Monthly Archives: June 2013

Free and Discounted E-Books – July 14, 2013

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Here are a couple of freebies and then visit Vessel Project for more discounted e-books.  Just double check the price before downloading!


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A Prayer For The Devil by Dale Allan

Suspenseful Political Intrigue (4 Stars)

A Prayer For The Devil by Dale Allan (Emerald Book Company)


Luke Miller is a Catholic priest raised in the Jewish faith from a Jewish father, a Catholic mother, and his twin brother on the campaign trail with Brad Thompson who is running for president on a conservative platform.  Things look a little complicated, don’t they?  You don’t know anything yet!  The first chapter, actually the prologue, set the stage for the coming political intrigue that will keep you up reading.

I did like the main character, Father Luke Miller.  He’s caught in a difficult position and he’s determined to find out who is responsible for the actions that happen in the prologue (I’m not giving anything away!).  His concern for the homeless and his trust in certain people is awesome, but what would you expect from a priest.  I’m not Catholic so I don’ have any experience to pull from, but I really liked Father Luke.

There’s lots of action and it was hard to put down.  There were a very few cuss words scattered throughout the book, nothing bad, but I just wanted to mention it in case someone was really opposed to a few bad words, but like I said, it was mild considering what most secular books have today.   For this reason I will not be purchasing the book for our church Media Center, but if it doesn’t bother you, it’s your decision.  Like I said it was very little and mild.

I read the book in two days, it was hard to put down and I’m wondering if there will be a sequel.  I would love to follow Father Luke and his family and see what may happen a few years down the road.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from The Book Club Network for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The LORD, My Life Preserver

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“Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.” (Ruth 2:20 NKJV)

In 1966 my brother dropped out of college to join the Navy.  He feared he would be drafted, and by enlisting in the Navy, he thought he was taking control of his future.  He arrived at Great Lakes Training Center in the middle of winter.  Almost immediately, swimming lessons began.  Later on, my brother referred to his instructor’s teaching method as the “sink or swim” method.  He claims that on the very first day, he and the other recruits were literally pushed into the pool.  Experienced swimmers and life preservers were at the ready in case a man floundered, but my brother did not know this at the time.  Therefore, the experience was terrifying.


Elimelech and Naomi thought that by going to Moab during a famine, they would be more likely to control their future. They were wrong. In Moab, Naomi loses her husband and her sons and has to return to Bethlehem as a widow.

Sometimes in life, we feel like we have been pushed into a pool full of water before having learned how to swim.  Though we know God is there, we wonder how, when, or through whom our help will come.  Naomi was aware of God.  She knew He was responsible for putting an end to the famine. (Ruth 1:6)  She asked the Lord to bless her daughters-in-law. (Ruth 1:8-9)  From Naomi and her family Ruth learned about God, which is evident in the commitment Ruth makes, not only to Naomi, but to Naomi’s God: “Your people will be my people and your God my God.”(Ruth 1:16 NIV) This commitment would not have come about if Naomi had not been a believer, albeit a very confused one in her time of sorrow.

I never noticed it in previous readings, but it was Ruth, and not Naomi, who took the initiative to provide for herself and Naomi. After they arrived in Bethlehem, she volunteered to glean in the fields: “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” (Ruth 2:2 NIV)  This is how she met Boaz, her kinsman redeemer, who offers her his protection and later pledges to marry her.

Naomi returns from Moab in mourning.  She flounders as helplessly as someone who does not know how to swim.  Like a life guard at a pool, Ruth reaches out to Naomi and clings to her.  In Bethlehem, Ruth brings Naomi new hope and a grandson.  God fulfills his plans for Naomi through Ruth, and through Naomi and Ruth He fulfills His plan for us all. Through Ruth and her grandson, David, Jesus Christ is sent, to be our Lord and Redeemer, our Savior and the Bridegroom of His Church.

Dearest Heavenly Father,

There is nothing in our lives that you cannot use for your glory.  You can use our pain, our suffering and our disappointments to accomplish your purposes. You can even use us to rescue those who are thrust into turbulent waters.  We give you permission to use us, Lord. We volunteer to reach out to those who need love, patience, hope and encouragement, because you first loved and reached out to us in our time of need.

In the name of Jesus, LORD and Redeemer,



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Gold – Britt Nicole

This is great! Watch both videos and be blessed. We are worth more than gold in God’s eyes!


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“Jennifer” a Sweet and Precious Novella by Dee Henderson (5 Stars)

9780764211126Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson (Bethany House)

The O’Malley family consists of seven young women and men who meet in an orphanage and make their own family, eventually adopting each other as siblings and taking on the name O’Malley.  This is a very unique series (a prequel and six other books), each book focuses on one family member.  The books are full of suspense, mystery, and romance.  And Jennifer is the one family member that doesn’t have a book “all to herself”.  She’s basically the backbone of the family in the way that she was the first to have a relationship with Jesus and she’s the love of the family.

Finally, Dee has written a beautiful novella about Jennifer and how she met and fell in love with Tom and how she came to know Jesus personally.  At first I thought the book was too short and I wanted more, but thinking about it, her story does continue throughout the series, so this book is kind of like the first few chapters in the series.  I’ll be content with this beautiful novella telling the beginning story of Jennifer.

It’s been several years since I read the O’Malley series and now I want to read them again, they are that good.  So this book does deserve a 5 star rating because it makes you want more and I’m so glad that the books are available to read and we don’t have to wait!

If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it.  The books are full of suspense, mystery, love, romance, devotion and falling in love with Jesus.   We have the entire series in our Media Center and now I’ll add this book to the collection.  Priceless!  You’ll love every word of every book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group & Bethany House for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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8 More Days to Enter the Sweepstakes to Win Ann Gabhart’s Book

The sweepstakes ends on June 20th, so visit our Featured Author & Book Giveaway page and read the post about Ann Gabhart and the wonderful interview we had with her.  To enter, just make a comment, it’s that simple.  On July 21st we will draw a winner and will get in touch with you to let you know you won an autographed copy of Scent of Lilacs.

Our June Autographed Book Giveaway

Our June Autographed Book Giveaway

Hurry and enter.  The rules of the sweepstakes is listed at the end of the interview with Ann.  I know whoever wins this book will love it!  Ann is a gifted writer and even more important, she’s a wonderful person.  She’s even coming back in November and we are planning on doing a “holiday theme” interview and giveaway her new book, Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story, that comes out in September.  Excited?  We are!!!!


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Some Great E-Books – Free and Discounted

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Here’s a list of some great books, some I know are good, some sound good and I’ll let y’all do the hard work again today by looking up the books for yourself.  Just go to your e-reader website and type in the title of the book and see if the price is what you expect. Then….do whatever….download or not.

  • FREE: The Deposit Slip by Todd M. Johnson. We have this in our Media Center and I’ve read it and it’s very good.
  • FREE: Some Smaller Grace by Noelle Carle
  • $1.99: Power in Prayer by Andrew Murray.  This is a classic!
  • $3.03: Lightkeeper’s Bride (A Mercy Falls Novel #2) by Colleen Coble.  We have this entire series in our Media Center and it’s a great series.
  • $3.03: Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck.  I’ve recently read this and it’s very, very good!
  • Here’s a link to some special e-books for Father’s Day from Zondervan.  You might find something good to download on your husband or dad’s e-reader.


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Free and Discounted E-Books – June 10, 2013

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Ok, I’m doing this a little different today because I have a lot on my plate at the moment, but I wanted to give everyone a chance at these free and reduced priced books.  I’m just listing the titles and authors and you’ll have to do the hard work today.  I do hope you don’t mind.  I do know that all of these books are offered on Kindle, not sure about Nook or others.

  • FREE: Leaving Lancaster (Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy) by Kate Lloyd
  • FREE: All For Anna by Nicole Deese
  • FREE: Listen by Rene Gutteridge
  • FREE: The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men by Richard D. Phillips (recommended by our pastor)
  • $2.99: The Russian: Three Complete Novels (The Russian Trilogy) by Noel Hynd

Again, I’m sorry that I’m leaving you to do all the work, but life sometimes hands you a curve ball and that’s what’s happened to me and right now this is all I’ve got to give.  Hope to be back to regular by next week.

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Remember the Christy Miller Series for Young Adults?

Well, it seems she grew up and went to college in 2000 (that’s when the first book was published) without my knowledge.  We have quite a number of the Christy Miller books in our Media Center for our youth.  The are written by Robin Jones Gunn.  I just found out the first book in the Christy and Todd: College Years #1, is FREE.  Here’s the usual info…double check the price to make sure it’s free before downloading.  To view the book description/reviews just click on the e-reader and click on the authors name to be directed to their website/blog to learn more about them.  They can be very interesting people!


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Free and Discounted E-Books Today – June 7, 2013

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Here’s a wide selection today, from free to discounted, from junior fiction to adult fiction,  and non-fiction.  Click on the e-reader to be taken directly to the website to read the description/reviews on the book and then purchase if you like it.  Just remember to double check on the price to make sure it is still the price you are expecting.  Prices change quickly.

  • FREE-This is the LAST DAY this book will be offered FREE on Kindle:  A Season of Mysteries (sequel to A Season of Miracles) by Rusty Whitener. Our Media Center has A Season of Miracles, Book 1, if you need to check it out and read first.
  • FREE (thru 6-15) on Kindle and Nook: Dog Daze (S.A.V.E. Squad #1) by Lauraine Snelling (this is for middle school age girls)
  • 99¢ on Kindle:  Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride (Emma Rae Creations #2) by Sandra D. Bricker.  You can look under our Book Reviews and read the review I wrote about Book #4 in this series.  It’s a fantastic, cute series.  Maybe the others in the series will be offered at a reduced rate later.
  • $1.99 on Kindle:  He Did This Just For You by Max Lucado
  • $2.28 on Kindle:  The Trouble With Tulip (The Smart Chick Series #1) by Mindy Starns Clark.  Our Media Center has this entire series and it’s so good.  It’s a light, funny, romance with mystery included.  You’ll laugh, you’ll learn some cleaning tips, get caught up in “who did it” and it’s just a delightful read.

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The Silent Treatment

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And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” (Ruth 1:15 NKJV)

When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her. (Ruth 1:18 NKJV)

The Bible is so rich I have difficulty reading it straight through like a recipe or a novel.  The only way I have been able to read the Bible is to stay in a book as long as it takes to read, backtrack, dig deeper, reflect and understand its message.  According to the 3-year plan, it should have taken me 2 days to read this book. Today, I’m still in Ruth.

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This book tells the story of Elimelech and Naomi, an Israelite couple, who move to Moab during a famine.  There, the husband and two sons die and Naomi, hearing that “…the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.” (vs. 6 NIV)  The book says “…she left the place where she had been living…” (vs. 7 NIV)  After she has already left, she decides not to take her daughters-in-law with her.  Orpah leaves and Ruth stays.

In Ruth 1:16 (NLT) Naomi’s daughter-in-law, Ruth, pledges her faithfulness to Naomi with beautiful and heartfelt words: “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

Naomi listens to Ruth and when she is convinced that Ruth will not be dissuaded from following her, “she stopped speaking to her.” (Ruth 1:18 NKJV)   I never noticed before that Naomi never thanked Ruth for being so faithful to her.  Here, Ruth is being “as sweet as she can be” (to use a familiar Southern expression) and Naomi just gives her the silent treatment. Why?

Have you ever been at an “all time” low in your life?  Has it seemed like every bad thing that could possibly happen has happened in an abbreviated period of time? I think this is the kind of anguish Naomi is going through.  Not only has she lost her husband and sons, but now she has two lovely young women for whom she is responsible.  She is feeling the weight of that responsibility.

Naomi has reached the end of her emotional, financial and spiritual resources.  To make matters worse, she believes God has turned against her.  She is at a loss for words and too defeated to argue with or thank Ruth.  I can almost hear her thinking: “Fine. Suit yourself.  Come, if you must, but don’t expect too much from me.  I have nothing else left to give.”

Have you ever come to the end of yourself? Have you ever felt empty and abandoned by God?  Jesus did. He told his father, God, all about it on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV)  I think this is how Naomi feels.

God was with Jesus and God was with Naomi and Ruth.  God is with each of us. The cross was not the end of the story.  The cross was only part of God’s plan for us.  Naomi’s losses are not the end of the story.  Little did Naomi know that God would use her trials so that she and Ruth could be part of HIS story.

Dearest Heavenly Father,

You see and know all things.  We, on the other hand, “see through a glass darkly.”  You are the author of our story.  Only you know the end.  Though we may walk in darkness now, you have promised that someday we will be in the light of your presence.  We believe you, because you are faithful and true. You have a reason and a purpose for everything, and you know that if we let you have your way in our lives, you will use the brief time we have here on this earth to make us part of YOUR story.  Dear Lord, we put ourselves at your service.

In the name of Jesus, servant of all,


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A Season of Mysteries by Rusty Whitener (Sequel to A Season of Miracles) FREE June 6 and 7!!!

Ok, if you read A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener, then you know what a fantastic book that was.  Our Book Club read that in September 2012 and what a wonderful book!  It was made into a movie but I can’t find out if the movie is out yet, I’ll keep working on that.

But now for the GREAT NEWS!!

TODAY and TOMORROW, June 6 & 7, 2013, the  sequel, A Season of Mysteries, kindle book will be FREE!!!!!!  I’ve already downloaded mine and I can’t wait to read this book.  Here is a link to Reviews from the Heart and you can read her review of the book.

If you have read the first book, then you’ll want to get Book 2A Season of Mysteries,  while it free.  And if you haven’t read the first book, go ahead and get the sequel, A Season of Mysteries, now and buy book 1.  It will be well worth it.


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Books, Books, Books – June 5, 2013

Here are some books that sound good, not free, but good prices.  Click on the reader and you’ll be directed to the site to read the reviews and decide for yourself.  Just remember to double check the price, they can change quickly.

Also, visit Vessel Project and check out the books they have listed.

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A Swashbuckling Suspenseful Romance (5 Stars)

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The book starts out with a future event and then moves backwards to get background info. It took me a little bit to get adjusted to the “time thing”, but once I did, what a start it has! The writing was so detailed and captivating that you got caught up into the book right away.  A storm at sea and I could almost feel the roll of the ship, the crash of waves, the thunder and the terror of drowning at sea!

It’s set in 1866 after the Civil War and some Southerners who were having a hard time adjusting for one reason or another, wanted a fresh start.  And what better place for that was in Brazil close to Rio de Janeiro. Twenty two passengers, along with the crew set sail from Charleston to paradise. Or so they thought.

Colonel Blake Wallace, who put this expedition together, suffered from what we now know as PTSD from the Civil War.  He needed to get away and start fresh in a new and wonderful land to try and escape the horrors of war that still haunt him.  And Eliza Crawford was shunned from her family and friends when she “deserted the South” by marrying a general in the Northern army.  When he was killed, after only one year of marriage, she had no place to go…so this trip was her last hope for a new life.

Mysterious Angelina’s past and what did Mr. Dodd know about it?  Why was Mr. Scott so hard on his daughter, Magnolia?  Had he always been that way or did something happen to change him?  Will the “white folks” ever be able to forget their prejudice against the slaves and accept the freed slaves, Moses, his sister and her children?

James, the preacher (who used to be a doctor) sums up why God let’s bad things happen to Blake so well.  The conversation starts on page 211 and ends on 212.  I can’t quote that much, but here’s just a glimpse:

“No one can deny the existence of God when looking at such beauty.” (James)

“And what can one deny when they gaze upon severed limbs and spilt entrails upon the battlefield?” (Blake)

“One cannot deny that mankind is fallen and in desperate need of salvation.” (James)

“Then why didn’t God save us? Why didn’t He stop the war, all the killing?” (Blake)

“Because He gave mankind a wonderful yet dangerous gift.”… “Free will.  We are the ones who start wars, not God.” (James)

God’s love, grace and mercy are woven throughout this story, not preachy, not overpowering, but subtle reminders that God loves us, shows us mercy and grace beyond what we deserve and we should show that same forgiveness to others.

The end left me wanting more – a mystery yet to be solved.  Can’t wait for the sequel!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from in return for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I will donate this book to the Media Center so everyone can come and read it. Watch the trailer below:


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Golden Books are what sweet dreams are made of :)

I love this sweet woman’s blog! She is in Australia and I consider her a good friend. Christian Sisters. This post today brought back lots of good memories for me. I hope you’ll read it all the way to the end and visit her blog often.

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Reading, Reviewing and Encouraging Authors

Hey, has anyone been reading some of the great books we’ve posted on our blog in the past few months?  I know some of you have and you would not believe how much the authors would love to hear your thoughts on their hard work.  So, write a review, it doesn’t have to be long, just tell them how much you liked it and how it may have touched your heart, or just made you smile/laugh, or kept you on the edge of your seat waiting to solve the mystery.

You can log into your e-reader account and find the book and publish a review.  It’s pretty easy and the authors really do read these and they appreciate it.  So go ahead and jot down your thoughts or just start typing.


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Christian One-Liners

This is a great post. Some of these I’ve heard and some I haven’t, but I have enjoyed reading them, smiling, and getting smacked right in the heart on some!

Morning Story and Dilbert

  • Don’t let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
  • Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.
  • Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers.
  • It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.
  • The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
  • When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.
  • People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.
  • Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
  • Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn’t belong..
  • If the church wants a better preacher, it only needs to pray for the one it has.
  • God Himself does not propose to judge a man…

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Some Freebies and Discounted Books Today – June 3, 2013 (Is it really June already?)

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I can’t believe it’s June already.  Time flies when you’re having fun…fun reading free and discounted books!  Here are some today for you to check out.  Just click on the e-reader and you’ll be directed to the page to read the description of the book and read the reviews.  Always double check the price before downloading because the prices can change quickly. I usually only list kindle and nook offers, but usually the other e-readers have the same books for free, so if you have one other than kindle and nook, check their store to see if these books are free on their site, you might be pleasantly surprised!

  • FREE on Kindle and Nook:  Blowing on Dandelions (Love Blossoms in Oregon) by Miralee Ferrell.  This is a new author to me but the reviews are really good and good reviews from other great Christian authors. I got this endorsement from Miralee’s website  “In Blowing on Dandelions, Miralee Ferrell has an excellent way of keeping the words flowing, keeping the reader following, and investing in the characters. I particularly love the redemption she shows, where not all offensive people are evil, but merely hurting. Of course, the love story makes for a perfectly satisfying ending. Very well done!”Hannah Alexanderaward-winning author of the Hideaway Series (Hannah Alexander will be our featured author in October! So mark your calendar)
  • FREE on Kindle and Nook and CBD: Angels Watching Over Me (Shenandoah Sisters #1) by Michael Phillips
  • 99¢ on Kindle:  Faith, Hope and Love by Kimberly Rae Jordan
  • $2.99 on Kindle and Nook:  Spiritual Warfare and Mission by Ed Stetzer and Jerry Rankin
  • $3.03 on Kindle:  Song of Erin Series (Cloth of Heaven #1/Ashes and Lace #2) by B. J. Hoff.  I read these books years ago and loved them.  This is a great deal for a two-in-one book.
  • $3.74 on Kindle: Under the Summer Sky (The Dakota Diaries #2) by Lori Copeland.  Book 1 is Love Blooms in Winter, I usually don’t post 2nd books, but Lori Copeland is such a great author you may want to read this one now or just go ahead and by Book 1, it’s only $4.99.  

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A Couple of Free E-books

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Here’s a couple of freebies today that look good and have some good reviews.  

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Interview with Ann Gabhart and Book Giveaway

We are excited to kick-off our new monthly feature with Ann H. Gabhart.  The first time I heard of Ann was when our Women’s Book Club read Scent of Lilacs (Heart of Hollyhill #1) back in January 2007.  We all fell in love with the book and her style of writing.  We finished reading the entire series, Orchard of Hope #2, and Summer of Joy #3.  You can visit detailed information on these books and even read the first chapter free by clicking on this link to Ann’s website.

In May of 2011 we read Angel Sister and one of our Book Club members and Media Center staff, Maylin, emailed Ann to see if she would be willing to do a conference call with us the morning we met to discuss her book.  She agreed!  We were all so excited and that was a fantastic meeting, some of us were too shy to talk to her, but she was so friendly, down-to-earth, funny and we were all very relaxed by the time we ended the call.

So naturally, Ann was the first author I thought of when we decided to start this monthly “Featured Author & Book Giveaway”.  She remembered us and has graciously donated an autographed copy of her newly re-released book, Scent of Lilacs, for our giveaway.

Our June Autographed Book Giveaway

Our June Autographed Book Giveaway

Now, a little background about Ann:

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart has published over twenty novels for adults and children including her bestselling Shaker novels. A native Kentuckian, Ann lives on a farm in Central Kentucky. She’s married with three children and nine grandchildren. Scent of Lilacs, the first book in the Heart of Hollyhill series, was a Booklist Top Ten Book in Christian Fiction. The Outsider was a finalist for Christian Fiction Book of 2009. Angel Sister was a RT Book Reviews Magazine finalist for Inspirational Book of the Year. Visit Ann’s website, or share her writing adventures down on the farm on “One Writer’s Journal,” And now Jocie Brooke, the lovable character from Ann’s Hollyhill books has her own blog. You can also keep up with Ann on her Facebook page,, or follow her on Twitter, user name AnnHGabhart.

Ann’s latest book, Small Town Girl, is Book 2 in the Rosey Corner series and will be released on July 1, 2013.  Book 1 is Angel Sister.  I just re-read the book to refresh my mind and get ready to read the sequel.  I do believe the book got better sitting on the shelf these past two years!  I just love it and now can’t wait to read Small Town Girl.  You can read more about these books and read the first chapter by clicking on this link to Ann’s website.

Let’s talk with Ann about Angel Sister and the sequel and get to know her better in this interview:

1. When did you start writing?  And how many books have you written so far?

I started writing when I was about 10 years old and started reading Hardy Boy mysteries. I so wanted to be like them and solve a mystery. Not much mysterious ever happened out on the farm where I grew up, so I decided to make up my own mystery starring my sister, my cousin, and me. Of course, the character I pretended to be was the one who figured everything out. She also was very cute and not a bit shy. That’s the great thing about writing. When you make things up, you can change things around however you like. That was how I got to be the girl I wished I was instead of the one I actually was – a painfully shy farm girl.

As to how many books I’ve written – this is a question I get asked all the time. I never have an answer. I don’t know how many books I’ve written. Some of my stories never made it out to the store shelves and are still stuck on my “not published yet” shelf. I have published twenty-four books. Two were historical romances in the general market back in 1978 and 1980. Then I published eleven young adult and middle reader books in the general market. Now I’ve published ten inspirational fiction books and one nonfiction inspirational title.You can see the complete list of titles on my website on this link, Two more books are scheduled for release this year. Small Town Girl will be out in July, and Christmas at Harmony Hill will be available in September. I love writing for the Christian market and feel blessed the Lord has let me share so many of my stories with readers who like a good story and want to know about the characters’ faith journeys as they travel down the story road.

2.  What inspired you to write Angel Sister?Image 2

A few years ago, I was having a hard time getting my books published. In the midst of this discouragement, I decided to not worry about markets and write the story I wanted to write. So I went back to what I knew best, small towns and country churches. That story, the first book in my Heart of Hollyhill series, Scent of Lilacs, has just been re-released. Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy will follow in the next few months. After I had finished that series, I was casting about for new ideas. I’d used my growing up years as background and setting for my Hollyhill books. So I decided to look to my mother’s growing up years as the background for a story. Mom and her sisters were always telling stories and laughing about when they were kids during the Great Depression years in the the 1930s. While my characters and events in Angel Sister are completely fictional, I mined their stories not only for ideas, but also for inspiration. They were so happy in spite of the hard times and some family hard times too. I borrowed their background and let their stories echo throughout the book. Their dad was a blacksmith and served in WW I. My dad in the book is a blacksmith and served in WW I. There were four sisters in their family. There are four sisters – sort of – in my fictional Merritt family. Mom’s parents loved reading and books. My characters in the book do too. Mom and her sisters were always talking about the odd characters in their community. I picked two of them, created reasons for their oddities and dropped them into my story. Mostly I tried to carry over the underlying feeling of family love and perseverance through hard times that I heard in my mom’s stories to my fictional family’s story in Angel Sister.

Because, in many ways, I walked back through Mom’s childhood in order to write the book, Angel Sister became a book of my heart. I felt very close to Mom while I was turning her background into fiction. At the same time she was beginning down the dementia road and so in ways, it was a bittersweet thing to see “her” book come out after she no longer was really able to enjoy the story.

3.  Who was your favorite character(s)? It would be hard for me to pick just one.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite character in any of my books too because I have to get under all their skins. Of course there are definitely some characters I wouldn’t pick to move in next door to me, but it’s good for a writer to try to turn a sympathetic eye toward even her unsavory characters while she’s putting them into a story.  I’d have to say that in Angel Sister, Kate has to be one of my favorites since she’s the one with my mom’s spunky fix things attitude. She’s innocent and tough at the same time. Then Lorena captured my heart from her first appearance on the church house steps where she’s trying to cover up her dirty bare toes with her skirt tail. Last I fell in love with Victor, Kate’s father, as he struggled with his demons and yet wanted so much to be worthy of Nadine’s love.

4.  What is the message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

This is a question that I’m sometimes asked by the publishers before I’ve even finished writing the story. What is the “theme” of your story? Or describe the story in one or two sentences. That has to be one of the most difficult things I’m asked to do. The truth is I write the stories and let my characters guide me to whatever “theme” or “message” that shows up. In many of my stories, there’s an underlying need for forgiveness – either to give or to receive. I also like to stir in the truth that love matters and the love of God matters the most. That love can help families get through troubles turned out to be an important theme in Angel Sister.

What I hope is always a constant in my stories is encouragement. I think we all need to be encouraged and lifted up. When readers read my books and see how my characters overcome problems with the help of the Lord, then I can hope they will be encouraged to trust the Lord to help them in their daily problems too.

5.   When you wrote Angel Sister, it seemed like a stand-along book.  Did you have plans to write a sequel then or did you come up with the idea for Small Town Girl later?small-town-girl

When I first approached the publishers with my book, Angel Sister, I had the idea of writing three books set in Rosey Corner. At the time, the publishers turned down book idea two and three, and contracted for Angel Sister as a stand-alone story. It is that. Even when I set my books in the same place and carry over characters from one book to the next, I intend for readers to be able to read each story without having to read the others to know what’s going on if that’s what the reader chooses. Naturally, as the author, I’m hoping the readers will want to follow up the characters and go on to the other stories.

At any rate, when Angel Sister came out it proved to be more popular with readers than the publishers had perhaps anticipated, and they asked if I would like to write a sequel. So I dusted off those old proposals and sent them in again. Once more they chose to only go with one more Rosey Corner story at that time. That book, Small Town Girl, will be released in July. Later, they did agree to contract for the third Rosey Corner story. I am currently in the process of writing that story now with a working title of Home to Rosey Corner. That title will probably be changed before publication.

6.  What are you working on now and when will it be released?

Oops, I think I just answered that question with the question before this. But I am working on the third Rosey Corner books. I love my characters and community there. That book is tentatively scheduled for release in July 2014. If I get it written!

But before then I have several projects that will be out for readers. First up is Small Town Girl, my Rosey Corner follow-up book to Angel Sister. Five years have passed and my sisters are walking down romance pathways as World War II looms on the horizon. My Shaker Christmas novella, Christmas at Harmony Hill, is scheduled for release September 15 – on my birthday. What a great gift for me! In October, my second Heart of Hollyhill book, Orchard of Hope, will be re-released. I have been so excited to have the Hollyhill books back in print. They were such fun to write. Great characters who have readers smiling one minute and maybe wiping away a tear the next. To celebrate the Heart of Hollyhill books back on the market, Jocie, the young main character in the stories, is posting on a blog, the Hollyhill Book of the Strange,, once a week.  You can also come on down to the farm to see what’s going on in my life a couple of times a week on One Writer’s Journal

7.  What author(s) do you enjoy reading?

I read all sorts of books by a wide range of authors. I’ve enjoyed Jan Karon’s Mitford Series and have been greatly complimented when a few reviewers have compared my Hollyhill books with them. Laura Frantz, an author friend, has written some great historical Christian novels. I just endorsed a novel, Burning Sky, by new Christian author, Lori Benton that is due to be released in August. A compelling first novel. I could go on and on. There are so many great authors writing now that it’s difficult to narrow down to just a few favorites, plus all the great classics. I love a good story with history or mystery and a dollop of romance.

8.  What are you reading now?

I just finished True Colors by Kristin Hannah, a book my daughter gave me for Christmas. I admired how Hannah made her characters so real, but I do warn that it is a general market book and might have some scenes that would be upsetting to readers who prefer the gentler Christian market. Now, on top of my to read pile is Skip Rock Shallows a new book by another Christian author friend, Jan Watson. She writes wonderful Appalachian setting stories. Right below it is The Heart’s Frontier, a book co-written by Virginia Smith and Lori Copeland. I have so many books I want to read. If only I didn’t need to sleep!!

Thanks so much for letting me come visit you here to talk books. That is one of my very favorite things to do. May you all have many great stories in your future.

Ann, thank you so much for your kindness and willingness to join us in starting this new adventure.  We love your books and will always be on the lookout for more books by you and we’ll keep you in our prayers…that God will continue to bless you with words to write!

Now…for the giveaway!

The contest starts today, June 1, 2013 and ends on June 20, 2013.

  1. You must be 18 years or older and be a U.S. resident.
  2. Leave a comment in the comment section at the end of THIS post. One entry per person.
  3. We will randomly compile a list of everyone who made a comment and will draw a name.  We will then notify you by email giving you further instructions to collect your free book.  DO NOT include your personal mailing address in your comment for security reasons.
  4. If we do not hear back from you in 10 days, we will draw another winner.
  5. We promise that this will be a fair drawing, and if this monthly book giveaway becomes a very popular post, then we will have to look into some of the different programs available to generate our winners.  But until then we will do it the old fashioned way and since our pastor and/or youth pastor will be the one drawing the winner, you can be sure it will be fair!
  6. If you win the book it would be really great if you could come back to this post after you have read it and tell us what you thought about the book.

Next Month – July 2013 – our Featured Author will be Colleen Coble and we will give away one of her books.


Filed under Featured Author & Book Giveaway