Thursday, September 24, 2015

1 Question Interview with Darlene Franklin

Let's give a glass of sweet iced tea and a great big welcome back to Darlene Franklin! 

Darlene, I only have one question for you this time, but it's a doozy!
"If you were the heroine in this book, would you have acted differently than she does when she meets the hero? How so?"


In An Apple for Christmas, Ruby tries to keep her relationship with Mac on a professional level, afraid that her work as a scientist and as a teacher will be discounted if they are romantically involved. Not me--I would have melted if someone like Mac Cortland seemed interested in me. They have so much in common, they would have been matched on in today’s society.

An Apple for Christmas is one of the eight stories in Christmas Traditions. Eight heartwarming novellas of Christmas's gone by where the true meaning of the season warms your heart and love flows as fast as apple cider. Grab your favorite drink, no matter the temperature outside, curl up in a cozy chair and lose yourself in holiday romance.

In Face of Mary, Polly has been in love with Joey since she was thirteen. She’s known him all her life. If I thought I had a beau, and he returned with a fiancĂ© on his arm, I would have been just as crushed as she is. I could tell myself it was a childish infatuation, but I would still have been crushed.

Face of Mary is one six romances in A Texas Christmas. Spend Christmas in the Old West with six unconventional women who take on Texas-sized challenges—and unexpected romance. Bridget falls for a man opposed to her teaching Indian orphans. Polly is trying to hold her family together when her childhood love returns to town. Rugged rancher Charlsey is inexplicably attracted to a tenderfoot accountant. Vivian shuns marriage until meeting a nomadic photographer. Lacey’s cooking draws a quiet blacksmith out of his shell. Tracker Bessie Mae helps a ranger hunt down a villain.

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online elsewhere at, and

Darlene is generously offering TWO books for giveaway!
  1. An e-book giveaway of Christmas Traditions, which includes An Apple for Christmas
  2. A copy of A Texas Christmas, e-book or paperback--reader's choice! For the paperback, U.S. entries only, please.
Comment with your email to enter. Please use "AT" and "DOT" instead of "@" and "." to protect yourself from spammers. Thank you!
Winner of the last giveaway from Lena Nelson Dooley's post is Terrill R. Congrats! I'll be getting in touch with you soon!

Comment fodder:

What's Christmastime like in the town where you live?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lena Nelson Dooley Interview & "A Texas Christmas" Feature

I'm honored Lena Nelson Dooley is here with us sharing about her new Christmas novella!!!
*Lena is offering a giveaway of this book! See red text at post's end for details.

Let's dive right in. Hi, Lena! What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I often include spiritual themes about forgiveness/unforgiveness, trusting God or not trusting God for all things, even dealing with root of bitterness or a poor self-image. I want the readers to see how they can deal with similar problems with the Lord.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
My next book is Love Is Patient. It’s a novella collection as well.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I would love for James and me to spend one evening with George and Laura Bush. Our lives have several things in common but many more things that aren’t.

What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Queen Esther. She is my favorite Bible character. I wonder if I could have risked my life the way she did. There are so many nuances in the book of Esther in the Bible that I find fascinating.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Rejections are a fact of life for most authors. I’d tell them to learn to recognize that a rejection of a manuscript isn’t rejection of them as a person. And there are a large number of reasons a publisher might reject a manuscript, even though the manuscript is publication ready. They might have a similar book coming out by another author or the book is very good but doesn’t fit what they need at the time.

Tell us about the featured book.
A Texas Christmas is a novella collection.

  Six Romances from the Historic Lone Star State
Herald the Season of Love

Here Cooks the Bride by Cathy Marie Hake - Lacey Mather's delicious cooking is warming many hearts and stomachs--especially those of a closed-mouth blacksmith. But she has no plans to stay in Texas.

A Christmas Chronicle by Pamela Griffin - Travis McCoy is a nomadic photographer with no time to put down roots, find a wife, and raise a family. But then he meets the unconventional Vivian Sager.

To Hear Angels Sing by Ramona Cecil - Bridget O'Keefe leaves Chicago to teach Indian orphans and quickly experiences the hostility the Comanche face from locals like Seth Krueger who blame then for the death of his parents.

The Face of Mary by Darlene Franklin - Mary "Polly" Jessup holds onto a promise of marriage made five years ago, but when Joey Carpenter returns from law school with a new outlook and a new girlfriend, her future hopes are dashed.

Charlsey’s Accountant by Lena Nelson Dooley - Charlsey Ames can rope, ride, and work the ranch with the men and never thought she's be attracted to accountant Harold Miller, III, a citified tenderfoot.

Plain Trouble by Kathleen Y’Barbo - An expert tracker, the plain Bessie Mae Ames is content unmarried, until Texas Ranger Josef Mueller rides into town, trailing a wanted man.

Can you give us the first page of the book?

September 1879
“Excuse me, sir.”

Jeff halted mid-motion, his shovel full of coal. Black dust swirled around his thick boots as he glanced at the young lady. Oh, and she was definitely a lady. Judging from her so-very-proper Boston accent, the Daddy-has-money traveling suit with all the fuss and bother, and her wide hazel eyes, this gal wasn’t just out of place; she was lost.

“Might I impose for a moment to inquire as to the location of your local diner?”

He dumped the coal into his wheelbarrow and stood to his full height. “Diner’s closed. Best hop back aboard the train and try Meadsville.”

The feather in her stylish hat swayed back and forth as she gave her head a small shake. “I fear I did not make myself known. I’m Lacey Mather, and I’ve come to help my great-aunt Millie at the diner.”

“Millie’s your great-aunt?” Jeff couldn’t hide the surprise in his voice. On her better days, Millie looked as if she’d been caught in a whirlwind. Most of the time, she looked like she sorted bobcats for a living. No man in his right mind would imagine Millie as kin to this dainty blond beauty.

“Yes.” Miss Mather folded her white-gloved hands at her …

Love it! How can readers find you on the Internet?

Award-winning author Lena Nelson Dooley has had more than 800,000 copies of her books sold. Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandsons. 

She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year.  

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the local chapter, ACFW - DFW. She's a member of Christian Authors' Network, CROWN Fiction Marketing, and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

LENA is generously giving away a PAPERBACK copy of A Texas Christmas!!! To enter, comment with your email address. Giveaway ends Tuesday, September 22 at 5p.m. CST. Winner will be announced in a post on September 24.

FOR INSTANT EXTRA ENTRIES: In the comment, you can request that your email be added to my e-newsletter or Lena's e-newsletter!

Comment fodder:

What's your favorite thing about books set during Christmas?
Fresh, cold snow? 
Remembering the Biblical Christmas account?  
Seeing what gifts the characters give one another?
Something else? Tell us in the comments below!!


Monday, September 7, 2015

The Columbine Bride by Davalynn Spencer

Please welcome Davalynn Spencer as she shares about her new release, The Columbine Bride!

After the success of last winter’s e-novella collection from Barbour, The 12 Brides of Christmas, editors asked the authors if we could come up with sequels for another collection, The 12 Brides of Summer.
Is Billy Graham a believer? Do horses eat hay?

Absolutely we could come up with sequels. And I had just the character I wanted to feature from my winter novella: Uncle Buck.

I was pretty excited about giving Buck his own story, and pretty excited to write about summertime in Colorado. Blue skies, columbines, forest-draped mountains, lightning storms.

Lightning storms?

That’s right. I love a good thunder storm, and in the summer on Colorado’s Front Range, evening thunder storms are as common as hummingbirds at the feeder.
But as much as I thrill to the echoing boom rolling across the upper Arkansas River valley, I know not everyone appreciates the sudden crashing and light-flickering.

In my summer novella, The Columbine Bride, Lucy Powell is one of those who is not a fan. In fact, she’s terrified of what lightning can do—or did—and has the capacity to do again. But I don’t want to get too far into that because I don’t want to spoil the story for you!

The picture below is a perfect example of what an approaching summer storm can look like. I took this shot a couple of years ago from our back yard about ten minutes before the deluge hit us.

Fast moving, fierce, drenching. And then it was gone. Hit and run. Over and done.

Sometimes life is like that, isn’t it. Usually we don’t get the chance to see the storm coming. It just hits, does it’s damage, and leaves. However, the one thing we can count on is the fact that Jesus is with us in life’s storms. Every. Single. Time.

I admit that writing about storms is a lot easier than living through them. But that’s part of my job and challenge as an author. I want my stories to encourage people to know that in their “real” worlds, they too can survive the storms.

Survival is all about knowing what to do—both physically and spiritually. Jesus gave us a heads up when he said, “In the world, ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Notice that He didn’t say you might have tribulation, but that you shall.

But then He gave us the good news: we can have peace because He has overcome the world and all its trouble.

I’m glad I got to know the Lord before the storms hit because lately there have been some doozies. Confidence in His presence and knowing that I can trust Him have given me the peace I need.

Regarding lightning, the National Weather Service says Colorado is one of the top six states for lightning-related deaths. Here’s a great list of safety tips for lightning storms, regardless of which state you live in or are visiting:

And for a safe summer read with a “shocking” lightning element, try The Columbine Bride.


www.davalynnspencer.comDavalynn Spencer writes inspirational Western romance complete with rugged cowboys, their challenges, and their loves. She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, and worked several years as a rodeo journalist and crime-beat reporter, winning awards in both arenas. Her fiction has finaled for the 2015 Will Rogers Medallion and the 2014 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, Selah, and Holt Medallion. Davalynn teaches writing at Pueblo Community College and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her handsome cowboy and a Queensland heeler named Blue. Connect with Davalynn online at and

You can find this book for purchase online at the following websites:

Friday, September 4, 2015

Encouragement For the Waiting: What to Do While You Wait ~ Praise

We're nearing the end of our devotional series on waiting. This month, we see how waiting is a time for...

#4. Praise (I like this part): (n.) the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.

· Praise involves Singing (Ps. 22:3; 68:42, 71:8, 14; 96:1-4)

But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
Psalm 71:14

Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
Psalm 96:2

God loves to hear us praise Him and will bless our praise with His presence, protection, and provision.

When my sister and brother and I were little my dad was an evangelist. So we traveled a lot. And when you’re seven or eight years old, a five-minute trip will make your hair turn gray. I mean, it’s terrible.

To distract ourselves from premature aging while we rode up and down the highway, we would sing. Sometimes it would be silly songs like “It ain’t gonna rain no more no more, it ain’t gonna rain no more.” Anybody else heard that before, or were we just the privileged ones? We also sang gospel songs and listened to cassette tapes of our favorite groups like the Rochesters and the Ruppes.

Singing praise is not only a good way to pass the time. Singing praise ministers to God. His word commands praise. He inhabits, literally dwells among, the praises of His people (Psa 22:3).

Praise also moves God on our behalf. In II Chronicles 20 there is an account of an army going out to war with singers leading the way. Really? Singers? No big, intimidating warriors with huge muscles and gleaming swords and maybe an eye patch for emphasis? Okay, I get it. Maybe their singing was bad enough to destroy the enemy by bursting their eardrums? Nope.

As these brave singers praised, God moved and fought the battle for them. When they got to the battle, all that was left was the dead bodies of their enemies. When we praise, God moves on our behalf. He will fight for us. He doesn’t always change the circumstances, but He’ll always change us. Which brings me to my next point.

Sometimes praise is a sacrifice. 

Sacrifice (Psalm 54:6, 107:22, 116:17; Heb. 13:15).

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 
Heb 13:15 

Praise isn’t always easy, and we do not always feel like it. Sometimes worship will be a sacrifice that costs us something. Sometimes we have to praise until we feel like praising. But that is one of the beautiful things about praising our God. When we praise, it may take some time, but the feelings will come.

About four years ago, an opportunity had opened up for me that looked like a dream come true--the beginning of a serious romantic relationship. Not wanting to rush into anything, I prayed and fasted, asked my parents to pray, and I asked God that if there was any reason He didn’t want this, and I shouldn’t go forward that He would show me. Within 24 hours of that prayer some new information came out about the situation that left me overwhelmed. I prayed for a month afterward about my answer, willing to do whatever God wanted me to do, but I wanted to know His will for sure. My parents basically said, we’ll support you in whatever you decide, so at that point it was between me and God.

He never gave me peace to move forward, and I knew staying in my current situation was better than stepping out on my own without God’s blessing. But for about three months I bordered on bitterness. I wondered why in the world God would dangle my heart’s desire for a relationship in front of me, then snatch it away so quickly. (By now, y’all know I’m a romantic at heart.)

FOR LAUGHS: When I was nine years old, I had dreamed of getting married when I was 16, because at the time you could do that if your parents signed your license for you. That was before I developed a brain.

Anyway, I was pretty tore up that God was asking me to bypass a chance at a relationship like that one when at first it had appeared to be all I had wanted for so long. About that time I discovered the song Broken Hallelujah by Mandisa.

When All that I can sing is a broken hallelujah,
When my only offering is shattered praise,
Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ashes,
And I will worship You and give You thanks.
Even when my only praise is a broken hallelujah.

God used that song in my life during what was such a hard time for me. God showed me how to seek His will and listen to His answer, but even if nothing else, He taught me it IS possible to praise while your hurting, and that praise does change us. It protects us from bitterness and helps us surrender to God’s plan for us.

One thing I believe He was trying to show me at that time is that I, as a young twenty-something whose friends were already married and starting families, I had put that goal of marriage above anything else in life. (Yes, today must be single-girl confessions day.) I thought I’d be miserable and alone forever if I didn’t marry by 22. (Thankfully Jesus has since shown me I can be single and still be beautifully fulfilled in Him while I wait.) Praise not only blesses God's heart but it can help us receive with a cheerful spirit the lessons God has planned for our life.

Another song that comes to mind is Sheri Easter’s Praise His Name. It’s perfect for those times when you don’t really feel like singing, but you need to feel God's presence.

AAAAANNNDD here’s one of my favorite quotes:   

What about you? Do you find your heart encouraged when you praise God? What are some of your favorite songs or Bible verses about praising God?

I compiled all the entry names from the blog post and the Facebook thread for last week's giveaway of Pam Hillman's Stealing Jake. Then I put them into And the WINNER iiiiiiis....Lauren Borho. Congrats! :) I'll be getting in touch with you soon!