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Not only will Mesu Andrews’ biblical fiction sweep you away to another time and place, but it will also inspire you to know God better.

I bought Mesu’s debut novel, Love Amid the Ashes, because I’d never read a romantic story featuring Job. From the first pages, I could see that she has a special gift for storytelling. I loved how she helped me see Job as a hero. Yes, Old Testament Job—a noble, handsome, what-a-girl-wants hero. So it’s NO surprise that each of her novels brings something unique to the world of inspirational fiction.

(Guess what? You can download Love Amid the Ashes for free here!)

This year, I’m privileged to be on Mesu’s launch team for her latest novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel. I’ll be sharing a review of this novel next week. The Scavenger Giveaway has ended, but here’s some vital information about Mesu’s book. 

 In The Shadow of Jezebel Mesu Andrews

What’s it about?

Here’s the blurb from Amazon: Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel’s strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh’s high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh’s temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family—and the nation—she loves?

With deft skill, Mesu Andrews brings Old Testament passages to life, revealing a fascinating story of the power of unconditional love.

Mesu photo***You can purchase a copy of In the Shadow of Jezebel at this link. Thanks to Mesu Andrews and Revell for providing a copy for me to review.

About the Author: Mesu Andrews is the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes, Love’s Sacred Song, and Love in a Broken Vessel. Winner of the 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author, she has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture, bringing the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.

You can connect with Mesu

Continue Reading…

UPDATE: My winners from the contest are Juju at Tales of Whimsy and Anita Yancey! Congrats, ladies! I’ll be emailing you soon 🙂

I’m glad you stopped by because this week we’re celebrating November with a Thankful Giveaway Hop!

For about a week, you can hop around from blog to blog and scoop up some great book-related prizes without leaving the comfort of your own home. This exciting event was organized by Inspired Kathy of the I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Blog.

The hop will run from Wednesday, November 7th, to Tuesday, November 13th, at 11:59 pm. Do you remember how it works? You can enter my giveaway and then hop to any blog on the linky list (at the end of this post) to see what they’re offering. Who knows what wonderful prizes are out there!?

The Doorkeeper Prize: I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Email Gift Card. And, if the response is so great that I end up with lots of new FB and Twitter fans, I’ll add a card. That would mean two winners! Just to show my appreciation for those of you who follow and visit my blog! Check back here to see the winners’ names posted on November 14h. (If the winners do not see their names and contact me, I will also email them.)

Steps to enter . . . Continue Reading…

Now that we know what we have,
Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God,
Let’s not let it slip through our fingers.
We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.
He’s been through weakness and testing,
Experienced it all—all but the sin.
So let’s walk right up to him
And get what he is so ready to give.
Take the mercy. Accept his help.

~Hebrews 4:14-16, The Message~

Photo Backstory: This is a pic of my nephew and niece from a few years back. I loved following behind them as they ran through the woods looking for Autumn treasures. I used online software to give the photo an overexposed look. The quote is from an excellent new book by Mary DeMuth called Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus.

***Follow this link to read my review of Everything!

This week I’m linking up with Word-filled Wednesday, This and That Thursday, Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Hearts for Home, Legacy Leaver, Beautiful Thursday, Simply Link, Favorite Things, Weekend Whatever, and Scripture and a Snapshot, Your Sunday Best.

****Now it’s time for Come to the Table, our EVERY OTHER WEEK blog link up party! I hope you haven’t given up on our hop yet!  Is anyone out there still willing to link up and share a great post?

Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and join us for a chat. You are encouraged to share a post of your own and then linger as long as you like over the other encouraging posts linked here. What kinds of posts? . . .

Old posts, new posts,
Giveaways, review posts,
Joys or sorrows or hopes for tomorrow
. . .

Bloggers, link what you will—as long as it is Inspirational or Family Friendly. Then try to comment on one or two posts in the group. It’s encouraging! Continue Reading…

UPDATE: This giveaway has ended. I appreciate all who stopped by!

Today on the blog I’m hosting author Nike Chillemi, a fellow member of American Christian Fiction Writers, who happens to live nearby—just a few hours south of me in New York City. After seeing Nike out and about on the internet, I realized we have interests in common besides ACFW. I’ll let her tell you about herself before we give you a chance to win her latest novel . . .

About Nike, in her own words: “I’ve always been enamored of the post World War II era in American history. The 1940s is a time when ordinary Americans had a great deal of class and dignity. The time period seems to be larger than life. It’s a time when America was on the verge of catapulting into the technological age, a very exciting time. All the problems we face now, they faced then. In terms of plot and characterization, there are so many possibilities. It’s a wonderful setting for my novel series.

Also, I’m a murder mystery, detective novel, police procedural fan. For most of my life I read only general market mysteries and thrillers. It was only about seven years ago I discovered there was such a thing as Christian fiction. But I couldn’t find too many Christian suspense novels I wanted to read. I’d hear a certain novel was a seat-of-the-pants thriller. I’d purchase it and then be sorely disappointed because to me it read as a tepid mystery. There were some Christian writers I liked—James Scott Bell, Robert Liparulo, Sibella Giorella, J. Mark Bertrand, and Steven James.

But I thought, ‘I’m going to write crime fiction novels that I want to read.’ Of course it didn’t take long to discover I like to include romance in my thrillers. My novels are character driven, so I can get a tad psychological. Back story is important to discover why my characters do what they do. My latest novel, Perilous Shadows, is a bit of a psychological thriller.”

Nike talks about the main characters in Perilous Shadows: “I’d planned for this novel to be number two in my Sanctuary Point series, but my hero, Argus Nye, balked. He informed me he wasn’t over his love for Ada Pinter, the murder victim in Burning Hearts, my first novel in the series. He was still devastated by her loss and couldn’t fall in love again so soon. So, I had to make his story, Perilous Shadows, book number three. The village of Sanctuary Point is populated by all the same people from the first two novels. But you also get to meet all the folks who work at the local WSAN radio station with Argus. Continue Reading…

How can we be happier in life? By practicing gratitude for all God has given us.

In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. ~Brother David Steindl-Rast~

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. How I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment. ~Henry David Thoreau~

Here are some favorite things that tweaked my gratitude meter recently . . .

God’s beautiful creation. This is the view that greets me each morning as I travel the Taconic Parkway to school. Upstate New York on the verge of summer is a sight to behold. Love the blue Catskill Mountains in the background.

Parties at the nursing home. This pic shows my sister, Mom, me, and my little niece Amelia having a great time on Mother’s Day.

Time spent with friends. I met two dear former students for coffee as they were passing through New York. Miss them . . .

Time off! I can pause in my essay-grading to enjoy an extra-long weekend break. Time to write and watch old episodes of NCIS. How fun is that?

How ’bout you? What’s brought a smile to your heart recently?

This week I’m linking up with Finding Joy, Beholding Glory, Your Thriving Family, and Create With Joy.

UPDATE: A winner has been emailed!

You don’t have to be online for long to run across articles on marketing yourself, making money online, building a platform for your business, and finding or creating a community for support and encouragement. The folks I’m writing about today have mastered all of these areas, and we can learn a lot from them.

They are Christian wives and mothers, business women, writing mentors, talented authors, and bloggers at one of the most popular sites in the writing world. Several years ago, these women banded together to promote their books and services and encourage fellow Christians who might be interested in venturing out on a similar journey. They’re the ladies of SeekervilleMary Connealy, Janet Dean, Debby Guisti, Audra Harders, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James, Myra Johnson, Glynna Kaye, SandraLeesmith, Julie Lessman, Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe, and Missy Tippens.

What will you find at the Seekerville site?

  • A wonderful example of online community. (If you leave a comment, one of the Seekers is sure to respond.)
  • News about the latest in Christian fiction.
  • Writing tips, how-to’s, contest updates, and encouragement.
  • Free stuff—lots of opportunities to win free books.
  • Favorite recipes.(Follow this link to the Yankee-Belle Cafe.)

What more could you want?

The Seekers are some of the most generous authors in the American Christian Fiction Writers. They and their guest bloggers shared information which spurred me on in my writing journey. But even if you’re not interested in books and/or writing, you can learn much about how to present yourself online from Seekerville. So head on over and visit the ladies today!

Now for a GIVEAWAY! The ladies of Seekerville write wonderful stories. However, because of time constraints and promises to the companies that offer free books in exchange for blog reviews, I have not reviewed many of their books on my site. I’d like to encourage you to check out their novels. So I’m offering a $10 Amazon email gift card to one lucky commenter.

Steps to enter the giveaway: (1) Visit the Seekerville site and view the “Our Books” slideshow in the sidebar. (2) Leave a comment telling me which books you’re most interested in reading. The contest will run until Saturday, March 3rd. Enjoy!

At the 2011 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, I was fortunate enough to meet several of the Seekerville authors . . .

Author Julie Lessman, ACFW 2011

Author Debby Giusti, ACFW 2011

My Blogoversary was yesterday, July 31st! It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since I started this blog. In so many ways, blogging has opened doors for me.

I’ve “met” some lovely folks here on the internet—women who  are focused on raising families and homeschooling, frugal moms who are busy sharing ideas on using each dollar wisely, other writers who are journeying the path we all hope will lead to publication, and my fellow booklovers all across the country.

Thank you all for making this experience so worthwhile!

Theme Verse: When I began teaching literature in Christian high schools years ago, God touched my heart to follow the guidelines provided in His Word. I’ve used those same guidelines for my writing, including each post I share on this blog. Here’s a verse from I Corinthians 2 that sums up my goal . . .

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

July Winners: I’ve emailed two winners for my July contest. Each will be receiving a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Congrats to Emily S. and Theresa J!

Upcoming: During the month of August, I welcome another milestone in my life: my 50th birthday! I plan to celebrate with a blog giveaway (among other things!) so stay tuned for details.

Blessings all! Have a great week!

My cousin's wife leads singing at our church's VBS

“Jesus said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'” ~Mark 10: 14 & 15~

The truths of God are so unsearchable that scholarly men have spent lifetimes plumbing their depths, yet so simple that even a child can receive them. In the verses above, Jesus reminds us that not only are we to embrace the faith of a child. We also have a responsibility to help children find their way to Jesus.

Teens helped at VBS

Many of us have done this by teaching Sunday School, Backyard Bible Clubs, and Vacation Bible School. I remember attending Child Evangelism Fellowship camp when I was seventeen (Can it really be thirty-three years ago?), to learn how to teach a Bible lesson and tell a missionary story.

Back then, the CEF leaders gave us on-the-job training by dropping us off in a neighborhood to approach kids and share the Wordless Book with them. Though this technique wouldn’t work in today’s world, it provided great experience. I can still recall the incredible thrill when a little girl listened to me share the Gospel and said that she wanted to pray to receive Christ!

Pockets the kangaroo

Ever since those days, I’ve loved checking out the creative tools folks come up with to make the Bible clear to kids. So I jumped at the chance to review My First Hands-On Bible from Tyndale Kids. This little Bible has now become one of my favorites for sharing with kids in their preschool and early elementary years.

MFHOB is special because it’s the only preschool Bible with actual Bible text. This book also provides features that help emphasize the focus of each Bible passage. Here’s an example: A reading from Luke 15:11-24, the section about the prodigal son, is called A Son Runs AwayAfter the reading . . .

  • The Jesus Connection reminds kids that “we can come to Jesus by asking Him to forgive us when we’ve done something wrong.”
  • Cuddles the lamb says, “Pretend you’re the lost son. When I clap my hands and say, ‘Come home,’ run to me for a big hug.”
  • The All Gone activity is to have your child draw on a paper towel with a washable marker, then run the paper towel under water. Show your child that the drawing is all gone and relate that to how God forgives us and makes the bad things we do disappear.
  • A Let’s Talk question states: “Talk about a time you disobeyed. God loves you even when you do wrong things.”
  • And this is part of the prayer Pockets the kangaroo shares, “Dear God, thank you that you love us like the father loved his son.”

This Bible makes a great gift, ministry tool, or teaching tool. Thanks to Tyndale Kids for providing a free copy for me to review. I’ll be using it with my little niece and nephew and any other kids who come my way! You can purchase My First Hands-On Bible at this link.

And a few more photos from our 2011 VBS—just because it was such a great week!