Monday, January 25, 2010

The Sweet By and By

Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck

About the author:

The single "Low" (sung by Sara Evans) was released to radio on September 29, 2008 to promote Billy: The Early Years (for the movie released October 10). The song is featured on the movie's soundtrack which was released on October 7, 2008, and also includes other big name country artists. "Low" debuted (and peaked) on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart at #59 on October 12, 2008. It only remained on the chart for one week before returning for a second week in January 2009 at the same position.

A book called "Sweet By and By" written by Evans, and author Rachel Hauck, was released on January 5, 2010.  It is the first release of a four-book deal inked with Thomas Nelson Fiction.

Sara Evans was a guest on The View on January 13, 2010 to promote the books release.

Sara stated in a video posting to her fan club on December 23, 2008, that she is working with her brother Matt Evans and producer Nathan Chapman on her sixth studio album. The lead-off single, "Feels Just Like a Love Song", was released on July 20, 2009. The song debuted and peaked at #59 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart; after spending two weeks on the chart, it fell off. Her sixth studio album will be released in mid-2010, according to Sara in "Baby Blog" interview of family, life and career.

"I have become the biggest Rachel Hauck fan! Not only from working with her in writing my books, but just reading her stand-alone writing! She is truly so smart and witty and seems to have a direct insight to human nature and our emotions. She knows the right things to say that always confirm what I'm feeling, and I'm sure many many others too!"
- Platinum selling recording artist Sara Evans

The Blurb:

A redemptive story from multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans.

Jade Fitzgerald left the pain of her past in the dust when she headed out for college a decade ago. Now she's thriving in her career and glowing in the light of Max Benson's love.

But then Jade's hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade's wedding along with Willow, her wild younger sister. Their arrival forces Jade to throw open the dark closets of her past--the insecurity of living with a restless, wandering mother, the silence of her absent father, and the heart-ripping pain of first-love's rejection.

Turns out Beryl has a secret of her own. She needs reconciliation with her oldest daughter before illness takes her life. In the final days leading to the wedding, Jade meets the One who shows her that the past has no hold on her future. With a little grace, they'll meet in the middle, maybe even before that sweet by and by.

What Others Say:

"The Sweet By and By written by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck is a beautiful story that touched my heart deeply and will stick with me for a long time.

The authors practically bring these characters to life. After reading the book, the characters seem more like real people that I know and I find myself wondering how they are doing and what happened to them after this story. Jade Fitzgerald, the story's heroine, has been through so much in her lifetime that she has tried to run away and close off her past and pretend it never existed. I felt myself relating to her on so many different levels and rooting for her.

The story gives a beautiful picture of God's love and mercy. From the very beginning of the book I was drawn in by the dynamic relationships between these characters and the drama of a wounded family. No matter how wonderful our family is, we all have relationship problems at times, and the issues in this book just felt so true to life for me. It's a story about people who are more "real" and I truly enjoyed this book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. In fact, I would say that this book is at the top of my list of books from 2009 that I would consider a must read!

Rachel Hauck has been a favorite of mine for awhile, and I am hoping these two ladies will collaborate again in the future. They very obviously write well together! " ~~M. Vasquez

"Although I'm a fairly hip college-teacher grandmother, I had not encountered Sara Evans as a multi-platinum recording artist. I'm thankful I did not overlook her as a novelist presenting this heart-engaging book gift-wrapped in vivid characterization and lasting wisdom. Warning: Do not begin reading until you have enough time to finish this book -- it demands and deserves your full attention and stays with you after you close the cover. I look forward to more novels in the series." ~~ Dawn Bailey

My Take:

Everyone loved Jade Fitzgerald. She got along with everyone. But just the thought of inviting her mother to her wedding freezes Jades very insides. This book can bring hope to any estranged mother daughter relationship. Healing does not come easy. Healing has a price that must be paid.

I especially enjoy a story where family relationship healing is attempted. I highly recommend this book. It is truly a book with take home value.

Purchase The Book At:

Book Contest: We are featuring Sara Evan's book The Sweet By and By this week.

(Book Contest weeks are from Sunday through Saturday. A new book review is posted each Sunday which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts for the next two weeks along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Stitch In Time

About the author:

Allison Bottke’s transparent vulnerability when addressing painful topics allows her to reach into hearts and change lives with a powerful message of hope and healing. Affectionately known as the “God Allows U-Turns Poster Girl,” Allison’s story is one of triumph over tragedy on many levels. As the Founder of God Allows U-Turns, she unashamedly shares her testimony of a changed life…a life highlighted over the years by Guideposts Magazine, The 700 Club, Praise the Lord, and Her writing career began with God Allows U-Turns, an inspirational book series many have called “the Christian Chicken Soup.” The true-story compilation book series is available around the world with books in the U-Turns brand currently available for adults, kids and youth.

A frequent guest on national radio and TV programs around the country, she has appeared on the covers of such national magazines as Writer’s Digest, BOND, The Christian Communicator, CWO, and O.H. Magazine. Boomer Babes Rock has appeared in Christian Women Online since 2007. Her international outreach includes over two-dozen non-fiction and fiction books, as well as blogs, e-zines, tracts, greeting cards, and logo merchandise.

Allison talks about the weight loss surgery of her main character, Dee Harris, in her first novel, A Stitch in Time.

The Blurb:

In the course of one year Dee Decker . . .
. . . has gastric bypass surgery and loses 150 pounds
. . . separates from her husband
. . . buys a whole new wardrobe
. . . flourishes in her glamorous fundraiser job
. . . and becomes a Christian.

She's a new person inside and our, and her future looks bright.

But then a job offer sends her life in a direction she hadn't expected. Her past and present are about to collide in a major way . . . and Dee didn't bring the right shoes!

What Others Say:

"Dee Harris is busy with the reconstruction of her life in so many areas. Her 30-year marriage to her husband, Lyle, seems to be over after she caught him having an affair.

Her two 30-plus year old children are still living at home with their father. She lost 150 pounds and has undergone several reconstructive surgeries.

Her career as a consultant has really taken off. All of this, plus she has become a Christian.

Dee's life is very fast-paced. Her job at LeGrande Enterprises includes helping raise money for causes through events and helping committees plan out projects.

Eating has always been a comfort to Dee, but after her weight loss surgery, she has to be extra careful to eat in a whole new way. At one event, Dee eats an egg roll that wasn't chewed enough which sent Dee to the ladies room.

This is where she meets Lily. Lily is a very wealthy lady who lives in Las Vegas. She needs help in planning and implementing a huge building project. Is this a divine appointment?

Dee's boss and friend, Areta, does not understand Dee's Christianity. Stress mounts as reports are given to Areta about Dee aggressively evangelizing clients and coworkers. Where are these anonymous reports coming from?

Dee wants to divorce her husband for she cannot forgive him for the affair. Lyle is not cooperating by not signing the divorce papers. Her children, Kelsey and Kent, have enjoyed their lives living at home. Their lives begin to change along with their attitudes toward their mother.

Lily's nephew, Carter, is a handsome cowboy who is on the committee for the project. He becomes an interest to Dee on a personal basis.

Carter's twin, Colt, died and has left his land for the project to build an art museum that will glorify God in the arts. Problems arise as the committee members have different views on how this should be done. Will the project get started by the January 1 deadline, or will the land be forfeited?

Allison Bottke does a wonderful job with her first novel. Her sense of humor and detail gives life to the story and makes it fun and believable. " By

My Take:

The day after I got home from the hospital following my Roun-ex-Y weight loss surgery my daughter brought me Allison Bottke's book A Stitch in Time. She had gotten it out of the library and enjoyed it so she brought it to share with me before taking it back.

I am so glad I read it. The story is interesting in it's own right, but the added twist of what Dee went through with the challenges of her new digestive system thickens the plot. Although every person's experience will be different, I learned a lot abut what to expect in the coming days.

This is a book with real take home valu.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sorry For Neglecting You

I will try to catch up with the threads I started on this blog in the coming days. Now that the ole' brain cells are snapping again I'll be letting you know of the winners of past book contests.

Things go better when I am writing.

Thanks for stopping by and God Bless~~

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Month After Weight Loss Surgrey

Husband took this picture of me. I still like the mirror version better. (What I look like in the mirror.) But I am thirty-three pounds lighter and I won't complain about that.. This dress is off my new pattern which is designed to be easy to take in as I lose weight. This is the only one that is not too saggy baggy except for the neckline. I've already lost over an inch in my neck. This should help my sleep apnea improve.

For some reason I expected the recovery from my weight loss surgery to be somewhat like when I had my gallbladder taken out. Both were laprascopic after all. Husband said it wouldn't, but I was going to think positive, thank you very much.

The doctor had me fill prescriptions for anti-nausea medicine and liquid pain medicine ( like they gave me in the hospital) before my surgery so I would be prepared. I also prepared for light work after surgery by cutting out a dress to sew. And of course I had to work on my first four chapters to send to an agent who was willing to read the edited pages.

But instead of coming home two days after surgery like most of Dr. Teel's patients. I spent 6 days in Miami Valley Hospital.

Two days after I came home I was able to switch from the prescription pain medication to arthritis strength Tylenol. And I never did need the anti-nausea medicine.

I came home on a Sunday and got stronger each day until the following Sunday when I started noticing my heart pounding and skipping beats. Monday was my first check up with Dr. Teel and he had blood work done. We learned my potassium was very low. Since I had a potassium iv in the hospital I should have questioned the notice to quit taking my potassium prescription when I got home. A nurse pointed it out to me just so I could question it, but brain cells were not clicked in I guess. I expect a code got punched in wrong and it was a mistake.

After about a week of extra potassium medicine my potassium is low normal. So we are making progress.

After I got home from the hospital, I looked at my manuscript every day. It stunk and I didn't know how to fix it. So I waited and looked again the next day. Three and one half weeks after my surgery, my writing brain cells kicked back in and I was able to edit the entire manuscript one more time.

I tried to sew that first week home too. My right arm hurt so much from the pic line I had to have in the hospital that I could not hold my arms up long enough to get more than two seams sewed at one session. Not quite like the gall bladder surgery.

So, knowing what I know now, would I have the surgery? In a heartbeat. The same type of surgery? Absolutely. But I would have quit taking my ibuprofen many days sooner than I did before surgery. Just in case it would have made a difference.

Friday, January 15, 2010

De-Stress That Woman In You!

Alyice Edrich

Stress! You can’t live with it and it seems you can’t live without it. Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and complications that often result in a little added stress. Stress is simply a natural part of lives and the only way to deal with it is to find healthy ways to relieve the stress.

I’ve tried breathing techniques and while they do help alleviate panic attacks, they seem to do very little for reducing the overall effect of stress.. And let’s be honest, the sounds of the ocean crashing down upon you eventually send you straight into the bathroom for a nice little retreat. So how do we find time to de-stress in an over-stressed society?

We step away from the issues that are causing the stress and allow ourselves a chance to “live life” and forget about our problems. That way, we can return to the stressful situation with a clear head, a calm chest, and the mental and physical ability to tackle the task at hand.

Sometimes the simple act of friendship is the best medicine for stress. Hanging out with someone you care about can lighten the mood and give you insight you haven’t been able to see for yourself. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed call up a friend and immediately take a self-prescribed dose of friendship. Your friend can listen to your issues, pray with you, offer unsolicited advice, and take your mind off the issue by telling you about her life or engaging in other conversation and activities.

If your friend is too busy, however, consider the following fun ways to de-stress:

  1. Turn on Christian music and glorify God’s name in song.
  2. Take your kids out of school and have a ditch day.
  3. Ask your spouse to take a personal day.
  4. Take up dance lessons.
  5. Work in your garden.
  6. Read that stack of magazines you’ve been putting off.
  7. Be a kid again.
  8. Find that child-like wonder through board games, video games, and physical activity.
  9. Take a mini-vacation. Rent a nice hotel room for the week-end and leave all your cares behind. Sometimes, a simply change in location can add a new perspective on things.
  10. Paint statuary. Creating something from your imagination allows you to use the other half of your brain and give you analytical side a nice, little rest.
  11. Work on a hobby you haven’t touched in months—if not years.
  12. Take a long bath, get in your pajamas, pour yourself a cup of java, get under the covers, and snuggle up to a good book.
  13. Bake something. Many times just the smell of freshly bakes goodies is enough to put your mind at ease.
  14. Exercise. You’d be surprised what a good jog, a nice bike ride, or even an aerobics activity, can do for your stress levels.
  15. Watch a comedy. They say 15 minutes of laughter each day is a great way to release the tension associated with stress.
The important thing to remember is that if you don’t deal with your stress, it will eventually explode and that explosion can cause huge damage to your health, your relationships, and even your livelihood. Whenever stress gets the better of you, take five minutes to rework your day. Not only will your family thank you for it, but so will your heart.

Alyice Edrich is the author of several highly praised e-books designed to help you work from home. To discover how you can earn $50 in two hours or up to $10K in your spare time visit her store:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Day Of My Surgery Arrived

Inside this big me is a small person wanting to get out. I often see this person in my mirror.

My roux-en-y surgery was December 22, and I expected to blog about it the following week. I was prepared, after all, I had read the big binder full of information on my type of surgery.

I would be in the operating room one to one and a half hours. I would be in recovery about two hours and then my family could be with me. I would be up and walking the same day as the surgery. I would be in the hospital for two days and I would soon be back at the computer.

What really happened:

My surgery was scheduled for ten-forty-five. I took my Kindle with me and read a bit while waiting for surgery.

I talked to my surgeon, Dr. Teel, just before he left to do the surgery before mine. I believe they took me back to surgery at twelve, possibly twelve-thirty.

After surgery I woke in the recovery room. Husband and sister were with me. My strategy after getting up to go to the bathroom the first time, was to sit in the recliner chair each room was to have. It is easier to get up from a recliner than a bed I figured.

So I asked about the recliner. They had to find one that was not broken and not being used. Then I went to the bathroom (on very shaky legs) and had the nurse settle me into the chair. My caretakers were in and out of the room often and each new one would look at me in the chair and ask me if I wanted to get in bed. But I was still waiting for the call to walk the halls so I declined.

After several people asked if I wanted to get in bed I looked at the clock. Three o'clock. I figured no way it could be three in the afternoon. I couldn't believe it was three at night, but you know how time flies sometimes. So if it was three at night they wouldn't be getting me up to walk. So I said okay to going to bed.

I tried to stand but got dizzy and sat back in the chair, waited a few moments and tried again with the same results. My nurse said I have to keep my eyes open even if I felt dizzy. I tried one more time.

I scooted to the edge of the chair. I waited a moment then stood up. I got dizzy again and they kept yelling for me to keep my eyes open which I tried to do, I really did. But once more I ended up in the chair, or so I thought. In reality I had landed on the floor. So about four helpers picked me up and put me to bed.

My hemoglobin was low and I signed a consent form to receive blood. Dr Teel had to make a decision on whether to take me back to surgery. There were issues either way and it was a hard decision for him to make.

But if I was going back to surgery I couldn't have any more ice chips. I didn't like hearing that.  My throat hurt and the ice chips eased it. My nurses and patient care people were very attentive, very caring. But I took a lot of care.

I was moved to a step up unit where I would be cared for without taking the nurses away from the other patients. But when this unit realized my situation with chest pain they said I needed to be in intensive care so I was moved yet again.

My throat hurt really bad and each time I moved I asked for more ice-chips. My sister is a retired R.N. She was torn between feeding me the ice-chips and knowing I might go back to surgery.

After six units of blood, my hemoglobin test stayed at a level that the hospital doctors and Dr. Teel found acceptable so we knew I wouldn't be going back to surgery.

Four days later I got up to walk the halls for the first time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Farraday Road


About the author:

Ace's given name is Andrew. He was saddled with Ace during his college days when he won a heart's competition by making a run. The last card he played was the Ace of Hearts.

 Ace’s first novel, “Farraday Road” was released in October, 2008 and went into a second printing even before it hit bookstores. This mystery-action adventure will jump-start a series of books based on the exploits of a champion of justice — Arkansas lawyer Lije Evans. The next in the Lije Evans Mystery Series is called “Swope’s Ridge” and is hitting bookstores now.

The Blurb:

It’s just another quiet evening out for Lije and Kaitlyn Evans. But somewhere along the way, it becomes something more sinister and a murder takes place. In the aftermath, a small-town attorney sets out to find his wife’s killers and uncovers a deadly conspiracy. A suspenseful mystery with a twist of faith

What Others Say:

"Storms, washed-out bridges, intrigue, murders, missing train, history mystery--you name it--Farraday Road has it all. In addition, fascinating dialogue and clever repartee. The plot scurries right along. Easy to read short chapters--the reader can pause at any point, but who is able to? Can't help but read through the night because of the "teasers." Want to simply enjoy a good book? Farraday Road is it." ~~Joanna A. Wallace

"I brought this book because of the author Ace Collins who is best known for his non-fiction books Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Stories Behind the Great traditions of Christmas etc. He has been around for a long time and has written many books I've enjoyed. I was curious to see what Ace had up his sleeves in reference to fiction writing. Wow! I was pleasantly surprised, but then again I wasn't. What else would you expect from such a gifted writer?

Ace starts out this book like the TV show Murder She Wrote. The murder happens in the first chapter or two. I didn't know where he would go from there. Was it going to be gruesome or not? I'm happy to report not!! Ace takes his time for you to get to know the town and it's history, the victims, their lives, hopes and dreams. He does a great job of walking you down a path where clues are uncovered to only find out more questions come to mind because of something recently discovered. The mystery is far more than anyone of the characters or the reader could imagine.

This book is also a little like National Treasure the movie in the fact that there is a bit of history to be learned in the middle of all the action, mystery, and adventure. Ace is very creative and clever in the way he lets the story unfold. You discover all the clues along with the characters in the book. If you are looking for all things to be tied up in a bow at the end of this story you won't find it here. Good news for you is Ace Collins's new book, Swope's Ridge, the sequel to this one, is out in book stores right now.

This is definitely a- who-done-it taken to a whole new level. I enjoyed Lije a local attorney whose wife is murdered. He has a whole new lease on life and will stop at nothing to solve his wife's murder. I can't wait to read the next installment." ~~Nora St. Laurent~~Finding Hope Through Fiction

My Take: Don't judge a book by it's cover. I started this book and got sidetracked and never picked it back up until I read Swope's Ridge. I had a faint memory of reading about the character Lije Evans before. When I finished Swope's Ridge I dug through my book pile and saw Farraday Road had a marker at chapter thirteen. To me the cover looks like a story about drowning. This is not the case at all. In my opinion Zondervan did a better job with the cover of Swope's Ridge.

I opened the book Farraday Road at page one and started over. Was I ever glad I did. Great story. I am eager to read the next in the series. The one after Swope's Ridge. I recommend both books that are out.

Purchase The Book At:

For a signed copy:

Book Contest: We are featuring Ace Collin's book Farraday Road this week.

(Book Contest weeks are from Sunday - Sunday. A new book review is posted each Sunday which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Under Grace

Under Grace
Adapted from Set Apart by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Under the rule of grace, everything that God demands of you, He provides for you. What the law demands, grace provides.

Grace is the power of God operating in us to produce a righteous life. Much to our surprise, His power and
life indwelling us is more effective at producing right behavior than was the law with its demands and penalties.

Let me explain it this way: The laws of the United States include a law that prohibits murder. The law lays out a penalty for murder. I, a citizen of the United States, have never committed murder, nor will I ever. However, the reason I have never committed murder has nothing to do with a law on the books; it has to do with a law in my heart. There is a law in my heart against murder which makes it impossible for me to commit murder. Though a law on the books exists and that law is good and right, I am not “under it”--t does not hold me in check. In fact, I never even think about the law against murder! I spontaneously obey it. A law on the books against murder is unnecessary for controlling my behavior.

Now, suppose that the law against murder were not in my heart. Would a law on the books with its accompanying penalty, keep me from murdering? It probably would to an extent. But, should the right circumstances present themselves, I would be free to murder.

Let me tell you how it is with another law of the land that is not in my heart. There is a law on the books, with accompanying penalty, against driving faster than the speed limit. That law, I have to confess, is not in my heart. Most of the time threat of the penalty causes me to obey the law. But if the circumstances are right, I can rationalize my way around the law and I can convince myself that I probably won’t get caught and have to pay the penalty.

Which is the most effective at controlling my behavior? The law on the books or the law in my heart? When Paul tells us that we are not under the law, but under grace, he is saying that we are free from the law on the books, “a written code,” because of the law in our hearts.

Grace will produce a deeper obedience than law produces.

Jennifer Kennedy Dean is Executive director of The Praying Life Foundation and a respected author and speaker. She is the author of numerous books, studies, and magazine articles specializing in prayer and spiritual formation. Jennifer’s most recent book release is Set Apart: A 6-Week Study of the Beatitudes. Her book Heart’s Cry has been named National Day of Prayer’s signature book. You’ll find articles and daily quotes from Jennifer at the National Day of Prayer website. Live a Praying Life, has been called a flagship work on prayer. Jennifer was widowed in 2005 after 26 years of marriage to Wayne Dean, her partner both in life and ministry. They are the parents of three grown sons. Jennifer makes her home in Marion, KY. Media can learn more about Jennifer at:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sometimes things happen for a reason

by Pastor Rob Reid

This beautiful story.... makes you understand that things happen for a reason.

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.
On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor,and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.

The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. 'Pastor,' she asked, 'where did you get that tablecloth?'

The pastor explained.

The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth thirty- five years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth.

The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria .

When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church.
The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.
One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the thirty-five years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.
He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid, who says God does not work in mysterious ways.
I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today, to guide you and protect you as you go along your way. His love is always with you, His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares you know He will see us through. So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best.. Just remember I'm here praying and God will do the rest.

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need. Take sixty seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the people you love.

Father, God, bless all my friends and family in what ever it is that You know they may be needing this day! May their life be full of your peace, prosperity and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you. Amen. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meet Christian Author Mark Mynheir

Please join me in welcoming Mark Mynheir. He is the author of The Truth Chasers Series. And we are featuring his book From The Belly Of The Dragon this week.

Sharon: Tell us, Mark, who has been one of your best encouragers on your writing journey?

Mark: My wife, without a doubt.  When I first came up with the nutty idea to write a book, she encouraged me through the entire process.  I’d be lost without her.

Sharon: In spite of your wife's support, do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Mark: Every day. Not sure when that’s going to end.

Sharon: Well, you keep at it though. And that is good. Where do you like to write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?

Mark: I have an office at our house, but it’s a rare day when I get to use it.  I have to run my kids out of there to get any work done. I sometimes write on our patio.  It depends on the weather and what’s going on.

Sharon: Sounds like you are flexible with your space. What hours do you devote to your writing and what time of day do you prefer to write?

Mark: I still work as a homicide/violent crimes detective as my day job.  I mostly write at night and on weekends.  Since I have a wife and three children who actually like me, I have to divide my time carefully.   Sometimes I wonder how everything gets done.
Even when I’m working at the police thing, I’m still churning the stories in my head until I can get home and commit them to paper.  I’m sick, I know.  But what can I say, I’m a writer.

Sharon: Do you consider yourself a "plotter" or a "seat-of-the-pants" writer?

Mark: Sort of both.  I do a light plot with the major turning points mapped out.  I then shape the story around that.  My initial plot will usually change some during the process, but it works for me.

Sharon: Why did you choose to write Christian fiction?

Mark: When I was growing up, the worst thing I could think of doing was writing. I loathed putting words to paper.  I’m Dyslexic and the very reason (I believe) that God invented spell check.  But soon after I became a Christian, I felt the Lord leading me to write.  It didn’t make much sense to me and seemed impossible.  I shared with my wife what I thought God was doing, and she encouraged me to go to school and learn the skills I needed to write.  

All the stories I have bouncing around in my head are of a spiritual nature. (I believe all stories have a spiritual theme whether the author intends it or not.) I don’t think I could write in which Christ isn’t intertwined in it somewhere.  It’s where my heart is.      

Sharon: What mistakes have you made while seeking publication?

Mark: I don’t know about mistakes, but there are some things I should have done before seeking publication. I wish I’d have read a few more books on novel writing.  I’ve had to play some catch up. There are a lot of subtleties and techniques to make stories stronger, particularly with regard to structure and point-of-view usage.  

In publishing itself, I should have taken the time to talk with experienced authors about the business end and expectations.  It would have saved me some unnecessary aggravation.

Sharon: What’s the best advice you’ve heard on writing/publication?

Mark:  Hone your craft.  Everything else revolves around this.

Sharon: What advice can you give new authors seeking publication?

Mark: Stick with it!  Many a great manuscript or talented writer will never be discovered because the author didn’t show the fortitude to stick it out through the tough times—and there will be tough times.  If you’re called to be a writer, write.  Learn your craft, read books about writing, go to conferences, and write, write, write.  Don’t let negative voices around you derail the dream God has planted.  

Sharon: Thank you Mark. Do you have any parting words?

Mark: Thank you for having me, Sharon.  I hope you have a great new year! Take care, and God bless.

Sharon: How can readers find you on the Internet?

Mark: They can reach me at my website: or on Facebook.

Book Contest: We are featuring Mark Mynheir's book From The Belly Of The Dragon this week.

(Book Contest weeks are from Sunday through Sunday. A new book review is posted each Sunday or Monday which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

From The Belly Of The Dragon

Mark Mynheir

About the author:

Mark Mynheir was born and raised on the east coast of Central Florida. Like most boys growing up, Mark enjoyed sports, mainly football and martial arts.

In 1983, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After serving four years in the Marines, Mark changed gears and pursued a career in law enforcement.

During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective.

Over sixteen years ago, during a health crisis involving his oldest son, Mark gave his life to Jesus Christ. Shortly after his conversion, he felt God leading him in a new direction: writing. Now he balances dual careers as a police officer and novelist.

Mark is married to the love of his life and has three fantastic children, and they all currently reside in Central Florida.

I first met Mark when he taught a class at the 2008 ACFW conference on Police Procedural. I purchased the book but didn't manage to get it signed. Then, since the cover looks pretty scary. Not for the BFHCC (Big Fat Honkin Chicken Club) I put off reading it for awhile.

The Blurb:

A desperate escape into the South Florida marshes ends in murder.

But the true terror is just beginning…

Dr. Walter Simmons is a successful man. His books and tapes blend psychological principles with New Age, feel-good spiritualism and are a hit on college campuses. But when his top students join him for an intensive “training” program, they have no idea what awaits them. Not even the most insightful student of them all--Ruby Porter.

Tim Porter, an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, knows his daughter is into something strange. He and his ex-wife grow increasingly concerned, but nothing they do or say helps. Then a young man is murdered, and the FDLE are assigned to the case. As Tim grapples for the truth, one fact becomes crystal clear: Ruby is in terrible danger. But can he do what it will take to rescue his daughter from a man she now trusts more than anyone else?

Faced with an FBI investigation, a corrupt chief of police, and a mounting spiritual battle, Tim hits obstacles at every turn. As each day goes by, he can’t escape the terrifying truth--His daughter’s time is running out…

Join the agents of the FDLE as they seek the truth behind the crime and wrestle with Truth in their personal lives. Dealing with depravity all day, every day, it doesn’t always seem like God is in control. Which just makes victory that much sweeter when it comes.

What Others Say:

"This is one of those books that I wish hadn't been lost in my stack. It was edge-of-your-seat fabulous! I love stories about people sucked into cults and the great lengths that have to occur to pull people out. That Dr. Simmons was a real nut case, but the author did a terrific job putting you in his head so you could see how twisted he was in the way he saw himself and the world. I loved it! Also, the close bond between the detectives and their camaraderie was endearing. I enjoyed reading about how they'd put their careers and even their very lives on the line to help a friend whose daughter was trapped in a cult. The father--for obvious reasons--was driven to get Ruby out before it was too late.

This story was fast paced and very, very interesting. The plot was well done and the scenery so vivid I felt like I was part of the group. Scary. Also, the spiritual warfare and truths that were brought into the light within the context of this story were compelling. Not preachy at all. And the way the people who were angry with God came to realize that they needed His help to succeed was done in a very convincing manner and did not feel contrived. I love fiction with such a realistic feel to it. Plus, this author used a variety of points of view, but it was done so seamlessly that I'm impressed with his technique. It wasn't at all obvious that there were multiple points of view. Every one of them seemed necessary to move the story along. Well done!

Also, one unique aspect of this riveting novel was the close relations and interdependency between people from different ethnic backgrounds. Byron and Ruby were so close in their relationship that I forgot he was white. In fact, I had to look back and double check because he was so easily accepted into the family once he helped Ruby. But that also made sense because Ruby mentioned growing up in all white schools most of her life, so it wouldn't seem like a big deal to her. At any rate, I was enthralled with this story and the romance between Ruby and Byron as well. I hope they get married someday. Maybe in the next book (if there is one?) Highly recommended! ~~Michelle Sutton

My Take:

I read the first line: "I hope this knucklehead doesn't get himself killed before we move in." Well with a first line like that what mystry/suspense lover wouldn't keep reading? Not me. I kept reading and found this a page turner. Wished I hadn't lost it in my TBR (to be read) pile for so long.

This book is proof you don't have to use a bunch of bad language to write a good thriller.

I gotta take more writing lessons from this guy.

Purchase The Book At:

Book Contest: We are featuring Mark Mynheir's book From The Belly Of The Dragon this week.

(Book Contest weeks are from Sunday through Sunday. A new book review is posted each Sunday or Monday which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner.

God Bless your day and thanks for stopping by.