Thursday, October 31, 2013

From My TBR Pile: Long Trail Home (Book 3, Morgan Family Series) by Vickie McDonough


In case you hadn't noticed, I have a thing for historical novels set just before, during, or at the end of the Civil War.

COVER: I love this historical, rustic feel to this cover. It fits the era perfectly. I'm not sure if you can make it out, but there is a tiny cowboy (guessing Riley) sitting on his horse next to the house. It's a great detail.

BLURB:  When Riley Morgan returns home after fighting in the War Between the States, he is excited to see his parents and fiancĂ©e again. But he soon learns that his parents are gone and the woman he loved is married.

Riley takes a job at the Wilcox School for the blind just to get by. He keeps his heart closed off but a pretty blind woman, Annie, threatens to steal it.

Through painful circumstances, Riley and Annie learn that the loving and sovereign hand of God cannot be thwarted.

FIRST SENTENCE: Prologue (Waco, Texas, 1858)

"That one right there--he's your mark."


Series: The Texas Trail Series
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802405851
ISBN-13: 978-0802405852

PURCHASE FROM CHRISTIANBOOK.COM OR AMAZON!

Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas Starts This Weekend!



I'm so excited that the Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas starts this weekend. Here's the schedule for the first week of movies and specials. I've seen a few of these and can't wait to catch all the new ones.

What will you be watching?

Week One: Friday, November 1 - Sunday, November 10

Friday, November 1
8/7c: A Boyfriend for Christmas
10/9c: Meet the Santas

Saturday, November 2
12a/11c: 
Christmas With Holly, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
2a/1c: Moonlight & Mistletoe
4a/3c: Help for the Holidays
6a/5c: Meet the Santas
8a/7c: Christmas With Holly, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
10a/9c: Moonlight & Mistletoe
12/11c: A Boyfriend for Christmas
2/1c: Help for the Holidays
4/3c: Naughty or Nice (2012)
6/5c: Matchmaker Santa
8/7c: The Thanksgiving House, a Hallmark Channel Original Premiere
10/9c: Hitched for the Holidays

Sunday, November 3
12a/11c: Christmas Song
1a/1c: A Holiday Engagement
3a/2c: A Christmas Wish
5a/4c: Little House on the Praire: A Christmas at Plum Creek
6a/5c: Naughty or Nice (2012)
8a/7c: Christmas Song
10a/9c: Matchmaker Santa
12/11c: A Holiday Engagement
2/1c: The Thanksgiving House
4/3c: Love the Thanksgiving Day Parade
6/5c: Hitched for the Holidays
8/7c: A Christmas Wish
10/9c: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Monday, November 4
12a/11c: A Christmas Visitor
2a/1c: The Wishing Tree
4a/3c: Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade
6a/5c: Mistletoe Over Manhattan
8a/7c: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
2/1c: A Christmas Visitor
4/3c: The Wishing Tree
6/5c: Santa Jr.
8/7c: The Christmas Card
10/9c: Mistletoe Over Manhattan

Tuesday, November 5
12a/11c: Karroll's Christmas
2a/1c: Santa Jr.
4a/3c: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
6a/5c: Eloise at Christmastime
8a/7c: The Christmas Card
2/1c: Karroll's Christmas
4/3c: Eloise at Christmastime
6/5c: Christmas Magic
8/7c: Help for the Holidays
10/9c: Farewell Mr. Kringle

Wednesday, November 6
12a/11c: Three Wise Women
2a/1c: Baby's First Christmas
4a/3c: Christmas Magic
6a/5c: Help for the Holidays
8a/7c: Three Wise Women
2/1c: Baby's First Christmas
4/3c: A Town Without Christmas
6/5c: Farewell Mr. Kringle
8/7c: The Dog Who Saved Christmas
10/9c: A Christmas Wedding Tail

Thursday, November 7
12a/11c: The Christmas Pageant
2a/1c: Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade
4a/3c: A Town Without Christmas
6a/5c: A Christmas Wedding Tail
8a/7c: The Christmas Pageant
2/1c: Gift of the Magi
4/3c: The Dog Who Saved Christmas
6/5c: Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas
8/7c: Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade
10/9c: The Thanksgiving House

Friday, November 8
12a/11c: The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
2a/1c: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
4a/3c: Gift of the Magi
6a/5c: Love's Christmas Journey Part 1
8a/7c: Love's Christmas Journey Part 2
2/1c: Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas
4/3c: The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
6/5c: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
8/7c: Pete's Christmas, a Hallmark Channel Original Premiere
10/9c: Eve's Christmas

Saturday, November 9
12a/11c: Once Upon a Christmas
2a/1c: Twice Upon a Christmas
4a/3c: All I Want for Christmas
6a/5c: The Santa Suit
8a/7c: Once Upon a Christmas
10a/9c: Twice Upon a Christmas
12/11c: The Thanksgiving House
2/1c: Eve's Christmas
4/3c: All I Want for Christmas
6/5c: A Princess for Christmas
8/7c: Snow Bride, a Hallmark Channel Original Premiere!
10/9c: Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle

Sunday, November 10
12a/11c: Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
2a/1c: The Santa Suit
4a/3c: Silver Bells, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
6a/5c: Fallen Angel, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
8a/7c: Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle
10a/9c: Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
12/11c: A Princess for Christmas
2/1c: Snow Bride
4/3c: Silver Bells, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
6/5c: A Bride for Christmas
8/7c: A Very Merry Mix-Up, a Hallmark Channel Original Premiere!
10/9c: Christmas With Holly, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame

Happy Halloween with Last-Minute Costume Ideas

The Lil' Diva inspecting pumpkins


I enjoy Halloween. I'm not much into zombies and goblins, but the cute aspects of it are fine. We choose more of a harvest theme for our decorations. It's become a tradition around here that two weeks before Halloween we visit our local farmers market and pick out pumpkins. We carve them the week leading up to Halloween so they last. On Halloween night, the girls get together with their friends and walk through our neighborhood with their dads, while the moms stay home and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Then the girls and their dad hop in the car and visit their grandparents. 

What are some of your Halloween or harvest time traditions?

The Lil' Princess humoring her camera-toting Dad


Here are links to some last minute Halloween costume ideas:



Some of the ideas on this site are more adult than others, but most of them are good:



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

End of Summer Giveaway! Tons of Books!



Best of intentions with posting these on a weekly basis, but it never happened. I am going to list separate Rafflecopter codes with each Book Package that is up for grabs in the End of Summer Giveaway. We will start with number 2, since I already ran one of these giveaways. Some of these books are ARCs; some I got through the Amazon VINE program; and others were duplicates of books we already had. Most of them have been read only once and a few of them not at all. I'll leave this giveaway running until Veteran's Day. Good luck!

Book Package #2

  • Belle of the Glades by Cheryl Abney (Christian MG)
  • Wright on Time®: Arizona, Book 1 by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley (MG)
  • ARC of Bindi Wildlife Adventures: Trouble at the Zoo by Chris Kunz (MG)
  • ARC of Bindi Wildlife Adventures: Rescue! by Jess Black (MG)
  • ARC of The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi (YA)
  • Untimed by Andy Gavin (YA)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Package #3

  • A Quaker Cupboard by David Madden
  • Autographed copy of Sprung From the Soul by David Madden
  • Autographed copy of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia by Patricia Neely-Dorsey
  • Autographed copy of My Magnolia Memories and Musings by Patricia Neely-Dorsey
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Package #4

  • Autographed copy of Words to Write By: Author Devotionals compiled by Robin Bayne
  • Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Debora M. Coty, Faith Tibbetts McDonald, and Joanna Bloss
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Package #5

  • Beside Two Rivers and Beyond the Valley, books 2 and 3 of Daughters of the Potomac Series by Rita Gerlach (each stand alone historical drama/romance novels with unrelated characters)
  • What Did Jesus Say?: The Seven Messages from the Master by Rev. Terry Allan Christian
  • Who I Be by Annie Brown
  • God's Special Forces: A Manual for Becoming a Young Woman of Quality by Darlene Laney


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Package #6

  • The Look of Love by Bella Andre (new)
  • All He Ever Desired  and All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey (new Books 5 and 6, stand alone novels in The Kowalski Family series set in Maine)
  • Bungalow Nights and The Love Shack by Christie Ridgway (new stand alone books 2 and 3 in the Beach House No. 9 Series)
  • Autographed copy of Traveling for Love: Searching for Self, Hoping for Love by Becky Due (women's fiction)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wordless Wednesday



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sharing: History of Christmas Ornaments

Lil' Princess, Nov 2009

I was browsing through blogs looking for blog tour hosts when I came across this sponsored post about the history of Christmas tree ornaments. Being the girl with the Christmas fetish, I simply had to share. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

From My TBR Pile: Traces of Mercy by Michael London Jr. and Cindy Kelly



This is a new feature I am starting. I have so many books in my TBR pile, I feel I really need to share them before they get forgotten. My hope is to talk about one book from my pile at least twice a week.


COVER: I'm a very visual person. If a book cover doesn't catch my attention, I won't even bother reading the blurb. This is a beautiful cover--more lovely up close than this jpeg can indicate. The young woman holding the mercy medallion is looked upon by a solider, who amazingly enough looks a bit like Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey fame; though this man's looks are more rugged.

BLURB: As the Civil War ends, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking up with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy because of the mercy medallion around her neck.

More than anything, Mercy wants to find out the truth of her past, but when the town's most eligible bachelor comes courting, she decides to look instead to the future. Life seems filled with promise until a handsome stranger comes into town, a man who knows her history...and something that could destroy her.

From Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley, authors of The Silent Gift and creators of the hit television film Love Comes Softly, comes an exciting historical romance set in post-Civil War, and filled with suspense and faith-building values.

FIRST SENTENCE (April 1865): The assault came in the dusky-pink dawn on a Sunday.


Series: Mercy Medallion Trilogy
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781408695
ISBN-13: 978-0781408691

PURCHASE FROM CHRISTIANBOOK.COM OR AMAZON!

Blogger's note: I'll be reviewing this book on November 6th.

Product Review: Truvia Natural Sweetener


This product sample came to me through Crowdtap. I received two cellophane wrapped sample packets. Each one included two single use Truvia® natural sweetener packs and a coupon for 55 cents off on any size of Truvia natural sweetener. We used one sample packet and I shared the other with my mother-in-law, who uses calorie-free sweetener on a regular basis.

Because I like to get a good sampling from my household, I went ahead and purchased a box of Truvia on my regular grocery shopping trip, so that I could have enough packets to share here. I slipped the Truvia into coffee and tea, so no one else knew beforehand. Both of my girls felt the Truvia didn't provide as much flavor as our regular calorie-free sweetener, so they wanted to use two packets as compared to one of our usual brand. My husband and I didn't notice any difference between them in that regard, but Truvia has a nice taste to it and we both like that it is an all-natural product versus a product whose two main ingredients are Nutritive Dextrose and Saccharin.

For the time being, we are a two brand calorie-free sweetener family, but I'm hoping over time the girls will give Truvia another try and make the switch.

I received free samples of this product through Crowdtap. I also purchased additional product in order to sample my entire household. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

You've Got Mail Monday



What a crazy place it is around here. I'll be brief in my post today because I have a million things to do.

I've definitely made my way--for better or worse--onto someone's mailing list. I received a postcard about a new book by Chris Harlow (Full Court Press) in the mail. I don't believe I've read anything by him before, so that was a surprise. Also a surprise delivery was a box of children's picture books from Michael Neugebauer Edition.

Catalogs in the mailbox this week were from Grandin Road, Gardener's Supply Company, and a kid's catalog from Land's End. I also received Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano, which I ordered from Amazon. I enjoyed the movie Season for Miracles on Hallmark Channel last year. That movie was based upon Pappano's book of the same name, which was set in the little town of Bethlehem. This is another Bethlehem novel, so I hope I enjoy it.

Most importantly, presents for the Lil' Princess' birthday began arriving last week. We don't like to spend too much, especially close to Christmas, but I think she'll be happy.

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

Product Review: Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths



Through Crowdtap, I got a chance to sample Cottonelle® Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths. This is part of their "Clean Care Routine" that features Cottonelle Toilet Paper and the Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths. My sample pack included their One Touch dispensing tub and two trial packets of Flushable Cleansing Cloths to share. I gave one to my mother-in-law and the other to a neighbor. Each trial packet had a coupon for $3 off the purchase of Cottonelle Toilet Paper and the Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths when purchased together.

I have to admit, I don't really care for the television commercials for the Cottonelle Clean Care Routine, but they are memorable, and they are also how I learned about the Flushable Cleansing Cloths. While I'm not overly comfortable talking about bathroom habits, I have to admit these are such a great addition to the bathroom routine that I've bought a container for each bathroom in our house. My kids love them, too. You come out feeling totally clean. I don't always buy Cottonelle Toilet Paper, but it is one of two brands I use regularly.

There have been reports, like this one in the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, that says utility companies claim the use of these Flushable Cleansing Cloths (and other products like flushable toilet wand scrubbers) clog sewer systems because they take longer to disintegrate. I tend to toss many of them in a diaper pail in the garage that I use for bags of used cat litter instead of flushing them.

I received a free sample of this product through Crowdtap. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.




Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Blogger & Giveaway: Marilyn Meredith, Author of Spirit Shapes (Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series)




Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.


What I’ve Gone Through on My Writing Journey by Marilyn Meredith

Let me sum it up like this: many, many rejections, crooked publishers, agents who did nothing for me or my books, bookstores that never paid me for books I sold, publishers who died—and I’m sure I’ve missed a lot.

Rejections, unless you’re really lucky, are part of the game. You haven’t paid your dues until you’ve got a drawer full. Even after you get one book published that doesn’t mean the next book won’t get rejected. That’s what happened to me. The editor who accepted my first book, left the publishing house and her replacement didn’t care of the way I wrote.

Believe me though, I’ve learned a lot along the way and most of it because of my critique group. Yes, I read many, many writing books and attended writing conferences, but where I really learned the fine points of writing came from my critique group.

Crooked publishers and agents flourished for a while and I got tangled up with both. One publisher actually gambled away all the money that should have gone to his authors as royalties, and he did go to jail. Another published 50 copies of one of my books, which I sold at a book signing, then he disappeared. I could never get any more books.

A publisher asked me to get a book camera ready (this was in the days before print on demand) and I slaved away on a friend’s updated computer until I was done. When I called the publisher his wife told me her husband died.

Over the years I’ve had several agents. None of them ever landed a publisher for me.

The first publisher of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series produced four books, then she had a stroke and died. So sad. She was much younger than I was and a good friend. The next publisher of the series had some serious family emergencies and decided not to continue her business. Fortunately, I found Mundania Press who is publishing this series now.

I’ve brought my own books to bookstores for signings, both big chains and independent bookstores, and never been paid for the books that I sold. Oh, I’ve sent letters and email, but nothing worked.

Wouldn’t you think after all that, I would’ve given up? Sure I’ve been disappointed, at times angry, but I guess I have the tenacity of a pit bull. It’s called perseverance. If you want something bad enough, you just keep on going.

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Raging Water, the previous book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Use Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and follow her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Contest:

The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting here: http://patwritersforum.blogspot.com/

A Light in Dark Places Book Blast


In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case.

For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews.

In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.


Praise for A Light in Dark Places

I just finished reading “A Light in Dark Places” By Jennifer Graves and Emily Gray Clawson. I was impressed with how well written the book was. The descriptions are such that I felt I was part of the story. I was grateful that the message was one of hope and peace in tragedy. The book does tell the tale of Susan Powell, her boys and their demise but doesn’t dwell on it. It was nice to see inside the life experiences of someone so close to them and to see things from Jennifer’s perspective rather than what you see on the media. I highly recommend this book. It doesn’t disappoint! – T. Hyde

I love true accounts of people overcoming challenges and helping others with the lessons learned from them. This story of Jennifer’s experiences throughout her abusive childhood, and later the disappearance of Susan and the murder of her two sweet nephews is just that. She shares how she felt God’s hand in her life, guiding her to make better choices than the rest of her family did. Though the book had so many sad details, it ended with hope, courage and love. ~D. Raymond

I had followed the story of Susan Powell very closely so I wasn’t sure if the book was going to tell me something I didn’t already know…but it sure did. Jennifer was very brave in writing this book and all she had done in support for Susan. I highly recommend the book it sheds a light on the whole situation that helps make things more clear. ~ Carolyn

This was a very informative read. I lived in Utah at the time of Susan’s disappearance and followed the news every day. This book answered many questions that the news did not. Although it was very sad and I already knew the outcome it was a good read. I admire Jennifer for her part in the whole story and I am glad she had the fortitude to write this book to honor her sister in law. ~Katie O.

To finally read about details that were never shared brought closure for me about this insidious crime. While the book was an easy read, the message shared about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships is invaluable. It truly does take someone removing themselves from their abusive family’s presence to stop the cycle. Praises to the author for sharing her perspectives. ~Arlene

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18169762-a-light-in-dark-places 


Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church.

Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009.

She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family.

She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.




Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.






BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 11/15/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tips on How Single Parents Can Save Money on Childcare


I've been very fortunate to be the supplementary income in a two-parent family for the past thirteen years, but for the eleven years before that I struggled as a single parent. In those years before my son was old enough to start school, and then in the hours between 3 and 5 PM when I was still working but he was too young to stay home alone, finding affordable childcare seemed almost impossible. Without some form of assistance, I never would have made ends meet.

Employers are slowly recognizing and appreciating the personal commitments of their employees, but it's still an uphill climb, especially for those hiking alone. In the article, "How Single Parents Can Save Money on Childcare," you'll find ideas on how to help you juggle working and childcare as a single parent.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CFBA: The Christmas Quilt by Vanetta Chapman (First Chapter Review)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Christmas Quilt
Abingdon Press (October 15, 2013)
by
Vannetta Chapman


I enjoyed reading A Simple Amish Christmas, so I have high hopes for this book. I didn't request this one for review because of my extensive list of titles waiting in the wings, but I share my thoughts on the first chapter below.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A Word From The Author:

I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Quilt, go HERE.




COVER: Though out of all the covers for Chapman's books this is my least favorite, I still love the color scheme of the quilt and the country road and buggy that are common in this genre.

FIRST CHAPTER: Annie and Leah are strolling along the sidewalk in town, talking babies and family. They stop in Rachel's store so Annie can pick up fabric for the quilt she is making for Leah, whose baby is due around Christmas. Rachel is the widowed mother of two boys and seems to be struggling after the death of her husband.

KEEP READING: I am definitely going to continue. I have to admit this first chapter seemed a bit overloaded with names belonging to people I hadn't met yet, so there was a tiny bit of confusion. I'm sure this will go away as the story moves along, and I like how the opening chapter sets up the major and perhaps some minor characters in the book. It gives the reader a sense of community that is so important in this genre.

Guest Blogger: Encouraging Your Kids to be Active and Fit at a Young Age by Beth Waters



According to the American Heart Association, nearly 24 million American kids between ages two and 19 are clinically overweight or obese. This is directly linked to the rising prevalence of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems and autoimmune disorders. The worst part about all of this is that it's entirely preventable. While it may seem like an arduous task to get your kids to lead a healthier lifestyle, there are many things you can do to make it appealing to them.

Playing Outside

These days, it seems like fewer kids than ever are playing outside. This is sometimes due in part to parents’ desire to keep their children safe from any danger that could occur outside, but the allure of sedentary forms of entertainment as well as homework loads also play a large role. For your children's sake, encourage them to spend at least one hour each day playing outside.

Limit TV, Computer and Video Games

These are all very popular forms of entertainment, but it's possible to have too much of a good thing. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a study indicating that the average American child spends roughly 7.5 hours each day playing video games, watching TV and using the computer. To curb this unhealthy obsession, it's recommended to set strict time limits for these activities. They're sure to appreciate them more when they don't engage in them constantly.

Family Fun

The family that plays together stays healthy together. Part of having healthier kids means setting healthy examples. You can do this by planning fun family activities that encourage physical activity for everyone. Things like helping mom in the garden, going hiking, visiting the zoo and going to the park are all great ideas.

Sports

Have your kids displayed interest in a particular sport? If so, this is a perfect opportunity for them to get healthier. Sports don't just encourage strong interpersonal skills and a winning attitude. They also encourage a healthier heart, higher energy levels, better concentration and an improved mood.

Healthy Eating

Most children are exposed daily to a steady stream of junk food, and other unhealthy items vending machines offer at school can make matters worse. You can't always prevent them from eating unhealthy foods, but you can take steps to minimize it. With the exception of occasional treats, put a household ban on sugary or heavily processed junk foods and drinks. Instead, keep snacks around like dried and fresh fruit, nuts, cheese, low-sugar yogurt, veggies and other healthy alternatives. With large amounts of sugar out of the picture, kids are more likely to want healthier, more nutritious foods.


Beth Waters is the mother of two children and has a passion for health and fitness. Her hobbies are searching for new recipes, trying new fitness fads, and writing. She writes for medical companies such as Liberty Medical as well as her blog at Carrots Over Cake. She enjoys sharing with bloggers her journey to living more healthily.

Guest Blogger: Yvette Allen-Tatum, Author of I Didn't Know


I Didn't Know is for more than just an audience of one. If you look to your left, look to your right, or directly in the mirror, you will see or know someone who has been sexually abused... even if you look in the mirror, and the person is YOU! More than the tragedy of sexual abuse is the tragedy of the silence of sexual abuse. It must be talked about. Our stories have to be shared; someone's life is literally depending upon YOU to BREAK THE IGNORANCE OF SILENCE! I Didn't Know brings to the forefront the many hidden faces of child sexual abuse. The author, Yvette L. Allen-Tatum, shares not only her story, but the compelling testimonies of others--everyone from the actual victim, to the offender, to those who standby by in disbelief and allow these heinous crimes against our children to continue. Our voices have to be heard, our children must be free or freed to tell the TRUTH: that someone touched them. Who can they run to? Will it be you?


What advice can you offer someone who is dealing with sexual abuse?
           
The best advice I can give someone who is dealing or struggling with sexual abuse is to FORGIVE yourself!!!  It is not your fault.  No one has the right to violate you and take (steal) your most prized possession.  From there I would encourage the person to talk to someone.  Now, I realize this could be very challenging in and of itself, but it is necessary. 

Please know I understand the process of sharing some of the most intimate details of your life with another person is no easy task.  Let’s face it, finding a person to confide in that you trust is harder than some may think.  I mean, nine times out of ten it was a trusted person (a family member, close friend of the family, a neighbor, teacher, coach, etc.) who violated your trust to begin with.  Statistics show that 90% of child victims know their offenders.  As such, the first person or persons you may confide in or consult with are yourself and God.  And that’s ok.  I cannot think of a better person (even though God is not a human being you get my point) to entrust this information with.  Besides, it is not as if He doesn’t already know.

I truly believe God can and will heal you from everything that ails you or causes you to have dis-ease.  You simply have to come unto Him.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, (KJV).  The Amplified version of that same passage of Scripture puts it this way, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.”


From here, trust God to instruct you with your next steps.  He will never steer you wrong!
    Paperback: 110 pages
    Publisher: Kingdom Publishing Group, Inc. (March 15, 2013)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0988312670
    ISBN-13: 978-0988312678


    Buy Links








    Author, Teacher, Conference Host, Public Speaker, Encourager, Motivator, Ordained & licensed Minister of The Gospel, Radical for Christ, undercover Comedian and the list goes on...

    Yvette is a graduate of Grace Christian College where she earned her Masters of Divinity and a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. She is also a graduate of University of Richmond, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance and a Minor in Leadership Studies. In addition, she has 30 plus years of experience in income tax preparation and bookkeeping.

    As the Founder of Surrounded by Faith Ministries, Yvette has had the opportunity to touch and transform the lives of many women with the Word of God. This mighty Woman of God has a prophetic teaching anointing which has enabled her to cross many boundaries. As such, the Call of God on her life has broadened from transforming the lives of women to transforming LIVES with the Word of God. While she still holds a passion to train and equip women in the life study and application of the Bible, her ultimate goal is to strengthen families. To do so her platform is geared to men, women and children.


    Connect with the Author
    Email Address: Loosed03@gmail.com
    Website http://www.yvetteallentatum.com
    Twitter: Twitter.com/loosed03
    Facebook: Facebook.com/Yvette.tatum






    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Coming Soon: Living Separate Lives by Paulette Harper


    Title: Living Separate Lives
    Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny
    Author: Paulette Harper
    Publisher: Thy Word Publishing
    Genre: Christian Fiction, Novella
    Hosted By: Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tour www.wnlbooktours.com
    ISBN-13: 978-0-9899691-0-9
    Releasing: Nov 5, 2013 e-book and paperback


    Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

    For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.

    Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?



    Excerpt:

    “Stop preaching to me. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’ve had enough of your self-righteousness.” The words continued to cut Jordan’s heart; words that she never heard before coming from the mouth of her husband, Eric. “You knew how I was before we got married.” His tone deepened with every word.

    Standing in front of the sink, Jordan was frozen and motionless in the middle of the kitchen. She held the dish towel in one hand and a plate in the other. She turned and faced Eric, whose eyes were cold and hard. The verbal blows kept coming. Her mouth opened wide, but no words could be formed when he uttered the deadly words, “I want a divorce.”

    Hosted by: WNL Virtual Book Tour: http://wnlbooktours.com



    Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

    Social Media Links
    Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/PauletteHarperAuthor
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/pauletteharper
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paulette-harper-johnson/7/a29/8a7
    Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/pauletteharper

    Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18524878-living-separate-lives



    Teaser Tuesdays - Oct. 22


    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    This comes from one of my favorite mystery authors. Her witty, sarcastic female leads always make me laugh.




    "...I don't know what the hell Carlisle was doing in the theatre at that time of night."

    "Getting himself killed, for one thing."

    ~Location 110 from The Dagger Before Me by Heather Haven