Monthly Archives: January 2015

Proving Up by Carla Olson Gade

pinesIn my novella, Proving Up, in The Homestead Brides Collection, my characters need to prove that they have successfully complied with the regulations of their homesteading claim agreement in order to earn the title to the property they have been managing. They called this process “proving up”.

There are times in my life when I’ve had to “prove up” to earn a claim to something as well, and I’m certain you have too. Perhaps an award or certificate, a job promotion, a position or role, an earned contract, a satisfied loan, financial achievement, trust in a relationship, admiration and respect. The list goes on. It’s called life. We are constantly having to maintain responsibilities and meet requirements in this world to present ourselves as qualified. To be considered worthy.

Don’t you get tired from striving? I know I do.

It can be wearisome trying to impress others to accomplish our dreams and goals. And in some situations it seems that no matter how hard we try, obstacles abound. Sometimes it even seems as though there is no pleasing others no matter how hard we try. This is when we really need to take God’s Word to heart and not give over to the bitterness that might result from our disappointments. We need to trust that He will redirect us on a path that will satisfy His purpose for us. This happens when we allow our expectation to be from Him and not from the approval of others.

But sometimes there is no pleasing even ourselves as we fail to recognize when our good is good enough. This perpetual striving can cause burnout or even despair. Our fear of failure, or perceived failure, becomes a slave master. That fear can even propel us to desperate action whereby we can be tempted to compromise our values in the name of achievement and acceptance. This not only can rob our joy in the journey, but can thwart our efforts.

Time to get off the vicious treadmill and start really going places because in Christ Jesus you have already been made perfect. You are already acceptable. You have nothing to prove! It’s done. You see, God’s approval is not earned. It is received. When you accept His gift of Life through repentance and faith, Christ’s righteousness covers you. Frees you. Ask God to help you truly embrace this truth.

All the Lord requires of you in your endeavors is to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. So next time you have something to prove, give it everything you’ve got and trust Him for the outcome. And don’t forget, the true proof of success is found in the journey.

CarlaOlsonGadeDevotionalProvingUp CarlaOlsonGadeNative New Englander Carla Olson Gade writes adventures of the heart with historical roots from her home amid the rustic landscapes of Maine. With seven books in print, she is always imaging more stories and enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla’s great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at a historical museum, it’s easier to connect with her online at carlaolsongade.com.

Carla Olson Homestead Brides CoverPromises of free land lure thousands of hardy homesteaders to pull up stakes and head west to establish new settlements on the Great Plains. Follow nine couples as they pursue their dreams, deal with hardship, and encounter romance in their quest to build a bright future. A celebration of true grit and steadfast faith. In Carla Olson Gade’s novella, Proving Up, Elsa Lindstrom applies her scientific theories to growing trees on the Nebraska plains, intruding on a handsome homesteader’s hard work and experience. Will their dreams come to ruin, or will love prove their success? The Homestead Brides Collection is available here: http://tinyurl.com/provingup.

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Grace’s Ground War

hallee_bridgeman-682x1024 This week we welcome Hallee Bridgeman. Hi, Hallee, please tell us about Grace’s Ground War?Grace’s Ground War is part 5 in my 7-part serialized World War II story, Virtues and Valor. The series is about a special team of 7 women who are all part of a huge mission in Occupied France. All 7 women have code-names that are a heavenly virtue (Temperance, Hope, Charity, Prudence, Grace, Mercy, Faith). In book 1, Temperance’s Trial, the wireless operator is captured by the Nazi’s. The following 6 books are the stories of the planning and execution of her rescue. Every book is told from the perspective of a different member of the team.

Grace’s Ground War is about Ruth Aubertin, a soldier who has been trained alongside her two brothers since birth by their WWI veteran father who believed the Germans would be back. Their family is a Christian Jewish family and highly devout. Because of the Jewish persecution by the Nazis in Europe, Ruth’s cover as Lucienne Maitre, code-named Grace, is especially important.

The book is exciting, turn-the-page-as-fast-as-you-can kind of action. Here is the blurb:

The exciting Virtues and Valor series continues!

RUTH AUBERTIN’s father, a highly decorated veteran of the Great War, moves his family from British Palestine to the wild of Great Britain after the Hebron masacre in 1929. He has always known the Germans would return to France, and trained his children from the time they could walk, turning them into finely tuned weapons with multiple skills ranging in weapons training to hand-to-hand combat.

When the Germans roll into France, Ruth and her brothers volunteer with the British Special Services and Ruth joins the Virtues team under the code name of GRACE. Never knowing the bond of sisterhood before, Ruth grows close to the six other women on the team and learns to rely on them and their varied skills as she goes undercover in Occupied France. Working directly for the notorious Praetorian, she and her team plan the largest prisoner escape in the war to date.

The arrest of TEMPERANCE raises the stakes. Now they have to move their time table up, increasing the overall risk of the mission. Can Ruth and her team pull off the mission, or will too many variables crash together at the wrong time?

Grace's Ground War BridgemanGRACE’S GROUND WAR is part five of seven serialized novellas entitled the Virtues and Valor series.

Seven valorous women — different nationalities, ethnicities, and social backgrounds — come together as a team called the Virtues.

In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

Continuing the Virtues and Valor series by Hallee Bridgeman. Seven serialized novellas, each inspired by real people and actual events, reveal the incredible story of amazing heroines facing the ultimate test of bravery.

What kind of research did you do for Grace’s Ground War??

Because I’m writing a very action-oriented story that takes place in Occupied France during World War II, I had to do a massive amount of research into the lifestyle of residents of France, the duties of the counterintelligence assigned to France, and many aspects of the war itself.

My character Ruth was also a survivor of the 1929 Hebron attacks in what was then British Palestine. Arabs attacked the Jewish population and slaughtered them. The survivors had to flee and live in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. It was a brutal story.

 Did any real life instances inspire anything in this story?

While my setting, town, and event in the Virtues and Valor series are all fictitious, all of the heroines are based on true heroines of that war. Ruth Aubertin is based on the real life heroine named Nancy Grace Wake. I tell her true story at the end of Grace’s Ground War.

 How many books a year do you write?

I am a very prolific writer. I published 6 books in 2014 and plan to have 8 more published in 2015.

Yes, I’d call that prolific. 🙂 

Do you write in more than one genre? If so what other genre?

I write Christian contemporary romance, Christian romantic suspense, and Christian historical (WWII) suspense.

When you aren’t writing, what do you do for fun?

I LOVE to cook. I spend several hours a week in the kitchen. I make all of our bread homemade, cook using whole ingredients, and write cookbooks when I need to “cleanse” my brain’s palate after writing fiction works.

Please tell us something about you that would surprise us.

I’ve seen the movie Casablanca probably 30 times. I’ve always known I would write a book about World War II, but I never really knew what I would write. Then one day, my husband said, “It would be great if you could come up with a series about the heavenly virtues.” I IMMEDIATELY had the ENTIRE series of Virtues and Valor written in my head. I knew the characters, the setting, and the plot. It was crazy. I can barely type fast enough to get it out.

 Wow that is amazing, lol on both accounts! I’ve never watched Casablanca from start to finish and I’ve never been blessed with one book from start to finish, much less an entire series

How often do you write? Do you set writing goals?

I write every single work day that my children are in school. I am incapable of writing when they’re home, so my work schedule is centered around their school schedules.

I do not set goals, per say. I know how fast I write, I know when I’ll finish a book, so I let my fans and street team know about when a book is coming. That’s about as close to goal setting as I get.

Are you doing any book signings? 

As I write this, I’m coming off of a 7-month travel schedule that had me all over the United States. So, I haven’t planned anything for 2015 yet because I’m taking a break for the next few months. However, as you read this, that break is over. So, if you find me on my website, you can see my calendar. If you’d like me to do a book signing in your town, just contact me

What is your favorite sport?

I’m a HUGE track and field fan. I love running and watching runners.

Are you a cat or dog person, or both?

I have two dogs (a boxer puppy and a blue-tick-coon-hound/pit bull mutt) and a cat. I’m a dog person, my husband and a couple of my kids are cat people.

What is next for you?

Virtues and Valor has released every month since September, and will conclude in March with Flight of Faith. After Faith’s story, I will release the next book in my Song of Suspense Series, A Harmony for Steve. Before the end of the year, I also plan to write and release my Renkoff Brothers Series: three books about triplet brothers from a Russian immigrant family.

Wow, Hallee. You are one busy lady. Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these questions!

Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy.

An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee finally settled in central Kentucky with her family so that she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a teenaged daughter, and two elementary aged sons delivers.

Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time board member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the American Christian Writers (ACW) as well as being a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC).

Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her. She prays her work here on earth is a blessing to you and would love to hear from you. You can reach Hallee at hallee@bridgemanfamily.com

The Last Heiress Giveaway and Author Mary Ellis Shares

Mary The Last HeiressMary Ellis joins us to share about her latest release.  Welcome, Mary. Please tell us about The Last Heiress: She crossed the sea to save a legacy…finding love wasn’t part of her plan. Amanda Dunn set sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, hoping to restore shipments of cotton for her family’s textile mills, which have been disrupted by the American Civil War. But when she meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and return to England changes. Amanda’s family deems the hardworking merchant unsuitable for the accomplished heiress. And when Nate himself begins to draw away, Amanda has her own battle on her hands. As the Union navy tightens its noose around Southern ports, Nate’s long lost brother, a Confederate officer, arrives in Wilmington with his regiment. Nate contemplates joining the Glorious Cause—not in support of slavery but to watch his brother’s back. Yet will his dangerous decision put his future with Amanda in jeopardy?

Did you do any special research for this book? Yes, for the scenes which take place in Wilmington, I visited that lovely city on four occasions to get the details right. It’s one of my favorite spots in the US so it truly wasn’t a sacrifice! For the Manchester, England details, I have a good friend who’s British and grew up in this area. Her great grandfather owned a coal mine which supplied the cotton mills in the nineteenth century, so I consulted with her many times. One of the events depicted in the story actually happened in his Manchester coal mine. I also visited England once can’t wait to go back!

How fun! It sounds like you had a great time researching. J

Do you write in more than one genre? Yes, I need to occasionally change genres to keep my story-telling fresh. But I always like sweet love stories about strong women who use their faith to carry them through life’s difficult situations. This book is historical romance, and it follows The Quaker and the Rebel and The Lady and the Officer, three stand-alones set during the Civil War. I also have written a dozen Amish romances, and I’m currently writing a romantic suspense series set in the South, entitled Secrets of the South.

When you aren’t writing, what do you do for fun? Oh, my, that question confused me for a moment. But I guess I do have “fun,” although I find crafting inspiration stories very entertaining. When I’m not writing, I love working in my yard, taking my dog for long walks, and swimming. Whether in a pool, a lake, the ocean, or plopping down in a fast moving stream, I enjoy getting wet.

How often do you write? Do you set writing goals? I write full time Monday through Friday but take weekends off. I sit down at my computer at 8:00 am and try to quit by 4:00 pm. However when I’m under deadline I’m usually in my office until 6:00. Of course, it’s not all “writing.” At least 35% of my time is eaten up by email and social media. Since I’ve scaled back to two 100,000 word books per year, as long as I write 5000 words per week, I’m happy!

What is next for you? I am currently putting the final touches on Midnight on the Mississippi, my first romantic suspense set in New Orleans. And I’m researching the next in the mystery series which will be set in Memphis, TN. I went to Memphis in September to research and will return in March. Although I was born and raised in Ohio, my husband and I spend a lot of time in LA, MS, AL and GA. I love places where you never have to shovel snow in the winter.

Mary Ellis low res headMary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Her debut book was nominated for a 2010 Carol Award. Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction while Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award. She recently completed a three-book series of historical romances set during the Civil War and is currently working on a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, for Harvest House Publishers. The Last Heiress is her latest release. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or
Mary has kindly offered to give away one signed copy of her book. If you would like to be entered for a chance to win a copy of The Last Heiress please leave a comment to be entered.
Rules: Open to USA mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law. The drawing ends 1/25/2015. The winner will be notified on 1/26/2015 and have until 2/1/2015 to reply or forfiet the book. No new winner will be chosen.

“It’s a Test” Devo by guest Jennifer Slattery

Iheadshot2013t’d been a crazy week. More like a crazy year. After much prayer and emotional angst, my husband and I had decided to homeschool. Assured God had called us to it, we felt confident He’d stand behind us.

So what could possibly go wrong?

Everything. I’m pretty sure the floodgates of disaster opened above me, because I nearly drowned in a surge of chaos.

Perhaps you can relate. God called you to do something, and you stepped out in faith, only to find the storm waters grow more frantic.

That was how I felt. I was failing! Failure alone is enough to bring most of us to our knees, but failing in an area that involves our kids? Ouch!

One evening, tense and a little melodramatic, I vented every detail to my husband.

He responded with a grin, “It’s a test.”

I stared at him. “What?”

“God’s testing you.”

This failed to bring clarity to my confusion. After all, why would God need to test me? He’s omniscient. The Bible says He knows my every thought, motive, and action.

Yet the Bible is clear: God does test us. He tested Abraham (Gen. 22:1-18), the Israelites during their desert wanderings (Deut. 8:2-18), and Peter when He and the disciples encountered the hungry crowd of 5,000 (John 6:1-13).

When we read these accounts, we begin to see that the testing was not for God’s benefit, but rather for the benefit of those being tested. For it is only when our faith is tested that we begin to see our faults. Through testing, God also allows us to reach the end of ourselves—our strengths, resources, and abilities—so we can recognize our need for Him.

Pause to read Deuteronomy chapter 8 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+8&version=NLT) . In this chapter, Moses urges the Israelites to remain faithfully obedient to God, asking them to remember the testing they endured while they wandered through the desert.

Moses said this testing:

  • Humbled them (v. 2)
  • Revealed their character, and at times, lack of, and their propensity (or lack of) to obey (v. 2)
  • Showed them God’s provisions could be surprising, which taught them to hold loosely to their expectations (v. 3-4)
  • Taught them to rely solely on Him for everything (v. 3-4, 18)
  • Showed God’s faithfulness and therefore, earned their trust (v. 4-10)
  • Hindered their propensity for disobedience (v. 11-18)

Their testing revealed the depths of their sin and their complete dependence on God. It showed them He was faithful, attentive, nurturing, loving, gentle, and true, in a way and to a depth they couldn’t have grasped otherwise.

You see, true, victorious, overcoming faith occurs at the heart level, and heart change occurs once we’ve come to the end of ourselves. When, empty handed, humbled, and in need of mercy, we willingly surrender everything, even that which we hold most dear, to the God who met our need when we were most desperate for His aid.

Are you in a time of testing? What might God be trying to show you about your faith, your fears, your strongholds, and your obedience level?

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

Jen Slattery coverWhenDawnBreaks_N154102_300dpiRGB

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. Dealing with his own issues, Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1

You can buy a copy here: On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/When-Dawn-Breaks-A-Novel/dp/1596694238/

Not Ashamed with Teresa Pollard

Teresa Pollard FB Headshot for books-FBThis week we welcome Teresa Pollard.

Teresa Pollard is from Richmond, Virginia, and was saved at a young age.  She has a Masters degree in English and Creative Writing from Hollins College, and has served as a Sunday School teacher and children’s worker for most of the last forty years.  Married for forty years, she was devastated by divorce and the death of her youngest daughter, but God has blessed her with a new home and another grandson, and she now resides in Dacula, Georgia.  Her website is TeresaPollardWrites.com

 

Thanks for joining us, Teresa. Please tell us about Not Ashamed. Not Ashamed is the sequel to my first book Not Guilty which was written with my friend Candi Pullen in 1982 and published by HopeSprings Books in 2013. We also co-wrote Not Ashamed. Not Guilty was the story of Carrie Shepherd, who was raped by a masked assailant and became pregnant. Not Ashamed is the story of Charity Wright, the daughter of that rape when she turns eighteen, and comes home from Africa, determined to confront her biological father. Before she can do so, she is caught up in a murder mystery, and sets out to prove her father also guilty of that crime. Will her anger lead her to the truth, or will it put her into the hands of a killer?

Did any real life instances inspire anything in this story? Since writing Not Guilty, I’ve talked with quite a few victims of rape, and even a few children of rape. The main question seems to be “Why?” Why me? Why my Mom? Why would my dad do this? Why doesn’t he love me? Why do any of us do the things we do? Is there ever an answer? I felt it was a topic worth exploring. A macabre real life instance that probably inspired it at a subconscious level is that my children were coming home from school one day walking through our woods when they discovered a decomposed corpse that had apparently been there for a couple of years.

Ugh. How horrible. I hope your children weren’t too traumatized, but I know I would have been.

Pollard FB-Tokens coverDo you write in more than one genre? If so what other genre? My other genre is Biblical fiction. I have one Biblical novel out, Tokens of Promise, an imagining of the love story of Tamar and Judah from Genesis 38, and another coming out in October called Woman of Light, an imagining of the story of Deborah and Barak from Judges 4-5.

Please tell us something about you that would surprise us. I started writing in 1979, but my first published book didn’t come out until 2013. In 1979, that first novel came before the Moody Press review board and they said that it was a split decision but since I was an unknown author they couldn’t take a chance. I am so thankful that HopeSprings was willing to take that chance.

Are you doing any book signings? I don’t have any scheduled yet for Not Ashamed. It’s due out in July. I would so love to come and speak on a pro-life platform and sign anywhere in the Atlanta/North Georgia area. I can also do Greensboro, NC or Roanoke, VA areas since I have friends/family both places.

What is next for you? Not to give too much away, but I’d like to do a third book to this series called Not Alone. Candi and I have already discussed some plot basics, but her health is not good. Please pray for Candi. She is a dear friend, I would love the opportunity to finish this trilogy with her.

Thanks for sharing with us Teresa! Please leave a comment if you would like to be entered for a chance to win a copy of Not Guilty.

Rules: Open to USA mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law. Drawing ends 1/18/2015. The winner will be notified 1/19/2015 and have until 1/25/2015 to respond or forfeit the book. No new winner will be drawn.

 

A Match for Meghan and Giveaway by Kimberly Rose Johnson

A Match for Meghan 22859469Hi, all. It’s my turn to share with you about my new release, A Match for Meghan. This book is the fourth and final installment of for my series that takes place in Leavenworth, WA. If you’ve read any of the books, then you are familiar with the heroine, Meghan Black.

A Match for Meghan took me the longest  to write of all the books in the series. I’m not sure why exactly, except maybe I took my time, because even though my editor told me she wanted it, it didn’t go under contract until this past spring and then it was due a month later–good thing it was completed by the time it went under contract. 🙂

I LOVE A Match for Meghan. Other than the first book in the series, which was my debut novel, this is quite possibly my favorite book in the series. Meghan puts a smile on my face. She doesn’t pull any punches, she’s not perfect and she has a huge heart. Here’s the back cover copy.

MEGHAN BLACK HAS FINALLY MET HER MATCH 

The veterinary assistant never backs down from a dare…and what greater challenge than finding die-hard bachelor Ben Young his ideal mate? But what’s an incurable cupid to do when the handsome vet turns the tables and asks her out?

Ben is perfectly content with his single life. And he figures there’s only one way to get the petite dynamo to quit her matchmaking—date her himself! But his plan backfires when he realizes that Meghan could be The One. Can he convince a woman who believes in happy endings for everyone but herself that he’s her Mr. Right?

Enzian Piano Best IMG_0656In A Match for Meghan, Meghan plays the piano at a local hotel. Here is the picture of the piano at the place named in the book. I talked with the original owner and he told me a little history on the piano, but all I can remember is that it’s German. I think it’s absolutely beautiful.

Have you ever had an incurable cupid in your life? How did that turn out. Or, do you play cupid? Have you ever made a successful match? If none of those questions appeal to you, you may ask be a question. 🙂

I’m giving away one print copy of A Match for Meghan. If you would like to be entered to win, leave me a comment and answer one  of my questions above.

Rules: Open to USA Mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law. Drawing ends January 11th. The winner will be notified by email on January 12th and have until 1/18/2015 to reply or forfeit the book. No new winner will be drawn.

Did you know that Amazon will let you know whenever your favorite authors have a new release? Here is the link to “favorite” me on Amazon so you will always be in the know. http://amzn.to/1rVmDqO You can also purchase my books via this link. 🙂

KJ_026 Favorite Pic casualKimberly Rose Johnson holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, teenage son, and their yellow lab. She writes sweet Christian romance for Love Inspired Heartsong Presents and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys taking long walks with her husband and dog, reading, dark chocolate and time with friends.
You may contact Kimberly via her website at http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/