Sunday, November 16, 2014

Welcome Rose Allen McCauley and a Giveaway

Today I'd like to welcome my friend Rose Allen McCauley to my back porch.


Hi Rose,
Tell us a little about your writing journey.

I have been writing for over 10 years. It took me 9 years to get my first contract and 10 years to hold my first book in my hands, but it was totally worth it!

My first publication was by Barbour Publishing in Sept. 2011. It was entitled Christmas Belles of Georgia. This is the book I am giving away to one commenter on Jackie’s blog, so be sure to leave a comment with a way for Jackie to contact you if you want to be entered into the drawing for this free Christmas book to get you in the Christmas mood!


I'd love to hear more about your venture into e-publishing

A few weeks ago a friend who is one of the other writers in Christmas Belles of Georgia contacted me about joining her and 2 others in another Christmas novella that would be only sold on Amazon. I told her I would pray about it and let her know the next day. After praying, I agreed.

This novella series is called Smoky Mountain Christmas. The novellas will be released 3 days apart in the following order:

Do You See What I See? by Delia Latham released on Kindle on Amazon on November 15, and is the first of 4 novellas about 4 cousins who return to Gatlinburg, TN for the holidays for their granddaddy’s 80th birthday, and find romance on the journey. Book 2 by Tiff Stockton, Hometown Melodies, will release on Nov. 18th, my book about the 3rd cousin, Christmas Grace, releases on Nov. 21st, then Jeanie Smith Cash’s book Sleigh Bells in the Snow, which releases on Nov. 24th about the 4th cousin will also have an epilogue to bring all the cousins together. Lots of fun reading to get you in the mood for the holidays!

After their Kindle release, each book will also be released in paperback from Amazon.com





An interesting fact about my cover is that it has a photo of my oldest daughter and her husband. The book is dedicated to them, and in memory of one of my daughter’s best friends in High School who died from kidney failure. Hope you will enter to win Christmas Belles of Georgia, but if you don’t win, it is still for sale on amazon and cbd.com

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thanks for stopping by, Rose.

Please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Rose's first novella.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Today Alice Wisler joins us to share about her new novel, Under the Silk Hibiscus.




Alice, what's your story about?

This novel takes place in an internment camp in Wyoming where many Japanese-Americans were sent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. There's upheaval, frustration, pain, and sorrow. Families are separated. Some members are accused of being spies, like Nathan Mori's father.

To balance the discrimination that evolved during this time period, I had to rely on humor and romance.

One of the most fun relationships I enjoyed crafting was between the main character, Nathan, and his aunt Kazuo. Even though she's single and has no children of her own, Aunt Kazuo knows how to keep Nathan and his brothers in line. But even she knows a body can't live on hard work alone. She loves cookies and keeps morsels in her sweater sleeves, taking them out when she needs “a pep".

And of course, there's young romance. Nathan dreams of the lovely singer, Lucy, and wants her to notice him, but she seems more interested in his older brother, Ken.

There are two characters which are not people---one is Heart Mountain, the mountain viewed every day from those in the barracks at the camp. Then there is the Mori family's coveted gold watch, a family heirloom from Japan.

So the questions form: Will Nathan get the girl? What happens to the family heirloom during the war and after the war ends? Does Nathan's father return? How does war and discrimination change hearts? How does God's love prevail?



Will you share a recipe from Under the Silk Hibiscus with us?

My character, Aunt Kazuo, is all about eating a cookie . . . or two. She often says she needs “a pep” to pep her up. Here is her cookie recipe for raisin cookies, sure to add fun to anyone’s day.

Recipe for Aunt Kazuo’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (1946)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup chopped nuts
1 cup seedless raisins
Cream shortening, blend in sugar and add egg. Beat until smooth and light. Sift flour with salt, soda and cinnamon. Stir half the flour in with egg mixture; add milk, the rest of flour, and then oats, nuts and raisins. Stir till well mixed. Drop from a teaspoon onto a buttered baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Yields about 36 cookies.

Alice, thanks for joining us today.


Book blurb:
During World War Two Nathan and his family are sent to Heart Mountain, an internment camp in Wyoming for Japanese-Americans. Nathan's one desire is to protect the family's gold pocket watch, a family heirloom brought over from Japan. He fails; the watch is stolen. Struggling to make sense of his life in a bleak camp as the only responsible man of the household, Nathan discovers truths about his family, God, and the girl he loves.





Bio:
Alice has authored four contemporary novels published by Bethany House: Rain Song (Christy Finalist), How Sweet It Is (Christy Finalist), Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation, and Still Life in Shadows by River North/Moody. Her newest novel, Under the Silk Hibiscus (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) is her first historical romance.

Since the death of her four-year-old son, Alice teaches grief-writing workshops and her devotional, Getting out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache (Leafwood), covers the many losses we face and how God sustains us through each one. In 2012, Alice and her husband started a business, Carved By Heart, where they carve memorial plaques/remembrances, house number signs, bird feeders, rustic clocks, and other home décor.

Here are some links where you can find Alice.
Links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alice-J.-Wisler/e/B001J6GVNE/

Website: http://www.alicewisler.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-J-Wisler/333751835453

Alice’s Patchwork Quilt Blog: http://www.alicewisler.blogspot.com/


Monday, November 10, 2014

Let's Talk: 20 Things You May Not Know About Me

This new game has given those of us who are playing a fun way to get to know each other. And now I am inviting you to play, too!

What is the game? Answer as many of the questions below as you want. Fun answers are definitely permitted, serious ones allowed, and cornier than ever ones preferred. Ready to get started?

First, I must credit my friend Mary Vee for tagging me in this game.

1. How tall are you?

5'10" and I used to hate being this tall, but now I've discovered it came in handy when raising sons. Once in a while when somebody tries to talk down to me I try to stand even straighter.

2. Do you have a hidden talent?

I've thought about this a lot. All I've come up with is painting furniture.

3. What is your biggest blogger pet peeve?

When a post goes on too long. People don't have a lot of time, and if it's too long I'll skim or skip it completely. On the flip side, I love pictures and like to see a lot of pictures on blogs.




4. What is your biggest non-blogger pet peeve?

Bad grammar bothers me, especially when people know better but use poor language to be cute.

5.What is your favorite song?

One of my all time favorite songs is That's What I love about Sunday by Craig Morgan.


6. What's your favorite Etsy shop that isn't yours?

I don't even know what this means. Can you ask me a football statistic? Ha.

7. What is your favorite way to spend time when you are alone?

These days my favorite way to spend time is to write in my office.

8. What is your favorite junk food?

It used to be Rocky Road ice cream, but now that I'm still trying to do Paleo, it's dark chocolate covered raisins.

9. Do you have pets?

Yes, I have a Westie, and his name is Heinz.

10. What are you #1 favorite fiction and non-fiction books?

Non-fiction would have to be the Bible. I spend more time reading and studying it than anything else.

Fiction...there are too many great books to choose from. If Brandilyn Collins writes it though, I always buy and read it. She's amazing.

11. What is your favorite beauty product?

Mascara because my eyelashes are almost non-existant.

12. When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

The other day I walked over to help a customer at the drug store, and the man said he wanted to speak to "the best" pharmacist. Both of the men I work with are smarter than me, but it kinda hurt my feelings. That day I was working with my boss, Ben. What I didn't know was that Ben had been voted best pharmacist for 2014 in Jessamine County, Kentucky. The man laughed at me and told me what he was talking about.

13. If you could drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Tea. Hot or cold. I love tea anytime.

14. What is your favorite movie?

While You Were Sleeping is my favorite movie.

15. What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?

I was in band, played golf, and worked on the yearbook.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

The coast of North Carolina, but I'm happy in Kentucky.

17. PC or Mac?

PC

18. Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?

My hubby does so many nice things for me it's hard to know where to start. The last Saturday I didn't work at the drug store, he gave me an entire day to write while he did yard work.

19. Favorite celebrity?

George Strait.

20. What blogger do you secretly want to be friends with?

I love the Seekerville ladies, and it was such a thrill to meet some of them in September. They were even nicer than I imagined.

I hope I didn't bore you with 20 things you may not have known. Now it's your turn. Pick as many of the questions above and share your answer.
Tag-you're it!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Misty Beller

Misty Beller and I became friends through American Christian Fiction Writers. She's been a great encouragement to me, and we've become friends. We recently got to meet face to face in St. Louis.


Misty was kind enough to share a little about her new book, The Lady and the Mountain Man.

Tell us about your releasing book.
I'd love to!

Leah Townsend, a recently orphaned heiress, flees Richmond after discovering her fiancé’s plot to kill her after their wedding. She needs a safe place to hide, and finds herself accepting a newspaper marriage proposal from a God-fearing young rancher in the Montana Territory. But when Leah arrives at the mountain ranch, she learns her intended husband was killed by a grizzly, leaving behind a bitter older brother and a spunky younger sister.

When Gideon Bryant finds a city girl standing in his log cabin, his first thought is to send her back where she came from. He’s lost too many people to the wild elements of these mountains––his parents, his wife, and now his brother. His love for this untamed land lives on, but he’s determined not to open his heart to another person.

But when an accident forces Leah to stay at the ranch for seven more months, can Gideon protect his heart from a love he doesn’t want? Has Leah really escaped the men who seek her life?


Where do you get your ideas for your books? What sparked this story?
God planted the seed for this story when I was finishing up my first book (which will actually release next year). I was so excited about this one I could hardly wait to finish the other! I tend to get story ideas and plot twists in random places. Often as I'm driving and thinking.

Of all your characters, which was your favorite and why?
Gideon, the handsome, quiet cowboy hero. He reminds me so much of my older brother, David! My brother was my best friend through my growing up years. When I started brainstorming Gideon's character, I kept coming back to David's personality. Maybe because I know him so well, I felt like I understood what made him tick. So, David, this one's for you… 

Both of your lead characters have “baggage” that keeps them from wanting to pursue a new relationship. Do you think sometimes we let our past get in the way of what God has planned for our futures?
Oh yes. No doubt about it, our "free will" makes us pretty miserable sometimes. But I sincerely believe God uses events and people in our lives to nudge us back onto His path when we stray. And sometimes when we've completely derailed, it takes sinking to the bottom before we turn things back over to him.

I think that's one of the reasons I like to write about the theme of trusting God's plan for our lives. I want my stories to show how, even when we get off track, we can still come back to Him. And life with the Lord is light years better than struggling on our own.

Tell us 3 things your readers might not know about you.
1. I was a music major my first year in college: Sacred Music, Piano Concentration
2. Graduated from high school when I was 15.
3. I trained horses and riders professionally for a couple of years.


Misty, thanks for stopping by.



Misty's Bio:
Misty Beller was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and two daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Writing is a dream come true for Misty. Her family—both immediate and extended—is the foundation that holds her secure in that dream.

You can find Misty on her website, blog, Goodreads, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MQB7F4U




Monday, November 3, 2014

It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's a remote control helicopter

Recently Tim and I met Mark Brumback from Shoreline Productions. He was working with his new remote control helicopter with a camera. He's a legitimate businessman and not paparazzi trying to take pictures for magazines or newspapers.



Mark is super nice and explained to us how special this camera is. The camera stays steady even if the RC helicopter tilts. GPS is included in case the helicopter flew too high or maybe in case the operator lost sight of it.



Tim told Mark that Wesley Village recently wanted to take pictures of their campus. He and Mark agreed the RC helicopter camera would have been perfect for that project. The helicopter can quickly go places it'd take a man far longer to cover. While Mark talked to us a Vietnam Veteran approached us. He was super excited to see the RC helicopter. he even shared memories of some of his experiences in Vietnam.

Shoreline Productions is a full service media contact provider. They work with video, film, DVD, Internet and interactive media. I'm sure they're excited to have the RC helicopter camera at their disposal.

Meeting these men and learning about the RC helicopter added a richness to our morning that we hadn't expected.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Can You Go? Part 2

Earlier this week Shelia Stovall shared her experience serving God in Africa. Please go back and read about her trips.

Today I wanted to share a few more of her pictures.



2012 Mission Team



And two market girls.



Shelia said about the next picture, "This is one of my favorite pictures. The little boy is wearing the Muslim hat and the cross he made in VBS. Notice the people on the wall. Everyone had been invited inside the compound, but then because of crowd control, we had to lock the doors.
Many people sat on the wall and listened to the Bible stories. Our interpreter Cephas preached to those on the wall and reminded them that the doors
had been open for all, but many had not accepted the invitation and it was too late.
One day, Jesus will return to us, and then it will be too late for them."




Many years we played parachute games at VBS. Shelia said the children in Africa liked it as much as our kids did.


“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38.


Don't forget to read about Shelia's trips to Africa, you can read more of her posts at www.sheliastovall.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

Can You Go?


Welcome Shelia Stovall to my back porch today. She graciously agreed to share about her time in Niger.




I have been blessed to travel to Niger, Africa on mission trips three times in the past three years. It’s hard for me to believe I’ve done this because I’m not the missionary type. I’m not a Bible scholar. I don’t like to sweat, (the temperature has exceeded 100 ° on past trips), and I don’t enjoy getting dirty. I’m a librarian and have lived most of my life in a small rural community in Kentucky. Who am I to travel to the ends of the earth to share the gospel? The short answer is that I am a Christian. Jesus didn’t call me to go; he commanded.

Any Christian, who is healthy and can walk long distances can do what I do. There is nothing special about me. If the opportunity to travel on a foreign mission team is presented to you, I ask you to pray about it.

When I saw a bulletin board notice regarding a 10-day mission trip to Africa, I immediately dismissed the idea. Then a valued friend asked me to pray about it, and my prayer went something like this. It’s too expensive. It’s too far from home. I don’t speak the language. What can we accomplish in 10 days? That doesn’t sound like a prayer does it?

One of my excuses for not going was the expense, but the cost is comparable to renting a three bedroom condo on the beach for a week. It all boiled down to me being willing to sacrifice a vacation for a mission trip and being afraid. I finally prayed, “God, if you want me to go to Africa, you are going to have to change me, and I’m willing to be changed.” And the miracle is that not only did God take away my fear, he convinced my husband to join the mission team, too.

During our last trip, I stood on a slight hill looking down on a village that had never been visited by missionaries. The name of Jesus had probably never been said aloud in this desolate place. I could see two men wearing tunics, standing in front of a mud brick building. I said a prayer and studied my sandaled, dirty feet and felt like I was walking into the book of Acts. How had a woman who had grown up in a small church in Auburn, Kentucky ended up in Africa?

I am changed by each trip as God continues to remove the scales from my eyes, and I am thankful for his patience with me. If you too are afraid to travel to a foreign country, consider the morning news. There is no safe place. I can understand being uncomfortable travelling to a population that is 99.9% Muslim where everyone is a different race. I can assure you strangers in your hometown will be less receptive to hearing about Jesus than the people I’ve met in Africa. In America, the door might not be answered, or even slammed in your face. In Africa, I have been treated as an honored guest as the people listen to Bible stories.

My 2015 trip is uncertain at this point. My friends wonder if I’m crazy to consider returning with the Ebola virus threat. Ebola is not in Niger yet, but what if it does spread? What if thousands die having never heard His name waiting for someone, anyone, to tell them about a savior? What if I’d been born in Africa, waiting for someone to tell me about Jesus? Virtually everyone in Niger has never heard the name of Jesus.

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of who they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written. How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38.

To read about my trips to Africa, you can read other posts at www.sheliastovall.com

I fell so blessed to have Shelia share about her mission trips. Here are a few pictures.

The group visited an orphanage in Niamey run by Good Samaritan. They distributed backpacks with school supplies and soccer jerseys on their 2013 trip.



Shelia's group conducted VBS in one of the few churches in Niger. The cross on the little boy's neck was one of their craft projects.

One more picture today. Here they are worshiping at a house church in Niamey.


Next time I'll share more of Shelia's pictures from Africa.