Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ryan’s Father and Giveaway

Ryan's FatherJune Foster is here to share with us about her book Ryan’s Father. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us this week, June. Please tell us about Ryan’s Father.

The rippling influence of Ryan Reid’s less than moral mother and absent father made a mark on his soul. Yet everything changed when the young school teacher accepted Christ—almost everything.

An earthquake hurls the beautiful Sandy Arrington into his life, tossing his world upside down. When God calls him to build an annex for needy teens at his church, Ryan must face the carefully guarded secret he’s held deep in his heart. Though Sandy falls in love with him, Ryan’s forbidden affections lie elsewhere, and he must depend on the Lord to see him through a struggle he always hoped he’d never have to face. Sandy’s wealthy cardiologist father and the battle Ryan is powerless to win are hurtles to their romance.  Can he dig his way out to find Sandy’s love?
Do you have a favorite scene and what about it makes it your favorite?

My favorite scene is when Sandy falls and injures her ankle on Mt. Rainier. She and Ryan have to spend the night on the trail halfway up the mountain. But I can’t tell you why or I’ll give away an important element of the book.

 No problem, we don’t want any spoilers. 🙂 How long did it take you to write Ryan’s Father?

Ryan’s Father was the second book I wrote. So you can imagine, I did many, many rewrites. All in all, it took me a year and a half which includes editing.

When did you first get the writing itch?

My story is really different than most. I never had the desire to write fiction as a teen or adult. After I retired from teaching I discovered a story brewing in my head. I could even see the setting and the characters which was unusual for me as I’m definitely not a creative person. One day I told my daughter about the story and her casual remark that I should write it was the spark I needed. I got a new Toshiba laptop, began reading the “how to” books, and plunked the keys of my computer. That’s how I began writing. Now I’ve got 5 books published and 3 more novels I’m seeking publication for.

That is fantastic, June! What do you hope readers will take away from this book? 

I’d like to offer hope and healing to anyone in the homosexual lifestyle. Though homosexuality is not in God’s perfect will, neither is any other sin we humans commit. If a person desires freedom, I believe it is possible. The Bible says we are new creatures in Him and are no longer slaves to sin. Yet we serve a merciful God who loves us despite our failings. Jesus died for all sins and that’s the bottom line.

What is your favorite season and why?

I love summer. When I was a teacher, summertime meant freedom to do all those things I didn’t have time to do during the school year. Hobbies, reading, shopping, yard work, basking in the sun, vacationing. Though I’m retired now, I’m still in that mode of getting excited when June rolls around.

What is your favorite movie?

This is not exactly a movie, but a TV series. I recently finished “Christy” by Catherine Marshall. I ordered the complete TV series and loved it. I’ll probably watch it many times over. The series as well as the book features one adventure after another in the Tennessee Appalachians.

Thanks for giving us a glimmer into your life. 🙂

June is giving away one copy of Ryan’s Father to a lucky commenter.

Drawing Rules: Open to US mailing addresses only. There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 5/4/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 5/5/14 and have until 5/11/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.

IMG_8530-001-1June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, is available from WhiteFire Publishing January 2014. Red and the Wolf will be available April 2014. For All Eternity and Misty Hollow, God willing, will be published in the near future. June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. 

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Quiet in the Midst of Crazy

DSCF0480This morning as I was reflecting on the devotional I had read, I began to talk to the Lord about all sorts of things, ranging from something my State’s Supreme Court will be ruling on, to my day, and my family. It wasn’t long, only a minute or two at the most, when I realized I was doing all the talking. Oops.

How many times a day do I rattle off this thought or that without actually listening or waiting for a response from the Lord? Too many for sure!
So today I sat in the quiet of my house with my dog lightly snoring in the background and focused on the Lord. What did He have to say?

Psalm 46:10 came to mind. Go ahead and take a minute to look it up, here’s a direct link if you’d like to see it on line. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2046:10&version=NIV

Aside from being a fitting answer to what I was talking to Him about, this verse was the needed reminder that I need to be quiet and listen.

As you go about your day, I hope you will take time to be quiet with the Lord and hear what He has to say. Communication and relationship take at least two. Don’t you agree?

Take care, everyone and I hope you enjoy a few minutes of silence in the midst of craziness. You may be amazed at the result.

Rodeo Song and Giveaway

headshot red alternateThis week we welcome back Shannon Vannatter to share with us about her new release Rodeo Song.

Please tell us about Rodeo Song, Shannon.

It’s the only book I’ve ever written based on a dream. Back in Michael Bolton’s heydey, I attended one of his concerts. During the intermission, he made his famous lobby run. I was sitting in the nosebleed seats, but that night I dreamed I was in the lobby and he grabbed my hand, took me on stage with him and sang Georgia on My Mind to me. I used to live in Georgia.

I thought it was funny and retold the dream countless times. After I started writing, I realized it could be a book. I wrote it back in 2001. In that version, the hero was a long-haired rock star and the heroine only went to the concert as a favor to a friend, but she went onstage with this guy anyway. I’m really not sure why I wrote it like that, but I didn’t know what I was doing since I’d never taken any classes on writing. It got around 30 rejections.

When Harlequin gave me the opportunity to continue my rodeo series, I thought about that story. I decided I could convert him to a Country star to fit the rodeo theme. And it made sense if they’d been high school sweethearts. That way, she could still go as a favor to a friend, but she knew him, so it made sense for her to go onstage. Because she hadn’t really gone as a favor, deep down, she wanted to see him.

I love that you could recycle that story and make it new!

Rodeo Song
JENNA WENTWORTH FOUND THE MAN OF HER DREAMS 

But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna’s life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer.

Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he’d be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he’s found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.

When did you first get the writing itch?

Around 1996, my husband’s hours changed and suddenly I spent my evenings alone. I went to the library to get sweet romance books, but couldn’t find any. At the same time, I’d had a story in my head since my teens. I’d move scenes around in my head and add complications. For years, I’d thought it was a movie, but I didn’t want to go to Hollywood.

When I couldn’t find any clean romance, I thought I should write one. Hey, that story could be a book. But I didn’t have a computer, so I vowed if I ever got one, I’d write the book. Three years later, my father-in-law gave me his old computer. In late 1999, I wrote that story in my head. It ended up being Rodeo Queen, book five in my rodeo series.

I’m with you regarding writing on a computer. I don’t think I’d be a writer if I had to type it out on a typewriter. Ugh!

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes your dreams can take you away from God. We need to give Him our dreams along with everything in our lives and let Him choose our paths.

Do you have a favorite childhood memory?

From the age of seven to twelve, I lived 5 miles from Six Flags over Georgia. We bought summer passes and spent much of the summer there. It was a great place to grow up.

How fun! What is next for you?

I get to continue my rodeo series with three more titles. The next title, Rodeo Break releases in January 2015. I just completed the first draft on it. It’s about another singer—the one that takes Garrett’s place as the rodeo singer at the Fort Worth Stockyards Championship Rodeo. He’s also a church song leader at a small Aubrey church, but he’s hoping to get his rodeo break and land a position as worship leader in a mega-church.

The heroine was a side character in Rodeo Song. She isn’t a Christian in the beginning of the book and she’s in an abusive relationship. At rock bottom, she ends up in the same church as the hero and eventually becomes the pianist there. But just as she turns her life around and comes to realize there are good Christian men in the world through her attraction to the hero, she learns there are extreme consequences for past mistakes.

Shannon is giving away a copy of Rodeo Song to one lucky commenter. Please answer the following question to be entered. Who is your favorite Christian singer?

Drawing Rules: You must have a USA mailing address to be entered for a print copy. There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 4/27/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 4/28/14 and have until 5/04/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.

Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.

Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/. Connect with her on Facebook: facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter, Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stvannatter/, and Twitter: @stvauthor

FORGIVENESS IS… by Cathy Bryant

This week guest blogger Cathy Bryant shares with us.

How would you fill in the blank to the title of this post?

I think we’d all be surprised with the various responses, because other topics have the tendency to creep into our definition of forgiveness. While some of these topics are related, others come from misconceptions about what forgiveness truly is.

For example, many think forgiveness means reconciliation must take place. While that is the ideal, it’s not necessarily true. Both parties have to be willing in the reconciliation process. Sometimes forgiveness requires forgiving in spite of the other party’s lack of willingness to be reconciled.

Another misconception about forgiveness is that it requires a sincere apology from the offender. Remember as a child how your mom would make you say you were sorry–even when you didn’t mean it? In all honesty, true forgiveness is unconditional. We can’t have the attitude of, “I’ll forgive him/her when they…” Why?

Because Christ placed no conditions on His forgiveness of us when He said from the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” ~Luke 23:34

As I studied the concept of forgiveness in preparation for the next Miller’s Creek Novel, A BRIDGE UNBROKEN, I was convicted by this thought:

Kimberly

Sobering thought, isn’t it?

When Alexander Pope first penned the words “To err is human; to forgive, divine” he spoke absolute truth. True forgiveness goes against our human nature. We want justice, not mercy–at least until we’re the ones in need of grace. It takes the spark of the divine within us to realize the importance of forgiveness and to actually carry it out.

In my very humble opinion, an understanding true forgiveness is crucial to our comprehension of what Christ did for us on the cross. For in that one act of love and sacrifice, He released us from all our offenses–past, present, and future.

Lord, may I go and do likewise.

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New Author photoCathy Bryant loves spinning tales about the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, Texas–where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. Her heart’s desire is to write heart-stirring stories of life-changing grace. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her rummaging through thrift stores or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years. You can find out more about Cathy and the Miller’s Creek Novels at http://www.CatBryant.com or at the links below:

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | Google+ | YouTube

Letting go to build a bridge…

Dakota Kelly wants her painful past to disappear. A plan to start afresh is derailed when she A Bridge Unbroken 3Dco-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with Chance Johnson, the man responsible for the scars on her heart. But Chance isn’t the only ghost from the past. Someone else is out to get her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will Chance and Dakota lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and bridge, or will evil forces sabotage their attempt at forgiveness?

 

Releases April 2014

Available at Amazon.com

 

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URLs for links above if you need them:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Cathy.Bryant.Author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Cathy_Bryant

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/cathyjbryant/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2666708.Cathy_Bryant

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Cathy-Bryant/e/B002SKQCDO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/106891278592034397551/posts

YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY8zZ56eUyb4Eohvq5fVCHA

 

Dynamo and Giveaway

Green EllieThis week Eleanor Gustasfon shares with us about her book Dynamo. Welcome, Eleanor! Please tell us about Dynamo.

Jeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania’s mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob’s jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion.

Everything changes when God enters his life—in the unconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend—and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God’s hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, “Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I’m being set up for something.”

He is, indeed. Jeth’s life is anything but predictable, much like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption.
This story is God in your face: Who is He, really? What does He ask of us?

D. smallDo you have a favorite scene?

Jeth has just been offered a high-paying job training jumpers by a man who had done him great harm. His current boss Rob is terrified. Why would he not opt for it?

“Let me count the reasons [says Jeth]: Wingate’s got money; he’d like to own me. Have me under his thumb, once and for all. I lived there, remember? I know him and what it’s like to work there. Toxic climate. I’d never know where I stood, with Wingate or anyone else. He’d expect me to be a Freddie clone—cheat, maneuver. Winning is everything, no matter what it takes. No Sundays off—none. The cocktail circuit. You think I want that?”
Rob shook his head in disbelief. “But with—”
“Do you want me to leave and go with Wingate? Did you hear what I said?”
“Of course I don’t! And yes, I heard, but—”
Jeth looked up sharply. “Read my lips: Wingate could offer me the moon, and I wouldn’t work there. You said I did a good job tonight. He’d never say that, no matter how many rabbits I pulled out of his hat. I’d never trade my life here, no matter how many houses, cars, or women he threw in.”
Rob straightened, his entire frame relaxing. “Okay, then what’s the problem? I see a pattern here: The greater the victory, the deeper the gully afterward. You caught on to Hawkins—fell off the planet. Tonight—the class of your life. Who could have done what you did? Now look at you.”
Jeth lifted his head, the old frightened look in his eyes. “Rob, why does God do this to me? It’s not right. I get the feeling He’s setting me up for something.”
Rob looked away and sighed. “I don’t know. Since you came on the scene, I’ve felt I don’t know much at all about God. It’s not that you never make mistakes or act brain-dead stupid—I’ve seen enough of that—but, at certain times…”
Jeth was silent. Then he said softly, almost to himself, “I feel like Moses by the burning bush, that I should take my shoes off, on holy ground.” Rob looked at him curiously and watched him bow low and fall prostrate, with his arms stretched forward, as though reaching for something. Rob rubbed the prickling hair on his neck, not knowing what else to do, and then he felt it—a warming, palpable presence as from fire, and in the shadows, a horse nickered a welcome.

I like this because the very presence of God comes close enough to feel. I want to know this God who is far greater than even Jeth experienced.

When did you first get the writing itch?

I began thinking up stories when I was five or six. When I started to read, God grabbed me with—yes—a story, and I was hooked for life. But after reading my early attempts, friends and even my mother told me straight out to stick to music as a career. I pushed manfully along, however, and began publishing both fiction and nonfiction in 1978. Dynamo is my fifth novel and builds off a lifelong love of horses.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Through the power of story, I want readers to see an extraordinary God who sometimes works in extraordinary ways through servants who fear and worship Him. I’m trying to create a hunger in my audience for eating the full banquet God serves up, instead of nibbling just crumbs to the point of starvation.
I came across a Henri Nouwen quote that sums up the essence of Dynamo:
God cannot be understood; he cannot be grasped by the human mind. The truth escapes our human capacities…. We only can be faithful in our affirmation that God has not deserted us but calls us in the middle of all the unexplainable absurdities of life…. God cannot be limited by any human concept or prediction. He is greater than our mind and heart and perfectly free to reveal himself where and when he wants.
Henri J. M. Nouwen, Show Me the Way, p. 116, (Crossroad, NY)

Please share a favorite childhood memory.

Branchville, New Jersey, a very small town, was the locus of the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show. The town fathers badly wanted a young woman to compete for the honor of becoming Miss Sussex County. They strong-armed three of us employees of Selected Risks Insurance Company to compete for the title of Miss Branchville. We did this in the empty lot next to the post office, and I won, probably because I was the strongest objector to the whole enterprise. On a certain night of the fair, Miss Branchville and representatives from other towns did the circuit of the show ring on the back of convertibles, dressed in long, sleeveless dresses. A cold ride, to say the least. Then we walked the plank to show off our “figgers,” as the British MC pronounced it. This was the part I had objected to: just one more cattle parade. Fortunately, Miss Sparta became Miss Sussex County, and Miss Branchville was free to go get warm.

That’s a fun story. 🙂 If you could meet anyone present-day or from the past, who would it be, and why?

It would have to be David, the subject of my previous novel, The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David. I worked approximately 15 years, researching, writing, and finding a market for the book, and I will want to know how close I came to getting it right. I want to meet Abigail, his third wife, as well. This book was endorsed by Eugene Peterson and some Old Testament notables. Amazon has posted smashing reviews of it.

Thanks for sharing with us Eleanor. Readers, if you would like a chance to win a copy of Dynamo please leave a comment for Eleanor.

Rules: You must have a USA mailing address to be entered. There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 4/20/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 4/21/14 and have until 4/27/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. The author or their publisher is responsible for sending the book. Void where prohibited by law.

Eleanor K. Gustafson began thinking up stories when she was five or six. When she started to read, God grabbed her with—yes—a story, and she was hooked for life. But after reading her early story attempts, friends and even her mother told her straight out to stick to music as a career. She pushed manfully along, however, and began publishing both fiction and nonfiction in 1978.
Dynamo is her fifth novel and builds off her lifelong love of horses. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she has been actively involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences (besides horses) include gardening, house construction, tree farming, and parenting—all of which help bring color and humor to her fiction. One of her major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable power of story.

Dynamo is available on

Amazon— http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=dynamo%20gustafson%20paperback

Barnes & Noble— http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dynamo-eleanor-gustafson/1118874786?ean=9781629110066

CBD— http://www.christianbook.com/dynamo-eleanor-gustafson/9781629110066/pd/9110066
Ellie Gustafson
Email: egus@me.com
Website: http://www.eleanorgustafson.com
Blog: http://www.eleanorgustafson.com/blog/
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/eleanorgustafson

AmazonThe Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David http://www.amazon.com/Stones-Eleanor-Gustafson/dp/1603740791/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366735533&sr=1-1&keywords=gustafson+stones

 

You are Important

DSCF1066Luke 12:24 Reminds us how important we our to the Lord. I encourage you to read this verse in your favorite version, but here it is in the King James version, slightly altered by me to include a couple modern words. 🙂

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have a storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls?

I love this reminder of how much the Lord cares for us. What I like even more is that He knew we’d need this reminder, so He made sure this verse was included in the bible.

If you are struggling remember He is with you. He will help you face whatever you have to deal with. He never promised a perfect, trouble free life, but He is there to give you enough strength to deal with whatever you face.

I pray the Lord blesses your day.