Friday, October 31, 2014

An Insider’s Guide to Shoppers’ Best Rewards Programs

If you sometimes feel like coupons are the bane of your shopping existence, you might be onto something.

Unused coupons can be haunting due to the slight sense of guilt of spending more than you needed to because of coupons having gone to waste.

Then there’s the fact that coupons just take so much time to use. You first have to find the coupons and then plan your meals well in advance to be sure you can use the products you buy. You have to sort and organize the coupons. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to run multiple coupons at the checkout lane, while a line of shoppers behind you sighs with impatience.

Better Than Coupons

If you’re looking to receive the savings that coupons can provide without all of the hassles and time commitment, you may want to try a store’s loyalty program instead. You’ll still receive benefits of discounts, rewards and rebates, but you won’t have to spend hours clipping, sorting, and using coupons.

The idea behind a store’s loyalty program is that by offering you rewards and discounts, you’ll be a more frequent shopper at that particular store. And while there are mixed feelings on whether loyalty programs actually work in the way the stores intend, it makes little difference to you, as you still will receive the benefits of the loyalty program.

Some of the benefits you may receive from your store that make a loyalty program more advantageous than the process of clipping coupons include:

     Overall discount per transaction
     In-store member-only automatic coupons
     Reward points based on spending amounts
     Cashback bonuses
     Discounts on gasoline
     Free shipping or gift wrap
     Special shopping hours for members only

Finding Loyalty Programs

As shown in the infographic included here, nearly every major store brand in the United States now offers some sort of loyalty card program. Each store has slightly different perks, so it can be a little confusing to try to compare program to program. You may be best served by sticking to loyalty programs for your three to five favorite stores, just to make sure you’re not overwhelmed with plastic cards and advertising.

For those who are tech-savvy, digital options exist for helping you organize the data from your loyalty programs and save time overall. Some loyalty programs have smartphone apps that make it easier to track the potential rewards.

Others send you text messages or e-mails that alert you to special discounts while you’re in the store. Others only have a plastic card or a key tag for you to carry, so if you prefer digital tools with your loyalty program, seek out those types of stores.

Protecting Your Data

With the various data breach stories in the news these days, it can make you leery to share personal data with a store. But you can’t sign up for the loyalty program without sharing certain types of data, such as your e-mail address, cell phone number, and credit card data.

If you feel like the data the store is requesting is excessive and may threaten the safety of your personal identification data, just don’t sign up for the program.

You’ll also likely have to agree to receive marketing data and advertising from the store. So read the fine print on the sign-up form and choose your loyalty program carefully, ensuring that the personal data you’re sharing will be protected and isn’t going to result in you receiving so much advertising that the rewards aren’t worth the hassle. After all, the reason you want to start using loyalty programs in the first place is to save time.

Fab Friday at

Every Fab Friday you'll find fabulous Christian bargains at Books, eBooks, Bibles, church supplies, music, gifts, and more at savings up to 93% off. Don't miss their Midweek Markdowns every Tuesday through Friday where you can get bargains up to 89% off. And be sure to sign up now for Black Friday & Beyond to receive alerts on special offers and great savings all season long.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kindle Freebie: Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke

Josh Jones realizes his family isn't typical, but it's the only life he's ever known. Aunt Lou, Gramps, Uncle Charlie, Grandpa--they all have shaped the young man he has become. But as he grows into manhood, Josh begins to face important questions about life, love, and faith. Three million books sold in the series!

File Size: 382 KB
Print Length: 258 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0764208004
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; Reprint edition (May 1, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Purchase here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Surviving Parenting Positively by “Mastering Negative Impulsive Thoughts” from Dr. John McIntosh & Rev. Elizabeth McIntosh

Doctor John McIntosh and Rev. Elizabeth McIntosh, authors of an important new book, MASTERING NEGATIVE IMPULSIVE THOUGHTS, use “nits” as both an acronym for their book’s title and as an analogy for the clearly unhealthy effects of negative thinking.

“Negative thoughts occur impulsively, so that is why they are Negative Impulsive Thoughts, or NITs, for short,” the authors say. “The nice analogy is that nits are also head lice and both (nits and NITs) are irritating, contagious, hard to recognize, hard to eliminate, breed fast, and spread like an epidemic.”

Unlike other, similar books that claim to have a magic route to happiness and health, MASTERING NEGATIVE IMPULSIVE THOUGHTS is based on solid clinical research, say the authors, who together have extensive experience in general medicine, medical research, and holistic health/wellness practices.

For More Information

  • Mastering Negative Impulse Thoughts is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Surviving Parenting Positively
by “Mastering Negative Impulsive Thoughts”

If being a parent is the most wonderful experience in your life, why can also be the hardest and most difficult years that you have to survive? As a mother, you are under the most intense pressure emotionally, physically and practically as you manage your personal life, profession, relationship, the house and are also expected to instill in your children all the great qualities that they need to develop into well balanced, decent human beings! Quite a task, and as a doctor and clinical therapist, we have been helping people through these challenges for many years…

So if you could have the precious gift of taking life’s challenges and managing them positively, without drama, without stress and for great outcomes for all concerned, how much better would your life be?

The secrets are all here in this book! Mastering Negative Impulse Thoughts (NITs) is the first time that negative thoughts have been defined with an easy 3 step process to recognise them.  Negative thoughts occur impulsively so we have labeled them “Negative Impulsive Thoughts” or NITs for short.

NITs, like the head lice or “nits” that their name invokes, are irritating, hard to recognise, hard to treat and spread from person to person like an epidemic! Controlling this negative epidemic and quarantining you and your family is the key to future happiness and success for all of you!

Amazingly NITs occur in every one of us every day and if you do not control them, they can ruin your life, your children’s lives and your relationships!

Here in the book are the keys to not only recognise your own NITs but also recognise negative thoughts (NITs) and behaviour from everyone around you. Uncontrolled NITs knock our confidence, breed fear, shatters our dreams, destroys relationships, and as the research in the book shows, they also attracts cancers, heart disease, strokes, mental illness and shortens our life span by about 9 years!

The book also contains new techniques for turning negative thoughts into Positive Affirmative Thoughts or PATs for short.  This 3 step process is amazingly effective, and can easily be taught to your family and you can begin to deal with difficult situations positively for better outcomes!

The book also contains many real life stories that are examples of NITs and overcoming them and many life skills that will empower you when dealing with self doubt, worry, anxiety, depression, life dramas and challenges.

Specific chapters deal with relationships, managing children and giving perspective to the process of child rearing which is a long term commitment. Qualities of patience and alternative approaches to your attitude that you will learn in the book can result in dramatic improvements for everyone!

If you want to take control over your life, you must start with controlling what goes on in your head. This new NITs concept is sweeping the planet and the book is an easy read with inspirational real life adventures of overcoming (NITs), leaving the reader uplifted, inspired and armed with tools to live a positive NIT-free life.

Begin to make the world a better place, starting from the inside first. Become the shining light of positivity and happiness that your children and everyone around you would love to follow! 

Doctor H. John McIntosh is known as the “Medical Guru” through his columns and media presence.  He was educated as a medical doctor in Scotland. He received a general medical degree from Dundee University Medical School in 1984 and moved to Australia in 1993. He received his Specialist Physician qualification in 1988 from the Royal College of Physicians (UK) and specialist Family Physician qualifications in 1990 from the Royal College of General Practitioners. Other certifications include: Approved Trainer of medical students, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; James Cook University Medical School, Central Queensland University; Trainer of Cognitive Institute programs, Cognitive Institute of Australia; Approved Trainer of sports medicine first aid courses, Sports Medicine, Australia; and Approved Allergan Cosmetic Injector training and trainer of injectors (doctors and nurses). Dr. McIntosh was the driving force in the building of the Mackay GP Superclinic. In 2013, his medical clinics were awarded the national AGPAL Community Engagement Award for outstanding level of commitment and involvement of the community and won a finalist award in the 2014 Telstra Australian Business

Rev. Elizabeth McIntosh is known as the “Positivity Expert” from her life’s work and research in the field. She trained as a life and wellness coach; certified personal fitness trainer under Ken Ware, Mr. Universe of 1994; counselor, hypnotherapist, meditation and yoga teacher; and spa trainer. She is a Reiki master Levels 1, 2 and 3, and a Reiki Master Trainer. She holds a BMSc in Metaphysics from the University of Sedona and the University of Metaphysics, and is an ordained minister through the University of Metaphysics. She runs retreats at her resort in Bali and has produced a series of CDs on health, relaxation, and success, and a TV documentary series, as well as being a magazine columnist and radio talkback presenter.

Visit the authors’ website at  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back to Work - Part 1

The picture above pretty much captures my reaction when my husband told me I couldn't put off returning to work any longer. Though I had been working from home the past seven years, I sought a better balance between home life and career. More importantly, we needed the money.

My plan is to occasionally share my adventure in returning to work outside the home: the trials, the triumphs, and the little speed bumps along the way. Hope you enjoy it.

Back to Work - Part 1

The story of my return to work actually begins nearly eleven years ago when my husband and I decided it was time for me to leave Corporate America to stay home with our children; at the time our teenage son and two young daughters: John Boy, the Lil' Diva, and the Lil' Princess.

Our original plan was for me to stay home until the Lil' Princess entered kindergarten. Then I would find a part time job. That never happened. My work from home job was bringing in a fairly steady stream of income, and I wanted the chance to volunteer at school so I could be with my girls. 

In the years that followed, the money argument came up more than a few times between hubby and me. I simply couldn't figure out how we could manage my working outside the home and still dedicate time to the girls. Our son had moved out and gotten married, but the girls were still young. 

But as I watched the bills mount and the additional stress taking a toll on my husband, I knew I had to do what I could do help my family stay afloat. 

To be continued....

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mailbox Monday - October 27

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Well, it's the last Monday of October. Not sure where the year is going, but it sure is flying by.

Only two books last week--both requested.

Charlotte Taylor isn't good at playing it safe. Reeling from the sudden loss of her job and her beloved grandmother, Charlotte knows buying a dilapidated cottage in Gordon Falls isn't exactly practical. Especially since she just hired the one man who may love the property more than she does to help renovate it. Volunteer firefighter and part-time contractor Jesse Sykes can't stay mad at Charlotte for very long. Though she snatched up the home he'd planned on purchasing, Charlotte's dreams are big enough for both of them…if only she'd let him in. Charlotte promised she'd never fall for a first responder, but is it already too late?

I'm reading this one now for my review at the beginning of November at my Christian book blog.

Private investigators Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan are hired to succeed where the police have failed, to safely return home a missing ballerina. With no lead to pursue and no idea who could be behind the young woman’s kidnapping, they soon find themselves at a loss as to what to do.

To make matters worse, the heart of England seems to be caught in the middle of a little Ice Age. With snow endlessly falling and Tube lines either too cramped up to use or out of service, it is a pain to do any legwork in the huge metropolis.

Oh, and because trouble never comes alone, there may also be a serial killer on the loose in the streets of East London...

This review is either due late November or sometime in December. It's been a while since I've read a serial killer novel, and I like dancing, so this seemed like a good match.

What did you receive?

CFBA: Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Quilted by Christmas
Abingdon Press (October 21, 2014)
Jodie Bailey


A note from the Author: Well, I’m a regular ol’ person. Who just happens to write. A lot. Probably more than I should. I firmly believe that God created me to be a writer. From the time I learned how to string letters together into words I’ve been making up stories. Believe me… I have a very rich imagination. I used to think I was weird; now I know God just put me together that way. I can’t even watch commercials without expanding them into stories in my head. I am humbled and honored all at the same time that God looked down from heaven on me and said, “Jodie, do what you love.” Wow… how awesome is that?

I have always loved to write. I have stories that I wrote when I was in first grade. I used to sit at my grandmother’s yellow electric typewriter for hours, banging out my own little stories. When I was eleven, she bought me a typewriter of my own (It was 1984, okay?) and I would write and write on it. I wrote stories out by hand, and they ran to hundreds of pages. I got my first computer when I was eighteen, and the first thing I did was write a story on it. I wrote for school. I wrote for fun. I wrote for my friends. I’d get them on the phone and make up stories for them. (I earned the nickname “Dreamweaver” for that one. Nobody calls me that anymore, but it still stands as the coolest nickname I ever had.)


Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches. When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Quilted by Christmas, go

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Review: Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough

"Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs."  This sentence opens Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the first in a series of children's books that gave middle grade readers a glimpse into the life of America's pioneer families. And for some--like myself--this would be the start of a lifelong desire to learn more about the real life of Laura, her sisters Mary, Carrie, and Grace, and her parents Charles and Caroline Ingalls.

In a style similar to the  Little House books, author Yona Zeldis McDonough has created a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder aimed toward middle grade readers that not only helps point out the fact and the fiction behind Wilder's classic children's books, but also celebrates the independent mind of the Quiner and Ingalls women along the way.

McDonough's book opens not with Wilder, but with a brief prologue discussing the life of Caroline Lake Quiner, who would one day become Caroline Ingalls. This sets the tone for the rest of this biography, as it highlights how Caroline's mother, Charlotte, believed in higher education for girls; something Ma Ingalls also wanted for her daughters.

Told in chronological order, Little Author in the Big Woods follows Wilder's life and the journeys she took not only with her family, but later with her husband Almanzo and daughter Rose. It talks about the hardships the Wilders faced as a young married couple and of their leaving De Smet, South Dakota to settle in Mansfield, Missouri. Readers learn about the building of the dream house on Rocky Ridge Farm and Wilder's early career writing for the Missouri Ruralist, before moving on to the creation of the Little House series. McDonough ends with an epilogue that discusses the longevity of Wilder's work and Michael Landon's classic television show, Little House on the Prairie, which is based upon the books. Readers are also treated to quotes from Laura Ingalls Wilder, details on some of the games that Laura played, crafts, and recipes. Also included is a list of other writings by Wilder and a list with some of the other books about her.

While I have to admit I learned little new about Laura Ingalls Wilder as a result, I believe middle grade readers will enjoy getting to know more about her real life and the independent nature of the women in the Quiner, Ingalls, and Wilder families. With a similar writing style and design to the Little House series, readers will feel right at home with this book. Jennifer Thermes did an excellent job in capturing the essence of McDonough's book and Wilder's life with her beautiful illustrations. I'm thrilled to add Little Author in the Big Woods to my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection.

 Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: Christy Ottaviano Books
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080509542X
ISBN-13: 978-0805095425

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Friday 56 - Week 200

Welcome to Week 200!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

She ran a hand along the lip of the deep tub. "Mima would have loved this tub. You were smart to talk me into saving it."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mailbox Monday - October 20

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

This one came in per my request to review:

There is a great legend that has been passed down through generations about two young boys who would change history. One was destined to become a great king. The other was a druid, and his guide, mentor and friend. This is the tale of the meeting of Arthur and Merlin and how they changed the fate of magic.

This other one showed up unsolicited:

In Fire Birds Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests, award-winning science author Sneed B. Collard III challenges society s negative views toward natural forest fires. By focusing on the research of biologist Richard Hutto, Collard reveals the complex relationships between fire and thriving plant and animal communities. The book especially focuses on the heavy use of burned forests by dozens of bird species and debunks the idea that burned forests are worthless wastelands.

Besides delivering a powerful environmental message, Fire Birds couldn't be more timely. With record numbers of acres burning every year, pressure to suppress wildfires and salvage log burned forests has never been greater. Stunning photographs and clear text deliver the message that recent fire policies have been backfiring badly.

What showed up in your mailbox last week?

CFBA: Finding Mercy by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Finding Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2014)
Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson.

Cindy Kelley is the co-author of the novel The Silent Gift, and Traces of Mercy. Her career as a screenwriter with long-time writing partner, Michael Landon, Jr., began with the adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic story, The Velveteen Rabbit, which had a theatrical release. Several television movies followed, most notably Love Comes Softly, (based on Janette Oke’s novel) which won a CAMIE Award and the Epiphany Prize for Movie Guide’s most inspirational television movie of 2003. Cindy and her husband, Jim, make their home in the Southwest; have three adorable grandchildren and four big dogs who rule the house.


When Mercy abandons Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity, he goes after her. With the threat that bounty hunters might be hot on her trail, Mercy does all she can to stay ahead of the danger, frustrating both the bad men who are after her—and Captain Hale who wants to find her and escort her safely home. But when she stumbles upon clues that help her learn who she is and where she's from, the danger escalates and she has to learn to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer—if she can determine which is which!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Finding Mercy, go HERE.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kindle Freebie: Leaving Liberty by Virginia Carmichael

At eighteen, Daisy McConnell left Liberty, Colorado and never looked back. The only bright spot in a childhood of neglect and loneliness was the town librarian, Marie. Now settled as a teacher in sunny Fresno, Daisy does her best to forget everything about Liberty including her drunk father, her MIA mother, and the town she hated with every beat of her heart. 

Lane Bennett’s life as a small town cop is pretty close to perfect. He’s got his dog, a pretty date when he needs one, and plenty of time to fish on the weekends. No other place can compare to his hometown and he’s happy to devote his life to keeping the folks of Liberty safe. When Marie passes away, Lane knows one of the best parts about living in Liberty is gone, along with the old Carnegie library. It needs repairs the city can’t afford and the city managers won’t pay the new flood insurance. It’s too bad but safety comes first. 

When Daisy comes home for Marie’s funeral and hears the only safe place she knew as a child is going to close, she refuses to let it happen. She hatches a plan to save the old library, run the summer reading program, and keep Marie’s legacy alive. 

Nothing can go wrong with this plan... Only that she's renting Lane's cabin, he's winning her heart, her dad wants to reconcile, and it just won't stop raining. 

By the time the river jumps the banks, there's a whole lot more drama going in Liberty than a spring flood. The town pulls together to save the library, the quilt holds a startling secret, and two young people in love must decide if NEVER really means FOREVER. 

She once vowed never to come home and he’s vowed never to leave. Daisy and Lane discover together that true love happens when you least expect it and you should 'never say never' in Liberty. 

File Size: 4146 KB
Print Length: 229 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Gumbo Books (December 4, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00DRF2602


Monday, October 13, 2014

Mailbox Monday - October 13

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

I skipped last week because I didn't receive anything new, but also because I'm struggling as a busy mom to keep up with blogging while working and doing all the fun stuff moms are supposed to do with the kids. I'm sorry my blog is suffering for it. I have several books on my other blogs that I need to write reviews for. I'm trying to take that Laura Ingalls Wilder class plus one on the Ozarks. The good news is, though, that I closed my first real estate transaction! It's also led me to a potential few more, so fingers crossed and all prayers appreciated.

On Saturday, I'll be attending the Write Angles Conference. I've been attending the past few years and really love it. I opted not to meet with an agent this year. I want to focus on finishing my middle grade historical novel, then be ready to meet with someone next October.

Here's what arrived in my mailbox last week got review:

“Ema, give me your hand.” These were the words Jesus spoke to Ema on Christmas Eve--the night He straightened her crooked foot, hand, neck, and spine, and restored her mobility.

Easter weekend, eighteen years earlier, an ordinary workday turned into a nightmare when Ema McKinley passed out and was left hanging upside down in the storage room.

Rather than improving, Ema’s body became progressively bent and disfigured. Doctors diagnosed Ema with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), an extremely painful trauma-induced disease which led to Ema’s hand and foot deformities, painful sores, insomnia, gastrological distress, curvature of the neck and spine, heart and lung failure, and permanent confinement to a wheelchair.

Once an athletic, powerhouse woman with multiple jobs and volunteer positions, Ema became a modern-day Job who lost everything except her faith and desire to trust God more fully. Ema wrestled with pain, anger, and unforgiveness, but now takes the reader on a healing miracle encounter of Biblical proportions.

Rush of Heaven will ignite readers’ passion for Jesus and help them walk hand-in-hand with Him through life’s darkness. It will open hearts to embrace the impossible.

“Jesus gave me this miracle for you too!” — Ema McKinley

These are titles that arrived unsolicited. I will probably give these away:

Classic illustrations convey the magic of St. Nick's visit, from the shadows cast by his sleigh to the twinkling eyes and rosy cheeks of his friendly face.

A fresh take on a timeless fairy tale

This stunning edition of the favorite fable about a little girl in red on her journey through the woods makes brilliant use of laser die-cut paper and silhouette-like illustrations to enliven every page. Sybille Schenker’s evocative and exquisite illustrations bring a unique beauty and graphic excellence to this beloved favorite.

Blogger's note: I have to admit to not being a fan of this series. The black on red is creepy. While the die cuts are nice, I just find this and the author's Hanzel & Gretel book too scary for little kids. 

A young bird finds the strength to overcome bullying

Little Raven was last to hatch in the nest and the last to learn to fly, but he was the first to be teased and ridiculed. His only wish was to fly and play with the others, so one day he took a dare and, to show his courage, Little Raven decides to fly to the moon. Beautifully produced and with artwork from an acclaimed illustrator, this picture book gently handles the issue of wanting to find acceptance.

One of the best loved of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, this retelling of The Snow Queen is both delightful and accessible.

These timeless, classic stories have been gloriously illustrated and made accessible for younger children to read alone, or for all the family to enjoy together. This fresh approach brings the stories and their characters to life. There are also special pages giving background detail to set the scene of each story.

When the Snow Queen abducts her friend Kai, Gerda sets out on a perilous and magical journey to find him.

What do you receive in your mailbox?

CFBA: Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles) by Bonnie S. Calhoun

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles)
Revell (October 7, 2014)
Bonnie S. Calhoun


Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year.”

She love to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three B's...body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also have mad skills at coding HTML, and website design. And she live in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass, though she'd rather buy fish at the grocery store. Bonnie shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she’s waitstaff!

Her sites are:


In post-apocalyptic America, Selah Chavez is crouched in long grass on a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city. It is the day before her eighteenth Born Remembrance, and she is hunting, though many people refuse to eat animal flesh, tainted by radiation during the Time of Sorrows. What Selah's really after are Landers, mysterious people from a land across the big water who survive the delirium-inducing passage in small boats that occasionally crash against the shoreline. She knows she should leave the capture to the men, but Landers bring a good price from the Company and are especially prized if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander Selah catches is stolen by her brothers--and Selah wakes up the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has suddenly appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bohdi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell.

With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of scientific advances, political intrigue, and wilderness survival, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a world more like our own than we may want to admit.

You can read Tremors, the prequel to the series for FREE on Amazon HERE.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles), go HERE.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why I Choose to Write to Teen Readers by Gary Rodriguez, Author of Escape Through The Wilderness

Escape Through the Wilderness coverTitle: Escape Through the Wilderness
Author: Gary Rodrgiuez
Genre: Tween/Young Adult Christian Adventure
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (June 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1-63268-201-7

Purchase at: and at

About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “Last Chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

Why I Choose to Write to Teen Readers by Gary Rodriguez

Teens are a critical people group in our society. In many ways, they hold the keys to our nation's future. During these formative years they are quietly forming their foundational beliefs, values, and character qualities. One of my goals in writing Escape Through The Wilderness was to inspire and entertain these impressionable and influential readers. I also wanted to write a book that could positively influence this generation and subtly point them toward God.

Books like Harry Potter, Vampire Diaries, and Hunger Games captivate the youth of today. These books are written far from a Christian worldview. I chose to insert a measure of biblical truth into this story without, in my opinion, making the book overtly Christian. I committed to keep the book one that everyone could enjoy no matter his or her religious persuasion.

In Escape Through The Wilderness I created a heroine (Savi Evans) that models faith, integrity, and sacrifice. In my opinion, these values and character qualities are not highlighted enough in today's literature written to teen readers.

I wanted to write an entertaining and thrilling adventure story about a group of teens that exemplified some of the best, instead of the worst, character qualities in our society. Although each person in the story has their own personal struggles, they develop new perspectives and insights as the story progresses and as they get to know one another. Savi, Rico, Jade, and Conner are all from different parts of the country and unique in their own ways. But through a series of circumstances they are thrust into a situation that forces them to learn to get along, work together as a team, and deal with what looks like insurmountable obstacles in order to survive.

Each character has their own personal challenges that eventually surface exposing their struggles back at home. Now away at an adventure camp they find themselves stranded in the wildness twenty-five miles from Camp Arrowhead following a freak river rafting accident. Against all odds, they must survive the wild and make their way back to the camp.

In some ways, the story is an analogy about life and the challenges we all must learn to conquer. Throughout the story, Savi, Rico, Jade, and Conner demonstrate a positive example of both healthy personal and team development. In addition, they learn the value and importance of friendships when it comes to overcoming obstacles and opposition. My hope is that readers will see themselves in each of the characters portrayed in the story.

There is one more character I've not mentioned yet. His name is Luke, and he's a very special part of the story. I can't go into much detail about him, or I'd give the story away. But I know readers will find him a vital character in the story.

Escape Through The Wilderness can offer teens currently facing difficult circumstances a degree of encouragement and show them examples of how others overcame their challenges. The book was written to encourage, instruct, entertain, and inspire young readers. But I'm gratified to discover that readers of all ages are enjoying this thrilling and inspiring story.

Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to talk about Escape Through The Wilderness. I sincerely hope your readers will find this book to be a valuable addition to their collection and a book that they will consider buying for a friend.

The book is available at: and at the usual place where books are sold.

Please visit my blog at: or

oGary Rodriguez

Gary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014.

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing.

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication.

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally. Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army's history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation's third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam.

Visit the book’s website at You can also find Gary at and

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CFBA: A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Love Undone
WaterBrook Press (September 9, 2014)
Cindy Woodsmall


Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written fifteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

(Since that last line sounds sad and bare, I thought I’d add an “epilogue” of sorts. Our two oldest sons are married and live only a couple of miles from my empty nest, and below are my three adorable grandchildren! ♥)


A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.

A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.

How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?

At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Love Undone, go HERE.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Christmas Comes Early Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations goes out to Jaclyn R. She won the children's book package raffled off during the Christmas Comes Early Giveaway. The winner has 72 hours to claim her prize before a new winner is selected.

Thanks to all who participated. I hope you'll visit again soon.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Spotlight: Saving Casper by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper

The authors of the popular Jim and Casper Go to Church are back! An unlikely friendship began when former pastor Jim Henderson brought atheist Matt Casper with him to visit a series of churches and give his honest feedback on the services. Since then, Casper has spent a lot of time deeply engaging with Jim and other Christians. And the burning question on everyone’s minds is whether Casper has been saved. In Saving Casper, Jim and Casper engage in a new conversation about that question. Most Christians have friends like Casper—people who’ve heard the gospel but still say no—so what happens next? Jim and Casper reveal the surprising answers to questions like: What can an atheist teach us about how to share God with those who don’t believe? What have well-meaning Christians said to Casper that has helped—or hurt—their cause? What, if anything, might bring Casper and other nonbelievers to faith . . . and why does Casper say he’s closer to God now than ever before? Saving Casper is a groundbreaking, game-changing look at evangelism and the “conversion conversation.”

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (September 20, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414364881
ISBN-13: 978-1414364889

Purchase here!

The Friday 56 - Week 197

Welcome to Week 196!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

Page 56 was a picture, so this is from page 156.

I love stuffing. I always have. It's one of my favorite things to eat--hot, cold, with gravy, or naked (the stuffing, silly).

I'm working today, so I probably won't comment back until later tonight.