Interview and Giveaway with Author Debby Lee!

Giveaway with Debby Lee

I’m excited to have fellow author, Debby Lee, as my special guest this week. Debby has graciously agreed to share a bit about herself and offer a signed copy of The Underground Railroad Brides Collection to one lucky winner!

First, here’s the official synopsis for The Underground Railroad Brides Collection:

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

Emma Underground by Barbara Tifft Blakey
Follow the Christmas Star by Ramona K. Cecil
Under the Sails of Love by Lynn A. Coleman
The Bakery Bride by Cecelia Dowdy
Place of Refuge by Patty Smith Hall
Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes
The Winter Quilt by Debby Lee
The Song of Hearts Set Free by Darlene Panzera
Freedom’s Flight by Penny Zeller

There is hope for the future when people come together to fight evil, and when men and women find love in the midst of great challenges. And through it all, faith is the key to victory in these stories from nine inspiring Christian authors.

underground railroad picture

The collection is available everywhere books are sold, including your local bookstore, Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and Barnes & Noble. It is available in paperback, Kindle, Nook, and ebook formats.

Below is the official trailer:

Now on to the interview. Hi Debby, thank you for being my guest. When did you first begin writing?

DebbyLeepicforBarbour

Thank you for having me! I began writing as a child, in my diary, and short stories for school. I received a diary from my grandmother every year for Christmas, so I guess you could say she pointed me in the direction of becoming a writer.

Ooh, I love the diary connection and your grandmother’s important role in inspiring you to become a writer. So…what is your favorite genre to   write and read?

My favorite genre to write, and read, is Christian historical romance. I love researching different time periods in history, especially the Old West. I read a fair amount of books each year and nearly half of what I read is historical Christian romance. And did I mention that I love watching historical period dramas like Outlander and The Tudors? I guess you can just call me a history nerd.

History is fascinating and so important to know. Let’s switch gears and talk about the Underground Railroad Brides Collection. Tell my readers a bit about your inspiration behind your novella.

My inspiration behind the Underground Railroad Brides collection began years ago as a 4-in1 collection. I had the idea of a particular house that went from the building phase, through the Civil War, and into modern times. It was initially rejected because Barbour was in the process of switching to 9-in-1 novella collections. Undeterred, I reworked the proposal and resubmitted it. The end result, the book we’re talking up today.

I love that you didn’t give up! What a testimony to new writers. I understand that you also have a new book that was recently released. Can you tell us about that book?

My latest release with Barbour Publishing is The Miss Adventure Brides Collection, about seven daring damsels who don’t let the norms of their day hold them back from adventure. My novella in this collection is titled Along the Yellowstone River. My hero in is a fur trapper and the heroine is a Scottish healer.

missadventure brides

Ooh, sounds interesting! I love the Barbour novella collections, and The MissAdventure Brides Collection is definitely one I’ll be putting on my TBR list.

Now, back to The Underground Railroad Brides…Tell us about your novella included in that collection.

My novella in this collection is titled The Winter Quilt and features a cast of characters I invented myself. I gave the heroine and her family the last name Martin, after Martin Luther King. I derived the hero as a carpenter, like Jesus. I also added a few true-to-life historical figures, such as Levi Coffin.

Love that you created your hero to be a carpenter like Jesus! Debby, can you tell us where we can find you on social media?

Absolutely! My links are as follows:

As I mentioned earlier, readers will have a chance to win an autographed copy of The Underground Railroad Brides Collection. Can you share with us how they enter to win?

Yes. Is there someone who worked on the Underground Railroad whom you respect or admire? If so, who are they and why do you respect or admire them? Leave a comment below in the comment section and be entered to win a signed copy of The Underground Railroad Brides.

There you have it, blog readers! Leave a comment below in answer to Debby’s questions for a chance to win. The giveaway expires on December 31, 2018 at midnight Pacific time. Please, only United States entries. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email.

Debby and I can’t wait to read your comments!

 

 

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8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

8 Christmas gifts for wives

In my last post, I discussed 5 things a man should never buy his wife for Christmas. (If you haven’t yet read that post, make sure you do, because it’s absolutely hilarious and can be found here.

Ok, so, husbands, what do you get for your wife for Christmas? Here are eight excellent (more serious) ideas of things for all budgets that she’ll love:

1. A massage. The benefits of massage are numerous. It relaxes sore muscles, assists in stress relief, rounds out a fitness program, and improves the quality of life for those with diseases. Nearly every person can benefit from a massage. Ask around and find a reputable massage therapist in your town, or log on to http://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/locator.aspx for some suggestions in your area.

2.  A book. Does your wife have a favorite author? Has she been eyeballing a book at the bookstore? I couldn’t not suggest a book since I’m an author myself! If your wife loves to read, but you’re not sure what book she’d like, a gift certificate from a local or online bookstore would be a great gift.

woman reading book.jpg

3. A month’s worth of housecleaning. What woman wouldn’t love a break from housecleaning if only for a month? Why not hire a cleaning service to come in for a month and lighten your wife’s load? Trust me, she’ll appreciate this, and it will for sure earn you  “husband points!”

4. A vacation…just the two of you. No, it doesn’t have to be a 7-day cruise, although that would be nice (Lon, if you’re reading this, hint hint!) A weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast works too. Ask a family member or friend to take care of the kids, before sweeping your wife off  her feet by planning a getaway for just the two of you. Be sure to plan this  ahead of time and have the date set in stone, as life gets busy. You don’t want her Christmas gift to get forgotten.

5. Purchase a pamper kit. Choose a day and declare it your wife’s pamper day. She will be ushered first to the salon for a manicure or to have her hair done. Second, she will be treated to a no-interruptions bubble bath. That means that if you have small children, take them out for a Daddy Day while your wife relaxes. Third, she heads to the massage therapist for a much-needed massage (see #1). Fourth, take her out to a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant. Pull this off and I guarantee your Christmas will be very merry!

manicure

So, what if you’re short on cash during these strained economic times? Check out these economical suggestions that can mean so much:

6. A coupon book. You may have heard of this before…it’s a homemade coupon book full of kind things to do for your wife.  Cleaning her car inside and out would be a kind gesture, especially if the constant hauling around of children and pets has left the floor in your minivan stained and dirty. Offer to check her oil, check the tires, fill it full of gas, and wash the outside as well. Other suggestions can range from lovey-dovey romance coupons to thoughtful items (use your imagination here, guys!) There is no expiration date, and perhaps some coupons can be used more than once!

7. A promise to grow in your walk with the Lord together. Offer to pray with her and study the Word together. Plan, on a weekly basis, to put the Lord as the top priority in your marriage and watch how He changes you both for the better!

8. Renew your wedding vows. Have you been married any length of time? How about a renewing of your wedding vows? It doesn’t have to be fancy. Enlist your pastor’s help and have a small wedding where you rededicate your lives to each other.

renew wedding vows.jpg

There you have it! Now hurry…you only have a few more shopping days left! Oh, and Merry Christmas!

 

Please note: Movie Monday will be returning to its regularly-scheduled slot after the holidays.

 


Looking for some other Christmas posts? Check these out!

9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

21 fun Christmas stocking stuffer ideas

Movie Monday: A Bramble House Christmas

5 things a man should never buy his wife for Christmas

 
5 things a man should never

All right, all you sweet and thoughtful husbands…have you decided what to buy your wife for Christmas yet?

Start making those lists!

And wives, if you’re reading this, kindly suggest to your husband to read this post – it could make your Christmas much merrier. 🙂

 
Ok, here is some helpful and humorous advice from a veteran wife of 26 years…

Disclaimer: these are just generalities and some wives may like the items on the “do not buy” list. Plan accordingly, and good luck!

Do not buy your wife:

1. Something she doesn’t want, but that you would like. For instance, don’t buy your wife a new (or gently used from the wrecking yard) car muffler for Christmas, unless she’s a mechanic or big into NASCAR. Lon bought a loud muffler thingy for our Jeep Cherokee years ago that sounded like what would belong on the vehicle of a high schooler. Guess who drove the Jeep 99.9% of the time? Yep, me. (And no, I wasn’t in high school) Guess what happened when we went to trade the Jeep in for a bigger vehicle once we started our family?

The thing was so loud that the car salesman told us we needed to “fix” the loud muffler before trading it in. Lon finally did convince the car salesman that the muffler wasn’t broken, but that it was a “high performance bought- and -installed- on- purpose- muffler.” Now some other poor wife is driving a Jeep that you can hear from a mile away!

Nix the new car tires too. While that’s nice that you want your wife to be safe, save it as a “family purchase” rather than a “gift for the wife purchase.”

2. Clothing. Husbands, unless you know your wife’s correct size, stick to a gift card at her favorite department store instead. Here’s why: If you buy her a size that’s four times her actual size, she’ll think you think she’s fat. Alternatively, if you buy her a size four times smaller than her actual size, she’ll think you think she needs to lose weight. See how this is a lose-lose situation?  So, unless you know for sure that she always wears a size medium in sweaters, please pass on the clothes. Otherwise, you may find yourself in deep trouble with your sweetie poo.

women's sweaters.jpg

3. A toolbox. When Lon and I were first married, he wrapped a large present and hid it under the tree. I was so excited and couldn’t wait until Christmas. Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and it was a toolbox complete with my own set of tools! I thanked my sweet husband for his nice gesture, but I was puzzled. I’ve never been very handy with tools and the farthest thing from a “fix-it girl” there ever was. Our story landed us on the pages of Woman’s World and the toolbox remains in the garage where Lon uses it on a regular basis. Disclaimer: this is a perfect gift only if your wife is the “fix-it type.” Otherwise, please pass on this gift idea!

toolbox.jpg

4. Exercise equipment. Does this one really need any explanation? Unless she asks for that new treadmill, pass on the expensive (or not-so-expensive) exercise equipment. You and your marriage will be glad you did.

5. A kitchen appliance. Unless she specifically asks for it or you can tell from her look of anguish at the toaster you received for your wedding gift 45 years ago, keep away from kitchen appliances. Ditto for mops, a year’s worth of cleaning supplies,  a garden tiller, a chainsaw, or a lawnmower. Just trust me on this. Really.

toasteer

 

Join me next time for some wife-approved Christmas gift ideas!


 

Check out these other posts pertaining to Christmas!

9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

21 fun Christmas stocking stuffer ideas

Movie Monday: A Bramble House Christmas

Movie Monday: Switched for Christmas

9 recently-released Movies for your next family night

21 awesome family movies you may never have heard of

Movie Monday: Finding Father ChristmasMovie Monday: Finding Father Christmas

9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

9 christmas traditions

It’s that time of year again! Time to create or revisit holiday family traditions. Need some fresh ideas to add to your family’s list of fun customs for Christmas? Here are some memorable suggestions:

Adopt a family. Many families are struggling this time of year, so our family “adopts” a family and provides a Christmas dinner for them. We include a turkey or ham, stuffing (if we provided a turkey), two cans of vegetables, a bag of potatoes, and a dessert. Alternatively, if your house is big enough, why not invite someone who has nowhere to go for Christmas to your house to enjoy Christmas dinner with your family?

Read the real Christmas story. I love the tradition of reading Luke 2:1-20 on Christmas Day and reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas. A baby born who would one day die for the sins of mankind so they could have eternal life. Have each family member take turns reading verses, or have mom or dad read it in its entirety.

nativity scene.jpg

Go Christmas lighting. From the time our two daughters were toddlers, we have changed into pajamas and loaded into our SUV for a trip around our town to check out the Christmas lights. Each year we vote on a home to win the “Christmas Winter Wonderland Prize.”

christmas llights.jpg

Attend Candlelight Eve Service. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without attending the Candlelight Eve Service at our church. Not only do we attend, but we also make it a point to invite neighbors and friends who may not otherwise know about the event.

Host a treasure hunt. Each Christmas Eve, my husband and I write numerous “sticky notes” with clues on them for each of our girls. We then place them strategically around the house. On Christmas Day, the girls race to find clues, and subsequently, one of their Christmas gifts. Treasure hunts are fun, and if you have a zany sense of humor like the Zeller parents, try to rhyme the clues with silly words.

Collect an ornament a year. When we decorate the tree, I love the memories that go with each decoration. From the time I was born, my grandma, Nanie, would give each grandchild a decoration each year for Christmas. That has expanded into decorations for each great-grandchild. Not only does Nanie supply her grands and great-grands with homemade decorations, but we also pick out a special ornament as a family to add to our tree each year.

Give an ornament to each of your children each year the day after Thanksgiving. Better yet? Encourage your children or grandchildren to create a special Christmas decoration for the tree. Homemade ornaments are by far the best!

Christmas decoration 4

Remember Christmas songs of old. Why not make it a tradition to go Christmas caroling? Around the neighborhood, downtown, in businesses (with the owner’s/manager’s permission) or, better yet, nursing homes would love to have their residents cheered with the voices of carolers. Bring along a few generic wrapped gifts to hand out to those residents who might not otherwise receive a gift. Suggestions may include fuzzy socks, a pretty journal, or fragrance-free hand lotion.

Bake and deliver goodies. Our family enjoys the tradition of making Christmas goodies and delivering them to neighbors and those in our community who have blessed us throughout the year.

Christmas cookies.jpg

Partake in a board game. A friend of mine plays board games with his family to determine who chooses/opens the next Christmas gift.

It’s never too late to start a Christmas tradition that can be passed on to further generations. When your children and grandchildren are all grown, they will have fond memories of the traditions you embraced and cherished as a family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 fun Christmas stocking stuffer ideas

 

stocking stuffers

Looking for some stocking-stuffer ideas this Christmas? Look no further! Here is a list of 21 fun ideas for just about everyone on your list.

  • Have a game lover on your list? The Emoji Uno game is sure to draw some laughs and doesn’t take up much space on the game shelf. Tenzi is another fun family game that is small and convenient for travel.

 

  • You can’t go wrong with fun snacks. From theater-box sized candy to sunflower seeds, Superseedz pumpkin seeds, or Skinny Pop for the health-conscious individual. One of my personal favorite finds for my chocoholic husband is an allergy-friendly candy bar by Enjoy Life, which is gluten free, nut free, and dairy free.

 

  • Looking for something totally unique? Check out these alpaca hats. Durable, warm, and lovingly made, they are perfect for that special person on your stocking-stuffer list. While you’re at the website, check out the awesome and unique variety of alpaca socks, gloves, and mittens. There are even alpaca dryer balls. Especially neat because they are made and produced on a small, family-owned alpaca farm.

 

  • A nice set of Bible highlighters is a hit for anyone wanting to highlight those special verses in the Bible.

 

  • I would be completely remiss as an author if I didn’t mention books. From fiction romance novels to cookbooks to a small Bible for convenient carrying in a purse, no one can ever have too many books. 🙂

 

  • A homemade coupon book with coupons for a free car detailing, a massage, homemade dinner, babysitting services, or a variety of other ideas is sure to be treasured. It also is a gift that keeps on giving since the coupons can be redeemed over time.

 

  • No matter what the age of the person on your stocking-stuffer list, everyone enjoys a warm cozy pair of slippers. These Snoozies are especially warm and comfortable.

 

  • For the person dealing with sore muscles? The Gofit Polar Roller massage tool is the perfect gift. (The small print: If you are suffering from pain, please check with your doctor before using).

 

  • A travel pillow is a nifty idea for the person on the go.

 

  • What about that person on your list with the goofy sense of humor? This Poo-Pouri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray comes in a variety of scents and includes hilarious witty print on the bottle.

 

 

 

  • A journal is a perfect gift. Ones with Bible verses are especially heartwarming.

 

Christmas presents

  • Have a book lover on your stocking stuffer list? Check out these comfortable (and hilarious!) Periodical Perfection Socks, aka library card socks. This gift is truly unique and sure to draw some great conversations about the good old days when library cards were handwritten and hand-stamped.

 

  • It wasn’t that long ago that famous authors typed their manuscripts on typewriters. No backspace key to erase, no word count, and no other modern conveniences. Can you imagine? For the sentimental person on your list, check out this box of notebook paper in the shape of a mini typewriter. Perfect for those on-the-go notes, and even includes “watermarks just like vintage typewriter paper.”

 

  • Have a waffle lover on your list this Christmas? The Dash Mini Maker makes individual waffles, paninis, and hash browns. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, aqua, silver, copper, and white.

 

  • Winter can bring some pretty nasty things…like ice. These Stabilicers snap on to the bottom of shoes and provide more traction on slippery days. A great gift idea for  just about anyone.

 

 

  • All right, so I realize it’s winter and in some places of the country (where I live, included!) flip flops are not a wise choice for navigating your way through tall snowdrifts. However, there are so many cute varieties of flip flops and (thinking optimistically) summer is just around the corner, right? Besides, a girl can never have too many shoes.

 

  • You can’t go wrong with a BPA-free water bottle for the exercise enthusiast, or for anyone who wants to stay healthy by drinking more water.

 

  • Most of us struggle with keeping our earbuds tangle free. This earbud cord wrap, called The Loop, solves the problem. As they say on their website, “Have fun untangling your life!”

 


**Disclaimer: I do not receive any monetary compensation from any of the companies/links listed here. These ideas are merely ideas I have discovered and found to be good ideas for stocking stuffers.

 

 

 

 

Movie Monday: A Bramble House Christmas

Movie Monday bramble house (2)

Willa and her son, Scout, have faced a difficult past two years. When the nurse’s aide receives a large monetary inheritance and a chance to stay at the Bramble House for Christmas, her life changes.

Finn and his sister Molly hadn’t seen their dad in years. When they receive news that he has passed away and left money to a nurse’s aide, they decide to find out Willa’s motive. With only a matter of days to file the injunction, what will Finn discover about Willa?

When Finn meets Willa, his heart softens. Could this kind single mother really have swindled his father and conned him into leaving her his estate?

When Willa discovers Finn’s true motive for staying at Bramble House, will she forgive him? And what of the friendship her son has forged with Finn?

A Bramble House Christmas is one of those movies that engages you from the beginning. The characters drew me into their story, and I enjoyed it from the second it started to the second it ended. Major themes such as love, hope, forgiveness, and humility all play roles in this Hallmark movie. There are moments of romance, drama, and humor woven throughout.

I give A Bramble House Christmas a hearty five stars out of five. There is nothing objectionable, and I would highly recommend this movie for tweens and up.

the importance of gratitude

the importance of gratitude

My oldest daughter is a logophile – someone who loves words. Every day, before I begin work, she opens a tab on my computer for Dictionary.com for the “word  of the day.”

Today’s word? Thanksgiver. The definition, according to Dictionary.com is a person who gives thanks.

An appropriate word for all times of the year, but perhaps more easily remembered during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Why should we express our gratitude to God?

Below are a few of the many reasons.

  • He is deserving of our praise.

Psalm 9 1

  • He tells us to “…give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18a). Not always easy in those times of trial that we all experience. But His grace and mercy sees us through even the worst of times.

 

  • He gave us eternal life. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) 

 

  • When we have a grateful heart, we are less apt to complain or look dismally at our circumstances, no matter how bleak they may seem.

Charles Dickens

  • It reminds us how dependent we are on Him.

 

  • His love endures forever (Psalm 136:1).

Psalm 136_1

  • It is a way to express worship to our Creator.

 

  • A grateful heart comes humbly before the  Lord and realizes all that He has done.

 

  • Gratitude reminds us of how much we have, not how much we lack.

Melody Beattie

One of the ways I have found to be especially important in showing thankfulness is by staring a gratitude journal.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Any notebook will do. At the end of each day, list the things you are grateful for. It’s amazing the things we forget.

How often do I thank the Lord for His many blessings? The gift of His Son? Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross? That He chose me to be His? For food on the table? Good health for my family and me? His protection? My husband’s job?

Speaking of His protection, how many times does God protect us and we don’t even realize it? The car accident that could have happened. The illness we avoided. The lurking, unseen dangers that He has saved us from. By His grace, we emerged unscathed from potential dangers we never even gave thought to.

Not only today, but everyday, be a thanksgiver. Come before the Throne with humility, thanksgiving, and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

How do you express your gratitude to the Lord?


 

For another post about gratitude, see Thankful for the Small Things.

For more posts in The Importance Series, check out the following:

The Importance of Relying on God

The Importance of Friendship

The Importance of Compassion

The Importance of Honesty

The Importance of Avoiding the Gossip Trap

The Importance of Influence

The Importance of Kindness

The Importance of Voting