Saturday, April 25, 2015

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program...

...because of a mistake on my part. We'll invite Melody Balthaser back and feature her book Seeking Sophie on another day.  
In the mean time, my friend Ashley over at the A to Z blog tagged me in a fun List Of Random Questions created by her friend Naomi.

~ Paste the button onto your blog post.
~ Leave a new list of questions (or just pass on the question list you answered) and tag a few people of your random choice (and say why you tagged them, if you have time!) (Be original and nonsensical in your question-creativity - make the blogging world a cheerful place :-) And be disastrously random.)
~Write down three facts about you - one of them is WRONG. Let your commenters guess in the comments which one is wrong (and tell them in the comments after a while).
The questions I'm asking: (These are a little less than random, but I love books, okay?):
Have you talked to anyone in person about a book this week?
What book was it?
What are the two biggest emotional reactions you've gotten from a book or movie this year?
What are you reading right now? 
How many books have you read this year? 
What was the last flower mentioned in a book you read?
If you could choose to travel to the setting of one of the last three books you read, which would you choose? 
If you could choose three living authors, to follow around for a day, who would you choose? 
What about deceased authors?
If you could read only one fiction book for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I tag:
(Because I met each of these ladies through writing conferences or contests or critique groups, they love Christian fiction, and they're all sweet as peach pie!)
Anyone else reading this post who wants to!
P.S. I know everyone is busy these days, so feel free to pick and choose the questions and/or answer in the comments if you'd rather.

Now for the fun...
(Which of these is FALSE?)
#1. I have both an irrational fear and secret dream of being serenaded with a love song in public.
#2. I witnessed a man die at a rodeo.
#3. I hate straight peanut butter on crackers.
How many books do you have on your bookshelf(eves)?
Oh my word, are you serious? LOL. Okay, I just counted and, excluding Kindle copies, piano music books, my Bibles, and the ones currently loaned out, I have 238. I thought I had less than that, but I kept finding new bookshelves I missed. (I have 5 of all different shapes and sizes. Yes, they're all in my room. It's like a book treasure hunt, except I have them organized.)
This is my "currently reading" stash. (Note my prized fiddle scroll bookends! The Lord spoiled me with those, so I like to brag on Him. ;) )

My "read next" stash (P.S. I didn't count this one in the bookshelves. Or the previous stash.)

Political, spiritual, and relationship nonfiction on top. Classics on bottom.

Top shelf: Most recent acquisitions in random order. Bottom two shelves: Mostly historical fiction and series' alphabetically arranged by author last name.

A dvd rack I bought for $1 and turned into a bookshelf. Not the easiest on pages, but I was pressed for space. Keepers at bottom and random recent acquisitions about halfway and up.

Top shelf: Spiritual classics like A Man Called Peter, The Hiding Place, some C.S. Lewis, and maybe a Spurgeon, not sure. Bottom shelf, beside my golden tortoise shell: my so-dear-to-my-heart Lori Wick collection. These are only my very favorites of hers. I haven't collected the others yet, because of a space dilemma, if you know what I mean. Someday I wish to own a small room with wall-to-wall built in bookshelves, a wing-back chair, lamp, and footstool. And maybe a cat.
Some older "little books" I've yet to read. So little time! ...If you're wondering where the rest of the books are, they're jumbled in with my piano books and writing craft books two-deep, and too messy to photograph. :)

What's your favorite color? Why?
Hmmm. Blue. (Can you tell?) Bright bright blue. Like the color Azure according to Wikipedia. Maybe with a touch more green in it.

Are you a Mac or a PC person? iPhone or Android?
PC because I don't want to relearn the system (though I technically did when I got this Windows 8.1. LOL). I have a Samsung Flight II. I try to stay away from the phones that need constant updating. Mine lets me talk, text, and send photos to friends, and reminds me about events. That's about all I need.

Do you regularly use something besides Google to search? (i.e.: Bing, Yahoo)
Goodsearch. Each time you search, Goodsearch donates $0.01 to the charity of your choice. Fellowship Tract League and Institute For Creation Research - ICR are two good verified charities.  

What's your favorite form of social media? Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook?
I Facebook a little, Pinterest a little, and Twitter a little. I don't do Instagram since my phone's so old it takes like 15 mins to upload one photo. I'm not kidding. :D

What's your favorite type of clothing? (i.e., maxi skirt, fitted shirt, shirt dress, basketball shorts, etc.)
Love those maxi skirts and flip flops. I'm all about comfort. I do like to dream about being chic and fashionable, though, as evidenced by my Ladies' Fashion board on Pinterest. :) 
What's your favorite singing group?
Wow. That's hard to answer. Probably Selah or the Martins. That's like asking me my favorite book. Don't ever ask me that, btw. That question just hurts me. Haha.
Do you play an instrument? If so, which one?
Piano and fiddle. Six chords on guitar and some nursery songs on an Irish penny whistle.

What's the main thing(s) you watch on YouTube? 
Movie trailers and song lyric videos. I also like period drama mashups and clips of Tim Hawkins. Tavin Dillard of the sweetteafilms channel is pretty funny if you've grown up Southern and can laugh at yourself. I've been known to crack up at a few of the Hannah and Kaylee vids.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which are your favorite?
I can honestly say I don't know what a podcast is. Haha! That's terrible, right? But I listen to a lot of writing webinars, so that's almost the same thing, right? Or wrong? Am I wrong? 

Thanks, Ashley, for such a fun post! I'm not sure if I was random enough, but there it is. Haha!

P.S. Everyone who would like to, take a minute to give me your ideas in the Improvement Questionnaire on the top right sidebar. I would LOVE to get your feedback so I can tailor this blog to you!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

4 Things Every Writer Needs

Something … different happen to me yesterday.

I’m trying the Couch to 5K Challenge on a treadmill in my garage, “trying” being the operative word. I’m on Week 2 and “running” between 4 & 5 mph. Don’t laugh.

My treadmill wouldn’t start yesterday, but, after much tinkering, I finally got her roaring again. With an Indie Christian C25K track jamming through my earbuds, I was just about to jog into my second interval run, when the sole of my left shoe flopped off. → Read more

(This is an excerpt from my guest post on Ralene Burke's Blog. Click the "Read More" link above to read the rest.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

WWII Is the New Amish

Guest post by Lee Carver

For at least a decade, Amish novels have been the hot genre. I read the Amish fiction of Beverly Lewis, one of the mothers of the genre, and loved the whole series. Soon others joined that effort, which became a trend. Authors who knew nothing of the Amish life were begged by their agents to “write Amish” because those books were selling. Fortunately, they left that genre to others with understanding of the plain life. My dear friend, Leanna Ellis, wrote an Amish vampire book on a dare. It sold, and she wrote a series which sold. Anything Amish was golden.

Starting about two years ago, inspirational authors discovered their World War II novels had a market. Sara Sundin, Cara Putman, and others led out with excellent novels. I had a WWII novel in progress following a dig into my father-in-law’s military history, including a trip to trace his path from the landing in France, battles through Germany, into Holland up to the Russian lines. My novel, completely fictional and in no way reflecting Dad Carver, took a different approach: the protagonist was a young man in Germany with American dual citizenship. His mother was a Christian, a convert from an American Jewish family. His father was a German aristocrat who had maintained the family in Munich even after the US joined in the war. Is that conflict enough to sustain a plot?

Convincing publishers to invest in a book based largely on foreign soil was an enormous challenge, but the book is selling well. Readers insist that I must write more. Take a supporting character, like Karl’s sister, and develop a new plot. Write a series. They want more. Surprised by the book’s popularity, I find myself waffling. A contemporary romance would be so much easier to write. Little research, little suffering through hard years of recent history.

I do have one advantage over many of the WWII writers of today: I was born in 1945, the year the war ended. Newspapers were still full of post-war events as I learned to read. The soldiers rarely spoke of their experiences, but printed stories circulated during my childhood, including discoveries of the Jewish Holocaust. Authors of my age are amused to find that our memories have been assigned to history.

Allow me to finish with an excerpt of A Secret Life, published by Prism Book Group. Here, Karl von Steuben strikes out to find food for the family in wartime Munich:

The roar of two German Army trucks startled Karl from his thoughts. They pulled in front of the store, bracing the line right and left. Soldiers waved their Mauser 98 rifles and dismounted from the cabs and canvas-covered backs before the tires stopped rolling.

There goes the food. He stepped out of line, the urgency to get away spiking his heart rate. These guys were dangerous.

Halt! Get back here. Where do you think you’re going?”

A soldier with several stripes on his uniform grabbed Karl’s shoulder and shoved him toward the back of one of the trucks.

“Show me your Ausweispapier.”

Karl handed over his ID paper. The fellow glanced once, then he slammed it on the clipboard of the other soldier. That man copied the details then pushed Karl against the truck.

Stumbling, he braced against the high floor and found men staring out from benches along the inside walls. The reality of forced conscription stabbed his lungs. They would take him away without a word to his family and send him off to die in a war against his mother’s people and his father’s politics.

“Wait. I have a deferment. Von Steuben Investments manages Reichland funds—”

The kick half-missed its target as Karl turned to explain, to beg, whatever necessary to return home with or without food. His rear end throbbed with pain.

The soldier’s laugh broke from a crack in hell. “Yeah, and my son’s a lawyer but he’s serving. Get in. Now.”

An arm jerked him upward off the street, yanking his shoulder joint hard. Dangling, he scrambled for a foothold, scraping his shins on a metal edge, until he fell into the truck on his stomach at the boots of another soldier. His rifle barrel motioned for Karl to sit with the others. Its bore, aimed at his head, killed any idea of escape.

An older man, fifty or sixty years old, climbed up at gunpoint.

“That’s all. Let’s go.” The guys with the uniform stripes swung into the truck as it lurched.

Shadowed occupants around Karl had to be too young, too old, or too sickly to fight, while his own prime condition made him a sure target. But nabbing him off the street was wrong, just plain wrong.

The older man stared out the back with haunted eyes, his mouth open as if in a silent scream. He slapped a hand over his heart, showing a thin wedding band. A family man. With him gone, they might not have food either.

A boy too young to shave sobbed, tears and slobber running down his face.

Karl held back the sting in his own eyes, blinking hard.

I. Will. Not. Cry.

Biography: Lee Carver is once again failing at retirement. After being born, educated, and married in the United States, she established homes and reared their children in Greece, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Indonesia, Brazil, Spain, and again in Brazil. Her husband Darrel, once a US Navy pilot and then a VP in Citibank’s International Division, took early retirement to be a missionary pilot over the Brazilian Amazon. They now live in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, where they continue to be involved in missionary aviation.

Lee is generously offering PAPERBACK copy of A Secret Life. Must be a U.S. resident to enter. Please use the Rafflecopter below.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Anne Greene Author Interview

ANNE GREENE delights in writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. Moody Press published her first book, Trail of Tears, an American historical. Masquerade Marriage and Marriage By Arrangement, Scottish Historical Romances won awards. A Texas Christmas Mystery also won awards. Elk Lake Publishing contracted two new series. Her Women of Courage Series spotlights heroic women of World War II. The second series is Holly Garden, PI, a detective series. Anne makes her home in McKinney, Texas. Two of her four children live nearby. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one, and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. Anne graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas, Dallas. Her highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Welcome, Anne! To start us off, tell us a little about your writing.
I write Historical Romance and Romantic Suspense. I have two new series releasing: this month my Women of Courage series with Angel With Steel Wings as the first Historical Romance book, and Holly Garden PI Series with Holly Garden, PI, Red Is For Rookie releasing in May. In October two Christmas novellas will release, A Christmas Belle and A Mistletoe Kiss. All can be purchased on Amazon and my website

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, light, witty, humorous, adventurous?
I write adventurous, suspenseful, page-turner, yet heart-warming romance.

What is the name of your latest book?
Angel With Steel Wings and Holly Garden, PI, Red Is For Rookie are my latest books. I’m still working on the two novellas.

ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS is a World War II romance where Steel Magnolias meet Band of Brothers. While doing her part test flying planes, Mandy McCabe escapes her dead-end life in Hangman’s Hollow, Tennessee as a Woman Air Service Pilot, WASP. Can she escape from her past? Major Harvey Applegate lost his wife to the WASP program, and he’s convinced Yankee Doodle Gals have no place flying in the war effort. He determines to protect the remaining ladies by sending them packing back to the home front. Both Mandy and Harvey experience immediate attraction, which increases Harvey’s desire to send Mandy home to safety. Can a man burdened with memories of death undertake added danger? Will their new love survive the test? One love. Two goals. Someone has to give.

Women pilots in WWII? Too cool! What inspired you to write this story?

I’m a WWII buff. The war and its aftermath changed the world especially for women and offered them tremendous opportunities to better their lives. During the years 1941-1945, thousands of women answered the call of duty to help protect our country. Hundreds of these women died because of their service. Angel With Steel Wings tells the story of the women test pilots, WASPs. There were also Army and Navy NURSES, WACS, WAVES, and SPIES. My Women of Courage series will tell these stories. I’m so proud of what these women accomplished.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now?
I’m working on two delightful novellas. A Christmas Belle is a Mail-Order Bride story about a southern belle forced from her home when the Union burned Atlanta. She agrees to marry a man, sight unseen, to gain a new start, a new life, and a new freedom in the wilds of a Wyoming Gold Mining town. This is one of a twelve-book series called Christmas Mail Order Angels. I’m also working on another series called Mulled Christmas Kisses. My novella, A Mistletoe Kiss tells about Felicity traveling with her father to Oregon Territory to get forty acres of free land. But her father dies. A woman alone cannot take possession of the land, so stranded in Ft. Laramie, she advertises for a groom. It’s a type of Mail-Order Groom story except Felicity interviews the men in person before she chooses a groom.
Groom interviews...Haha! Oh, that sounds like a really fun read! What do you do for a fun break if you find yourself overwhelmed with writing pressures?
I love to travel. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit over twenty-five foreign countries. Some of my other books are set in foreign countries where I’ve spent a good deal of time. Some of my travels were in conjunction with my Special Forces Colonel husband. Angel With Steel Wings has several scenes in England where I spent a lovely time. But when I feel overwhelmed with writing (not often) I just write longer to work through the problem.

Do you blog? If so, leave us the address.
Yes, I have several blogs. I blog the 14th day of every month on I tell much more about the courageous women of WWII. Twenty-nine other women blog each month and tell about their books and interesting historical facts. It’s a great blog and quite popular. Also I have my own blog, where I give lessons on how to improve your writing.  Also, you’ll find lots of information at I love to talk with my readers at @TheAnneGreene, my twitter handle and on Facebook at

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dry Patches by Jude Urbanski

Hi, everyone! I hope everyone had a Happy Easter! Please welcome author Jude Urbanski. Here's Jude:

Katalina Davidson and Seth Orbin, main characters in my Chronicles of Chanute Crossing Series, and I share a big, dry patch in our lives. We each have lost a spouse. My loss is only weeks old, but the three of us have tried to water and refresh this dry patch in very different ways.

I admit I am still new in the grieving process and miss my husband immensely, but with the help of God, family and friends, I am focusing on good memories of my long years with Conrad. And, I do not grieve without hope of resurrection and I am confident of Conrad’s presence with God. I’m sure my response would be different did I not hold these beliefs.

Anger at God is one common response when loss is experienced, but God has big shoulders. He can take it for He knows loss is universal and grief is evergreen. Who among us has not felt loss or grief?
Kate thought a capricious God had played a cruel trick on her and her grief remained unresolved. She became stuck in anger with God, asking the proverbial question: “Where is God when bad things happen to good people?” Being young in her faith, God’s grace and mercy escaped her. Seth’s deep love almost escaped her also.
At first, Seth, who had lost both his young doctor wife and son, sunk into depression as his response. He asked the same question as Kate, but finally realized it was not his to ask God why, but to accept God’s sovereignty. He probably didn’t realize how wise this choice was, for God always and forever has our back. He is always on the journey with us, even when we don’t feel it or see His answers. Of this I am confident.

Seth had so grown in his faith he knew he could never settle for a wife who did not believe in or love God as he did. He was conflicted about his strong attraction to Kate, yet didn’t want to give up on this beautiful widow and her winsome, little children even though events seemed destined to keep them apart.

Kate, Seth and I had to ask, “How do we reconstruct our lives after loss?” I’m still framing that reconstruction, but through Joy Restored and its sequel Nurtured in Purple, my hero and heroine and all the other amazing characters of my Chanute Crossing series, come off the pages and delight with their diverse stories. They show we can never go beyond the grace and mercy of God.

Natalie, I enjoyed talking with your readers, Blessings on the day to each.
Find more about me or my books at my Amazon author page or at links below:

Jude Urbanski writes women's fiction featuring strong inspirational romance elements. She invites you to stories of heroes and heroines who spin tragedy into triumph with help from God.

Fun poll about Jude: 

Natalie, here. Wow. What a sweet-spirited testimony of God's grace. Thank you so much, Jude, for allowing God to use you even in the hard times.

Jude is graciously offering an e-copy of one of her books from her Chanute Chronicles or her nonfiction title, I Don't Remember Me. Enter using the Rafflecopter below:

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Have you suffered a time of loss in your life? How has God helped you move forward?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Encouragement for the Waiting: Where Are You Waiting?

"If at first you don't succeed . . . sit down and eat cake." 
~ Elizabeth D. Cornelius

Yes, cake--or, in my case, a bowl of homemade banana pudding (i.e., a mixture of cool whip, vanilla pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk, layered over wafer cookies and banana slices and chilled overnight). Mmmmhmm.

My reason for eating "cake" (or pudding) is simple:
Originally we were going to talk about waiting "in" Christ in this post, but I got into that during our last Encouragement for the Waiting post. :) Whoops. My bad.

What I was REALLY supposed to talk about in the last EFTW post involved the attributes of God--the One We're Waiting On, but I got sidetracked and got over into my notes for this post when I did that one. Writing at midnight does that to me. I guess that's what I get for procrastination and last minute writing. *deep sigh*

Quick Recap:
As Christians we wait “in Christ.”

Genesis 7:17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.

John 3:13 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." [Jesus speaking]

The ark is a type of Christ. In the ark, Noah and his family were safe and would escape the coming judgment. When we’re waiting, we need to be sure we’re in Christ. If you’re waiting outside the ark, you’ll drown.

Facing eternity without Jesus means eternity in hell, but He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the scriptures (I Cor. 15:3-4), to give us hope and an opportunity to escape judgment. In Christ, we are guaranteed mercy and deliverance. Loving God and loving Jesus is more than just a good social move or "fire insurance." It's about knowing God (the God of the Bible, not just our vision of who we'd like God to be) intimately and surrendering to Him with a deep abandon. Being in Christ involves repentance, turning from ourselves and turning to Christ, giving our all to Him because of Who He is and because of His love for us. As a bride expects fidelity of her groom, and he of her, God accepts nothing less from a relationship than unconditional commitment.

Where Are You Waiting This Easter Season?
While we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, let's remember the seasons of waiting revolving around that first resurrection Sunday. The disciples waited, hiding away from Roman soldiers, thinking Jesus had died forever, though he had told them He would rise again. Pilate and his soldiers were waiting, guarding the tomb in case someone came to "carry away the body" during the night. Jesus, in a sense, waited inside the tomb. Even now, we wait for the day to dawn if the service we attend is scheduled at sunrise. If there are egg hunts, the children have to wait to hunt the eggs. Springtime involves waiting, too, with buds and shoots springing up from the dirt and blooming into riotous, cheery displays.

“Even the most beautiful flowers still grow from dirt.” 
(Author Unknown)

Know this, whether you're waiting in a place of hiding because of fear, or if you're just waiting on God to show you when it's time to make a move, or if the place you're waiting feels like nothing but dirt, never forget that if you belong to Jesus and He belongs to You, He holds you in the palm of His hand.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

Coming Up:

I'm so excited about the next six posts in this Encouragement for the Waiting Series, because from here on, we're going to talk about things you can DO while you wait. Active, conscious ways to make the waiting periods of life worthwhile. FUN!!! Join me for these short e-blasts in May as we dig deep and look into personal experiences, quotes and scriptures.