The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook Spotlight and Giveaway

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

honeybee-sister-cookbook-smallA collection of delicious honey recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series, featuring quotes and recipes from Sweet as Honey, A Bee in her Bonnet, and Like a Bee to Honey–Amish romances by Jennifer Beckstrand.

Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner, known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Amish community, are smart, inseparable, and all grown up. Orphaned when they were very young, the girls were raised by their eccentric Aunt Bitsy, who doesn’t behave like a proper Amish spinster. The Honeybee Sisters have blossomed into rare beauties, and the boys in the community have begun to take notice. But Aunt Bitsy is determined to scare off all comers with her brusque manner and her handy shotgun. None but the most worthy will make it past Bitsy’s defenses. It’s going to be a rowdy and romantic summer–harvesting honey from their many beehives and fighting off the boys right and left.

Note from Aunt Bitsy: When my girls told me they wanted to write a cookbook, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Food attracts boys like honey attracts bees. I warned them that if they didn’t want the boys hanging around the house, they shouldn’t make the cakes and pies and cookies that are sure to bring them running. My nieces didn’t seem to be alarmed about the prospect of boys all over the place, so I suppose they’ll have to learn the hard way.

My problem is that smart, feisty, pretty girls attract boys even better than honey does. So even if my girls stopped cooking altogether, I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys would still find excuses to come over.

Some of the recipes in this book, like Honey Glazed Pretzels and Whole Wheat Bread, are very traditional Amish dishes. Others, like Salmon Tacos and Coconut Lime Chicken, are less traditional but still wunderbarr. I lived as an Englischer for twenty years before coming back to the Amish to raise my three nieces, and as a dental hygienist, I collected a lot of recipes.

Here’s my final warning: Boys are like stray cats. If you feed them, they’ll keep coming back. Buy this cookbook at your own risk.

About the Author

jennifer-beckstrand-1Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

Nothing brings family and friends together like a home-cooked meal. When I think of Amish food and cooking, I think of the way my mother used to cook and the way her mother cooked before her.

Both my parents grew up on farms, and hard work was a way of life. So were homemade meals and food that stuck to your ribs and gave you fuel for a hard day’s work in the fields. Cooking was more of an art than a burden, a way to sustain life, but also a labor of love for your family, day in and day out.

I joke with my husband that I have forgotten how to cook now that we’re empty nesters and I’d rather eat cold cereal that fire up the stove, but creating a nutritious meal for my family or baking a delicious dessert still brings me satisfaction and is a gift of the heart to my loved ones.

The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook began to take shape when I came up with the idea for a series about three sisters who keep bees and make delicious honey treats. In the Honeybee Sisters Cookbook, you’ll find some traditional Amish favorites as well as some not-so-Amish dishes—recipes that Aendi Bitsy collected from her years living with the Englisch. The pages are filled with mouth-watering photos, and I’ve included quotes from the Honeybee Sisters books. I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes as much as we enjoyed creating them for you.

My father in-law, who was also raised on a farm, passed away very recently. His mother made him a bowl of oatmeal every morning, which he hated, and it would be waiting for him after school if he didn’t eat it at breakfast. In honor of him, I would like to share a rhubarb recipe. Rhubarb was one of his favorite treats.

This recipe is authentically Amish from my friend Priscilla Stoltzfus in Pennsylvania.

Rhubarb Upside-down Cake

Mix together:

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 cups rhubarb, diced

Pour rhubarb mixture into an 8×8 pan.

 

Mix together:

¼ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Add:

2 cups flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Pour the flour mixture over rhubarb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn upside-down on a plate to serve. Serve warm, if you wish.

Blog Stops

September 20: Smiling Book Reviews

September 20: Book Babble

September 21: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

September 22: Reading Is My SuperPower

September 23: Artistic Nobody

September 24: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

September 25: Bibliophile Reviews

September 26: Simple Harvest Reads

September 27: A Baker’s Perspective

September 28: Blogging With Carol

September 29: Bukwurmzzz

September 29: Donna’s BookShelf

September 30: Through the Open Window

September 30: cherylbbookblog

October 1: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

October 2: Blossoms and Blessings

October 3: Quiet Quilter

October 3: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away one set of The Honeybee Sisters Series! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a2ba

She Who Knows Review + Huge Giveaway

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Purchase your copy of She Who Knows here.

About the Book

One girl’s journey from loneliness to love.knows

Isolated on a Maui mountaintop, Cassandra has only her imagination to keep her company. Shut in due to her heart condition and shut out emotionally by her father, she meets t
he Menehune in a dream. Their “Gift” enables her to take the first step away from her loneliness. Along the way she finds an amazing woman in the grandmother she never knew and experiences true friendship with a new classmate. Eventually she learns that to love another she must open her heart, even if it means it may break.

My Two Cents

This is the first book I have read by Barbara and I have to say that I enjoy her writing style.  I love the little extras she includes about her characters. For example, she includes the book the main character is reading and even describes the cover.

It is very obvious to the reader that the author had done her research and is very familiar with Hawaii and the folklore belief’s of it’s people.  The way she writes her main character allows the reader to connect with her and want her to be happy. I felt so badly for her!

I do have to say that if folklore or people speaking to spirits bother you, I would not recommend this book. I took the spirits as part of a fictional story and not as a spiritual backing of the folklore.

I give She Who Knows 4 out of 5 stars. It is a story that is well worth reading!

About the Author

BOOK COVER PIC-1In 2015, Barbara Bras left her career to pursue her dream of serving God. She believed that her first step would be to share the amazing ways God had blessed her. As she wrote of her son’s miraculous adoption and the challenging years that followed, it led to the rediscovery of her entire life, including the history of her grandparents’ remarkable survival in Armenia and her search for purpose and love. Her memoir led to her first novel, which she hopes readers will find engaging and memorable.

Guest Post from Barbara Bras

An interviewer asked what inspired me to write and publish two books within a year. It’s a long story. Unlike many authors, I didn’t always write, nor did I yearn to write. In fact, the opposite was true for me; fear of judgement discouraged me from writing. Judgement from my mother, an English teacher and a strict perfectionist who demanded excellence in everything, especially writing.

In spite of the circumstances, my love of reading led to my first profession, teaching English at the high school level. Teaching laid the foundation for my career, which ultimately resulted in twenty-five plus years in various corporate environments as an Human Resources leader. Naturally, during my career I wrote a great deal, including proposals, papers, and communications of all kinds. But never anything creative, I never even journaled.

Almost two years ago, our Pastor handed out little pieces of paper during his sermon that said, “ENOUGH”. He questioned our inane desire to accumulate things when we already have the one thing that is needful. Just as Mary choose to worship at the feet of Jesus rather than be distracted by the world, so must we choose what is most important. (Luke 10:42) It struck a nerve.

Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to leave my position of ten years. Unsure of my next move, I focused my energy on a burning desire. Ever since the Lord provided a son for us through a miraculous adoption, I believed He wanted me to share it as an encouragement to others. I had tried to write the story many times without success. I signed up for retreat that promised, “Write your book in a weekend!”

The three-day retreat required nonstop writing, first in long hand, then on the pc. Amazingly, at the end of the third day I had not only finally written the story of the miraculous adoption, I had shared the incredible disappointment and heartache of the years that followed, all captured within the context of my life and the life of my ancestors. Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered had materialized. I felt a great release and I thought that would be the end of my writing.

Over the next few months as I edited the book, I followed the system of editing for 45 minutes, and writing new material for 15. What emerged during those 15 minute segments became Cassandra’s story, or She Who Knows, a Tale of the Heart. The story unfolded in front of me, inspired by the woman who supervised my student teaching in Honolulu back in 1977.

Barbara Robinson was an inspiration to me both as a teacher and as a person. As we worked together that semester, she shared many stories and took me under her wing. She told me the story of how her grandmother, a musician, had come to islands and married her seafaring grandfather. She spent a great deal of her childhood isolated in the mountains on Maui, presumably to recover from an illness. When finally allowed to return to school years later, her years of isolation and her archaic English made for a lonely life. She also believed she that she had an usual gift, which she decided was better left unused.

So what began as an effort to share my story and encourage others has developed into a love of writing and a desire to serve the Lord through my new passion.

Soli Deo Gloria. To God Alone Be the Glory!

Blog Stops

July 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation

July 22: A Reader’s Brain

July 23: Mary Hake

July 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 25: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

July 26: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

July 27: A Greater Yes

July 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

July 28: A Bakers Perspective

July 29: Splashes of Joy

July 29: Artistic Nobody

July 30: Cassandra M’s Place

July 31: Bukwurmzzz

August 1: Simple Harvest Reads

August 2: Carpe Diem

August 3: Pause for Tales

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away a $100 Amazon gift card, copies of She Who Knows, and Wrapped In God’s Grace. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9f1e

Dawn of Liberty Review + Giveaway

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Purchase your copy here.

About the Book

Dawn of Liberty

Liberty comes with a price. Can a fledgling nation bear the cost?

British forces advance upon a struggling colonial army. The time of decision has come. Declare independence, or give up the fight. The weight of a nation rests on Samuel Adams’ shoulders as he joins the delegates of the Second Continental Congress. Can he raise the cause of Liberty above the fear of the King’s wrath in the hearts of his countrymen?

Three riveting short stories follow Samuel Adams as he struggles through the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence and evokes the Dawn of Liberty.

Dawn of Liberty

Liberty hangs in the balance. With Pennsylvania’s vote divided, the declaration may not pass. Samuel Adams has two hours to convince the delegates to pass the document, or the lives sacrificed for freedom will be worthless.

A Shot at Freedom

“The Regulars are coming!”

Samuel Adams is awakened by Revere’s cry of alarm. A large force of British soldiers are marching on Lexington to seize him and his compatriot John Hancock. Adams and Hancock encourage the militia to make a stand against the Regulars, but should they stay and join the fight, or escape to safety?

Travail of a Nation

Samuel Adams felt the weight of the nation resting on his shoulders as he and his cousin entered the Pennsylvania State House. If the declaration did not pass today, their chances at ever truly gaining independence were all but lost. The British forces bound to arrive in New York any day would crush their revolution if it was not bolstered by a formal declaration. The “Travail Of A Nation” has begun…

My Two Cents

As a history buff, I was so excited to read this book and I wasn’t disappointed! Amber draws you right into the stories, I felt like I was right there watching the events unfold. There was not a dull moment nor was the reading dry.

Dawn of Liberty was very well written. Amber brought the characters to life with their own personalities. Her research was impeccable and spot on.

My favorite part of the story was that it brought to light just how much our forefathers sacrificed to create the United States.  With July 4th coming up, I will be remembering and celebrating very differently.

I give Dawn of Liberty 5 out of 5 stars! With our nations birthday coming up, you definitely want to add this to your TBR list!

I received this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Author Shot - ReadingAuthor of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/

Guest Post From Amber Schamel

On July 4th, 2016, Americans across the nation will celebrate the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Besides the basic overview you got in history class, how much do you really know about the document and the men that signed it?

As an American and a history nerd, I was upset when I realized how much I didn’t know the struggle these men went through, who they really were, what they felt, and what they were putting on the line when they signed their name to that document. There are SO many inspiring stories in the signers and founding fathers, so when I began looking at which signer to feature in Dawn of Liberty, it was a tough decision to pick only one. One of the signers was terminally ill and rode unthinkable miles through the rain to be there in time to sway the vote. Most were away from their homes and families for incredible amounts of time. Some sacrificed fame and fortune.

But after looking through all of the names, I ended up with Samuel Adams. Sam is such a passionate and inspiring character, and I really related to him. He voiced his passion for freedom and independence before the idea was popular, spent countless nights writing articles and pamphlets promoting the cause, always held faith and optimism that someday the Colonies would be free from the tyranny of England. His character is so intriguing and inspiring…Yet, Sam is only known as a beer brand.

Talk about infuriating a history nerd!

Sam Adams is a patriot and a hero. The more I learned and read about him, the more I liked him. Americans should know Sam for who he really is, rather than as the icon to sell liquor. That’s why I am so excited for people to meet Sam in DAWN OF LIBERTY. These stories give folks a chance to experience the tension in Philadelphia at the time of the signing, meet some of the signers, and feel the weight of the decision placed in their hands. It is my hope that this collection of short stories will make the signers more than just portraits in a history book. By the time you finish reading it, my prayer is that you feel you know Sam and his compatriots as friends.

Blog Stops

June 21: inklings and notions

June 22: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

June 23: Petra’s Hope

June 24: A Greater Yes

June 24: Simple Harvest Reads

June 25: A Holland Reads

June 26: bigreadersite

June 27: Red Headed Book Lady

June 28: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

June 29: History, Mystery and Faith

June 30: A Northern Belle

July 1: Singing Librarian Books

July 2: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

July 3: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 4: Cassandra M’s Place

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amber is giving away a signed copy of The Healer’s Touch and a $15 Amazon Gift Card! Enter to win here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9ccf

Whispering to Horses Review + Giveaway

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About the Book

To purchase your copy, click here

An old fence separates a modern community from their Amish neighbors, until a little boy opens the gate and breaks down barriers between them. Main characters, Matt and Eli, find friendship, hope, and a future through a mutual need, which creates an opportunity for them to learn to understand each other. Eli and his little sisters will touch your heart by Whispering to Horses.

My Two Cents

This is my first experience reading Thomas Nye and I was not disappointed! This is a short, sweet story that drew me in right away. I found the thought of modern and Amish people being neighbors fascinating.

Nye’s characters had depth and were very reletable. The storyline was well written and you felt like you were right there watching the story unfold. The drawing above each chapter really added to the story.

When I was finished reading the story, I thought of the fences we have that keep people out of our lives. The neighbor that is annoying, people that look different or live different from us. Is this how God wants us to be? I was convicted and pondered how I can be more outgoing towards my neighbors to show them the love of Christ.

I wish that this book was longer because I didn’t want it to end! I will be adding Thomas Nye’s books to my TBR list. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is a book you don’t want to miss!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review through the Celebrate Lit blogging program. All views expressed are my own and no monetary compensation was exchanged. To find out more about the Celebrate Lit blogging Program, click here: http://www.celebratelit.com/become-a-celebrate-lit-blogger/

Well readers, I am off to read my next book! Until we meet again, be blessed!

About the Author

thomasnyecroppedThomas Nye, author of the Amish Horses Book Series, Lives near an Amish community where he grew to know and respect his Amish neighbors. During grade school Thomas developed an interest in history and loved reading anything he could find about the 1800s. His love of farm, history, and horses all came together in real-life experiences with his Amish friends, who also happen to share his Christian faith.  He purchased draft horses from Amish farmers in his neighborhood and set out to learn the art of working with horses in harness.  After years of buying, selling, and trading work horses with Amish farmers in his community, Thomas had many wonderful memories of those experiences. His novels based on those adventures. Learn more about Thomas Nye on his website.

Guest Post from Thomas Nye

Last spring, I visited numerous Amish communities throughout the state of Indiana. My original goal was to bring awareness of my Amish Horses book series to the Amish and tourists in that region. As I traveled down quiet country roads, my heart was overwhelmed by beautiful farm scenes. Conversations with Amish families, and especially Amish children, brought a new awareness and inspiration to me. Springtime and its rich aromas flooded my senses and filled my heart with a story, Whispering to Horses.

Whispering to Horses is a very short novel which spans several generations. It is the story of two families that live side-by-side for years, and yet are strangers to each other. A fence that was installed to keep livestock apart has become a dividing line, separating Amish from their non-Amish neighbors. Years ago, when putting in the fence, an Amishman remembered his grandfather’s advice, almost prophetically, “… a gate opens the way for help in time of need.” Generations later, a gentle Amish boy named Eli, seems to have inherited his great-great-grandfather’s wisdom, as he opens the gate and communication between neighbors.

Kalona, Iowa has been my home for the past 35 years. Living in an Amish/Mennonite community, I have experienced many situations exactly like the one described in this book. It is so easy for us to look over a fence and have a disdain for people we don’t know, or understand. Sometimes, a little child can use their simple wisdom to break through our misconceptions, and soften our crusty opinions. In my hundreds of visits to Amish farms, it has been the children that have surprised me most. Even though English is their second language, Amish children speak with wisdom that has become a treasure to me, and I want to share it with you. I hope the story of Whispering to Horses opens your eyes, and brings back memories of your own childhood, when we all shared that simple wisdom.

Blog Stops

June 7: Quiet Quilter

June 8: ArtisticNobody

June 8: Petra’s Hope

June 9: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

June 10: Cindy’s Book Reviews

June 10: Blossoms and Blessings

June 11: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

June 12: Bigreadersite

June 13: Through The Open Window

June 14: A Greater Yes

June 14: Cassandra M’s Place

June 15: Texas Book-aholic

June 16: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

June 17: Lighthouse Academy

June 18: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 19: Red Headed Book Lady

June 20: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

June 21: Simple Harvest Reads

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Thomas is giving away an entire set of his Amish Horses Series! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9b7f

The Amish Firefighter + Kindle Fire Basket Giveaway

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About the Book

AmishFirefighter_CoverPurchase your copy of The Amish Firefighter here

A Beautiful Young Woman Banished from Home

Abigail Stutzman thought it was bad enough being dropped at the nearest bus station and sent to live several states away with some relatives she’d never even heard of, much less met. But now, just a week after her arrival in Jamesport, Missouri, she finds herself at the scene of a barn fire. An intentional barn fire. And all fingers are pointed at her. She’s desperate to prove her innocence and protect her reputation, but nobody’s making that easy to do. And God certainly doesn’t seem willing to help.

A Brave Firefighter with an Agenda of His Own

Sam Miller is in the process of turning over a new leaf. Determined to atone for the follies of his past, he is a volunteer firefighter, an EMT, and a doctor-in-training. With suspicious barn fires escalating, and the Miller family being among the victims, no one is more determined to see the perpetrators brought to justice than Sam.

A Kindled Flame Neither One Could Have Anticipated

When their paths first cross at the site of a barn burning, the emotional intensity rivals the warmth of the flames. Soon, they must decide whether this fire is one they should feed or fight. And they’ll discover that the truth can prove more dangerous than a blazing inferno.

 My Two Cents

How have I never read Laura V. Hilton before? That is what I was asking myself as I read The Amish Firefighter. I loved this book!

This book was so different from any Amish book I have ever read. Laura has a unique writing style with rich characters and a well-written storyline. It captured me from the beginning and made me want to keep reading until the end.  There were sweet parts of the stories, parts that I needed a whole box of tissues, parts where I wanted to scream, parts that made me want to reach in and strangle a character.  That makes a good book, no?

I love how Laura’s characters are real. She brings them real problems and heartaches while making you feel you are right there watching the seems unfold. Her research is impeccable and she is respectful to the Amish culture.

I give The Amish Firefighter 5 out of 5 stars. Laura V. Hilton is an author I will definitely be putting on my “read all her books” list.

Thank you for joining me! I am off to read my next book 🙂

I received this book from the publisher through the Celebrate Lit blogging program.  All views expressed are my own. To learn more about the Celebrate Lit blogging program, click the image below.

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About the Author

Hilton3Laura V. Hilton

 
Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Birdhouse concluded Laura’s 2015 series, The Amish of Jamesport, includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas.

For more about Laura, her latest book, the books she’s written and those she’s reviewed:

Laura Hilton’s Websitewww.lauravhilton.blogspot.com.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Unlike some authors, I am not a planner. I have a very vague idea of the story, of the series, and as soon as the characters step forward and introduce themselves I dive in and start writing. When I first began writing this series – New Beginnings in Jamesport – I knew Sammy Miller was going to be the hero. Readers started asking for Sammy’s story as soon as they read The Postcard where Sammy was the villain. Ouch. I’d never considered writing a story about a former villain. But just as David in The Postcard was reader requested, Sammy would be.

Sammy is a very strong character and I knew he had to have a strong female lead character, one that wasn’t afraid to stand up to him and keep him under control. He is a leader, an EMT studying to be a paramedic, and a volunteer firefighter. The female lead, Abigail, is thrown into Jamesport without warning. Her step-father takes her to the bus station and sends her away and she doesn’t even know why! When she is met at the bus station by an aunt and uncle she didn’t even know existed, she is thrown into the middle of several mysteries, including barn fires set by arsonists. And she is the main suspect.

The whole New Beginnings in Jamesport series, while considered a continuation of The Amish of Jamesport series due to Sammy being the hero, is set around Amish starting over in Jamesport. The second book The Amish Wanderer is about a former resident of Jamesport hitchhiking across the country to get to his Mennonite uncle’s house in Pennsylvania. Silas is desperate to escape from his dysfunctional family for several reasons. But he cannot stay in Jamesport because someone is out to kill him. When he stumbles upon another mystery within hours of his arrival, what choice does he have but to stick around for awhile?

God gave me the verses for all three books in the Amish of Jamesport series The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer and the yet untitled third book (My books all stand alone) before I started writing them, which is unusual. He usually reveals these things slowly to me, as I need to know. The verse for The Amish Firefighter is Isaiah 43:2-4 and the verse for The Amish Wanderer is Romans 8:38-39. The third book’s verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8. It is tentatively titled The Amish Accountant, but most people think accountants are boring, and his real profession is a clockmaker. But The Amish Clockmaker has already been taken by another author. So we shall see what the wonderful Whitaker House team will come up with. It is about another young Amish woman, Lydia, who needs a “safe haven.” So her parents send her to live with her Mennonite aunt and uncle in Jamesport. It doesn’t exactly work out as planned, as the aunt and uncle leave for a foreign mission trip immediately, leaving Lydia acting manager of a gift shop and living in an all electric apartment. Before her aunt leaves, she tells Lydia’s secrets to her best friend. But did she tell all of them or some of them? And the best friend’s son, Caleb (the clockmaker) is acting as accountant for the gift shop. And what about Caleb’s carefully kept secret? When Lydia’s past catches up with her, will it destroy all she’d begun to imagine as she dreamed of starting over in Jamesport?

Next after that is The Christmas Challenge which is also set in Jamesport.

I don’t have official release dates for The Amish Wanderer or the other books yet. But as soon as I know, I’ll share.

Coming next? Who knows? I have two ideas warring for attention—but which one gets told first, I don’t know! I lean toward one, then the other. They both want to be told.

And now, I must get back to work. Thank you for visiting today and thank you so much for supporting my books. I do hope you’ll enjoy The Amish Firefighter!

Happy Reading!

Because of Him,

~ Laura ~

Blog Stops

June 9: Quiet Quilter

June 10: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 10: Jeanette’s Thoughts

June 11: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

June 11: Blogging With Carol

June 12: Cassandra M’s Place

June 12: Splashes of Joy

June 13: Babs Book Bistro

June 13: bigreadersite

June 14: Daysong Reflections

June 14: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

June 15: Singing Librarian Books

June 15: Blossoms and Blessings

June 16: Reading Is My SuperPower

June 16: The Power of Words

June 17: Two Girls and a Book

June 17: A Greater Yes

June 18: Texas Book -aholic

June 18: Through The Open Window

June 19: For the Love of Books

June 19: Petra’s Hope

June 20: Running Through The Storms

June 20: Simple Harvest Reads

June 21: A Holland Reads

June 21: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

June 22: Pause for Tales

June 22: KarensKrayons

June 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

Giveaway

The amish firefighter giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a basket that includes a Kindle Fire and a complete set of her books! Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9bed

An Informal Introduction Spotlight + Giveaway

Social Media Strategies Review + Kindle Fire Giveaway

Strategies of Social Media Banner

To purchase your copy click here.

About the Book

In our current digital world, the internet puts every entrepreneur and creative artist smack dab in the middle of social media and marketing. With an online tsunami of informational how-to’s, deciding which methods work best challenges the best of us. In Social Media Strategies: Discover Powerful Tools of the Trade without Losing Your Soul, uncovers the most relevant techniques, skipping unnecessary fluff by going straight to up-to-date tactics and tips used by experts.

Inside these pages, a wealth of simple, savvy tricks aids understanding of things like SEO, Facebook algorithms, top performing platforms, and key ingredients for engagement. You’ll also have a treasure trove of links, templates, time saving applications, and what’s projected to change in cyberspace so you can stay ahead of the curve. However, your worth is not the sum of hard numbers. No longer do you have to feel depersonalized by ranks and formulas. T.H. Meyer combines trending social media content followed by encouraging words that redirect your soul to God. In the right hands, social media is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs and small businesses or any person with a message to share.

Guest Post from T.H. Meyer

Often times, we write (or live life) with two voices in our head.

One voice belongs to the Critic. This voice says, “Your friends or peers may not like your work? Worse, you know So-n-So will hate it!”

Who do you think you are?”

“You could fail!”

“You’re putting yourself out there, why risk it?”

“You’re sloppy and lack analytical, time management skills.”

“Apologize ahead of time to those one-star readers you know are telepathically hating your words right now!”

The other voice belongs to the Encourager. This voice pushes you out of your comfort zones because you have that one reader in mind you want to help. This voice says, “Give words to lift their spirit.”

Show them what you’ve learned so they don’t have to struggle like you did.”

“Help them see a better way.”

“Brighten their day and give them hope.”

“Provide practical information that’ll make their life easier.”

“Point them in the direction where peace and joy abide.”

We may begin with the Encourager, but it’s the Critic that stops us. It’s the Critic that paralyzes us with insecurity and inaction. And if we proceed with the Critic, we move with such caution we end up writing to the Critic instead for the Encourager. In fact, the Critic wrestles the pen out of our hand and so, we add disclaimers until our whole book is about placating the Critic.

We want the Critic to like us.

They won’t.

We want the Critic to see our good intentions.

They don’t care.

We want the Critic to know we understand.

He’ll only slap at our attempts, laugh in our face with pungent garlic breath, and still hate whatever we’re doing.

When I began writing my debut book about social media strategies, I wrote to help the struggling artist, writer, or entrepreneur take advantage of what’s available at their fingertips. I wanted to provide applicable information to improve their understanding and presence. My desire included helping them get ahead while also remembering where their true hope comes.

But that all changed when the Critic showed up.

Instead, I added disclaimers before every chapter, like:

“Hey, if you don’t like this stuff, I’m so sorry, just skip this chapter, in fact, just skip this whole book. K? So sorry. Hate that you don’t like social media. I know it sucks. It sucks, right? Like big time? I know. So sorry. Social media can be the devil’s spawn. I totally get it. No, really I do. I’m a worm for writing that it can be used for good. So sorry to bother you with this. Oh look, squirrel!”

Yeah, true story.

Thankfully, I stopped doing that. I edited and rewrote. I got back to work and penned my book for the Encourager.

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The most important part of this book is the writing under the word “Strategies”. It states: “Discover Powerful Tools of the Trade without Losing Your Soul.” I’m a social media manager who spent years, blogging and feeling like my soul was sucked out by all the platform-talk that I was told to focus on.

Add to that, the Christian publishing industry heavily relies on the number of followers you have before taking a risk on you, to the point, your whole worth as an author, a person can get wrapped up in a number. Sheesh. The pressure to be popular and viral can be defeating.

Also, I taught classes to local small business owners and entrepreneurs on how to maximize their social media presence. Essentially, I encouraged them (as a consumer myself) that clients, consumers, and community can’t find you if they don’t know about you. So this is as much as service to potential clients and community as it is for their business. But I found many business owners were overwhelmed by the deluge of information regarding social media.

That’s where this book comes in. I wrote it to be a help to others, but especially to Christians who feel like their souls die a little more every time they try to tackle social media, platforms, and latest changes in the social media landscape.

My Review

This book has so many tools to help with social media.  Social media can be very overwhelming and time consuming. T.H. Meyer’s book will help you maximize your time and production.

This book is an amazing tool for authors.  In an age where platforms are all the rage, Social Media Strategies will help you navigate building your social media platform while remembering you are not just a number nor is your worth in the number of people who follow you. As an author, this is a book I would not be without.

T.H. Meyer created a book that brings social media into the “I can do this” category. She breaks it down into small easy sections and the links make it easy to start right away! I love how she gives information, tips and tricks but keeps your soul in the forefront.

If you are a seasoned blogger or just beginning, this book is a must have! I give Social Media Strategies 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from the Celebrate Lit blogging program in exchange for my honest review. For more information about Celebrate Lit, visit www.celebratelit.com.

About the Author

T.H. Meyer’s writing has been featured in online magazines such as C’est La Vie: THE MAGAZINE and The High Calling along with guest posting for Amber C. Haines, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and at The Gift of Writing to name a few. Besides her current employment as a social media manager and content writer, she founded Outside the City Gates and worked as a creative director for the Sunday Circle Group, a worldwide collaboration of talented artisans, poets, photographers, speakers, and writers. She lives among Rye pastures on a farm in east Texas, far removed from big-city slickers. On any given day, eight resident ducks waddle under her bedroom window and quack like dogs when ready to eat. Her favorite pastimes are family, writing, juicy in-depth conversations, and unsweet tea. Connect on her blog Fear Not: Infusing Courage into Your Gifts & Talents, Facebook, or Twitter

Blog Stops

May 31: Just Commonly

May 31: Karen’s Krayons

June 1: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

June 2: History, Mystery and Faith

June 3: Blogging With Carol

June 4: Splashes of Joy

June 4: Mary Hake

June 5: The Power of Words

June 6: Simple Harvest Reads

June 7: A Greater Yes

June 7: Cassandra M’s Place

June 8: Singing Librarian Books

June 9: Bukwurmzzz

June 10: Tell Tale Book Reviews

June 11: Smiling Book Reviews

June 12: Southern Soul

June 13: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate her tour,  T.H. Meyer is offering a HUGE give away: A Kindle Fire and several Amazon gift cards! Click to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9ad2

Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter Review + Kindle Fire Giveaway

Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter Banner

Purchase your copy of Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter here.

About the Book

SavingTheMarquisesGranddaughter_w11911_750In a land fraught with religious strife, they must break the barriers between status and faith to forge a fresh future in a new world… After her Huguenot father is arrested, aristocrat Suzanne Richelieu escapes Versailles. Handsome German peasant, Johan Rousch, risks his life to bring her to the safety of his family’s farm in the Palatinate duchy, but when Suzanne’s brother and the French army arrive with a warning that they plan to burn the area, she and Johan are forced to flee. With no money or options, both become indentured servants in exchange for safe passage to Philadelphia. Suzanne falls gravely ill aboard ship and marries Johan, only to survive with no memory of the wedding—a reality made worse when Johan spots the “priest” who married them working as a surveyor and later in Quaker cleric garb. Are their wedding vows valid? When Suzanne’s former fiancé arrives in port, planning to abduct her, Johan must save her again—but can he do so before Suzanne is lost to him forever?

My Two Cents

What a wonderful, gripping story.  I kept wanting to read and not put it down.  There were so many twists and turns, it kept my attention until the very end.

The time period Carrie chose is very unique and I learned a lot that I did not previously know about this time in history.  It is very apparent that Carrie did her research prior to writing this novel. I loved how Carrie used history to move the story plot along. It was very interesting to see how two very different people, dealt with the circumstances they were thrown into.

The characters in this book are very well written and have great depth.  Many times when there are several secondary characters, a story can become convoluted and confusing. This is not the case with Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter. The secondary characters richly add to the story.

My favorite aspect of the story is the theme of faith that was interwoven between its pages.  Johan believed God was leading him to do something very dangerous yet he trusted the Lord.  Suzanne’s love and care of her mother was touching and her faith was inspiring.

I give Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter 4 out of 5 stars. Adventure, mystery, suspense, romance….What more could you ask for? Definitely a book to add to your TBR pile!

I was given this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was given.

To learn more about the Celebrate Lit Blogging program, click here.

About the Author

Carrie headshotCarrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance.  Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

 

Guest Post from Carrie Fancett Pagels

Hi, I’m Carrie Fancett Pagels, so excited to see this particular book “baby”, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter, finally being “born!” I started working on this over eight years ago!

Roush book 1Would you believe it was a genealogical search that began this story? We had a lot of research on my father’s side of the family but not on my mother’s. Sites like Ancestry.com were getting big. One of my mother’s cousins posted the genealogy that he’d found, on one of the genealogy sharing sites and I got that information but only back to where I found two Rousch cousins marrying. I honestly didn’t want to go on after that, as it appeared they were first cousins – yikes! But after praying about it, and knowing my mom was curious, too, I went forward.
colonial Patriot marchers DSCN4653While I am interested in genealogy, as a former psychologist, I’m more interested in people’s stories.  So when I discovered that the two cousins were the grandchildren of Johan Adam Rousch, who had been acknowledged because nine of his ten sons had fought in the American Revolution, I wanted to know more about him and his family and ancestors.  Since there were books already written about him, I went up to the University of Virginia Rare Books Library and read what people had to say about the real life Johan. He sounded fascinating. He was an immigrant from the Palatinate of Germany and lived in the western part of Virginia, after immigrating via Pennsylvania.

I had joined the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) group and had been working on a novel set in the Charleston, South Carolina area, where I’d previously lived. I got so interested in Johan and his story that I began to write. But I couldn’t wrap my mind around Susanna, his real life wife who likely also came from the Palatinate, possibly on the same ship. No matter how I tried to work on her, through various writing classes I took, I couldn’t make her “real” because she just wasn’t speaking to me. I tried and I have the old scenes to prove it!

rousch monumentWhen I write, I pray. I asked God to show me scriptures for each scene, which were included on my rough drafts (they are not there in the final novel.) I did some research, at the library, and a massive tome about the Hundred Years War was recommended to me and one on European History from that time frame. By learning of some of the reasons the Palatinate was persecuted, such as the French punishing them for taking in Protestants, I began to imagine a different sort of heroine for my story. Of course, although the story was inspired by Johan and Susanna, this book is fictional. That freed me up for God to inspire me to make this story about faith. A core tenet of the book is that we must find our own faith – we cannot “borrow” it from someone else!

Since I was still practicing as a psychologist, as I developed Suzanne’s character I included traits that would be common in someone is the situation she was in. She’s living in an aristocratic French family, with parents who are actually of the Huguenot faith. If they are discovered there can be drastic consequences, including death. So a young lady like that may become more obsessive and compulsive as a way of dealing with that anxiety.

I hope those who read this story will be inspired by the message of overcoming and of finding one’s own path to faith in the Lord!!!

Blog Stops

May 24:  D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

May 25: Blossoms and Blessings

May 26: The Power of Words

May 26: Just Commonly (Spotlight)

May 27: A Greater Yes

May 27: Cassandra M’s Place (spotlight)

May 28: Christian Bookaholic

May 29: Bigreadersite

May 29: Mary Hake

May 30: Reading Is My SuperPower

May 31: inklings and notions

June 1: Singing Librarian Books

June 2: Karen’s Krayons

June 3: Rhonda’s Doings

June 4: Southern Chelle

June 5: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation

June 6: Simple Harvest Reads

Giveaways

Kindle grand prize meme

To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a Kindle Fire 7, one signed copy of Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter along with Postcard & bookmark and Fleur de Lis Earrings. Click the link to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9a1a

Carrie is also giving an ebook copy of her book to one lucky commenter who answers the question, “How has your faith seen you through some difficult times?” This giveaway closes on June 9th at 11:59 PST.

Just Claire + Interview with the Author

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6212289Genre: Fiction, Historical, Children’s
Publisher: Clean Reads
Publication date: January 6, 2016
Number of pages: 208ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be
​trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

Book Trailer
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/s8x5lJKZFHU
HTML: ​

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Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, this is her first book. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.
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1. How did you get started as an author?  What or whom inspired you?
Twenty one years ago, my car was hit by another vehicle. I was bedridden for weeks, barely able to walk. But, I made myself walk to the front door and back after the first week. I became depressed because I was used to manual labor and my veggie garden was growing weeds. I called my only daughter and told her the problem of my overwhelming sadness. She said, “Mom, you’ve always wanted to be an author. Why do you start writing a book?” So I did.2. What writing project are you currently working on?  What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m working on the sequel to Just Claire, titled Being Claire. For the month of April, I’ve entered the NaNo Writers Camp to spur me on to write six days a week. Being Claire’s theme is about forgiveness, when the Lavender Girls Club has followed Claire to her remote part of Southern Oregon. Claire is faced with choosing to be like the girl bullies or rise above and show kindness in return.What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer? Read, read, read, (I know it’s a clique by now) other great and later not so great books. Why do I say not so great? For me once it sank in what a great story looked like (this took about five years in my situation), I then started reading sub-par books. It actually helped me how not to write.

3. What authors inspire your writing?
Laura Ingalls Wilder with her Little House series, Valerie Hobbs’s Tender; Kirby Larson’s Hattie Big Sky; Deborah Wiles’s Each Little Bird that Sings; all books by Jane Kirpatrick, for the beautiful storytelling and spiritual content, and more recently Lori Copeland & Virginia Smith’s Rainy Day Dreams, for teaching me deeper POV.

4. What period of history interests you the most?  Does this influence your writing?
The time period which I love to read is the 1800’s. Because I know the work it would take to research for a book in this era, I don’t write it. I instead enjoy this time period to read for a pleasant and needed break from my not-so-distant historicals (1960s), and my contemporary writing. There is one way it may influence my writing, is I keep my books clean and good values-based, the same as what I read. This doesn’t mean my characters don’t struggle, as we in real life struggle, but love and truth always win in my stories.

5. What inspired the idea for Just Claire?
My own mother almost died in childbirth with my little brother. And as with Claire’s mom, my own mother was never quite right after this. I wrote the book I longed to read when I was ten and struggling with the emotional loss of my mother who was never the same.

6. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
Here’s the order of what I wanted to be, with if the first career didn’t work out, there were other choicies: a wife and mother, a horse jockey, a race car driver. Becoming a writer was a secret desire that I shared with no one and wanted to do along with whatever I did in life.

7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I really enjoy archery, big game hunting (no, I’ve not brought home the meat, yet, with my bow), and hiking in the mountains of Southern Oregon. I love spending time on my hobby farm, and with husband, thirteen grandchildren and my two children. My youngest child, Joshua, died at the age of twenty-five, and has been greatest loss of my life, and God continues to bless me with life and love.

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A wool pea jacket cut between ClaireLee and a boy in the
line. Nervous, she counted from the bottom eight black buttons all
the way to the collar. The girl wearing the coat was head and
shoulders taller than her. Peacoat crinkled her nose, while
ClaireLee squinted at the raised scar running from eye to chin.
Cocking her one good brow, Peacoat sized up—or more like
sized down—ClaireLee. Her voice boomed in the outside hallway.
“Ya must be in fourth grade, so you take the right side in my
classroom.”
She pointed to herself. “I’m in sixth, so I’m on the left.”
Rolling her eyes, ClaireLee disliked it when someone
believed they knew all about her. Fourth grade, my eye. Besides, she
had things to think on. Why hadn’t Mama and Daddy come home?
She had watched for their station wagon on the short walk to
school. Then, there was Lolly, and ClaireLee clutched the handle of
her lunch box. Lolly will eat with me at lunch.
Peacoat’s rude mouth interrupted ClaireLee’s mute
conversation. “Hey, I’m talking to ya, squirt.”
Without blinking a lash, ClaireLee glared at her.
Her mouth open, Peacoat placed her hands on her hips.
“Why ya gawkin’ at me?”
“What does gawkin’ mean?”
“You’re as tough as a banty rooster, ain’t ya?” Peacoat burst
out laughing.
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May 23–Reading Is My SuperPower
May 24–Bookworm Lisa | Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance
May 25–Katie’s Clean Book Collection | Christy’s Cozy Corners
May 26–Mel’s Shelves | Simply Harvest Reads
May 27–Christian Bookaholic
May 28–Singing Librarian Books

One Plus One Equals Trouble Review + Giveaway

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Purchase your copy here.

About the Book

One Plus One Single w seriesHumiliated after her broken engagement, Claire Montgomery flees her comfortable life in San Francisco for a teaching position in Pine Creek, Washington, a dot of a town nestled in the rugged Cascade Mountains. She’s determined to succeed—for once in her life—only to discover, upon her arrival, that success will have to be won. Thanks to a school board error, two teachers have been hired.

When scandal forces professor Barrett Clarke from his position, he returns to Pine Creek where his uncle, chairman of the school board, sets forth an irresistible offer: teach one year in return for ranchland. For this would-be rancher, nothing is more tempting than resurrecting his childhood dream, and nothing can deter him from earning that land.

Except perhaps Claire Montgomery. Losing the battle for the classroom means losing the ranchland, but winning may mean losing Claire’s heart.

My Two Cents

This is my first experience reading Sondra Kraak and let me say, I will be anxiously waiting for her next book.  One Plus One Equals Trouble is a fun and easy read that draws you in right away.  I love the humor that Sondra adds to her characters – especially Barrett. There were several funny situations as well. Being a teacher myself, I like how Sondra shows the two different sides of teaching through the characters of Claire and Barrett.

One Plus One Equals Trouble deals with some difficult issues that we have in our Christian life. Forgiveness, the feeling of life not being fair, difficult decisions, trusting in the Lord and more. Sondra handles these issues very well and weaves them into the character’s story.  I was extremely encouraged.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of humor, this is a not to miss book! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I was giving this book from Celebrate Lit  in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are my own.

About the Author

Sondra KraakA native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain, but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015).

Blog Stops

May 10: cherylbbookblog

May 11: Singing Librarian Books

May 12: Cassandra M’s Place

May 12: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

May 13: Inklings and Notions

May 14: Christian Bookaholic

May 14: Bigreadersite

May 15: The Power of Words

May 16: Through the Open Window

May 17: Melissa’s Musings – Reviews

May 18: Simple Harvest Reads

May 19: Texas Bookaholic

May 20: Bukwurmzzz

May 21: Reading Is My SuperPower

May 22: Raining Butterfly Kisses

May 23: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway

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