Friday, November 28, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Darlene Franklin

Today I welcome author: 
Darlene Franklin

To win a copy
of Darlene's new releases:
Christmas Visitors
An Apple for Christmas

Scroll to the end of the post 
to see how to get your copy.

I enjoy meeting authors. Darlene has such a unique writing setting. Be sure to read her bio. It's very encouraging. I asked Darlene to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. This is what she said:

** Also, special note, Darlene fell this week. Please pray for her as she heals.

The Times I Felt Strong and Called

Certain dates in my writing journey stand out clearly. At the age of ten, I listed “writer” as one of five jobs I might like to do some day. That didn’t happen for a long time. In 1991, in the wake of my divorce, I began writing about the lessons God taught me.

My first published piece, a devotional, came out in 1993. After that, I had maybe one piece published a year until my first book came out in 2005. Fourteen years—call me crazy or determined, but it finally happened.

The final step, writing full time, happened in 2009, when I moved from Colorado to Oklahoma to be close to my son and his family.

What I couldn’t lay out on a timeline were the frequent ups and downs, the times I felt strong and called, the times when I wondered if my time to write had come to an end.

God has always said “not yet.” He either gives me the encouragement I need to continue on my current project, or a promise that the next thing will happen in time.

I’m going through one of those times right now. The book club I have written for since 2005, Heartsong Presents, has closed. I don’t know what combination of indie publishing—such as the two books I am giving away today—and traditional publishing lies ahead. But I do know this: God knows my future.

Here’s an obvious truth that some other writers struggle with, as I do. Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s journey. No two writers’ paths are the same. Praise God!

Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. Poetry is her newest passion. She has written over thirty novels as well as more than 250 devotionals. 

You can find Darlene at:
Facebook:  Poet.Darlene.Franklin


Christmas Visitors is available for preorder. Although the date available says December 17th, I hope to have it up by December 7th. 

Five years ago Cora Grace allowed a traveling couple into her home when the wife went into labor. After her death, Cora helped the widower Alex Miller raise the baby. Now three visitors from the East arrive--with business with Alex. Their presence shakes the comfortable world Cora and Alex have made for themselves--will it draw them even closer together, or push them apart?

CLICK HERE to get your copy of Christmas Visitors


An Apple for Christmas is book 4 of the Christmas Traditions series.

Ruby Nelson trades her job in the laboratory for teaching in a small girls’ school in Vermont. Twin sisters challenge her position—and their father captivates her imagination. Will the orchard grower graft Ruby onto his heart?

To enter the contest for  
Darlene Franklin's ebook: "Christmas Visitors" or "An Apple For Christmas"
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

Two Winners Will Be chosen to each win one of these newly released eBooks
International Readers invited to participate

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Darlene, for Joining us This Weekend!

Don't forget to comment!

It's so easy to compare ourselves to others, even though we need to remember God made us the individuals we are.  

Reader, Take a moment to leave Darlene a word of encouragement 

And me a howdie-do, I love to chat with you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

God is Thankful for You

Photo Courtesy
Here in America, we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend.

We talk about the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving, share with each other what we are thankful for, and enjoy a wonderful meal.

Most of us get the day off of work and have fun spending time with family.

Those who love God also spend the day thanking Him for what He has given them. Psalms of thanksgiving are read and sang. 

But there is a different side of the story.

God is thankful for you.

It's true.

God made you.

God chose 
your eye color, 
your hair color, 
how tall you would be, 
the color of your skin, etc. 

He also designed your vocal chords and had you grow up in the place where you would learn the language you speak, figure out how to laugh just the way you do, sing (maybe off key to you and others--but not to Him).

God gave you someone to take care of you

God did not invite sin to your life. Unfortunately, sin is all around us. And because sin is here:

God weeps with you
dreams with you
hopes with you

He even sent His Son to pay the punishment for all your sins so you could see the way to heaven and one day live with Him there.

God loves you.

Did you know He sings songs for you?
He laughs with you
He tells stories to help you understand
He is patient with you
He listens to you
He guides you when you need to make a decision
He protects you
He stands up for you

Now that the list is started, what else does God do for you? 

Today is not only a day to be thankful for what you have but also to know that God is thankful for you and cares very much for you.

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Which Three Would You Choose?

Photo Courtesy

In the movie/book The Time Machine by HG Wells, the main character is called Time Traveller. Time Traveller lives in the Victorian age, is an inventor/scientist, and makes a machine that enables him to travel into the future.

To pick a year to visit, Time Traveller uses his curiosity about how the earth will end and selects AD 802,701. Weird year choice, huh? 

When he arrives, Time Traveller meets the few people still inhabiting the earth. There are only two groups: one who sits around enjoying all that is on the earth (the Eloi), the other lives underground and--to Time Traveller's surprise--treats the first group like lazy cattle (Morlocks).

Time Traveller discovers there are no books, schools, or motivations to cause the Eloi to care about each other or anything else. His heart goes out to the people. Even in the short time he is there, a few of the Eloi learn from his example and show a desire to fight the Morlocks to save their friends.

Upset that Time Traveller is ruining the Eloi, the Morlocks attempt to kill him. To save his own life and his time machine, Time Traveller is forced to return to the Victorian age. Around the dinner table, he tells his friends about the journey. None of them believe him.

Haunted with his thoughts about the Eloi and their needs, Time Traveller grabs three books from his library and hops back on his machine. 

We never see Time Traveller again, but we hear his friends speak with the maid. His friends discover the marks from the time machine left on the floor. They also discover a space on the bookshelf where three books would have fit. 

"What books were here?" the friends ask.

"I don't know." she answered.

We never learn which books Time Traveller chooses to take with him to the future.

I suppose you've guessed the purpose of this post by now.

I have featured many books on this blog. You probably own and have seen many other books in your life. 

If you could choose three books, knowing you wouldn't have access to Internet, a library, or a bookstore, which three books would you choose to preserve?

Let's make it difficult for you and assume there will be a Bible. Now choose three books.

I usually give my answer first for these discussions, but I don't want to persuade you. I'll weigh in later.

I sure hope you will have a fun Thanksgiving weekend. 
God has so much planned for our future, 

and it won't be what Time Traveller saw.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Barbara Phinney

Barbara stood at the edge of the 3rd largest canyon near
Kruger National Park in South Africa. She and her
daughter had fun taking selfies to remember this moment.
Today I welcome author: 
Barbara Phinney

To win a copy
of Barbara's new release,
Protected By the Warrior

Scroll to the end of the post 
to see how to get your copy.

I enjoy meeting authors. Right from our first communication, I sensed Barbara's sweet spirit and have enjoyed getting to know her better over the past several months. I asked Barbara to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. This is what she said:


How has God led my writing journey? That is actually a difficult question to answer. I have always loved writing romance, but it wasn't until I received a few rejections from my publisher that God took over. You see, my editor called me and asked me if I would like to write for a different line. Instantly, I answered, "How about Love Inspired?"
I hadn't considered Love Inspired at all until that moment. My editor lit up like a Christmas tree. She thought that was a wonderful idea. Then it hit me. "Love Inspired? Can I write that kind of book?"
I prayed, asking for God’s guidance, and as I began to put together a synopsis, I knew I could write one. Love Inspired has a long list of requirements that can deter a lot of writers. Not me, though. I found I had no trouble writing inside that fence. All right, there have been times I nibbled at the grass on the other side, but not to worry, my editor reined me in!
After having five Love Inspired Suspense books published, I wanted to switch to writing historicals. I'd been to Colchester, England, and fell in love with the Norman period. Its foundation is still strong there. I’d always loved the genre, so I submitted a medieval story. This was a rather large risk because many historical readers prefer Midwestern, Victorian, or Pre-War stories. While Medievals are not as popular as they were when I was a new writer, God helped me write a wonderful tale that my Christian agent loved and passed on to my editor. She also loved it. I received a contract for two more books. Thus, my Warrior series was born! 

I still look back and marvel at how subtle and how right God has been in my writing journey.

"We were driving along at the Cape of Good Hope
and slowed down to see they guy. We were close
enough to pet but not willing to stick out our hands!
Barbara enjoys creative activities, and with her grown children having left the nest, she's getting even more creative. She has written romance for over 10 years, mostly with Harlequin, and enjoys writing suspenseful stories that inspire, uplift and entertain.

Barbara lives with her husband and some barn cats in Southern New Brunswick, Canada and plans to travel and write even more.

You can connect with her on: 
Facebook  Barbara Phinney 

Barbara's new release: Protected by the Warrior
When Clara became a midwife, she vowed to preserve life above all. She'll keep that vow, even if it means defying a Norman baron by hiding a Saxon slave and her child. Yet when the ruthless lord threatens Clara's village—and her life—she's forced to rely on another Norman to keep her safe.
Kenneth D'Entremont is a soldier, one who takes lives instead of healing them. Clara despairs of finding any common ground with him. But when he begins guarding her, she learns to see him in a new light. His care and compassion make her feel safe…even loved. Can she bring herself to put her secrets, and her heart, under the protection of the warrior?

To enter the contest for  
Barbara Phinney's book: "Protected by the Warrior"
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

sorry, US only

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Barbara, for Joining us This Weekend!

Don't forget to comment!

Sometimes we fall into a rut with what we are doing. We feel God nudging us in another direction and wonder if this is what we should be doing. Like riding against the waves to get to the best serf. Barbara found her best serf and seems to be enjoying the ride! 

Reader, Take a moment to leave Barbara a word of encouragement 

And me a howdie-do, I love to chat with you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Preparing for Our Loved Ones

Do you have your thanksgiving plans all in order? We have one week left.

Neither do I.

Holidays are the events I generally never consider plans complete even as we sit down to celebrate. If I did, I might close the door on someone who at the last minute is able to come. Perhaps a family member is not able to leave for their destination and needs to stay another night.

My daughter and I discussed the menu, we included favorites, some she didn't like (yams), and some I didn't like (three bean casserole). But each item is loved by someone who might be here for Thanksgiving.

Boyfriends, girlfriends, anyone in need of a family willing to share Thanksgiving is invited. 

I love a crowded kitchen, raising a bowl of mashed potatoes over the head of someone who walked into my path, every burner on the stove in use, every inch of counter space occupied with preparations, conversation, laughing, singing. This is Thanksgiving.

Extra chairs are brought from every corner of the house, including the dreaded pinching chair (one of those old wooded folding chairs that always snaps when someone sits the wrong way), the stools, desk chairs, and piano bench. The table is opened to the max and two table clothes are needed to cover the entire surface. There isn't room for all the food so biscuits and cranberry sauce are set on the little antique dresser grandma gave me.

While last minute preparations are made, someone plays the piano, usually a few verses of Heart and Soul and other silly songs. It takes a loud whistle to call everyone to the table.

We crowd around the table and wait for my husband to give the blessing. Every voice is quite. Every head bowed.

Once the Good Lord receives our gratitude, the bowls and platters are passed and the conversation starts again. 

I prefer the white meat and cranberry sauce, then go light on the other goodies. 

The bowls are emptied and stomachs are full, but who can't squeeze in a piece of pie? 

Jesus said He is preparing a place for us. We are also told there will be a banquet in heaven. Sometime life gets disturbing and wears our spirits down. We ask, why won't Jesus hurry and come back for us?

The answer is this: because He is waiting for the last person who is willing to come. The last one who will accept God's gift. He knows who that person is. Maybe it is a loved one of yours from the future.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  

This post has been brought to you by the  one word: Preparation

How about you, are you prepared for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Then He Smiled At Me

To me the holiday seasons officially begins when the radio stations start playing Christmas music AND snow is on the ground.

Well, the holidays have begun here.

The radio is playing Christmas music in the background and light flakes of gentle falling snow are sprinkling. (I took this photo seconds ago) To top off the lightness in my heart, I am writing this on Sunday. God's day. What more could I ask?

What a huge contrast from yesterday. The drive to visit my mother takes 3 hours, typically. I sat in a parking lot on the expressway (I75) behind millions of semis, pick ups, and cars. We sat so long I turned the engine off, which made me cold. I played ten games of solitaire while sitting. (I hate sitting) Eventually the traffic rolled forward inch by pokey inch. Hours dragged slower than the night before Christmas. 

The car heater dried out my sinuses, and of course I forgot to bring something to drink. 

Last night, my sinuses told me what they thought about the whole me...they were NOT happy. 

To top off my unhappy muscles begging to get out of the car and my not being able to breathe well, I didn't receive some hopeful news. The results of a writing contest had been announced. I am so happy that one of my friends did get the word....but I didn't. 

That's when I melted like a snowman in June. My rough and tough, keep the chin up, buck up, move forward attitude was a puddle of water.

Like Elijah who just lost it in the wilderness after running scared from Jezebel, God knew I needed something happy to yank me away from my pit of despair. 

My teen daughter came home from work later that night. She asked to watch a favorite show of ours. We laughed--well, I sorta did. For her sake. Then I told her about the news I didn't hear. 

Without skipping a beat she rattled off the perfect funny line and tagged on her beautiful smile. She reached her arms around me and gave me a hug.

That was all it took. 

The funk disappeared. Poof.

I am no fool. I know the author of that moment. 

God used my sweet teen to give me exactly what I needed. 

I had a few extra minutes this morning to do this post. I didn't have to ask God for an idea. He gave it to me when "The Little Drummer Boy" played on radio station in the background. The drummer boy had no gift except his tune. And then He smiled at him. Bah rum pah pah pum.

I may not have placed in the writing contest, but God is still willing to smile at me.

And He is smiling at you, too. No matter what is happening. Good, bad, or just down right stinky. 

God loves us.

I hope you have a sunny, spring in your shoe day.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature- Anne Mateer

Today I welcome author: 
Anne Mateer

To win a copy
Playing By Heart

Scroll to the end of the post 
to see how to get your copy.

I recently attended one of the fun Facebook parties for new book releases. Anne was at the party. I learned so fun stuff about her, but when I asked Anne to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey, I was so extra moved. This is a story you will enjoy. Here is what she said:

God Used Grandma's Story

How has God led me on my writing journey? That is a question I began asking myself very early on in my serious quest for publication, so I created a file titled My Writing Journey to record my various ups and downs in hopes of seeing Gods hand in it all.

You see, Id known I wanted to write fiction since middle school, but I didnt begin a serious pursuit of both the craft and the business until 2000. That year one of my grandmothers passed away and I began to wonder if I could write a piece of her story as a novel. I took an online writing class through UCLA, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldnt make my idea work. I finally set it aside and wrote a different story, but the original idea never left my head.

Through the years I researched various aspects of that story, but I also worked on other things, even finding a bit of success in short story publications and reaching contest finals. In fact, by the time I finished my fourth novela contemporary womens fiction storyId almost completely left my love of historical fiction behind, believing the Lord meant me to travel a different path.

But even as I put finishing touches on that contemporary novel, readying it to submit to another contest, I received a brochure in the mail. A history symposium, several of the workshops centered around history in my city during the years of WWI. With my grandmothers story, which took place during the influenza epidemic of 1918 still hovering at the back of my mind, I signed up to attend. I learned amazing things that dayfacts I wrote down and filed away before I got back to my real work.

That workshop happened in January of 2008. A few months later, I received word that Id reached the finals in ACFWs Genesis Contest with my womens fiction. Little did I know the devastation that awaited me. Not only did I not win that category, but my friend and roommate at the conference did! As soon as the awards banquet ended, I raced to the prayer room. In the empty darkness of that place I poured out my heart to God. He sent an amazing author to minister to me that evening, an author who told me her story of publication in historical fiction. So very clearly the Lord whispered to my heart, Its time.

I returned home and pulled out the notes from the symposium Id attended nine months earlier and suddenly I knew how to frame my grandmothers story! A few weeks and several thousand words later, I hit send to enter my historical story in the Genesis contest. As before, I received news that Id reached the finals. (This was actually my 3rd time to finaleach one in a different category!) But this time something new occurred soon after: an email from an editor at Bethany House asking to see the full manuscript!

Two years later, that book became my first published novel, Wings of a Dream. I love how the Lord led me from learning how much I didnt know about writing in 2000 to receiving a contract for that very book in 2010. It wasnt a straight road. It took lots of curves and apparent changes of direction. But I believed then and I certainly know now that God was leading every step of the way.

He will take you where He wants you to go, even if the path doesnt look like it will arrive at that destination. But in the meantime, besides learning more about writing I also learned that the only destination I wanted to arrive at was the one He had planned. Looking back, I see that the Lord led my writing, yes. But He also led me closer to Him. And thats the only journey with a truly worthwhile destination.

Anne Mateer has a passion for bringing history to life through fiction. She is the author of 4 historical novels, a 2013 Carol Award finalist and also has a contemporary Christmas short story in the upcoming release A Cup of Christmas Cheer II. Anne and her husband live in Dallas and are the parents of three young adult children.

Learn more about and contact Anne at:
Anne's Website:
Google Plus: +Anne Mateer 
Twitter: @AnneMateer

Playing By Heart
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn't even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel's family, the girls' basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she's given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she'd expected.

Click Here to buy Playing By Heart 

To enter the contest for a copy of 
Anne Mateer's book: "Playing By Heart"
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

Sorry, US only for the book give away 

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Anne, for Joining us This Weekend!

What a great post.

Please leave Anne a word of encouragement or just say howdy-do in the comment section. We love chatting with you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to comment!