Monday, December 31, 2012

Short Blog Today


Monday Meditations


Hope all of you are well and having a good  Monday.
I’m in bed with the flu. Maybe by next week I’ll be well.

The winner of  last week’s drawing for a copy of  Cracks in  the Ice by  Deanna Klingel is Karenk.  I will email you.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, December 30, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book shown below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a extra time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways here.

Cracks in the Ice by Deanna Klingel

Deanna lives and writes in the mountains of western North Carolina where she lives with her husband Dave, and golden retriever Buddy. Deanna and Dave raised seven children and now enjoy eleven grands and a new great-grand. She's a member of SCBWI, ACFW, NCWN, and CWG. Her other works include Avery's  Battlefield and Avery's Crossroad, both middle grade award-winning historical fiction, Bread Upon the Water, a YA nonfiction, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, a non-fiction.

JO: Let’s visit with Deanna with some questions. Please tell us a little about yourself.

DEANNA: I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, now. I’ve lived in New York, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, and Raleigh. I started in Michigan, and moved every two years for twenty years, adding children in each new place. We finally settled in Atlanta for nineteen years. We’ve retired now.

JO: What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?

DEANNA: Did you know I have seven children all married, and eleven grands and one great-grand? I’ll bet you don’t know about canine freestyle. It means dancing with your dog. I competed in this sport for several years with two golden retrievers, who recently passed on. Now I have a new retriever, who’s definitely an athlete, but not into dancing. I quilt, sew, knit, read, and play golf; but since taking my writing seriously, I don’t really have time to do any of those things.

JO: Please describe yourself with three words.

DEANNA:  I’m happy, grateful, healthy. 

JO: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

DEANNA: Well, as I said earlier, I like to quilt, sew, knit, read, and play golf. But now when I’m not actually writing, I’m traveling about selling my books.

JO: How did you become involved in writing?

DEANNA: I’ve always been a writer. I never took it seriously until our children were raised and the house got quiet. I won a contest. I haven’t looked back.

JO: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?

DEANNA:  I have a wonderful room. We live in a log house and the loft upstairs is mostly window. I have a built in desk that looks out at a slope of rhododendron. My husband added French doors so I can close out the noise from the TV downstairs.

JO: Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?

DEANNA: Sometimes. But the title usually works itself out of the manuscript.
  
JO: Please tell us about Cracks in the Ice.

DEANNA: Cracks in the Ice is a YA (Young Adult) novel, especially for teens, but crosses over into women’s Christian fiction, published by Write Integrity Press in October. This is the story of Gina, the niece of a mafia don. She has a dream of Olympic stardom as a figure skater. Tragedy interrupts her quest. Without a support system in place, a faith on the back burner, she spirals into lonely despair and alcoholism.  Through a long dark time, Gina is bitter and angry. It is the love of two people who never give up on her that shows her she is still worthwhile, even off the ice; she is still a child of God, still lovable. Returning to the faith of her childhood, Gina is resurrected from despair and restores her family.

JO: What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?

DEANNA: I hope young readers will see the importance of having family support, of being able to talk about their hurts, frustrations, disappointments. How important it can be to have a plan: where will I go, who will I talk to? I hope they can relate to Gina’s discovery that there are other kinds of victories in life, that aren’t gold.

JO: Where did you get the idea for your book?

DEANNA: I haven’t any idea. Book ideas for me sort of grow inside my head. I don’t set out looking for them. They just simmer and bubble, and soon the characters have names and I know them. Then they tell me their story.

JO: Did you have to do any research for this book?

DEANNA: Yes, I did do some research for this book. The story covers a period of about twenty years, 50s, 60s, 70s, during which important things were happening in the ice skating world. I needed to get the historical parts right. I also needed to learn about the ice skating and alcoholism.

JO: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

DEANNA: I started writing as a child, but I never really thought about publishing anything until Avery’s Battlefield, which was published in 2011. While I worked on that, I began another book, nonfiction, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, which was published in October 2010.

JO: What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?

DEANNA: Be open to change. There are dozens of ways to say the same thing. If someone suggests a change, try it, even if it doesn’t at first appeal to you. In the end, it may surprise you. It doesn’t change the story, it only changes the way you’ve said something. Perhaps the change is for the better. Never quit trying.

JO: What are you working on now?

DEANNA: I’m always working on something! I’m marketing the two Avery books, Bread Upon the Water, and I’m just starting to move Cracks in the Ice. I’ve got two other works I’m still trying to get published, and one other being read and considered. I’ve recently done some research at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA, and am ready to begin working on my next middle grade historical fiction.

JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

DEANNA: Learn all you can. Take some classes. Then write. Just write. Rewrite it. Take your time. Let the work rest, forget about it. Then go read it as a reader. Then rewrite it again.

JO: Please tell our readers where they can get your book.

DEANNA: Cracks in the Ice is available through your indie booksellers, on my website, and at Amazon. It is also available as a Kindle eBook.

JO: Please tell our readers where they can find you online.

DEANNA: You can find me on facebook, and my website is www.BooksByDeanna.com. I’d love to have you visit.

JO: Deanna, thanks for spending time with us today. One of my readers will win a copy of Cracks in the Ice that you so graciously offered.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, December  30, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Cracks in the Ice by Deanna Klingel.  Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Presents I Don’t Expect Under the Tree


Monday Devotionals

As soon as they can write, children delight in making out lists of what they want for Christmas. Many times those lists get longer or get changed every day.

We adults make mental lists and drop hints to our “Santa.” Along with the children, we begin to feel the Christmas Spirit as the time draws nearer for opening presents resting under the tree.

We’re quickly lured by the tempting goodies we think we just can’t live without. We make our lists for Christmas—things we’re hoping to find wrapped and underneath the tree.

But many things could appear on our Christmas list that can’t be wrapped. Neither can they be purchased. Indeed, they usually can be no more that a wish.
The list of things that can’t be packaged occupies our minds and is good all year, not just for December.

Have you ever wished TV cable wouldn’t go off in the middle of something good; shots to make us well didn’t come in a needle; we still had service stations instead of self-serve pumps?

Don’t you wish you’d bought stock early on in Coca Cola, IBM, or Levi Strauss; newborns slept through the night;  paper cuts didn’t hurt so much; opportunity would knock more often, or louder; experience wasn’t sometimes the best teacher; all sports were still just a game?

Do you ever wish the arena of politics wasn’t so ruthless; more money than month occurred instead of the opposite; someone would invent windshield wipers for eye glasses; our mistakes weren’t so noticeable?

Don’t you wish light bulbs didn’t burn out right when you turned them on; you could go back and do some things differently; appliances wouldn’t break down two months after their warranty expires; the checkout line you’re in didn’t move the slowest; shoe strings didn’t break?

Have you ever wished Washington would spend all that money like it was theirs instead of ours; someone would turn off the junk mail faucet; you didn’t need a vacation to get rested from the vacation you just took?

On a more serious note, I wish violence would be replaced by kindness; paying health care premiums guaranteed good health; words could adequately express the feeling of love; hearts couldn’t break; it didn’t get dark.

I wish responsibility wasn’t so heavy; the world was really a kinder, gentler place; television programming was more wholesome; good outweighed bad; children didn’t have to be sick; grandparents lived longer.

I wish all good dreams came true.

As we compile our wish lists each Christmas, may we remember the words of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: “The magic message of Christmas is that God gives us so much more than we can possibly give back. He gave the world the greatest gift of all time. ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given (Isaiah 9:6).’”


The winner of last week’s blog post for eBook copies of Cinderella Texas and Bedtime Stories for Believers by Molly Noble Bull is Pxxxam K. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Win a Book - two winners!

 
When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, December 23, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for two winners for an eBook of the two books I review below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You can read details about my book giveaways here.



Texas Cinderella by Molly Noble Bull

Bedtime Stories for Believers by Molly Noble Bull

Molly Noble Bull is a multi-published author. Her long historical novel, Sanctuary, won the 2008 Gayle Wilson award and tied for first place in the 2008 Winter Rose Contest, both for published authors in the inspirational category. Molly is married, the mother of three grown sons, and a grandmother. She was born in Kingsville, Texas, home of the famous King Ranch. Her father and maternal grandfather were real Texas cowboys and managed the Santa Rosa, a sixty thousand acre cattle ranch where Molly spent part of her growing up years. If anybody knows about Texas, cowboys, and ranches—first hand—it's Molly. All three of her grown sons are involved in ranching in Texas today. 


JO: Let's visit Molly Noble Bull with some questions. Molly, tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you.

MOLLY: Christian, wife, mother.



JO: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

MOLLY: I enjoy being with my family and I enjoy reading and studying the Bible, especially Bible Prophecy. I also like really old movies.

JO: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?

MOLLY: I write in a spare bedroom, and I write all my novel, stories, and articles on my computer—no long yellow pads for me. I print copies of everything I write then read and revise off line. 

JO: Please tell us about Cinderella Texas.

MOLLY: Cinderella Texas is what I call a romantic western. Set in Texas in modern times, Cinderella Texas was published by Helping Hand Press on November 11, 2012.

Take a good look at the cover of the book. The house on the cover is very important to the story, which I hope will make readers smile—maybe even laugh.
 

When Alyson Spencer, a citified young woman from Dallas, moves to a huge ranch in South Texas in the middle of nowhere in order to home-school Quatro Greene’s children, sparks fly. Both are Christians and committed to the Lord, but that is about the only thing the two have in common. Quatro means four in Spanish and he is a widower. His real name is Robert Lee Greene IV and he is a real Texas cowboy. Though Quatro and his family are billionaires, they live on very little, insisting that modern conveniences corrupt. The big old ranch house where they all live is without electricity. Alyson doesn’t think she can live without air conditioning, a hair dryer, TV, radio, and a way to recharge her cell phone. In fact, she thinks Quatro and his family are downright strange, especially since the family business offices are full equipped with electricity, air conditioning, computers and other devices. 

JO: Now please tell us about Bedtime Stories for Believers

MOLLY: Bedtime Stories for Believers is a collection of eight short stories I wrote at various times during my writing career. It was published on December 17, 2012. Some of the stories are true. Others are fiction. Some are new while others are reprints. One of the stories, “Getting It Right,” might be familiar to readers. It appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books several times. 

JO: What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading these books?

MOLLY: Some non-Believers have a misconception about what Christians and the Christian life are all about, assuming that Christians are grim people that never say anything amusing or have any fun. I hope Cinderella Texas will cause readers to come to new conclusions—realize that while true Christians follow the Lord and His teachings, they also have fun and enjoy life to the fullest. 

JO: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

MOLLY: I am really telling my age here. I sold For Always, a modern story and my first novel, to Zondervan in 1986. I also sold The Rogue’s Daughter to Zondervan that same year. Rogue was a historical western set in Texas. 

JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

MOLLY: Be patient and never give up. It takes a long time to learn to write a novel and longer still to sell it. 

JO: What are you working on now?

MOLLY: Cinderella Texas was Volume 1 in The Cattlemen Series of western romance novels. I am working on Volume 2. It should be out in early 2013. 

JO: Is there anything else you would like us to know? 

MOLLY: Well, since Cinderella Texas and Bedtime Stories for Believers were published in November and December 2012 and thus very new, I need book reviews for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobe. Those who promise to read one of my books and write a review (even if they don’t like the book) will be at the top of the list when I choose winners of the book contest. 

JO: Please tell our readers where they can get your books.

MOLLY: To find my e-books, write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot at online bookstores like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobe. To order my paperback novels at online or walk-in bookstore, write in my name again—Molly Noble Bull.

You can find my Christian non-fiction articles at the blogs below.


Bustle and Spurs: www.bustlesandspurs.com

Commandment Keepers: www.commandmentkeepers.com


JO: Molly, thanks for this interesting interview and for spending time with my readers. Also, thanks for giving two of my commenters one eBook each of Cinderella Texas and Bedtime Stories for Believers.



Remember: Leave a comment on THIS post by 6 pm CT Sunday, December 23, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for an eBook copy of Texas Cinderella and Bedtime Stories for Believers by Molly Noble Bull. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday's Blog

I apologize for not blogging with you on Monday—my computer quit on Friday Dec 14 and I just got it back from the repairman this afternoon (Dec 19). The winner from last Thursday's blog for a copy of K. Dawn Byrd's novel, Amazing Love, is Veronica. I'll email you. 

I'll TRY to get Thursday's regular blog posted on Friday, Dec 21 if my computer doesn't decide to quit again. Thanks for understanding.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Win a Book!



When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, December 16, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review below. The winner will have a choice of either a paperback or eBook format of the book. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You can read details about my book giveaways here.  





Amazing Love by K. Dawn Byrd



  

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational novels in several genres, including, historical, suspense, romance, and young adult. Some of her favorite things are chocolate, cars, and her pets. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and riding down country roads in the passenger seat of her husband's Corvette Stingray. When asked why she writes, her response is, "For the simple joy of placing words on the page!"





Short Synopsis:

Amazing Love, the modern-day story of Hosea and Gomer from the Bible, speaks of God's unconditional love, mercy, and grace and how much loving someone that much can cost.



Gabe Knight, a pastor in a small coastal town, finds his life is turned upside down when Dee Dillow arrives and hires him to remodel an estate she's inherited from her aunt. Dee dashes his plans for wedded bless when on a drunken binge, she divulges that she's the highest paid call girl in Nevada and part-owner of the ritziest brothel in the state.



Gabe falls in love with her, but can't believe he's hearing the voice of God when a still, small voice tells him to marry her. After much questioning, they marry and he is deliriously happy. Until Dee betrays him.



Gabe soon discovers just how hard it is to have the unconditional love God calls him to have for his wife, the kind of love God has for his children. When faced with losing her, Gabe realizes what true love is, how much it hurts, and just how much God loves and is willing to sacrifice for his children.



JO: Let's visit K. Dawn Byrd with some questions. Dawn, tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you.



DAWN: I have a master's degree in professional counseling from Liberty University. I'm an animal lover. I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs, an African Gray parrot, three ferrets, and several aquariums in my home. I love sour foods. I'd rather have olives, pickles, or dilly beans than something sweet sometimes.



JO: What do you do for fun when not writing?



DAWN: When not writing, I love to read. Romantic suspense or young adult novels are favorites.



JO: Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it.



DAWN: My latest release, Amazing Love, is the modern story of Hosea and Gomer. It was a tough story to write because my heroine suffers severe consequences for her sins, but it was necessary to portray how low we can go and how much God still loves us through it all. I hope readers will take away the fact that no matter what we do God loves us with an unconditional love and is ready to accept us back into His loving arms.



JO: Why do you write?



DAWN: I write because I can't stop. It's more than a hobby, it's a passion. It's the most fun I've ever had in my life!



JO: What are you working on right now?



DAWN: I'm working on a thriller about a serial killer. It's a difficult story because there are several twists and turns and I have to be careful how I write it for everything to fall into place correctly.



JO: What's next for you?



DAWN: I have three releases in 2012, all young adult. Something Beautiful in January. The Hot Line Girl in June. Luck of the Draw in November.



JO: How can readers get in contact with you?



DAWN:



Twitter: kdawnbyrd

Pinterist: kdawnbyrd

Facebook: kdawnbyrd




JO:  Where can we find your book?



DAWN: Purchase links are:









Paperback at publisher's website: http://www.donaldjamesparker.com/sOSProducts.aspx



It will be available soon at Amazon, B&N, CBD, and other places in print and eBook formats.



JO:  Dawn, thank you for an interesting interview. I appreciate the time you spent with us and especially for giving a copy of Amazing Love to one of my readers.





Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, December 16, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Amazing Love by K. Dawn Byrd. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited.  Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

P.S. Oh, I'll be posting a devotional on my Monday blogs for a while. Please visit with me on Mondays.



Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Behold His Glory



"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." --Psalm  19:1 (NIV)


A brand-new Christian at age fifteen, I’d never attended a sunrise church service. Indeed, I’d never seen a sunrise. The Great Smoky Mountains provided me the opportunity.


Our group of sleepy pilgrims met an hour before the sun’s scheduled appearance. In the predawn haze we hiked a short distance down the road before crossing an open field. We left an irregular path of footprints on its dew-bathed grass. The group followed our guide as the terrain steepened.


Making our way up the narrow trail, we reached a clearing on the hilltop. After a short time of devotion, we silently awaited God’s colorful creativity. I’d heard others praise this moment as a unique, transforming adventure. I waited expectantly. I wasn’t disappointed.


God’s paint brush moved with flawless perfection. He streaked the sky with flaming reds to announce the day’s impending arrival. Yellow and orange spilled from His palette and flooded the landscape. The regal fireball peeked above the distant mountain’s outline.


Instantly my worldly concerns vanished and I experienced genuine renewing of the mind. I keenly felt the Lord’s presence and identified with John when he wrote “The word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory.”


I witnessed one of God’s great and glorious miracles of renewal that early morning long ago. Since then I’ve been privileged to enjoy other sunrises from mountains to seashores. But if I’m never blessed with the sight of another one, I won’t feel deprived. The memory of seeing my very first sunrise remains as detailed as if it happened this morning. Recalling that memory draws me closer to God and the knowledge of His omnipresence to sustain me.



The winner of last Thursday's blog post drawing for a copy of Callie's Mountain by Katt Anderson is Maxie. I'll email you to get your mailing address and Katt will get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.