Book Giveaway of 140 Books!!!

Hello Everyone!

Hope your week is off to a great start.  I am thrilled to be a part of Book Fun Magazine’s Signature Library Contest extravaganza…

Book Fun Magazine is giving away 140 books by more than 100 authors of which I am one of. The Signature Library Contest details can be found in the magazine. One winner will get first choice of 30 books, the next person 20, 5 people will pick 10…. it will be awesome. Just register for the magazine and you are entered… 80 pages of great articles too!

Book Fun Magazine really is a fantastic  and professionally compiled magazine that informs readers and book clubs, but it also helps writers as well. In the November issue, best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs graces the cover and there are even some tasty recipes, a book review, and articles about thankfulness and about establishing a family book club. And one of the best parts about the magazine – it’s free! (but you do have to sign up to receive it. 🙂

Speaking of which, while you are visiting the Book Fun Magazine, would you please click on my book cover for McKenzie? By doing so, you will help me to win a fun competition between the authors. (Hint…McKenzie is at the top of page 64 in the magazine 🙂 By clicking on McKenzie in the actual Book Fun Magazine, it will take you to my website. Here is the link for for more details: http://www.bookfun.org/ and a direct link to the magazine: http://www.bookfunmagazine.com/i/90331

Thank you for taking the time to enter this contest…I can’t wait to see who wins all of those books!

5 Ways to Bless Others and a Giveaway!

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week, I’m giving away a signed copy of my book 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a DifferenceIdeas and Activities for Serving Others

Resolve every day to make a difference in the life of someone else…

Simply telling our kids to love their neighbor isn’t enough. They need to see and experience love in action. This was the springboard for my book 77 Ways, which includes practical service ideas for a variety of budgets, Bible verses to help children connect God’s truth to their lives, and interactive discussion questions to help families understand the importance of each activity and correlate it to God’s Word.

In addition to families, these ideas and activities can be easily adapted to use with youth groups, Sunday School classes, home school curriculums, small-groups, and church-wide community projects.

Entering to win is super easy, and I’ll explain that in a few moments at the end of this post. In the meantime, here are some easy ways you and your family can bless others:

1. Clothing – experts say if you haven’t worn something in the past two years, pass it on.

  • Check your community for places that take used clothing. Homeless shelters and the Salvation Army or Goodwill are just a few suggestions.
  • Dress for Success accepts nice women’s clothing that can be given to disadvantaged women, those exiting the prison system in search of employment, or those in need of clothing for a job interview. God has used this organization to bless those seeking a second chance. For more information, see the website for Dress for Success.

2. Toys – why not bless a needy child with a gently loved toy?

  • Know a foster parent? Might their foster child(ren) need toys or clothes?
  • You can also check with your community Department of Social Services to see if there is someone in need.
  • The Salvation Army/Goodwill are good choices as well.

3. Books  -If you have extra Bibles or other books in your home, there are plenty of places to donate them:

  • Love Packages accepts Bibles, Christian books and magazines, tracts, and hymnals. They distribute these items to numerous countries and into the hands of those who are hungry for the Word of God.  Be sure to check their website for a detailed list on what Love Packages does and does not accept.
  • Send your books to Hands for Christ. They found Lending Libraries in other countries and lend out Christian items to new believers. More information can be found here.
  • Why not donate some of your items to your church library? Be sure to check (and double-check!) your items for content. The Bible warns us in 1 Corinthians 10:32 of causing others to stumble. Make sure your donated books, DVDs, and videos are clean and wholesome family-oriented material.

4. Other items –

  • Have some clean plastic cottage cheese or butter containers? Check to see if your church needs these containers for leftover meals at funerals, etc. Also, if you have other clean “Glad” or “Tupperware” containers you aren’t using, these can be donated as well.
  • What to do with all those Christmas cards (as well as other occasion cards) you receive this year? Donate cards to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children at their Card Recycling Program.
  • Could your local Habit for Humanity use your gently used household items, such as ceiling fans or doors?

Feeling inspired to help others? Before you get started please check out these rules of thumb:

  • Always ask someone in your family, immediate and extended, if they need the item first. First Timothy 5:8 tells us to first provide for our relatives.
  • Do you know any widows or single moms who could use the items? James 1:27 instructs us to take care of the widows and orphans.
  • Do NOT pass on anything you wouldn’t use or wear yourself (i.e., junk). Clothes with stains and holes, books with pages ripped out of them, scratched DVDs, or expired food that doesn’t have a place in your home certainly won’t be welcome (or appreciated) in someone else’s.
  • Always call first to see if donations are being accepted. Some places are inundated with items and are therefore not accepting donations at this time. Please be respectful of their donation criteria.
  • Most importantly, pray for God’s guidance as you seek to find who could use your gently used items.

And now, to win a copy of  77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference all you have to do is leave a comment about your favorite way to bless someone else. For example, how do you and your family encourage others? 

A winner will be chosen at random. Sorry, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. For an extra entry, please “like” my Facebook author page. Giveaway ends on November 8, 2012.

Stay tuned for the details on who won Deb Raney’s three-book Hanover Falls Series coming soon!

 

And the winners are…

Ooooohhhh! I love to announce winners! And this week I have two to announce…

First of all, thank you to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment. I appreciate you all sooooo much and I know my author friends do too. All right, and now for the winners…

The winner of Lisa Buffaloe’s touching book Nadia’s Hope is Mary Ann Frerichs!

And the winner of Darlene Franklin’s historical romance novel A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas is Maxie Lloyd Hamilton Anderson!

Both of these books are definitely worth the read, so if you didn’t win, check them out on Amazon or anywhere books are sold.

Also, if you haven’t signed up to win Deb Raney’s fantastic three-book collection, there’s still time! Just go here.

Join me every other Thursday for interviews and giveaways with some of my favorite author friends.

Interview and Giveaway with Darlene Franklin

I am excited to have Author Darlene Franklin as my guest this week! Darlene’s latest book A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas is up for grabs to one lucky commenter! More on that later. For now, let’s find out about this awesome-sounding book and the author behind it!

Here is a blurb about A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas…

Penniless and brokenhearted following her mother’s death, Blanche Lamar is surprised to receive a mysterious summons from a father she’s never met. Then ship purser Ike Gallagher informs her that her father, Captain J.O. Lamar, has died and left her the steamboat Cordelia as her inheritance.

In spite of her reservations about life aboard a steamboat and without other resources, Blanche agrees to travel downriver from Roma, Texas, and talk with her father’s lawyers. She soon discovers a different side to her father as she’s befriended by the curmudgeonly pilot, Old Obie. As Obie teaches her to pilot the steamboat, he also encourages her to trust her growing feelings toward Ike, something she’s resisting.

But as circumstances conspire to tear Blanche and Ike apart, they must act on faith or sink a possibility of a future together.
Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful plot? I haven’t yet read this book,  but I have it on my TBR list! Now, let’s take a minute and get to know Darlene Franklin…

Hello Darlene! Thank you for being my guest this week. What was your inspiration behind A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas

The publisher (Barbour) had asked for romances set in actual towns, so I chose Roma, Texas, as my setting. Add to the discovery of Roma’s importance as the westernmost port of steamboat trade on the Rio Grande the account of a female pilot, and I had the basic inspiration for my story. My heroine is a pilot, of course, and what self-respecting steamboat story is complete with a poker game? So my hero is the resident gambler.

Ooh, your book sounds sooooo good, Darlene! Speaking of books, what is your favorite book of the Bible and why?

Good question! Almost any one of Paul’s epistles, probably either Romans or Philippians. Romans explains our faith in such straightforward language. It also contains some of my favorite verses. Chapter 5 also speaks to me about the role of tribulations in making us hopeful. I have memorized chapter 8, which starts with the affirmation there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and ends with the promise that nothing can separate us from His love. Those verses have been lifelines for me more than once.

I agree, Darlene! Both Romans and Philippians are great books of the Bible and are so full of the riches of Scripture. I’m going to switch topics now. J  If you were suddenly given one million dollars, what charity would you like to found and why?

An unexpected question! I might set up a charity to raise awareness among the Christian community regarding mental illness and to help families with mentally ill dependents. My daughter suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. Resources for respite care were few and far between. Especially among Christians, mental illness is often misunderstood. With the statistics of one out of every four Americans struggling with it, it touches nearly every household.

Sorry about the unexpected question, Darlene! I have to admit this is one of my favorite questions to ask my guests. Your charity is definitely a worthwhile and needed charity. Thank you for openly sharing about your daughter.

Darlene, where can readers connect with you?

I have a weekly blog: http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook, and I have an author’s page at Amazon.

Thank you, Darlene, for being my guest. It is such an honor to have you here!

About Darlene: Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in Oklahoma near her son’s family.

Darlene loves music, needlework, reading, and reality TV. She has published several titles with Barbour Publishing, including her two latest releases, A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, and Merry Christmas, With Love, in Postmark: Christmas. She has also written two books in the Texas Trails series with RiverNorth Fiction, Lone Star Trail and A Ranger’s Trail. She’s a member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers.

And now, readers, here’s your chance to win a copy of A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas! Leave an encouraging comment for Darlene. A winner will be chosen at random. Sorry this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. If you are a subscriber to this blog, you will receive two entries.  The contest ends on October 11, 2012.

Without Expectation (Guest Post and Giveaway)

I am excited to be back to blogging again! After a month off, it’s great to be return to writing movie reviews, humor and inspirational posts, and hosting some of my favorite author friends. Speaking of favorite author friends…today I have a special guest. Lisa Buffaloe has written a wonderful post about following the Lord. Lisa is the host of Living Joyfully Radio and is also an author. She is giving away a copy of her latest book Nadia’s Hope to one lucky commenter. But more about that at the end of the post. For now, let’s enjoy Lisa’s article…

Without Expectation By Lisa Buffaloe

 

I’ve been a blogger and writer for years. I’ve attended writer conferences and mentoring clinics, been blessed with a wonderful literary agent, and worked on honing my craft. I thought I knew where God was leading. Then last year, He opened a door to become a radio host. Me? Whimper.

After much prayer, and God’s assurance, I jumped into a new adventure. Equipment, software, and domain names were purchased for Living Joyfully Free Radio. A website was established, and I contacted people to be interviewed. No compensation is received. However the joy and blessings of sharing these wonderful testimonies about our amazing God are worth every moment of time, money, and effort.

Then God called me to step away from my sweet agent and go out into the publishing world on my own. More whimpering. God’s Spirit kept whispering into my soul that my journey would not be like the rest, but to keep my eyes on Him.

However, I want to follow others and the typical pathways. I’m a Buffaloe. Shouldn’t I be traveling in the herd?

So now I’m hiring editors to make sure my work is the best possible, and I’m publishing the stories God has blessed me to write. I’m still scared. I still don’t understand. But I know I am to be obedient. And not only obedient but to live without expectations of what God will do on each of these adventures.

I’m still whimpering, but I want to please God above pleasing man. I want to live my life however God sees fit, to be used in whatever way He chooses. I’m clinging to God, His word, and His promises. And I’m living without expectations in the freedom and excitement of being and becoming who God wants me to be.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Deuteronomy 31:8, Philippians 2:13 NLT)

What expectations have you placed on yourself and on God?

Lisa Buffaloe is an avid blogger, writer, speaker, and host for Living Joyfully Free Radio. Her past experiences—molestation by a baby-sitter, assault, rape by a doctor, divorce, being stalked, cancer, death of loved ones, seven surgeries, and eleven years of chronic illness from Lyme Disease—bless her with a backdrop to share about God’s unending love and that through Him we find healing, restoration, and renewal. She is the author of Nadia’s Hope, Prodigal Nights, Grace for the Char-Baked and a contributing author of The One Year Book of Joy and Laughter.

Lisa is giving away a copy of her latest book, Nadia’s Hope. Here is the blurb…

The Nightmares continue. Memories won’t heal. Nadia must make a choice. Nadia Minsky fled Israel to escape her past, but she can’t outrun her nightmares. The throbbing scars along her hip and stomach are cruel reminders of shattered dreams. Even though surgeons mended her body, her spirit still bleeds. Friends claim only God can heal her. For Nadia, trusting a God who allowed her to suffer is inconceivable. Can close friends, a wild roommate, and a handsome medical student help Nadia learn to trust? Or will her past forever cripple her future?

For a chance to win Nadia’s Hope, leave an encouraging comment for Lisa and/or answer her question above about what expectations you have placed on yourself and on God. A winner will be chosen at random and the contest is open to everyone. However, if you are a subscriber to this blog, you will receive two entries.  If a winner from outside the U.S. is chosen, they will receive the ebook version. The contest ends on September 27, 2012.

Join me on Mondays for Movie Monday and on alternating Thursdays for two-week giveaways. On the other Thursdays, join me for humor and inspirational posts. Until then, have a great week!

And the winners are…

I am thrilled to announce the winners for two of my previous giveaways. The winner of Deborah H. Bateman’s awesome book Beatitudes: How to Live a Blessed Life is…

Nancy Meacham Cole!

And the winner of Matt Patterson’s touching and heartwarming My Emily is…

Janet Estridge!

Congratulations Nancy and Janet! I will be in touch with you shortly. Thank you to everyone who entered. Be sure to stop by tomorrow when I’ll have my awesome author friend, Lisa Buffaloe, here to share and offer a giveaway of her new book Nadia’s Hope. I also have some fantastic other giveaways coming up with some of my favorite author friends including Deborah Raney, Darlene Franklin, JoAnn Durgin, and Sharon Srock just to name a few.

Also, each Monday, I’ll continue to have movie reviews from a Christian worldview of suggestions for your next family movie night. You can read the archives here.  Every other Thursday, I’ll be including my humor and inspirational posts.  You won’t want to miss one of my most popular inspirational posts 7 Ways to Encourage Your Children and one of my most popular humor posts You Might Be an Historical Fiction Author If…

Thank you, as always, for taking time to stop by and read my blog.  I appreciate you so much.

Have a blessed week!

Penny

 

TBCN Interview with Nora St. Laurent (with special giveaways!!!)

I am honored to have Nora St. Laurent as my guest this week. She is the CEO of The Book Club Network, a popular and well-known online book club that points readers to the best in Christian fiction. Be sure to visit The Book Club Network’s website all this month for their birthday bash, which will include book giveaways – 10 each day!

I will be giving away a copy of each of my Montana Skies Series – McKenzie, Kaydie, and Hailee as well and I’ve included some fun chit-chat questions for my readers on TBCN’s page. My guest dates will be August 28-31.

Good Morning, Nora. What inspired you start TBCN?

The Book Club Network was born out of a desire to share Christian Fiction authors with other book clubs, share book club ideas with other leaders and to encourage the authors who are writing such amazing books. The economy has been really tough for a few years and people are not parting with money like they used to. Through TBCN they can take their time and find the right book or win it. We have give away opportunities each month. ALL of our contests are from the 19th – 21st of the month.

I run two face to face book clubs one at the Christian Book Store I work at and the other at the church I attend. It’s a position I never imagined I’d be in since I didn’t read for pleasure much before I started working in a Christian book store 11 years ago.

But since I love talking with people and the main thing to talk about in a book store is books I started reading Christian Fiction (publishers sent ARC copies to our store and I started checking them out) The first book that rocked my world and got me hooked in Christian Fiction was a book by Linda Nichols called Not a Sparrow Falls her next book did me in and I couldn’t stop talking about it, At the Scent of Water was her next book that prompted me to contact the author and let her know how much her book touched my spirit.

After reading these two books and telling customers about these reads I had a reason to read.  These books spoke to me because I wasn’t expecting it. It reminded me of the stories in the bible. Jesus is the greatest story teller and He knew a story could change a life or prick our spirit and move us in a direction we never thought we’d be in.

I tell you all that to say I’m dyslexic and I have not been a fan of reading. Movies were more my thing. I could watch a movie of a book and have a lot more fun. Reading Christian Fiction changed my life in more ways than one.  I wanted to tell everyone about the greatest book I read, and I’d do that at the book store.  It was possible to talk about the new book I read and loved for about a month or more but when At the Scent of Water and Not a Sparrow Falls were not on the shelf anymore, I had to find some other books to talk about at work.  I’m not a very fast reader so; discovering the next new book was a challenge. Would I get the book read before it disappeared from the shelf?  How long do books live on a book shelf? The shelf life of a book was a mystery to me and still is.

I was whining to my husband Fred about my problem. How can I get the word out about great books for a very long period of time??? Being a man who likes to face challenges head we began to talk about how we could do this and the fact that I can’t read books fast enough to keep up with it’s shelf life at the store.

I also told him as a book club leader I wanted to promote great books and share them with other groups. Not everyone has the advantage of working at a book store and see what new books hit the shelves each week. Another struggle I had was if I had an author speaking at my book club I wanted to share them with other book clubs in the area. How could I do that? Where are book clubs meeting?

Our answer to many of these questions and more was the birth of The Book Club Network – TBCN. Connecting authors to book clubs and readers to their books; it’s also a network of book clubs as they post what they’ve read and how the meeting turned out.

It’s a place to find where a book club is located. We have a member map where you can find a book club near you. Message them and see if they are accepting new members. I envision it to be similar to be similar to the Weight Watchers program (don’t laugh Grin) you can go to a meeting anywhere in the country right? All you have to do is look on line and get connected. This is my hope for the future of TBCN.

Have there been any surprises for you @TBCN? What benefits have you seen by bringing readers and authors together?

I’ve been encouraged and fascinated by our growth. I can see there were other people out there like me wanting to connect with other book club members.

I’ll tell you what has surprised me is the author/reader interaction each month. This is something I didn’t foresee as I’ve watch the authors are having a blast interacting with the readers and visa/versa. The beauty of this discussion is it’s there forever for all to read no matter when you join TBCN.

The authors have done a great job coming up with questions for reader to answer that give them a peek into their book – create interest and then the discussion helps book club leaders connect with the author. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of authors that want to be featured @The Book Club Network. It’s been a great thing.

The interaction with the authors is almost like having a book club meeting on line. It’s a huge benefit for both the authors who’ve wanted to ask clubs questions and readers who want to get to know authors. The authors are catching on. Our sponsors have loved the interaction as well. Members have told me that they love the author interaction from the 19th-21st as much as having a chance to win all these books. It’s hard to know if a book will be a fit for your group so these interaction times are helpful for that and so much more. Another thing I love about TBCN members is the fact they are not afraid to share what they think in a good way. I’ve learned so much and laughed out loud in some discussion where the questions lead to sharing funny moments.

My hope is that book club leaders and/or members participate in the discussions and make that book connection with the author and their book. I want TBCN to be a tool for them in picking out their books. Maybe invite the author to speak to their book club on the phone. It’s my hope. The discussion will be there forever. No worries about a books shelf live here @TBCN. So, everyone has time to get to know each other!! It’s a beautiful thing!

How can readers join in the anniversary celebrations?

It’s easy to sign up to be a member of TBCN.  We ask a few questions for you to answer and for other information that helps us keep spammers and other information seekers out of the network. It’s also FREE. You have opportunities to win lots of books. For our BIRTHDAY BASH we are giving away 10 books a day and announcing winners once a week. You’ll have all week to enter the daily featured contests.

Do you have any other comments for my readers?

If you are avid reader this is the place for you to learn about the latest in Christian Fiction and interact with the author each month.

Are you a book club leader? Well this is the place for you to find your next book club pick. We’d also love for you to set up your Book club page at our site for others to see. It’s a place to share your latest featured book. Post pictures of your club and the field trips you’ve taken. The authors you’ve met and the book fun you’ve had. Learn from other book clubs that have already set up their pages.

Want to start a book club but felt it was too overwhelming? You can learn from other experienced book club leaders, and you can start right away making your book club list!

Do you like to win books? This is the place for you. You’ll have a chance to get to know the authors and their books and read genre’s you normally wouldn’t. We’ve been giving away about 100 books a month and for our birthday bash it’s going to be 10 books every day; starting August first. Winners are picked weekly and announced each weekly.

THANK YOU! You’ve been a grand host to have me here and let me talk about The Book Club Network and our Birthday Bash!! I hope to see you there @TBCN www.bookfun.org

You are a Blessing!!

Nora :o)

The Book Club Network CEO

Thank you, Nora, for being my guest! Don’t forget to pop on over to TBCN’s website for your many chances to win all through the month of August!

Nora Stlaurent’s Bio: Nora is the CEO of The Book Club Network Incorporated. Nora and her husband run The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org She runs two book clubs near Atlanta, Ga., Former ACFW On-Line Book Club. Nora currently writes a Book Club column for the Christian Fiction OnLine Magazine and is a Book Club Talk Columnist for Novel Rocket. You can read author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog, located at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com, and reviews around the web at The Christian Pulse Mag, Title Trakk, Novel Reviews, and Suspense Zone.

Special Guest Author Matt Patterson and a Giveaway!

I am thrilled to have as my guest this week Author Matt Patterson.  Matt’s recent release My Emily has been the recipient of several awards. It’s the story about his sweet daughter, Emily, who was born with Down Syndrome. Two years later, she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

I haven’t yet had the chance to read this book, although I am really looking forward to it. It has earned high praise from reviewers and my grandma said it was touching and a definite “must read.”  Matt is offering a copy of My Emily to one lucky winner. If the winner is from the U.S., they can choose between an ebook or paperbook version. If the winner is from outside the U.S., they will win an ebook copy. Details are at the conclusion of the post.

Here’s the blurb:

This book tells the story of a hurting family, an amazing little girl and a mysteriously faithful God.

Emily wasn’t born perfect – so one might think.

She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever – or so one might think.

The life of this little girl, with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met. She also taught them how to value their own lives – even with their many “imperfections.”

Note: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help families with special needs children, those who are battling pediatric cancers, as well as parents grieving the loss of a little one.

Matt agreed to stop by and share a bit about pouring out your heart in times of difficulty.

The Emotional Guts of a Man

Pouring Out Your Heart – Putting It on Paper

 

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
― C.S. Lewis

I’m a guy.

An ordinary guy.

I’m just like any other guy – especially when it comes to grief.

Most men – not all – do not like to show any signs of vulnerability or weakness, particularly when it comes to our spouses, children, co-workers and those closest to us.

We need to be strong.

We need to be invincible.

In reality, what we really need to be is … real.

Open.

Honest.

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t waited so long to take my own advice.

It was some five years after the passing of my daughter before I made the first real effort to release my grief and/or fear. This “release” finally came in the form of my weekly newspaper column. Emily’s birthday was just a few short days away and my heart was absolutely aching.

I could put it on paper. It could be quick, but it surely wasn’t easy or painless.

I sat at my out-of-date computer and spoke to my reflection on the screen while quickly pounding the keyboard with my fingers.

I poured out my heart. I shared the excitement of having our first child as well as the sudden heartbreak of being told our daughter was born with Down syndrome. There were moments of healing as I wrote of her smile and rocking her to sleep. Anguish would return to the screen as I shared her diagnosis and treatment of leukemia.

I didn’t tell my wife I was writing it. I told no one. One fellow writer and my editor were the first to experience my screams of sorrow from what felt like clenched teeth. My wife wouldn’t even know about the column until I brought home a copy of the paper that evening.

“You might want to read my column on page two,” I said. She was sitting in our blue recliner. I can remember as if it was yesterday. Not long after, we cried, smiled and hugged. It felt good to get it out. Mind you, there was still plenty of scar tissue remaining, but this was a first step.

Sometimes we have to stop before moving forward, although I didn’t think it would be another 15 years before I would sit down to pen My Emily.

The scriptures teach us to … “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

How many times have we heard, “It’s not healthy to keep all that bottled up inside of you.”?

Well, they’re right. It’s not healthy.

It’s not easy to let it all out, either.

It takes time.

In just a matter of weeks, it will be 22 years since Emily’s passing. One reader shared in a review, Too often men in crisis keep their emotions bottled up and coast on what seems like auto-pilot which can be incredibly difficult for women to process.”

That was me.

All bottled up.

Don’t bring up the past.

We’re moving forward.

I’m strong.

I’m the leader.

Unfortunately, there were moments when the cork on the bottle would pop and emotions, mostly anger, would flow. Later came the feelings of guilt, sorrow and embarrassment for acting in such a way.

Guys, I ask that you “cast all your anxiety on Him.” Find a quiet, personal place daily and let God have it – your love, heartache, as well as your anger. He truly wants you to come to him. Let it out.

I also ask that you pray with your wives. Maybe it’s been years since you’ve done so. That’s ok. The best time to start is now. Be the husband and father your family needs, wants and desires.

Last, but not least, I ask that you go to the store and buy yourself a notebook. Here, you begin to pour out your heart – the bad and the good. Turn off the television for just a few minutes and take time every day to do this. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re not being graded. For now, it’s your story and no one else’s.

I urge wives to pray for their husbands. If you’ve both battled through loss, heartache and hardship – go up to him and take his hand. Look deep into his eyes and tell him you love him. Share with him your fears.

I’m not an expert. I would never claim to have all the answers.

What I do have is a story.

And so do you.

Put it on paper. One day, you may just want to share it and help others.

Matt Patterson is an award-winning writer, editor, communications professional and inspirational speaker. His first book – My Emily – has been selected as a finalist for the 2012 National Indie Excellence Book Awards,  2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the 2012 Readers Favorite Book Awards. His background includes two-plus decades of experience include public and media relations, as well as print and broadcast journalism. He volunteers his time to helping organizations and charities dedicated to assisting families with children who have special needs or those battling pediatric cancers. He resides in Arizona.

Websites:  http://mattpatterson.me   http://www.my-emily.com

Twitter: @myemily_thebook

Wow! Powerful stuff!

And now, here’s all you have to do for a chance to win: leave an encouraging comment for Matt,  and yes, anyone can enter and subscribers to this blog always receive an additional entry, but if you stop by and “like” Matt’s Facebook Page you’ll receive two entries.   Giveaway ends August 9, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random.

And the winners are…

Yay! We have some winners to announce! A big “thank you” to everyone who stops by and enters to win the books of my author friends. I really appreciate you all! And now, drumroll please…

The winner of the mystery novel The Secret of the Love Letters by K. Dawn Byrd is…

Ruth Cox!

And the winner of Diana Brandmeyer’s historical romance A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee is…

Ginger!

Congratulations, Ruth and Ginger! Dawn and Diana will be contacting you shortly regarding your win.

Again, thank you to everyone who stops by and enters to win. I am taking a break this week due to an abundance of things on my plate. I will be back next week with a new movie review, inspirational post, and giveaway. You won’t want to miss my next giveaway – its from a talented author whose book will touch your heart! Also, if you haven’t read it already, my most recent devotional The Game of Life was written by my tween daughter (her first ever devotional!) and can be found here.

In the meantime, would you please pray for my mom? She broke her shoulder in five places during a hiking trip a couple days ago. She is in an intense amount of pain, and may require surgery on Monday if the bones don’t fuse together on their own. Sadly, her prognosis of ever having use of her arm again is low. But we serve an awesome God – the Great Physician – and we are praying for complete healing for her. Would you join me in that prayer and for wisdom and direction for the doctor? Thank you SO much and I’ll see you next week!

Book Spotlight and Giveaway with Author K. Dawn Byrd!!!

I am excited to spotlight my author friend K. Dawn Byrd’s book The Secret of the Love Letters this week on my blog! Dawn’s book is the first in the Zoe Mack Mystery Series. While I haven’t yet read it, it sounds like a suspenseful read full of adventure that introduces readers to detective Zoe Mack.

Here is a bit about The Secret of the Love Lettersthe first in the series…

Zoe’s cousin Emma thinks she’s the recipient of some sick joke when an old boyfriend she thought dead shows up on the internet. Can Zoe solve the mystery that’s causing Emma so much pain?

When Zoe Mack moves in with her grandparents to start college, she’s thrown into more mystery than she bargained for. Her cousin, Emma, is terrorized by a stalker who breaks into her house and leaves a photo-shopped image of Emma hanging from a tree. Nothing is as it seems and Emma soon learns that even the man she thinks she can trust is suspect.

And now, a bit about the author…

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense with seven books published so far. Recently, she tried her hand at young adult fiction and found that she really enjoyed writing it, which led to a contract for four young adult books for 2012.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com, most of which are signed by the authors. She’s also the moderator of the popular facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=128209963444.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

And now, here’s your chance to win a copy of Dawn’s new book! Anyone – yes, even international readers! All you have to do is leave an encouraging comment for Dawn. Yep, that’s all there is to it!  And for this giveaway, I’m giving an extra entry to those who “like” my FB page. Go to the right sidebar and scroll down a bit to “Let’s Connect on Facebook”  or find it at https://www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks

A winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends July 5, 2012.

Don’t forget! Today is the last day to enter to win Diana Brandmeyer’s historical romance novel A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee. You can enter by leaving a comment here.

Today is also the last day to enter to win Deborah Bateman’s Bible Study on the Beatitudes. You can enter by leaving a comment here.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog. Happy entering!