Friday, February 12, 2016

Love Is with Gay N Lewis Clue Into Kindness

A Whirlwind Relationship


At the age of seventeen, my boyfriend presented me with an engagement ring. I said yes and then wondered what I’d done.

My fiancé was good-looking, charming, and he cared for me, but our goals were different. The man I’d promised to marry planned life as a farmer. Can you imagine me as a farmer’s wife? I grew up in the city, had never even planted a pot of ivy, and possessed no idea about country life.

And to top that off, at the age of eight, I’d surrendered for God’s service. I presumed I’d teach children Bible stories in a distant country in South America. After all, I was studying Spanish.
To say I had second thoughts about marriage to this nice guy is an understatement. Our ideas were totally incompatible. I guess when I said yes I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

I finally decided it would be kinder to undo this tragedy in the early stages rather than continue in a relationship destined for failure. Three months later, on a Saturday night, I gave him the ring back. He reluctantly accepted it and said to me, “You’re gonna get your feet wet.”

As I tried to sleep the night of our heartbreaking parting, I thought about his odd remark. I’d never heard the expression before, but I had an idea what he meant. The thought came to me that my feet had been in hot water when I’d accepted his proposal. I’d just dried them off when I returned the ring.

The next morning dawned warm for early March in Texas. After church, I spent the afternoon washing cars for a high school fundraiser. The project kept my mind off the sadness dwelling in my spirit. During a lull between vehicles, I inspected my appearance and gave a rueful smile. My feet were literally wet, and so was the rest of me. I was a dirty mess, but I don’t think that was the kind of prognostication my former fiancé had meant.

As I finished hosing down the last car, a friend and her mom came by. I declined their invitation to attend a new church, but they talked me into it and waited for me to change clothes. The three of us strode late into the service. The small, crowded sanctuary left no room for us to sit together, so we split up.

A handsome young man with black, wavy hair and sparkling brown eyes led the music. At the end of the service, he slipped out the back door and managed to be the first one to greet me as I left the sanctuary. The guy must have sprinted—he appeared faster than Texas tornado. We exchanged names and spoke a few minutes, and then I left.

Intuition told me he’d call on Wednesday night. And he did. We made a date to go bowling the coming Saturday night. The evening was fun, and in between my falling down once or twice and throwing my ball into the gutter rather than down the alley, I discovered he planned to enter the ministry.

He walked me to the door as our date ended. He kissed me goodnight and then said, “I’m in love with you, and I’m going to marry you.”

Whaaat? Was he kidding? Seriously?

I’d just ended a relationship and had no intention of jumping into another one. This guy didn’t know me, and he loves me? What kind of nut could he be?

Before long, I learned. This man is a fast mover, makes speedy decisions, and is seldom wrong with his discernment. 

Our relationship moved along at a rapid pace, and I discovered we shared the same goals.

He was in college, worked full time, gave twenty hours a week to the church, and somehow managed to find time for me.

Before long, a church in Oklahoma invited him to become their pastor. He accepted the invitation, and then drove back to Texas. We met for lunch the day he returned. He proposed marriage—presented me with a ring. I felt comfortable accepting this one, but I wanted to wait before we said the vows. I’d just graduated high school and wanted to attend college for at least one semester. During those few months, I could plan a wedding.

“Oh no, you can’t do that—no time. I told the church I was bringing a wife in three weeks. We have to marry now.”

Whaaat? Was he kidding again? Seriously?

After I gulped back my shock, I responded. “I can’t marry you right now. My mom is in the hospital.”

His reply? “We can have the ceremony there.”

My fiancé drove to the hospital to visit with mom. She was extremely ill, and we weren’t supposed to upset her. She surprised me by accepting the news well, but she asked the young preacher how much money he would be making.

“Fifteen dollars a week,” came the reply.

Mom almost fell from the bed. “Fifty dollars a week? You can’t live on that.”

Uh oh. She’d misunderstood the amount. My sweetheart merely nodded and said, “The Lord will provide for us.”

Six months after we met, we had a small ceremony in the chapel at the Methodist Hospital in Dallas, Texas. We said vows on a Thursday night and packed our few belongings on Friday. We drove to Oklahoma on Saturday, and Paul preached his first sermon on Sunday morning.

Our meeting and wedding sounds fictional, doesn’t it? But it is a true story.  I tell it often when I speak to groups. Maybe I’ll include it in a book in the near future. 

My sweetheart isn’t the most romantic guy in the world, but he is kind, caring, thoughtful, and funny. The first time I saw the Dallas skyline lighted up against the black sky as we drove in from rural Oklahoma, I cried.

My new husband said, “If I’d known lights would make you this happy, I would have fastened a string of them in the back yard.”

Three daughters, and four grandchildren later, we find we think alike—even finish each other’s thoughts.

The Lord, Paul Lewis, family and friends are the loves of my life. I’m thankful that God graciously prevented me from making a mistake with a nice guy—but he was the wrong one for me. God was kind to me, and I didn’t get my feet wet. God gave me the husband He’d intended for me all along.  I just had no idea a whirlwind came with him.

And here’s the thing, this man of mine still moves faster than I do. Somewhere over the years, I’ve adapted to his swifter pace. On the other hand, he’s slowed down a bit so I can keep up.

Check out Gay’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…
  
Clue Into Kindness

Product Details“Love is kind…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4
from Prism Book Group, a series of fifteen novellas based on I Corinthians 13. Releasing Fridays in February, then the last Friday of the month--watch for them, and an opportunity to win fabulous prizes this month during our Sweet Valentine Promotion through the month.

2.99 single ebook
Print bundle coming soon

About the book:
Georgia loves her husband, Alan. She shows him kindness with actions and words, but Alan responds in a heartless, selfish way. To receive respect and admiration from people, he believes he must have a perfect wife—so he criticizes Georgia at every opportunity—even tells her she’s fat! Alan’s best friend Ken and his wife Jana reassure Georgia that she remains the gorgeous beauty queen she was during her college days. Who will Georgia believe—her friends or the mysterious, handsome stranger who comes into her life?

Circumstances bring a change to Alan’s attitude. But is it too late to save this marriage? 

My review:
A married couple who have been poked in the eyes by the stars they’ve let swirl far too long gets an overdue lesson in treating each other better.

Alan and Georgia married for all the usual romantic reasons and soon lost touch with each other, only they’re unaware of the fact except to their quasi-friends, Jana and Ken. Ken has the patience of a saint, is secure in his relationships with people and God, and sees the good in the boorish Alan. When Jana takes a page from her husband’s notebook on life advice and works harder to be a friend to Georgia to get her to see her life in tatters, the results take an unexpected curve. Clueless Alan has little respect for anyone until his dad enters the scene and sets him straight.

Experience and twenty-twenty hindsight final reveal that kindness in love is integral in any relationship. Hopefully it’s not too late for Alan and Georgia. Clue Into Kindness is a sweet romantic story of love gone awry and the chances we take or miss to get it straight. Told in multiple viewpoints for those who enjoy a swift kick of a story.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

children's fantasy author Teresa Schapansky



September 2015

Amazon
$4.99
12.99

Children's Fantasy
for advanced readers ages 9-12

From the author:
Imogene is only five years old when her parents suddenly and mysteriously disappear. Left with no choice but to live with an abrasive relative, she finds comfort in the alliance she's forged with an unlikely friend. She secretly holds dear, her mother's last words. "Five years, Imogene. I shall come for you in five years." Imogene sadly soon learns, that things are not always as they seem. Upon reaching the age of ten, she has new confidence, and eagerly awaits her parents' return. Under the encouragement of her friend, Imogene embarks on a journey to an incredible world, learns who she really is, and where her true destiny lies.

My review:
Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom is a mix of other wildly popular adventures for younger readers, without the gore and murder situations found in stories for slightly older readers. The story is lengthy, with a vocabulary that may require occasional explanation.

A daughter is left in the care of an uncompassionate relative during her youth, and learns at age ten that she is no ordinary child. Imogene’s strange and compelling love of water nearly gets her in trouble with the relative who thinks perhaps soccer is more suitable. When the time is right, Imogene’s parents do not return…Imogene is drawn to them in their fantastic world. Imogene quickly adjusts to her new life with her quirky new gifts, until the Pacific Kingdom is in danger once more.


As the author notes, it’s up to Imogene to not only learn, but follow her true destiny. I tried to read the story through the eyes of a fourth or fifth grader and enjoyed Imogene’s spunk. As a parent and grandparent, however, I was sometimes dismayed at an occasional lapse of respect for adults, even if Imogene’s cantankerous aunt was quite over the top, Lemony Snicket-style. Although I imagine young readers won’t notice the healthy amount of exclamation points on a page, they really weren’t necessary as the dialog and action moved along just fine. I think the story would have been much stronger if the author had chosen only one or two characters to narrate, at least at one time, instead of an occasionally confusing multiple point of view style. That would have allowed Imogene to carry the story with her own heroism. Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom is aimed at older elementary school female readers, though boys would certainly find much to like as well.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spotlight on "Anything for a Story" by Cynthia Hickey

Stormi is delightful as the accident prone and bumbling wanna be detective. What she lacks in skill she makes up for in nosiness. Add in the sexy detective and a slightly nutty family and our lead character has her hands full.
~Amazon reviewer



About the book:
Stormi Nelson, best-selling romance author, moved into her huge Victorian house in the private community of Oak Meadows Estates. When her agent tells her that her characters are becoming too cardboard and that she needs to get out and mingle with people, she comes up with the idea of a Neighborhood Watch Program. The only problem is … she’s the only member. On her first night of patrol, she stumbles over a dead body, meets a hunky detective, who happens to be her neighbor and clearly frustrated with her, and her mother, sister, niece and nephew arrive to shake up Stormi’s peaceful life. As she is immersed ever deeper into the mystery surrounding a neighbor’s murder, she decides to change writing tactics and write a romantic mystery based on her experiences. What follows is a frolicking good time as Stormi finds herself the nosiest neighbor of them all. Can she find the killer before she becomes the next victim?

PURCHASE

A note from the author, Cynthia Hickey:

"Why I Became a Writer"

Funny how this roller-coaster business can tug on someone until it’s either write or die. A bit dramatic, yes, but that’s how most writers feel.

I started reading at the young age of five and became hooked on words and stories. Being a shy child, I would make up stories to act out, but it wasn’t until Junior High when an English teacher assigned a
writing project that I realized how much I loved putting the story to paper. I began writing short stories in which my younger brother was featured as the hero, or I’d write a romance featuring me and whatever boy I had a crush on at the time.

When I turned fifteen, I wrote my first “real story” about terrorists taking over a high school. Funny how I have now seen that very plot made into a movie. I couldn’t be stopped after that first “book.” I kept writing, keeping my stories in a notebook, which I unfortunately lost when I married and moved out of state. Then, life happened and I didn’t take up writing again until the age of forty when my children were older and I had time to devote to it.

In 2007, I published my first cozy mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, with Barbour Publishing and haven’t slowed down since. Forty books later, and several genres added to the mix, I have no intentions of stopping this crazy career any time soon. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.

About the author:
Multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. She had several historical romances release in 2013, 2014, 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold half a million copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two Sulcata tortoises. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com

Friday, February 5, 2016

LOVE IS series debut Anita Klumpers with Hounded

Displaying LoveIs_Hounded copy.jpg
Hounded
By Anita Klumpers

Love is Patient
from Prism Book Group, a series of fifteen novellas based on I Corinthians 13. Releasing Fridays in February, then the last Friday of the month--watch for them, and an opportunity to win fabulous prizes this month during our Sweet Valentine Promotion through the month.

2.99 single ebook
Print bundle coming soon

Old Maid, Do-Si-Do, and the Bottomless Cup of Love
Anita Klumpers





By the time I was twenty-five my mother had given up on the hope that I would marry. She bought me pots and pans and Pfaltzgraf and flatware because, she reasoned, even single women need to live. And, Lord willing, I wouldn’t live with her and Daddy forever.

Dad wasn’t too concerned. After all, he hadn’t married Mom till he was in his early 40’s. And if God didn’t want me to wed, then I could follow in Cousin Angie’s footsteps and be a missionary in Africa.

The idea of a single life filled me with dread. Please, please, PLEASE God, don’t be equipping me to remain unmarried. I developed crushes. Friends tried setting me up with their relatives. I went out dancing with friends. To bars. After all, I was a nice Christian lady at a bar. Why couldn’t there be nice Christian guys there too? Maybe there were. I never met one.

A few months shy of my 27th birthday I decided I was tired of looking for potential mates. Although not at the point of picking up books on how to enjoy the gift of singleness, I figured it might be time to focus on my relationship with God. So, along with several wonderful single girlfriends I went to a spiritual winter retreat for young adults from a dozen churches across our state. Did I mention I’d determined not to check out every eligible young man also in attendance?

I meant it. So when I took note of a devastatingly handsome man with dark eyes and a dimpled chin sitting across the room, it wasn’t his good looks that got my attention. Arms crossed, looking bored, he was the only one sitting out the square dance mixer. In gracious and generous Christian-girl fashion I thought ‘Jerk,’ and went back to dancing my little size 9’s off and trying to remember my allemande left from my do-si-do right.

Later that night, after devotions, a group of us played cards. A game I didn’t know, called euchre. I’m a dab hand at Old Maid but this one had me flummoxed, and a group of generous friends tag-teamed trying to teach me to play. It was hilarious. Really hilarious.

Later that night a group of us went into town for coffee. The dark-eyed square-dance-boycotter came too. He sat across from me and told me he got a kick out of watching me laugh over euchre. He flirted just enough to make me feel interesting but not so much as to make himself look insincere or lecherous.

We went our separate ways after that weekend and didn’t meet up till early summer. It took him till late summer to ask me out and in the meantime one of my major crushes from the previous few years, a Christian marathon runner and photographer I’d met at work, finally returned my interest and began asking me out. After I lectured God about his timing I realized maybe He knew what He was doing. I had to make a decision between two attractive men (my daydream back in the days before I realized it would be painful) and I chose the right one.

Wouldn’t my story make a fine romance movie? Sort of an ‘At Long Last Love’ type of life? But now, three sons, four grandsons and countless prayers and tears and rejoicings later, I realize that my entire life has been filled with love.

From birth, before my birth, my parents loved me, and continued until their last breath on earth. Aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens meant extended love and the kind of safety net children long for but don’t always enjoy. Then there is my family in Christ. Brothers and sisters more than the sands on the shore, and wherever there are God’s children there is my family, and we love each other. We don’t always play well together, but the love is there.

My friends—oh, my friends! When I bemoan my limited practical skills and meager dose of common sense I remember my glorious friendships with some of the most godly, delightful, gracious, fault-overlooking women as can be found. I would rather have my friends than an artist’s eye, a singer’s silver tongue, or an athlete’s supple limbs.

On all this abundance of love God set a gem of a husband. He is as attractive, open, and affirming as when I first met him, and he still refuses to dance. Those three sons love me in spite of a plethora of faults and mistakes and my little grandsons still give me smooches in public.

Do I know I have been gifted far and above anything I could think or ask, much less deserve? You bet. But what if God had not seen fit to give me a husband, children, grandbabies? What if my parents had been cold, negligent, absent, and I didn’t have some sort of strange ability to find wonderful friends? Would I be any less blessed? No. Not a bit.

God loves me. God has loved me before I knew what love was. If I had never known human love, God’s love would be beyond the heights and depths and breadths of what I think I need. Jesus prayed for me the night before His death and prays for me today and the Spirit intercedes for me with sighs too deep for words and the Father’s love is vast beyond all measure. What wondrous love is this?!

Family, friends, husband and children have all hemmed me in love, and the love that comes from God is greater than these.


Check out Anita’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…



Hounded
“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4

Elise Amberson’s husbands always die before she can get the marriage momentum going. At least this last one left her with lots of money. Now she can hang out with her dogs, avoid men, and try to keep off God’s radar.

But her dogs are behaving oddly, a pesky pastor can’t keep his hands off her soul, and God is backing her into a corner.

It’s all more than a rich, beautiful young woman should have to bear. But when someone begins targeting Elise, she’ll have to figure out why before she becomes the late Widow Amberson.


Available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1nIiqWm.

My review:
Elise Amberson has multiple demons to battle when her unbeloved second husband Timothy is murdered. Naturally she’s the chief suspect. Timothy’s family is less than cordial, the detective assigned to the case has his own challenge which includes putting uppity Elise in her place. Then there are the unseen battles, the God who won’t stop bugging her in the form of a pastor friend from school days, and the Amberson family closet.


Cleverly formulated around the classic nineteenth century poem, Hound of Heaven, by Francis Thompson, Hounded is a delightfully-crafted novella with enough clues and miscues, romance and family secrets, and charming detail to satisfy savvy readers. Klumpers writes for lit lovers with jests and innuendo in a skillful use of language. A lot of fun that will bring a smile to readers and an occasional need to dive back in to recall a quote.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Author Jewell Tweedt and Historical Romance

     

A holiday story from inspirational historical author, Jewell Tweedt! 
The story, a novella titled Christmas Bells, is a stand alone e-book or available bundled in a print anthology with two other stories in Love's Christmas Past from Prism Book Group, November 2015.

About Christmas Bells:
Come hear the sounds of Christmas… 

Vivacious frontier widow Connie Rose Simonson manages two cafés while dreaming of the perfect Christmas for her son Andrew, but not everyone welcomes her success. A corrupt banker wants her properties and will manipulate anyone in his way. 

Dr. James Connor heals others while forsaking his own needs. The town’s only doctor, an influenza outbreak, and the holiday season leave him exhausted and discouraged. 

It looks like another lonely holiday for the Connor and the Simonsons until Andrew is injured and the doctor becomes entranced by the attractive widow. But James has been hurt before and hesitates to get involved, after all, a physician must always maintain a proper relationship with his patients. 

It’s up to angelic newcomer Diana to bring them together creating new beginnings, new memories, and to hear When Christmas Bells Are Ringing. 


A brief interview with the author:
Jewell, tell us what you love about your holiday story.

What I loved about Christmas Bells is that it's about faith and hope for two lonely people, Connie Simonson and Dr. James Connor. They are hard-working respected members of the community who put aside their needs to help others. When they find each other it takes the interference of a nosy angel to finally bring them together.

Introduce us to your least favorite character.
My least favorite character is banker JJ Dawson who has plans to bankrupt Connie by shutting down her cafe and spreading rumors of unsanitary practices. He's despicable!


About the Author:
Jewell Tweedt was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, the setting for the Nebraska Brides series. She lives in western Iowa and divides her time between teaching middle school students and writing. In her spare time she reads, gardens and grades papers. Lots of papers.  Readers can learn more about Jewell and her books at www.tweedtjewell.blogspot.com

NOTE: Besides the Nebraska Brides Series, including A Bride for the Sheriff , Tweedt authored the Back to Omaha Adventure series, starting with Faith of the Heart.