vote for the book trailer you like best and win!

Since it’s been awhile since we’ve had a giveaway…

Leave a comment about which book trailer you like best and I’ll pick a winner from all of the entries to win a copy of the corresponding book!

Is it the book trailer for Kaydie, Book #2 in the Montana Skies Historical Romance Series –

Here’s the blurb:

Kaydie2

Haunted by her painful marriage, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer is determined never to fall in love again, and it will take the grace of God to change her mind—the same grace that works in the heart of ranch hand Jonah Dickenson, a confirmed bachelor who has unhealed wounds of his own to overcome.

 OR…

The trailer for Hailee,  Book #3 in the Montana Skies Historical Romance Series:

Here’s the blurb:

hailee (3)For years, orphan Hailee Annigan was just a ragamuffin in the Cincinnati streets, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed. Her thievery landed her in a home for delinquent youngsters, where her life was changed, thanks to her teachers. Now, nineteen-year-old Hailee excitedly heads to Montana to be a teacher, yet she’s still plagued by her shameful past and the fear of never seeing her brothers again.

Based on his upbringing in high-society Boston, no one would have guessed that Nate Adams would attend seminary and become a church pastor in rugged Montana. Even now, Nate’s parents refuse to put aside their own plans for his future and accept his calling.

When their paths converge, an immediate attraction draws Hailee and Nate together, even as the pressures and demands of others pull them apart. Can the unlikely pair come to terms with their pasts and face the future together?

While there’s not yet a trailer for the book that started the whole series, I invite you to check out McKenzie, Book #1 in the Montana Skies Historical Romance Series:

McKenzie2

Desperate to save her sister from an abusive husband, socialite McKenzie Worthington responds to a mail-order bride ad in the Montana Territory—where God-fearing rancher Zachary Sawyer prays for a wife to share his life. But when McKenzie arrives with a plan that includes divorce, will Zachary’s persistent kindness and self-sacrifice change her heart?

All books are available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook formats.

McKenzie is available at your favorite bookstore or –

Amazon

Christian Book Distributors

Kaydie is available at your favorite bookstore or –

Amazon

Christian Book Distributors

Hailee is available at your favorite bookstore or –

Soooo… now here’s your turn! Tell me which book trailer you liked best and I will choose a winner at random to win a copy of the corresponding book! And although McKenzie doesn’t have a book trailer, you can pick that book if you’d like a chance to win it instead.
The small print: Entering is super simple. Leave a comment below about which book trailer you liked best (or if you’d rather choose McKenzie). Anyone can enter, and if you’re a subscriber to this blog, you get an extra entry. 🙂 The winner will be chosen at random. If the winner resides in the U.S., they will have their choice of either a paperback or ebook version. If the winner resides outside of the U.S., they will receive an ebook copy. Contest expires November 1, 2013.
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Interview and Giveaway with Author Becky Lyles!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! I have one more giveaway for the year. I’ve been having issues with properly accessing my account, so I’ve had to delay the announcement of the winners for the past couple of giveaways, but no fear! I promise to randomly choose those winners and announce them soon.  Until then, enjoy this newest giveaway with featured guest, Becky Lyles!

Becky is the author of Winds of Wyoming. I haven’t yet read this book, but it sounds intriguing!  Below is the blurb:

RCLyles CoverFresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will trail as close as a shadow and imprison her once again.

And now, let’s meet the author behind the book…Hello Becky! Thank you for being my guest. What was your inspiration behind your latest book? My inspiration for writing Winds of Wyoming came late one night as I drove home from team-leading a Bible study at an Arizona women’s prison. Each time I visited the prison, I was struck by the similarities between the incarcerated women and myself. In the same way I loved my family, they loved theirs and longed to see and hold them, especially their children. We also had in common everyday struggles with relationships, forgiveness, transparency, obedience, health, finances, faith, and so much more.

For several years, I’d been trying to write about a woman who left the east coast to start a new life in Wyoming, where I grew up. But I could never come up with a strong enough motive for the move to create a plausible plotline. While driving through the dark desert that night, I realized challenges ex-offenders face when they return to society could provide the basis for my heroine’s obstacles. As believers, freed prisoners have the power of Christ to help them walk the narrow road; however, past failures and corrupt friends still haunt them and fight to drag them back to their former lifestyles. Kate Neilson’s story is one of a young ex-felon learning to live a new life in a new place as a forgiven daughter of the King.

Wow! I love the inspiration behind your book, Becky! Can you expound on the Christian message contained in Winds of Wyoming? One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Hope is a key theme in the book, as are transparency and forgiveness.

becky lylesSince we’re on the topic, what is your favorite book of the Bible? Wow, choosing a favorite book of the Bible is tough! Maybe I’ll narrow it down to Esther in the Old Testament and Philippians in the New Testament. I love the story aspect of Esther, the intrigue, the twists and turns, the astounding miracles, and God’s invisible presence behind every line. Philippians is short and simple yet contains so much wisdom and guidance. I rely on many of the verses for daily living, like 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” and 4:13 – “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Verse six of chapter one provided hope and power to endure through an especially difficult birth process: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I, too, love the books of Esther and Philippians. And now, while we’re on the subject of favorites” what is your favorite Scripture Verse? Yikes, another tough choice! One verse I really like is this NLT version of Exodus 34:14: “He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you.”

This question is so much fun to ask…what charity you would found if you were suddenly given 1 million dollars? I’d like to provide homes, jobs and healthcare for families and orphans around the world who have to live in garbage dumps and scavenge through the refuse as their way of earning an income.

Wow! Excellent charity! And lastly, Becky, where readers can find you on the web?

Website:http://www.beckylyles.com

Email: beckylyles@beckylyles.com

Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles

Twitter: @BeckyLyles

Blog: widgetwords.wordpress.com

Is there anything else you’d like to add? I’m in the midst of edits for the Winds of Wyoming sequel titled Winds of Freedom and scheduled to release next spring. Here’s a blurb about some of the characters:

Four women fight for freedom and wholeness—for themselves and each other. Kate Neilson’s own loss and heartache during a long cold winter take a backseat to the needs of her failing great-aunt plus those of her mother-in-law and her best friend, who’ve both been ensnared by evil.

We will keep a lookout for your next release, Becky! Thank you so much for being my guest. It has been awesome connecting with you online. Thank you, Penny, for this opportunity to talk about the Winds books. I enjoyed the visit and wish you and your readers God’s very best for 2013.

And now, readers, here’s your chance to win   all you have to do is leave an encouraging comment for Becky. 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 January 10, 2013.

Interview and Giveaway with Marriott Cole!

I am honored to have Marriott Cole as my guest. She will be giving away a copy of her new book Grace, Miracles and Chocolate to one lucky winner! I haven’t yet read this book, but it sounds like a must-have for your Christmas reading list. Following is the blurb:

Marriott Cole knows that sometimes it is difficult to trust God, especially during the most challenging moments. In her memoir, Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate, Cole chronicles a life with more than  its share of difficulties while demonstrating how she overcame tragedy through the miracle of prayer, laughter, and the grace of God’s love.

cover gmc-page-001Cole shares poignant anecdotes with accompanying Scripture, tracing her life journey beginning with the details of her first conversation with her birth mother. Despite the horrifying details of her conception, Cole describes how she was eventually led to forgiveness and to accept a second family into her heart. As she retraces her complex life and reveals her unique problem solving strategies, Cole details how she learned to rely on not only her faith, but also her inner strength as she bravely faced widowhood and the terrifying thought of raising seven children on her own,.

Grace, Miracles and Chocolate challenges spiritual seekers everywhere to either develop or rekindle a relationship with Jesus Christ and to always remember that He is with us–no matter what comes our way in life.

“This is an amazing story of God’s faithfulness, love and incredible miracles in the life of His faithful child. …Marriott is a real woman with real heartaches and triumphs. Her life story will touch many, many hearts…” Amy McGuire, author of The Heart’s Discovery

And now, let’s learn a bit about Marriott…

Hello Marriott! Thank you for being my guest. Please share with my readers the inspiration behind your book:  So many people told me that I “ought to write a book” so I wrote Chapter 1 and had it published about twenty-eight years ago; Chapter 31 was written and published twenty years ago; the rest of the book are true miracles and humorous events that have happened in between and since then, along with the tragic death of my son. I wanted other people to realize that when they face tragedies, they can get through them with God’s help and the comfort afforded us through our faith in eternal life through Jesus.

nancy's portrait 007That’s one of the things I admire most about you Marriott – your strong faith in our Lord. You are such an inspiration and testimony of God’s faithfulness.  Speaking of the Lord, do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Proverbs is my favorite book. When it is the first of the month, I read Proverbs 1, the second day, Proverbs 2, and so on. I feel that I have become a wiser Christian and  have more of an ability to do the right thing based on the wisdom I have garnered from Proverbs, which was mostly written by the wisest man in the world, King Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I love the idea of reading Proverbs throughout the month! It truly is a great book and so full of wisdom. Do you have a favorite Scripture verse? John 1:1 because it is through this verse I learned that Jesus is God in the flesh; He sacrificed Himself so that we  wouldn’t have to suffer eternal death for our sins. He took our punishment, as horrible as it was, upon Himself! I love Him so much because of it!

I agree and share your great love for our Savior.  I’m going to switch topics now and ask one of my favorite questions: What charity you would found if you were suddenly given one million dollars?

My heart’s passion is for evangelism in hard-to-reach countries. Since indiginous missionaries already know the native language, they can readily deliver the gospel to those who haven’t heard as long as they are able to have their daily needs met, which are minimal compared to the needs of foreign missionaries. Since Christian Aid Mission does just that, I would write them a million dollar check instead of reinventing the wheel!

I love your answer! So many have not yet heard of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And lastly, Marriott, where readers can find you on the web?

My blog is www.marriottcole.com. You can also read a preview of Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate here and here  and wherever books are sold.

Than you for being my guest, Marriott. It was an honor to have you here!

And now, readers, here’s your chance to win   all you have to do is leave an encouraging comment for Marriott. 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 January 10, 2013.

**Stay tuned for the announcement of several winners of some past giveaways after Christmas. Until then, have a blessed and wonderful Christmas season!

Giveaways Galore!

Need a Christmas gift idea? Books make fantastic gifts and there are several giveaways going on this week…win one for you or one for your wife, mom, sister,  or friend!

First off, I’m giving away a copy of Kaydie, book #2 in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series on Diane Estrella’s blog at http://dianeestrella.com/kaydie-by-penny-zeller-book-giveaway/

kaydie

I’m also giving away a copy of Kaydie on The Christian Book Review Blog at http://christianbookreviewblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/author-interview-and-giveaway-kaydie-by.html

If you love devotionals, you won’t want to miss a chance to win Amanda Beth’s newest book The LOVE Walk A 15 – Week Devotional on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 here on this blog at https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/giveaway-with-author-amanda-beth/

The LOVE Walk-coverpic

and finally, Keli Gwyn is offering a copy of her historical romance A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California also on this blog at https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/interview-and-giveaway-with-author-keli-gwyn/

BrideOpensShop-Small-Web-196x300

As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your week and a Merry Christmas!

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!

 

Interview and Giveaway with Author Deb Raney – 3 book giveaway!

I’m super excited to welcome Author Deb Raney to my blog and she is giving away, not one, not two, but THREE books. Yes, you read correctly! Deb is giving away a copy of each of the three books in her Hanover Falls Series.

Here is a bit about this awesome series:
An unlikely group of people are drawn together to cope with the tragic aftermath of a fatal fire at a downtown homeless shelter in Hanover Falls, Missouri. Four widows, one widower, a battalion chief, and a son of one of the heroic firefighters—a rookie fireman himself—struggle to make sense of their broken lives in the midst of discovering the mystery surrounding the fire that destroyed their dreams and their futures.
 
Doesn’t this sound like a series to be added to your TBR list? And now, let’s take a minute and meet the author behind the books…
Thank you for being with us today, Deb. It is such an honor to have you here discussing with my readers your latest series. Speaking of which, what was your inspiration behind your Hanover Falls Series? A few years ago, my husband placed a newspaper clipping beside my plate at breakfast one morning, the story of nine firefighters who died in a tragic blaze in South Carolina. “I think there’s something worth exploring here,” he said. I began thinking how the tragedy would change the lives of those firefighters’ families, yet how they would pull together, because the firefighting world is a “family” unto itself, and before long, the Hanover Falls series was putting itself together in my mind. My niece is married to a firefighter whose family has a proud history of serving as firefighters and my nephew-in-law was an invaluable resource to me, sharing stories and details about the world of firefighting, and loaning me his training manuals for most of the three years I was writing these books.

I love hearing the inspiration behind books, Deb! Do you have a favorite book in the series? A favorite character? I am learning that I’m a little fickle when it comes to books. At one time, I would have said that Almost Forever, the first book in the series, was my favorite, but with After All (book 3) just released with a nice review from Publishers Weekly and readers responding so favorably, now I’m leaning toward After All as my favorite. I really love my “middle child” Forever After, too! Fickle, I tell you!

I completely understand! I can never answer that question when I’m asked to choose which book I like most in my Montana Skies Series. Speaking of books, what is your favorite verse in the Bible and why? For several years now, I’ve thought I really should change my “favorite verse” because it seems like my verse is everyone’s favorite verse: Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. And yet, that verse has been so foundational in my life that I want to shout it from the rooftops. It’s wonderful to know that even when I can’t see anything good in a certain circumstance, God’s intention for me is good. And everything that happens to me serves HIS purpose for my life. That’s a truth you can live by!

That is such a great verse!  And now, for my favorite question… if you were suddenly given one million dollars, what charity would you like to found and why? I don’t suppose I could talk you into letting me found the Deborah Raney Travel Through Europe Fund, could I? Well, in that case, I would want to fund a charity that provides workers to rebuild Haiti. My parents served on the board of an organization that supported a girls’ home in Haiti, and for more than a quarter of a century, they spent a week or two every winter working at that orphanage. Twice my family and I were scheduled to go with my Dad to spend time at the girls’ home near Port au Prince (I was researching my novel, Over the Waters, set in Haiti) but both times the trip was cancelled at the last minute due to unrest in Haiti. But because of my parents, I have a heart for the country and people of Haiti. What amazes me is how much an American dollar can accomplish in that poverty-stricken nation. We have so much and are so often discontent. They have so little, and seem always to be smiling. There’s a lesson there!

What a wonderful idea for a ministry – and I loved learning about your parents and their ministry to Haiti. Lastly, where can readers connect with you?

http://www.deborahraney.com

https://www.facebook.com/deborah.raney

https://twitter.com/authordebraney

http://novelgarden.blogspot.com

Thank you again for being here, Deb. You are truly an inspiration!

Deborah’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Deb’s 23rd novel will release from Howard/Simon & Schuster Spring 2013. She and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy the wildflowers and native grasses in the Kansas prairie garden in their large backyard. They also love traveling together to teach at conferences, and to visit four children and four small grandchildren who all live much too far away.

And now, readers, here’s your chance to win all THREE books in Deb’s Hanover Fall’s Series! All you have to do is leave an encouraging comment for Deborah. 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 25, 2012.

Also, stay tuned as I will be announcing the winners of Lisa Buffaloe’s book Nadia’s Hope and Darlene Franklin’s book A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas tomorrow.

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!

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!