Thursday, May 30, 2013

Free for All Friday: Christian Fiction Collection



Free for All Friday gives you a chance to win great prizes. This week we're offering a Christian fiction package of three books from two favorite authors.




When Sarah Carr's husband Jamie drowns, her young life is shattered and takes a turn that she never expected. Pregnant and now widowed, she reaches out to Jamie's family for help but they are unwilling. Instead they devise a plan to have her kidnapped and taken to the Colonies to live a life of servitude. Sarah's new life in the Colonies finds her surrounded by a family's whirlwind of secrets, while she hopes the young doctor she loves with will bring her freedom.


Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.

Lynn's daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle's huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.

This is the fourth book in the Bloomfield series. All these novels are stand alone books written by different authors.

The Deliverer is the third and final book in Kathi's Freedom series. Though I feel there is much to be gained by reading all the books in the series, this book is able to stand alone.


The Deliverer picks up just months after Special Delivery leaves off, continuing with the stories of Mara, freed from slavery but still struggling with scars and memories from the past; Jonathan, attending Bible college but strongly drawn to Mara, despite her past; and Lawan, having escaped the brothel in Thailand and miraculously reunited with her younger sister in the US and adopted by the same family. Will Mara be able to move past the pain and hatred that bind her, even if it means traveling back to the place where her parents betrayed her and sold her into sexual slavery? Will she allow The Deliverer to set her free—once and for all?

Please use the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to enter. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CFBA: The Judgment Stone by Robert Liparulo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Judgment Stone
Thomas Nelson (May 14, 2013)
by
Robert Liparulo




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Former journalist Robert Liparulo is the best-selling author of the thrillers Comes a Horseman, Germ, Deadfall, Deadlock, and The 13th Tribe, as well as The Dreamhouse Kings, an action-adventure series for young adults. He contributed a short story to James Patterson’s Thriller, and an essay about Thomas Perry’s The Butcher’s Boy to Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. He is currently working on the sequel to The 13th Tribe, as well writing an original screenplay with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive).

When not writing, Liparulo loves to read, watch (and analyze) movies, scuba dive, swim, hike, and travel. He lives in Monument, Colorado, with his wife Jodi and four children: Melanie, Matthew, Anthony, and Isabella.


ABOUT THE BOOK


What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe—the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power—a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won’t stop until they’ve annihilated all those close to Him?

In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judgment Stone, go HERE.


Thursday Books: Thursday Night Pizza by Fr. Dominic Garramone




After twenty years of testing recipes on his fellow monks, Father Dominic of public television's Breaking Bread offers a surprising variety of pizza recipes sure to please every palate. With his customary detailed and easy-to-follow directions, Father Dom shows you how to make the perfect crust (the real key to first-rate pizza), flavorful homemade sauces, and savory toppings. You ll discover a delicious reduced-fat sausage that is both easy and economical, the way to avoid soggy crusts, and a magic trick to have warm, crusty bread waiting for your breakfast the morning after pizza night. Recipes include six different doughs, seven sauces, and dozens of pizzas like Pesto and Prosciutto Pizza, Muffaletta Pizza, The Denver Diner Special, Mediterranean Vegetable Pizza, Pizza Diavolo, and Fig and Papaya Dessert Pizza.


Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Reedy Press (October 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1933370653
ISBN-13: 978-1933370651




Giveaway Winners!



Congratulations to Maureen and Melanie who both won a Killer in Crinolines Tote Bag from author Duffy Brown. We also congratulate Sylvia, who picked up a copy of After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue.

The winners have been contacted. Thanks to all who entered.

Chapter Review: Unexpected Love by Julie Zine Coleman


Typically I review the first chapter of a book, expecting if I am not hooked within the first chapter, I won't enjoy the book overall. Author Julie Coleman has submitted the sixth chapter of her book, Unexpected Love for my review. The story of Jesus and Martha is one I find intriguing, so I felt this would also be a good way for me to critique Coleman's work.

BLURB:  How would you characterize Jesus in his interactions with women? Gracious? Preachy? Aloof? Kind? Dismissive?

Unexpected Love is an essential read for anyone eager to understand Jesus Christ’s true heart for women. We ache for a satisfying relationship with him and crave his healing touch. So did the women of the first century. Each approached him with something they wanted. They left with more than they could have imagined.

Writer and teacher Julie Coleman carefully walks readers through the gospel narratives, offering evidence of a perceptive Savior deeply concerned about the women he met. Through vivid descriptions, thoughtful questions, and empowering applications, she brings a fresh perspective to these sometimes puzzling stories.

Unexpected Love offers a compelling vision of a Savior who meets us where we are and will take us where we need to go. Discover his passion for women. What you read will impact your own relationship with him. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

COVER: Beautiful. Considering Jesus is the Light of the World, the sunlight in the background with the woman walking toward it is a wonderful symbol. The colors are comforting and calming.

CHAPTER SIX: The purpose of this chapter is to give readers a different perspective on the story of Jesus' reaction to Martha from the Gospel of Luke 10: 38-42:

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

While typically, one might believe that Jesus was scolding Martha for concentrating on her meal preparations instead of worshiping at his feet, Coleman provides a fresh, eloquently told way to look at this conversation.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Coleman proves herself to be a master storyteller in this account of Jesus and Martha's story. Instead of dry, boring details, she gets into Martha's head much like an author of fiction would do. She paints a picture for her readers filled with rich descriptions that engage and encourage you to move forward. She brings in so many important aspects to this story you truly wonder how you didn't see it this way before. In addition, she correlates this story to other stories from Luke's account, which strongly support her point of view.

Best of all, Coleman then relates this story to contemporary women, ending with a great teaching point followed by discussion questions. I would love to read this book cover to cover.



File Size: 351 KB
Print Length: 228 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400204240
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 5, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00A0VP5OU

The author submitted this chapter for review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I was not compensated in any way.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Blogger: Heart Healthy Foods by Tammy Mahan


Everyone should include heart healthy foods in their diet. If you start feeding your children foods that are good for their hearts at an early age, chances are they will continue to eat them through adulthood.

Not only do heart healthy foods keep the cardiovascular system running in tip top shape, it also lowers the risk of obesity which has become an epidemic in both children and adults in the last decade.

As you get older, it is even more important to take better care of your heart. When many people hear heart healthy foods they automatically imagine a plate of full of food they dislike. That is not always the case as there are plenty of delicious foods that are great for your heart that you already love to eat. The only difference is you do not know that they are good for your heart.

Prevention is the best medicine. It is never too late to start eating a heart healthy diet. No one wants to be forced to start a healthy diet after they have been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease or after they have had a heart attack that could have claimed their life. Therefore, why not start that healthy heart diet now? This will allow your children, and spouse to follow your lead.

Let us look at some heart healthy foods:

• Oatmeal – A perfect start to your day! In place of sugar, add a few of your favorite berries to sweeten it up. Oatmeal is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, which have been proven to increase heart health and lower triglycerides. Omega 3 fatty acids are also known to reduce heart arrhythmias. It also lowers the risk of a second heart attack and a stroke.

• Flaxseed – Ground flaxseed is great! You can put it in almost any food including cereal, salads, smoothies, scrambled eggs, and pancakes, the list is endless. Ground flaxseed is fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.

• Blueberries – A sweet delicious fruit that you can eat alone, add to cereal, yogurt, cookies, muffins, pancakes, smoothies, and lots of other foods. Blueberries are high in calcium, magnesium, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, Beta-carotene and lutein, and ellagic acid. All of which are known to keep your heart healthy!

• Dark Chocolate – Who doesn’t love chocolate? If you can limit your chocolate to one small piece a day, you will be doing your heart and your waistline a favor while still enjoying a nice treat. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids and reservatrol, which are both good for your heart and can lower your blood pressure.

• Cantaloupe – A cantaloupe is great for a snack, breakfast, or added to lunch or dinner. It is high in fiber, vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C, folate, potassium, Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein. A great tasting fruit that is good for your heart!

• Broccoli – Not a real popular vegetable with children but it can be ground up and easily hidden in foods. Broccoli is rich in Beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and calcium.

These are just a few of the heart healthy foods you can eat every day to make sure your heart is in good health. It is never too early or too late to start protecting your heart.





Tammy Mahan is a medical and health writer who lives in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of New York with her Husband. Writing for Healthline.com allows her to share her medical knowledge with others.

Guest Blogger: Find Happiness During Your Family Travels by Kendra Thornton

I am thrilled to have a special guest today. Our recent trip to Orlando made me realize how important these tips are.




Family traveling can be an amazing experience that children and parents will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, half of the fun is just getting out of the house for a few hours while other times it is fantastic to be away for a few days. Whatever the case may be, here are some tips to keep the family happy, healthy and safe.

• Tip 1: Before the family begins a traveling experience, make sure that each individual has an excellent, healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast can do wonders for children as well as adults and prepares them for the day. In addition to this, a healthy breakfast makes it easier for the body to break down food into energy that it needs throughout the course of the day. Besides this, a healthy breakfast can prevent hunger pangs and that can cause the experience to stop for a snack, which costs extra money.


• Tip 2: One of the biggest challenges of everyone, especially the children, is to get adequate sleep the night before activities begins. It can be very difficult to accomplish this. While putting children to bed earlier or putting them on a different sleep schedule a few days before traveling is ideal that may not happen. Taking a nap can while commuting to a destination can be a great way of getting children the rest they need. Even when you get to your destination, keep in mind that many Orlando hotels offer quiet hours at their establishments to further ensure that famlies get a solids nights rest!


• Tip 3: Traveling on the road or between destinations can be difficult for any child since they love to wiggle and run around. Make it a priority to be sure to stop at various intervals while traveling. Stopping at a rest area or park can be ideal for children to stretch their legs as well as to run around and shout it their pent up energy.


• Tip 4: When traveling on an airplane, be sure to have anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizer since airplane bathrooms are not the cleanest facilities to use. According to microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona, airline bathrooms are some of the germiest facilities that are available. Keeping children healthy during traveling is vital and it certainly beats dealing with a sick child while on a trip.


• Tip 5: Travels that bring a family to swimming pool or a water park can be times of joy for children. Make sure the joy lasts by making sure each child has the right pool equipment such as water wings, life preservers, goggles and other accessories. In addition to this, be sure to keep an eye on the children. Even better, join them in the water and make it a point to play new games. Not only are the children having fun, but also they are being kept safe under the watchful eye of their parents.


Planning beforehand can enhance a family trip and make the experience quite special indeed. Although planning can take some time, it is certainly worth it as the children are pleasant, which makes parenting that much easier. In fact, it can start a tradition for the next family travel experience. 



Kendra

"Former Orbitz Director of Communications and promoted into full time position in the care of Motherhood"


PBS KIDS offers free RESOURCES TO Fuel learning this summer

Arlington, VA, May 23, 2013 –This summer, PBS KIDS will provide families with a variety of free and educational resources to encourage young learners to continue learning and exploring over summer vacation. Research shows that students experience significant learning loss when they do not participate in educational activities during the summer months, and that loss is even greater among children in low-income communities. To combat this summer slump, PBS KIDS has developed 10 weeks of special on-air programming, a variety of online resources, and partnerships with Pottery Barn Kids, Education.com, Scholastic and Grandparents.com.

“PBS KIDS and our member stations are providing families with a wealth of resources and partnerships to keep children engaged and learning this summer,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “The summer is a great time for families to explore together, and we know that our content can help families bridge the summer learning gap and build critical skills for success.”

Summer Learning Theme-Weeks
Starting Monday, June 3 (check local listings), PBS KIDS presents 10 weeks of themed programming to inspire children ages 2-8 to explore and learn. Each week will feature episodes from a different PBS KIDS series.

The line-up includes:
  • WILD KRATTS – “Bug Week,” starting June 3                  
  • SUPER WHY! – “Super You Week,” starting June 10         
  • SESAME STREET – “Literacy Quest Week,” starting June 17          
  • MARTHA SPEAKS – “Puppy Week,” starting June 24         
  • CURIOUS GEORGE – “Creative George Week,” starting July 1                   
  • DINOSAUR TRAIN – “Dinosaurs A-Z” starting July 8                     
  • DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD – “Let’s Play Outside Week,” July 15                
  • THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! – “Let’s Get Wet Week,” starting July 22         
  • ARTHUR – “Sports Week,” starting July 29                      
  • WORDGIRL® – “What’s Up With WordGirl Week,” starting August 5          

Partnership Activities
PBS KIDS is working with the following select group of partners to encourage children and families to explore literacy and learning all summer long.

Pottery Barn Kids: PBS KIDS is working with Pottery Barn Kids this summer to highlight the importance of reading through the Pottery Barn Kids Summer Reading Challenge.  From May 24 through August 26, families can find activities and tips from PBS KIDS, including a “PBK Favorites” booklist, certificate of completion and bookmark, in stores and online at www.potterybarnkids.com/read. Children that complete the list and bring it to a Pottery Barn Kids location will receive a free book, or parents can enter their child into an online drawing for a backpack full of books. Additionally, PBS KIDS will be providing tips to help families create a literate home at participating Pottery Barn Kids retail locations and on the Summer Reading Challenge website. For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge and related activities, visit www.potterybarnkids.com/read.

Education.com: Beginning May 20, families can visit Summer Reading Adventures hosted by Education.com to access a number of summer reading resources, including a “Do-It-Yourself” Reading Camp. “DIY” Reading Camp includes everything parents need to host 10 weeks of learning fun right from their own living rooms and backyards. Each camp week includes a dozen projects and activities, including specially selected PBS KIDS content, for parents and kids to do together. PBS KIDS and Education.com will also encourage families to read over the summer months with the “We’ll Read 10” pledge – which offers families the chance to win one of five Kindle Prize Packs. To take the pledge or learn more about DIY Summer Reading camp, visit www.education.com/read

Scholastic: As the national “Ambassador of Summer Reading,” WordGirl is challenging kids to read every day this summer through Scholastic’s Summer Challenge. The Scholastic Summer Challenge™ is a free online reading program where kids can log their reading minutes to earn rewards and help set a new 2013 world record for summer reading to beat last year’s record of 95,859,491 minutes.

Grandparents.com: Grandparents can help kids with reading, too. PBS KIDS is proud to be working with Grandparents.com to offer resources to provide grandparents with ideas and literacy-building activities that they can do with their grandchildren over the summer break.

Online and Mobile Resources
Select episodes and clips will also be featured on PBSKIDS.org/video and on the free PBS KIDS Video App. Additionally, each week a special episode will be available as a free download on iTunes.

Online, parents and caregivers will find free, downloadable activity guides and printables to host reading parties and more on PBSPARENTS.org/read. Literacy-focused games and activities will be available for kids at PBSKIDS.org/read. PBS KIDS also offers more than 25 educational mobile appsavailable on iOS and Android to help kids build key skills for learning.

Through a variety of summer learning initiatives, PBS KIDS continues to offer educational and engaging content across platforms to more and more families. PBS KIDS is increasingly serving children wherever they live, learn and play.



About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

CFBA: A Heartbeat Away by S. Dionne Moore

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heartbeat Away
Abingdon Press (May 1, 2013)
by
S. Dionne Moore




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




S. Dionne Moore started writing in 2006. Her first book, Murder on the Ol’ Bunions, was contracted for publication by Barbour Publishing in 2008. In 2009 she moved on to writing historical romances as an outlet for her passion for history. In 2010 her second cozy mystery, Polly Dent Loses Grip, was a 2010 Carol Award finalist and she was also named a Barbour Publishing 2010 Favorite New Author. In 2011 her first historical romance, Promise of Tomorrow, was nominated a 2011 Carol Award finalist.

Born and raised in Manassas, Virginia, Moore moved to Greencastle, PA in 1993, then to Mercersburg in 2009. Moore enjoys life in the historically rich Cumberland Valley where traffic jams are a thing of the past and there are only two stoplights in the whole town.

For more information, visit her Website at www.sdionnemoore.com.

Follow her on Twitter: @sdionnemoore

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sdionnemoore

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/sdionnemoore



ABOUT THE BOOK


When a band of runaway slaves brings Union-loyal Beth Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named Joe, it is the catalyst that pushes her to defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse during the Battle of Antietam.

Her mother's mysterious goodbye gift is filled with quilt blocks that bring comfort to Beth during the hard days and lonely nights, but as she sews each block, she realizes there is a hidden message of faith within the pattern that encourages and sustains her. Reunited with Joe, Beth learns his secret and puts the quilt's message to its greatest test—but can betrayal be forgiven?


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Heartbeat Away, go HERE.




Watch the video:


AHeartbeatAway - Medium from S. Dionne Moore on Vimeo.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Busy Mom's Landscaping Projects



People without green thumbs who take on landscaping projects must be insane. The above picture is what the front of our house looked liked before my crazy idea to change it. When we moved in, I had no knowledge of landscaping and gardens. I barely have more ability after thirteen years, but that doesn't keep me from trying.

My brilliant idea: remove these bushes and put in flowering plants. Not a bad plan, just not an easy one. Finding and downloading the garden plan off the Internet--easy. Ordering the plants online--also easy. Getting bushes out of the garden that have been there for thirteen years--not easy at all.

I had promised the two low ones to the church for the new flower bed they (I mean me and three other people) were putting in, and I decided to move that juniper (maybe) into the backyard to hide the generator we put in after we lost power for over a week in 2011 after a surprise October snowstorm. You know, the lovely storm that meant we had to vacate our home for the third time in the span of five months and where the power was out long enough for sewer water to back into our basement.

Anyway, I had to call the landscaper in to get that big bush out of there. My back said no way was I doing it. He was kind enough to set up the flower bed for me, so all I had to do was dig and put the new plants in. Keeping the plants alive for two weeks after they arrived until he showed up to remove the bush was a challenge.

I laid out all the plants--even took out a measuring tape to be sure it would be relatively even--and then put them in. Then the landscaper came to mulch all the beds.



We've made a few other improvements, too, lately. Hopefully I'll have more pictures soon.

Book Spotlight: Inked by Kim Goad


Every tattoo tells a story. Every life makes its marks. What do you want to be marked by? What story do you want to tell?

A tattoo can tell a lot about a person. Some reflect a rebellious season, like the demons that cover Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers. Some express religious ties, like actor Mark Wahlberg’s once tattooed rosary. Some are symbols of love and loyalty; Some serve as remembrances, like rapper Lil Wayne’s teardrops, representing deaths of loved ones.

Inked by Janet E. Kusiak and Kimberly D. Goad uses the language of tattoos to explore the question: what has marked your life? Is it a deep well of pain? Is it emotional baggage? Is it depression? In spite of events that are so deeply etched into our hearts, we have the power to change the marks that life makes on us.

An estimated quarter of Americans ages 18-50 have a tattoo. What better way to show how one of the most polarizing of cultural icons can, in fact, be a metaphor for what people have in common? Using stories and slang from tattoo culture, the authors look at the new way Christ desires that we be inked by Him, as the authors explore the marks that have been made on our hearts.

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426751184
ISBN-13: 978-1426751189

Purchase here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thursday Books: Sir Thursday, The Keys to the Kingdom, Book 4 by Garth Nix


The stellar fourth book in Garth Nix's masterpiece series... now in paperback!

On the fourth day there was war...
Following their adventures in the Border Sea, Arthur and Leaf head for home. But only Leaf gets through the Front Door. Arthur is blocked because someone . . . or something . . . has assumed his identity and is taking over his life.
Before Arthur can take action, he is drafted by Sir Thursday and forced to join the Glorious Army of the Architect. While Leaf tries to banish Arthur's doppleganger on earth, Arthur must survive his basic training, avoid getting posted to the Front and work out how he can free Part Four of the Will....

Age Range: 8 and up
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0439436575
ISBN-13: 978-0439436571


Book Spotlight: Finding God in a Bag of Groceries by Laura Lapins Willis


Small actions can change a life and inspire us to engage more fully in our own spiritual journey.

If your pantry was empty, your children hungry, your electricity cut off for nonpayment, and you saw no prospect of support, what would you do? For a decade in a rural Tennessee community, you went to a shabby building behind a church and found Laura Willis. Running a program to help the needy, Laura discovered a world of people she never knew: the lonely and unemployed, chronically poor families, and middle-class folks surprised to be struggling in a great recession. And to each, she offered a bag of groceries, a compassionate ear, and a heart of love. Taking a tiny food pantry and watching it grow to feed hundreds, Laura learned about her own hunger for God and began to discern her own spiritual directions, learning how her calling card—a bag of groceries—could be a gift to others and to herself of abundance and grace.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (June 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426753241
ISBN-13: 978-1426753244

Purchase here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Spotlight: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving


I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.

Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780062204097
ISBN-13: 978-0062204097
ASIN: 0062204092

Purchase here.

The Busy Mom's Garden Update



As I've mentioned yesterday, we've been hard at work on our garden. Well, I've been hard at work. The girls simply reap the rewards.

This year, we did things a bit differently. I put together a spreadsheet so I could track when we planted the seeds and when the crops needed to be harvested. Not sure if that will help, but I never claimed to be a master gardener.

So far we've planted:

sunflower
bean
cucumber
broccoli
pea
spinach
squash
cauliflower
pumpkin
igloo lettuce
heirloom lettuce
onion
potato
parsley
basil
thyme
rosemary
oregano
tomato
strawberry

The broccoli, spinach, squash, and cauliflower haven't done anything. I had trouble with the same seeds last year. I ended up buying a spinach plant at the store and added that to the garden last weekend. I tried again, unsuccessfully, to grow tomatoes and strawberries from seed and never got any seedlings. Then a storm came and blew down our small greenhouse, so that was the end of that. I bought two tomato plants and one strawberry and added them this weekend, too. Might be a bit too early for the tomato, but usually I plant on Memorial Day weekend, so it should be okay.

The sunflower, bean, cucumber, pea, and pumpkin seeds are sprouting. My onions are also doing well. I bought herb plants instead of trying to grow from seed this year. Last year, I didn't get much from the herb seeds, so I figured it would be easier just to buy the plants. All of them are doing well except the oregano. The leaves are turning brown. The darn rabbits are eating my parsley, too. Not seeing much progress in the potato bag, but it's probably too early yet.

The one surprise this year is the lettuce. I've never had trouble growing lettuce from seed before, but this year I'm not seeing any progress and they've been in the ground since the first week of the month. I'll probably try to plant again this week, but it might be too hot soon.

I've got to put up the temporary fence so the animals stay away, but for now the planting is done. I'll have to buy two or three more raised beds in order to add the corn and watermelon later.

I'll share more gardening news as it comes.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

CFBA: Follow the Heart by Kaye Dacus

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Follow the Heart
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Kaye Dacus




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Humor, Hope, and Happily Ever Afters! Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances with Barbour Publishing, Harvest House Publishers, and B&H Publishing. She holds a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, is a former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, and currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a full-time academic advisor and part-time college composition instructor for Bethel University.


Kaye Dacus (KAY DAY-cuss) is an author and educator who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an academic advisor and English Composition instructor for Bethel University.




ABOUT THE BOOK

Set during the Industrial Revolution and the Great Exhibition of 1851, Follow the Heart is a “sitting-room romance” with the feel of a Regency-era novel but the fashions and technological advances of the mid-Victorian age.

Kate and Christopher Dearing’s lives turn upside down when their father loses everything in a railroad land speculation. The siblings are shipped off to their mother’s brother in England with one edict: marry money.

At twenty-seven years old, Kate has the stigma of being passed over by eligible men many times—and that was before she had no dowry. Christopher would like nothing better than to make his own way in the world; and with a law degree and expertise in the burgeoning railroad industry, he was primed to do just that—in America.

Though their uncle tries to ensure Kate and Christopher find matrimonial prospects only among the highest echelon of British society, their attentions stray to a gardener and a governess.

While Christopher has options that would enable him to lay his affections where he chooses, he cannot let the burden of their family’s finances crush his sister. Trying to push her feelings for the handsome—but not wealthy— gardener aside, Kate’s prospects brighten when a wealthy viscount shows interest in her. But is marrying for the financial security of her family the right thing to do, when her heart is telling her she’s making a mistake?

Mandates . . . money . . . matrimony. Who will follow the heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Follow the Heart, go HERE



You've Got Mail Monday



Not a lot of great stuff ending up in my mailbox lately. I've been concentrating on the garden and not paying too much attention to the catalogs. The usuals show up: Land's End, FrontGate, Oriental Trading, but I'm not even browsing much.

The latest Gardener's Supply Company catalog is on my table. I haven't gone through it yet, but I know I want to order some type of irrigation system for the vegetable garden. It's too hard to keep hauling out the hose and water each night.

The only book I've received is Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl. I am hosting her book tour at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. This books sounds fascinating. It features a young Emily Dickinson solving the murder of a handsome stranger. We're not too far from where Emily Dickinson lived, so I like to read books about her.

That's it for now. Hope you have a great week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Video Interview with Morrie Richfield, Author of Revelation ($100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway)


Mr. Breeze is back; so is Michael Ryan and Rover, the magical dog.

MR. BREEZE fans can rejoice. REVELATION, Morrie Richfield’s much-anticipated sequel to his novel MR. BREEZE, has arrived. Readers new to the strange but inspiring tale of a super being and his attempt to set mankind on a straight and moral path for its very survival can immerse themselves in what critics and readers alike are calling an “inspirational fantasy” with important lessons for all of us.

In MR. BREEZE, published in 2011, Richfield introduced readers to Zackary, aka Zack, aka Mr. Breeze, an ancient being who claimed to be mankind’s creator and who still exerts a powerful force on the human race and its very existence. Zack appeared on earth as a powerful man who did miraculous deeds. He chose journalist Michael Ryan to tell his story in a book that, he hoped, would show mankind how to stop its self-destructive ways and bring paradise on earth. With man’s fate hanging in the balance, Zack disappeared, leaving humans to their fate and Michael wondering what his role really is.

REVELATION moves the action two years into the future. The situation looks bleak. Mankind has slipped back into its old, destructive ways and Michael has become a dissolute recluse. There are people who view Michael as a savior and others who see him as a threat to be eliminated.

Along this strange trip, Michael meets new friends and reunites with old companions, the most significant of which is Rover, an abused dog whom Zack endowed with superpowers. Rover becomes Zack’s messenger to Michael, as Michael tries to get Zack’s original message out to the world: If mankind doesn’t straighten out, he will destroy the human race.

Richfield plays down the description of REVELATION as an “inspirational fantasy.” He calls it a “self-help book, a textbook, a reality series on paper. It is what we see when we look in the mirror.”

If MR. BREEZE focused on Zack and his message, REVELATION focuses on Michael, following his struggle to understand his role in Zack’s master plan and to find his soul, Richfield says. “Michael’s final revelation is that we just don’t learn. Without the threat of destruction, we go back to our old ways. Our time is almost up and we need to do something. We need to show Mr. Breeze the human race deserves a chance to continue to exist.”


AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE






Morrie Richfield lives in Pennsylvania with his two sons, his dogs and his cat. He is working on his next novel, and he still dreams that someday the world will be a better place for all of us to live.

His latest book is the inspirational fantasy novel, Revelation: The Return of Mr. Breeze.

Visit his website at www.mrbreezethenovel.com.


Pump Up Your Book and Morrie Richfield are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card/Paypal Cash!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour.
This promotion will run from March 4 – May 31. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on June 1, 2013.
Each blogger who participates in the Revelationvirtual book tour is eligible to enter and win.
Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, you can visit the author's tour page on the Pump Up Your Book website by clicking here for your chance to enter.


Guest Blogger: Michael Bigham, Author of Harkness (Giveaway)


In this thrilling debut novel, by Michael Bigham, Sheriff Matt Harkness faces a perilous challenge. He isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, he drives an old battered pickup and his faithful companion is a wiener dog named Addison. Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness has a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?

Purchase at Amazon!


The Lay of the Land
Landscape in Fiction
by Michael Bigham

There’s a feeling you get driving down to Casper at night from the north, and not only there, other places where you come through hours of darkness unrelieved by lights except the crawling wink of some faraway ranch truck. You come down a grade and all at once the shining town lies below you, slung out like all western towns, and with the curved bulk of the mountain behind it.

Annie Proulx, “A Lonely Coast” from Close Range: Wyoming Stories


If you live out west, you’ve probably driven this stretch of road, maybe not this particular stretch in Wyoming, but perhaps one similar somewhere in Idaho or Colorado. In Central Oregon where I grew up, there’s a ten-mile down grade running from the shoulder of Grizzly Mountain into Prineville. When you crest that rise, the town lights seem so distant.

Annie Proulx is a favorite writer of mine. She creates complex characters and is a master at using landscape in her prose. Whether you’re reading The Shipping News or Brokeback Mountain you can be sure that the landscape will play an important role.

Another of my favs is Flannery O’Connor.  Let’s look at A Good Man is Hard to Find:

They turned onto the dirt road and the car raced roughly along in a swirl of pink dust. The grandmother recalled the times when there were no paved roads and thirty miles was a day's journey. The dirt road was hilly and there were sudden washes in it and sharp curves on dangerous embankments. All at once they would be on a hill, looking down over the blue tops of trees for miles around, then the next minute, they would be in a red depression with the dust-coated trees looking down on them.

Here O’Connor uses description of the landscape to foreshadow danger for the story’s characters.

In my own novel, I use the landscape not only to give the reader a sense of place, but also to define my protagonist, Sheriff Matthew Harkness:

The ride up the valley to the North Redmond Ranch was pretty enough in summer or winter, just too long on washboard roads for my taste. I kept the window down and hummed to myself as the countryside drifted by, sagebrush and juniper, up and over the hill out of town, then along wheat and alfalfa fields, faded to brown by August, and up the Paulina Valley. I could buy a few acres up here. Good land, plenty of water, cheap, and undiscovered… so far.
                                                Michael Bigham, Harkness: A High Desert Mystery

Landscape in fiction enhances the reader’s experience and can play a role in character, plotting and creating tension.

You can find Harkness: A High Desert Mystery in both e-book format and in paperback on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to check out my blog at www.michaelbigham.com

I thank The Busy Mom's Daily for this guest blog opportunity.




Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.

Visit the author online at www.muskratpress.com and his blog at http://blueparrot.blogspot.com/


Enter for your chance to win a free paperback of Harkness. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

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Diary of a Busy Mom: Vacation



As a busy mom, there’s so much to do to get ready to leave on vacation:

·         Pick up the tickets from AAA
·         Hold the mail
·         Hold the paper
·         Arrange pet sitters
·         Clean the house (so I don’t have a mess when we return home)
·         Make sure we have enough good clothes for the trip (the kids seem to grow out of half of their things before we leave)
·         Pack
·         Help the girls pack
·         Confirm reservations before we leave
·         Confirm coverage for my clients while we’re away
·         Grocery shop so the pet sitters have what they need

    Pretty much, I’m exhausted before boarding the plane. Thankfully, when we finally go away, we’re at least going somewhere where we’ll be too busy for me to work. I rarely even read when we’re in Florida.

    The other nice thing about going to Disney is that I don’t have to plan meals. When we go to the Outer Banks, I’m usually cooking two meals a day. With Disney, I simply make dining reservations ahead of time for all our meals.

    Once we return, I’ll have six days of laundry for four people to wash and then have to go grocery shopping again, but at least once I set foot on the plane, I’m truly on vacation.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot? Is there somewhere you would love to go that you haven’t been to yet?

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Wordless Wednesday


    Interview with Susan Maiava, Author of Fat Chance! The no-going-back Weight Loss Workbook

    Welcome, Susan. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

    Hi Cheryl,

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to introduce Fat Chance! The no-going-back Weight Loss Workbook to your readers. A bit about myself? Well I have had an interesting range of life experiences from being an overseas volunteer (like a Peace Corp volunteer) to being a university lecturer, from being a mother to being an author and business owner.

    But my chief qualification here is that I was significantly overweight for many years, so I can identify with anyone who is overweight and wants desperately to lose weight. I was tired of the debilitating effect it had on my life and when I looked into the future I didn’t want to be like that for the rest of my life. I couldn’t keep up with my children. It was hugely embarrassing to tell the shop assistant that the XXL was too small. So I gave up shopping for clothes.

    Physically I snored, I got headaches and heartburn, my skin chaffed and I was borderline pre-diabetic (all those are gone now). It was hugely embarrassing to walk at normal speed with friends, trying desperately to hide my puffing. So I dropped out of activities (or was not included). I was an observer rather than a participant and I desperately wanted to participate in life.

    But for me personally one of the biggest issues was that I had a lot to contribute but was not taken seriously. I was undervalued and overlooked in my professional career. Despite my size I was invisible. I wanted to be taken seriously – that was a key motivation for me.

    What made you decide to write Fat Chance! The Weight Loss Workbook?

    When I was losing weight I was always looking for good advice but I never found what I was looking for on the bookshelves. There were certainly inspiring personal stories of weight loss. There were prescriptive books full of diet plans written by professionals who had never been overweight (many of these did contain good technical advice which, incidentally, overweight people already know). And there were a range of ‘wacky’ restrictive pseudo-science options.

    But most focused on dieting or sticking to diets and there was nothing (in my view) that combined a comprehensive approach to changing your lifestyle, including dealing with emotional hunger, changing your thinking, habits and behaviors, eating better, working with your body and getting active, with a personal, reflective, interactive workbook format.

    So after I had lost weight I decided to research and write it myself. I had written a book before and I know how to research so I decided to fill what I believe is an enormous gap in the market. So when I wrote Fat Chance! I combined the best current research with my insider knowledge of what it was like to be overweight and how overweight people think. That combination is key.

    How is it different from other weight loss books on the market?

    The Fat Chance! slogan sums it up in a nutshell: “Forget about how fat people diet. Focus on how slim people eat.” The key point of difference is Fat Chance! is absolutely definitely not a diet. Instead it facilitates a lifestyle change focused on learning to think and eat like a slim person, forever.

    The greatest misconception people have about losing weight is that you lose weight by dieting for a certain time (and then going back to your old behavior). One of my first insights was the realization that if you eat the amount of food needed to maintain your goal slim weight every day, you would, over time, reach and maintain that weight, just as slim people do, keeping the weight off forever.

    With Fat Chance! you learn to eat for your slim weight from Day 1. The new skills and strategies you adopt to do this are yours for the rest of your life. I think that is the key difference and is why this is not a diet. The end goal is to live differently. The weight-loss will happen as a result of changing your lifestyle.

    The second major point of difference is the engaging, interactive workbook format. Research has shown that food journaling alone is a very effective weight loss tool but it is more than that. The question and answer format enables the reader to slow down, become much more self-aware, reflect deeply and draw out of themselves and make the changes they need to make at a very personal and individual level.

    How easy is your book to use and understand for someone who hasn’t tried anything other than traditional diet plans?

    I agree that it seems strange to not think you are supposed to be dieting. After all we have always been taught that is how you lose weight. But think instead of how slim people naturally maintain their slim weight.

    Fat Chance! is extremely easy to use as you work through it just one day at a time. The journal style has several advantages. It provides a very safe environment in which to deal with weight issues, especially emotional issues; a sort of “dear diary.” Many people have written to me describing it as their new best friend. The workbook itself becomes the encourager, the friend who walks beside the reader on their journey each day.

    Fat Chance! is well designed and organized so everything is covered. Each day of the week has a different theme: The six themes are: Thinking like a slim person, Working with your body, Establishing new habits, Dealing with emotional hunger, Getting active, Enjoying a healthy balanced diet and Day 7 is a Debrief and reflection. Groups can come together on Day 7. So each day is interesting and new but the full picture layers and builds week on week.

    How much time does it take to implement the plan in your book?

    Fat Chance! The Weight Loss Workbook is a colorful and stylish but very practical, interactive workbook which engages the reader every day. It can take as little as 15 minutes or up to 45 minutes a day, depending on the reader. Many prefer to delve into it both morning (to plan) and evening (to reflect).

    The program is 12 weeks long, but because it is life-changing, in this sense it never ends. There is no going back to old ways. I don’t mean that you have to diet forever (a terrible thought). Instead you reach a healthy new equilibrium; a new lifestyle where you think and eat like a slim person forever.

    It is important the workbook journey is undertaken one day at a time. It does take time to identify the changes that have to come from within and discipline to slowly and deeply embed those changes. The discipline is not in resisting food (we know that doesn’t work) but rather the discipline is in changing your thoughts and habits. And that is where Fat Chance! walks with you as you journal your progress.

    What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a lifestyle change?

    Completely abandon the idea of dieting, and completely embrace the idea that you are going to change your lifestyle and there will be no going back to your old behavior. If you are not prepared to change, don’t do it!

    But also know that it is absolutely possible, and Fat Chance! will be there right there beside you, showing you the way. Ask yourself (Fat Chance! asks you a lot of questions): Do I want to live differently or do I want to be fat? It really is that simple.

    Where can readers purchase Fat Chance! The Weight-loss Workbook?

    Readers can purchase a hardcopy of the Fat Chance! Weight Loss Workbook from Amazon or www.ShoppingMoa.com Links to the specific buying pages are found at www.fatchanceweightloss.com (note it is also called “Fat Chance! Forget how fat people diet, Focus on how slim people eat” – I like that!).

    Recently I have created an interactive Online web-based version of Fat Chance! which is available globally from www.fatchance.co.nz/new-fat-chance-online-programme

    Do you have anything else to add?

    I’m absolutely delighted with the response Fat Chance! has been getting. As well as individuals it is being used by groups of friends (meeting on Day 7) and health professionals working with overweight clients. Apart from the fact it really works, people love the design, colors and the layout of the book which is really stylish and fun as well as practical.

    I’d love your readers to read the success stories of people who have used Fat Chance! lost weight and changed their lives at www.fatchanceweightloss.com/testimonials. Some of the stories and photos are just amazing and are why I know Fat Chance! works.

    Your readers can also read and download the Introduction from www.fatchanceweightloss.com/sneak-peak and everything and anything else they want to know is there as well.

    Thank you for allowing me to share Fat Chance! with you.

    I wish all your readers all the best in their weight loss journey!

    Kindest regards,
    Susan Maiava PhD.

    CFBA: Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story
    Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2013)
    by
    Dee Henderson




    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Dee Henderson is the bestselling, award-winning author of 15 previous novels, including the acclaimed O'MALLEY series and UNCOMMON HEROES series. These days, most authors are out there energetically promoting their books in print and broadcast and via social media—wherever they can get attention. But Dee Henderson keeps a low profile. She avoids telephone interviews because of hearing problems, declined to provide a current photo, and will say only that she lives in Illinois.

    ABOUT THE BOOK


    It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley. The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, and meeting Tom Peterson, and falling in love, is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce him to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.

    She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested in a way she didn't expect, and the results will soon transform her entire family.



    If you would like to read the first chapter of Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story, go to HERE.



    Book Spotlight and Kindle Fire HD Giveaway: Cassie Scot ParaNormal Detective by Christine Amsden





    Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

    Purchase at: Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Also available for Kindle.



    Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

    At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)

    In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

    Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

    Her latest book is Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective.




    Pump Up Your Book and Christine Amsden are teaming up to give you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire HD!

    Here’s how it works:

    Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.

    This promotion will run from May 13 – August 16. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on August 17, 2013.

    Each blogger who participates in the Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win.

    Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. If the form doesn't work, visit the book's tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/22/pump-up-your-book-presents-cassie-scot-paranormal-detective-virtual-book-publicity-tour-win-kindle-fire-hd/ for your chance to enter!

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