Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Giveaway & Guest Blogger Johnnie Alexander

Welcome to Wednesday's book giveaway! And I'm  thrilled to have Johnnie Alexander as my guest blogger. She has a beautiful message to share.

Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). The first of her three contemporary romances, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series), releases from Revell in January 2016.

She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest).

A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area where her morning chores include feeding dogs, cats, chickens, and a small herd of alpacas.

Where to find Johnnie online:
Facebook Author Page    

A Gentle Whisper

When my father passed away, we held a memorial service to celebrate his life. A funeral without a casket.

You see, Dad’s last request was that his body be donated to research.

About eighteen months later, the immediate family gathered around a cemetery plot to bury his ashes.

Mom had asked me, as the oldest, to say a few words.

In the weeks leading up to our private service, I agonized over what to say about the dearly loved 
father who’d lived a simple, unassuming life. A man who worked long hours, often six days a week or more, but was never too tired to play a game or go hiking. A man who didn't earn oodles of money but gave his family the precious gift of fond childhood memories.

This was almost twenty years ago. I vaguely remember sitting at my computer, playing with words, trying to make them fit the right way, the most honorable way, and praying for guidance.

Later, while I was writing a note to one of my brothers, God reminded me of the prophet Elijah.

I found my answer in II Kings 19.

Elijah didn’t see God in a fierce wind or in a powerful earthquake or in a blazing fire.

Elijah found God in a gentle whisper.

This was the kind of life my dad had lived.

He didn’t change the world. He wasn’t a VIP (except in our eyes) or a superstar. He didn’t blow people away with brilliant discoveries or rock the world with amazing insights or set the world on fire.

Here’s what he was: a devoted husband, a loving father, a faithful friend, someone who didn’t know a stranger.

A man who was generous with his time and his talents.

A dad who could fix just about anything. A dad who sang. A dad who teased. A dad who laughed.

At the family memorial to bury Dad’s ashes, I talked about God’s gentle whisper and about Dad’s quiet ways. Then I gave each of his grandchildren a stone imprinted with a word that fit their grandfather’s legacy to them.

These words: faith, courage, humor, imagine, celebrate, peace, and play.

I placed the final stone in my mother’s hand.

Written on it is the secret of my parents’ blessed marriage, the guiding principle for raising their children, and their precious gift to their grandchildren.

This stone simply says love.

'What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this Johnnie. I wish I'd known your father. He sounds a bit like mine.'

Johnnie's New Book

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She's certain that true love will only lead to tragedy--that is, util a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life.

Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles.

While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow.

As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

Chapter One:

Where to find this book online:

You can have a chance to win a FREE copy of Where Treasure Hides. All you need to do is leave a comment and make sure to include your email address so Johnnie can contact you.

We have a book to giveaway from last week. Renee Blare is giving away a copy of her book, To Soar On Eagles Wings. And this week's winner is Lyla Swafford! Congratulations!

See you all again, soon.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Giveaway & Guest Blogger Renee Blare

Wow! Life has been busy here on my mountaintop in Southern Oregon, but I'm glad to be here today to welcome my guest Renee Blare. You are going to love her and her new boook!

Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she's been counting pills ever since.

While writing is her first love, (After the Lord and husband) she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and
intrigue. She loves to interact with readers and invites you to check out her website, blog, and social media.

Website: http://www.reneeblare.com/
Group Blog: http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/

Life is good. 

I was sitting around my house one day and got a notion. “Why don’t we get a fish tank?”
A trip to the local pet store revealed an interesting revelation: there are a multitude of choices that surround one categorical fact. It’s more work than I thought.
Undaunted, I loaded my car with a ton of paraphernalia and headed home. A few hours and shredded boxes later, the tank was up! Then came the rocks, the plants, and filter. A few drops here, a few drops there, and the water sparkled.
After several days and numerous trips back to the store, the tank came alive. Guppies, mollies, and neons…vibrant colors splashed across a field of blue. A mass of tropical life swarmed to the surface with a sprinkle of food.
It was perfect.

And then I thought was it may be like from the other side of the glass. I stopped and watched the little fishes swim around their home. What did the marbled molly think of her new home?

Life is so good. I have a place to live, food, a big guy to clean the place. It can’t get any better than this. Hey, the master put a new air stone in yesterday, so the water tastes really fresh today.
But I wonder when he’s going to change the filter. There’s algae everywhere. Poor Windex can’t keep up. Plus that food’s a little stale. I wish he’d buy some new stuff soon. Not to mention the man’s a little stingy with it. I mean, look how many fish are in this place.
And those guppies are such a pain…darting here and there all the time. As if the current doesn’t disturb the water enough. Oh well, I guess I’ll stay out of the way. It’s for the best anyway.

Do I do this? Does it sound familiar to you? How many times do I have everything I need, but still am not happy? I have air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and a roof over my head, but for some reason, it’s not enough. I want more.
Often, I act like that fish. I live in comfort, but complain about everything and everyone around me. Or vice versa, I hide…and avoid the chaos of life.
Are you in the tank? Gobbling up all you are given, only to whine about it later. Or do you drift in the shadows and escape the world?
Either way, before the next casual comment, whether complement or complaint, leaves your lips, stop and look around. Dry your gills, and thank the Lord…for everything, even the stale food. J
Remember, God and His gift of life is good…no matter which tank you’re in.

Act 26:16 (NKJV) “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.”

Thank you, Renee, for this glimpse from the other side of the

Renee's new book.
To Soar on Eagles Wings.

Spring’s in the air. While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on
the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new
game warden, Steve Mitchell launches his first wildlife investigation of the
season but the trouble follows him—straight to town.

Rachel Fitzgerald’s on Spring Break. Or at least she’s trying. Between
paperwork, and harassing phone calls, she may as well have stayed in her
classroom. So much for relaxation. A ‘chance’ meeting with her brother’s
old roommate offers her weary soul a shred of hope, but she discovers
love, like life, isn’t easy.

He talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future. She wants to
soar with the eagles but walks alone. And trusting God proves to be more
of a challenge than ever before...

This sounds super. Can't wait to get a copy. 

Readers, please leave a comment with your email address and your name will be added to a drawing for a FREE copy!

We have a winner from last week's drawing. Karen Barnett congratulations! You have won a copy of The Journey of Eleven Moons. Please send your mailing address to bonnie.leon52@gmail.com.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, July 09, 2015

Book Giveaway & Deep Roots

It's Wednesday, but I'm posting a day late. I've been working hard on a new book and just didn't get my blog done. I know you'll forgive me, because that's the kind of people you are.

My thoughts today are about change. Once again, it's come knocking at my door. And, again, I don't like it. I never have liked change, and as I've gotten older it's become more difficult to "go with the flow".  

Like death and taxes, change is a certainty in life. No matter how tightly we hang onto the familiar it will eventually slip out of our grip. And whether we want to let go or not, we need to find a way to release our personal plans and accept a new direction.

For me, this is a big one. It' not going to be easy. I've already shed more tears than I have too spare. And though our tears are a way of releasing emotions it's time for me to let go and move on.

One thing I know is that I do not carry this heartache alone. God knows what I know and far more. He will sustain as he always has. And even now is telling me to rest in him, not to worry. He's got this.

My roots are deep. I am like a tree planted and tended by God.

It is a comfort to know he will never leave me nor forsake me. He will always be my friend, my comforter, my redeemer. Because of him I have no reason to fear. And he will wipe away every tear.

How do you feel abougt change? Love it? Hate it? How do you deal with it?

I'll be giving away a book, one of my favorites - The Journey of Eleven Moons. All you have to do for a chance to win a FREE copy is leave a comment.


A successful walrus hunt means Anna and her beloved Kinauquak will soon be joined in marriage. But before they can seal their promise to one another a tsunami wipes their village from the rugged shore - everyone except Anna and her little sister, Iya, who are left alone to face the Alaskan wilderness

A stranger a Civil War veteran with golden hair and blue eyes, wanders the untamed Aleutian Islands. He offers help but can Anna trust him or his God?
And if she doesn't, how will she and Iya survive?

We have a winner from last week's book giveaway. Congratulations to Jayne! Donna Robinson will be contacting you.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway & Guest blogger Donna Robinson

It's Wednesday and time to give away another book and too welcome my guest author, Donna Robinson.

 Donna Reimel Robinson is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her publishing credits include Tumbleweed Weddings, published by Barbour, as well as The Knotty Pine Chronicles and The God of All Tomorrows. She and her husband live in Denver, and they have
four grown children and eleven grandchildren. You can see a list of her books, both digital and paperback, at DonnaRobinsonBooks.com.

Where to find Donna on line:

Website: www.DonnaRobinsonBooks.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Donna-Reimel-Robinson/e/B00J43HJKI/
To buy The God of All Tomorrows (eBook): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01076ZPHY


Tomorrow my husband and I are taking a mini-vacation to visit his parents in Texas. We're driving our 2004 Honda Civic, which has over 125,000 miles on it. From our home in Colorado, the journey will take about 18 hours. I am praying for a safe and uneventful trip with no accidents because we did have an accident in this car one time.

We ran over an elk.

It was a Friday night in September, about eight years ago. Our son's high school football team had just played a game against the high school in Elbert, Colorado. (Elbert is a little town southeast of Denver on the eastern plains, and there is nothing around there. Only the town with this big high school football stadium.) Anyway, the boys played their hearts out (I don't remember who won), and we got in the car and started the journey home.

My husband was driving, I was in the passenger seat, and we had three kids in the back—our son, his friend/football buddy, and our daughter. We meandered through all those back country roads (with nothing out there) until we came to Castle Rock and got on I-25 North. Now we had a straight shot up the freeway to Denver. Smooth sailing with all the other vehicles going 70 miles an hour—until the unthinkable happened.

As we heard the story later, an elk trotted out of the Colorado woods beside the freeway. The first car to hit him was an SUV. The impact brought the elk down, totaling the SUV (and the elk too). We were the fifth car to run over that poor animal.

We had our first clue that something was amiss when the car in front of us suddenly swerved to the left, its two right tires leaving the road. Then we saw the elk—this huge blob of road kill with giant antlers—directly in front of us. My husband tried to veer off, but he ran over the elk's neck. The antlers scraped the underside of the car, piercing the radiator. As we pulled over to the side of the road, with five other cars, the fluid in the radiator completely drained out.

Good thing it was a warm night. We were waiting there by the side of the road for over two hours—first to give the sheriff a report, then to wait for the tow truck to take our car, then to wait for a friend from Denver (an hour away) to pick us up. Fortunately no one was hurt, including the people in the SUV.

I attribute that to prayer.

Years ago, when my husband and I first got married, we started the habit of praying in the car before we went anywhere. As our children joined the family, we included them in our prayers, praying for safety. Now, 36 years later, we still pray before we start a journey. So I'm sure we prayed before that trip to Elbert. The Lord honored that prayer and kept us safe and delivered us. And that's the only accident we ever had in that car.

The Apostle Paul was often in peril. He said in 2 Corinthians 1:10, "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" (KJV). Paul knew the Lord would keep him safe—past, present, and future—till he reached the finish line of God's will (2 Timothy 4:7). That's why we want to serve the Lord all our days. 

God's protection plan even includes a stray elk!

Thank you, Donna, for reminding us that God has us in His care ... always.

Donna's New Book

The God of All Tomorrows is a Christian historical romance novel.

Enjoy a heart-stopping adventure story combined with a sweet romance!

   In 1934, Launi Fairfield goes to the jungles of Peru to translate the Bible into an Indian dialect.
She thought missionary work would be exciting, but her days are taken up with the tedious translation project.
   Miles Stone has been a missionary doctor for ten years. He’s a confirmed bachelor, not wanting to be saddled with a wife and children as he moves around to the different Peruvian tribes. He’s content with his life, until he meets Launi.
   Together, they end up having more adventure than Launi ever bargained for. They battle snakes,
jaguars, sickness, earthquakes, and an Indian chief who wants to add Launi to his harem. Will
they trust God for all their tomorrows?

This sounds interesting and very exciting.

Donna is offering a free copy of The God of All Tomorows to one of you. To be included in the drawing just leave a message, along with your email address so Donna can contact you.

Last week's winner is Deanna Stevens. Congratulations!

Everyone have a great Fourth of July holiday.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway & Guest Author, Alexis Goring

Hello. Welcome to my Wednesday book giveaway.

I also have a guest, Alexis Goring. Thank you, Alexis for joining us.

Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession. She loves the art
of storytelling and is especially delighted to have released her first book, an inspirational
romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories.

When Alexis is not working on her next book or chasing down the next big story for the
newspaper where she works as a freelance reporter, she can be found listening to songs by her most admired musicians, enjoying the food in cafes/restaurants, shopping at her favorite malls and spending quality time with loved ones (family and friends).

Places to find Alexis online:
Official website - http://www.alexisagoring.com/
Official Author page on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexisAGoring
Twitter handle - @pennedbyalex 

Alexis took time to answer a few questions:
  • Alexis, your new book, Hope in My Heart, is an inspirational novella composed of three short stories. This is somewhat unique in today’s market. What gave you the idea?
Honestly? I don’t know. I think what happened was that I had a collection of short stories from over the years, so I chose three of the best, set the stories into one manuscript and sent it to a book editor. 

Regarding short story collections, one of my favorite short story collections to read growing up was Christmas in My Heart by Joe Wheeler. My grandma had most of those stories and I liked to read through it. So when I decided that my first book would be a collection of short stories that shared the common theme of hope, and I prayed about what to call it, one day I felt the words “Hope in My Heart” land softly on my heart and in that moment, I knew that should be the title of my book. 

Since it is a novella composed of three fictional stories about hope/faith/love, I added the subtitle, “A Collection of Heartwarming Stories.”

My novella shares no relation to Wheeler’s famous collection, just a similar title. 
  • Is there a theme running through the stories, as the book title implies?
Yes, the theme is hope. All of my characters are in need of hope in one form or another.

We all need more hope. I look forward to reading your stories.
  • What did your journey into writing look like? What’s been the best and worst moments along the way…so far?
My journey into writing was steady and consistent yet filled with ups and downs. I’ve known since age 9 that I want to be a writer and since then, pursued it. I wrote stories on the family computer every chance I got and spent summers in the library reading books—mainly clean romances or series like Sweet Valley High.

When I started high school, I joined the Journalism and Yearbook staff and delved deep into learning how to be a good writer and photographer. After high school, I majored in Journalism and graduated with my B.A. in Print Journalism. Following that, I worked at a magazine as an intern then the ups and downs started as I took detours after that internship…working in office administration and teaching. 

Currently, I work as a freelance writer/proofreader and I love what I do but am still riding the rollercoaster to following my dreams.

The best moments are being able to do what I love to do. I write like I breathe. Writing to me is just as important as breathing. I don’t just want to write; I need to write! And God continues to give me plenty of opportunities to do just that such as through the release of my first book in Sept. 2013, my former job as the Growing Up columnist for Collegiate Quarterly (a faith-based publication), among other opportunities including my passion for blogging.

The worst moments are when I don’t know if this is meant to be a lifetime career or just something I do for free out of the pure love and innate need to connect with people through words and stories. 

Your story is impressive. You've invested a lot into your career.
  • What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?
Everything, seriously! I love everything about writing from character creation to dialogue to paying attention to the details in the storytelling process. The least favorite part is when I have to do more content edits than I think I can handle. 

Heavy editing can be grueling, but after its been done I'm always glad I did it.
  • Is there something of yourself in these stories, or one you relate to more than the others?
I believe there’s a little aspect of me in just about all of my characters, especially these three: Chandra from Love Unexpected, Christina from The Best Gift, Elle from Peace and Love. 

Chandra is an independent woman who excels in the workplace but guards her heart when it comes to finding and keeping true love with the man of her dreams. 

Christina loves carbs but hates what it does to her body. So she’s into fitness and pursuing a healthy eating lifestyle not just to fit into her bridesmaid’s dress at her sister’s wedding but forever.

Elle is a “starving artist” who is seeking work that will allow her to be creative and support herself financially.

Anyone who truly knows me would agree. 
  • When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?
Watching movies on The Hallmark Channel, visiting my favorite cafes and restaurants with loved ones, shopping, listening to music, relaxing at the spa or enjoying good reads at my favorite bookstore
  • If you could share just one thing with your readers or other writers, what would it be?
Writers: Don’t give up. Hope is on the horizon.
Readers: Reading expands your horizons! So keep reading good books!

Good advice.  :-)
  • What are you working on now?
My next book but I cannot share the details at this point and time.

Hmm. Intriguing. 
  • Where can readers find you online?
Author page on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexisAGoring

My blog, “God is Love” - http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com/

Website - http://alexisagoring.com/

Twitter - @pennedbyalex

Alexis New Book

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In Love Unexpected, a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman
Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and
Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten
pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop
trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually
learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In Peace and Love, three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching.
Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to
resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom
before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season
and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Alexis, this sounds really good and just what I need. 

Purchase links:

Amazon.com, http://amzn.to/1it3pxT
BarnesandNoble.com, http://bit.ly/1mGHW95
Christianbook.com, http://bit.ly/1RwEjQ2  

We have a winner from last week ... Deborah Thomas, congratulations! 

If you'd like a chance to win an ebook copy of this week's book, Hope in My Heart, just leave a comment along with your email address. I'll announce this week's winner next Wednesday.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, June 22, 2015


Father's Day came and went this week. In my family, we celebrate the fathers. I'm married to a good one. In the midst of our celebration, however, I'm also aware that Father's Day is difficult for some of my grandchildren. They have fathers who deserted them, leaving behind broken hearts and not knowing what they've lost. But there is a binding up, a healing process in the works in those little hearts. I can see it. 

This year, some of my grandchildren celebrated their stepfathers. One grandson gathered up scrap lumber and made a bench - his first effort - for his stepfather. It didn't cost anything more than his time, but it's value is greater than gold. Another grandson created a poster that included family photos and a touching poem about about how special his stepfather is. 

Blessings for this grandmother.

We each in our own way recognize the day - good or bad. I'm one of the lucky ones. My father was a good man who loved his family. He was honorable and worked hard. He could be tough, but was always fair. I knew he loved me. I never doubted it. He passed away many years ago and I miss him still.

Many of you do not have that same experience. You may have grown up without a father or under the brutality of a ruthless hand. 

I'm so sorry. I wish it had been different for you. I cannot imagine your sorrow.

There is a Father, one who will never let us down. He won't desert us. And will always love us, no matter what awful thing we might do or have done. 

We may not be able to celebrate an earthly father, but we can celebrate our Heavenly Father. He chose us. We belong to Him. He loves us.

John 1:12 - 13 says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

Wow! That is something to celebrate - a child of God. That's me. Loved by The One who created the universe. I am unable to love in such a way, but I have witnessed that kind of love ... from Him. 

Thank you, Father, for loving me just as I am.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway & Guest Blogger Patrick E. Craig

I'm so glad it's Wednesday. I love book giveaways, and I'm excited about today's guest. He knows a little something about Divine Intervention and has a great story to share. 

Welcome Patrick E. Craig.

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in northern California and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. The books are historical Amish fiction and the first book, A Quilt for Jenna, was released February 1, 2013.  The second book in the series, The Road Home, was released September 1, 2013.  Book number three, Jenny’s Choice, came out February 1, 2014.  His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book, The Amish Heiress, will be out in August, 2015. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.

Places to find Craig online:
www.patrickecraig.com  (Webpage)
https://www.facebook.com/PatrickECraig (Facebook)
https://twitter.com/PatrickECraig (Twitter)
http://tinyurl.com/pn5rzf9  (LinkedIn)
Where can readers purchase the Apple Creek Dreams Series?
http://tinyurl.com/n6sfagg (Amazon)
http://tinyurl.com/ou2kb2y (Barnes & Noble)

It’s a God Thing!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, I am sure that you have had a “God Thing” happen in your life—one of those “how did that happen?” kind of experiences that leave you in awe of the grace and loving kindness of God.  For me, it was when the Lord opened the door to become a traditionally published author through a set of circumstances that could only have been orchestrated by Him. 

Here’s how it happened.

In 2003, after twenty years as a pastor/worship leader, I laid down my ministry and took a leap of faith.  I set out to follow my life-long dream to be a writer.  Oh, I had written songs and short articles, even a few non-fiction books on worship and discipleship, but I had never done what I had always dreamed of doing¬—to write books that were full of adventure and romance and characters that were real and enduring—books that gripped people’s hearts and minds and left them changed and uplifted.

When I was young, I had been encouraged to write by an exceptionally gifted Aunt who was, not only a brilliant writer, but also a photographer, political activist and athlete.  She was like a second mother to me and when she passed away in 2002, it was a very difficult time for me.  After I made the decision to leave the ministry, I had a dream one night.  In my dream, my Aunt came into my room and stood looking at me with that intense scrutiny I knew so well.  She said two words, “Start writing,” and then I woke up.  That morning, when I was reading the paper, I turned to the classifieds and saw an ad.  It said, “For Sale—Ghost Dancer Ranch.” Immediately the idea for a book came into my mind. 

Basically it was complete in every detail, the characters, the setting, the plot, and so I set about to write it that evening.  I had a blog at the time and I wrote the book a chapter at a time.  It took me eighteen weeks and then my story for teenagers, The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch, was finished.

I had no idea how to go about having it published until a friend suggested I attend The Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s conference. I attended that year and learned many things, most importantly that I needed an agent to get published traditionally.  I went home and found a Christian self-publishing company online and published my book through them.  I followed that up with another mystery, The Lost Coast, which I published in kindle format directly through Amazon.  I continued to attend Mt. Hermon but I could rouse no interest in my books.

Then in late 2010, I read a blog by Nick Harrison, a senior editor at Harvest House Publishers, whom I had met at Mt. Hermon.  In his blog Nick announced that for the first month of 2011 he would accept story ideas. He also was very clear that he liked Amish stories and quilting stories.

At first I thought, “I’m a man and I know nothing about the Amish or quilting,” but I felt strangely compelled to come up with something. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God had put a wide-open door in front of me. I sent Nick a one-sheet for a story called “A Quilt For Jenna.”

To my surprise, Nick really liked the story idea and proposed that we consider it for an anthology of short stories.  He asked for some sample chapters so I wrote three short chapters of about one thousand words each, thinking that I was working on a short story.

Now come the “God Thing” part of my story.

The 2011 Mt. Hermon Conference was coming up and I sent the sample chapters to Steve Laube, a literary agent, for a critique. At the conference, I met with Steve. He asked if the story could be a novel.  I was such a newbie that I had to ask how many words were in a novel. Steve told me 80,000 to 100,000.  I had about 3000.  I swallowed hard and said “Yes, I can make it into a novel.” The Steve asked me if I could make a three-book series out of the story. I took a very deep breath and said that I could. Steve told me that if I could write a novel that kept his attention all the way through, with romance and adventure and enduring characters, my life would be changed.

I left Mt. Hermon in April 2011 with a mission—to write two chapters a week and finish by August. I kept on task and finished A Quilt For Jenna August 15th.  I did a final proof and sent the complete manuscript to Nick and Steve on September 15th. Steve contacted me about representing me, and then Nick pitched it to the editorial committee at Harvest House. Then three weeks later, I got an e-mail from Nick that said, “It’s a yes!” 

I signed with Steve, he negotiated the contract, and we were on the way. In a few short months I had gone from knowing nothing about the Amish or quilting to having a three-book deal with Harvest House and a top literary agent to represent me.  Three books later, I am getting ready to publish my fourth Amish novel, The Amish Heiress.  It will be out in August.

I learned some important things from this “Divine Intervention”: first—if the Lord opens a door, step through it, and second—you must let the Lord put you in the way of people who can help you. When thing look darkest, the Lord always has a plan.  Listen up, and when He speaks, go for it!

Patrick, Nick and Steve are true professionals. I can't wait to read your first book. If it caught their eye, it's must be good.

Coming In August

Rachel Hershberger’s life in Paradise, Pennsylvania is far from happy. Her papa struggles with a terrible event from the past, and his emotional instability has created an irreparable breach between them. Rachel’s one desire is to leave the Amish way of life and Paradise forever. Then her prayers are answered. Rachel discovers that the strange, key-shaped birthmark above her heart identifies her as the heir to a vast fortune left by her Englischer grandfather, Robert St. Clair. If Rachel will marry a suitable descendent of the St. Clair family, she will inherit an enormous sum of money. But Rachel does not know that behind the scenes is her long-dead grandfather's sister-in-law, Augusta St. Clair, a vicious woman who will do anything to keep the fortune in her own hands. As the deceptions and intrigues of the St. Clair family bind her in their web, Rachel realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. But has her change of heart come too late?

Patrick is giving away a FREE book. To be included in the drawing all you have to do is leave a comment. Make sure to include your email address so he can contact you. And Patrick is offering something special. He's going to let you choose from his three book Paradise Chronicles series - your decide which one.

We have a winner from week. You've won a copy of Anita Higman's Summer's List. Congratulations, Liz!

Grace and peace to you from God,