Tyrone the Terrible Q&A and Giveaway

Tyrone the Terrible FB BannerAbout the Book

Book:  Tyrone the Terrible

Author: Jan Lis

Genre:  Children’s Chapter Book

Release Date: March, 2020

TYRONE COVER FINALTyrone is the skinniest chameleon in the swamp. No one wants him on their team. After going on a fitness program, Tyrone gets carried away with his new self and terrorizes his friends in Gnarly Tree Bend until he meets Sly, the meanest gator in the bayou. Looks like Tyrone is gumbo.

The moral of this story? Someone is always bigger and badder than you, so you’d best make friends along the way.

TYRONE THE TERRIBLE is a bullying tale. The feisty chameleon picks on his bayou buddies before meeting his match. In the process, he learns the value of friends and family and how actions have consequences.

This delightful story is filled with swampy animal characters with a distinctly southern voice – not quite Brer Rabbit, but a good deep-south feel.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Jan LisJan Lis is south Florida writer and artist.  Living in this multicultural area, Jan utilizes these diverse cultural influences in her stories.  Jan fills her children’s books with spunky characters and rich imagery, bringing to her stories and illustrations the same vivid quality found in her fine art paintings.

Jan attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, has a degree from Ohio University’s School of Fine Art, and took post-graduate writing at Case-Western Reserve. She established her writing as a journalist contributing articles to publications such as the Miami Herald, and the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, and worked as Fine Arts Editor and Columnist for the Florida Arts Gazette.

Jan Lis is an established artist who has exhibited and won awards in many of the country’s top Annual Exhibitions including: The Butler Institute of American Art, the San Diego Watercolor Society, and the Piedmont Biennial at the Mint Museum.  She is represented in corporate and private collections including: the State of Florida Art In Public Buildings Program, the Brevard County Florida Art in Public Places Program, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC.

Jan is represented by agent Cyle Young, Hartline Literary Agency, and is member of the
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

 

More from Jan

How I first met Tyrone was an interesting adventure in itself. One day, a curious little chameleon climbed up on a stone, and watched me as I went for my afternoon swim. Day after day his little head popped up every time I entered the pool. Then he scrambled up onto his rock to watch me swim. Over the course of the summer I saw this skinny fellow gradually mature into quite an impressive chameleon. Sometime during the summer he gained the name Tyrone, and the story was born. Much of the action in Tyrone The Terrible takes place around Gnarly Tree, located along the bayou. While the setting of the story is fiction, the tree is not. My Gnarly tree is a venerable old Banyan, located along the pathway near my home. These days I give it a nod whenever I pass by. I loved writing the Tyrone characters, and the southern feel of the dialogue. It’s a story you just have to read out loud, and have fun with.

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Jan Lis

What character did you connect to best in this book?

That is hard to answer because I love them all. Each character is quirky in his own way. I guess Oscar Possum comes close to being my favorite. I am intrigued by a possum who hangs upside down and wears glassed while reading the novel Moby Dick.

Which scene was the most difficult to write?

That would have to be when Tyrone discovers he is not lying on a log resting in the water, but on an alligator’s nose. I tried to capture Tyrone’s surprise and fear when he realizes the gator is opening his toothy mouth, and Tyrone is about to tumble in.

What inspired this book?

Tyrone The Terrible is the result of watching a skinny little chameleon in my back yard. Over the course of a summer he ate and ate and developed into quite an impressive fellow. I combined this with the question – What would happen if this filled-out chameleon became a bully?

Which author influenced you the most?

Robert Louis Stevenson is my first choice among many writers. As a kid I read Treasure Island. The book had been my father’s when he was a child. It was given to him for Christmas by his aunt. I still have the book. It is illustrated by N. C. Wyeth. That particular book began my love of writing and illustrating children’s fiction.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Ps 103:2. It reminds me to rely on the Lord for everything in my life. And to praise Him in all things.

Thank you Jan, for your time in allowing us to get to know you better!

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, June 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 2

Vicky Sluiter, June 3 (Author Interview)

Older & Smarter?, June 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 5

Texas Book-aholic, June 6

Simple Harvest Reads, June 7 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 8

deb’s Book Review, June 9

Inklings and notions, June 10

My Devotional Thoughts, June 11 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 12

Splashes of Joy, June 13

Artistic Nobody, June 14 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jan is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate and a signed copy of Tyrone The Terrible!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fc14/tyrone-the-terrible-celebration-tour-giveaway

Driftwood Dreams Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Driftwood Dreams

Author: T.I. Lowe

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 1, 2020

Josie Slater has allowed the circumstances anchoring her in Sunset Cove to become a life sentence. Since her mother’s death years before, she’s spent most of her waking hours helping her dad run the Driftwood Diner. As her best friends, Opal and Sophia, make their dreams come true, Josie watches her own art school aspirations drift on by. But when a French-speaking Southern gentleman from her past moves back from Europe, Josie is launched into a tizzy of what-ifs and I-sure-do-hope-sos.

August Bradford left Sunset Cove six years ago to sow some life oats and conquer his ambitious career goals. Finally ready to lay down some roots, the successful artist is back in town and determined to win Josie’s heart. When he enlists Josie’s help in the preparations for a children’s art camp, Josie finds herself unleashing her artistic side in a way she hasn’t since before her mother’s death. August hopes to convince Josie to paint a life with him, but the problem is convincing her to let go of her apprehensions and give him—and her dreams—a fair chance.

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Joni Truex

This inspirational book is a lovely read.  Art, special needs, depression, hunger, abandonment, friendships,  neighborly love and music are all included in this delightful story! Add beaches, nature, family and a smattering of romance makes this a must read! Definitely worth the read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Tonya “T.I.” Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in Psychology but excelled in Creative Writing. In 2014, Tonya independently published her first novel, Lulu’s Café, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of 12 published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. She resides near Myrtle Beach with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Josie’s reverie came to a screeching halt as the screen door squeaked open and ushered in not only a briny breeze, but also a vision from her past.

With a pronounced air of confidence, August Bradford walked over to the counter and halted in front of a dazed Josie. Her heart jolted at the sight of him, something only this man could elicit. He spoke—or at least his lips moved—but she couldn’t hear anything over the roar suddenly residing in her eardrums.

The Knitting Club’s table kicked up in volume, sounding like a bunch of hens clucking away, but there was no focusing on what they were clucking about either. She knew the answer anyway and had a feeling their timing wasn’t coincidental. All Josie could do was just stand there and stare, as if looking into his silvery-blue eyes had turned her to stone. With a hint of purple near the center, those uniquely hued eyes were made to belong to an artist such as August Bradford. The thick fringe of black eyelashes only emphasized their beauty. It was enough to spawn jealousy in Josie, her own fair lashes barely visible, but it didn’t. It only tempted her to stand there and stare unabashedly. Mouth agape, that’s exactly what she did.

“Are you okay?” A throaty voice penetrated the roar in her ears as a hand waved in front of her face.

Oh, my . . . that voice . . .

The words simply wouldn’t come—only pitiful squeaks of breaths escaped—so Josie did the only thing to come to mind. She hightailed it into the kitchen.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 27

The Power of Words, May 27

Batya’s Bits, May 28

CarpeDiem, May 28

Through the Fire Blogs, May 29

Back Porch Reads , May 29

Livin’ Lit, May 30

Hallie Reads, May 30

Adventure of a Travelers Wife, May 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 31

She Lives To Read, June 1

Soulfully Romantic, June 1

Remembrancy, June 2

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 2

Texas Book-aholic, June 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 3

Just the Write Escape, June 4

deb’s Book Review, June 4

Inklings and notions, June 5

For Him and My Family, June 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 6

Artistic Nobody, June 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Simple Harvest Reads, June 7 (Guest review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 8

Daysong Reflections, June 8

Cultivating Us , June 9

Pause for Tales, June 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, T.I. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 gift certificate to the bookstore of his or her choice and one copy of Driftwood Dreams!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fd05/driftwood-dreams-celebration-tour-giveaway

Say & Pray Bible Q&A and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Say & Pray Bible

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre:  Bible stories, board book

Release Date: 2015

Curl up together and experience the Bible in a fresh, new way. Young children will enjoy pointing to and naming objects on each page for early learning. Most important, they’ll discover favorite, age-appropriate Bible stories, with Scripture verses and short prayers that also hide God’s Word in young hearts.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Diane Stortz is a multipublished author who writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year and Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.

 

More from Diane

Once upon a time there was a little boy who loved his books. Long before he could talk, he loved turning pages, looking at the pictures, hearing his grandpa name the objects in the pictures, and pointing to those objects.

 

And once upon a time there was a grandma looking for a truly age-appropriate Bible storybook for that same little boy. And the best ones she found still contained too many words.

 

And she wondered . . .

 

Why not write a Bible storybook that could be designed especially for babies, toddlers, and young preschoolers? With the shortest stories you’ve ever seen, and with labeled objects and people in the illustrations that little ones could point to and name?

 

That’s how my book Say & Pray Bible began.

 

I wanted a book with age-appropriate, SHORT Bible stories. Babies and toddlers LOVE turning pages. Listening to long stories has to wait until they’re older.

 

I wanted short Bible verses and prayers to go with the very short stories.

 

And I wanted the illustrations to have lots of LABELED objects to encourage little ones to point and name.

 

Some days you might just read the stories. Another day, just the verses. Yet another reading, just the prayers. And some days, you might just talk about the pictures.

 

Most children begin to say single words with meaning, always nouns, at 12–18 months. This is the stage when children can point to—and eventually name—photos or illustrations of objects in their books.

 

Around 24 months, children begin to say two-word, noun plus verb sentences, such as “Cat run.” In time, sentences become longer and include adjectives and adverbs, but no function words: “Big cat run fast.” Last to develop is the use of function words (such as the and an) and more complex sound combinations and sentence forms.

 

Human beings seem to be hardwired to acquire language and learn to speak—evidence that, as the Bible says, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). But there’s a lot we can do to help little ones develop language skills and expose them to God’s Word at the same time!

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Diane Stortz

What inspired this book?

My grandson Reed when he was very little. He loved pointing to objects in the pictures of his books. I wanted him to have an age-appropriate Bible storybook, and I couldn’t find one with short enough text. I decided to try to create one myself and include labels in the illustrations to encourage kids to point and name the objects, animals, and people.

What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

I have many, but one is Psalm 78:4: “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.”

Where is your favorite vacation spot?
I will spend time at an ocean beach any time I can. Most often, however, I travel several states away to spend time with grandchildren.

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

Describe your view as you’re sitting in your writing chair.
Until last year I had a home office and sat near a large window looking out on our backyard. Last year I gave up my office to turn it into a playroom for my grandchildren. Now I have a desk and bookcase in a portion of a bedroom. Above my desk is a large framed photograph of two empty chairs side-by-side, looking out over a valley. Isaiah 30:15 is printed in script below the photo: “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Thank you, Dianne, for you time in letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, May 23

Texas Book-aholic, May 24

Through the Fire Blogs, May 25 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 25

Older & Smarter?, May 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 27

A Baker’s Perspective, May 28 (Author Interview)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 29

Inklings and notions, May 30

A Reader’s Brain, May 31

Spoken from the Heart, June 1

Simple Harvest Reads, June 2 (Author Interview)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 2

Aryn the Libraryan 📚, June 3

Splashes of Joy, June 4

Artistic Nobody, June 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book, a signed copy of the companion book (Say & Pray Devotions), and a $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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa0a/say-pray-bible-celebration-tour-giveaway

On a Coastal Breeze Review and Giveaway

On a Coastal Breeze FB Banner

About the Book

Book:  On A Coastal Breeze

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre:  Amish Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2020

On A Coastal BreezeFor Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.

And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.

Time to panic.

With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await.

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“If you had no fear of death, then that vague dread that constantly hovered – it could be vanquished. Not just managed or discounted, but eliminated. Overcome. Conquered. Defeated.”

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a gifted storyteller with a voice that wraps around your reader heart to deliver heartbreaks, showers of grace and mercy, and tender reconciliation. This is book 2 in the Three Sisters Island series, and, though it could be read as a stand-alone, it’s better read after Cam and Seth’s story in On a Summer Tide so you’re better acquainted with the minor characters of the island who truly make the story more lively. Filled with family tension, misunderstandings, issues of fear and anxiety, and faith lessons of facing life’s challenges head-on, the story will have you falling in love with the island and its inhabitants while walking with them in their daily lives on a remote island off the coast of Maine.
This story focuses on Maddie, the middle sister who starts a counseling/therapy center on the island. She’s the glue that keeps the Grayson family together and works overtime with her sisters and father to help them become more self-aware. The islanders call Rick to be their very first pastor and he sweeps everyone off their feet but there’s a lot of history between Maddie and Rick which come out in flashbacks. Misunderstandings and secrets swirl around all the Graysons and Rick. All the four Graysons (Paul the father, Cam the oldest, Maddie, and Blaine the youngest) have a voice in this story, which is fun because more pieces of all four of their lives come out in each book. This book delved deeper into the characters’ thoughts, motives, fears, and dreams. What will the third book hold? I can’t wait for Blaine’s story!

Fans of well-written contemporary romance will thoroughly enjoy this book and the series. I received a copy of the book from Revell 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

suzanne woods fisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including On a Summer Tide, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

More from Suzanne

Dear Reader,

 

The minute you step off the ferry and onto Three Sister Island, magic begins. Crisp ocean air acts like an elixir. Stress starts to evaporate, like a wisp of steam from a cup of hot tea. Happiness moves in, and you’ll feel more cheerful, more positive about the future.

And then there’s time! Somehow, there seems to be plenty of it.

 

Little things will catch your notice—finding seashells on the beach, watching waves crash against the rocks, gazing at the star-studded night sky.

 

Life just starts to slow down…and you wonder if you really want to ever leave Three Sisters Island.

 

Nor do you have to! That’s the beauty of books—they are the perfect escape. Always available, just waiting to be picked up. Always ready to transport you to a fresh and new state of mind.

 

On a Coastal Breeze is that kind of a read. The Grayson Family saga continues as they move to Three Sisters Island off the coast of Maine for a fresh start. Maddie Grayson takes center stage in this story. Life is finally coming together for Maddie. On the very day she opens her counseling practice, she spots a billowing skydiver. Parachuting in is Ricky O’ Shea—the one person on earth Maddie hoped she’d never see again. But Rick’s the new pastor for the island’s only church and he’s not about to leave. That’s when sparks start to fly.

 

Join me for a getaway by the sea that will leave you in a happy, relaxed, vacation-y state of mind…without leaving your home. Once you board the Never Late Ferry, even in your imagination, the island will take it from there.

 

Warmly, Suzanne

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 18

The Avid Reader, May 18

By The Book, May 18

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 19

Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Betti Mace, May 20

Lighthouse Academy, May 20

The Power of Words, May 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 21

Texas Book-aholic, May 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 21

Wishful Endings, May 22

Inklings and notions, May 22

deb’s Book Review, May 22

Blossoms and Blessings, May 23

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 23

Connect in Fiction, May 23

Remembrancy, May 24

Writing from the Heart Land, May 24

Blogging With Carol, May 24

Blessed & Bookish, May 25

Inspiration Clothesline, May 25

Back Porch Reads, May 25

For Him and My Family, May 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 26

Daysong Reflections, May 26

Spoken from the Heart, May 27

Mary Hake, May 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 27

Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bigreadersite, May 28

Splashes of Joy, May 28

Older & Smarter?, May 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

EmpowerMoms, May 30

Pause for Tales, May 30

Batya’s Bits, May 31

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 31

Hallie Reads, May 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a copy of her book to five winners!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fb52/on-a-coastal-breeze-celebration-tour-giveaway

Storing Up Trouble Review and Giveaway

Storing Up Trouble FB Banner

About the Author

Book:  Storing Up Trouble

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 6, 2020

Storing Up TroubleWhen Beatrix Waterbury’s train is disrupted by a heist, scientist Norman Nesbit comes to her aid. After another encounter, he is swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract—including the attention of the men trying to steal his research—and they’ll soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“That Norman wasn’t dumbstruck by the sight of a man scrambling over the fortress-like fence that surrounded Gladys’s house with a pack of cats leaping over that fence after him spoke volumes about the state of his life of late.”

Jen Turano is known for her amusing, cleverly written, laugh-out-loud historical rom-coms and this book had me in stitches from the opening chapter. Beatrix, one of the New York Four Hundred, is impulsive, stubborn, and prone to trouble even when she’s not looking for it. Norman is a wealthy Chicago gentleman scientist who is socially unaware and indeed peculiar due to having been holed up in his scientific world. Their worlds literally collide over and over again as Beatrix travels to Chicago as a consequence of her most recent mishap and Norman suddenly finds himself intrigued by the woman. Though they are complete opposites, their shared compassion and kindness for the underdog draw them together as more trouble than either bargained for doggedly follow their steps. By spending time together, Norman starts to understand the beauty of friendship and family relationships while Beatrix learns to empathize with the working class as she struggles as an employee of a department store. Throw in a good dose of suspense as to who could be targeting Norman for his work on electricity and plenty of chase scenes to the hilarious encounters and dialogues, and you have a perfectly delightful rom-com set in 1886, complete with suffrage movement, rapidly expanding railroad and steel industry, and solid assurance of God’s presence and guiding hand.
And the secondary characters! Such an eclectic yet lovable group of friends and family members that Norman and Beatrix have that makes the story so satisfying.
Though this is book 3 in American Heiresses series, it can be read as a stand alone. Fans of the series will be delighted to encounter Izzy and Poppy again from the previous books in their cameo appearances. If you love historical rom-com, you have to read this book!

I received a copy of the book from Bethany House 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

Turano_Jen1Jen Turano, (www.jenturano.com) a USA Today bestselling author, has written four historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

 

More from Jen

Thank you so much for visiting me on my Celebrate Lit tour as we celebrate the release of my latest novel, “Storing Up Trouble.” I’m delighted to be here, and I reached out to my street team to help me with the questions you’ll find below. I’m hoping the answers to those questions will allow you to learn just a bit about my new book, as well as allow you to get to know me better. With that said, here we go!

 

Can you tell us a little about “Storing Up Trouble?”

I’d be delighted to tell you about my latest book. “Storing Up Trouble” is the third book in the “American Heiress” series, but you don’t need to read the first two books in that series (“Flights of Fancy” “Diamond in the Rough” to understand what’s going on. I’ve been writing my books more as stand alone stories, and “Storing Up Trouble” is no exception to that. With that said, this book centers around Miss Beatrix Waterbury and Mr. Norman Nesbit. Beatrix, unfortunately, has annoyed her mother to such an extent that she finds herself banished from New York and on her way to Chicago to spend time with her aunt, a lady Beatrix remembers as being a querulous sort. She, being Beatrix, a lady who lands herself in trouble at the most unexpected of times, soon finds herself a victim of a train heist. An unlikely hero in the form of Mr. Norman Nesbit, a gentleman with a brilliant mind but relatively few social graces, comes to her rescue, and from the moment they disembark from the train, they find themselves thrust into one escapade after another.

 

In “Storing Up Trouble,” is there a character you’d like to be friends with in real life, or better yet, a character you’d avoid at all costs?

I actually have an answer to both parts of that question. Miss Theodosia Robinson is a lady I would love to count as a friend because she’s loyal to a fault, and is a friend who’ll be there for you, no matter if you want to delve into an unusual scientific experiment, or take a jaunt to your local department store to do a bit of shopping. As for who I’d avoid at all cost – Mrs. George Blossom, who has a very small part in the story, but she’s a customer at Marshal Fields & Company who embraces an air of superiority over the sales girls, and I’ve never been one to enjoy people like that.

 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

That’s easy. Being Dominic’s mom. He was definitely a handful when he was little, which is why he’s an only child, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow over the years. He recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering, and seeing him land a grown up job and begin to embrace the whole adulting thing makes me prouder than any book I’ve written or other job I’ve held.

 

What was the inspiration behind “Storing Up Trouble?”

There were quite a few things that inspired me to write this book. I’d set another one of my books, “Caught by Surprise” in Chicago, and because of the research I did for that book, research I wasn’t able to fit into that story, I knew I wanted to revisit that city at some point. Beatrix Waterbury gave me the perfect excuse to travel back there. I wanted to take her out of her usual setting of NYC, so off she went to Chicago, on a train ride that definitely turned concerning. I had also picked up a few research books about Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and I’ve been itching to create a character after those brilliant gentlemen. Norman Nesbit turned into that gentleman, although I have to admit that some of the science Nikola and Thomas used was way over my head. My son, the engineer, tried to explain it to me, but I believe at one point I might have been drooling, and not in the good way, but the bored way. That’s when Norman really began to develop because I thought it would be amusing to have a character who was passionate about his field of study, but most of the people he tried to share that passion with had no idea what he was talking about and always got a bit of a dazed expression in their eyes as he waxed on and on about double-electrical currents.

 

What fun facts did you uncover while doing research for “Storing Up Trouble” but weren’t able to fit into the story?

 

There was so much fodder for additional storylines just with the research I did on Marshal Field and his department store. Did you know that the main store in Chicago burned down doing the Great Fire of 1871 and…it burned down several times after that? Who knew? There was also a lot of drama surrounding Marshal and his partner for years, Mr. Levi Zeigler Leiter. They had different ideas about how the store should evolve, which resulted in Marshal forcing Levi to sell his shares of the company to him, at which point the store turned from  Field, Leiter, & Company to Marshal Fields Company. It was also interesting to learn that Mr. Fields was notorious for paying his workers low wages, but those workers accepted those wages because of the prestige that came with working at his store. If you worked at any other store, you were considered common, but to work at Marshal Fields was a feather in your cap, even if you weren’t earning as much as you could have earned at another store.

 

What are quirky little things you keep on your desk?

At the moment, I have one little pig with googly eyes, one cow with googly eyes, and then another small pig that a reader sent me because she really liked Matilda in “A Match of Wits” and thought this little pig she found at a store was exactly what Matilda would look like.

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Oddly enough, no, it never crossed my mind until Dominic was in third grade and we decided to write a book together after finishing this horrible series about this bird. That book was never meant for publication, but it did have me remembering that I had, at one point in time before I became a stay-at-home-mom, enjoyed using my brain. I started experimenting with different genres and learned everything I could about the publishing industry. It took me five years to find an agent, and then she sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House, and I’ve been writing for them ever since.

 

Any words of advice for aspiring writers?

I get this question a lot, and I always answer by saying “Have an honest talk with yourself about what you really want to achieve with your writing.” It’s perfectly fine to want to write because you’re interested in turning it into a career. However, with that said, a writer needs to understand that writing and publishing are two different creatures. Publishing is a daunting business, and it’ll take a lot of perseverance to find success with it. With that said, if you have raw talent and are a story teller at heart, you should write all the time and do whatever you can to learn how to improve your craft.

 

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a new series right now – “The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency.” The first book, “To Steal a Heart” releases in November, 2020. It’s about Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who spent her childhood living on the mean streets in Five Points. She’s currently living in a boarding house on Bleeker Street in New York City, and when a fellow resident gets unjustly accused of theft, Gabriella, along with the other ladies living in the boarding house, take it upon themselves to try and clear her name. That’s the beginning of the Bleeker Street Agency, and hopefully the ladies will enjoy much success as the series continues.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope all of you get an opportunity to read “Storing Up Trouble!”

 

Wishing you all the best,

 

Jen

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, May 23

Godly Book Reviews, May 23

Robin’s Nest, May 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 24

Rebecca Tews, May 24

Texas Book-aholic, May 24

Novelscorner, May 24

Among the Reads, May 25

Inklings and notions, May 25

deb’s Book Review, May 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 26

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 27

Losing the Busyness, May 27

For Him and My Family, May 27

Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 28

Inside the Wong Mind, May 28

Mia Reads, May 29

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Betti Mace, May 30

Breny and Books, May 30

Blogging With Carol, May 30

Life of Literature, May 31

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 31

Emily Yager, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

The Collaborative Press, June 1

Stories By Gina, June 1

Hookmeinabook, June 1

Blessed & Bookish, June 2

Older & Smarter?, June 2

The Artist Librarian, June 2

Blossoms and Blessings, June 2

Through the Fire Blogs, June 3

Beauty in the Binding, June 3

Mary Hake, June 3

amandainpa, June 3

Wishful Endings, June 4

EmpowerMoms, June 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 4

Pause for Tales, June 4

KarenSueHadley, June 5

Raining Butterfly Kisses, June 5

With a Joyful Noise, June 5

Hallie Reads, June 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the the grand prize package of all three books in the American Heiresses series and a $25 Barnes & Noble eGift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fb8f/storing-up-trouble-celebration-tour-giveaway

Assessing Your Prophetic Self Spotlight and Giveaway

Assessing your Prophetic Self FB Banner

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)

Giveaway

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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa8d/assessing-your-prophetic-self-celebration-tour-giveaway

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)

Giveaway

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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8f9/the-wait-will-not-be-wasted-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

ChristyBarritt_DarkWater_HRA FORMER NAVY SEAL HAUNTED BY HIS PAST

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.

A WIDOW WITH SECRETS

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.

THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE

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: www.christybarritt.com.

 

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

Giveaway

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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa62/dark-water-celebration-tour-giveaway

Marriage Matters Q&A and Giveaway

Marriage Matters FB Banner

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 www.cheriswalwell.com. 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

Giveaway

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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f9ea/marriage-matters-celebration-tour-giveaway

Hope Lies Ahead Q&A and Giveaway

Hope Lies Ahead FB Banner

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.

 

geoffbanks1

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)

Giveaway

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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8f5/hope-lies-ahead-celebration-tour-giveaway