Sunday, February 23, 2020

Childhood Celebration Tour



Author Interview

  1. Who has been your favorite character to write?
    Jake, from my first novel, because he emulated me. In the circumstances that I placed him in, he did what I would do. I lived vicariously through Jake in the first novel. 


  2. Who has been your most difficult character to write?
    Aleksey in my second novel, because he is essentially the devil in human flesh.


  3. Has a real person inspired a character?
    Many of my characters are inspired by one or more real people.

  4. Where is the weirdest place you've found inspiration?
    The bathroom.

  5. Is there a scene you wish you could rewrite?
    Yes. In my last novel a couple of the scenes, in retrospect, are “preachier” than I intended.
     

About the Book

Book:  Childhood
Author: Greg Schaffer
Genre:  Contemporary
Release Date: February 10, 2020
Katie lived a lonely childhood, her after school time filled with responsibilities to her father and special needs brother. Her chores prevented her from experiencing the carefree life her peers, including Joey, her neighbor and secret crush, lived. She began running to impress Joey, then discovered track as a possible way out of the small town of Nortonville, Tennessee. But as the promise of a college scholarship drew her closer to the escape she had dreamed about since childhood, she wondered why she didn’t feel better. What was missing?
Childhood is the novelette prequel to Fatherhood, a full-length novel about abortion from the father’s point of view.

About the Author

Greg Schaffer has written several novels, beginning with Forgiveness (2014). Each conveys the message that hope is always available, even in the darkest of times. His other works of fiction include horse-humor and poetry anthologies. A northerner by birth and a southerner by choice, Greg resides with his wife and rescue dogs in Franklin, Tennessee





Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 11
Older & Smarter?, February 13
Artistic Nobody, February 14 (Author Interview)
Inklings and notions, February 15
For Him and My Family, February 16
Through the Fire Blogs, February 17 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, February 18
By The Book, February 20 (Author Interview)
Just the Write Escape, February 21
Mamma Loves Books, February 22
Lukewarm Tea, February 23 (Author Interview)
Spoken from the Heart, February 24

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Greg 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.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Revelations from a church bathroom stall


It was a Wednesday night. My daughter's mission trip group meeting had just wrapped up and I had about 30 minutes before my Bible study began. So I had a little down time. I walked in to the auditorium where we have Bible study to find the tables not quite set up yet and I wasn't sure what to do so I went back out to the church lobby. There was surprisingly nobody there...so I went to the restroom. It was while I was in there, once again alone, that I started questioning what the heck I was doing at the church. Of the thoughts that congregated in my mind, most of which were negative, the one that stood out and kept screaming for attention was "You don't belong here"...

This isn't really anything new for me. I've often felt very out of place as I think most introverted people do. We struggle to find where we belong in any situation. Usually, my comfort zone is in the corner or with my husband who is an extroverted person by nature. I'm not an anti-social person. In fact, I'm actually pretty funny and on many occasions find myself starting up conversations. But outside of my comfort zone, I tend to close myself off and can probably seem shy or unapproachable. My friends know that when you first meet me I don't talk and after I get really comfortable around you I won't shut up. It's a balancing act I guess.

So anyways, this is where I was. The lone occupant of a stall in the bathroom. It's almost like a setup for something bad about to happen, right? It's like a scene from a scary movie. All alone. Until...Like when predators isolate their prey. Only, I had isolated myself in this case and had left myself open to predators. Only not of flesh and blood but of lies.

I started to think:

  • Maybe I'll just skip Bible study and go home. 
  • I could pick my daughter up after her youth group thing and just go home. 
  • Nobody is gonna miss me anyways. 
  • It's not like I'm contributing to the group discussion. 
  • Nobody even cares. 
  • I'm not getting that much out of it anyways. 
  • I'm not really enjoying the discussion. 
  • It's really boring sometimes. 
  • I don't really feel a connection to anyone. 
  • I don't belong here.
  • What am I doing here anyways?
See how I started to rationalize? These were all lies or rationalizations based on lies. Because the truth is I was needed. 

In a moment of clarity, I just said out loud (I think) "No, I am suppose to be here!

As I stopped thinking and started praying and declaring, my phone rang. I know this is poor taste but my daughter was still in the building somewhere and she was calling, so I answered. She was in the parking lot with a couple of her friends and one of them couldn't get his car started. So she figured I could help. I left my peaceful cocoon of isolation and went to help. After a few tries we got his car started and my daughter and I went back in to the building. Bible study and youth group happened and nobody knew what battle had taken place in order for me to walk back into the auditorium. 

Sometimes it's not a major battle. Sometimes it's literally just greeting someone or not hiding out in the corner. I've had to make myself shake hands with people. I'm not meant to be in the corner. Sometimes I have to tell myself that "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!" 

I realized whose words I needed to be listening to. Not my own and definitely not the lies that I'd allowed into my thoughts. I was meant to be at that Bible study that night. We've been study Exodus and it's been eye-opening the things that I never knew. Especially since I'm a preacher's kid. It directly points to Jesus. And that's whose words I needed to have going through my head. 

On the way home from the church, I told my daughter what happened. She said she got chills. I came home and put up post-its all over the kitchen. They say things like:
  • "Be Brave" 
  • "I'm contributing."
  • "I'm supposed to be here."
  • "I'm loved."
  • "I'm valued."
They are a daily reminder of truths that I let get away from me. Maybe you've felt that way. You've allowed yourself to get isolated and you've started to listen to lies. I'd encourage you to really stop where you are and just declare, I am loved, I am valued, I'm contributing, I matter, I'm brave and I'm suppose to be here. You are gonna feel silly. But if it helps, go stand in the bathroom and do the Wonder Woman pose and declare these things over yourself. 

  • Because the truth is, you are a daughter of the King. 
  • You are loved by God. 
  • You are brave on a daily basis just by living life and raising your kids or working your job or whatever it is that you do. 
  • You are suppose to be here. You're life might feel like one flop after the next but don't stop. 
  • You are no accident and you have a purpose. 
  • You have value. What you think or say matters. 
  • You have the gift of a voice and you can use it to speak life into a world that's full of darkness. You can be that tiny point of light that shows someone else the way. 
  • You are contributing. Make it count. 
Just every time you feel like crap and feel like you just want to go hide in the bathroom, tell yourself these things. And you'll start to believe them. Because they are all true. 





Sunday, November 24, 2019

Celebrate Lit: Are you in the Game or in the Way? by Ross Holtz

About the Book


Book: Are You in the Game or in the Way?
Author: Ross Holtz
Genre: RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources
Release Date: March 10, 2017

Are You in the Game or in the Way?

A men’s ministry reality check: What is standing in the way of a vital men’s ministry in your church? 
The guy who should be at the forefront is often in the way of the program getting off the ground. 
·         Are you, as pastor, the main obstacle to the growth of a vital men’s ministry? 
·         Are you the guy who wants to start a men’s ministry in your church but don’t know how? 
·         Is fear or a sense of inadequacy keeping you from starting such a ministry? 
Pastor Ross Holtz tells his personal story of how he became a catalyst for growth, instead of an impediment will inspire pastors and men’s ministry leaders. 
What works, what doesn’t, and what is required in forming a vital men’s ministry. Practical and honest teaching filled with relevant and tested examples from recognizing the problem to finding the fix.  
Pastor Ross Holtz is a man who has earned the right to speak on ministering to and through men . . . One man’s journey from being a sceptic to a fully-engaged pastor who sees the power of a clear ministry to and through men . . . Pastor Ross bares his heart, and is, at times, brutally honest in a way that will resonate.  
—Chuck Stecker, president, A Chosen Generation


Author Interview

When did you decide to become an author?

I have always been intrigued with writing. In Jr Hi, writing compositions was one of my favorite things. I’ve been writing articles and columns for decades. About five years ago I finally got serious about writing a book.

Who most influenced your writing?

Dave Berry. He’s a humorist and columnist. I like the way he makes his points with humorous, sometimes absurd, observations from real life. I would like to write with more humor. 

What was the best advice you received about writing?

I once heard William F. Buckley asked about what he felt about deadlines. He answered that he loved deadlines, that without them he’d never get anything written. I’ve always needed deadlines but felt like there was something wrong with me until I heard his statement. The advice is to learn to love deadlines. 

Who is your hero?

I’m a Christian, so, Jesus must  be the main hero I have. From a more contemporary view, I’d have to say Billy Graham. He was able to maintain his moral balance and reputation for the long run. As for writers, I’d have to list C.S. Lewis and Charles H. Spurgeon as heroes of the pen.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Oh, there are almost too many things to list. I’ve been at this thing called life for a long time. I guess it would have to be an ability to stay focused. I have a serious case of attention deficit. 

You are leaving Earth to start a colony on Mars, what's in your luggage?

A computer with a very long cord. Everything I know is on my computer, or on the cloud. 

Where do you do most of your writing?

I’d like to do most of my writing in Tampa, Florida. But, that being unavailable, I have an upstairs study with very large windows. I seem to need to be in contact with the outside world to concentrate. I live in a very old neighborhood where all the houses are different and interesting to look at while I’m thinking. 

Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what's your favorite genre?

I don’t listen to music when writing. I need quiet. When I listen to music I concentrate on the music and not on what I’m supposed to be thinking about. 

Who would be your ideal editor/writing partner?

 Shakespeare would be good. But since he doesn’t do that anymore, I have my ideal editor. My wife is a writer and publisher. Everything I write goes by her before it goes out. She is very objective, sometimes painfully so. 
As for a writing partner, I am not great with teams, even teams of two. I’ve never tried writing with another person but I’m not at all sure I would like it. If I could have written with Francis Schaeffer or C.S Lewis, that would be cool.

What's currently in your To Be Read pile?

Ha, I’ve just finished a doctorate and I have exhausted my reading list for the dissertation. I am currently on sabbatical from reading anything but murder mysteries.

About the Author



Geoffrey Ross Holtz, DD, is founding and senior pastor of The Summit (ECFA) in Enumclaw. He was awarded “Pastor of the Year” in 2014 by the National Coalition of Ministries for Men. Ross and his wife, Athena, the founder and publisher of Redemption Press, have a blended family of eight adult children and seventeen grandchildren and enjoy time spent sailing.

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, November 12
Artistic Nobody, November 13 (Author Interview)
Just the Write Escape, November 14
A Baker’s Perspective, November 16 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, November 17
janicesbookreviews, November 18
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 19 (Author Interview)
A Reader’s Brain, November 20
Inklings and notions, November 21
My Devotional Thoughts, November 22 (Author Interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, November 23 (Guest Review from James Barela)
Lukewarm Tea, November 24 (Author Interview)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

5 great fall fingerfood ideas!

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and with all the craziness of the holidays comes so much prep time. What if I told you that you could cut down on some of the time in the grocery store? You can order all these things on Amazon Pantry and have them delivered to your home in time for the big day! Plus click here to find out how you can get $10 off your first order!

So to help you out, here are 5 Fall Fingerfoods Ideas the can save your sanity and keep the munchers busy until the turkey is done!

1. Mini Bruscetta - These are great little appetizers! You simply take a can of Cento Caponata and a package of New York Style Bagel Crisps. Place about a teaspoon of the caponata on each of the bagel crisps to make a beautiful display! You can also top them with a little cheese and pop them in the oven for a minute or 2, just long enough to melt the cheese.

2. A bowl of olives is always a welcome site! These pitted black olives are my favorites! Or put them on a charcuterie board with cheese, veggies and crackers! Also, supply some service toothpicks to keep fingers out of the bowl 😀

3. Bread with Oil and Vinegar Dip - Pick up a loaf of french bread and slice it into 1/2 or 1 inch slices. Mix together equal parts Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar in a ramekin or small bowl. Add salt, pepper and italian seasonings. This looks really nice on a platter with the dip in the middle and the bread in a sort of wreath around it.  Guests can give it a stir and then dip their bread. The was inspired by a fancy restaurant we visited where they did this. It's been a favorite since.

4. Multi-layer dip - Just layer in a pie plate or any small serving dish and serve with chips or crackers. You'll want to do a layer each of refried beans, queso, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and top with sour cream, salsa and some olives for garnish.

5. Chicken salad bites - This is a family favorite! This one is really simple and my family loves it! All you need is some canned chicken, mayo, mustard, a little pickle juice or pickles and seasonings of your choice. You will want to drain the chicken and I like to add just enough of the mayo and mustard to make a paste like consistency but you may like your chicken salad a little smoother. I add a little pickle juice from whatever pickles we have or chop up a few pickles and add them. Then add salt, pepper and I like a dash of garlic and onion powder. You can then chill this or serve it right away. It's awesome on crackers or on french bread!

So there you have it. 5 super easy ideas to have out on the table to munch on while the turkey is still in the oven! If you try any of these please let me know. I'd love to see your results!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Celebrate Lit: Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy

My Review:

As usual Mary Connealy has written a story that will pull the reader in and make you want more. I was reading this amazing story on my kindle and I happened to look down at how much was left and it said "19 minutes of reading left" and I just about started crying. I can't wait to read more of this series! It went by way too fast!

Jo is a great heroine and the three sisters are really well written. I loved that they all had unique gifts that helped with wilderness survival. I'm always excited to read stories about Colorado. I highly recommend this and pretty much every book that Mary Connealy has written. She's also really fun to follow on social media. 

About the Book

Book: Aiming for Love
Author: Mary Connealy
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: October 2, 2019

Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world–a world she’s been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls’ secret home, her older sister is especially frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.
David’s parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. But his father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?

About the Author


Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com.

More from Mary

What it would do to someone to run wild from nearly their earliest memory?
What if three young girls had the basic skills to survive a rugged life but no adults to guide them?
Would they grow up to be a completely odd and untamed version of themselves, or the truest, in some ways most honest version?
I wanted to explore that idea: wild children, tough young women, afraid of the invading world, but lonely, too. So I created the plot for my Brides of Hope Mountain series by mixing the three little girls who’d grown up wild on the top of a mountain with some fairy tale ideas.
Book one, Aiming for Love, is Josephine Nordegren’s story. I had this vision of Ariel the mermaid seeing a man for the first time when strangers invade the high valley she lives in with only her two sisters. Curiosity is her besetting sin, or so she’s always been told. She has wilderness skills, mainly in the form of owning a bow and arrow and understanding wild animals, but for the first time, she is drawn to a man.
Jo needs to be tamed, or Dave, the man she can’t stop watching from in the woods, needs to learn the ways of the wild, because they’re out of place in each other’s worlds.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, October 25
Moments With Mercy, October 25
Bigreadersite , October 25
Emily Yager, October  25
Quiet Workings, October 26
Stories By Gina, October 27
Older & Smarter?, October 28
Betti Mace, October 28
Wishful Endings, October 28
The Becca Files, October 29
Mary Hake, October 29
Mamma Loves Books, October 29
Britt Reads Fiction, October 30
Hallie Reads, October 31
Connect in Fiction, October 31
Daysong Reflections, November 1
Splashes of Joy, November 1
Moments, November 2
Batya’s Bits, November 2
She Lives To Read, November 2
EmpowerMoms, November 3
Remembrancy, November 3
Blessed & Bookish, November 4
Pause for Tales , November 5
Texas Book-aholic, November 6
janicesbookreviews, November 6
A Reader’s Brain, November 7
Leona J. Atkinson, November 7
Lukewarm Tea, November 7

Giveaway

Here is the link to the giveaway! Good luck!