Assessing Your Prophetic Self Spotlight and Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Assessing Your Prophetic Self

Author: Paula A. Price PH.D.

Genre:  RELIGION / Christianity/Pentecostal & Charismatic

Release Date: April 17, 2020

The Prophetic Primers are a series of smaller books based on the best-selling The Prophet’s Dictionary and The Prophet’s Handbook that will bring clarity, discovery, and definition to the training of prophetic gifts. In Assessing Your Prophetic Self, Dr. Paula A. Price provides diagnostic tools, as well as language and knowledge, to discern, measure, and encourage the gifts of novice prophets. Readers will receive links for an online prophetic assessment test. Dr. Price also sets specific and measurable objectives, goals, and outcomes for the formation of a prophetic ministry. Also includes an introduction for the seasoned prophet looking to mentor others in the ministry.


Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Paula A. Price is quickly becoming the international voice on the subject of apostolic and prophetic ministry. She has founded and established three churches, an apostolic and prophetic Bible institute, a publication company, a consulting firm, and a global collaborative network linking apostles and prophets together for the purpose of kingdom vision and ventures. Although she has written over twenty-five books, manuals, and other course material on the apostolic and prophetic, she is most recognized for her unique 1,600-term The Prophet’s Dictionary, a concise prophetic training manual entitled Church Prophets, and her follow-up, The Prophet’s Handbook, a tool for establishing prophetic ministry in the church. Paula is host of her own program, Let’s Just Talk: Where God Makes Sense. She has a D.Min. and a Ph.D. in Religious Education from Word of Truth Seminary in Alabama. She is also a wife, mother of three daughters, and the grandmother of two. She and her husband Tom presently pastor New Creation Worship Assembly in Tulsa, Oklahoma.



More from Paula

My previous books, THE PROPHET’s DICTIONARY and THE PROPHET’s HANDBOOK have sold extremely well and have offered guidance and wisdom to many. This new book, ASSESSINGG YOUR PROPHETIC SELF is the first of The Prophetic Primer Series that will bring more clarity and discovery to your training in the prophetic.

Blog Stops

Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Spotlight)

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 22

Book Love, May 23 (Spotlight)

For the Love of Literature, May 24 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, May 25

Blossoms and Blessings, May 26 (Spotlight)

For Him and My Family, May 27

Vicky Sluiter, May 28 (Spotlight)

Inklings and notions, May 29

Andrea Christenson, May 30 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, May 31

Through the Fire Blogs, June 1 (Spotlight)


To celebrate her tour, Paula is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

The Wait Will Not Be Wasted Q&A and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Wait Will Not Be Wasted

Author: Lauren Lianne

Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Living

Release Date: February 14, 2020

You’ve probably imagined the job, the spouse, the kids—and you knew what age you wanted it all to happen. However, all too often such plans go up in smoke, and you may feel confused and forgotten when reality doesn’t match your expectations. When life doesn’t go like you planned, can you still trust that God knows how to write the best stories? Instead of taking the pen to your own story, author Lauren Walton suggests refocusing on your Creator.

After spending years frustrated because life wasn’t going according to her plans, Lauren decided to give up control. It was then she learned God’s graciousness wasn’t based on getting what she wanted and that God’s perfect plan included an unexpected season. She wrote The Wait Will Not Be Wasted to help other single women during times of unfulfilled hopes. Lauren shares how self-reflection, journaling, and practical experience have led her to find deep fulfillment and a God-given purpose while she waits. It is her hope that her journey will help others see God’s goodness even during the most difficult times.

Though directed at single women, the concepts apply to any woman waiting for God to move in her life.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Lauren Walton is a native Floridian who now calls Nashville home. She loves traveling, dancing, staying active with her church community, and cheering on her Auburn University Tigers. Lauren’s faith has carried her through some tough times, and it is now her life goal to help others see God’s goodness even during the most difficult times.


More from Lauren

All I have ever wanted was to be a wife and a mom. In the life I had always imagined there were no other options. But then college came and went, moving to a new city and finding my first job came and went. And so many other milestones came and went, including my 35th birthday. As the years kept passing, I found myself still waiting. My heart felt confused and forgotten. I didn’t understand why God would give me this desire and then withhold it from me.

About eight years ago a friend wrote a verse in my journal. I loved it at the time but didn’t realize it would become my anthem in the future. She wrote Psalm 94:17, which says, “Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence”. I can’t tell you how many times I almost settled in silence but turns out God had other plans for me.

Many times I started to wonder if God really was the good God I had always thought He was. I grew up in church and had been taught from a young age to believe God was good no matter what. But as the wait got longer and longer He didn’t seem to be very good. At that point, I started questioning so many things as I felt my faith beginning to crack. I was terrified of what I might find if I dug into the pain so I pushed it aside, or at least tried to. I began to believe the lie that having doubts would make me a horrible Christian so I kept silent.  I was so afraid to ask the tough questions and was afraid of what those questions might say about me. Ignoring those concerns ended up being a breeding ground for all my doubts, which eventually led me to make decisions I normally would never have made. I lost sight of God’s goodness and found myself solely focusing on what I didn’t have… a husband and a family. This was a season filled with sadness and so much bitterness. I was so over being single and so frustrated with the way my life had turned out. But somewhere in the middle of all that hurt, and despite all my mistakes, God still came for me. He started teaching me all over again who He was as my Father. And how much He loved me.

As I started walking towards healing, I began to ask God the really hard questions my heart couldn’t make sense of, and I believe He started to answer me. So I started to write it all down. I kept a running note in my phone and I always felt like the things God was showing me and encouraging me with were not just for me. If God had me still waiting, there must be a reason and I was determined to figure out what that was. I eventually took a next step and went away for the weekend to write. I found the perfect Airbnb tree house and 7 chapters came spilling out.

At that point it became very clear this book needed to be written and I felt very strongly it needed to be written now… while I am still waiting and not when I am on the other side of my singleness. It’s my hope this will cause other women to lean into what I am saying, or better yet what God has to say. I believe these are His words and not mine anyway.

The Wait will not be Wasted is my “yes” to the Lord and my thank you for how far He has brought me. It’s my whole heart in written form, and the story of my victories and struggles while walking through my singleness. It’s not the pretty or cleaned up version of my story. It was very purposely written that way so we could all take a deep breath and know it’s okay, that it’s hard and it’s okay to make mistakes. I know I’ve made plenty.

I’m praying as women read these words they will discover this life is never going to be void of the hard but there is a very real and very big God who is bigger than anything we go through. I hope together we can begin to see our singleness through a new filter, as we began to shift our attention and see things more from God’s perspective instead of our own. Knowing this doesn’t mean the wait will all of a sudden be easier. But also seeing even through the pain there is a purpose to this season. And God is working all of it together for our good.

He’s always making sure not one minute of our pain is wasted.

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Lauren Lianne

What inspired this book?

The short answer to this question is…the frustration of still being single. All I have ever wanted was to be a wife and a mom so being single has often been such a struggle for me. After turning 35 and facing yet another disappointment in this area I began a journey to figure out what God wanted me to do with this time. I figured if I was still single there must be a reason so I started asking the tough questions. I believed God started answering them and those answers turned into this book. It was born right in the middle of my pain but I felt very strongly it was something God wanted me to do. Writing this book has brought so much encouragement and redemption to this season of singleness. I’m forever hoping it will be over soon but my thankfulness for the wait has only continued to grow.

Which chapter was the most difficult to write?

There is a chapter in the book called What I Thought was Not and it was by far the hardest chapter to write. It is about my most recent season of disappointment so it was a lot fresher than the other chapters. In some ways I felt like I was still living through it so it was more painful to write about. I really thought I knew how the situation was going to turn out so actually writing about it was a constant reminder that things did not turn out like I wanted them to.

What would you like your readers to get out of this book?

I have thought about this very thing many times. There were many hard moments when it felt like it would be easier just to walk away from the whole thing so I really had to think about why I was writing this book. Once I started the editing process I wrote “For single women to know they aren’t forgotten or behind. They are loved, chosen and valuable right where they are” on a white board that I could look at often as I was writing. This kept me going when I wanted to give up and this is what I would want every single woman to know. I also want anyone who picks up this book to know God is good and faithful even if we never get that thing we have always wanted. It is my prayer that everyone will see this season of waiting has a purpose. I’ve learned He redeems every bit of the hard and uses it all for good. He makes sure our wait will not be wasted.

Which author influenced you the most?

Lysa TerKeurst has been an inspiration for me. I often refer to her as “my girl Lysa” because I love her insight and her writing has a way of making you feel like you have been friends forever. She is also one of the reasons I started writing my book when I did. I couldn’t put It’s not Supposed to be this Way down and after listening to her speak on a couple podcasts and a few events I understood why. She wrote while she was still going through the pain and the writing came out so authentic and it drew me in. It was then I realized it was very important to write this book while I was still single and while I was still experiencing the good and bad of this season. I wanted other women to know they were not alone and I am right there with them. I’m so thankful Lysa was brave enough to share her story even before she was on the other side of her healing.

What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

Jeremiah 29:11 has become a life verse for me. The words have become my anthem as I wait: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I share more about this verse in the book but I have often fought against fear and sadness with this verse. I have spoken it over my circumstances and clung to it in my darkest moments. I’m so quick to forget but I believe God has the best plans for me so I let this verse serve as my reminder. His plans will always be to prosper me and not to harm me.

Thank you Lauren for letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 27

Remembrancy, April 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 29

Texas Book-aholic, April 30

Inklings and notions, May 1

Artistic Nobody, May 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 3

For Him and My Family, May 4

Mary Hake, May 5

Older & Smarter?, May 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 7

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 8

Just Your Average reviews, May 9

Simple Harvest Reads, May 10 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Lauren is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Dark Water Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Dark Water

Author: Christy Barritt

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Release Date: January 28, 2020


Colton Locke can’t forget the black op that went terribly wrong. Desperate for a new start, he moves to Lantern Beach, North Carolina, and forms Blackout, a private security firm. Despite his hero status, he can’t erase the mistakes he’s made.


For the past year, Elise Oliver hasn’t been able to shake the feeling that there’s more to her husband’s death than she was told. When she finds a hidden box of his personal possessions, more questions—and suspicions—arise. The only person she trusts to help her is her husband’s best friend, Colton Locke.


Someone wants Elise dead. Is it because she knows too much? Or is it to keep her from finding the truth? The Blackout team must uncover dark secrets hiding beneath seemingly still waters. But those very secrets might just tear the team apart.


Click here for your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

I have wanted to read a Christy Barritt book for quite some time now due to the accolades and I was excited to have the opportunity to read this one that starts out a series. Set on a small tourist island of Lantern Beach, NC, the book is fast-paced and filled with adrenaline and suspicious characters. The plot is complex and the author will have you guessing at the villain’s identity until the very end. It’s a fun romantic suspense that you can read in one sitting.

Elise, a widower of a former SEAL operative, is being hunted down for something that her deceased husband knew and has no one to turn to except Colton, her husband’s best friend. Colton is the protective tender warrior who now heads up a security consultant team but can’t seem to escape his memories from the last mission gone wrong. From former colleagues to strangers on the street to those in the hierarchy of the Navy, everyone is a suspect as Colton and his team try to figure out who is targeting Elise and what top government secret is being covered up. The romance between Colton and Elise is sweet and I’m looking forward to hearing more about them as the series progresses. I’m sure the next three books will focus on each of Colton’s team and I can’t wait to read about their journeys.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the  Author

Christy BarrittUSA Today has called Christy Barritt’s books “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky.”

Publishers Weekly best-seller, Christy writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have sold more than two million copies, and two are currently being developed as movies.

Christy’s books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year.

She’s married to her prince charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious–but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado.

Christy currently splits her time between the Virginia suburbs and Hatteras Island, North Carolina. She loves spending time with her husband, her two sons, and her four dogs.

For more information, visit her website:


More from Christy

Dark Water is the fourth series in the Lantern Beach Universe. When I created the fictional island of Lantern Beach, NC, I had no idea how popular it would be. I’ve fallen in love with the people there, and they feel more like friends than fictional characters.

Dark Water is about a group of former Navy SEALs who band together to former an elite private security firm. But they all share secrets, as well as guilt over the death of their SEAL leader. In order to move on, they must find answers.

I introduced Colton Locke in the last book of the Lantern Beach PD series—Plan of Action. I knew he needed his own book and that I wanted to develop his character more. That turned into a four-book series featuring Colton and three of his friends. Blackout contains suspense, mystery, and romance—all of my favorite things!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, May 1

For Him and My Family, May 1

Reading Is My SuperPower, May 2

Blogging With Carol, May 2

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 2

KarenSueHadley, May 3

Read Review Rejoice, May 3

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 4

Genesis 5020, May 4

Through the Fire Blogs, May 4

She Lives To Read, May 5

deb’s Book Review, May 5

Remembrancy, May 6

Britt Reads Fiction, May 6

Emily Yager, May 6

Betti Mace, May 7

Hookmeinabook, May 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 8

Splashes of Joy, May 8

Inklings and notions, May 8

Simple Harvest Reads, May 9 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Just Your Average reviews, May 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 10

Pause for Tales, May 10

Because I said so– adventures in parenting, May 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, May 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, May 12

Spoken from the Heart, May 12

Lights in a Dark World, May 12

Blossoms and Blessings, May 13

CarpeDiem, May 13

With a Joyful Noise, May 14

Live. Love. Read., May 14

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 14


To celebrate her tour, Christy is giving away the the grand prize package of a signed copy of Dark Water and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Marriage Matters Q&A and Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Marriage Matters

Author: Cheri Swalwell

Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Biblical Marriage

Release Date: November 22, 2019

Marriage Matters KindleMarriage joins two imperfect people who pledge to love, honor, and commit to each other for life. Eleven couples graciously chose to share their stories within the pages of this book because they believe in the sanctity of marriage. None of the couples are perfect, but they come alongside you and your spouse with experience and encouragement as you pray about how to live out your own marriage. Some of the couples work in full-time ministry, others have chosen the military as their career. Some couples have faced the issue of infertility while others have had to deal with sickness or death. Some couples have been remarried, others married later in life, and others have dealt with seemingly more than any one couple should have to face in a lifetime. All of the couples have one thing in common – their love for God and their commitment to marriage God’s way.Grab your favorite beverage in a comfy chair and get ready to be encouraged. Buy your own copy today, and one for a friend, because Marriage Matters!


Click here for your copy!



About the Author

Cheri SwallwellCheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. Cheri loves to encourage people through her Spoken from the Heart devotionalsBible study Caring for the Caregiver and other compilation books dealing with the subjects of miscarriage and cancer. For a full list of books and where they are sold visit If you want to sign up to her newsletter to stay updated on all the latest news, you will also receive a full-length devotional free, as her way of saying thanks for joining!


More from Cheri

Back in 2007, long before writing was even on my radar, I had a conversation with God about writing a book that would offer hope to those who had lost a child. We had lost our baby the December prior, and I needed to know I would smile again someday. Little did I know that conversation 12 years ago would result in a series of compilation books encouraging others about various topics. The first one, Hope During Heartache was published in 2014, and it’s 13 different men and women’s stories about how they found hope after dealing with the death of a child.

In early 2015, I had another conversation with God and asked Him … “What’s next? Do You have any other compilation books you’d like me to share with others to bring encouragement?” In 2018, Peace During the Pain was published (a book about how to find peace after the diagnosis of cancer) which is 12 different men and women’s stories either about their own personal journey or the journey of a family member.

The goal for 2020 is to publish Joy During the Journey, a compilation of people who have found joy despite living with chronic illness.

During my 2015 conversation, I asked God if He would allow me to write a compilation book about a “happier” topic than death, cancer, and chronic illness. And in His goodness, He said yes! That is when He told me I could write about the topic of marriage, a topic I truly love because being married and having children has always been my heart’s desire. Not only do I get to share encouragement, support, and wisdom from 11 different couples with you in this book, an added bonus is that one of the couples is my parents, another is my youth pastor and his wife, whom I’ve admired for over 25+ years, and yet another is my present pastor and his wife. All three of these couples have significantly modeled biblical marriage for me throughout the years. But that’s not all. There are also military couples, couples who have suffered circumstances no couple should ever have to face, and new friends I’ve met through the writing of this book. I believe you will enjoy as much as I have the encouragement and wisdom from each and every couple who took the time to share a little about their life with you. I’m excited to share the stories between these pages … so sit back, grab your favorite beverage and be prepared to get encouraged!

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Cheri Swalwell

What inspired this book?

In 2006 our family lost a baby. I remember looking for a book that would offer me hope, and I couldn’t find one. The books that were “stories” made me angry because the writers were angry. And I remember telling God, “Fine, I’ll write the book then.” This was before writing was even on my radar. Seven years later, Hope During Heartache was published. Twelve men and women shared stories of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and loss of a child.

When that book was done, I asked God “Now what?” And I believe He told me there were more topics He wanted me to share. He gave me: Cancer and chronic illness. I asked Him if I could have a “happy topic” too because the others were so heavy. He gave me “Marriage.”

I realized as I was gathering the stories for this book, it wasn’t as “happy” as I had pictured. Some of the couples have gone through much grief in their married life, but similar to Hope During Heartache and Peace During the Pain, God always gives hope, peace, or shows couples how to love each other biblically, because that’s what God does. When we choose to walk with Him through the difficulties in life, He shows up! Every single time.

Which chapter was the most difficult to write?

Being that I only wrote one chapter for this book (it’s a compilation of 11 couple’s stories, ours being one of them), our chapter. I was honored to have pastors and their wives, military families, and families who have gone through more grief than any one person should have to experience in a lifetime, so trying to figure out what to write and how to present it, was, for me intimidating. Many of the couples have had way more years together than my husband and I so choosing what I wanted to highlight was difficult.

It was important to me that the couples who took the time to share their stories were proud of the way their words were presented. One thing about publishing these compilation books, a way I know God is fully in them, is that there is always an underlying theme that becomes present as I edit and publish the books. A theme separate from the book’s title. While none of the other writers have any idea what each other have written, all of the stories flow together as though they were having a casual conversation with each other, each building off the other’s story. I love how God has done that with each book: Hope During Heartache, Peace During the Pain, and now Marriage Matters.

What would you like your readers to get out of this book?

Originally I wanted to write this book simply because I love “marriage.” I was the child in elementary school who was reading biblical marriage and parenting books instead of Nancy Drew. My greatest blessing would be that individuals (single and wanting to be married) and couples (newly engaged or married) would be encouraged by the journeys each of the people in the book have traveled, and then feel more confident walking out their own journey as a couple who loves God too. The icing on the cake would be for couples who don’t know God to be introduced to the amazing Father we serve and give their lives to Him, dedicating themselves to doing marriage His way.

What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

Our family’s life verse is Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (NIV) I love that verse and it brings comfort and also encouragement as we travel this road of writing and sharing our love of our Father with others.

However, throughout the years, God gives me different verses that coincide with the season I’m facing or going to face. Exodus 14:13-14 was the first one He gave me: “Moses answered the people, ‘Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (NIV) Another verse God has given me for a long season is Psalm 46:10, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (NIV) I usually will sign my books with the verse that God has given me for that season. I love how God’s Word is living and speaks to us.

What is your most well-loved and well-used house appliance?

My mixer. While I am a terrible cook and by my own confession, cannot cook at all, I love to bake and people seem to think my baking tastes pretty good. For the last few years, while our youngest was still in elementary school, I would take home baked goods to his teachers “just because” as a way to show God’s love. It started with just teachers he had in the past (and present) and grew to be most all the teachers in the school. I wanted them to see God’s hands and feet in action. Not just teachers though. I bake for construction workers repairing our house, friends who are discouraged, my own family when they need an extra pick-me-up or a congratulations for something to celebrate! Baking is one way I like to show my love to others.

Thank you Cheri for letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 3

Artistic Nobody, May 4 (Author Interview)

Bigreadersite, May 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 7

Simple Harvest Reads, May 8 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 8

deb’s Book Review, May 9

Inklings and notions, May 10

Book of Ruth Ann, May 11

Through the Fire Blogs, May 12 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 13

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, May 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 15


To celebrate her tour, Cheri is giving away the grand prize of a $15 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Hope Lies Ahead Q&A and Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Hope Lies Ahead

Author: James & Geoffrey Banks

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, Christian living, family and relationships

Release Date: April, 2020

HopeLiesAhead_Cover.inddNo prodigal is beyond the reach of God

 Every inch of my body was in pain and my skin was crawling. I couldn’t think straight or even form coherent sentences . . . How did I end up like this? –Geoffrey Banks

Geoff’s situation seemed hopeless: a heroin addict going through a nightmarish detox on the floor of an overpopulated jail cell. He had made a mess of his life.

His parents felt their son slipping away. They loved him so much and felt so powerless. And so they prayed—through the hurt, the questions, the frustrations. And through it all, God walked with them.

Hope Lies Ahead shares Geoff’s prodigal journey and James’s perspective as his father. Each man writes his own story and candidly addresses the spiritual and practical challenges families with prodigals face. As someone who loves a prodigal, you’ll know you are not alone and that there is hope!


Click here to get your copy


About the Authors

James Banks_2017

Dr. James Banks is the author of Prayers for Prodigals, Prayers for Your Children, Praying the Prayers of the Bible, Praying Together, and Praying with Jesus. Through books, blog posts, and magazine articles, he regularly encourages people to pray. Dr. Banks has been a pastor and church planter for more than twenty-five years and lives with his wife, Cari, in Durham, North Carolina. They have two adult children.



Geoffrey Banks serves as the high school coordinator at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. He loves reaching students where they are and helping them walk with God. He is an avid surfer and skater. Geoffrey struggled with heroin addiction throughout his teens and early twenties before coming to know Jesus and having his life radically change. Now he is host of the podcast Too Many Christians, which explores beliefs in the pursuit of ultimate truth.


More from Geoffrey and Dr. Banks

From James

My son, Geoff, and I chose to tell our story in Hope Lies Ahead because we believe it’s what God would have us do. So many families suffer in silence when their loved ones go down prodigal paths, and we want them to know they are not alone. God truly offers hope when it seems like none can be found.

Geoff and I could only write this book because of God’s kindness to us. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal, “My son was lost and now is found,” and I’m still celebrating. Geoff is so much more than his past sins and mistakes. He is a new creation, made stronger in the broken places by God’s amazing love. Today God uses him to reach people in ways that would not have been possible had he not been down such difficult roads. God wastes nothing—redemption is a precious, priceless thing.

God never gives up on us. He goes to lengths that defy reason to save us and love us back to Himself. Even when our children make choices that break our hearts, God doesn’t abandon them. He loves our prodigals even more than we do.

Jesus is still “a friend of sinners.” No one is beyond God’s reach. When answers to prayer are long in coming, He Himself is the best answer. In the rough and raw places where we feel numb or even nothing at all, God is able to meet us with help and healing as we cast our cares on Him.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep loving, keep praying, and keep the lines of communication open. God can empower us in love beyond what we think is possible, and give us the wisdom and direction we need to face each day.


From Geoff

Substance abuse is so prevalent in our world right now. There is no specific socioeconomic class, community, or age that struggles with it, it is everywhere. With that being the reality, there is a lot of negative stories out there. All over the news you hear of overdoses, arrests, and other things related to this topic going on. My heart behind writing Hope Lies Ahead is that people will find some hope in the midst of an incredibly difficult time.

It is an up close and personal book for both my father and I, and that is on purpose. We looked at both of our failings, our strengths, and where we could have done things differently. For us it was an honest dialogue about what our journey through substance abuse as a family was like and how we came out on the other side. I hope that it can be the start of an honest dialogue for a lot of other families as well that will point everyone involved toward our one hope—Jesus.

As you read through Hope Lies Ahead, you will see a little bit of yourself in both of us. At times I am pretty hard on my father for some of the things that he did. The thing that I want to remind the reader of is that even when he made mistakes, it was done out of love. He wasn’t the religious Bible thumper I sometimes make him out to be but rather was driven by a deep love for his kids that sometimes got expressed in the wrong way. I think that his perspective is so unique because now he recognizes those moments for what they are and is able to help other people not fall in those same traps. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my parents, and this experience ended up sharpening both of us.

Based on what we learned going through this experience, I would say to a parent of a prodigal  above all else, maintain relationship. Let them know you love them even when they make huge mistakes. Let them know that if they ever want help you are right there waiting. Make sure they are aware of their options as far as treatment goes and when the opportunity arises to get them there, jump on it. Do it immediately. Don’t wait.

I think we often find ourselves wanting to preach. Addiction can be an infuriating disease to experience, whether you are the one who is addicted or a family member is. In the midst of that anger and frustration, we need to be reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Your war isn’t with that person, it is with the sin that is dominating their life. Don’t exchange your relationship with them for an off handed comment or a sermon about their behavior. It isn’t worth it.

My prayer is that people reading this book will be encouraged in their situation and that they turn first to Jesus. I believe that ultimate redemption looks like Jesus on the cross. It is when something meant for evil gets turned around and used for good. There are many stories of people going through addiction and then using their experience to help others out of it. There is nothing more beautiful than a giant struggle becoming an incredible strength.

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Dr. James Banks

What inspired this book?

The breathtaking transformation of my son’s life by God’s love.


Which chapter was the most difficult to write?

Chapter 5, “A Far Country,” where several mistakes I made as a dad struck me with fresh force.


What would you like your readers to get out of this book?

That no one is beyond the reach of God’s love.


Which author influenced you the most?

William Cowper, a British poet and contemporary of John Newton. His depth of insight into human nature and understanding of God’s work in our hearts is genius.


What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

2 Corinthians 5:17:  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.


Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Santa Barbara. My wife and I met there in college and we love to go back!

What are you reading right now?

I read several books at once, but my favorite currently is a little known classic from the 18th century, Samuel Clarke’s “Precious Bible Promises.”


What is your most well-loved and well-used house appliance?

I love our Instapot. I use it weekly to make Greek yogurt and steel cut oats.


Describe your view as you’re sitting in your writing chair.

A large desk with each of the books I’ve written in view, an open window with a glance down the street, and a chocolate Labrador Retriever nestled against my feet.


If you could have one piece of art or music a deserted island, what would it be and why?

Could I say the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel? That way I’d have shelter and an amazing view at the same time!

Thank you Dr. James for letting us get to know you better!

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Geoffrey Banks

What inspired this book?

A desire to give back and help others. When I look back at my life and everything that is in this book, I had so many people help me along the way. Some of those stories are told in the book and others I may not even remember, but the grace and kindness of so many people have helped me get to where I am today. One of those people I talked to not long ago and asked her how I could repay her for everything she has done for me. She told me to keep helping others. That is what the heart is behind this book: to help people, point them to Jesus, and give them hope.

Which chapter was the most difficult to write?

There is one chapter that I describe the process of using heroin in great detail. That was an especially difficult chapter to write because of what happened during that time in my life, and where I had to go in my head to write it. It was a dark chapter but I felt it was necessary to truly show the depths of addiction and where it takes you. My father and I tried not to pull punches in this book. Most of the people who will read it have probably been to some incredibly difficult, raw, dark places in their life with a prodigal and we wanted to honor that by being honest about what it was like for us.

What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

This is a big part in the book so I won’t spoil how I came to them but I have two verses that are incredibly important to me. One is Isaiah 43:2, where God is reminding Israel that no matter what, He is right there. That is a promise that I hold onto, that God is with His people no matter the circumstances. The other is Ephesians 5:1 where Paul is telling the Church in Ephesus what it looks like to follow Jesus and he tells them to imitate God as beloved children. It is a picture of a child looking at their father and wanting to be like him. That is a beautiful way to view our relationship with God.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

I go to Puerto Rico about once a year (more if I can help it) and do nothing but surf and spend time in the ocean. Some of my best friends live down there and it has become a beautiful escape for me. I love the country, culture, the people, and of course, the waves.

Describe your view as you’re sitting in your writing chair.

It is about 4 pm in the afternoon and the sun is beginning to get low in the sky. It is way too warm for a January day and the light is spilling through my open blinds. My huge labradoodle is poking her head above the window sill so that she can have an unobstructed view of the neighborhood cats. Through the window I can see tree roots breaking through the sidewalk in front of my house and my garbage can is still out front even though the trash came 3 days ago. Don’t tell my HOA.

Thank you Geoffrey for letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

Andrea Christenson, April 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 27

For Him and My Family, April 28

Genesis 5020, April 29

For the Love of Literature, April 30 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 1

A Baker’s Perspective, May 2 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, May 3

Simple Harvest Reads, May 4 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Through the Fire Blogs, May 6

Artistic Nobody, May 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)


To celebrate their tour, James and Geoffrey are giving away the grand prize package of Hope Lies Ahead, Prayers For Prodigals and $10 Amazon Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

The Lost Lieutenant Reivew

About the book:

lost leutinantHe’s doing what he can to save the Prince Regent’s life . . . but can he save his new marriage as well?

Evan Eldridge never meant to be a war hero–he just wanted to fight Napoleon for the future of his country. And he certainly didn’t think that saving the life of a peer would mean being made the Earl of Whitelock. But when the life you save is dear to the Prince Regent, things can change in a hurry.

Now Evan has a new title, a manor house in shambles, and a stranger for a bride, all thrust upon him by a grateful ruler. What he doesn’t have are all his memories. Traumatized as a result of his wounds and bravery on the battlefield, Evan knows there’s something he can’t quite remember. It’s important, dangerous–and if he doesn’t recall it in time, will jeopardize not only his marriage but someone’s very life.

Readers who enjoy Julie Klassen, Carolyn Miller, and Kristi Ann Hunter will love diving into this brand-new Regency series filled with suspense, aristocratic struggles, and a firm foundation of faith.

Read an excerpt from Kregel by clicking here!


About the author:


Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.  


Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. 


A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England. 


My Two Cents

Laser cut lace square frame, vector template. Ornamental cutout photo frame with pattern. Vintage background with flowers inside the cut out frame.

I LOVED, loved, loved this book! The intensity. The secrets. The suspense. I couldn’t put the book down. Even though there are a few motifs and layers to the story, Vetsch handled them well. I did not feel lost in the story and it flowed well.

It was interesting to learn the difficulties of a rector’s son being thrown into royalty and to see how women were trained to handle managing households. The Prince Regent was a great character and while you think he is an airhead, I truly think there is a method to his madness.

You want to pick up this book. Seriously. I have already pre-ordered the second book. It is a series you don’t want to miss.




Bitter Honey Q&A and Giveaway!

About the Book

Book:  Bitter Honey

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release Date: March 23, 2020

With God, all things are possible.
But can lost love be found again or two wounded hearts knitted together?
Young love, sweeter than honey, is separated by a natural disaster and turns bitter. After five years, a miracle reunites Samantha Adams and Silas Mercier, but it seems it’s too late. Will love prevail?


Click here for your copy!




About the Author

Praying her story gives God glory, award-winning author Caryl McAdoo continues prolificity with her new Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga series. Readers around the world enjoy her best-selling novels and shower them with 5-Star ratings galore. With forty-eight titles—and counting—her love for writing is obvious; the lady loves singing the new songs the Lord gives her as well! (Check out YouTube). Caryl gave Ron four children and the couple shares eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, the seat of Red River County, in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

More from Caryl

Are you ready to revisit the Adams and Corbin families (from UNIQUELY COMMON and REMI)? Five years have passed, so it’s 1853, and life has gone on.

Samantha, only fourteen back then, wrote faithfully to Silas back in New Orleans as she traveled west on the Oregon/California Trail. She expected a tall stack of letters waiting on her at the General Store in Napa, but alas there were none.

BITTER HONEY is a story of puppy love time tries to dissipate, but Samantha never forgot Silas—or forgave him either! Though she had no way of knowing what tragic events had kept him from mailing the return missives, he never quit thinking of the beautiful girl who’d written of her love for him.

However, each day that passed only made it harder for him to write. Until he decided only a face-to-face talk would suffice, he worked with the man who’d always loved his mother, Claude, to rebuild his family’s vineyard, catching gators on the side.

This story has a second love story, that of Claude and the prostitute he rescues Odette, so there’s plenty of action to keep readers flipping pages. A story of first love and late, second-chance love with a taste of the Cajun life in Louisiana, BITTER HONEY is about restoration and following God’s will.

I hope you enjoy BITTER HONEY and all the other Lockets and Lace stories!

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Caryl McAdoo

What inspired this book?
This is my third year to be a part of Lockets and Lace Collection with the bloggers of historic tidbits at Sweet Americana Sweethearts.

Last year my title for this series was UNIQUELY COMMON wherein my readers met a young girl thirteen years old named Samantha. Her mother had died, her aunt was marrying, and her father had sold the family brownstone in New York to start a vineyard on Napa Valley. Except Aunt Christina’s fiancé dumped her at the last minute and she has to go with her brother and nieces.

Then in my Prairie Roses Collection title in 2019, REMI, readers got to know this young lady a little better as she played matchmaker for her father. So, when I started thinking about my 2020 Lockets and Lace title, I decided to let Samantha grow up and have her own romance. Five years passed quickly and at nineteen she has suitors coming from all over the Napa Valley.

What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

It’s so hard to choose just one verse as so many have affected my life for the better, but when thinking of a “life verse,” one stands out: Habakkuk 2:3.  God’s prophet says this: For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

This verse is so important to me because God gave my husband a vision back in 1975, calling him to an end-time ministry. He shared it with me and in the years following, the Lord added instructions and more details, speaking to both of us. As David said, “Now I am old.”

Ron and I turn seventy this year (November 2019 and May 2020) and we are still “waiting for it,” certain of its truth, God’s Ramah Word to us when we were in our twenties. We’ve thought many times it was THE time, God’s appointed time, but it tarried still. My Father gave me this verse (as marked in the margin of my Bible) in the 1980s and confirmed it three times in one day. And so . . . I wait still.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading my next release over right now, LILAH. It’s my contribution to the Prairie Roses Collection Two, a series of covered wagon stories with strong heroines! It will be launching on my seventieth birthday, May 3rd and is my fifty-first title to be published. I just love this character; Lilah is a hoot!

And this book has a little more about the Native American tribes in the Northwest than my other stories. Readers will get to know them a little better. I very much enjoyed the research.

What is your most well-loved and well-used house appliance?

Does the computer count as an appliance? You’d think I love it the most since I’m on it from morning until night almost every day. 😊 It definitely is well used, but I’d almost say it’s a love-hate relationship.

I loveLoveLOVE it when it’s speeding and working properly and there’s nothing more frustrating when it isn’t. I’ve recently been through a crash and OH. MY. GRACIOUS. What a time-wasting hassle that was, but I know God can and will use even THAT to my good, so with a sigh, I choose to rejoice and trust Him!

Describe your view as you’re sitting in your writing chair. 

Well, I type at a desk computer that sits on a big over five-foot-tall, six-foot-wide desk. Because I’m here so much, it’s plenty cluttered.

My view is of a coffee cup and my sweet tea glass (both green) on either side, my apple cider vinegar and water enhancer, my phone, a cluster of oils, lotions, and prescriptions, about  twenty to thirty little notepad pages filled with green ink scribblings, a little desk lamp to shine on my keyboard (I type by the Bible, seek and ye shall find), my datebook, pill cups, books, addressed envelopes I need to mail off to readers who’ve won my giveaways at all the parties I had this past month, a scripture verse, picture of my son and his daughter Lillian, the printer and my husband’s new c-pap machine!

He’s had only two days, and his side of the bed is next to my desk, so it serves as his bedside table, too. I need to get it organized and straight. I know I’d enjoy it more!

If you could have one piece of art or music a deserted island, what would it be and why?

I would want to have music for certain, and it would be a praise and/or worship composition. I’m thinking Handel’s Messiah’s Hallelujah Chorus! That would keep me fulfilled and at peace until my Father either called me home or sent a boat to rescue me. I’d spend my days praising and worshiping Him!

Thank you Caryl for letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, April 23

deb’s Book Review, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

For Him and My Family, April 26

Simple Harvest Reads, April 27 (Author Interview)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 28

Texas Book-aholic, April 29

Betti Mace, April 30


For the Love of Literature, May 2 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 3

Artistic Nobody, May 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Connect in Fiction, May 5

Lukewarm Tea, May 6 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

The House at the End of the Moor Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  House at the End of the Moor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre:  Christian Historical

Release Date: April 2020

An Opulent London Opera Star Escapes to the Rugged Landscape of the English Moors

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.


Click here for your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“True justice starts with repentance. How can we ask God to show justice in the world while willfully nursing our own hidden prejudices, selfishness, lusts, greed…our own broken relationships?”

Another home-run for Michelle Griep! Set in Victorian England of 1861, this story follows two unlikely pair – an opera singer hiding away and a runaway convict – in a tale of justice sought, forgiveness received, redemption embraced, and renewal begun. Wrapped in intense intrigue and mystery, the story combines the best of suspense and historical romance to bring a tantalizing read that you won’t be able to put down.
Maggie, the opera singer, has a present-tense first person voice in the story which pairs extremely well with past-tense third person voice of Oliver, the runaway convict. Their unique perspectives emphasize the shroud of intrigue as they join forces to bring to light the lies that wrongly put Oliver in jail and forced Maggie to flee into anonymity. The plot has plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as to what will happen next. Oliver is such a swoony hero – a champion of the poor and downtrodden, loyal, clever, and intelligent with a sense of humor. Maggie is sweet, gifted, and brave even when grief threatens to overwhelm her. Redemption and forgiveness that can be ours for the asking are portrayed clearly in the characters’ journey through the book.

If you are a fan of historical romance, you will love this book. It reminded me a little of Les Miserables, especially with a constable doggedly hunting Oliver down after his escape from prison. I received a copy of the book from Barbour Publishing via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 More from Michelle

What comes to mind when you hear the word moor? For some, images of Jane Eyre spring to life. For others, The Hound of the Baskervilles starts barking. But for most, it’s a big fat goose egg. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a clue what a moor is, but never fear, my friend…after you read the next few paragraphs, you’ll never again go blank-minded when you hear the word moor.


Last summer I skipped across the pond and tromped around Dartmoor with my daughter and husband. What an awesome experience. I learned first-hand just how windy this vast stretch of land can be, for that’s really what a moor is at heart: a vast stretch of land. Webster’s defines it as an expanse of open rolling infertile land. Sounds rather desolate, eh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s oh so much more.


In spring and summer, green does abound. Gorse bushes. Scrubby grasses. Lambs and sheep and goats. All these animals roam free so there are trails worn into the dirt that you can hike along. But I hear you…where could you possibly go if there’s nothing besides some farm animals roaming around the place?


You could hike to a tor, which is a “high, craggy hill.” Some of them can be a little treacherous to climb, but sweet mercy, what a view! The earth stretches out like a green and brown quilt. As I hiked that day last spring, whispers in the wind inspired me to wonder a lot of what-ifs, and those what-ifs came together in a story of intrigue and betrayal.


What would you do if you found a half-dead man bleeding in the middle of nowhere? Find out what heroine Maggie Lee does in The House at the End of the Moor.

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, April 18

The Avid Reader, April 18

Life of Literature, April 18

The Power of Words, April 18

For Him and My Family, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 19

Among the Reads, April 20

My Devotional Thoughts, April 20

As He Leads is Joy, April 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Just the Write Escape, April 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 21

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 21

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 22

deb’s Book Review, April 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 22

Inklings and notions, April 22

Remembrancy, April 23

Hookmeinabook, April 23

Christian Bookaholic, April 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 24

Britt Reads Fiction, April 24

Emily Yager, April 24

Betti Mace, April 25

Stories By Gina, April 25

Adventures of a Traveling Wife, April 25

Blossoms and Blessings, April 25

Splashes of Joy, April 26

Simple Harvest Reads, April 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, April 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

Blessed & Bookish, April 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 27

Pause for Tales, April 27

Through the Fire Blogs, April 28

Hallie Reads, April 28

Faery Tales Are Real, April 28

To Everything There Is A Season, April 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 29

Bigreadersite, April 29

Older & Smarter?, April 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 29

Genesis 5020, April 30

Read Review Rejoice, April 30

By The Book, April 30

For the Love of Literature, April 30

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 1

Bookishly Beverly, May 1

Daysong Reflections, May 1

Artistic Nobody, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Beauty for Ashes Author Interview and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Beauty for Ashes

Author: Kathleen Neely

Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance

Nathan Drummond’s actions at the age of eighteen had devastating consequences. Writing became therapeutic, leading him into a successful career as a mystery writer. With seven novels to his name, Nathan is rapidly becoming a household name.

When family responsibilities force him to return to his home town, he meets Angie Hernandez. Nathan doesn’t count on falling in love, and certainly not with a woman who has the power to shatter his peace.

Being at home pushes him too close to painful memories, and as guilt threatens and panic attacks set in, Nathan begins to write a novel paralleling the tragic event from his youthful folly.

Will the novel be seen as a work of fiction, or will it expose his secret and threaten his future?


Click here for your copy!

About the Author

Kathleen Neely is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, and The Least of These.  She is a former elementary teacher. Following her years in the classroom, she moved into administration, serving as an elementary principal at Eden Christian Academy in Pittsburgh, PA and at Shannon Forest Christian School in Greenville, SC. Kathleen is an alumnus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Regent University in Virginia.

Among her writing accomplishments, Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions. She continues to speak to students about writing. Kathleen is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.


She resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.


More from Kathleen

I’ve always been an avid reader, but began writing at a period in my life when I didn’t have time to commit. While raising three sons, I also worked full time as a teacher, then later as an elementary principal. That left little time for writing. I’d plug away at my manuscript then neglect it for months. Those months became years. Every now and then, I would pull it out, re-read it, then add a little to it. When retirement approached, I thought of that old, abandoned manuscript. That’s when I began to take writing seriously. I joined a writing group, attended conferences, and met with two other writers weekly to critique and be critiqued. That manuscript is now a published novel.

I truly love writing. I can get lost in my own thoughts when planning a story. Characters become real and take on their own personality, sometimes different than I originally intended. Nathan, the protagonist in Beauty for Ashes, is a novelist. This excerpt is scripted from the book as he attempts to explain his trade with Angie. His explanation describes my approach to writing.

Excerpt: “They’re real people. I have to make myself become them. My mind lives out each scene. What would they feel? How would they react? I’m an actor playing a role, except that I have to play each role, each character. I immerse myself completely, then find words to capture it.”

I hope you’ll visit the pages of Beauty for Ashes and meet Nathan. He loves writing as much as I do, but hides a deadly secret. His past triggers challenges that leave him with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Writing has always been a balm for Nathan—until he writes his own story.

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Kathleen Neely

Question: Which author influenced you the most?

I’m an avid reader, and have many authors on my favored list. It’s difficult to choose one favorite. However, in writing Beauty for Ashes, I can point to the influence of Charles Martin. I finished reading his wonderful novel, Water From My Heart, and I knew I wanted to write something with a similar theme. Seeing the consequences of a sinful act; devastating guilt; seeking restitution. My story is different from his—different plot, setting, and characters, but readers will see thematic similarities.

Question: Which scene was the most difficult to write?

The setting of Beauty for Ashes is Greenville, SC, where I currently live. It’s set in a fictional urban center providing after-school activities for teens. Nathan, my protagonist, is an author who is becoming well known for his mystery novels. I loved writing Nathan’s story in scenes where I had to opportunity to share his insights into plotting and characterization. However, this same character challenged my writing skills when I had to show the depth of his guilt, his fear of consequences, and the moral struggle he faced. Those scenes are scattered throughout the novel.


Question: Which character did you connect to best in this book?

Angie was a joy for me to write. Her positive outlook on life contrasted with Nathan’s ever-present burden. Angelina Hernandez, of Puerto Rican descent, was in part created after my good friend, Jackey. She helped me to stay authentic to the traditions and culture of Puerto Rico. Angie and I both love music. Her talent as a classical violinist required some research on my part. I was able to authenticate this element with the help of a first-chair violinist with a major symphony orchestra.

Question: What are you reading right now?

I like to vary my reading genres. I believe it helps authors to experience a wide range of reading materials. I’m primarily a writer of contemporary fiction, but I’m currently reading Claiming Canaan, the third in the Daughters of Zelophehad series. Author Barbara M. Britton adds this series of Biblical fiction to her other Tribes of Israel series. I admire her ability to transport readers to a different time and place. Her research is evident in the details and she does an excellent job of maintaining the voice of a different culture.

Question: What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

Even though I don’t write Biblical fiction, the richness of scripture influences my writing, whether overtly or subtly. You’ll find a scene where Nathan discovers the power of God’s word. John 8:32 is a pivotal verse for Nathan. As for me, I love the words of Zephaniah 3:17. “The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

Thank you Kathleen for letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, April 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 22

Simple Harvest Reads, April 23 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

For the Love of Literature, April 26 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 28

Through the Fire Blogs, April 29 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 30

Read Review Rejoice, May 1

Blossoms and Blessings, May 2 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, May 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Batya’s Bits, May 4


To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize of a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

One Hundred Valleys Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  One Hundred Valleys

Author: Bonnie Leon

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: March 15, 2020

After the death of her mother, Emmalin Hammond discovers she is not the heiress she’d always assumed she’d be. The revelation exposes her fiancé true intentions when he withdraws his marriage proposal, leaving Emmalin heartbroken and humiliated. When she discovers the father she believed to be dead is still alive and living in the Oregon Territory she decides it is time to meet the man who has been hidden from her all of her life.

Accompanied by her Uncle Jonathon she sets out for the Oregon Territory in search of answers and hoping for a renewed relationship with her father. When tragedy strikes, she confronts the terrifying challenge of completing her quest alone. Faced with few options, she entrusts her life to a mountain man named Jacob Landon who agrees to transport her to a small settlement in Southern Oregon called Deer Creek, a place also known as the Land of One Hundred Valleys.

Emmalin is not prepared for the hardships of life in the Oregon wilderness. Each day presents a new challenge. Newfound friends, including the reserved Jacob Landon, come alongside to help her adapt and she gradually finds her way. Yet, she feels out of place. Should she brave the arduous journey back to Philadelphia and the life she once knew or remain and hope for something better in the Oregon wilderness?


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Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“They understood there can be no mountaintops without valleys.”
This is the first book by Bonnie Leon that I have read and I’ve been wanting to read her books for a while. Set during the time when the west is exploding with miners, the backdrop of the untamed wilderness is stunning and the in-depth look at the Native American’s lifestyle and culture is fascinating and educational. The harshness of making a living in the wilderness is tangible and daunting but the tenacity, faith, and loyalty of the people forging a new life for themselves out in the vastness are admirable and noteworthy.
Jacob has only known the west as his home and is kind, skilled, and guided by faith. He finds himself helpless as the war against the Native Americans intensifies because he spent a good part of his life with kind-hearted and generous group when his biological family perished. Emmalin is a well-bred Philadelphia socialite who finds herself without money and fiance after her mother’s death and feels compelled to go out west looking for a father whom she never knew. Her journey is fraught with danger and trials and even when she arrives at her destination, she is still surrounded by danger and trials.
Though a sweet story, I did not connect fully with the characters and wished Jacob had more of a voice. Some parts of the plot were a bit slow for my taste and other parts seemed to skip a bit too quickly. I am sure those who enjoy historical romance, especially those stories set in the west in mid-1800s, will enjoy the book.

I received a copy of the book from WhiteFire Publishing via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-two novels, including the recently released Return to the Misty Shore, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons. Bonnie’s books are being read internationally and she hears from readers in Australia, Europe, Poland, and even Africa. She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and mentoring up and coming authors.

Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.


More from Bonnie


Why this story?


In the spring of 1980 my husband and I, our two-year-old son, and our infant daughter left city life in Washington state and moved to Southern Oregon. We gave up our community of friends and family along with my husband’s reliable and well-paying job. Our friends thought we were crazy, but we were determined that Oregon was where we belonged. We were scared but not deterred.


I think the change in my own life as a young woman had a lot to do with why I wrote this story of Emmalin Hammond. To be sure, Emmalin’s level of difficulty and danger is distinctly different than mine, but there are similarities. We both experienced adventures, joy, and, yes, even danger.


Oregon has been my home for forty years now, and I am glad my husband and I made the decision to move here. We’ve had a good life in this wild and beautiful country. Sometimes I wonder about the women who made that choice during the nineteenth century. Emmalin set out on her harrowing journey to Oregon in the spring of 1855. Many who began that journey did not make it across the plains and desserts of America.

When I put down roots in Douglas County, Oregon I was thrilled to be here, but the changes weren’t all easy. The old farmhouse we lived in had more broken windows than intact ones. It was mouse infested. The plumbing needed major repair. And yet I loved it. The countryside was lush and green, and the rolling hillsides were dotted with farm animals, wildlife, and broad-limbed oak trees. There were wild blackberries sprawling along the farm’s fences and fresh fruit in our orchard. It looked much the same as the Oregon Emmalin discovered in my story, One Hundred Valleys.

I loved hard work and spent a lot of time splitting logs for our only heat source—a wood burning stove—felling trees on our new property, and working alongside my husband in our vegetable garden.

I had run-ins with things like poison oak and skunks, but that did not dampen my enthusiasm as a new Oregonian. I loved picking wild blackberries, fishing the high mountain lakes, hiking mountain trails, and fishing the North Umpqua river. I cherished those days as a farm wife and mother. Those were the best years of my life. I have never regretted our move to the beautiful land of one hundred valleys in Southern Oregon.


I am thankful for the early explorers who challenged the wilderness in the Oregon Territory more than a century ago. It is their courage and determination that made it possible for me and my family to live and thrive in this beautiful place.

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To celebrate her tour, Bonnie is giving away the grand prize package of a $15 Amazon Gift Card and Vintage Oregon myrtle wood porringer bowl!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.