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,


Sunday, June 14, 2015

The First Year

June 15, 2014 
New Life - A Miracle

Yesterday we celebrated my grandson Jase's 1st birthday. One year lived already!

I was there when my daughter pushed her little boy into the world and he let out a cry of protest. I was smitten the moment I saw his sweet face. (happens every time) Children are precious.

This first year has been filled with sleepless nights, tears and trepidation. But mostly it's been about joy and laughter.

His beautiful family.

 Jase is a charmer. He's brimming with adventure.
 Life with him is never dull

Jase has made our lives more beautiful and lots more fun. We thank God that he placed this little man in the midst of our family. We don't know what is ahead, but certainly his mischief and curiosity will keep life interesting. 

Thank you Jase, for being part of our lives. I can't wait for more hugs and laughter.

Love you, Jase. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway and Blog Guest, Anita Higman

Wednesday Book Giveaway! 

It's a privilege to welcome Anita Higman  Thank you for joining us.

Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has forty books published.
She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the
combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good
movies, traveling to exotic places, and brunch with her friends.

Here are some places you can find Anita online.


How do you hope readers will feel when they’ve finished your novel, Summer’s List? 

Uplifted, challenged, and entertained. At least, that is always my dream. I’ll leave it up to you, the reader, to decide if I fulfilled that goal.

Is your heroine based on anyone real?

Not really. However, I love Summer’s personality. Even though she is impulsive and a bit fickle, she is generous and noble and kind-hearted. I guess you could say I want to be Summer Snow when I grow up. 

  But one of the story’s characters is indeed taken from real life—a sweet Chihuahua named Laney. This little dog was considered a love-gift from God since she helped my daughter-in-law get through a painful passage in her life. It was a true joy for me 
to add this beloved dog, Laney, to my story.

I look forward to meeting Laney. :-)

Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for this story? 

My mother read me fairy tales when I was a kid, and I believe that had a profound effect on me. I have been told my stories read like modern-day fairy tales, and I am hoping that Summer’s List will have that same fun feel to it. 

What is your favorite new book or movie? 

I went to see the new Cinderella movie by Disney. Oh, my. It was marvelous. Considering all the “R” rated movies out there, and many of them unfit to watch, I was so happy to find a movie with such beauty and truth. One of the messages was clear and powerful—to be kind and courageous. Those are good goals for young women and for all humannkind.

That is a powerful message. I'm going to have to see the movie.

What project are you working on now?

I’m heading out on a new adventure in my writing career. I’m writing young adult books with my daughter, Hillary. I’m very excited about the future, and I hope you will follow along with me on this new journey!

If you could give writers one little golden nugget of advice what would it be? 

If God has called you to write—be encouraged! That is huge. My advice? Read all you can. Write daily. And never ever give up. I didn’t become rich and famous in this writer’s journey, but I have been faithful to my calling for the past thirty years. I hope my words have been a blessing to many and have glorified God. That is what matters the most in my career.

Wise words. Thank you.

Do you have a favorite scripture? 

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NIV) 

Do you have anything to add? 

If you have taken the time to read one of my books, I thank you with all my heart. 

Your support is greatly appreciated! 

Anita's new book.
What a beautiful cover!

Life and love keep going awry for Summer Snow, until her grandmother sends her on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree—a kind and quirky young man from Summer's past. With Laney the Chihuahua along for the ride, a childhood
friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

Sounds good. I'm definitely putting it on my "to read" list.

One of you can win a FREE copy of Summer's List. All you need to do to be eligible is leave a comment. Make sure to include your email address so Anita can contact you.

And now, last week's winner of Dr. Patrick Johnston's book, The Why. 

Congratulations, Bonnie Engstrom!

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, June 08, 2015

Walking Free

What does walking in freedom look like to you?

In church on Sunday the topic of being free in the Lord was raised. The pastor said freedom comes as we hand our lives over to God's authority. Do you find this statement to be comforting or frightening?

Does your freedom walk look like this?

I remember when I was a new Christian I was afraid to fully offer myself to God. I feared he might want me to head off to Africa or some other scary place and tell others about Him. And then one day it hit me - no matter where I am if I'm in God's will it's the best place I can be.

That's freedom.

If only I could hang onto this truth all of the time. When the going gets tough I can lose my grasp of his wisdom and power. And it's silly because I know I can trust him. I know he's got my back. I know he knows what is best and that he is enough. My trouble is that I like to live in a comfortable place. 

I don't want any overturned apple carts. 

I'm pretty sure God gets that about me because I've had a lot of overturned applecarts in my life. Sometimes I wonder if he shakes his head and says, "Dear-Dear Bonnie, when are you going to get it? When will trust me? 

When you do, your life will be sweeter.

My life is sweet. If I take the time to consider all that I have to be thankful for, like my family, I know this is true. 

God watches over me. He cares for me. He shines his light into my life so I can find my way. Throughout my life, he has fulfilled incalculable promises.

One example is when my husband and I decided to move to Oregon. We just had to get here and so we came. The year was 1980 - a bad time to quit a good job and begin a new life. We asked God what he thought of our plan, and then didn't listen to His answer.

The economy was a mess. There were no jobs, especially not in Douglas County, Oregon. We had two little ones and another on the way and we were broke. Our cupboards were bare.

We hung on for a year and then limped back to Seattle. I was brokenhearted and weeping as we drove away. I asked God to let me come back one day.

In all, we were gone 3 1/2 years. When we returned Greg stepped into a good stable job, and the house we'd built was still here. We settled down, raised our family, stepped into our community and church. We've had many good years here.

I believe God wanted us to live here in Oregon, but Greg and I stepped out ahead of Him. The poor timing made for hardships that were unnecessary had we waited on him. But one of the beautiful things of walking with the Lord is that he uses even our mistakes to help us grow. The Lord is always good.

Greg and I are no long young, but life continues to be exciting and challenging. And I still struggle to relinquish my ways to God. But I am learning and growing. And the more I place my daily life, with all it's beauty and troubles, in God's hands the more freedom I experience.

The best way is always God's way, And the freedom I long for comes only in trusting Him.

And so, I begin a new day. What am I going to do with it? Rely on me or Him? What do you think? And what do you hope to do with yours?

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, June 04, 2015

Wednesday Book Giveaway & Guest Blogger Dr. Patrick Johnston

Happy Thursday!

This week's Wednesday book giveaway and guest blogger has been moved to Thursday, this week only.

We have a special guest, Dr. Patrick Johnston, who definitely doesn't let any grass grow under his feet. He has a terrific message to share. 

Welcome Dr. Patrick Johnston ... and your lovely family.

Dr. Patrick Johnston is a family practice physician and the father of nine home-educated children. He has authored nine novels and one non-fiction workbook. He directs Personhood Ohio and the Association of Pro-Life Physicians. His ninth novel, his medical thriller Body By Blood, is contracted to be published through Chalfont House in September of 2015. His family website is www.JohnstonFamilyMinistry.com. 

His daughter’s album, Born to Be a Misfit, by “Anna J”, is available on iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon. Don’t buy it. :-)

You can find out more about Dr. Johnston at these sites.


The Strangest Marketing Strategy

When my 15-year-old Anna wound up bored half to death on the couch after an ACL surgery, she picked up a guitar and began to write music. Turns out her ADD is accompanied by an amazing gift. A dozen songs later, she’s cut her first album - More than a Misfit by “Anna J.” When it released, my wife Elizabeth got the bright idea of videoing Anna sing a cute little ditty she wrote entitled “Don’t Buy My CD.” In the wake of the catchy tune, in her goofiest hillbilly accent, Anna begged people not to buy her CD. The strategy worked like a charm! Within a week, the video saw over 134,000 shares on facebook.

Sometimes, the more strange and unique the presentation, the higher the product rises above the flood of competitors vying for attention in the marketplace. I’ll call it the “Anna J”* factor.

I bagged a publisher for two of my three novels released this year - an Amish fiction novel in January and a medical thriller in September, but publishers considered my recent novel - The Why - too controversial. Kids and guns make Christian publishers about as edgy as Frank Peretti’s attempt at contemporary romance. So I self-published this novel and planned to market it employing the “Anna J” factor.

Let me give you the puzzle pieces and let’s see if you can guess how I put them together for a unique marketing strategy.

My wife Elizabeth isn’t a fan of my fiction writing. She prefers non-fiction. Of my nine novels, she’s read two.

Due to some financial difficulties, hobbies that are expensive are a big “turn-off” to Elizabeth.

Hobbies that I can’t do with at least some of my nine kids are also a big “turn-off” to her, whereas hobbies that involve the kids are… you guessed it, a “turn-on.”

I first wrote The Why to be a screenplay, but it drove Elizabeth crazy having to get the kids dressed and ready for the filming. It was a lot of work for my 7 1/2 month pregnant wife at a very busy time in our lives. Moreover, she’s even less pleased with my film-making aspirations as she is with my fiction.

Two of my older children - Charity and Anna - are also interested in film-making.

My two oldest boys are gifted marksmen. Shooting guns is a hobby we all enjoy - including my wife.

Don’t mean to give you the impression that my wife makes my world go round, but she does! She’s an anchor in my rocky world of endless aspirations and ever-growing ambitions.

Now you have the puzzle pieces. Given these factors, and my desire to honor my wife, spend time with my children, and simultaneously “Anna J” this novel to the NY Times bestseller list, what do you think I did?

I created a five minute action-packed promotional video with eight of my nine children to promote novel. You can watch it at TheWhyNovel.com.

Has the promo sold a million novels in the past month since the book was published? Nope. Were my kids as thrilled with the outcome of the film-making venture as I was? Not by a long shot. Has the promotional video attracted any producers to the screenplay? No offers yet.

But did we ever have a blast! And we did it together as a family. How many authors can boast a strategy that brings even their little children to the drawing board? Was it work to create the promo? Yes - but a couple weeks of filming instead of six months. Moreover, it was an inexpensive venture that didn’t involve thousands of advertising dollars we didn’t have.

Most importantly, my wife is happy.

Children who adore their father and a happy wife beat a Best Seller any day. I can’t take my novels to heaven with me. But I can take my family.
Dr. Patrick Johnston's 
New Book

When the dollar collapses, widespread rioting and looting threaten the peace of a family in Zanesville, Ohio - "the Y City." Eight children lose their parents and are forced to survive in a stretch of woods surrounded by lawless anarchy. Running out of food and facing threats from encroaching violent gangs, they are tempted to doubt God's love. When they capture a thief, they learn that the attack on their home was no random act of violence. Torn between justice and mercy, their faith heated in the fire. Will God answer their prayers and deliver them, or must their faith remain blind to facts?

You don't want to miss the book trailer at www.TheWhyNovel.com.

Well done, Dr. Johnston. I can't wait to read the book.

Dr. Johnston is giving away a FREE copy of his new book. Make sure to leave a comment for a chance to win, and don't forget to include your email address so Patrick Johnston can contact you.

We have a winner from last week. Congratulations, Cynthia A. Lovely! You've won a copy of Julia Arduini's book, Entrusted. We need your email address. Can you contact me at bonnie.leon52@gmail.com?

Grace and peace to you from God,