at Michelle's new book, HOPE FOR TOMORROW, which released just this week! 

When Logan De Witt learns of his father’s sudden death, he returns home to the family’s dairy farm. During his stay, he discovers his mother’s struggle with finances and his younger sister’s struggle with grief. Concern for his family presses Logan to make the difficult decision to leave his career as a pastor and stay on the farm. As a way to make some extra money, he agrees to board the teacher for their local school.

Karen Millerson arrives from Chicago ready to teach high school but her position is eliminated so she accepts the role of country school teacher. Eager to put her family’s ugly past behind her, Karen begins a new career to replace the trust she lost in her own father who had been in ministry when she was a child.

Logan and Karen both sense a call from the Lord to serve him, but neither of them expected that one day they would do it together.

Can Karen learn to trust again? Will Logan lay aside his grief in exchange for God’s purpose for his life?

Purchase links:
·       Barnes and Noble:  

 Author Bio
Michelle De Bruin is a worship leader and spiritual services provider. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two teenage sons. A romantic at heart, Michelle is always looking for glimpses of God’s love through the window of a good story.

Social media links:
·       Michelle's website: https://michelledebruin.com/
·       Michelle on Twitter
:  https://twitter.com/MichelleDAuthor

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Some What-ifs for The Sea Prayers ~ Normandie Fisher

Please welcome guest blogger/author Normandie Fisher with a timely article given today's social condition. 

Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field, moving from proofreader up the ladder to senior editor, honing technical tomes, creative non-fiction, and, later, fiction.

She and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and on through the Panama Canal. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother and, whenever possible, enjoys her two grown children and two grandchildren. She is the author of six novels.

Some What-ifs for The Sea Prayers

 by Normandie Fisher 

Rape has always been a hot-button topic, but in today’s me-too world, it’s front-page stuff. Brutal rape by a stranger would haunt a person forever, but what about a roofie* rape? Would the manner make a difference if a child were conceived?

How would you react? How would I? Pregnant with a child we hadn’t chosen to conceive? Pregnant as a result of an act we hadn’t wanted?

As one who is adamantly pro-life, I’ve been asked to consider various arguments for abortion from the pro-choice folk, including the idea that a woman would never want to carry a rapist’s baby to term.

But what if she did, in spite of the pressure to abort from family? What if keeping the child would change her life forever, forcing her to leave college and take on single-parenthood without support from anyone? What if she were determined never to tell the now-famous singer/rapist that he’d become a father?

What would her emotions be? How would she cope as her daughter grew?

And what if she inherits a house in small-town South, a house she can barely afford, and all her eleven-year-old, bi-racial daughter talks about is wanting to know her daddy? And what if that daddy discovers his child’s existence? What if he wants her to live with him?

What will our heroine do? What will our antagonist do? And what about the child?

Oh, and then there’s the hero, a recovering addict who lives on his sailboat and cooks at the restaurant where our heroine’s a waitress. I’ve worked with addicts and seen the hold a drug can have, so I was interested in discovering the hows and whys of my hero’s life and struggle. What would it take for him to remain sober? What might give him the strength to overcome his past and his choices?

A recurring theme in my stories has to do with choices. We take one fork in the road and it leads to the next. What if we’d chosen any other of those roads? What if Agnes, our heroine, hadn’t accepted that drink from the handsome singer? What if she hadn’t even gone to the club as an underage student? What if she’d stayed in her dorm room that night instead of going out with girls she barely knew?

What would you have done in her place? What would I have done?

And what about the antagonist’s choices? Will he continue to make wrong ones? Is there any power that can change him? I love to write in the head of bad guys, to figure out their motivations and set them in places where their actions have consequences. What makes a person become someone who hurts others? Can he break out of that pattern or will his choices continue to propel him toward destruction?

Grab a copy of The Sea Prayers and take this journey of discovery with me.

Normandie Fischer’s Links:

The Sea Prayers Purchase Links:

*roofie: date rape drug flunitrazepam

Saturday, October 20, 2018

~ Are You Abiding? ~ Sharon Simms ~ Devotional ~ John 15:5

Are you Abiding?

a Devotional from Sharon Simms

     A couple of weeks ago I was out cleaning my yard after an overnight storm with heavy rain and strong winds. branches from Pecan and Oak trees were strewn across the yard and street. Some were broken into pieces. As I picked up the smaller green branches and looked at the larger branches I reflected on the scripture passage above.

     Before the storm, these branches were attached to their life source … the tree. The tree is deeply rooted in the ground and receives water and nutrients to grow the branches and produce the fruit. As long as the branches stay attached to the tree, they produce more and more good fruit. Jesus is our true vine … our tree. We are the branches that must stay attached to Him through prayer, studying the word, listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit within us; so we too can continue to produce more fruit. Fruit of witnessing to others the good news of the gospel and living Holy lives. Yes, storms will come. We will be shaken; but we must hang on to our power source, our strength, our rock and refuge, our salvation. So …
Are you Abiding today?

Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you that no matter what storms come our way we can abide in your presence. You have promised to be our shelter, our refuge. May We be fruitful and faithful witnesses of who you are. In Jesus name, Amen

Monday, October 15, 2018

Seasons of love~ Joan Deppa ~ Giveaway

Seasons of Love

Guest Blog Post by Joan Deppa

About the Author:

Hi, my name is Joan Deppa.  My husband and I have been in church ministry for over 30 years and have counseled many hurting people. I have always loved to read and now write inspirational fiction, sharing God's love, forgiveness, wisdom and ability to change lives yielded to Him in a way that people can relate to.  My hope is that my readers will find true joy, guidance and forgiveness in Christ from their past and present challenges in life. We have four adult children, eleven grandchildren and have lived mostly in the Midwest.  We enjoy seeing all the beauty of God's creation wherever we are.  I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.

Ø   My books are for women who enjoy a fun-read, contemporary and inspirational romance novels. They are available in hardcover, softcover or eBooks and published by Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson/Zondervan Publishing.

Seasons of Love Series:  This series takes place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we lived for 14 years.  It is a 3-part series that highlights some of the special sights and activities that we enjoyed in this beautiful area, with characters that readers can relate to.  But it also brings out how, through Christ, we can deal with the challenges of life, as well as issues from our past that keep us chained to our anger and bitterness, our fears of rejection, and the high expectations that others, as well as we ourselves, place upon us.  The books can be read separately, but are best in the order of the series.

Background of Book 1:  This book was inspired by some of my dad’s past, my family, as well as my husband’s salvation experience and our courtship and wedding.  It introduces you to Bonnie and Brad, to the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the journey to finding true joy and peace in a life that is filled with anger and bitterness from one’s past.

Summary of Whiter than Snow, Seasons of Love #1

Bonnie Turner has recently moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is enamored by its beauty in the winter time.  While enjoying the beauty, Brad Jorgenson “bumps” into her and takes it upon himself to show her the sights and how to enjoy winter in the Upper Peninsula.  But will Bonnie be able to show Brad how to release the anger and bitterness he’s carried since childhood and introduce him to the Creator of the beauty he enjoys?  Can God’s love and forgiveness really make him, “whiter than snow?”  Ps. 51:7 

Reviews by my Readers:

 “Whiter than Snow was written with enough detail to enable me to feel like I was right there with the characters in their emotions and their surroundings in the UP. Brad and Bonnie had to deal with real life struggles that could make or break their relationships. It is a gentle, pleasant read that shows you can overcome your past hurts and build a healthy relationship.”

"Sweet, graceful and engaging, I found Whiter than Snow, by author Joan Deppa, to be an inspirational read with a gorgeous book cover.”

 “Perfect for any snowy day with a cup of warm cocoa! Highly recommend!!”

Also check outSummer Dreams, Seasons of Love #2   A book that shares that when you release your fears, your dreams can come true.

Where to Purchase My Books:
Books may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or my website: www.joandeppa.com.

Social Media sites:
Facebook – JoanDeppa

Twitter - @JoanDeppa

About the Giveaway:
Joan has graciously offered to give away TWO Kindle copies of Summer Dreams, Book 2 in her series. Entering is easy ... Just leave your name AND contact information in the comment section below, and you're in the drawing.
Giveaway Ends one week from today on Monday, October 22, at Midnight, CDT.

Thanks, Joan, for being my guest today. Blessings

Friday, October 12, 2018

What Weere You Thinking? ~ June Foster ~ devotional

What Were You Thinking?

James 4:7 says "Submit yourselves therefore to God." Our choices, our words, our activities, our relationships. (I'm still working on all of this.)
But for me, thoughts are the hardest to surrender to the Lord. The Bible offers help. 

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

I'd like to take each Biblical adjective and flesh it out. What exactly is Paul referring to with each word? A few examples.

True. I had a short conversation with my friend about her opinion of my novel. I mulled her words over until I fumed. I found myself exaggerating what she'd really said. And her words were merely constructive criticism. Don't I always appreciate helpful advice from friends and readers? Fact check: remember what she actually meant and not what I'd conjured up in my mind.

Noble means polite, decent, gracious. Dwelling on my best friend's faults isn't noble.

Right means accurate. Yes, my friend had spoken accurately, not with criticism but with love.

Pure. Purity of thoughts. (I struggle with this one.) Every critical thought about others, every mean-spirited conclusion I make about another, every covetous desire. I ask God to help me not entertain them, but instead fill my mind with wholesome or clean thoughts.

Lovely. Dwell on the beauty of nature. Concentrate on what God sees in another and not their shortcomings.

Admirable. Could be the checkout girl at Wal-Mart isn't very friendly, but she's fast and efficient. Think about her commendable skills.

Excellent. One of my relatives is a gossip, but her home is always organized and clean. Dwell on her ability to keep house.

Praiseworthy. I can't say anything good about some of our politicians, but God is in control. Center on the Lord's goodness.

My mind is a wild horse at times. But if I rein it in and take Philippians 4: 8 to heart, I'll do better.

Now, let's take a look at June's recent release
Back cover blurb:
If there's one thing Nadia Maguire knows, Jon Maguire robbed her of a godly marriage and left her in financial ruin. The night he was killed in an accident, guilt threatened to suffocate her. She wasn't sorry he died.

When Nadia accidentally sits on a stranger's lap in the graveyard where Jon is buried, she's horrified to learn the good-looking guy with salt and pepper hair is her new boss.

Jared Abrams is a widower who longs to move on. He's intrigued by the beautiful woman who puts God first in her life. But as their friendship grows, an unexpected obstacle separates them—his daughter Sarah. No one can replace her mother. Especially not Nadia Maguire whose son harmed her in high school.

If Nadia can't find the funds to get her house ready to sell, she'll have to balance two jobs with no time left to nurture a relationship with the man she loves. Will she and Jared find a Harvest of Blessings or a season of drought?

 About June:
June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. 

She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her contemporary romances. 

June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. Find June at www.junefoster.com.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Blood Moon Redemption ~ Judy DuCharme ~ book Spotlight

 Blood Moon Redemption

by Judy DuCharme

A Book Spotlight

An ancient relic, a puzzling prophesy, a young woman . . . tied together through the ages . . .

"I will pursue you until you pursue me.”

Throughout history, blood moons have always been surrounded by persecution and provision, great trials and triumphs. The first blood moons in 1493-1494 provided a new world for the Jewish people. The second in 1949-1950 gave them Israel, and the third in 1967-1969 presented the Jewish people with Jerusalem. Now, a fourth set of blood moons is on the horizon, and Tassie's mother is certain they will bring about great change.

Tassie, a young Jewish lawyer named for a lost religious relic, has her sights set on her career and love, and she doesn't have time for silly children's stories. Dismissing the blood moons as circumstance, her unbelief threatens to keep her from her destiny. When Tassie finds herself in the center of worldwide turmoil and a terrorist plot, can she accept her family history and fulfill her place in the future of Israel? Or will the country of her heritage finally fall to its many enemies?

Blood Moon Redemption is an end-times thriller that will keep you riveted until the very last moonrise.

Blood Moon Redemption launches October 31, 2018, published by Ambassador International Publishing. It is Judy DuCharme's sixth book.

This is my favorite review for Blood Moon Redemption. Karen Muhling Curzon wrote it:

“I had the privilege to read an advance copy of Judy DuCharme’s newest book, to be released in a few weeks, “Blood Moon Redemption” and - oh, goodness. It’s fiction and uses history, science, politics, and intrigue with a healthy fill of faith and heritage to spin a fascinating story. I didn’t want to stop reading, and I wasn’t ready for it to be over when it was.

“The storyline itself is fascinating, and the characters are easy to keep up with but well-written and believable, not flat or one-dimensional. The main character’s life is dramatically changed thanks to a prophecy - about her - from over 500 years earlier. The story moves back and forth among different eras and generations as it lays out the chain of events. It was great fun, from the science to the history to the reminders of God’s dazzling, infinite and unfailing love. All of it. I recognized some people and thought I recognized others or at least their personalities or histories, that was fun.
“I felt refreshed in my faith and am more eager to share it than ever. There were a few things that this book made me examine a little deeper than I have before, and it shed light on some things that I’d not thought about at all, just never on my radar… Have I used the words “fascinating” and “interesting” too many times?
“I realized again, for the millionth time, that though I’ve been in the church my whole life, others can always offer perspectives that I simply never thought about before and Blood Moon Redemption (need to remind you of the title, you’ll want to read it) was terrific.”

This is one of my endorsements by Dr. Craig von Buseck:

“While the Bible makes it clear that no one knows the hour of Jesus’ return, it also gives us signs of His coming and tells us to be prepared. In “Blood Moon Redemption,” Judy DuCharme weaves together the biblical signs of the coming of Jesus with today’s news headlines to craft a page-turning tale of mystery and suspense. At the same time, she delicately tells the story of a modern-day Jewish family grappling with the question of the Messiah, while interacting with Christians, Muslims, and Jews along the journey. With unexpected turns along the way, this story will surprise and delight, while inviting you to view today’s news headlines in a whole new light.” -- Dr. Craig von Buseck, Editor of Inspiration.org and author of “I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel”

Available for pre-order now at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1620208229

About Judy:
Judy is an award-winning author who lives with her family in Door County, Wisconsin. She wanted to write even as a little girl and began writing short stories and poetry in high-school. While pregnant with her second child, she took a correspondence course on writing, but with two children, her writing went dormant. Soon she was teaching Bible Studies she researched and put together on her own and then returned to college for teacher certification. Judy taught 5th grade for 22 years with a focus on Science. After retirement in 2012, the writing bug (or anointing) took over and has kept her busier than ever.

Her other books are The Cheesehead Devotional Kickoff Edition and The Cheesehead Devotional Hall of Fame Edition (Judy is a ridiculous Packer fan); Society of the L.A.M.B., a futuristic novel where life is detected in the eyes, and if detected, death may be the sentence; Run With the Wind, a historical romance novella about the Florida Cracker Cowboys; and Christmas Ivy, a short sweet story in which an unusual visitation by a young woman's grandparents brings the answer to her family's needs. Judy was also one of 12 winners in the 2014 Guideposts Magazine's Workshop Contest and has had several pieces published in the magazine.

My website: www.judithducharme.com 
Twitter: @PackerJudy
Facebook: Judy DuCharme, Judy DuCharme Author

Thank you, Peg, for inviting me.

My question to readers: Who or what are you pursuing . . . and who or what ... is pursuing you?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Fallible ~ Carole Brown ~ Devotional ~ Giveaway


 A Devotional from Carole Brown

When we pray for those who have
despitefully used and persecuted us,
it is marvelous how soon the soul gets
calm and tender.

Not too long ago, I had a couple who became angry at me for a very stupid reason. I was crushed. Hurt. Troubled. Angry. How could they? After all I'd done for them. After all the love I'd poured out on them.
After all I'd done... Would something bad happen to them because of the way they'd treated me?

I cried and fretted to myself. Talked and whined to my husband. Shed more tears. Why had this happened? God, where are you when I need you? I wanted to scream the words at him.

This went on for several weeks and there was no difference. Nothing. I was sure I couldn't bear it.

But God.

God didn't forsake me. Instead, he was gently strengthening me by teaching me to lean on Him much more than I ever had before.

God talked with me:
·       Learn to lean on me.
·       Draw close to me.
·       Trust me.
·       Be willing and obedient for HIS WILL

Oh, how much I needed these lessons. They didn't happen in an hour, a day, or even a week. But as I slowly accepted God's word to me, I began to feel peace in my heart again. I began to feel forgiveness, and then the peace and tenderness flowed back into my heart.

Are things perfect because of this? No...but better. No apologies, but at least some communication. No, things aren't back to the way they were before, and that's the point. Maybe God doesn't want it to be as before. Maybe, just maybe, He wants it much better.

One thing I know. He has a plan. If I'm obedient to whatever He says, if I pray and forgive, God will give the increase. Whatever that is.

Matthew 6: 14 & 15:  For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [KJV]

Christmas Angels Blurb

Her mother called her a failure, and maybe she was. Her husband was gone—in the service, yes, but if he loved her—really loved her, why didn't he write? Or call? Or send the money she needed?

She was scared too, afraid of being alone, and though she loved this sweet little bundle of joy—her baby—well, was she smart enough and strong enough to raise her? She didn't mind doing without all the nice things she'd love to have, but not being able to provide luxuries like Christmas trees, ornaments and presents for her baby girl was beyond enduring.

What she needed was a miracle...and that wasn't going to happen.

Buy Link:

About Carole:

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?


Carole is giving away one Kindle copy of From the Lake to the River Anthology, in which her Christmas Angels novella is featured. To enter, leave your name and contact information in the comment section below. This giveaway will run for one week from today, ending Friday, October 12, at Midnight, Central Time.

Note: For an EXTRA entry: Answer Carole’s optional question: Have you ever had to forgive someone when you didn't feel like it? How did you get through this?