Jo Huddleston writes

Sweet Southern Romances

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Which Book?



Blog posts of book giveaways and interviews with and articles by Christian authors.

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I have a new blog titled Lifelines. Miriam-Webster defines lifelines as something which offers help or support. I hope my posts on Lifelines will offer you help and encouragement when I write about everyday happenings we all meet in one way or another.

I’ll welcome all comments whether you agree or disagree with me. We can agree to disagree and have sensible chats about a post’s topic. I plan to post on Lifelines every Monday and I hope you’ll visit me there. In the right sidebar on that blog you can sign up to follow the blog and never miss when a new post goes up. While there, you can also sign up to receive my newsletter and be eligible for a book giveaway in every issue.

Inspirational thoughts formerly on the website page "My Thoughts" are now on the new blog, Lifelines.



BEYOND I DO
by Jennifer Slattery

Leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Tuesday, September 30, 2014 to be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left sidebar “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I'll add your name a second time in the drawing. U.S. mailing address required to receive a paper book. Read book giveaway details at Disclaimers. Please leave your email address. Winner announced in next Thursday's blog post.


BEYOND I DO by Jennifer Slattery


Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/  Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Slattery/e/B00JKQ4ZTW/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1  Check below Jennifer’s article to learn about her novel, Beyond I Do, and where you can read a 36-page excerpt of the book. Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 


Which Book Stayed With You?

They've been banned, burned, buried, and criticized. They've influenced nations and kings, rulers and peasants. They've helped people trade ignorance for informed action and apathy for passionate direction.

I'm talking about books, and not just the nonfiction variety, though I suppose those are the ones we assume create the greatest influence.

But is that so? Can a story, something read for entertainment, impact a human heart? Motivate positive change? Spur the reader to action?

On Facebook, there's a thread going around encouraging readers to list the top ten books that have stayed with them. If I were to list mine, A River Rising by Athol Dickson would be among my titles.

In this story, the author used the life of one of his characters to show readers what it truly meant to live the gospel message. We share the gospel message quite often, but few of us (myself included) know how (or are willing to) live it out. I believe living out the gospel message means living like Jesus 24/7/365. We quote that a lot, don't we? What would Jesus do? Be His hands and feet...but do we really get what that means? And just how far would those "feet of Jesus" take us? One quote from the novel has stuck with me. On page 165, Hale Poser, the character that demonstrated through his actions what it meant to be a Christ follower, thought, "...he was not accustomed to thinking of himself as an exceptional man. Indeed, he was not accustomed to thinking of himself at all.  And with that realization, suddenly he knew why he had been chosen."

This statement is quite true. Throughout the novel, Hale is focused on two things--the needs of others and showing them Christ. It's made me ask myself a most uncomfortable question: How often do I think of myself? My comfort, my desires, my dreams, my plans? And what would happen--what might God be able to do--if I lay it ALL aside?

Now I ask you that same question. Stop a moment and consider your plans for the day. Have you surrendered your responsibilities and desires to God, asking Him to do as He will? Are you ready to truly be His hands and feet, regardless how inconvenient or time-consuming that may be?

As you go about your day, be alert to all the "I" thoughts that wiggle into your mind. Ask God to show you the extent selfishness has crept into your heart then ask Him to help you flip it.

We are born with a sinful, selfish nature and are very good at looking out for ourselves. The challenge then is to train ourselves to see and focus on the needs of others. Philippians 2:1-11: 1) Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2) then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4) not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  5) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  6) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7) rather, he made himself nothing  by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!  9) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11) and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There's plenty of people serving--and writing--for their own glory. For name recognition, for increased prestige. But God's looking for humble servants so in love with Him and His saving message, they're willing to lay it all aside to be used how-so-ever God wills. I challenge you to make the following song your heartfelt prayer this morning. Ask God to search the deepest recesses in your heart, doing whatever is necessary to remove whatever gets in His way, drawing you ever-closer to His good, pleasing, perfect will. 


Link to the youtube video: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3_2eVynXe8]



Beyond I Do:

Released Sept. 2014

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/beyond_i_do_sample?e=6362996/8842858



Jennifer, thank you for visiting. One of the commenters on this blog will win a copy of your Beyond I Do, which you have offered.



The winner of last Thursday’s blog post for a copy of Hearts in Defiance by Heather Blanton is Maxie. I’ll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time … keep on smiling

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Romance in the Rockies, Book #2




Blog posts of book giveaways and interviews with and articles by Christian authors.

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HEARTS IN DEFIANCE
By Heather Blanton

Leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Tuesday, August 23, 2014 to be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left sidebar “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I'll add your name a second time in the drawing. U.S. mailing address required to receive a paper book. Read book giveaway details at Disclaimers . Please leave your email address. Winner announced in next Thursday's blog post.



Heather Blanton started writing when she was five; her first tale was a ghost story that her mom typed up for her on a Brother typewriter. Over the years, she has worked as a journalist for newspapers, magazines, and blogs. She has also spent decades in the corporate communications field, marketing everything from software to motorcycles. (Did she really just say "decades"?)



Heather has two sisters whom she loves dearly. One is still with us, the other crossed over to be with Lord in 1999 and it is she who inspired the character of Hannah in the Romance in the Rockies trilogy.



Heather grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne Westerns. Her most fond memories are of sitting next to her dad, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester! She loves exploring out West and would happily spend all her time researching and exploring ghost towns till the cows come home. She lives with her husband and two adventurous boys on a farm outside Raleigh, NC. They enjoy riding practically anything with four legs or two wheels.



Welcome, Heather. If you could have dinner with one person from today or history (except Jesus) who would it be?



I know I should give a profound and Biblical answer here, but the truth is I have a “pen pal” and I would like to meet him someday. Mark Richard is one of the executive producers of AMC’s Western show, Hell on Wheels. We “met” when I emailed him, fussing him out about how a Christian character on the show turned homicidal and why was Hollywood always painting Christians as nut jobs? Turned out that not only was he also unhappy with the way the show had ended that season, he is a Believer as well. We’ve been writing ever since and discussing the cultural contributions of Westerns. He has also enthusiastically encouraged me to turn A Lady in Defiance into a screenplay. Maybe one day you’ll see my story on the Hallmark Channel!



Please tell us a little about your novel, Hearts in Defiance, Romance in the Rockies Book 2.



Hearts in Defiance is the sequel to my indie best seller A Lady in Defiance. In my first book, I tell the story of three sisters who come to the bawdy mining town of Defiance and struggle to understand why God would send them to such a mean, debauched place. Now, I turn the tables a bit and focus on the men on whom the sisters, and God, have had an impact. Charles McIntyre built the lawless, mining town of Defiance practically with his bare hands … and without any remorse for the lives he destroyed along the way. Then a glimpse of true love, both earthly and heavenly, changed him. The question is, how much? Naomi Miller is a beautiful, decent woman. She says she loves McIntyre, that God does, too, and the past is behind them. McIntyre struggles, though, to believe he’s worth redeeming. The temptations in Defiance only reinforce his doubts.

Billy Page abandoned Hannah Frink when he discovered she was going to have his baby … and now he can’t live with himself. Or without her. Determined to prove his love, he leaves his family and fortune behind and makes his way to Defiance. Will Hannah take him back? Or is he one man too late?

One man needs to accept God’s forgiveness, the other needs to find it. But in Defiance, the past doesn’t go down without a fight. 



What takeaway value do you want your readers to have?



I wanted to write a story that would show, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, God is waiting to forgive you, but you need to accept His forgiveness. Even after we take it to God, most of us hang onto our sin, letting it slither around us like an evil, constricting vine from the Black Forest. That’s an illusion. Once we’re forgiven, sin is only a thin, brittle piece of wood covered in dead leaves. Accept His forgiveness, raise your arms to heaven, and explode that vine! Rejoice as the dust settles at your feet. You are worthy of His love, you are redeemed, and you are free!



Where can readers find you online?



I love turning readers into friends because I don’t want to talk at people, I want to talk to them! Please feel free to join me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton) and/or twitter (https://twitter.com/heatherfblanton). And if you like stories of real-life heroines, check out my blog at http://ladiesindefiance.com/



Where can readers purchase Hearts in Defiance?






Any parting comment?



Because I have lost loved ones and friends to cancer, and know so many people fighting it now, I am doing a fundraiser with my book from September 27-30. I will be donating 100% of my profits to the American Cancer Society. My hope is one day we’ll read/write cancer out of existence! 



Thanks again, Jo! 



Heather, thank you for this interesting visit with my readers and me. One of the commenters on your post will win a copy of Hearts in Defiance, which you so graciously offered.





The winner of last Thursday’s blog post for a copy of Chapel Springs Revival by Ane Mulligan is Deanna S. I’ll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


I have a new blog titled Lifelines. Miriam-Webster dictionary defines lifelines as something which offers help or support. I hope my posts on Lifelines will offer you help and encouragement when I write about everyday happenings we all meet in one way or another. I’ll welcome all comments whether you agree or disagree with me. We can agree to disagree and have sensible chats about a post’s topic. I plan to post on Lifelines every Monday and I hope you’ll visit me there. In the right sidebar on that blog you can sign up to follow the blog and never miss when a new post goes up. While there you can also sign up to Join my Mailing List then receive my email newsletter and be eligible for a book giveaway in every issue. Inspirational thoughts formerly on the website page "My Thoughts" will now appear on the new blog, Lifelines.



Till next time … keep on smiling.