Posted in author interviews, Saturday Spotlight

Saturday Spotlight: Unworthy by Vanessa Hall

On this second edition of Saturday Spotlight, I am excited to welcome Author Vanessa Hall and her latest release, Unworthy. Read on for some background info about the book, the blurb, where you can purchase it, and where to find and follow Vanessa on social media.

I wrote this book nearly three years ago, but it’s a far different story today than it was several years ago! Although many things did change throughout the editing process, one thing did remain—Evgeny’s struggle with depression. For some reason, I plotted myself into that corner—or maybe the Lord just shoved me there for a reason—and depression became a driving force throughout the book.

Approaching depression/suicidal thoughts was difficult, given I’ve never suffered severe depression as Evgeny did. Yet, as it turns out, my worries were in vain, because Unworthy isn’t just about depression. It isn’t just about failures and sorrow and pain.

It’s about the grace of God that is greater than our deepest fears, our darkest nights, and our worst choices. When we are His by faith, it doesn’t matter what you struggle with—whether that’s outward danger or inward anguish—the Lord is far greater, and He will carry you through it all. He is far mightier than any feeling or thought or enemy, and He will hold His children fast,even in the darkest of nights.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28 KJV)


One moment, one choice can change a life forever.

Two years ago, Evgeny Yurlov’s dreams shattered on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. Without many options, he lands a job—far different from ballet—and returns to Moscow. There, he’s reunited with old friends—friends who need his help as government scrutiny intensifies on Grace Baptist Church.

Sasha Dvornikova isn’t the woman she once was, but Dmitri Rykov’s shadow is relentless. Reminders of her past lurk everywhere, and her sins have branded her undeserving of a man like Evgeny.

As mounting danger surrounds both the church and his job, Evgeny finds past struggles reignited, struggles that reach even Sasha. Amidst so much darkness, will Truth prevail, or will Evgeny’s choices destroy him—and those he loves?


Vanessa Hall is an author, musician, and homeschool graduate. Most days, she is reading, writing, or practicing the violin—or trying to find time for all three pursuits. Currently, she is working toward gaining a degree in instrumental music education.Unknown was her debut novel. Above all, she is a sinner saved and held fast by the abounding grace of Jesus Christ.

Social media links:







Posted in about my books, about the books

It’s release day!

Finally, the big day for my latest contemporary Christian romance has arrived. As an author, it always seems like the release date for a new book is far, far into the future. While we never want to wish time away, waiting for our characters to come to life in the form of a book can sometimes feel out of reach.

Today is the big day for Love Under Construction. A tender and uplifting Christian contemporary romance, the main theme I chose to wove throughout its pages is relying on God in all circumstances.

Be sure to return next Monday, as I’ll be listing all of the exciting details about my mini blog tour, taking place from December 6-11. I’m joining with fellow authors and hosting a few giveaways of Love Under Construction, offering some insights into the book, and answering some fun interview questions.

Also, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m a guest today on Author Julie Arduini’s blog at where I’m talking about the inspiration behind the character, Cynthia Brady.

Without further ado, below is the blurb for Love Under Construction. It is available in both paperback and ebook format and can be found here.

Thank you for joining me in celebrating my new release!

She builds websites. He builds houses. Together, can they build a family for two orphans?

Irelynn agreed two years ago to help raise her best friend’s twins should anything happen. When she is called upon to fulfill that agreement, there is only one problem—Irelynn must share the responsibility with the arrogant but handsome Quinton Gregory. Quinton takes the role of raising his niece and nephew with all seriousness. He will do anything for the twins, even if it means putting up with the beautiful but stubborn Irelynn Brady.

When forced to be in each other’s presence far more often than is comfortable, things slowly begin to change. Will the unexpected attraction between Irelynn and Quinton become a love under construction?

Posted in book giveaways

Interview and book giveaway with Author Sharon Srock!

I am excited to have author Sharon Srock on my blog today. Sharon is giving away a copy of her new book Callie, Book One of the series, Women of Valley View. More on that later. For now, let’s find out about this fantastic-sounding book, which I have not yet had the privilege of reading…

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing.  And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

And, now let’s meet the author behind this fantastic new series! Welcome to my blog, Sharon. It’s great to have you here. Would you share with my readers your inspiration behind your book?I don’t even know how to answer that question. Before I started Callie’s story, I hadn’t written anything in almost 20 years. Once God nudged me back to my keyboard, I just started typing. There is no one thing I can point to that drove me in a particular direction. I was teaching Sunday school at the time, so writing about a teacher and her students seemed natural, but I’ve never encountered anyone like Samantha and Iris. I like to think it was a God thing.
I love that! Speaking of the Lord, what is my favorite book in the Bible?  Why? Wow I have a favorite chapter (John 17) and a favorite verse (Proverbs 13:12) but I never thought about a favorite book.
Probably Proverbs. There’s just so much wisdom there. Regardless of the season in your life you can go there and find something that applies to your life and uplifts. So much of it is just common sense applicable.
I love the book of Proverbs too. So many timeless truths! All right, on to my favorite question… if you were suddenly given a million dollars to found a new charity, what charity would you found and why? Something to do with litteracy. Not necessarily something to teach people to read, but something to interest people in reading. I grew up with books. I experianced things and visited places in their pages that I’ll never do or see in real life. I can’t imagine my life without that. That’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t read for pleasure. It’s sort of like being saved. You’ll never really “get it” until you experiance it.
Where can readers find you?
Thank you so much for being my guest, Sharon. It has been an honor to have you here!
Readers, Sharon has generously offered a free background file of the Women of Valley View, so be sure to check it out here.

And now, readers, here’s your chance to win Callie,  all you have to do is leave an encouraging comment for Sharon. 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 November 29, 2012.

Posted in author interviews, book giveaways

Interview and giveaway with Shannon Vannatter!

Calling all contemporary romance fans…I have a special giveaway just for you! This week, author Shannon Vannatter is sharing with us about her latest release Rodeo Hero and is giving one lucky commenter a chance to win a copy of this awesome book! All of the details for entering are below the interview, but for now, let’s take a minute and meet Shannon…

Thank you for being my guest, Shannon. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer? Around sixteen years ago, I finally realized that the story I’d had in my head for about that long could be a book. It took me three more years to get a computer and start writing it and 9 1/2 years more to get published. That first badly written book is still in a file and I’ve been thinking about dusting it off and fixing it lately.

 Speaking of writing, what is your favorite part of the writing process? The first draft. I’m a pantser. So I learn about things about the story and my characters as I go.

I can totally identify with you, Shannon. I am a fellow pantser myself!  I’m excited to hear about your latest book Rodeo Hero. What was the inspiration behind this book? I saw a cowboy and a city girl holding hands at the State Fair and I wondered what they had in common. That became book one. When I pitched it to my editor, she said why is it always the cowboy, why not the rodeo clown? But then who would want to be a clown? I pulled a reason a guy would be a clown out of the air and she liked it, so I had to write the book.

I love it! And this series sounds sooooooo good! Speaking of books, what is your favorite book in the Bible? Romans. It’s full of grace by faith and salvation through Christ.

Romans is definitely a wonderful book in the Bible. Switching gears now, if you suddenly were given one million dollars to start a new charity, what type of charity would you launch and why? I’m an animal lover, so it would definitely be a no kill Humane Society.

What project(s) are you currently working on? I’m currently getting a proposal together for my next series. The first book is about a married couple. They weren’t Christians when they married and when life got tough, they split. Two years later, the book begins. They’re both Christians and unexpectedly reunited.

We will definitely have to keep our eyes open for that book, Shannon. I love the plot line! Now one last question…how can readers connect with you?




Twitter: @stvauthor

I can testify that Shannon has an awesome blog (especially if you LOVE real-life romance) so be sure to stop by and check it out.

Thank you so much, Shannon, for being my guest. It has been an honor to have you here.

And now, here are the super-easy details on how you can enter to win a copy of Rodeo Heroleave an encouraging comment for Shannon (and yes, anyone can enter, but confirmed subscribers receive two entries, so be sure to sign up to follow this blog, then check your email and confirm your subscription to be added to the subscriber list! ) Giveaway ends on April 19, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random.

I’m a bit behind this week, so I’ll be announcing the winners of Margaret Daley’s and Nicole O’Dell’s books on Monday. Stay tuned. In the meantime, be sure to enter to win Shannon’s book and stop by every Thursday for more author interviews. If you need some summer ideas, check out my most recent family post 6 things to do this summer.
Posted in author interviews, book giveaways

And the winner of JoAnn Durgin’s book is…

A big thank you to everyone who left a comment for a chance to win JoAnn Durgin’s wonderful new book Twin Hearts


And the winner, chosen by is

Ann Tatem!

Congratulations, Ann! JoAnn will be in touch with you soon.

There is still time to enter to win Carol Ann Ebhardt’s fantastic suspense novel Trapped.   Also, this Thursday, I will be hosting author Margaret Brownley, where you’ll have a chance to win her latest release, so be sure to stop by!

Posted in author interviews, book giveaways

Interview and Giveaway with Author Fay Lamb!!!

It’s Thursday and that means I have the honor of introducing you to another awesome author friend! This time, I have as my guest, Fay Lamb. She is giving away a copy of her book Because of Me. Here’s a bit about her book… (and isn’t that just a cool cover?!)

Issie Putnam’s life took a detour the night she was raped at gunpoint in front of her fiancé, Michael Hayes. Instead of marrying Michael, a promising young investigative reporter, Michael, along with the man who attacked her, and the man who held the gun on Michael, are imprisoned for conspiracy to assassinate the local district attorney—a crime Michael was trying to expose but had no intention of committing. Issie’s name is ruined, she lost her perfectly-planned future, but she gained Cole, her son—born of that rape.

On the eve of her attacker’s parole, Michael, already released from prison, follows through on his plan to return to the small town of Amazing Grace and protect Issie from the madman who promised to seek revenge. There, he meets Issie’s seven-year-old son for the first time.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart? Will Michael be able to protect the woman he loves from the man who will stop at nothing to destroy them all?

Because of Me is available through Amazon.

Let’s take a minute to chat with Fay about her new book…

Hello Fay! Thank you for being my guest today! Tell us a little about your novel, Because of Me. I met Michael Hayes one cool autumn day while sitting on my porch. Michael, unshaven, his hair a little scraggly, and his young face filled with tension, began to tell me his story. “There’s a young boy, Cole. I’m not his father, but he’s definitely on this earth because of me. I allowed something horrible to happen to his mother, but I still love her. I despise the kid, though. I’ve forgiven another for so much more, and Cole’s only fault is that his father is the man who took everything from me. How can I learn to love this child and protect his mother from the man who can again take her from me?”

And as easily as Michael entered my imagination, he turned and walked away.

Michael’s revelation brought forth layer after layer of plot, and my novel, Because of Me was born.

Wow! Very fascinating! So, what motivated you to write it? Deep down, I think this story came about because my two boys were like Cole. In fact, my youngest son—the one who really never had the favor of his natural father—his middle name is Cole. My boys needed a man in their lives who would love them unconditionally, who would nurture and care for them, and show a Christ-like example of a true father. My husband, Marc, stepped into that role when my children were six and four years old, and he’s never let those boy think for a moment that he wasn’t as much their dad as the man they share DNA with.

Still, there’s so much more to Because of Me. It’s a story of forgiveness, the depths of which some may never experience, and the story will truly renew your faith in the Lord’s design for us. After all, God is always in the details whether you recognize it or not.

What is the main message you hope your readers will take away? That no matter how badly we mess up or how much comes upon us, God is always nearby. I truly believe Paul didn’t idly pen the words of Roman 8:28. When the Scripture tells us “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose,” the Lord is telling us that it isn’t just the good in our lives that will work together for good. Only our awesome, loving Father can make provisions for us when we make mistakes. Only He knows the thoughts He has toward us, as Jeremiah 29:11 says, and there again, he promises an expected end, a future of hope.

I, too, love Jeremiah 29:11 and have it has one of my life verses. So, Fay, which character did you most enjoy creating and why? A very hard question for me. This story has some truly memorable characters—not just the hero and heroine, but secondary characters. I absolutely love Michael Hayes and Isabel Putnam, the love of Michael’s life. They’re flawed, but they endure some mighty big conflict.

However, my favorite fellow in Because of Me is Ted McGillicudy. Ted kind of sneaked up on me and inserted himself in the story. He’s a gruff old country boy, and Ted knew that for Michael to eventually love Cole, he’d need an example of a father in his life. Ted watches out of Michael, accepts him, and for Michael, whose father left him when he was very young, Ted fills a void in his life. And Ted, he spouts off some one-liners that will take you by surprise.

Which character do you think your readers will most relate to and why? Definitely, Michael. He’s lost so much, and he returns after being in prison and away from his hometown for several years. He is shocked to find that the woman he loves isn’t alone any longer, and he has issues to deal with before he can win back her heart. Michael struggles through those issues, but he clings to his life verse: Job 13:15: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.”

What are you working on now? I have completed a second romantic suspense, Willow’s Path, and two contemporary romances, Charisse and Faith. Currently, I’m working on two other romantic suspense novels and the last story in the contemporary romance series while editing a contemporary fiction entitled, Storms in Serenity. Beyond that I am excitedly looking forward to delving into a novel that includes the intriguing world of professional surfing.

Thank you, Fay, for being here. It was an honor to have you as my guest!

Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel will be released on February 3, 2012, by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing.

Fay has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010.

In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

Now here’s your turn to have a chance at winning Fay’s new ebook! While I haven’t yet read it, it looks like a touching read to add to your “must read” pile! Here’s all you have to do…leave a comment for Fay (and yes, anyone can enter, but confirmed subscribers receive two entries and be sure to remind me that you’re a confirmed subscriber!). Giveaway ends on February 23, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random.

Join me next week when I’ll have one of my favorite author friends, Shellie Neumeier on my blog talking about her new tween book The Wishing Ring  – and you’ll have a chance to win once again!

Posted in author interviews, book giveaways

Special guest and book giveaway with author Staci Stallings!

Today I have special guest, Author Staci Stallings, on my blog. Staci is giving away a copy of her fantastic contemporary romance  book Cowboy.  (Your choice of a Kindle download or the paperback version). Below is the blurb:

Life has done its best to knock Beth McCasland to the ground, and the truth is: it’s done a pretty good job of keeping her there. Stuck in a minimum-wage job with a young daughter counting on her, Beth does her best to stay standing under the weight of it all because she knows God is on her side. Then one night she gets the chance to be an angel to another of life’s weary travelers. For once hope has never looked so real.

Cowboy is a grace-filled story about the power of giving everything to God and how a simple act of compassion can change lives forever. Emotional, soothing, and heart-wrenching, Cowboy is infused with the message that no matter who we are and no matter what life has thrown at us, we never have to walk alone.

I recently read Cowboy. You can read my review here:

As always, anyone can enter (U.S. residents only, please) by leaving a comment for Staci. Don’t forget that confirmed subscribers receive two entries! The giveaway ends on January 19, and the winner will be chosen at random.

And now, a special devotional by Staci that I know will bless you…

The Power of I Can’t

by Staci Stallings

We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions–but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds.  We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all. (TMB 1 Corinthians 8:2-3)

Let’s be honest.  Our culture today worships the individual who succeeds.  We hold up as our role models those who are tough, who fight through adversity and come out on the other side, those who know the most and do the most.  It’s an intimidating culture to marinate in.

We have been told almost from birth that any situation you face should be met with a “can do” spirit.  “I Can” is verily tattooed to our birth certificates before we exit the hospital.

In schools, administrators busily design programs that foster “self-reliance” and “self-respect.”  They teach children to believe in themselves and work toward their goals.

I suppose from a worldly perspective that’s about all we could ever hope for.  After all, without God, who else are you going to rely on?  There is a song that talks about no one is going to have your back when you fall.  That’s the juice we are all steeped in.  We hear it in commercials and on the radio.  We even hear it from each other.

“It’s okay.  You can do this.  I know you can.”

But here’s the thing:  None of this is Biblical.  None of it is based on a relationship with God.  It is all based in self, which ultimately is the very sin Adam and Eve got thrown out of the garden for committing.

So I invite you for a moment to take a good, hard look at these messages that sound so good and so right, and see them for what they are:  lies of the Enemy.

That may sound harsh, but speaking as someone who practically gorged herself on this kind of thinking for 35 years, I can tell you that this way of thinking is not just sin–it is deadly.  When you rely on yourself, what happens when you are weak?  What happens when your doubt overtakes your faith?  What happens when you’re walking on water with a friend who really needs you, and you suddenly sense that you can’t do this?

I’ve felt the panic that rises at this very thought.  I have fought it.  I have tried to shout it down with platitudes and positive thoughts, but the sad truth is, on my own I’m not capable of handling the depth of brokenness in this world.  Sometimes I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do, I’m swimming and swimming, but I sense that at any moment I’m going under with no way to find up again.

That’s often what happens when God puts you out into deep water with the emotional issues of others–family, friends, those we work with, our children, and spouses.  There is a depth to the need that none of us can quite meet.  No matter how much we want to.  No matter how much we try.  We simply can’t because as humans we are limited.  We have limited understanding, limited wisdom, limited patience, limited everything.

But here’s a secret that Satan never wanted you to hear.  When you think you can’t, you’re right.  Now that doesn’t give you license to give up.  It is, instead, a call to stop trusting yourself and start trusting God.

Jesus is walking on that water with you, and He knows you can’t.  He never meant for you to.

I know, that’s radically new thinking, but it’s true.  God knows you are human.  He knows you don’t have all of the answers. He doesn’t expect you to.  What He wants is for every one of these occasions of “I can’t” panic to be cause for you to call out to Him, to ask Him into the situation, to reach for His help, His love, His strength, His wisdom, His peace.  He wants nothing more than to come to your assistance, but you have to recognize your own need for Him and make the choice to ask.

There is power–God’s power–waiting in the words “I can’t” so long as they are followed by, “but He can.”  Rest in that power.  Reach for that power.  For He is always right there ready and willing to do what you can’t.

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.  Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Spirit Light Books–The Blog

Facebook Author Page at:

Staci’s Bookshelf:


Follow Staci on Twitter @StaciStallings