Thursday, February 28, 2013

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 3, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a signed copy of the book 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 must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.



Scent of Lilacs by Ann Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Words Spoken True, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted. The Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as one of the Top Ten Books in Christian Fiction in 2006 by Booklist magazine.  She lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren.




      The Giver of Hope by Ann H. Gabhart

"It's me, it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer."

Nobody knows the origin of this old African American spiritual, but it became widely known after the song was included in The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), compiled by brothers James Weldon and Rosamond Johnson. I'm not a singer. My husband is the gospel singer, but when I was writing Scent of Lilacs, I made "It's Me Standing in the Need of Prayer" my theme song.

Things hadn't been going well in my writing life. Several years had passed with little or no encouragement. My manuscripts were getting nothing but rejects. After publishing thirteen books, I was no longer finding any loving editors for what I was writing. I kept writing. That's what I do. Write. But I was beginning to doubt I'd ever see another of my books in print. Although I didn't want to quit writing, my sensible side began to poke me with reasonable thoughts about finding a job where I would have a paycheck every week. Maybe it wasn't fair to my family to keep clinging to my dream when I wasn't getting any monetary return on my hours of working. And yes, writing is work. I had to keep assuring myself of that. Just because it was what I'd always wanted to do didn't mean it wasn't work.

Words are a writer's game, so it's only natural for a writer to grab hold of words for inspiration. Perseverance is a very necessary word for writers. I've often been accused of having a stubborn streak. That works to my favor as a writer. Easy or not, successful or not, I was determined to write and determined to believe that my stories would someday find readers even when I hit those dry desert stretches of no success. Discipline stands a writer in good stead.  Talent is wonderful, and inspiration is a gift to be treasured. Still, unless a writer uses that talent and makes the sacrifices necessary to write, neither is going to lead to success. But during this time when I was persevering and continuing to write in the face of no sales, it was hope I needed to keep alive in my writing heart. Without hope that my stories might someday be read, I might have lost my will to write.

Who is the giver of hope? Romans 15:13 says it well. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

So in the midst of my season of rejections for my writing, I decided to write one more story. I decided that if no editor was going to like what I wrote, I would at least write a book I enjoyed writing. I wouldn't worry about writing for the market. I would attempt to follow the age old writing advice and write what I knew. What I knew was small towns and country life. I picked the 1960s since I came of age during that decade and then found a character named Jocie whose father was a preacher in need of a church. I gave Jocie a crazy old Aunt Love who quoted Scripture to keep her in line and a wonderful grandfatherly-type friend who claimed to be from Jupiter, the planet not the town. I wrote their Hollyhill story and uncovered some of their secrets along the way.

And I sang "It's me, it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer," for my writing, for my story, for me. The Lord heard that prayer. My original title was The Smell of Lilacs, later changed to Scent of Lilacs. My agent, at the time, was more familiar with general market publishers than with Christian publishers, but she decided to pitch my story about a preacher and his family to the Christian market. She just happened to pick an editor who loved lilacs. The title attracted that editor enough to give the book a read even though I was an unknown writer to her.  

That's how, hanging on to hope with the perseverance of a determined writer, I came into the Christian market with Scent of Lilacs. Two more books set in my little town came later and now make up the Heart of Hollyhill series. All are being re-released in the next year with new covers and hope for new readers.

"To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing."

May hope always be alive in your heart.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 3, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a signed copy of Scent of Lilacs by Ann Gabhart. 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 … keeping on smiling.

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Up To You


Monday Meditation

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
 – Genesis 6:8

My young son understood about the safety of wearing his seat belt when riding in a car but all his urgings couldn’t convince his grandmother to buckle up. Frustrated, he’d say, “Granny, if you want to die, then don’t buckle up—it’s up to you!”

Back in Genesis, God probably felt similar frustration toward the human race because of their extreme wickedness. Despite having every chance to live by God’s commands, humans chose to gratify the desires of their sinful natures. Finally, God’s period of urging was over.

Even when God decided to destroy the wicked, hope remained. Noah’s godly living pleased God. Through this righteous man, God gave humankind another chance for survival.

Just as my son couldn’t make his grandmother wear her seat belt, God won’t force us to live a life pleasing to Him. But if we choose godly living, we will find favor with God as Noah did. It’s up to us. And then we’ll learn the wisdom of obeying God.


The 5 winners of last Thursday's blog post for copies of my debut novel, That Summer is jrs362, Deanna, Judy, Ann, and Veronica. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the books out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways. 

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Win a Book!



You and I probably have never met. Yet, because you read my blog posts I think you may be a little like me:

CONSIDERATE—You consider others’ feelings, not just your own. You wouldn’t knowingly hurt someone’s feelings. You probably have strong feelings about child abuse and mistreating innocent pets.

SENSITIVE—You sense others’ problems. You notice if a friend is worrying about something and you’re willing to help them any way you can.

POSITIVE—Oh, I hope you are a positive thinker. I believe positive thinkers have a better chance at happiness. I said chance. I’m not promising a bed of roses if you think positively. But it sure doesn’t hurt to try.

HOPEFUL—As my blog heading above says, I try to scatter hope as I go along my journey. I hope you try to do the same.

ENTHUSIASTIC—When Jesus was rounding up his apostles, we’re told in the Bible that the men didn’t stop to ponder or wonder if they should, they just dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus. They were glad to follow Him. They became enthusiastic about Jesus’ cause. I try to show my enthusiasm.

SENSE OF HUMOR—Yes, I love to laugh. I enjoy others’ laughter. I like good clean jokes (and I have one in each of my newsletters). We’d do well to lighten up on our journey through this life. All work and no play …….

PATIENT—This is one I work every day to improve. No matter what you do, some days try your patience to the point of losing it. I have times like that but I try to be quick to recognize it and to ask God to forgive me and help me in the future.

Well, in how many of the above are we alike? You may be wondering what kind of Thursday blog this is and just what my point is. Well, you and I may have similar traits that cause us to look at things somewhat alike.

In my writing anyone can probably find most of the above. I promise you that in my debut novel, That Summer, you’ll find all the good traits listed above. The opposite of the things listed above are also in my novel. Nobody is all good or all bad all of the time. I encourage you to read That Summer and find out which of my characters you like and which you don’t like. And maybe those you may start out not liking will become likable and vice versa.

If you haven’t read my novel yet and would be willing to be an influencer for it, please let me know in a comment below and I’ll include your name in a drawing for five winners of a free paperback copy. What is an influencer? That’s someone who reads and enjoys a book and is willing to post a 2-3 sentence review of the book on the book’s page at online bookstores, specifically Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and CBD.com.

In your reviews never give away the end of the book (in reviews of That Summer—don't give away the endings of Part I and Part II). Since my novel is a new release, please put up your reviews soon after you finish reading the book. If you are an influencer, read the book, and don’t enjoy it you need not do anything.

Those of you who have already read That Summer and enjoyed it, I’d appreciate it if you’d write a short review and post it on the book’s page at online bookstores.

So there you have it—this strange Thursday post. Please let me hear from you in the comment section below. I will draw five winners from the names of you who comment saying you would be willing to be an influencer for That Summer. Thank you for being willing to do that.


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 24, 2013 stating you'll be an influencer for my debut novel, That Summer I will include your name in a drawing for 5 winners of a paperback copy of That Summer. 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 must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that I can get in touch with you should you be one of the five winners. I will announce the winners on Monday's blog post. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.      

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Not Guilty!


Monday Meditation


“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Romans 4:3 (NIV)

Have you ever rushed to work, still half asleep, to push your time card into the clock or scoot behind your desk? You’re out of breath but relieved you made it on time. You’ll get your hours in today and receive full pay for the shift.

It’s reassuring to know you’ll collect wages for the number of hours worked. But how much more pleasing is the bonus check that comes not as something earned by hours of work but as a gift from an appreciative employer! That’s the way it is with righteousness from God through Jesus Christ. Unlike a paycheck, righteousness cannot be earned. Instead, it’s more like that bonus pay—God’s free gift.

Because of our faith, God declares us righteous, free from sin. This “not guilty” verdict is for all who have faith in God through Christ.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a gift card to purchase an eBook copy of Something Beautiful by K. Dawn Byrd is Patricia. I'll let Dawn know who the winner is and she will be in touch with you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 17, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a gift card to purchase an eBook copy of the book below. If you're the winner, you will have your choice of the eBook in the format for either Kindle or Nook. 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 must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.  


Something Beautiful 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, sports 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!"


Tell us a little more about yourself , with three things not many people know
about you.

a)     I have a masters degree in professional counseling from Liberty University.
b)    I'm an animal lover. I have two hairless Chinese Crested dogs, an African Gray parrot, three ferrets, and several aquariums in my home, and somehow recently my niece ended up with a tiny fancy mouse who has found a home at my house.
c)     I love sour foods. I'd rather have olives, pickles, or dilly beans than something sweet sometimes.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?

I fill out character sketches in order to get to know my characters better. I ask myself what their goals are, what motivates them, and what's keeping them from reaching their goals. Sometimes, I start by writing a synopsis. This gives me information about the plot as it develops. I usually have a pretty strong plot before I actually begin the story.

What are you working on right now?

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.

What's next for you?

I have three releases in 2013, all young adult. Something Beautiful in January. The Hot Line Girl in June. Luck of the Draw in November.

What is your personal definition of success?

My personal definition of success has nothing to do with money. To me, a successful person is one who is happy and enjoys life.

How can readers get in contact with you?

Twitter: kdawnbyrd
Pinterist: kdawnbyrd
Facebook: kdawnbyrd

Purchase links for Something Beautiful:

AmazonBarnes and NobleCBD, and other eBook outlets.


Dawn’s latest release is Something Beautiful, which is how she would describe the romance between her hero and heroine. Dawn says readers who enjoy Christian romance should enjoy this book.

Here is some additional information about Something Beautiful:

Lauren Milton discovers SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL in the arms of Antony Marcos, a Hispanic bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, who saves her from a gang that accosts her on campus. She can't help herself even though no one approves of their relationship and Antony is rumored to have gang connections.

Lauren Milton has always followed the rules, but when she meets Antony Marcos, she discovers just how much fun it is to do her own thing. When Antony, the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, professes his love for her, her life is complete. He's her soul mate, but when she finds that he's harboring secrets, can she forgive him?

Antony is terrified that his secrets will destroy their relationship when Lauren finds out the truth. Does he tell the truth and face losing her or continue his activities, possibly placing her in danger? Can they make things work even though her family and friends are against him?

Lauren has PTSD from the car accident that killed her boyfriend and her mother. Can she face her greatest fears while risking everything for the guy she loves? Can they overcome the obstacles facing them to find their happily ever after?


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 17, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a gift card to purchase an eBook copy of Something Beautiful by K. Dawn Byrd. If you're the winner, you will have your choice of the eBook formatted for either Kindle or Nook. 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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winners!


Pam Hillman and I communicated and drew 5 winners. All Pam needs is winner's email address AND version of eBook they want: Kindle or Nook. Winners must let Pam know before 2/16. The book is on sale for $1.99 until February 16th!

The winners of Claiming Mariah are:
deiselbuffs|at|yahoo|dot|ca (this was typed ca; if not good, try com)

Winners, before 2/16 please email Pam Hillman at phillman|at|netdoor|dot|com and let her know whether your preference of the eBook is for Kindle or for Nook.

Follow the Leader


Monday Meditations


I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
John 10:14, NIV

“Let’s play ‘Follow the Leader’ and I’m the leader!”

I watched as smiling neighborhood children hurried to line up behind Emily. She had called the game first, appointing herself leader.

Whatever the game, Emily usually emerged as leader, other children content to comply. They seemed happy to follow her leadership without question.

Peter speaks for the apostles when he tells Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!” (Matthew 19:27). The tax collector Levi obeyed Jesus’ command; he “left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:28)

Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up His cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior we will display this follow-the-leader attitude.

In the parable of the shepherd and his flock (John 10:1-16), Jesus teaches that sheep follow their shepherd “because they know his voice.” He says sheep won’t follow a stranger; rather they will run away because they don’t know his voice. Without a shepherd, sheep will fall into disarray, scattered about. (Mark 14:27).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He says, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (John 10:14) Christians know Jesus Christ as the genuine shepherd whose direction they follow. A committed Christian won’t follow the wrong leader.


Pam Hillman and I couldn't connect last night to get the winner(s) of last Thursday's blog. Whenever I can touch bases with Pam I'll publish an extra blog this week to let you know the winner(s).

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Win an eBook!


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 10, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for an eBook copy of the book 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 must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways on my Disclaimers page.


Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman



Pam Hillman is our guest today. She was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of! Claiming Mariah is her second novel. Pam Hillman.

If we get five or more comments on this blog post I will pick a winner using Random.org and Pam will give the winner an eBook of Claiming Mariah .


About Claiming Mariah:

In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Fredrick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.



Links to Claiming Mariah:


 To celebrate the release of Claiming Mariah, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.

Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’
Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.
This week’s giveaway:


PREVIOUS STOP ON TOUR:
February 6th: Blogging with Diana Brandmeyer

NEXT STOP ON TOUR:
February 8th: Blogging with Liz Tolsma



www.pamhillman.com


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 10, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman. 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.



Monday, February 4, 2013

Choosing to Forget




Monday Meditations

"I will be merciful to their own righteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrew 8:12).


Scrapbooks usually contain no tokens of bad memories; we save only good mementos. In a thick book with sturdy, blank pages, we collect a lifetime of pleasant keepsakes. Later we’ll drag out the old scrapbook and delightfully relive our good times through its pages.

Sometimes, however, when we mentally review our life, we dwell on regret and self-reproach. In our mind we’ve filled volumes with past sins. Beyond yellowing photos and newspaper clippings in a tattered scrapbook, our mind’s eye recalls the ugly grievances we try in vain to forget: rebellion, disobedience, and bargaining we slung in God's face and our lack of praise, thanksgiving, and faithfulness toward him. If we have repented and been forgiven for these and other sins, we create guilt when we choose to remember them.

God says when He forgives us for sinning, He also forgets our sin (Hebrew 8:12; 10:17). He separates us from our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Why can't we be as kind toward ourselves?

We build scrapbooks like God treats sin: we keep only good memories. With God's help we can live in the same manner. We can release our forgiven sins and forget them. God has.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot is Abbi. 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.