Friday, November 29, 2013

Closet Words Book Blast - Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

From the Back Cover
"As the leopard moves quickly in the jungle awaiting its prey so the evil one is lurking around waiting for the moment to devour you. The spirit is deep within you. Do you have your shield to deceive the one who is looking for you? Is your armor in place? Have you prepared for the battle? The battle is not for the weak but for the strong. Only those who are prepared will survive. Do not approach the battlefield meekly. You must know your enemy and fight him or he will overtake you in the darkness before you are even aware he is there. Arise - awaken! - Hear My bugle! I am calling those who are prepared to battle. Your victory is near".

"The days of rain upon your soul arrive. My spirit is pouring upon you as the rain pours onto the earth. Lift your eyes. Lift up your heart and feel my rain upon you. Become drenched in my spirit. Allow your heart to be soaked..."

Purchasing information:


Barnes and Noble:

WestBow Press:

Kim Hilton, MCC, PCC, has a master's degree in Christian counseling. Founder of Closet Words Ministries Foundation, Kim is a teacher on prayer and listening to God. An avid writer of several books, Closet Words was chosen as the first book to be published with the proceeds going to Closet Words Ministries Foundation. A sought-after speaker and Bible Study leader, Kim has spoken at both national and local events. She resides with her husband on a farm and enjoys spending time with their six grown children and grandchildren. For more information on Kim Hilton or her work, please visit:

Pump Up Your Book and Kim Hilton are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and Conditions:

• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
• This giveaway begins November 2 and ends November 29, 2013.
• Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
• Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

If Rafflecopter form doesn’t load, please visit:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

From My TBR Pile: Pursuing the Christ: Prayers for Christmastime by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

I picked up two copies of this book from because they have it on sale for $4.99 for a limited time. I'm not sure how long it will last, but I thought it would make a great present for my mother-in-law and a perfect way to prepare my heart during Advent.

 COVER: This is a beautiful cover of reds and golds. It's even lovelier up close than it is in the picture.

BLURB:  With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season come multiple distractions-distractions that keep readers from focusing on Christ. Beloved prayer author and speaker Jennifer Kennedy Dean, in this revised edition of Pursuing the Christ, helps readers see the distractions of Christmas in a new way. Pursuing the Christ is a 31-day devotional and prayer guide based on themes of Advent, such as hope, peace, and joy. This guide, with its beautiful and poetic divider pages and east-to-use format, leads readers through the weeks of advent, providing familiar Christmas verses and some possibly not-so familiar Messianic passages from the prophets and Psalms.

FIRST SENTENCE: Advent is the traditional term for the season of anticipation leading up to Christmas, the celebration of Christ's coming into the world.

Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: New Hope Publishers; 0002-Revised edition (October 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596693207
ISBN-13: 978-1596693203


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and your family 
a blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays - November 26

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!

"Well, this would be it," she declared, slapping the catalog to the table top. "Hands down!"

~ page 75 from Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra D. Bricker

CFBA: Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Aloha Rose
Abingdon Press (November 19, 2013)
Lisa Carter


A word from the author:

I am a wife and mother. My husband and I have two daughters and make our home in the beautiful state of North Carolina.

I am a teacher. With a Master’s degree in history, I have taught at the university, high school and middle school levels. After years of church involvement as a soloist, choir member and worship leader, I also teach music.

I am a writer. Delighted by the rhythm and musicality of words, I have been writing since childhood. In 2001, I won the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Story Writing Contest that re-ignited a lifelong love of writing.

I am on a journey of faith. My ultimate desire through my life and my writing is to proclaim the truth of God’s Word, His redeeming love as seen in the life of Jesus Christ and to help others know for themselves this great, awesome God of all comfort and wisdom. He is enough for every need.


When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt—a red rose snowflake appliquéd on a white background—in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Aloha Rose, go HERE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

You've Got Mail Monday

Lots of fun stuff around here. The Lil' Princess had a wonderful birthday party/sleepover this weekend. We survived, but it sure makes getting ready for Thanksgiving a challenge. I'm hoping to get most of the Christmas trees up this week, but I'm not stressing over it. I know the decorations will be up before it's time for Santa to slide down the chimney. I also need to focus on baking for the Christmas bazaar.

Last week was another fairly heavy mail week. Some Christmas presents for Dad and the girls arrived. I can't tell you what they are right now, but I will say that I'm loving Zulily and the pre-Black Friday deals from Walmart. I wasn't sure how much I would like Zulily when I first joined, but I'm using it more and more as time goes on. They have special sales events where you can get deals on brand name products for a limited time. Zulily places one bulk order with the merchant and it gets shipped to them and on to you. Now, there are times it takes awhile to get your merchandise, but I've been very happy lately with how quickly my purchases have arrived. My last order was placed on November 9th and it arrived today.

On Friday, my Hidden Valley® Ranch party pack I received through Crowdtap arrived. It included a Hidden Valley Team Ranch T-shirt, a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch Original Dressing, a packet of Hidden Valley Original Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix, a packet of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix, and a party insert with activities, recipes, and a coupon. It also came with samples for my guests, inserts with coupons, and a surprise.

Prizes from the Penny's Tales Christmas in October Giveaway are still arriving. This week a copy of Due Date by Nancy Wood arrived, as did some swag from author Mary Waibel. I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but some lovely swag also arrived a week or so ago from Marsha R. West.

You wouldn't believe the sheer number of catalogs the mail carrier delivered last week. Some of the usuals showed up: FrontGate, L.L. Bean, Oriental Trading, and the Gardener's Supply Company (probably my favorite these days). Hammacher Schlemmer sent a catalog this month. I usually get one a few times a year. Bits and Pieces, which includes many clever gifts like unusual puzzles, has been coming the past few months. MindWare is an educational toy catalog. Already the Lil' Diva has circled potential gift ideas. Totally new and had never seen before catalogs came from Doctors Foster and Smith (pet care) and King Arthur® Flour (baking).

The Spring Classes catalog arrived from Springfield Technical Community College. I browse through it from time to time, but I haven't had the time--or money--to continue pursuing my degree. And with the girls getting closer and closer to starting college, I don't think it's in the cards for me right now, no matter how much I would love to complete my degree.

New issues of Health, Shape, and Traditional Home magazines showed up in my mailbox this week. For books, I received a Michael Neugebauer edition of Hansel and Gretel by The Brothers Grimm and illustrated by Sybille Schenker and two copies of Pursuing the Christ: Prayers for Christmastime. The author made mention of the limited time sale price from on Facebook, so I picked up a copy for me and one as a gift. Along with that, came a copy of the new VeggieTales® DVD, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas. I'll share the DVD with the Sunday school kids.

Wow! That was a mouthful. Hope you have a great week.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Over The River and Through the Woods: Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

The train in the above picture only rides along a carnival's small railroad track, but I remember taking my girls on plenty of road trips when they were younger; especially around the holidays. It's not always easy. There were days that by the time we actually got in the car, I was exhausted. At least they got to nap while I drove.

The article, "Road Trippin': Tips for Traveling with Toddlers" shares several great tips and reminders for making road trips easier. You can view the full article at 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Coming in December: Pelican Book Group Holiday Extravaganza!

Pelican Book Group is running a Holiday Extravaganza! Click here to view the titles that will be specially priced at $1 each during the month of December!

Guest Blogger: Paul Stutzman, Author of The Wanderers

Everything in God’s nature, Johnny observed, did what it was created to do. Everything, that is, except the human race. Johnny was born into an Amish family, into a long line of farmers and good businessmen. He is expected to follow the traditions of family and church as he grows to adulthood. But even as a boy, he questions whether he can be satisfied with this lifestyle. He wants “more” — more education, more travel, more opportunity.

His restlessness leads him down a dangerous road where too much partying and drinking result in heartbreaking consequences. He’s adrift, and no one seems to be able to help him find his direction.

Then he meets spunky Annie, who seems pure and lovely and devoted to her God. Her past, though, holds sin and heartbreak. She was a worm, she explains, but God has transformed her into a butterfly. Johnny falls hopelessly in love; and eventually he, too, finds the power of God to transform lives.

Settling down on the family farm, he forgets about the questions and the restlessness, thinking that he is happy and at home, at last.

But in a few short hours, tragedy changes his life forever, and he is again wondering… and wandering on a very long journey.

Entwined with Johnny and Annie’s story is the allegory of two Monarch butterflies, worms who have been transformed into amazing creatures specially chosen to carry out the miracle of the fourth generation. They, too, must undertake a long journey before they finally find home.

I’ll Shut Up and Listen by Paul Stutzman

Amish novels have become quite popular with the reading public. Most writers of those novels are women. Why would a man even attempt to enter this crowded field? Either he doesn’t know his limits or he chooses to believe there are no limits. Perhaps in this instance ignorance really is bliss.

The impetus for my sticking a toe in the water....or, rather, my foot … okay, I actually jumped into the literary pool with fear and trembling because I believed I had something to offer from my male perspective.

My perspective has been shaped by being born into an Amish home and raised in a strict Conservative environment where the man is in charge. As an adult, I spent 25 years working in food service with a workforce that was 90% female. Throughout the years, I observed and interacted with these workers and reached my own conclusions on the feminine world. I now believe women really are in charge and are just letting us men think we are in charge to protect our fragile egos.

Early in my career I was a fixer—that’s what we men do. If something is broken, we fix it. Initially, that was my approach to any issue or problem an employee encountered. I still believe that’s a god approach (within reason), but it can quickly get one—a man—in trouble. Many women just want to be heard. Is that so hard? After many frustrating encounters I finally realized the magic of not only hearing but also listening. And the really good part was that I didn't have to fix anything. Just listen. I could hardly believe it was really that easy.

Over the years, I came to respect and admire the many talented ladies I hired, and I saw them as equals in the workforce. In the Amish community, women, although deeply respected by their counterparts, are relegated to the back seat during most decision-making. In my book The Wanderers, I chose to give the ladies equal or perhaps top billing. I took many life lessons learned during my restaurant career and incorporated them into my stories.

I also wanted to write a book that wove together enough adventure to entice male readers and enough emotion to keep ladies involved. The jury is still out on whether I succeeded. I promise to be quiet and listen while you give me the verdict.

Purchase at Amazon!

Paul Stutzman was born in Holmes County, Ohio in an Amish family. His family left the Amish lifestyle soon after Paul was born. They joined a strict Conservative Mennonite Church where Paul was raised to fear God and obey all the rules the church demanded. Paul continued to live among and mingle with his Amish friends and relatives his entire life. Paul married a Mennonite girl and remained in the Amish community working and raising a family. After Paul lost his wife to cancer, he sensed a tug on his heart- the call to a challenge, the call to pursue a dream. With a mixture of dread and determination, Paul left his job, traveled to Georgia, and took his first steps on the 2,176 mile Appalachian Trail. What he learned during the next four and a half months changed his life-and can change yours too. After completing his trek Stutzman wrote Hiking Through—a book about this life changing journey.

In the summer of 2010 Stutzman again heeded the call for adventure and pedaled his bicycle 5,000 miles across America. He began his ride at the Northwest corner of Washington State and pedaled to Key West, Florida. On his journey across America he encounters people in all circumstances, from homelessness to rich abundance. The people he meets touch his life profoundly. Stutzman writes about these encounters in his book Biking Across America.

Recently Stutzman released his first novel entitled The Wanderers. The Wanderers is a story about Johnny, a young Amish boy growing up in a culture he is not sure he wants to embrace. A young Amish girl named Annie wins his heart and life is great for a time. Entwined with Johnny and Annie’s story is the allegory of two Monarch butterflies, worms who have been transformed into amazing creatures specially chosen to carry out the miracle of the fourth generation. They, too, must undertake a long journey before they finally find home.

In addition to writing, he speaks to groups about his hiking and biking experiences and the lessons learned during these adventures. Stutzman resides in Berlin, Ohio and can be contacted through his website at or

Thursday, November 21, 2013

End of Summer Book Giveaway Winners!

Here are the winners in the End of Summer Book Giveaway!

Book Package #2: 6-pk of Middle Grade and Young Adult books - Priscilla

Book Package #3: 4-pk Poetry book collection - Sheila D.

Book Package #4: 2-pk Inspirational books for writers - Susanne

Book Package #5: 5-pk of Christian titles - Sheila

Book Package #6: 6-pk Romance/Women's fiction titles - Susanne

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Product Review: Christmas from Heaven as Read by Tom Brokaw & The Names of Christ Heirloom Ornaments

If you are looking for a special gift this holiday season, I hope you'll consider Christmas from Heaven, a book with DVD that brings to life the true story of "The Candy Bomber."

When twenty-seven year old Gail Halvorsen is assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, he has no idea how the encounter will change his life. As Lt. Halvorsen performs his duties, he notices German children gathered behind fences at the end of the Tempelhof runway. He talks to the children, and knowing they have so little, offers them two sticks of gum. From this one act of kindness, his idea to "bomb" Berlin with candy is born. Soon he and his crew fashion tiny parachutes to float candy down to the awaiting children.

Word soon spreads, leading to donations of candy and supplies from American candy makers and private donors. On a snowy Christmas Eve in 1948, as Hal waits for clearance to land, Halvorsen feels the spirit of Christmas all around him thanks to the generosity and joy that became a symbol of hope to those yearning for freedom.

Even as I am typing this review, the tears well up in my eyes. What a wonderful story this is. The picture book includes historical photos along with stunning illustrations by Robert T. Barrett. Inside the front cover is a DVD in a plastic sleeve that includes a live performance featuring music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choice, a reading of the book by Tom Brokaw, and a moving reenactment of Halvorsen's encounter with the children. There's nothing quite like watching a symphony hall filled with music and singing and child actors on stage watching tiny white parachutes land. The audience was in total awe; as was I.

This book can be purchased at and is also available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at select retailers nationwide.

Product Details

•Size: 11" x 9"
•Pages: 32
•Year Published: 2013

Tom Brokaw is one of the giants of television journalism. Anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, he also holds the honor of being the only person to host each of NBC News’s major news programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press. He has won several awards, including a Peabody Award and seven Emmys. He is the author of The Greatest Generation and The Greatest Generation Speaks, among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren.

Robert T. Barrett is a professor of illustration at Brigham Young University, received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in painting and completed postgraduate work in Germany. An accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, his work has been featured in many national magazines and in art exhibits across the country and in Germany. He and his wife, Vicki, have ten children and one grandchild and reside in Provo, Utah.

Along with this book, I received a box of The Names of Christ Heirloom Ornaments from the historic Zion Mercantile.

These antique pewter-finish ornaments are a beautiful reminder of the Biblical names given to Christ, like King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Shepherd, and Bread of Life. This set of twelve ornaments comes in a box that includes Scripture references to each name on the back and are nestled upon a bed of brown shredded paper to look like straw. It's disappointing that twine was not included with the ornaments to maintain a rustic look for your tree, but ornament hangers will do an okay job, too. These ornaments are lightweight, so they won't pull down on branches. I can't wait to add them to my tree this year.

This set can be purchased exclusively at

I'll treasure this book and DVD and the ornaments for years to come.

I received a copy of the book with DVD, along with the set of ornaments, from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wordless Wednesday

CFBA: Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Critical Reaction
Bethany House Publishers (November 19, 2013)
Todd M. Johnson


Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd's career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson's first novel, debuted in 2012. Todd's second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.


After decades of turning out plutonium for the arms race, the Hanford Nuclear Facility has long been shuttered, though its deadly legacy cannot be fully contained. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings for radiation leaks are told the risks are under control. They believe it, until the worst happens: a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Two workers, lifer Poppy Martin and new hire Kieran Mullaney, believe themselves lucky to survive the blast. But as the debris is cleared, they discover their safety is not assured. Dead ends and closed doors halt their efforts to discover what really happened--and what radiation may have poisoned them. When stalling and threats force them into the hands of experienced trial lawyer Ryan Hart, they learn that theirs is no ordinary lawsuit. There is something still hidden in the desert of eastern Washington, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure it never sees the light of day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Critical Reaction, go HERE.

Forgotten Children Infographic

Forgotten Children

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Go Fish Christmas Curriculum: The Gift of Advent

As a Sunday school teacher, I'm always on the lookout for classroom resources. "The Gift Of Advent is a four-lesson large group/small group curriculum designed to give children a biblical understanding of Christmas...from the garden - to the manger - to the cross. Each lesson focuses on a new gift that comes as a result of God's ultimate Gift - Jesus! Your church will love this fresh, gospel-centered approach to a timeless story!"

Here is a breakdown of each lesson from the company's website:

Lesson 1: The Gift of Hope

Our need for a Savior began all the way back in Genesis when sin entered the world. In this lesson children will read God's promises in Genesis 3:14-15 and Isaiah 9:6-7. They will learn how God had a rescue plan in place from the very beginning and why our hope should be in Christ alone!

Lesson 2: The Gift of Wisdom

Is just knowing about Jesus enough? The religious leaders knew the details of Jesus' birth, yet they did not go to worship Him. In this lesson children will read the story of the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12. They will learn the importance of putting their faith into action and what true wisdom requires.

Lesson 3: The Gift of Love

When God sent His Son to die on the cross, it was the ultimate example of love. Children will read from Ephesians 5 and discuss how we are to be imitators of God by walking in love as we follow His great example.

Lesson 4: The Gift of Joy

Like the angels proclaimed in Luke 2, Jesus' arrival is good news and should bring about great joy! Children will learn that the true meaning of Christmas is not something we should keep to ourselves. A Savior has been born! He is Christ the Lord!

Curriculum Includes:

•5 music videos from Go Fish with lyrics on screen (See video samples below)
•5 karaoke videos to use for your Christmas service
•4 teaching videos (1 for each lesson) designed to lead into the Small Group Bible Lesson (See sample video below)
•Large Group activity and opening time for each lesson
•Small Group Bible Lessons
•Worksheets with activities for each lesson
•Audio CD (Songs: Joy To The World, Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, The Christmas Dance, Christmas With A Capital "C", It's About The Cross, We Three Kings, The Little Drummer Boy, and My Jesus I Love Thee)
•DVD-Rom with all video files in .mov (HD), Windows Media files (HD), and Mpeg-1 (SD)
•CD-Rom with all lessons, manuals, craft information, coloring sheets, and much more in printable and e-mailable formats
•Crafts and coloring sheets for each lesson

I've been on the Go Fish mailing list for a while, but have not purchased yet only because our church is so small. As we are adding new members--with children--this curriculum becomes more and more appealing. You can learn more at

Pelican Ventures Announces Acquisition of

Aztec, NM - November 11, 2013 - Nicola Martinez, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for Pelican Book Group, a Pelican Ventures company, announced today that Pelican Ventures, LLC has acquired the web site from Marketing Christian Books, Inc. This comes on the heels of the Pelican Ventures purchasing The Wordsmith Journal (now redubbed TWJ Magazine; a popular e-zine. "TWJ and CBV complement each other," said Martinez. "The goal of both is to spotlight wholesome entertainment with an emphasis on Christian products."
Edward Bolme, Managing Director for Marketing Christian Books, Inc. said, "I am pleased that Pelican Book Group has taken over the operation of I believe that this is a great move for the loyal fans of the site, and will secure the future of the original vision of this wonderful resource for Christian book lovers." was launched in 2009 and features hundreds of videos for both Christian non-fiction and fiction. While the site had grown dormant in recent months, it now has been through a redesign and is open to receiving video listing submissions.

There is no charge to have a video listed on the site, however Featured Videos and Site Ads are available and are proven to receive more dedicated views as the next most popular video.

Videos placed on the site are also promoted on the Christian Book Videos Twitter® and Facebook® accounts, found respectively at and

For more information contact:
Pamela Thibodeaux, Marketing Manager at:

Save Time with O’Charley’s Award-winning Pies This Holiday Season

I love baking, especially around the holidays; but sometimes I simply run out of time. I haven't made a pie--crust and all--since I was in high school, and I'm not the kind of person who feels comfortable letting my guests be guinea pigs when I try something new.

Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., O’Charley’s includes 213 restaurants in 17 states in the Southeast and Midwest. They have this great weekly promotion called Free Pie Wednesday, where guests can try a free slice of their pie with the purchase of any entrée. Now they are offering whole pies from O’Charley’s very own bakery for their patrons to take home and enjoy. While dining in at their local O’Charley’s, guests can order a whole pie to take home or schedule a future pickup. Guests can also call in advance to schedule a pie pickup at their convenience.

O’Charley’s Holiday Whole Pie Menu includes:

Perfect Pumpkin Pie – This seasonal favorite starts with a golden flaky crust that’s filled with a creamy blend of real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices including cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

Double-Crust Peach Pie – Tender, flaky double-crust fresh-baked pie filled with deliciously sweet sun-ripened Free Stone peaches. Awarded a 2013 blue ribbon by the American Pie Council.

Country Apple Pie – “Old fashioned” double-crust fresh-baked pie filled with sweet, crisp Michigan apples seasoned with delicate spices. Awarded a 2013 blue ribbon by the American Pie Council.

Southern Pecan Pie – This delicious Southern classic is made with butter and brown sugar then topped with plenty of pecans for a deep nutty flavor. Awarded a 2013 blue ribbon by the American Pie Council.

French Silk Pie – Semi-sweet chocolates blended into a velvety smooth filling in a flaky pastry crust. Topped with real whipped cream and milk chocolate shavings.

Ooey Gooey Caramel Pie – Creamy caramel in a graham cracker crust topped with real whipped cream, milk chocolate shavings and pecans.

Can you say, yum! I want to try all of these.

“Nothing goes hand-in-hand with the Holidays quite like pie,” said Mickey Mills, president of O’Charley’s. “Pies are more than a dessert; they are an important part of the holiday tradition. We take great pride and care in baking these pies which is why our guests are raving about their fresh-from-the-oven homemade taste. We are excited to offer quality, award-winning pies that are also conveniently ready and perfectly prepared to serve at holiday gatherings.”

For more details on O’Charley’s exclusive whole holiday pies, or to find an O’Charley’s location near you, visit

From My TBR Pile: Lilly's Weding Quilt by Kelly Long

This is a book I won a while ago. It has an autographed book plate, which makes it special. I adore Amish fiction. They also have some of the nicest covers around.

COVER: What a nice cover this is. There are currently three books in the A Patch of Heaven Series. All the covers are stunning and have a patch quilt pattern as the background behind the title and author's name. The warm colors in this cover (Book 2) give it a harvest time feel. They also make the blue in the woman's eyes stand out.

BLURB:  Handsome, headstrong Jacob offers Lilly his hand in marriage, but his heart belongs to someone else.

While Lilly Lapp has loved Jacob for years, she wouldn't compete with Sarah King, the woman Jacob was determined to marry. But when Sarah marries another, Jacob spontaneously agrees to wed Lilly.

Lilly divides her time between teaching the local Amish children and caring for her widowed mother who suffers from depression. Lilly's faith comforts her, but her heart still longs to be the sole object of Jacob's affection.

As the days slip by, Lilly decides that hoping is too risky and vows to protect her heart. But God is subtly as work, and as winter turns to spring, their hearts awaken.

The furthest thing from Lilly's mind is her Amish wedding quilt, a traditional gift for new brides. And the person she'd least suspect is the one making it. Like stray pieces of fabric quilted into a new design, Jacob and Lilly's marriage begins to bind them together in ways neither expected.

FIRST SENTENCE: Lilly Lapp was late.

Series: A Patch of Heaven Novel
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373787111
ISBN-13: 978-0373787111


Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow On Sale and Giveaway

The story of "Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow" takes us on the journey she travels to figure out how to get the cows at a new farm to like and accept her.

While she hopes to find friendship at her new home, instead she learns what it means to be different from everyone else. (Spotless!) Mary Elizabeth uses clever ideas and a sense of humor to help her on her quest for friends at the new farm.

This inspiring tale shows how perseverance in spite of obstacles, using a sound thought process to arrive at solutions and the importance of having fun, using humor and enjoying playtime can build friendships.


Once upon a time........there was a farm in Ohio with lots of Cows. They all had many spots to be proud of. One day a truck pulled into the farm. The back door opened and out came a new Cow. The other Cows were so excited to have a new friend!

But as the new Cow came out of the truck the other Cows looked on in shock!!! "Oh My! What on Earth?!"

It seems the new Cow, whose name was Mary Elizabeth, had no spots!

’’Where are your spots??!!’’ Demanded the Cow called Anna Belle. ’’I don’t have any spots. I was born spotless, you see.’’

Well, Anna Belle and the other Cows were horrified.
(Not mad, you had to be very careful about mad)

Purchasing information: From now through December 31, 2013, you can purchase Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow from the Sweetles website for only $12.00 (List price: $17.99).

When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program. Visit for more information.

Enter for your chance to win a 25 Amazon gift card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sal is the author and illustrator of “A Sweetles Dream”® book series. As the Creative Director for
Hartman-Barbera llc, a family media and entertainment company, he is also an animator, sculptor, painter and all around fun guy. Sal lives the phrase: “A day without laughter is a wasted day”. To that end, he uses his writing, illustrating and animation skills to create endearing characters and comedic stories.

Sal's sense of humor and empathy for his characters explore personal and social situations in ways that makes it enjoyable for both adults and children to experience together. Born in New York City, Sal moved to North Bergen, NJ where he grew up on a steep hillside neighborhood with his four older sisters. He currently lives in sunny Arizona with his wife and artistic partner, Sheri, who he defines as his inspiration. On any given day Sal might be painting, sculpting, drawing, animating, writing or enjoying one of his favorite pastimes: cooking, television, movies and golf.

Visit Sal Barbera’s website at

Monday, November 18, 2013

This Week's Countdown to Christmas Schedule on Hallmark Channel

Though my crazy schedule for November hasn't allowed me to watch any shows yet, I plan to make up for that soon.

Week Three: Monday, November 18 - Sunday, November 24

Monday, November 18

12a/11c: Karroll's Christmas
2a/1c: Matchmaker Santa
4a/3c: Christmas With Holly, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
6a/5c: The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
8a/7c: It's Christmas, Carol!
2/1c: A Boyfriend for Christmas
4/3c: Baby's First Christmas
6/5c: A Holiday Engagement
8/7c: A Princess for Christmas
10/9c: Matchmaker Santa

Tuesday, November 19

12a/11c: It's Christmas, Carol!
2a/1c: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
4a/3c: Christmas With Holly, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
6a/5c: Eve's Christmas

8a/7c: A Princess for Christmas
2/1c: Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle
4/3c: Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
6/5c: Christmas With Holly, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
8/7c: Pete's Christmas
10/9c: The Christmas Card

Wednesday, November 20
12a/11c: Eve's Christmas
2a/1c: Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle
4a/3c: Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
6a/5c: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
8a/7c: Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade
2/1c: The Wishing Tree
4/3c: The Christmas Card
6/5c: Jingle All the Way
6:30/5:30c: Jingle and Bell's Christmas Star
7/6c: Jingle All the Way
7:30/6:30c: Jingle and Bell's Christmas Star
8/7c: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
10/9c: A Very Merry Mix-Up

Thursday, November 21
12a/11c: Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade
2a/1c: Once Upon a Christmas
4a/3c: Fallen Angel, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
6a/5c: Karroll's Christmas
8a/7c: Twice Upon a Christmas
2/1c: A Season for Miracles, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
4/3c: Fallen Angel, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
6/5c: Once Upon a Christmas
8/7c: The Christmas Ornament
10/9c: Snow Bride

Friday, November 22

12a/11c: Twice Upon a Christmas
2a/1c: Karroll's Christmas
4a/3c: Battle of the Bulbs
6a/5c: A Season for Miracles, from the Hallmark Hall of Fame
8a/7c: Farewell Mr. Kringle
2/1c: Battle of the Bulbs
4/3c: The Santa Suit
6/5c: Catch a Christmas Star
8/7c: Eloise at Christmastime
10/9c: A Bride for Christmas

Saturday, November 23
12a/11c: Farewell Mr. Kringle
2a/1c: All I Want for Christmas
4a/3c: The Santa Suit
6a/5c: The Dog Who Saved Christmas
8a/7c: Eloise at Christmastime
10a/9c: A Bride for Christmas
12/11c: All I Want for Christmas
2/1c: Catch a Christmas Star
4/3c: The Christmas Ornament
6/5c: Help for the Holidays
8/7c: Window Wonderland, a Hallmark Channel Original Premiere!
10/9c: Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas

Sunday, November 24
12a/11c: Mistletoe Over Manhattan
2a/1c: The Dog Who Saved Christmas
4a/3c: Lucky Christmas
6a/5c: Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas
8a/7c: Mistletoe Over Manhattan
10a/9c: Help for the Holidays
12/11c: Lucky Christmas
2/1c: Window Wonderland
4/3c: Snow Bride
6/5c: Naughty or Nice (2012)
8/7c: Fir Crazy, a Hallmark Channel Original Premiere!
10/9c: Moonlight & Mistletoe

You've Got Mail Monday

November is halfway over. Thank goodness. I'm just about done in, but if I can make it to November 30th, it will get easier from there. I attended the WriteAngles Conference this Saturday. John Katzenback, author of Hart's War and Just Cause sat on one of the panels I attended. Anthony Swofford, author of the memoir, Jarhead was on another panel. Keynote speakers were Pat Schneider and Suzy Becker. Great day and bought books I have no room for in my office--like always. I picked up Katzenbach's book, What Comes Next, Everything I Was by Corinne Demas (she sat on the same panel as Kaztzenbach and I loved her), Swofford's book, Jarhead, for my hubby, and The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin, who just so happens to be friends with one of my favorite historical fiction authors, C.W. Gortner. I also saw a local teacher and purchased her book directly from her: The Paladins DuBois by Patricia Donaruma Williford.

My office remains a mountain of books, which I have to clean because the Lil' Diva is having party here on Friday night and I sure don't want anyone to think I'm a total slob. I'm really not, I've just had a hectic year and haven't been able to stay on top of things the way I usually do.

Christmas presents have started to arrive from various retailers. One of the presents I was going to get the hubby ended up being an emergency purchase when his shaver died. Well, died isn't actually accurate; it broke and wouldn't shut off. The new Braun will arrive tomorrow. In the meantime, I managed to convince the old shaver to stop running constantly by knifing it almost to death. Some of its parts will never be the same. Dad used to have one of those self-cleaning shavers, but it took up a lot of counter space and required regular purchases of the cleaning cartridge, which weren't cheap even at Walmart. Here's the new purchase:

I wonder why he opted to go with a wet and dry shaver this time. He's never done that before.

The coming of Christmas means the mail carrier, the UPS driver and the FedEx driver are all visiting us often. I still have boxes in the playroom from this week's deliveries. I picked up a couple of cute seasonal bread pans so I can make something for the church bazaar. I'm not much of a crafter these days, so I'm focusing on filling up the bake sale table.

Thy Will Be Done by Ronald Kirk and Closet Words by Kim Hilton arrived this week. I'll be reviewing those books during their December virtual book tours. I received a small catalog from the National Home Gardening Club, which I am a member of, about the AeroGarden. These units allow you to garden all year long. Too bad my cats would eat anything I tried to grow in the house. My December issue of All You magazine arrived, as did the first issue of my new HGTV Magazine subscription. Actually, my office right now is also piles of unread magazines. I swear, I will get to them all. I don't subscribe to anything just for the heck of it.

I also received this new product to review. It's called Re-Grip®. You install it on tool handles and it redistributes the energy created by impact. I think I'll try to add it to my rubber mallet to see how it works.

That's it for this week's You've Got Mail Monday. Hope you enjoy your week.

Book Spotlight: My Name Used to Be Muhammad by Tito Momen with Jeff Benedict

The True Story of a Muslim Who Became a Christian.

Tito Momen was raised Muhammad Momen. He was born in Nigeria and was taught to observe the strict teachings of Islam. At age five he woke at 4:45 every morning to attend the mosque and perform dawn prayer with the other men in his village. Training to memorize the Qur’an began at age six. It was at this same age that he began copying the entire Qur’an word for word. He was being raised to emerge as a leader among clerics, capable of leading a jihad, or holy struggle, to convert nonbelievers to Islam. However, Tito’s path took an unexpected turn when he was introduced to Christianity. His decision to believe in Jesus Christ cost him his family and his freedom. Tito thought he would spend his remaining days enduring a life sentence in an uncivilized Egyptian prison. For fifteen years he suffered and waited and prayed. Tito said, “I never gave up hope. I never stopped believing.” Although he was falsely imprisoned, beaten, and ridiculed, Tito’s remarkable true story is one of faith, forgiveness, and testimony that God does hear and answer prayers.

You can read an excerpt at

"My Name Used to Be Muhammad" is a life changing book! It was fascinating to me to learn about
what it was like to grow up in an Islamic community with very extreme beliefs and rules. Titon Momen’s story about finding Christianity makes me reflect on my own Christianity and resolve to be a better Christian. I am a better person for having read this book. It was easy to read, and hard to put down. I marvel at Tito’s faith and optimism. If he can remain positive in his trials, then I know I can be more positive in mine. I am grateful to have read such a wonderful book, and look forward to reading it again. —Tom Castleton

Purchase at: 

Deseret Books:


Barnes and Noble:

Jeff Benedict is considered one of America’s top investigative journalists He has published several acclaimed books, including Out of Bounds and Pros and Cons. His work has also been published in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and he has appeared on ESPN, NBC Nightly News, CBS’ 48 Hours, and ABC News.

Visit Jeff online at

Friday, November 15, 2013

First Chapter Review of The Wanderers by Paul Stutzman

The Wanderers is a an Amish novel from Paul Stutzman. I am reviewing this first chapter for his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

BLURB:  An Amish Love Story About Hope and Finding Home

Everything in God’s nature, Johnny observed, did what it was created to do. Everything, that is, except the human race. Johnny was born into an Amish family, into a long line of farmers and good businessmen. He is expected to follow the traditions of family and church as he grows to adulthood. But even as a boy, he questions whether he can be satisfied with this lifestyle. He wants “more” — more education, more travel, more opportunity.

His restlessness leads him down a dangerous road where too much partying and drinking result in heartbreaking consequences. He’s adrift, and no one seems to be able to help him find his direction.

Then he meets spunky Annie, who seems pure and lovely and devoted to her God. Her past, though, holds sin and heartbreak. She was a worm, she explains, but God has transformed her into a butterfly. Johnny falls hopelessly in love; and eventually he, too, finds the power of God to transform lives.

Settling down on the family farm, he forgets about the questions and the restlessness, thinking that he is happy and at home, at last.

But in a few short hours, tragedy changes his life forever, and he is again wondering… and wandering on a very long journey.

Entwined with Johnny and Annie’s story is the allegory of two Monarch butterflies, worms who have been transformed into amazing creatures specially chosen to carry out the miracle of the fourth generation. They, too, must undertake a long journey before they finally find home.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.

COVER: When I first saw this cover, I thought it rather plain by Amish fiction standards. It does, however, capture that feel of the farm and features the beautiful Monarch butterflies that are vital to the story.

FIRST CHAPTER: Johnny is reminiscing about growing up on his family's farm and how he struggled to find his way in the Amish life. But then he meets Annie, and for a time, things look brighter.

KEEP READING: If you're expecting your standard Amish novel in this book, you won't find it. Having read a fair amount of this genre, I can tell you this book can catch you off guard at first, because the opening chapter isn't told through the eyes of a character who is immersed in his faith. It's told through the eyes of Johnny who is struggling to figure out where he fits into the faith he's grown up in. With the expectation being that he'll work on the family farm, he knows he's not cut out for it. He's upset that his formal education has come to a close after eight years of elementary schooling. So, if you're looking for a book that sticks closely to the genre, The Wanderers might not be for you. 

That said, I like it when authors think outside the box; when they veer away from the traditional standards of a genre. At this point, I'm not 100% convinced this book is for me, but I would like to see more. The reviews from the tour so far have compelled me not to dismiss this book too quickly. I like how Stutzman opens the book with Johnny saying he was ten when he had his first taste of beer and that he was a late starter. It's a fabulous hook and totally unexpected. What other surprises might I find if I continue?

Title: The Wanderers
Author: Paul Stutzman
Genre: Amish Fiction
Publisher: Carlisle Printing
Pages: 374
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984644911
ISBN-13: 978-0984644919

I received a copy of the first chapter of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Guest Blogger: Sarah Renée, Author of the Saderia Series (Giveaway)

Ten years ago, a devastating fire took the lives of Queen Karenisha and King Makero, leaving a young Princess Saderia orphaned.

Nobody knows how the fire started, but it ignited quickly. Too quickly.

In ten years, the truth has never been discovered...

Saderia is a curious 10-year-old tiger Princess. Her Aunt Cia and Uncle Jash have taken over the duties of Queen and King and have raised Saderia since her parents disappeared in a mysterious fire. Saderia’s aunt and uncle don’t understand the sassy, adventurous tiger, which she resents.

At night, though, Saderia is haunted by dark nightmares about the fire - eerie, cryptic dreams that push her to start investigating her parents’ disappearance. As she uncovers strange clues, she soon becomes desperate to know the truth. Could her parents have been murdered? On a quest to uncover the truth about her parents’ disappearance, she soon realizes her forest has many other mysteries when she discovers a dangerous, ancient royal secret regarding her oldest ancestors - a secret that will change not only her life, but the lives of everyone around her.

Saderia doesn’t know who or what to trust, but she is desperate to uncover the secrets of the past. She will do whatever it takes to find the truth.

The Main Character Gets All The Love! by Sarah Renée

I’m often asked which of my book characters is my favorite character. Picking favorites is never easy, but if I had to choose, I’d say my favorite character is my main character, Saderia. Saderia is a 10-year-old tiger Princess who is the protagonist of my middle grade fantasy Saderia Series.

In the first book of the series, The Tiger Princess, Saderia makes it her goal to search for clues about how her parents, the King and Queen, disappeared. Saderia is my favorite character for many reasons, but for this post, I’ll narrow it down to five.
1. She’s sassy!

Saderia is never afraid to speak her mind – and often times, that can get her into trouble! Sometimes, she may be bold, but she’s never afraid to give her opinion.

2. She’s brave.

Saderia is a Princess who has grown up living the pampered life of royalty, but don’t let that fool you. While her Aunt Cia and Uncle Jash, who raised her since her parents disappeared, tell her to act more like a prissy, typical Princess, on the inside, Saderia is a playful tomboy who’s not afraid to face danger. On her quest to find the truth about her parents’ disappearance, Saderia finds herself facing terrible danger, but her brave spirit never lets her
give in!

3. She’s curious.

Saderia is an extremely curious girl who wants to explore her whole world - something a lot of children can relate to. I know that when I wrote The Tiger Princess at the age of 12, I was curious about the world and loved to explore, and I know lots of kids feel the same – especially children in the 8-12 year old age range, which The Tiger Princess is geared toward. Saderia is no exception and loves to explore her world, which gives her an edge in solving the mystery of her parents’ disappearance.

4. She isn’t perfect.

Just like everyone else, Saderia isn’t perfect and she knows this. She has her own insecurities about herself and worries about fitting into the ideal of what her aunt and uncle want her to be. But despite her worries, she still tries to look forward and think positive!

5. She doesn’t know when to quit!

Throughout her adventures in The Tiger Princess, Saderia faces a lot of difficult trials and downright dangerous situations. In some of the dangerous tasks she faces, it is easy to back down and give up – in some cases, it might even be sensible to do so! – but Saderia refuses to give up and will keep her head up and keep going no matter what!

And that’s why I love Saderia! If you want to get to know Saderia even better, you can check out the first book, The Tiger Princess, for free on the Amazon Kindle or on the Barnes and Noble Nook. Thanks, Cheryl, for hosting me on your blog, and thanks to everyone for reading!

Enter to win a free PDF of The Tiger Princess and Dash, the first two books in the Saderia Series. Use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sarah Renée has loved writing from an early age. She has been writing short stories since the age of 4, and at the age of 10, she came up with the idea for The Tiger Princess. She wrote the novel when she was 12. She is fascinated with wild animals and the wild world outside her home, and has an obvious great love of tigers. She enjoys spending time with her cats, reading, drawing, and playing her violin when she is not writing. In her free time, she is constantly daydreaming about her many characters, creating new ones, and coming up with interesting adventure story ideas. She is now 17 years old.

Visit Sarah Renée’s website at www.thetigerprincess.comor her blog at learn more about Sarah Renée, her books, and more! You can also find her on Facebookand Twitter