Monthly Archives: May 2013

Keep up the Good Work

2012-03-30 06.59.56

Galatians 6:9

A great reminder to keep plugging away even if no one seems to appreciate what you do.

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Days of Vines and Roses

flate cover

Linda Wood Rondeau joins us today to tell us about her book Days of Vines and Roses. Back cover blurb:

When a romance writer and her estranged publisher husband attempt to reconcile, malignant forces and a pending lawsuit seem bent on keeping them apart. After fifteen years of marital disarray, Henry and Sylvia Fitzgibbons (aka Lana Longstreet) independently contemplate divorce, their relationship relegated to Henry’s infrequent visits to the Connecticut estate and their once a week meeting at Chez Phillipe’s in Manhattan. But, not yet. There is the matter of the decaying rose gardens and the thirtieth anniversary party the children are planning. Reluctantly, Henry moves in for the summer, steeled against the hauntings that torment only him. As reconciliation seems possible, the evil forces within begin to target Sylvia as well. Like the strangling vines within the rose beds, Henry and Sylvia have become victims of spiritual neglect. Their only hope remains in surrender to a power greater than the evil determined to destroy them.
This sounds like an intense book, Linda. What is the spiritual takeaway?
The decaying gardens are symbolic of Henry and Sylvia’s marriage, choked by years of neglect. Satan wants to destroy our marriages, but God wants to preserve them. The miracle of healing is possible, when we turn the wreck of our lives over to God.
Do you have a favorite scene in the book or a scene you especially enjoyed writing and why?
I enjoyed writing about Charlie Michaels, the Gardener Henry hires to save the roses. Unknown to Henry, Charlie has a past connection to the estate. Not familiar with gardens or roses, I am much like Henry…ignorant yet appreciative of their beauty. I enjoyed learning about gardening and specifically about roses. Vines are pretty to look at, but left to their own devices will take over a yard and strangle anything that gets in their way. The vines represent evil that grows out of control from our spiritual neglect.
Great analogy! What else do you have in the works?
I am currently working on a Christmas romance about a country western singer and a journalist who is caring for her adoptive autistic brother. I am also working on another Adirondack romantic suspense that includes a mysterious house, much like The Other Side of Darkness. In addition, I have started a multi-author devotional blog. I am contracted for a book this fall with the working title, Songs in the Valley, inspired by the book of Hosea. A minister, who finally believes he could start a new romance, is reunited with his runaway wife only to learn she has terminal lung cancer.
You have a lot going on. I love reading and writing Christmas romances. My debut novel which releases in November is a Christmas romance. 🙂
How has your personal life been reflected in this story?
I think in some ways, I am a lot like Sylvia. In my early years of writing, I became obsessed and lost myself in my work. God delivered me from the addiction, but did not take writing from me. He taught me how to balance my life and my passion. Sylvia has allowed her writer persona to completely dominate her life. In many ways, she is as possessed in spirit as the ballroom.
What are you currently reading and/or what is your favorite book you have read so far this year?
I enjoyed Melody Carlson’s book, Blood Sisters. It is an earlier book of hers. But she definitely writes a compelling story. The book is about a widow who has given up on life, ready to end it all, when she receives a notice of a friend’s death. Drawn to the mystery of it all, Judith is moved to live so she can find out what truly happened to her childhood friend. I am currently reading a Science Fiction book by a dear writing friend, The Second Intelligent Species. It is self-published and the author did a spectacular job.
I once tried to grow Zinnias. Watered, weeded, and nursed them all summer long. Stems grew as high as my window. Then a neighbor said, “Linda, I hate to tell you but you’ve got the healthiest pigweed I’ve ever seen.”
Linda has offered to give away one copy of her book Days of Vines and Roses. To be entered you must answer the following question: What are your gardening stories?
Rules: Drawing is open to US addresses only. You must answer the question to be entered. There must be at least ten qualifying questions for the drawing to take place. Drawing ends Sunday June 2, 2013. The winner will be notified by email on Monday June 3, 2013. Void where prohibited by law.
Linda Rondeau

Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.

These books are also available in ebook format along with her other ebooks by Helping Hands Press: I Prayed for Patience/God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses. Songs in the Valley is scheduled for release this fall by Helping Hands Press.

Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com or email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, and Goodreads.

 

He is our Comforter

2012-08-05 10.42.15

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with comfort we ourselves have received from God.

During these difficult times I cling to verses like these. Praying for all those affected by the tornadoes.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls by Connie Mann

Today Connie Mann is here to tell us about her book Angle Falls. Thanks for joining us Connie.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to be your guest! I’m very excited about Angel Falls, which tells the story of a fiercely protective Brazilian orphanage director and a burned-out Army Ranger who are forced together in a deadly race to save one helpless baby.

When her best friend is killed in an explosion, leaving Regina da Silva with her friend’s young child, she doesn’t realize that the child was as much a target as her friend. Brooks Anderson has been sent to find the child and bring it to the US. When circumstances bring them together in Brazil, they find themselves being pursued by a killer as they protect an orphaned baby.

As the danger heightens around them, so does the attraction between Regina and Brooks, despite their differences. Regina and Brooks have both been broken by their violent pasts, but while Regina relies on her faith to deal with her past, Brooks has turned away from God. Will their pasts stop them from realizing their true feelings for each other when their pursuer strives to keep them apart forever?

This sounds like great story. I noticed that Angel Falls opens in Brazil, did you visit Brazil to do your research?

My father is from Brazil, and the story was inspired by a trip there to visit his hometown of Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil. I learned about the street children that roamed the downtown area for many years and started asking, “What if you were one of those children? How would you survive? Who would you grow up to be?”

Those questions became Regina, my fiercely protective, switchblade-toting orphanage director. The entire story takes place in Brazil, including the climactic scene at Iguacu Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls. Brazil is beautiful and I hope to visit again soon!

Regina sounds like someone I’d want to have on my side.:) I was looking at your book on Amazon and the cover design is similar in style to your book Trapped!. Are these books part of a series and will there be more to come?

Angel Falls is intended to be the first book in a series, so I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to publish several more stories. It will depend on reader response!

Trapped! is set in Florida and was written as a stand-alone book. It was not published by a Christian publisher, though it’s written from a Christian worldview (I don’t want readers to be surprised or disappointed). Angel Falls leans more heavily towards adventure; Trapped! leans more towards suspense, I think.

Good to know. Thanks for sharing. Now onto a couple fun questions. What is one thing about you that would surprise people?

Even though writing requires lots of solitude, I’ve learned that too much alone time makes me stir crazy. I’m both a people person and an outdoor person, so I also work as a USCG-licensed boat captain. I piloted glass-bottom boats at Silver Springs for six years and now work for our local school system, taking fifth graders on the Silver River as part of their science curriculum. I love the kids and being outside helps clear my head so I’m ready to get back into my office to write.

That is so cool! I went on a glass bottom boat once in Mexico. It was an interesting experience. What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve loved stories since my early trips to the Bookmobile with my Mom and brother. Books are like magic carpets to whole other worlds. Is there anything more fun than living someone else’s life for a while? I solved crimes with Nancy Drew, spied on my family with Harriet the Spy and hung out with the Little Women. I even had a chance to dance with Rhett Butler.

I kept reading and started writing my own stories, starting with my epic tale about my hamster in third grade. Since then, I’ve written both non-fiction and fiction and after ten looong years, I’m delighted that Angel Falls, my all-time favorite story, is finally available.

Many thanks again for the opportunity to be here!

It was my pleasure Connie.:)

Connie has grasiously offered to give away one copy of Angel Falls. To be entered into the drawing you must answer the following question. What is your favorite genre of fiction?

Rules: There must be ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing closes Sunday May 26, 2013. The winner will be notified by email Monday May 27, 2013. The drawing is only open to U.S. addresses. Void where prohibited by law.

Angel Falls author Connie Mann

Connie Mann loves stories of suspense, adventure and second chances. She offers encouragement to busy women on her blog:  www.BusyWomenBigDreams.com and is an active member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s also a USCG-licensed boat captain, so when she’s not writing, she’s usually on Central Florida’s waterways with local school children or her fabulous family. Please visit her online at: www.conniemann.com.

Blog:  www.BusyWomenBigDreams.com

Website:  www.conniemann.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ConnieMannAuthor?ref=hl#!/ConnieMannAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaptConnieMann

Book Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II8IWqaxakI

Stress Relief

2011-11-27 18.20.11

Proverbs 3:5-6

For the past few weeks I’ve been stressing over a few things and even though I was trying desperately to keep my focus on God, the anxiety kept creeping into my day. Believe it or not one of my stresses was writing this devotional.

The words from the Proverbs 3:5-6 kept occupying my mind, but it’s such a used passage I resisted making it the theme of a devotional. However, that all changed today. The thing I was stressing over has been put off a few weeks. Which is fantastic because the timing is far better for my schedule! Then I realized that God had been telling me all along to simply trust Him, the He is in control and to stop worrying.

Yep, I can be a little dense.

If you’re going through a stressful time, I hope this verse speaks to you and you will let God have the stress. He really can handle it. 🙂

Blowing on Dandelions

Blowing--sized down I am so pleased to welcome my friend and critique partner, Miralee Ferrell, to my blog to tell us about her new release Blowing on Dandelions.

Katherine Galloway knew this moment of calm wouldn’t last, blown away like the dandelion seeds she scattered as a girl. In 1880, three years after her husband’s death, she struggles to run an Oregon boardinghouse and raise two girls alone. Things don’t get easier when her critical, domineering mother moves in. Katherine must make the situation work, but standing up for herself and her family while honoring her mother isn’t easy. And with a daughter entering the teenage years, the pressure on Katherine becomes close to overwhelming. Then she crosses paths with Micah Jacobs, a widower who could reignite her heart, but she fears a relationship with him might send things over the edge. She must find the strength, wisdom, hope, and faith to remake her life, for everything is about to change.
 
 
Since I’ve read it, I can say this is a great story.  What made you want to write Blowing on Dandelions?
 

It all started several years ago, when I bumped into a woman I’d met once before. Over the course of our time together, she let slip little comments about her relationship with her mother. Let’s just say the comments were filled with pain and grief. Mama was alive, well, and still contributing to that pain and grief.

I could bear it no longer, and while giving her a hug, asked if I could pray with her that God would grant her peace and healing. Through barely contained tears, she refused. Not that she wasn’t grateful, but she couldn’t tolerate the thought of attaining some kind of peace, only to return home to the same situation and have it shattered—or worse, new shards embedded into her healed heart. I went home heartsick and unable to shake the urgency to pray for my friend. I sensed her deep level of hopelessness that her life and relationship with her mother would never change. I prayed every time her name came to mind, which happened frequently. I couldn’t forget the despair in her voice the last time we spoke.

As I asked the Lord what my next writing project should be, He gently directed me back to those memories. I knew He was showing me, over and over, that thousands of women ache with the same need—for approval, love, and acceptance, just as they are—from their mothers. He directed me to tell this story.

At the time, I started writing this story as contemporary women’s fiction, but after two chapters, I decided the book would be better received if set in the 1800s and rather than women’s fiction it needed to be a historical romance with a women’s fiction thread. It was a bigger challenge showing the depth of the heroine’s emotions, as so much was demanded during that era in regards to respect and honor toward the older members of society, especially parents. Children didn’t speak back to their elders and often repressed how they felt. However, although this is a work of fiction in a historical setting with a strong romance thread, it closely parallels daily events in today’s world.

That is such a moving story, Miralee. I hope this woman and many others will be touched by this book. What is next for you?

A couple of things…the sequel, Wishing on Buttercups, will release in Feb of 2014, 8 months after Blowing on Dandelions, then book three, Dreaming on Daisies, will release 5 months later on July 1. Then I’m starting a new adventure, a series of 4 middle grade horse novels for girls, with the first in the series releasing March 2015.

I’ve had the privilege of critiquing all the above mentioned projects and let me say, you don’t want to miss any of these books. If you have a middle grade reader who loves horses, then I highly recommend getting the new series when it releases. I’ve only read the start of the first one, but I can already tell you, it’s going to be good. 🙂

Miralee, I always like to throw in a fun questions, so here is yours. I know you love your flower garden. What is your favorite flower?

I used to always say a rose, but I’m broadening that a bit and adding lilies (day lilies and oriental) as well as delphinium. I have several flower beds that I’ve loaded with a lot of color…the picture is only one of about 7.

photo (2)

Oh so pretty! Thanks for sharing with us about Blowing on Dandelions, Miralee. Feel free to share with us a little more about yourself.

MiraleeColor

My husband, Allen, and I live on eleven acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where we love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. I’m able to combine two other passions—horseback riding and spending time with my married daughter, since she lives nearby—we often ride together on the wooded trails near our home. My little 6 lb Chihuahua, Lacey, is often on my lap when I’m working–there’s nothing like a warm ball of love on your lap to act as a stress reliever!

I’ve been involved in women’s ministries for years, and serve on staff at our small church. I’m married to a wonderful man, have two grown children, two cats, two dogs and an Arabian mare. We live about 9 miles from the nearest town on 11 acres, in a peaceful setting surrounded by trees.

I started writing shortly after I turned 50, and discovered I loved it so much I don’t want to stop. I write both women’s contemporary fiction and historical romance. There will be three books in my current Love Blossoms in Oregon series, and in 2014 my first book in a four-book series for middle grades will release—horse novels for girls. One of my Western romances, Love Finds You in Sundance, WY, was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion for Excellence in Western Fiction.

I have a couple of questions of your readers….have any of you read any of my books and if so, what was your favorite? And what is your favorite genre? Thanks so much for having me!

Miralee’s publisher is giving a copy to one lucky commenter who answers Miralee’s above questions. You must answer her questions to be entered into the drawing.

Rules: Drawing is open to US addressees only. A minimum of ten qualifying comments must be made on this post for the drawing to take place. You must answer Miralee’s question to be entered. Void where prohibited by law. Drawing ends Sunday May 19th. The winner will be notified by email Monday May 20th.

Angels:Now and Later

For the devotional today, I’ve invited author, Delia Latham, to do a guest post. I’ve enjoyed the comments related to her interview I posted on Monday so much, that I’ve asked her to do a devotional on Angels.

Photo courtesy of my son. 🙂

2012-08-05 10.42.15

Revelation 14:3 

Angels: Now and Later

Delia Latham

Let’s talk about angels.

Down through the ages, they have consistently held a place of interest and fascination among human beings. Various versions of them can be found in almost every section of every gift store in America. Angel shapes (from cherubs to seraphim), haloes, wings…they swing from key rings and rearview mirrors. Dusted with jewels and coated with gold, silver, bronze…they hang from women’s necks, perch on their fingers and dangle from their wrists. Angel art is one of the easiest to find, because these creatures make gorgeous (and lucrative!) subjects. Movies and books force them into molds dreamed up by a plethora of writers’ imaginations, all of which further stoke the fire of our hunger to know more about these stunning winged creatures.

What is it about them that unfailingly holds our attention and sparks our collective imagination?

Certainly, they are thought to be beautiful, and Lucifer was certainly recorded as such. Powerful? Oh, yes. God created angels with the ability to carry out His instructions, no holds barred.

And they’re mystical, which also adds to their appeal. We can only imagine them, because few of us have had the honor—the spine-tingling, heart-pounding, glorious, life-changing honor of having actually seen an angel. Yet we choose to believe in them, just as those of us who have experienced His grace choose to believe in God.

God. That, in my opinion, is why we little humans are so caught up in the world of angels. Because these glorious creatures see God…dwell with Him…move in His midst, see His light, hear His voice, feel His touch. Angels have such a place of honor in Heaven. Why wouldn’t we be not only fascinated, but even somewhat envious of their relationship with God?

Except…it is we humans God created in His own image. We are the chosen “masterpiece” into whom He breathed His own breath of life. You and I. We alone, in all of God’s amazing universe, can experience redemption and salvation. We alone can know the unmatched glory of being our Father’s family. His children. His heirs.

So yes, I write about angels. I hold them in immense respect. A visitation from one of them would be a distinct honor and privilege.

But I wouldn’t trade places with the angels. Not in a million years.

I cherish my own position as a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

So…should you ever read a Delia Latham novel, please know that God provided the inspiration, and I love writing the stories he gives me. I hope you’ll continue to watch movies about angels. Study them, if you choose to do so. If you’re ever granted the privilege of coming into contact—visual or otherwise—with one of these celestial creatures, consider yourself immensely blessed.

I’ll be doing those things too. And our interest in angels is OK. They are heavenly beings, and God’s special messengers.

But know this. YOU are God’s chosen creation, and as such, hold a place in His heart that is far above the angels. It is YOU who will experience the glory of the rapture, and know the joy of God’s unbounded favor in Heaven.

What a glorious experience to see the face of Christ! What a blessing it will be to interact with the angels!

But when we sing The Song of the Redeemed, the angels will have to fold their beautiful wings and simply listen. They can’t join in our song.

That, my friend, will be a sound of harmony made only by you and me. God’s chosen children.

No angel will ever know that kind of immeasurable joy.

Thank You, Father, for loving me, for giving me heavenly guardians, and for planning for me an eternal life with You. Thank You for making me one of Your Redeemed. I can’t wait to sing “our song” as I kneel at Your feet, and know that I’m there because You loved me enough to die for my salvation. You are an awesome God, and I love You with all that I am. Amen

Bio:

Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, DELIA LATHAM enjoys multiple roles as a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and absolutely loves hearing from her readers. Delia writes inspirational romance, and is currently contracted through White Rose Publishing and Vinspire Publishing.

You can contact her at an of the following locations:

Her website

Her blog

Facebook

Twitter