Thursday, April 27, 2017

LIVING IS INSPIRATION by Tanya Stowe

I’m often asked where I get my stories and the answer is always from life. So here is an example of how a story develops. Several years ago my husband and I were living in the Middle East for my husband’s work. One of our sons and his family were staying in our house to take care of it while were gone. Another of our sons needed to move so while they were in search of a larger house, they stayed at our house.  My sons are close so for the most part, things went smoothly until….

Our family dog had passed away the year before so my sons decided it was time for two new dogs. They hoped to train and raise them together. One son found a rescue dog. The other purchased his favorite breed, a husky. They thought since both animals were young they would be a good mix. My sons were wrong. 

They spent many hours watching “The Dog Whisperer” on TV to try to figure out why these two animals simply could not get along. I received countless emails about the drama. After about four months of a barrage of emails, I decided a dog whisperer would make a great hero for a story.

I was right. Justin Blakely from That Doggone Baby is an awesome character, a perfect antidote to the stressed out fashionista heroine, Jaci Meadows. But the real heroine of the story is a 200-pound malamute modeled after one of my brother’s favorite pets.

Miska was a huge malamute, playful, smart and intimidating when she wanted to be. We all adored her and I modeled Baby, the malamute in my story, after her. Of course Baby had some special help from a few of the Heart’s Haven angels (the location where the series is set) but for the most part she’s as sweet and complicated as the real dog.

While researching the story I was so impressed with the new ways they are training dogs to help with veterans. Those stories were amazing and since my mother had Alzheimer’s I wondered how that would work for patient’s suffering from that disease and voila…a story was born.

You’ll have to read the story to figure out how all those story lines connect. Oh, and the part where Baby wraps the leash around Jaci’s legs and knocks her down…that happened to me. So you see, living is my inspiration.

Buy links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Pelican Book Group
Christianbook.com

That Doggone Baby blurb:

Everyone thinks they can push Jaci Meadows around: her family, her boss, even her full-grown Malamute, Baby. The dog reaches Jaci's shoulders, weighs more than the petite event planner, and has decided Jaci's designer shoes are a favorite toy. Justin Blakely understands dogs better than most people. It's clear to him Jaci Meadows can't handle her own life, let alone a two-hundred-pound Malamute ready to take on the world. Can one oversized Malamute and one very discerning dog whisperer help guide Jaci back to her true path? Can she learn to say no or is she just too addicted to the need to be needed?
 
Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge. She fills her stories with the unusual…mysteries and exotic adventures, even a murder or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a trip to foreign lands or a suspenseful journey filled with danger…be prepared for the extraordinary. Website, Facebook, Blog

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Writing Life: A Dog's Eye View by Dana Mentink

Who says we can't learn from animals? Not author Dana Mentink. Today, she reveals some of the things a terrier has taught her about writing. -- Sandy

Dana: Wow! Spring has finally sprung here in Northern, California. It's been the wettest winter on record and we are all glad to see signs of milder weather. Many changes have occured around here at Mentink Manor. We now have an extremely naughty little terrier charging around the place. Junie (also known as Juniper Drop it What Is That In Your Mouth Mentink) has added life to our place, for sure. Who would think that a scruffy faced, twelve pound dog could teach me a thing or two about writing and life?

The first thing Junie taught me was that the view is always the same inside. Every morning she is on fire to go out into the world and sniff and wag at anything and everything. "Let's go OOOUUUUUTTTTTT," you can practically hear her say. "We're too young to sit in a chair all day." Good advice, Junie. Let's take a break here in Chapter Three and go out for a walk.

Point number two, via Junie Mentink. If a thing is worth something, you can come back to it later. That bone she hid under the sofa? It's gonna be even more amazing when she rediscovers it later this week. Writing is like that, too. It's better if you let it sit and revisit it later. Then you can dig deep, reexamine your work and create something savory indeed.

And the last point. No two dogs are the same. Oh how I still miss our previous dog, my darling old Nala, and for a while, I looked at Junie in astonishment, thinking, "Nala never did that!" So two creatures of the same species can be so different they are almost incomparable. And so too must my fictional characters be. That hero must be radically different than his counterpart in the previous book. That heroine, must be as unique and special as the person who reads all about her. Point taken, Junie! So thank you Junie and both of us wish you a wonderful spring and a great year of reading and writing ahead!

Have you ever learned anything special from a furbaby?


 ~~~~~~


Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner. She is the author of over thirty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and she has also been honored with a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and Harlequin Heartwarming. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, an inquisitive puppy, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Comparison Corner by Gail Johnson

Have you ever compared yourself to another? You know, when you look at their bio and spy their list of accomplishments and say what in the world am I thinking? I have lost my mind! If so, you’re not alone.
"Creativity takes courage." - Henri Matisse, artist

Henri Matisse, a famous French artist, must have thought the same thing when he said, 
“It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.”

I find it strange that a famous artist would compare himself to others. Why would he do such a thing? To answer that question, I went in search of the story behind the quote. What I found helped me realize every gift is as unique as the artist. 

Like every famous person, Henri Matisse didn’t start out as a renowned artist. He began painting after his mother purchased art supplies for him while he recovered from an attack of appendicitis. That gift changed his life forever.


By 1905, his art fell under the label of Fauvism, characterized by the use of vibrant and unnaturalistic colors. Most people didn’t like this form of art. When Matisse unveiled Woman with a Hat, a portrait of his wife, people laughed at his use of raw colors on the canvas.


Their laughter may have bothered Matisse, but it didn’t stop him from painting. He studied artists such as Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Signac. Yet, he remained true to himself even while incorporating some of their techniques. For instance, he used Cezanne’s method of space, and Georges Seurat and Paul Signac technique of pointillism to create his Woman with a Parasol in 1905.


Matisse’s story got me to thinking…and praying. Eventually, I stepped away from the comparison corner and learned to appreciate my gift. I understand that writing, like painting, takes practice. I learn by doing. The first draft will be a mess. And even after it has been edited umpteen dozen times, it will never be a masterpiece to some. But like Matisse, I keep studying the craft and practicing my technique.


I do that by learning from other writers. I read novels, follow blogs, and subscribe to newsletters. I am a member of ACFW and a critique group. I keep the helpful advice and discard the rest. When I begin writing, I search my notes of the dos and don’ts. But, the technique is all mine.


Another thing I had to do was settle in my mind that everyone may not be a fan of my writing or chosen genre. Frankly, I’m not a fan of every genre or every writer, either. But, like Matisse, I will study, respect, and support my fellow artists because I can appreciate the work involved in producing their story.


In the end, Matisse had the last laugh when his paintings sold for millions, and his face appeared on the 1930 cover of Time magazine. So, if by chance you are chained to the comparison corner, I encourage you not to give up. Keep studying and keep writing! There is an audience of fans waiting for just you!

About the Author
Gail Johnson
Gail Johnson is a retired cosmetologist and homeschool teacher. She lives in the South on a farm with her family and three dogs where she writes inspirational fiction/nonfiction. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is currently learning the entire process of indie publishing. You can connect with her on Center of His Wheel, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Worth the Sacrifice by Mary Manners

 
 

It’s Worth the Sacrifice

By Mary Manners
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
~Hebrews 12:1~
What do the three M’s…Marathons, Manuscripts and Motherhood have in common? Well, as a former marathon runner, I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the countless hours of running and training during my marathon days prepared me for the other two.
Marathon running is an endeavor that requires dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. Runners have to train when they don’t feel like it…when their legs ache and they haven’t slept well. When the weather is hot, humid, cold, rainy, or the ground is blanketed in snow. Runners train before the sun rises, after dark, and as a strong north wind tries to blow them right off the path. Distance runners maintain focus and stay true to the goal. There’s no turning back, only looking forward and always striving for the next great challenge.

 
The same can be said of writing. It’s a path that requires dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. After all, what reader would enjoy a book that lacks a satisfying ending…devoid of plot, direction, or character arc? What publisher would pay for such a book? So writers plot even when they don’t feel like it…when their friends are going to the movies or out to dinner, when they’d rather read than revise, when warm rays of sunshine beckon from an office window and their heart longs to run and play. Writers pound the keyboard early in the morning when the rest of the world has yet to rise and late at night when the rest of the world has gone to bed. They write when the refrigerator lures with just one more soda or a piece of chocolate pie. When writer’s block strikes they take a sledgehammer to it instead of pushing away from the desk, no matter how painful the sacrifice.
Being a mother is an endeavor that requires dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. Saying no to a child has never made any mother popular. Moms overlook their own needs to care for a child. They mother early in the morning, late at night, and every moment in between. They remain strong as a century-old oak when the storms of terrible two’s and the teenage years rage, while teaching their teen to drive or when their toddler throws a tantrum in the grocery store check-out line.
 
My life’s journey has been a blend of the three M’s. My daughter will graduate from college in May. The child I once shuttled to basketball practice and choir rehearsal now chauffeurs me. I have learned, depending on the day (sometimes even the hour), that I know nothing…and everything. Recently, a college friend of mine sent a photo that was snapped our sophomore year (1982). Looking at the photo, I thought I saw my daughter staring back at me. Was I ever that young, thin and…unwrinkled? My daughter took one glance at the picture and gasped, “Mama, is that really you?” as if I could have never—possibly—been that vivacious young woman in the snapshot. After a good laugh, I thought about the fleeting passage of time and how happy and truly blessed I am to have experienced the three M’s…Marathons, Manuscripts and, most especially, Motherhood.
 
 
~~~~~
 
 
Jessica Marlin comes to Honeysuckle Cove carrying a secret–she’s pregnant. Shamed by her indiscretion and the circumstances of a former way of life, she’s determined to make a home for her child in the quaint community—even if it means going it alone forever. But when her secret becomes too big to keep, she fears she’ll be forced to abandon her new role as kitchen manager at Honeysuckle Cove Inn. Will friendship—and God’s grace—prevail, or will Jessica be forced to uproot and move on once again?

Rogan Brooks has convinced both himself and his hometown of Honeysuckle Cove that he’ll never settle down long enough to embrace marriage, let alone fatherhood…until he sees the glow of pregnancy, along with the promise of a future, radiate from Jessica Marlin’s eyes. Can Rogan assure Jessica that his heart is true and he’s committed to being a daddy—complete with a happily ever after—for keeps?
 
~~~~~
 
Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons, a daughter, and three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.
A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades sharing her love of learning with students from kindergarten through middle grades. While growing up in Chicago, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, hot dog vendor, grocery store cashier, lifeguard, swim instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that bring humor and insight to her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs, ocean sunsets, and flavored coffee.
Connect with Mary at her website: www.MaryMannersRomance.com. “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

 


Friday, April 21, 2017

Just Keep Writing by Candice Sue Patterson


Candice  Sue Patterson

What are some of the challenges you face as a Christian writer? Author Candice Sue Patterson names five common hindrances that we can all probably relate to, and she offers encouragement on how to handle them. ~ Dawn

Just Keep Writing

As Christian Fiction writers, I sometimes feel like we paint a giant target on our back for Satan to throw his poisonous darts at. Not that we purposely taunt the devil, but we definitely get his attention with the messages we weave into our manuscripts. He smells the truth and hope in our plotlines the way us country folk smell fertilizer in the spring. It hits with force and lingers, and Satan doesn’t want that.

So, he attacks.

I’m currently writing my fifth book, and I’ve felt his resistance, in some way, throughout every single one. Even now. Praise God, His strength and wisdom conquers. (Can I get an “Amen?”) I’m not here today to whine and complain about how tough an author’s job can be, but to show you some of Satan’s tactics from his book How to Discourage a Christian Writer and how to overcome them.

Doubt. The force is strong with this one. We solidify a great plot, get the go-ahead from God, and a few chapters in, we close our laptops, drop our head into our hands, and wonder how we ever came to be an author in the first place. The characters aren’t complex enough. There are holes in the storyline. Were our previous stories a glitch in the minds and computers of our publishing team? Had to be. We no longer possess an ounce of talent, if we ever did. 

Change. Nothing like the dynamics of your life changing to throw off your writing mojo. I’m not saying these life changes are orchestrated by the devil. These changes may be part of God’s perfect plan for your life. However, Satan is very crafty at oppressing us with fear and anxiety as we transition, throwing our scheduled and focused writing off balance. It’s hard to throw your characters into tough situations when you’re in the midst of slogging through your own.

Health. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t feel good writing is the last thing on my mind. Give me a cup of coffee, my pajamas, a warm blanket, my couch, a good book, and I’ll see you on the flipside. But sometimes what ails us is more serious than a two-day virus or a high pollen count. Our health affects our mood, concentration, and energy. Deadlines are looming, and Satan loves to kick us while we’re down.

Rejection. Your plot is unique, the proposal sound, and that agent acted interested, yet you still received a resounding NO. You toss rejection number fifty-seven into your computer’s trash bin and decide to give up. Before you do, envision Satan’s fist-pumping victory dance on your dreams. Yes, you’re disappointed. You’re shedding tears over another dead end, and that’s okay. Pick yourself back up, roll up your sleeves, poise those fingers, and write a bestseller.

Your way. The novel you’ve spent the last three years writing with that large publishing house in mind has been replaced by a reputable small press. Their covers aren’t shiny as the big house, nor the paper as high-quality. Your book won’t grace the shelves of every bookstore across the nation. Your paycheck won’t come near the five digits you were hoping would be deposited in your bank account so you can pay off some bills or attend a conference.

Paraphrased, God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). It’s okay if reality veers off the path of our dream. It’s HIS job to place our books into the hands of the readers who need it. It’s our job to write what He tells us to write.

There are many other hindrances I could mention, but you get the gist. So what should you do if plagued by a writing roadblock? If Finding Nemo’s Dory were an author, she’d say, “Just keep writing.” Even if it’s only for five minutes a day. Keep pounding away until Satan gets bored and moves on. I know it’s hard. I’ve been there too.

Just keep writing.





Weddings are the last thing beekeeper Huck Anderson wants to be associated with, considering his past. So when he inherits a building occupied by a bridal boutique, he aims to evict the failing business and open a sporting goods store. That is until his tenant ends up being Arianne Winters, a woman he's indebted to from a mistake made years ago.

When a life-threatening injury derails Huck entirely, Arianne offers a compromise to keep her boutique and her life out of bankruptcy—she'll aid in his lengthy recovery if he'll allow her to remain in his building. But nursing her adversary proves challenging when her adolescent crush resurfaces.

Amidst a battle-of-wills, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, providing opportunity to overcome their pasts and start anew. Will this confirmed bachelor consider holy-matrimony, or will Huck's choices sting them a second time?


Candice Sue Patterson studied at the Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. Candice writes Modern Vintage Romance—where the past and present collide with faith. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart was a 2012 ACFW First Impressions finalist and made INSPYs Longlist for 2016. For more on Candice, visit her website at www.candicesuepatterson.com.

To connect with Candice and learn more about her books, please visit:





 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Time Management by Terri Weldon

Lately it seems like I can’t get anything done in a timely manner. I’m either the most disorganized person on earth or I have too much to do. I was leaning toward winning the most disorganized award when a new thought popped into my mind. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. A new hybrid. J

My organizational skills are lacking and I’ve started working on those. I have goals, I have actual deadlines, and I have commitments such as this blog. I make it a priority to work on those items. But then sometimes I look at all the things I’m involved in, both writing and non-writing, and wonder how I ever thought I could accomplish everything and work a demanding full-time day job.

So I’m being more deliberate on what I’ll commit to. About this time my sister, who happens to be my greatest encourager, is probably rolling on the floor laughing. Maybe a more accurate statement would be I’m attempting to be more deliberate on what I commit to.

As tempting as it is I can’t say yes to every writing project that comes along. I have to pick which projects mean the most to me, which ones will advance my career, and most importantly which ones God wants me to focus on.

I find it hard to say no. I love to do things with friends and family. I love to shop and garden. I love to read and watch movies. I love to spend time with my puppies. I love to travel and go to the theater. I love to write and have lunches with writing friends. The list is endless, but I’ll tell you what I’ve learned – I can’t do it all. I have to pick what is most important to me and then as hard as it can be, walk away from the rest.

My journey is just beginning and I know it may be a painful one, but I’m forging ahead one day at a time. What about you? What keeps you focused? How do you say no or know when to say no? I’d love to hear from you.
 
The Christmas Bride Wore Boots - Berryhill Brides Book One

Pastor Jacob Thompson is in need of a director for the living nativity program and veterinarian Molly Kincaid offers to take on the job. The task involves far more than Molly bargained for, nonetheless she’d do anything to help out the man she secretly loves – even sew costumes or cast eight-year-old Wesley Simpson as an angel.
Jacob’s daughter Emma longs to have a mommy of her own, but the widowed pastor has vowed to never remarry, and isn’t ready to open his heart to love again. Molly dreams of filling the void in both their lives, but fears she lacks the necessary qualities to be a pastor’s wife.
As Molly and Jacob work together on the living nativity, their feelings for one another grow. Will Molly realize she is just what Jacob and Emma need in their lives? Can Jacob be released from his grief stricken promise? Could this unlikely duo prove to be a match made in heaven?

Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. She is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Terri is the award winning author of The Christmas Bride Wore Boots.

Readers can connect with Terri: Website: www.TerriWeldon.com or



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Should a Writer Dream Big? by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Are you following your dream as a writer, but feeling discouraged? Author Tamera Lynn Kraft tells us why we shouldn't give up. -- Sandy

Tamera: Writing is a discouraging profession. We’re constantly told not to get our hopes up. Getting published is as unlikely as winning the lottery. Then if we’re fortunate enough to be published, we’re reminded that most novels sell less than 1,000 copies. If we do sell more than that, we’re admonished to not quit our day job because very few writers ever make enough to support themselves.

Christian writers have it worse. If they dare to dream big, they’re told they are pursuing worldly success instead of keeping their eyes on God.

Yet Scripture tells us to believe that nothing is impossible with God. So what are we to do? We should follow the same steps anyone would follow, writer or not, when God gives them a dream.

Dream Big: Don’t put limitations on God. If you knew that after hard work and perseverance you would succeed, what dreams would you pursue? What dreams has God placed in your heart that are God sized? Every dream will be different. One person’s dream may be for one person to be touched by his writing that nobody else can reach. Another might be reaching for
publication. Still another person might be looking for a career in writing that will enable her to quit her day job. No dream is wrong when God is the one who put the desire there. Pray about it and make sure it’s God. But if He placed the desire there, run with it.

Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

Write Down Your Dreams & Visions: After you’ve decided what your God given desires are, write them down. Keep the list somewhere that you can refer to often, like the refrigerator. Then work toward those dreams. Do your part so God can do His.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Do Your Part: God is the One responsible for fulfilling His promises, but you need to do your part. Obey God even when it seems like you’re going in the wrong direction. Work hard to learn your craft and to write what God has given you. No matter how many rejections you get, Don’t Quit! Most agents and publishers admit successful authors aren’t the best writers, they’re the ones who never quit. Do your part, and God will open the doors.

Revelation 3:7 … When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it.

Have you ever been tempted to give up on your dream? What helped you to keep going?


~~~~~~


Alice’s Notions Blurb:

In this quaint mountain town, things aren't always what they seem.

World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn't know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn't know who she can trust.

Buying Links:






Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. Tamera has two novellas in print: A Christmas Promise and Resurrection of Hope. Her first full length novel, Alice’s Notions, is due to be released in April.

Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.
You can contact Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net.

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.
Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Does Your Life Feel Like Boot Camp? by Zoe M. McCarthy

I read The Red Platoon by Clinton Romesha. This true story of an American military camp in Afghanistan under a horrendous, well-coordinated attack is not for the squeamish on any front. But I’m glad I read it. The soldiers’ gruesome battle, which lasted one long day, lost seven American soldiers and wounded many others. Their day came across to me as a metaphor in four ways for our Christian walk.
Zoe M. McCarthy


1. Successfully bearing harsh treatment in boot camp and receiving additional training and experience are paramount to survival.

Battle of Kamdesh

The surrounded American soldiers, camp doctors, chain of leaders inside and outside the camp, and air personnel (who eventually were able to come to the camp’s aid in helicopters and advanced technical airplanes), were trained physically, technically, and strategically. And many had prior combat experience.


Mistakes happened, but the experienced men were able to function and act under extreme stress because they knew what to do and how to do it. Their preparedness foiled the likely massacre.


In contrast, the Afghan National Army soldiers assigned to the American camp lacked training. Their response to hundreds of Taliban raining down all manner of fire on the camp was to leave their posts and hide.

Christian Walk

When we’re trained in God’s Word and keep our faith through our trials, we become stronger and gain the knowledge and experience to face whatever befalls us and to help others through their hardships. We know what to do and how to do it.

2. When soldiers are experienced, equipped, and prepared for the worst of situations, courage comes naturally.

Battle of Kamdesh

Nothing went smoothly with 300 Taliban shooting from higher ground at 85 American and 35 Afghan National Army soldiers. But repeatedly, the experienced American soldiers put themselves in harm's way, individually or in improvised teams to save the camp. Some begged their leaders to go under fire to try a strategy to rescue others. When called, the experienced soldiers, without question, performed their duties. I was awed by their courage.

Christian Walk

When we’re prayed up, well versed in God’s word, trust God in every circumstance, and obey His command not to be afraid or worry, we can possess unlimited courage when we’re called. Even if our hearts are beating like crazy.

3. When soldiers bond, they love and risk their lives for each other.

Battle of Kamdesh

Much of the time, what was foremost in the experienced soldiers’ minds was to get to a truck or building where their buddies were trapped and out of ammunition. Even for their dead, they risked their lives to keep the Taliban from taking their bodies to use in TV propaganda.

Christian Walk

Our unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ, as branches on Christ’s vine, enables us to love each other in our hearts and with actions. When we pray for and support each other, the Body of Christ is strong. We are also able to love and forgive others and our enemies.

4. When soldiers obey their commanding officers and perform with excellence for their country, they are honored for their faithfulness.

Battle of Kamdesh

Faithful American, Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha sometimes had to force himself to see the wisdom of his commanding officer’s decisions, but he obeyed with respect. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership and actions during the Battle of Kamdesh. This is the USA’s highest and most prestigious military decoration.

Christian Walk
We know Christ’s leading is best, and when we obey, we are faithfully about our Father’s work. God awards us with heaven’s highest honor—our salvation.

When were you prepared to do what God called you to do?

Training in God’s Word and boot-camp trials prepare us for whatever may befall us. Click to Tweet.



Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is: Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Her first novel is Calculated Risk. She has two more contemporary romances and a nonfiction book to help writers ready their manuscripts coming out soon. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John. 
Calculated Risk
by Zoe M. McCarthy

Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com

Calculated Risk

What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books

Monday, April 17, 2017

Springtime - A Season of the Spirit by Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
Allow me to push back the hands of the clock by a couple of weeks. For a number of reasons, I ached for a spirit boost. Much weighed me down, and I longed for rejuvenation. For pure joy.

So, there I was, a 50-something, playing a spirited game of ‘chase’ through the backyard with a chattering, giggling 14-month-old. My grandson dropped by for a grandpa and grandma visit and the day was picture perfect. A glimpse of spring in all its glory. I sat next to my grand-joy and watched in fascination while he plucked grass blades and explored little sticks with the high-beam focus of a scientist on the brink of great discovery. Then, just as quickly, he looked to the sky in wide-eyed wonder as he examined the cotton ball clouds and bird life. His absorption and happiness froze me still for a time.

I fell into a much-needed sense of awe that has lingered in my soul and carries me now through a somewhat dark period of unexpectedly burying a dear and close family member.

I close my eyes and see his unencumbered joy as soft breezes skimmed his skin, sifting through his hair. He found delight by simply bouncing on his bottom in the cool, sweet grass. His smile and laughter, and even his singing, carried to us while we took him on a stroller ride through our neighborhood.

His reaction to the world around him left me thinking about passion, uncomplicated happiness, and that spontaneous burst of happiness that can take a soul by storm and lift you high.

Jesus advised: Focus on the moment. Don’t re-hash the past or fret over the future (of course, I paraphrase here… ::smile!::) We’re not in the past any longer, and only God knows the future. Live for now. Savor every blessing that comes to life in every season of your life.

Those moments, that truth, is helping me to find ‘spring’ – not just in the changing of the seasons, but in the attitude of my heart as well. Happy Easter season, friends, and tell me, how do you find and celebrate your own Resurrections? 
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Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award, Then & Now for Best Contemporary Romance and Finding Home for Best Novella. Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.
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Amy Monarch is a tireless volunteer at the Dupont Rescue and Recovery Center, an establishment for the destitute founded by her mother. There, Amy has kept her identity a carefully guarded secret. She is actually Princess Amelia Marguerite Louise DeLaGrande of Remeth. Working at Dupont offers the opportunity to serve in blessed disguise.

Fresh into a promising career in commercial real estate brokerage, Patrick Sawyer returns to the picturesque isle of Remeth intending to reconnect with his collegiate study abroad friends and figure out 'what's next' in his life. Since his father's passing, the world he knows leaves him uninspired. He volunteers at Dupont during his visit and becomes enchanted by Amy.

But Amelia is trapped within a silken web. When she reveals who she is, Patrick pulls back. He's not interested in royalty--at all--but how can she ever break free? How can she find a way to service and God's plan for her life? Most of all, how can she reconcile the call she feels toward a remarkable man who may be 'common,' yet is 'uncommon' when it comes to matters of the heart?