Friday, January 29, 2016

Fabulous Feature: Emma Miller-Growing Up On the Farm




Today we welcome author:
Emma Miller

FIVE commenters will win a special release of
Emma's Book:
Courting Ruth
combined with Debbi Giusti"s book:
The Agent's Secret Past


Scroll down to see how.



Mary here. I'm so happy Emma is here today. What a joy it is to welcome this down-home gal who loves family, growing food from the earth, caring for animals, and loves books  Yes. You simply must read her response to my question, how has God led you on your writing journey. It'll warm your heart. Here is what she said: 




God Led Me Here-Kicking and Screaming

"How has God led you on your writing journey?"

When I turned on my computer and read that question from Mary Vee in my email, I laughed aloud. I laughed because I'd been considering just that subject this morning. A funny coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so. 

I write in my office, a converted bedroom of an old farmhouse in the country. If I look out my windows, as I do often when I'm at my desk, I see fields and trees and sometimes a glorious sunrise. Two night ago, it snowed. It snowed and snowed. The wind blew and the drifts piled around our barn and house. It snowed so much that the roads are closed and the only sounds I hear from outside my windows are the sighing of tree boughs. It's peaceful here, gazing out at the snow. It's a good day to think about the question.

"The only place to start," my grandfather said, "is at the beginning."

I was born into a family of storytellers. They had farmed the land in Maryland and Delaware, since long before this was a nation, with a strong faith in God and a powerful sense of family.

Life for me revolved around our home and community: grace before meals shared around a long table, chores, laughter, helping our neighbors, and church every Sunday. We had no computers, no television, and no telephone. But we had books and stories, always the stories.

My mother read Bible stories to me; my father read Zane Grey and Tarzan.  But my grandfather was an oral storyteller, he told tales of his grandfather, of Indians, and pirates, of storms and fast horses, brave children and foolish ones. And the stories fascinated me.

For many years, I was an only child. I roamed the fields and woods, climbed trees, fished in the ponds, and read favorite books in the hayloft. I didn't have other children to play with, but I could swing through the trees with Tarzan, hide from a monstrous snake like Mowgli, be swallowed alive by a whale, and cross the wilderness in a covered wagon. I haunted the school and town libraries with their floor to ceiling stacks of books. I read. I read with a passion, and I told anyone who would listen that someday I would write a book. I would come to the library and see a book on the shelf with my name on it.

"If you want to be a writer, you have to work at it," my grandfather said. "God helps those who help themselves."

"But what do I write about?" I asked. "I've never been to a jungle or have seen a whale."
"I guess that's part of it," he answered with a smile. "Deciding what you want to tell."

Write what you know best. That couldn't be the answer, could it? I knew how to drive a horse and wagon, how to milk a cow, how to make butter. Who would want to read about those things? I knew how it felt to sit between my mother and father in church and see the sunlight shining through the stained glass windows, and I knew how I loved Sunday dinners at my grandmother's table with all the family gathered around and my grandfather telling stories. I knew about the joy of rain when the crops needed it, and I knew our good Amish neighbors with their Deitsch talk and different style of dressing.

And here I am today, working on another Amish Christian romance. I'm right where I want to be. And I have no doubt that God led me here, kicking and screaming, wandering off the path at times, but finally doing just what I always wanted, telling stories. I'm here, sharing tales of the people I know best, because He intended that path for me all the time.  

Blessings,  


Emma
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Emma Miller is the author of eleven Amish romances and three Amish mysteries and is currently under contract for several more. She lives quietly with her husband and extended family in her old farmhouse in rural Kent County, Delaware amid fertile fields and lush woodlands where the sound of Amish buggy wheels and the horses' hooves on the road are familiar sounds.  Fortunate enough to be born into a family of strong faith, she grew up on a dairy farm surrounded by loving parents, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  

Her childhood might have been similar to one in much earlier times, as the ring of telephones and the harsh glow of electric lights didn't mar the peace of her home.  Storytelling has always been a family tradition, and early on, Emma learned the joys of reading.  She was educated in local schools and once taught in an Amish schoolhouse much like the one in Seven Poplars.  Family is the center of her life and her kitchen is always full of laughter.  


Emma loves to connect with readers. You can find her at her:
  

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A Husband for Mari-releases February, 2016!

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. 

Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him--including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FIVE WINNERS!
Enter the contest to win a copy of 
a special release of
Emma Miller's Book:

Courting Ruth
combined with Debbi Giusti"s book:
The Agent's Secret Past
Sorry US only


Here is how:


1. Leave a comment (and email address)


2. AND sign up to receive my newsletter -in the right column

    (subscribers to Mary Vee's newsletter will receive a special gift)


    AND/OR sign up to receive posts by email if you aren't already



Thank you, Emma, for joining us this weekend!

We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.


Thanks for stopping by!


Don't forget to comment!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

At the Service of the King



Photo Courtesy

I recently caught an episode of a television program, yesterday. It was an rerun. The story line had jokes, was lively, and had the usual pitfalls for the characters. One line in particular caught my attention.

The character saw one of his employees struggling with a problem. He knew the issue and that it could really weigh on the employee.

This main character had his fill of issues in the past, too. The show, though, portrayed this character as one who could yank his feet through a bog to move forward. One who would not let problems hold him down. If something bad happened, he'd get up and move on.



To help his employee he said, "Don't worry about...Remember, we are here at the service of the president."

This line caught my attention.

Even today, crazy things have tried to trip me up. Some successfully....like when I struggled to find the right wording for a sentence in my manuscript. I paced in my house. Got a drink of water. Walked on the treadmill...and came back to the same unfinished sentence.

Truthfully, I am writing this very blog because I stepped away from one of those manuscript sentences. Gack!!!

I came here because God morphed that character's words to not only help me get my act together, but to share it with you. "Don't worry about that sentence. You are here at the service of the King."

Sigh.

So, true.

Yes, I am always to try my best. But when I run into trouble, I can't allow myself to get all bothered. That doesn't help. If I have done my best--that is all God asks. I am here at the service of the King.

Let me say that again-I am here at the service of the King. The rest of what happened doesn't matter as long as I have done my best.

So today's discussion is- how can we remember that the number one job in our life--the focus of our being--the reason, purpose, goal of our day is to be at the service of the King? 

...and nothing else matters. Not our mistakes. Not our short comings. Not our failures.

We serve the King when we change stinky diapers. We serve the King when we hug a friend. We serve the King when we do our jobs, show up on time, make dinner, eat healthy, exercise, read His word, pray, go to church....this list could fill pages and pages! Can I hear an amen to that?

K

Are you ready?

Say with me

I am here at the service of the King.

Say it again.

I am here at the service of the King.


Yeah! Now...I'm ready to go write that sentence. What are you ready to do?


This post has been brought to you by the one word:
I-am-here-at-the-service-of-the-King







Friday, January 22, 2016

Fabulous Feature-Lynette Eason-The Wonderful People God Gives Us





Today we welcome author:
Lynette Eason

A commenter will win a copy of
Lynette's Book:
Always Watching


Scroll down to see how.



Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Lynette. We are simpatico in writing interests. The thrill of adventure, mystery, suspense. Staying up late reading books by flashlight. The surprise. The twist. Ahhhh the very core of a memorable story. This is what Lynette writes. I'm so excited to share with you Lynette's inspirational post. God's leading, gift, provision. Yes. You simply must read her response to my question, how has God led you on your writing journey. Here is what she said: 




The Wonderful People God Gives Us


When I was a young mother of one, my husband travelled quite a bit with his job as a fund raiser and I often found myself home alone with an infant. Needless to say, I also found myself quite lonely.

Ever since I was a teenager, I had the idea to one day write a book, but had never made the time to do it what with school, then more school then a full time job. But now I was a stay at home mother and had the time.

I pulled out an old laptop and started pounding out a story I had running around in my head. And I loved it! I was totally hooked on this writing thing. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

In the meantime, I was also reading anything I could get my hands on—especially in the Romantic Suspense genre. One day while browsing the Christian Fiction section at my local Christian bookstore, I came across a story by Dee Henderson. Danger In the Shadows really inspired me and I decided that, “I want to write like her!”

Dee was relatively new on the publishing scene at that time, but she quickly grew to be one of the top Christian fiction authors in the publishing world. I emailed Dee and told how much I loved her book and wonder of wonders, she emailed me back! Through our correspondence, she answered a lot of my writing questions, encouraged me to keep chasing the dream and even edited one of my manuscripts that she used as a teaching tool. Thanks to Dee’s willingness to mentor me, I learned how to write a lot faster than if I’d had to rely on simply going to conferences and reading writing books!

Anyway, eight years later after several writing conferences, and three completed manuscripts, I finally submitted to the Women’s Contemporary Fiction line that Love Inspired used to have. I got the manuscript back with a four-page revision letter and the offer to resubmit after I completed the revisions.

I did this, resubmitted and on February 16th, 2007, received an offer from Love Inspired to publish it with the shorter line. I was fine with that since the line I originally submitted it to was being discontinued!

I can look back now and see, through this entire journey to publication, God’s hand on each and every step. The people that he placed in my path were there because He put them there. Not only were they there to teach me, they were there to encourage and push me when I wondered if I should just give up.

Again, looking back, I can see that God knew exactly what I needed each step of the way. And truly, if we seek to follow Him, we can trust that He will do exactly what He promises. He is faithful and He’ll never let us down.

How about you? Can you think of a time that you wondered if you were doing the right thing, but look back now and see God was moving and working the whole time?

Thank you so much for having me on you blog!


Lynette
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Lynette Eason is the award-winning, bestselling author of over thirty books.

Lynette writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have finaled or won awards in contests such as The Maggies, Inspirational Readers Choice Award, The Carol, ECPA Book of the Year, The Selah, and others. Her most recent wins are the Selah Award in 2015, the Golden Scoll Award in 2015, a Carol nomination in 2015 and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in 2014. 

She and her husband began a new venture in 2015 called Weekend With The Writers. It is a writers’ conference that is small and intimate, allowing attendees to have one on one instruction, ask questions in a round table type discussion and be mentored by the faculty of six. For more info go to: www.weekendwiththewriters.com The next weekend is Jan 29-30 and there are still four spots left! 

Lynette began her teaching career in the public school classroom and has since moved to teaching at conferences all over the country. Lynette often speaks at women’s conference and retreats, but finds her first love is teaching writing. In her spare time she can be found hanging out with her family, loving on her nieces and nephews, traveling, and…um…writing. Lynette and her husband Jack live in South Carolina with their two teenagers. Life is never boring, that’s for sure! 


Lynette loves to connect with readers. You can find her at her:
  
Website | Twitter
Facebook
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Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap.

Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him--including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Enter the contest to win a copy of Lynette's Book:
Always Watching
Sorry US only

Here is how:

1. Leave a comment (and email address)


2. AND sign up to receive my newsletter -in the right column

    (subscribers to Mary Vee's newsletter will receive a special gift)


    AND/OR sign up to receive posts by email if you aren't already



Thank you, Lynette, for joining us this weekend!

We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.


Thanks for stopping by!


Don't forget to comment!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

You Have Not Been Abandoned



Photo by Mary Vee

Last week two men went hiking in Scotland. 

They wore helmets, had the proper ropes and other equipment. The weather was as expected and the sun was shining. 

The men had climbed near the top of a mountain when something happened. As of yet the investigation has not determined what. The men fell. A great distance. They did not survive.

The initial reports emphasized the men appeared to have done everything right. They had all the safety equipment and appeared to have used it properly.


There are times when we manage to do everything right. We plan. Take proper precautions. Allow enough time. Then proceed. And still something unexpected happens. Something not good.

This happens to all of us. A flat tire, illness, lay off from work, etc. something comes crashing in and changes our lives.

In times like this we often say, "Why me? Why now?" And in all of our sadness and sorrow, we struggle to sense the compassion God is giving us. In Zephaniah 3:17 we are told God sings to us. He joys over us. He weeps with us and has shown us the great extent He will go to in showing His love and provision for our true needs.

I want to share with you one other event that I heard about this week. This has greatly touched my heart. Maybe you could pray for this family, too.

A young woman who is a good friend of my daughter is twenty weeks pregnant. She recently learned that her baby has fluid around her heart. "But," the doctor said, "sometimes this resolves as the pregnancy continues." A follow up visit showed fluid had built up in other areas of the baby. 

The young woman told her friends, "The doctor said there isn't much chance for our little girl to survive. But our other children, her father, and I will sing to her, talk to her, and show her all the love we have every day we know she is living. And who knows, maybe God will do a miracle in little Ruby's life." 

God is no different. He doesn't abandon us when tragedy strikes. He loves us with His whole being everyday of our lives...which includes eternity.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fabulous Feature-Jennifer Davids





Today we welcome author:
Jennifer Davids

A commenter will win a copy of
Jennifer's eBook:
Buckeye Dreams

International Readers Included!

Scroll down to see how.



Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Jennifer. Isn't her photo beautiful?  She is just as beautiful in person. I met her at an ACFW conference. I must admit, my heart was truly touched as i read her story that is below. She is a true testimony of how God works His power in our lives turning what is "bad into something beautiful." God has led her on an incredible journey that is sure to minister to others who struggle. I asked Jennifer to tell us how God led her on her writing journey. Here is what she said: 



The Magic of Story



It began when I was ten. I had just gotten through the worst summer in my, as yet, short life. I don’t recall the beginning of that summer being any different than the start of any other, but by its end, my life had turned upside down and inside out and would never be the same ever again.

That was the summer my parents decided to get divorced.

Gone was the house in the country with my own room and the backyard as big as forever, the pony we had just started to raise and the chickens we raised for 4-H. The three of us, me, my mom, and my sister, were now in a small apartment in the suburbs struggling to make ends meet and trying to make new friends in, to me anyway, a foreign environment.

Imagine if you will, a slightly socially awkward girl going from a small country school classroom to a big city school classroom. Yes, it was culture shock and no, I wasn’t winning any popularity contests. I went from awkward to pariah in about 60 seconds. OK, ‘pariah’ is a bit strong but needless to say I didn’t fit in. Add to that all the drama surrounding the process of my parent’s divorce and you have a little girl in desperate need of somewhere to hide from the harshness of all that reality.

That’s when I found the magic of story.

Books became my refuge, the one place where I wasn’t picked on or teased, where there were happily ever afters and I was in any place but the present. Norman Juster took me to the Kingdom of Wisdom, L. Frank Baum whisked me off to Oz on numerous occasions, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art thanks to Ms. Konigsburg, Anne McCaffrey took me to Pern… There were so many others; I could go on and on and on.

I didn’t always make the healthiest reading choices and the times and places I chose to read weren’t always appropriate, but you know God; He takes the bad and makes it beautiful. When my ninth grade English teacher gave me an A++ on my creative writing assignment, it was then that He showed me how all that reading had paid off. He showed me that I could weave words to bring Light to other people’s lives. There have been hiccups and sidetracks along the way, but He’s led me through to my first published books and I pray He will lead me to more as I continue on this journey with Him.

My first three books are available in one ebook called Buckeye Dreams and I would love to give away a copy to someone. Sign up for Mary's newsletter in the right column and tell me how God has taken your bad to beautiful in the comments and you’ll be entered in a drawing.

Blessings!
<
Jennifer

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Jennifer loves a good book. Not only does she read and write them, she gets to take care of them at her part-time evening job at her local library. She resides in central Ohio with her husband and two children and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a graduate of The Ohio State University. She makes room to write in between being a busy wife and mom and despite the fact her cats like to walk on her keyboard.




Jennifer loves to connect with readers. You can find her at her:

  
Website | Pinterest
Goodreads |  Facebook
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Buckeye Dreams


Visit Ohio in the latter half of the 1800s, when rebuilding the country also involves rebuilding lives stripped of hope. Katherine has lost her home, Adele has lost her husband, and Anne has lost her dreams. Can each have their joy restored in romances with men who are also deeply wounded by their own pasts? Find out in this inspiring three-book collection by author Jennifer A. Davids.


Links to books:
Barnes and Noble:  http://tinyurl.com/hzaxqka
Christianbook.com: http://tinyurl.com/nemx6fh
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Enter the contest to win a copy of Jennifer's eBook:
Buckeye Dreams
International Readers included!

Here is how:

1. Leave a comment (and email address)


2. AND sign up to receive my newsletter -in the right column

    (subscribers to Mary Vee's newsletter will receive a special gift)


    AND/OR sign up to receive posts by email if you aren't already



Thank you, Jennifer, for joining us this weekend!

We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.


Thanks for stopping by!


Don't forget to comment!