Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Book Review--Sincerely Yours by J. Kirkpatrick, A. Cabot, L. A. Eakes, and A. Shorey

I love anthologies like this one with four novellas by four different authors with various locations and subjects. The four stories in Sincerely Yours range from early 19th century to early 20th, and we get to vicariously travel on a steamboat, ride (and even paint) a merry-go-round, pose as a writer, and go on a secret mission, all from our chair or bed.

The earliest novella by Laurie Alice Eakes is entitled "Moonlight Promise." I promise this steamboat ride is not at all what our heroine expected. Or the hero.

The next story, "Lessons in Love," by Ann Shorey, involves an author who is keeping a secret from her editor. Her piano instructor agrees to help her keep her secret for awhile, leading to a developing relationship neither thinks will work. Can they learn the lesson God has for them?

What is the "One Little Word" the heroine in Amanda Cabot's story is waiting to hear? It may surprise you! Besides the love story, this novella showcases scads of information about merry-go-rounds in a fun, entertaining way.

Jane Kirkpatrick is a master writer of many books. I am so glad she shares her skills with us in this novella collection so many new readers can enjoy her story "A Saving Grace" and check out her other well-written books.

I highly suggest you read these four stories about the four letters that set our heroines on their journey of love. You won't be disappointed you went along for the ride.

This book is the first novella collection by Revell, but I hope it won't be the last. Revell sent me the book to review, but these thoughts were not influenced in any way by the gift.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Debut Author Ane Mulligan about her characters for Chapel Springs Revival

I am so happy to welcome my long-time friend Ane Mulligan to my blog again today to celebrate her debut novel, Chapel Springs Revival, hot off the presses. 

First, a little about Ane!

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Thank you, Rose, for letting me come talk to your readers. If y’all don’t know, it was Rose who pinned my brand on me, and I’ll be forever grateful. Southern-fried Fiction is exactly what I write!

And today, I want to introduce you to Claire and Patsy. Best friends since kindergarten, they're not quite Lucy and Ethel, but they tend to stumble into trouble and catastrophe. Bighearted and loyal friends, these two lead readers on a romp through miscommunication in marriage.

Years ago, I overheard a gal say she married before learning God had a husband chosen for her, so she was going to divorce hers and find the perfect one. I pulled her aside for a "Titus 2:4" moment, then logged that incident in my mind for further exploration.

A few years later, God reminded me of that conversation. I thought what if a woman in her late forties found her marriage is ho-hum? When she became a Christian, she thought life and her marriage would be included in the new creation part. But her thighs are just as big, her husband just as ornery, and he still won't go to church with her. Toss in a BFF whose husband had grown non-communicative and was never home, and I had the foundation for a story.

I ran with it.

From God's nudge and that first "what-if," Claire Bennett, Patsy Kowalski, and the small village of Chapel Springs were born. Along with a supporting cast of funny, quirky characters. I even created a map of Chapel Springs.

Claire is tired of being nothing more than a sheet-changer, a towel-folder, a pancake-flipper. She resolves to emulate her Great Aunt Lola, who refused to be slighted by any man. Why, the first morning Aunt Lola's husband forgot to kiss her goodbye, she packed her bags, went off to Hollywood, and became a big star in silent films. Would Claire really do what Great Aunt Lola did?

When Patsy's nest became empty, she thought her husband would retire and they could finally do some travelling, but he hasn't mentioned slowing down. In fact, he's not talking much at all. When he starts coming home well after she's in bed, she becomes convinced he's having an affair. With Claire's help, Patsy's determined to catch him with the trollop who's trying to break up their once happy home.

As I worked on the plotting and backstory for Claire and Patsy, I saw the same things I'd heard the young women say at church: Patsy focusing on what her husband did wrong, and Claire is trying to find Mr. God-Ordained-Right.

Now, Claire has a tendency to be judgmental. She blurts out exactly what she thinks. She also moves before she thinks, which leads to a number of catastrophes. Patsy tries to hide her troubles; pretend they don't exist and they'll go away. Only it never works.

While Claire is eyeballing and discarding every man she sees, she and Patsy are determined to revive their marriages. At the same time, Chapel Springs could do with some reviving. The town has grown shabby and the tourist trade has declined. Complicating matters are a pair of curmudgeons, the mayor and his cohort, who would prefer to see the town stuck in the fifties and closed to outsiders.

I had so much fun with these characters. Claire is funny, a loyal friend, and someone I love spending time with. Besides, every time she turns around, she's in some kind of trouble. It's a blast just following her. And everyone needs a friend like Patsy, someone who has your back.

I’ve completed the sequel called Chapel Springs Survival. Can Claire and Patsy, and the town, survive their revival? That story grew out of something our son did. While it turned out to be wonderful in his life, the manner in which he revealed it called for Mama's retaliation. It went into a book (insert evil laughter).

It's my hope that through humor, readers will see God's hand in their choice of a husband. God is a faithful keeper of little girls' dreams for a knight in shining armor.


With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.

With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

 Rose again! Hope you want to read this book as much as I do after reading this article and blurb! Just click on the link above and it will take you to Amazon!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Guest Blog by Jennifer Johnson "Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?"


Bio

JENNIFER JOHNSON and the world's most supportive redhead are happily married and raising the three cutest girls on the planet. Jennifer is a 6th grade language arts teacher in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. (Pray for her.) She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Jennifer loves to read, write, and teach. She also likes to shop with her daughters- much to her husband’s chagrin. Blessed beyond measure by her heavenly Father, Jennifer hopes to always think like a child - bigger than she can imagine and with complete faith. You can reach her at jenwrites4god@bellsouth.net or check out her website at www.jennifercollinsjohnson.com.

Blurb

How many of you believe in love at first sight? When you read about it in a book or watch it on a movie, do you think, “please, that never happens.” Guess what, it does!

The year was 1988. I was cheering in the very first football game in a brand new school. I thought I knew pretty much everyone. I mean, I’d gone to middle school and high school with my classmates. The only reason for the new school was overpopulation at the old one. Essentially, they just split us all up.

Well, like I said, I was cheering for my brand new team. Boy, I loved cheerleading. I was giving it all I had when suddenly one of our football players was hit in the back after the whistle. Our guy gets the breath knocked out of him, but he stands up, walks to the bench and kinda plops down on the side of it. He takes his helmet off, and I notice his red hair.

“Who’s that?” I asked one of my cheerleader friends.

“Albert Johnson.”

There was something about him. I don’t know how to explain it. I didn’t even get a good look at his face. I just knew and even said, “I’m going to marry him.”

And you guessed it, I did. Poor guy didn’t stand a chance. He and I had the same Spanish class. I’d send him little notes with footballs and pom poms drawn on them telling him what a great game he’d had. (He was our amazing quarterback.) It took a couple weeks, but he finally found out who the chick was sending him all those goofy letters. I found out later he thought I was a bit immature, but that I’d probably be fun to be around, so he asked me on a date.

I was crazy about him. C-R-A-Z-Y!

Twenty-three years of marriage later…I still am. I suppose we’ve both gained a few pounds. He’s lost a little hair. We’ve birthed and almost finished raising three girls. He put me through college and sent me to writing conferences. Our relationship started with me being his cheerleader. In life, he’s been mine.

Do I believe in love at first sight? Does it last? Well, I’d have to say I do, and it does. Of course, there is one key ingredient. Can you guess it? Jesus! He’s the key. Jesus!





Another winner and Another Giveaway book for this month--A Suspicion of Strawberries by Lynette Sowell

The winner of Ann Gabhart's Love Comes Home book is Barbara G. Ann will be mailing it to her as soon as she receives her mailing address.

And the book I am giving away this month is A Suspicion of Strawberries by Lynette Sowell, another friend of mine. Here is part of the back cover blurb to pique your interest!

"When Charlie Rae Thacker and her bridesmaids show up at Andi's soap shop in Tennessee for a  morning of pre-wedding pampering, Andi bends over backwards to make it a pleasant experience for them all. but then Charla keels over and dies...after she uses Andi's personally blended cherries jubilee facial scrub..."

Sounds like an exciting cozy mystery! Be sure to leave a comment this month along with your email address so I can contact you. Every one with a US mailing addy is eligible. Drawing to be held on October 1st.

Monday, September 01, 2014

And the two winners for August are...

This was a good month for my blog. I posted 4 times plus a guest blog by Ann Gabhart for a total of 5 blogposts, which is more than usual, and Ann had 30 comments which is a lot more than usual, too!

So we have two winners to announce today. Karen K won Jennifer Johnson's book A Love Discovered, and the winner of Ann's giveaway of Love Comes Home will be announced as soon as I hear from Ann, so I will post it soon. Thanks for all the visits and comments!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Guest Blog and giveaway by Ann H. Gabhart


Readers, please read all the way through to find out how to win a copy of the book Love Comes Home by responding to Ann's question or leaving another comment with your email address so we can contact the winner. U.S. mailing addresses only. Drawing to be held on September 1st.
Writing Through It All
By Ann H. Gabhart

From the time I was old enough to read, I’ve wanted to be a writer.  So at about the age of ten, I picked up a pen and began writing my first novel. It was a mystery starring me, or at least the me I wished I was. Cute and smart and able to catch bad guys. Writing those chapters was probably the most fun I’ve had writing. No deadlines. No editors to please. No worries about readers liking my story. The only readers were my indulgent family members. My biggest worry was using up all the eraser before I ran out of pencil.

Then, with a few more years under my belt, I began to dream of being published, one of those writers who actually got paid for their words. So, while writing was still a dream, it also became a job. Not one with any regular paychecks, to be sure. Still, the occasional checks for this or that bit of writing encouraged me to keep going until at last, in 1978, my dream of having a published novel came true. I saw my book, my very own imagined story, on bookstore shelves. You might think having a book published would make the publication road easier to travel, but that didn’t happen for me. Through my writing years, I’ve bounced through plenty of potholes along my writing road, but I kept writing. More books were published even though I had to re-invent myself as a writer a couple of times in order to adjust with the market.

After having thirteen books published, a few years went by where nothing I wrote found any loving editors. So since I was struggling to hit market trends, I forgot about markets and editors and wrote the story I wanted to write. That book, Scent of Lilacs, about a preacher and his family opened the door to the Christian fiction market. (By the way, Scent of Lilacs, is a free download right now if you like reading e-books.) This time, since perhaps I had finally found the genre that best fits my storytelling style, my publication road did become smoother. For the first time in my long writing career, I had contracts for future books. That meant I had deadlines for getting the story ideas I’d pitched to my editor actually written, chapter after chapter, from the beginning through the middle to the end. I was in writer heaven. I didn’t mind deadlines. Deadlines were good because that meant somebody, that loving editor, was waiting for me to get a book written with the promise of publication if I could tell the story I had proposed. It had taken me a lot of years to get in that position, but I liked finally being able to say I was a writer with a certain confidence.

But isn’t it the way, that just when you think things are going smooth, life throws you a curve or two? My mother began to have declining health when she reached her late eighties. At first, it wasn’t too noticeable. Just little things. But then it became obvious she was suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. She could no long stay alone but needed 24/7 care. I have two sisters and my mother had resources. So we hired a couple of caretakers and split up the rest of the hours. Then both my sisters lost their husbands, one to cancer and the other to congestive heart failure. We had to fire one of the caretakers, but the Lord brought two other wonderful women with caring hearts to help care for Mom. One of my sisters was unable to handle the way dementia was stealing our mother’s mind and also had health problems that kept her from sitting with Mom. So, the other sister and I filled in the hours. It was like having a full time job. But I still had my deadlines too. I didn’t want to give up writing at this point in my life when I finally had achieved a small measure of success. So I found time to write.


At first I could do some writing while I sat with Mom, but as she steadily declined and became more agitated, I could only fire up my computer if she happened to fall asleep. As I was generally there in the afternoon when sundowner’s came into play, that didn’t happen often. Those deadlines loomed as the days slid past without enough hours. All my life, I’ve been one of those people who think they can do it all. Cook, clean, keep the grandkids, garden, write, take care of whoever needs taking care of. I found out that wasn’t true. I wasn’t Superwoman. One year, my beautiful, loving daughter came home and stayed a week with Mom in my place to let me finish one of my books. Other times, my editor gave me deadline extensions.

But my daughter couldn’t come to the rescue at every deadline crunch. My editor had to meet deadlines herself so couldn’t extend my deadline forever. So, as each new deadline neared with not enough words written, I had to figure out priorities. I had to take care of Mom. No choice there. I had to cook meals for my husband. No choice there. I had to have time for the grandbabies because grandkids grow up so fast and they are too wonderful a blessing to not take time to enjoy them. But I also had to write. Sleep, optional. Dust didn’t matter. Spot cleaning works on floors. I did keep canning beans and freezing other vegetables from the garden, but thankfully that was usually in the summer after I met my deadlines which generally fell in July. I had a new deadline but in July the next July seems far away.

My mother moved on up to heaven this summer right after I met one of those July deadlines. With her resources running low after more than three years of hiring part time caretakers–there are a lot of hours in a week–we finally moved her to a memory care home. She adjusted well, but steadily declined during the six months she was there. She was ready to go home. She had wanted to go “home” to see her mother and father for years. But I miss her. It was hard giving up her care when she moved into the facility. It was hard giving her up when she died.

I’m still thankful for deadlines. I’m still thankful that I’m able to live my dream of writing stories that find a way into reader’s hands. But I do know that writing is not just a dream. It’s hard work and life happens to sometimes make that work even more difficult. 

Without challenges, we don’t get stronger. And without life happening to us, maybe we wouldn’t be able to write about life happening to our characters. While all my Rosey Corner books are about family and life happening, Love Comes Home perhaps focuses around how the unexpected in life can change what we do and how we feel even more than the other two Rosey Corner  stories, Angel Sister and Small Town Girl. My characters face challenges. Good things happen. Bad things happen as they do in every life. But what stays constant with my Rosey Corner characters is how they trust God and depend on their family for support.

My journey with Mother was that way too. I had to lean on family and trust God to give me the strength for the journey. In Philippians 4:13, Paul says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That verse often came to mind when I was staying with Mom and wondering how I would make it through some of the hard days. The Lord answered my prayers and helped Mom be calmer and helped me be stronger. And who knows? Maybe the hard journey made my stories stronger too.

Thank you for reading. I know many of you have walked similar caretaking roads with your loved ones. How did you find strength for the journey?

Bio:
ANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. She keeps her keyboard warm on a farm in Kentucky. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann’s books visit www.annhgabhart.com. Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com or join her on Facebook. www.facebook.com/anngabhart

Friday, August 15, 2014

Scenes from Shakertown visit with Ann H. Gabhart

In preparation for Ann H. Gabhart's guest blog and giveaway next Monday I wanted to post some pics we took in June when our Book Club from Unity Christian Church took a guided tour with Ann. We have all read and loved many of her books, both those set in Shakertown and other places.

We were late arriving because the road out of Lexington to Harrodsburg was closed for repair, so we had to take the LOOOONG way around, but the trip was fun and well worth the extra drive!

Hope you enjoy the pictures, and hope you will stop by again next Monday, August 25th for Ann's guestblog and giveaway!

We first ate lunch with Ann in the Shaker dining room. Ann and Jean Fowler ate the Shaker lemon pie. Ellen Whitaker and I shared a dessert. And Ellen Kipela was so sweet already she didn't even order a dessert!

Then we took a pic of us all on the famous steps!






Sunday, August 10, 2014

Book Review--While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad

Another delightful book by Lorna Seilstad--While Love Stirs

This is the second book in the Gregory Sisters historical series. The main character is Charlotte, the middle sister whom we met in the first book, When Love Calls.

Sparks fly when Charlotte Gregory meets Doctor Joel Brooks and they disagree over nutritious diets for pregnant and nursing women. Joel never learned much about it at medical school, and Charlotte just graduated from Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery, so knows a lot about cooking nutritious meals.

In fact, she finds a job doing cooking demonstrations for the gas company to promote gas stoves. Anytime they are together, Charlotte and Joel clash, but an attraction is also growing. Can their mutual attraction outweigh their strong personalities? Read the book to find out!

Although this is the second book in the series, you can read this one without reading the first, but I would suggest reading about Charlotte's older sister in When Love Calls, then reading this one, because I love to read series books in order!

This book was a gift from the publisher, but this review is my own opinion.