Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway & Guest Blogger Julie Arduini

Wednesdays are special days because here on my blog we have a book giveaway and a guest blogger. This week my guest is Julie Arduini. 

Welcome, Julie.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ through surrender. She’s the author of the Amazon bestseller, Entrusted and co-author of the international bestseller The Love Boat Bachelor. She also shared her story in the Amazon bestseller infertility devotional, A Walk in the Valley. She’s the fiction contributing editor for the digital magazine, Imaginate, and blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read.

She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at

You can also find Julie and her books at:


Entrusted’s Trip Over the Border

My first adventure to the Adirondack Mountains was after college graduation at the invitation of a dear friend from school. The moment I stepped out of my beat-up car and inhaled the mountain air, I knew there was something special about the area.

I’ve been blessed to travel back to Speculator, New York, and refresh in the place I refer to as “my peace.” From that very first visit I started picturing the characters who would be in what is now available as Entrusted. When I walked by King of the Frosties I envisioned Ben and Jenna inside trading barbs as they met over milkshakes. The log cabin I stayed in was the inspiration for where Jenna rents and realizes her small car is no match for the harsh Adirondack winters. As my writing matured, I was able to return again and again and keep working on the story.
When I reached the place where Entrusted was nearly finished and ready to query my husband wanted to give me a birthday trip where I could be alone and edit without the normal disruptions I faced at home. At the time his oldest son worked for a hotel corporation that offered deep discounts to family. My husband looked it up and realized nothing was available in the area. However, he informed me there was a place over the border in Vermont. I was taken with the idea of having time to myself to finish the manuscript, so I didn’t pay attention. I made plans to visit my mom and sister first, then travel the next day. I routed it so I’d visit Speculator again on the way, the sights and sounds would be fresh in my mind. I decided for all the routes, I’d take the one that kept me in the Adirondacks the longest.
It was during the first hour past Speculator on my way to Burlington that I realized this hotel wasn’t close by. Over the border was going to be nearly three hours away. I was in a new-to-me part of the mountains that was so remote not only were there no gas stations, there were no people. No homes. And no telephone poles. Because the ferry wasn’t open yet, I was definitely going out of the way. And as beautiful as it was, I tried not to think about the consequences if I had any kind of car trouble.
Once I arrived in Burlington and the Green Mountains, I was able to settle in and enjoy complete solitude. The mountain backdrop was similar enough to the Adirondacks that I quickly adapted and edited 100 pages and wrote the ending. When it was time to return back home I researched a new way that was a little less remote but would still give me the Adirondack views as I left. Once again I pictured the senior center and the seniors. Carla at work driving around Route 30. But as I left the Adirondack region and transitioned to the Albany area, and then the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, it was an eight hour drive to get to my mom’s. Although my dad had been gone for almost ten years, I could hear him asking, “What are you doing driving through the mountains all alone?”
The praise is through all those miles, and our geography naivety, I loved everything about the trip. I came away refreshed, I saw new and different lands, and most of all, finished a work that now readers are able to enjoy. Entrusted is the Adirondack romance where readers are commenting that they are transported to a village and area they wish they could visit and maybe live in. And that makes all that driving, even “over the border” to Vermont, worth it.

Julie, how fun it is to get a way and write.

A city girl moves to the mountains and produces a lot 
of change for the local grocer.

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

- See more at:

Purchase Links:
Amazon     (If that doesn’t work, this is the link below)
Barnes and Noble

For a chance to win a copy of Entrusted, all you have to do is leave a comment. Make sure to include your email address so Julie can contact you.

Last week's winner of Jo Huddleston's book, Wait For Me,  signed in as anonymous and didn't leave a name, but we have your email address. Congratulations!

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway -- Guest Blogger, Jo Huddleston

It's Wednesday! One of you will win a FREE book and I have a guest blogger. Welcome Jo Huddleston.

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novel in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances.

She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University.

Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren.

You can find Jo at:


You can purchase eBook for Kindle and print copies of Wait for Me at:

Jo has a special permaFREE eBook, Amen and Good Morning God: A Book of Morning Prayers

Always free and available at:

Kindle eBook copy:
Other eBook formats:

Thoughts from Jo -

Preparing for a Bumper Crop

Business at the plant nurseries is booming. Spring’s start has caused a rush to buy flowers and shrubbery. Spring has always been a time of new life bursting forth after the dead of winter’s cold. It’s new growth rising from sleeping seeds.

Recently on a clear, sunny weekend, I bought some bedding plants for transplanting. Healthy, red geraniums. I thought my task of plating the flowers would be an enjoyable one, perhaps even an easy one. 

When I set a planter box before me in which I wanted to put the geraniums, I faced something totally unexpected.

I faced not a simple task of lifting the bedding plants one by one and merely putting them into the dirt or the planter box. No, the dirt in the box was not soft and moist as it had been last spring when I’d first planted flowers in it. Something had to be done about the hard, dry soil before I could ever place new flowers there.

I had to prepare the soil for my purpose. Even if I could have dug small holes for the placement of each bedding plant, the surrounding soil would still have been caked around them. This surely would not have been a favorable condition for the new flowers’ growth.

No, I had to prepare the soil. I had to go from one end of the planter to the other, loosening every last inch of the dirt with my trowel. It wasn’t easy breaking up the hard dirt; it was almost like chipping away at a piece of marble.

Preparing the soil took longer than the actual planting of the new geraniums.While I dug and chipped and even crumbled dry earth with my hands, I had time to think. I was reminded of many situations that require lengthy and thorough preparation before an actual deed can be accomplished: the hours of studying required of a student for a good performance on a test; the long, nine months of development prior to the birth of a child; the many, many months of learning and training before an astronaut can actually engage in space flight.

But the most important reminder while I prepared the soil for planting had to do with relationships. People getting along with people.

We don’t all think alike; nor come from similar backgrounds that influence our actions; nor hold the same principles that govern our lifestyles. Differences are a distinguishing characteristic between people. Differences tend to set us apart. We hold differing opinions on many issues and get excited about different things and cling to different values and virtues.

In light of all our differences, seeing eye-to-eye with everybody becomes a difficult task. Something is needed or else we could never get along with many folks. Yes, something has to be done to the hard, dry soil of personalities before a right relationship can exist between people.

In the Bible, Jesus tells a parable of the farmer, a sower of seeds (Matthew 13:1-10). Getting along with people can be likened to those seeds the farmer planted. 

All kinds of obstacles lie along the way to good human relationships. The rocky places and thorns are the differences we have. In such cases we must prepare the soil of differences so that we can realize a bumper crop of harmony and goodwill. The highest priority of preparation would be to put aside selfish desires. And remembering the Golden Rule of doing toward others as you would want them to do toward you (Luke 6:31). Putting other people first, loving one another. It’s all a thing of the heart.

Getting all these relationship right is not easy. Just as farming is not easy. But following an unsuccessful crop, the farmer doesn’t quit. He goes out the next time, prepares the soil and plants again, striving toward that abundant, bumper crop.

Yes, the preparation indeed is often as important as the actual deed that is achieved. May we all continue preparing our hearts for a brotherhood of all people.

Good thoughts, Jo. Thank you for this important reminder.

Jo Huddleston's New Book

Can Julie, an only child raised with privilege and groomed for high society, and
Robby, a coal miner’s son, escape the binds of their socioeconomic backgrounds?

Set in a coal mining community in West Virginia in the 1950s, can their love
survive their cultural boundaries?

This is a tragically beautiful love story of a simple yet deep love between two soul
mates, Robby and Julie. The American South’s rigid caste system and her mother
demand that Julie chooses to marry an ambitious young man from a prominent and
suitable family. Julie counters her mother’s stringent social rules with deception
and secrets in order to keep Robby in her life.

Can the couple break the shackles of polite society and spend their lives together? Will Julie’s mother ever accept Robby?

This sounds good, Jo. I look forward to reading it.

Readers, you can win a FREE copy of Wait for Me. All you need to do is leave a comment and make sure to include your email address so Jo can contact you.

Last week's winner of While My Soldier Serves is Deanna Stevens. Congratulations!

Friends, are you reading a good book? Want to tell us about it? 

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway & Guest Blogger, Edie Melson

Wednesday means Book Giveaway! And I am thrilled to have Edie Melson as my special guest today. 

Welcome Edie.

Edie Melson—author, editor, and blogger—is a leading professional within the writing industry, as well as a popular inspirational speaker and mentor. She’s the author of While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military (Worthy Inspired). She’s also the military family blogger for Guideposts at While They Serve. In addition, as a respected expert in social media, Edie has the proven expertise to teach others how to plug in without sacrificing valuable writing time. Her bestselling eBook on this subject, has recently been updated, expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. Connect with her on her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, which reaches thousands each month, and through Twitter and Facebook.

A word from Edie -

Sword of the Spirit—My Weapon of Choice

  For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way. II Corinthians 10:3
  Our oldest son was a wild child during his teenage years—never in serious trouble—but always on the ragged edge of crossing the line. Even though Jimmy flirted with disaster, I knew he and his friends never hesitated to live out their faith. One night they had an encounter many will never forget.
  Several of them were staying the night with a friend, and before they settled in for the night, they couldn’t resist one more ride in Jimmy’s Jeep—in spite of the fact it was well past midnight. As they drove dark country roads, inevitably a county deputy pulled them over, checking for mischief.
  Three of the boys were big jokesters, but one of four never seemed to say a word. Unfortunately he chose this night to break through his shyness. Just as the officer was passing their open window he commented to his seatmate, “I hope he doesn’t make us walk a straight line.” Despite a sharp jab from his friend, the damage had already been done. The policeman ordered them all out of the car.
  He proceeded to search the car, with my son’s permission of course. He found nothing illegal or even slightly damaging in the car so he turned his attention to each of them individually. As he patted them down, the situation quickly became comical. One of my son’s friends—wearing cargo shorts—dutifully emptied his pockets. Of course he forgot one, though. When the officer reached that pocket, Ryan’s sense of humor got the better of him. “Be careful, I keep my sword in that one.” My son said the policeman visibly flinched, and then demanded Ryan remove the weapon.     Ryan proceeded to extract his well-worn Bible for the deputy’s inspection. At that point the officer realized he’d find nothing incriminating with that group and ordered them on their way.
  As my son shared that story with us the next day, I couldn’t help but be challenged. God has given us His Word for protection and offensive warfare, but how few of us view it in that way. We use it for comfort and instruction, but it’s meant to be so much more.   During those times of deployment, it became my weapon of choice when fighting my own war at home. And many times since, it has defeated the enemy and the fear he uses to attack.

I love this story, Edie! Thank you for sharing.

Edie's New Book


There is nothing stronger than the power of prayer. While your soldier is serving their country, you want to pray for them but sometimes it is hard to find the words.

These rich, powerful prayers for protection, peace, strength, wisdom and faith are written from the heart.

This book is perfect for the spouse, parent, friend or even prayer group who is praying for one special soldier or for all who may be in harm's way.  There is also a special section of prayers for the one who waits at home.

Many Americans have friends and family serving our country. This is a powerful book that will help those who wait. You can win a FREE copy. All you need to do is leave a comment. Make sure to include your email address so Edie can contact the winner.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Book Giveaway & Guest Blogger, Wendy Reese

It's Wednesday! That means we have a book giveaway and a guest. Welcome Wendy Reese!

W.G. Reese (Wendy) is a Southern California Beach Native who now lives in the mountainous panhandle of North Idaho. 
A story teller since childhood, the wonders of God’s creative gifts have always inspired her imagination. As a lover of sci-fi/fantasy (a Trekkie and not ashamed of it)…her metaphoric writings resonate with the possibility of worlds beyond. Blessed with a loving family and friends that walk alongside, she holds no greater awe than the love of Jesus Christ. 

Where to find Wendy online:

The Days Ordained For Me

Yesterday, I bid farewell to my Hello Kitty slippers. They surely used up all nine lives, with holes front and back… (and yes, they’re available in adult sizes.) But it got me thinking. In Psalms 139:16 it says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”

What does this mean? Our wonderful Father knows our days from beginning to end.

In the early seventies I became a newborn in the Lord. He was my God, but someone I didn’t know. I started church and after a few months of good Bible teaching and worship, I experienced the extraordinary love of Jesus. Hungry for more of His presence, I often entered the sanctuary during the midweek to play the baby grand and sing my heart out to Him. The pastor was kind enough to allow me to stay after hours so I locked up late at night. I experienced a wondrous time with God. On one particular evening after worshipping into the early a.m., I got into my car and drove down the quiet, dimly lit street. Ahead, the light was green so I drove on, but as I approached the intersection something unseen grabbed my foot and planted it on the break. A microsecond later, a large Cadillac sped by going about 60 mph.

Have you ever seen Back to the Future III where Marty is challenged by Flea to race? Marty revs his engine, but hits reverse to avoid what he knew would come: a fatal accident. He saves his and Jennifer’s lives. Huge relief. Of course they were acting… but I wasn’t. My life was spared and a brilliant light consumed my heart… like a blowtorch of God’s love, if you will. An angel sent? I think so.

Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

Is God only in the sanctuary? Does His presence only abide when we try to cuddle with Him? He is forever present. “See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands;” Is: 49:16a. Not to say that trials and dangers don’t come and like most I haven’t been rescued from everything that afflicts, but I know the One who either delivers within seconds or delivers in time by producing “perseverance; perseverance; character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3b-4.

Suffering is a part of this life: if you’re a believer or not. We live in a fallen world that seems to grow darker by the hour, but our citizenship in heaven is sure. And it begins within this temporal existence the moment we say yes to Jesus.

I often pondered why Jesus came to save us. He didn’t have to. He chose to. His love is beyond my understanding. One day during prayer I asked, “Why did you come for us?” That wonderful still small voice of the Holy Spirit replied, “I want you with me.” A warm sensation flooded my entire being. A couple of days later my eyes fell upon 1 Thessalonians 5:10 “He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.”

Many have learned early in their lives, that authorities cannot be trusted. I was in that number. When first getting to know Jesus, I often approached him as I did my earthly parents only to expect criticism, constant correction, and condemnation. It never came.

God has taught me that “Father” means; unconditional love, conviction when I need it, and endless compassion.

My earthly father left our home when I was five years old. I remember that day. As sunlight burned through the three-paned-glass front door of our house in California, he clutched a suitcase and slipped out – closing the door behind him. Not a good-bye or kiss for his three little girls. Even so, it was the first time that I felt true peace. My poor dad had an intolerable mental illness which often caused irrational behavior ending up in abuse. In the nineteen fifties, manic-depressants received electric shock or lithium to resolve the problem. But since his condition was never mentioned in our home, I assume he was never diagnosed. Looking back, I remember how frustrated he would get. To relieve his angst, he self-medicated with alcohol unto his death. Where was God? How did we, as a family, cope? Not very well until receiving the Lord.

After becoming a child of the Father over forty years ago, I look back in time and see Him wooing my dad. My dad’s parents were His, one of my sisters and I prayed for and witnessed to my dad in his later years. And within the final seconds before he took his last breath, he said “yes” to the One who loves him more than any other.

My dad and mom are now “with Him” as He has promised in His Word. One day I’ll join them; the redeemed within the glorious light of Jesus - casting off the fragile "body" of the temporal and putting on the wondrous form of the eternal, which will never wear out.

This is a beautiful story. Thank you, Wendy.

Wendy's New Book

The divine blessings of Sior transformed the world of Ariel Leun into a paradise where people enjoy long lives in the company of mystical creatures. Winn, a transplant from the dark world of Draugh, reigns as a beloved King with his trusted advisor Caelan at his side, until the death of his Queen sends him spiraling into despair. Banishing Caelan and neglectful of his duties, King Winn is unaware that an old enemy, Garthpha, plots to take the throne.

Rebelling against their father's retreat into seclusion, the heirs of Ariel Leun travel the passages of the Red Stone to Draugh where four warring Kings scheme to capture them, exploit their inner light, and deliver them to Garthpha as tribute. 

Can the children be rescued before their light is extinguished and evil takes the throne of Ariel Leun, plunging it into darkness?

A question from Wendy:

Do you believe that God's creativity expands to other sides of the universe?

I can't wait to hear the responses to this question.

Wendy is giving away a FREE copy of The Visitor. Leave a comment for a chance to win! Don't forget to include your email address so Wendy can contact you.

Last week's winner of Desperate Measures by Sandra Orchard is Bonnie Roof. Congratulations!

Grace and peace to you from God,