Face-Off with Sarah Sundin!!

61Dm0I55KIL._UX250_novelsIt’s been TOO LONG and I’m SO EXCITED to have Sarah Sundin here today! This lovely lady has been more than patient with me and I appreciate it more than you can ever know!

She’s an author of WWII novels, speaker, has a PhD as a pharmacist, and, last but not least…a mom!!! Wha??? #truth Talk about a lady that loves living life to the fullest!!

I know you have seen her books! They are absolutely eye catching and beautiful. Not only that, but they are a GREAT PRICE right now! In fact…the first 2 people that buy one of these sets (using the links provided here) will receive a swag bag from me full of fun stuff 🙂 Just let me know as soon as you order!

ADM-Official-Cover-194x300 A-Memory-Between-Us-Cover-194x300 Blue-Skies-Tomorrow-Cover-194x300 $14.97 for all three on Amazon Kindle

Sundin-With-Every-Lettter-194x300 On-Distant-Shores-cover-194x300 In-Perfect-Time-194x300 $17.97 for all three on Amazon Kindle

Through-Waters-Deep-194x300 Anchor-in-the-Storm-193x300 When-Tides-Turn-193x300 $20.97 for all three on Amazon Kindle

Let’s get to it, shall we?


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The rules are simple. I ask Sarah some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Funniest movie?

Sarah – A Christmas Story. Every single scene.

Charity – Ha!!! I love that we both choose Christmas movies because…Elf.

— Definitely a tie!

Charity 1 / Sarah 1

2. Weirdest experience at the dr.?

Sarah – Keeping this family friendly… Our favorite family medical story is when our daughter had a blood draw and received her shots before kindergarten. Anna has a blood & needle phobia. And she’s feisty. I held her on my lap with my legs wrapped around hers and my arms anchoring her torso and one arm. One nurse wrestled her arm into position and held it there. And another nurse did the foul deeds. Anna screamed the entire time. When we were done, she went skipping and singing through the waiting room with her sticker and lollipop, while half a dozen people watched bug-eyed. I’m sure they thought Anna had been drawn and quartered.

Charity – Oh my gosh!! I would have needed a nap STAT! (see how I used a nurse word there?) If anything, I think that I make it really weird and awkward for the dr’s and nurses. I say REALLY inappropriate things when I feel uncomfortable. It’s a disease, really. I mean, there’s a reason I haven’t gotten a colonoscopy…

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— Definitely don’t get that one…

Charity 1 / Sarah 2

3. Favorite destination type (beach, mountains, Disney, etc…)

Sarah – Sightseeing! London, Rome, Boston…I love seeing beautiful places where interesting things happened. We dragged our kids to museums and battlefields and volcanos. We toured historic ships and planes. We saw the California missions when the kids were in fourth grade, Washington DC and Williamsburg in eighth grade, Gettysburg and Antietam and Yorktown. And our daughter whined because we didn’t have “normal” vacations, going to the beach like everyone else. So we took her to the beach. And she was bored. Victory!

Charity – “Victory”, indeed! I am right there with you. I love historical sites and little villages. I would have been all, “We are sitting on the beach for 8 hours each day we are here and doing nothing else. Enjoy.”

— Tie

Charity 2 / Sarah 3

4. Least favorite chore?

Sarah – Scouring toilets. When you have boys.

Charity Oi, got me there. That’s just disgusting. Yeah, I don’t think I can beat that! I am so freaked out by anything un-princessy. Drains, toilets, hair, etc…

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— You. I am a HUGE WIMP.

Charity 2 / Sarah 4

5. What’s your biggest phobia?

Sarah – This is totally bizarre, but I freak when I have wet feet and get hair stuck to them, especially tangled around my toes. Argh! I MUST have my slippers by the shower to prevent this. Yes, I know hairy feet aren’t dangerous. Yes, it’s totally irrational. And yet.

Charity – Noooo!!! REFER TO LAST ANSWER OF MINE! REFER TO LAST ANSWER OF MINE!

How could you even say those words??

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Ok, I can’t even think right now.

Trying to pull myself together. I was going to say that my biggest phobia is the dentist…but you may have just single-handedly cured me of that.

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— Nope. Just, nope.

Charity 2 / Sarah 5

6. If you could be an epic fighter, who would you be?

Sarah – I’m just giving you this point. I’m such a wimp. I cringed through my sons’ karate lessons.

Charity – Oh, man! I would love it if I was tough and a fighter!!! It would be so fun!!! I would have to be John Wick. Is there really anyone else???

source

— BOOM!

Charity 3 / Sarah 5

7. Apple or Windows/Android?

Sarah – Both! I have a Windows laptop, which I love—and an iPhone, which I also love.

Charity – ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! (That’s a buzzer sound). WRONG ANSWER! Apple or Mac would have been the only correct answers to choose.

— Mine.

Charity 4 / Sarah 5

8. How do you strive to bring God glory in every situation?

Sarah – I try to see people through God’s eyes—and when I can’t, I ask Him to show me. Even the meanest, rudest, stupidest, and most arrogant people are beloved by God. He died for them same as He died for me.

Charity – Girl, that is SUCH a beautiful answer. It’s so easy for me to give up on people and not extend grace. “Grace” is the word that God has really been putting on my heart. It’s so dang hard for me! I suppose that straight up boils down to arrogance. Yikes.

— God wins!!!

Charity 4 / Sarah 5

9. Fun hobby when relaxing (besides your awesome skill of writing)?

Sarah – Well. I read. I hike with my husband and our dog. I go to the gym. Hobby wise, I’m super-boring. Point to Charity!!

Charity – Not so fast, my friend…

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and that’s about it.

— Definitely not my point! Uh, you even had “the gym” in your answer. *ashamed*

Charity 4 / Sarah 6

10. Favorite movie from the same time frame as your historical novels?

Sarah – So, so, so many. My most recent favorite World War II movie is Hacksaw Ridge. Absolutely gorgeous movie with superb acting, a sweet romance, some outrageous humor, harrowing battle scenes, historical accuracy, and a thought-provoking and uplifting message.

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Charity – Yes!!!! What an amazing movie!!! Wow. I think I have to go with you on this one. Beautiful movie ❤

— tie

Final:

Charity 5 / Sarah 7

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I thought I had it for a few minutes there!!! But, alas, Sarah’s coolness over-rode mine!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH, GIRL!!!!! ❤ ❤

Just wanted to share with you a few beautiful moments of Sarah enjoying life ❤

Remember, be sure to grab a set of one of Sarah’s books from the link above and I will send you some fun stuff!!! Woot Woot! Everyone wins!

Face-Off with Carrie Fancett Pagels

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So, this happened on Thursday! The lovely Carrie and I had lunch at none other than Plaza Azteca. I know you are jealous. That’s right! (Hey, Regina!!! Glad you joined us too! kiss-emoji-pillow)

The truth is, we all like to try to look like we have it pulled together. This was after multiple shots. Don’t get me wrong, these two ladies are professionals! It was me that struggled getting the pic right…#BeingTruthful

This was the reality. image1

What can ya do. It’s what makes me “special”.

ANYWAY, I’m ready to tell you a little about this lovely lady! After 25 years as a psychologist, Dr. Carrie Fancett Pagels (yep, DR!!!!) decided to jump full time into writing.

“Her short story, The Quilting Contest, was Historical Fiction Winner of Family Fiction’s ‘The Story’ national contest. Her novella, The Substitute Bride was a 2016 Maggie Award published finalist for Romance Novellas. Grand Exposé was a 2014 Maggie Award honorable mention for a novel set on Mackinac Island (now entitled My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring, Barbour, July 2017). All three of her Christy Lumber Camp books were long list finalists for Family Fiction’s Book of the Year and The Fruitcake Challenge was a Selah Award finalist. Her novel, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican, June, 2016) received a Starred Review by RT Book Reviews.”

image3 June 1 was release day for
Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands Romance Collection: A Newspaper Ad for Husbands Brings a Wave of Men to a Small Kansas Town. (Click on pic of me holding a copy!!)

This book is 7 novellas by popular authors. Dime Novel Suitor is by Carrie Fancett Pagels:

Widow Caroline Kane is the proprietor of a restaurant and inn—and responsible for her five teenaged siblings. But she has no plans of finding a mail-order groom. Britisher Barden Granville IV is on a “cowboy holiday” when he finds himself flat broke in Kansas.  When he answers an old “help wanted” ad, Caroline misconstrues Barden is there as a potential husband. Will the beautiful and fiesty widow cause the new vicar to make Kansas his home?

It’s beautiful!! Be sure to pick up a copy Heart_Eyes_Emoji_large

I wanted to show you some other lovely reads by Carrie,61K8tMUepDL but let me start by giving a shout-out to Regina’s (see photo above) beautiful daughter on the cover of Lilacs for Juliana.

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(Links are in the pics!)

I have to be honest. My brain almost exploded when I saw this.

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Ok, lastly? Be sure to check back in July51J8sWR0C6L._UY250_ for the release of Carrie’s newest novel. If you are not familiar with Mackinac Island, you are in for a TREAT!!!

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Remember how Zachary Bartels was telling us about his favorite vacation spot? No cars allowed….Sounds amazing! It is definitely on my bucket list…like it passed up LOTS of other things. Looks amazing!

LET’S GET TO IT!!!!


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The rules are simple. I ask Carrie some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Have you ever eaten an oatmeal raisin cookie and been horrified because you thought it was chocolate chip?

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CarrieYes, what a bitter disappointment — especially when the person who baked them is looking at you and asking, “Is anything wrong?” and you paste on a fake smile and shake your head no, all the while thinking — ack these aren’t chocolate chip cookies after all. But I do like oatmeal raisin cookies too — as long as I know that’s what I am eating and if they are warm!

Charity – I have definitely done that. Thankfully, I never did it in front of the person that made them while they watched!!! hahaha. That would be awful!

The other one I can’t handle is when people mix Skittles and M&M’s. Now, there should be some kind of law against that. Your poor mouth would be in a constant state of paranoia because it wouldn’t know what to expect!!!! #MyWorstNightmareBelow

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– Carrie gets this one because of being put on the spot. So embarrassing!

Charity 0 / Carrie 1

2. Worst calendar idea you have seen?

Carrie – Those kind where they are so small you can’t hardly read the numbers!!!

Charity – Oh, I so have this one!

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Who can seriously put this up in their house and not be thoroughly ashamed?!

Charity 1 / Carrie 1

3. We met at Plaza Azteca for lunch (which I was 100% on board with!!) on the release date of Seven Brides for Seven Mail Order Husbands. Tell me about that.

Carrie – I started writing seriously about 13 years ago. When I would get a rejection letter, my critique partners told me to celebrate that I was doing something and working towards it. They said to “Go out for Mexican”! It started to become a “thing”. “It’s a Mexican night”!! Now I use it to celebrate for any reason!

Charity – I love that! How encouraging. I might not mind those rejection letters so much 😉

We grew up eating Mexican so often. To this day, my sister still eats it every day! Her family has it for lunch or dinner. Every day. For real.

– Totally Carrie’s point!!!

Charity 1 / Carrie 2

4. Ready for Grandkids?

Carrie – I call myself “Tired Old Mommy”. I had a son at 44 years old. I had to have my own because I couldn’t wait for a grandson!

Charity – Ok, there’s NO WAY I can compete with that. If I had a baby now, I wouldn’t ever get out of my recliner. Like, ever.

And for the record, I am SO READY for Grandbabies! My oldest son is 18, so…..????

– Lol. I have to give this one to Carrie as well! I can’t compete with starting over at 44!!!

Charity 1 / Carrie 3

5. Dream Vacation?

Carrie – Straits of Mackinac. I grew up near there and I love it.

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Charity – Ok, I am seriously needing to visit this beautiful land of Michigan!

My dream vacation would be to go alone with a journal and my Bible, have no schedule restrictions, no time or money limit and just go to England. I would spend time in all the cities and quaint villages until I was ready to move on to the next. I would just soak in the beauty and culture. It would be MAGICAL!

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– Tie.

Charity 2 / Carrie 4

6. Tell me about the pink! I see you are usually in pink 🙂

Carrie – I “came out of the closet” with pink when I realized that I was not just a historical author. I enjoy writing romance and wanted to embrace the idea of being a historical romance author. Also, I’ve had some close to me suffer with breast cancer and the pink represents awareness for that.

76952Charity – I love that! My 9 year old and our 17 year old foster son used to always wear pink and say, “We support breast cancer”!!! They would always forget to add the “awareness” portion and it was so funny because they didn’t even realize what they were saying. Their friends were a little taken aback.

Check out the link for support groups and ways to help support!

– I am getting crushed!

Charity 2 / Carrie 5

7. A cool story!

Carrie – Dina Sleiman won a Carol Award and wasn’t able to be there to accept it. Because she lives locally, I was able to deliver it home to her. I was walking around carrying this big award and everyone was congratulating me and I had to tell them it wasn’t mine.

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Charity – Oh, man! That’s both awesome and awkward! haha. How awesome is that?! You have to love having Dina so close by! She’s an AMAZING person ❤

Ok….Wow. How do I compete with that? Awards…Awards…OH! I KNOW!!! I won 20 gold medals in piano olympics when I was growing up! I never got anything less!

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– I am going to take that one SOLELY because I am SO FAR BEHIND!!!!

Charity 3 / Carrie 5

8. How do you strive to bring God glory in your life?

Carrie – Although I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, God has me writing for Him. And I pray that brings Him glory! It’s all You, Abba Father!

Charity – Girl, that’s awful. I am so sorry! No fun at all. But, God still deserves the glory for all of it because we have no idea what He’s doing behind the scenes!! ❤

– God wins!

Charity 3 / Carrie 5

9. Have you ever felt horrible and just decided it was OK to go out in public in sweatpants, yoga pants or PJ pants?

Carrie – To this day my family still teases me about this. I was hurting badly and had to go to Kohl’s. I wore boots, tall lime green socks and sweats. I did my shopping and came home. When my family saw me, they were horrified and told me that I cannot wear things like that out in public.

Charity – That’s amazing! You are my hero. I am so particular and couldn’t do this. I feel like I need to, not only get dressed, but dress nicely even when I feel horrible. Some days I feel almost hysterical trying to get ready because I can’t even wear jeans and a t-shirt out in public! Ridiculous, I know.

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– This is, BY FAR, the biggest loss I have suffered. I even gave myself a free point!

FINAL:

Charity 3 / Carrie 6

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I have SO MUCH FUN doing this face-off, Carrie 🙂giphy-1 Thanks for your candid answers and fun personality!

Guess what????

Yep!!!!! You guessed it. Not just 1, BUT 2 GIVEAWAYS!

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seven-brides-grand-prize-giveawayGrand Prize Giveaway:

Kindle Fire + Postcards of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order, bookmarks from upcoming release My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island

Maude’s Mooring, print copy of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands

Cowboy-themed earrings

Ebook copy of Holt Medallion finalist “The Steeplechase.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But, wait! There’s MORE!!!

2_91 ****** ALERT ******

PLEASE READ THIS!!!

COMMENT ON THIS POST TO HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THIS LOVELY BOOK! IT’S SUPER EASY AND YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING ARE VERY HIGH!!! —————>

So, hurry and COMMENT BELOW! Tell us your favorite part of this face-off, a great memory with Carrie, OR which one of her books you are most excited to read.

COMMENT BELOW.

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Face-Off with Zachary Bartels: Take 2!!

17264506_1662741187074521_4203841052978384135_nToday is a BIG DAY!  It’s the perfect storm for you readers. Why? Let me tell you:

  1. It’s COVER REVEAL DAY for Zachary’s newest book, All Souls’ Day.
  2. We have GIVEAWAYS (yes, plural!)
  3. Face-Off round DUEX!

So, keep on reading because there’s lots here! SQUEEZE!!!!!

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Zachary Bartels is my Author Highlight of the month, so you can check out more info on the homepage. For now, let’s get to all the fun! Woot!


Well, well…It’s time for round 2! As you know, we tied in the first face-off, so now it’s time to see who is the winner once and for all!

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The rules are simple. I ask Zachary some random questions. He replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Worst hotel/motel experience? 

Zachary – I don’t know if I have anything funny. The first experience that comes to mind is, we were in Orlando just last month and had to call the cops because of a domestic dispute in the room next to ours, but there was a crying kid and everything, and my own kid was sort of low-level traumatized by it, so . . .

Let me say this: up until I was about fifteen, I loved staying in hotels more than anything. It was exciting and special and the TV had cable and there were vending machines right outside the door and sometimes an indoor pool.  Then, I had my germaphobe-awakening and saw some footage of people bringing black lights into their hotel rooms. All of a sudden I was horrified by the idea of sleeping in those beds and showering where who-knows-what had  gone down. I started packing flip-flops to wear in the shower and sometimes my own pillow cases to put over the hotel’s. One bad-but-funny experience was the time I forgot the flip flops and tried showering with two of those hotel-issued plastic-elastic shower caps on my feet. I slipped and slid all over the place and very nearly went down . . . wound up making all sorts of skin contact with the inside of the shower curtain, which is sort of the germaphobe equivalent of spending the night inside a rotting buffalo carcass.

Charity – Oh. My. Gosh. I literally laughed out loud. I can actually say, “LOL”! That was quite the visual.

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Ok, I thought I had this one in the bag, but you with those plastic shower hats on your feet – slip-sliding all around….YIKES!

My turn. I must preface this story by saying that, first of all, I HATE West Virginia. I was headed towards Chicago area to visit my mother-in-law (shout out! holla, mom!) with the fam. We were in WV heading over one of those horrible cliff roads with nothing on either side of us but guard rails (like that’s going to do a dang thing) to keep us from plummeting to our deaths. Anyway, at that very moment, a tornado comes towards our car while I am driving straight towards it with nowhere else to go. Yep, I drove through a tornado on the road with nothing but my family’s impending death on the sides of us. Here’s the news link of that devastating storm, FYI.

After that fright, we decided, against our better judgement, to stop at a hotel in that deplorable State. We were in the capital city. How bad can it be?

Check in went great. They even had little, chewy cookies there. Nice and warm. “Oh yeah, BTW, the elevator is broken”, they say AFTER we check in. Let’s just say we were’t anywhere near the first floor. So, up the stairs we go (which is against every thing I stand for). We open the door and, SURPRISE, the room has been slept in and used. Totally not cleaned. As I am a princess and my husband and boys were carrying all my luggage, I said that I would quickly run down and get keys to a new room (which was very generous of me, considering I would be repeating the offense of the stairs). Oh yeah, BTW… the door to the stairwell locks and only opens from INSIDE the main part of the hotel. So once I made it downstairs, I was forced to go OUTSIDE into a dark alley to get back around to the doors inside. ugh.

Not very princess-y.

Needless to say, it was a nightmare. We are quite particular about hotels due to the germ-age factor. That hotel did NOT gift us with a comforting night of sleep.

— Sorry about the novel.

Charity 1 / Zachary 1

2. Stupidest (PG rated) thing you have ever done? (I know…hard to pick one…) 

Zachary – Obviously, I’m not going to tell the world my stupidest mistakes. But here are a couple bonehead moves:

In college, me and two buddies got wrapped up in some weird brand of fundamentalism that we may have accidentally invented (its sacrament was Jolt Cola–twice the sugar! twice the caffeine!)  And we drove around Grand Rapids at night, smoking cigars and duct taping Luther’s 95 theses to the doors of Catholic churches. To what end, I do not know. (When your Christian school has rules against everything from dancing to having a TV in your dorm room, you go to some great length to amuse yourself, I guess). The really pathetic thing is that this was ’96, before the “real” Internet was overly accessible on campus (remember VAX??), so we wound up getting a book about Luther from the library and taking turns typing up the theses. It took like forty-five minutes. You would have thought the process of reading/typing them would have brought us to our senses re: the stupidity of our night raids, but no . . . our stupidity was too brazen.

More recently, I started a Facebook group for people of my particular theological persuasion who live in my hometown, just for fun. Wanting to get some people in there right off the bat, I clicked the thing to promote it for $5. Only I accidentally left the campaign open-ended and, by the time I realized my mistake, I had blown $225. The net result? Twenty-one members. I have yet to do anything with or post anything on that group.

Charity – wow. You were pretty cool.face-with-tears-of-joy I am assuming you didn’t tell your wife about this until she was your wife?  And as far as your $225 “mishap”, just call it mission work and call it a day.

I was a total mess. I don’t even know how many stupid things I did. Let’s see…a couple that stand out?

I’ll start with one from the same year. ’95-’96 college year. My best friend and I going to a Christian college and hating life … and rules… (Shout out to Sue! Holla, girl!). So, what do you do in a religious school with bonkers rules? I’ll tell you. We would look at what all the weird, conservative girls were wearing (Only mentioning my sentiments at the time. This does not necessarily reflect my current feelings on how conservative people dress) and then we would show back up at class wearing an exaggerated, matching outfit (as to mock them….yeah, I was cool too).

Once I got out of school, I was really cool. Like, for real.

haverchuck

Once I was older and wiser, I would enjoy pulling up at a light, next to a guy on a motorcycle and asking if I could ride with him. I would then pull into the nearest 7-11 (write down his plate # and leave it in my car because I was obviously smart enough to make sure I was safe if nobody could find me) and jump on the back of the bike. wheeee.

How am I still alive?

— I think it’s a tie again.

Charity 2 / Zachary 2

3. Funniest thing you hid from your parents growing up? 

Zachary – Starting at about 12 years old, my bedroom was in the basement, which really lent itself to hiding things from my parents. Luckily, I was a pretty upstanding young man, comparatively speaking. When I was 16 or 17, though, I did draw on (pun!!) my artistic skills to paint a replica of the little basement window in my bedroom on some corrugated cardboard. With the little curtains semi-obscuring it, you couldn’t tell the counterfeit from from the real thing. The idea, of course, was to remove the window, pull myself out of the house (thus bypassing the insanely loud wood floors and front door), and replace the window with the fake. It’s funny in retrospect, because it took days of work to get it right, but I had no real plans to sneak out, or even a desire to do so. It was just a self-challenge I guess. I did use it a couple of times to slip out into the night, but one was to attend a Christian rock concert. Yeah, I know–when I give my testimony I leave that part out because it’s just too dark.

Charity – ha! I guess so. Women would be fanning themselves and feeling faint.

I had a couple posters of Christian Slater up on my walls…Um, well, technically, in my closet. Ok, you got me. They were hanging up behind the clothes in my closet.

I sure showed my parents what was up! woot!

— We really weren’t too cool. At all.

Charity 3 / Zachary 3

4. Do you believe we, as parents, should be allowed to arrange marriages for our kids in this day and age?

Zachary – Obviously.

Charity – Oh. My. Gosh.

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My kids disagree. Whatevs.

— This is ridiculous. You need a dumb answer so I can get a point.

Charity 4 / Zachary 4

5. Would you enjoy playing rugby? 

Zachary – I don’t know; probably not. I get really overly competitive with everything. Even, like, Scrabble and Pictionary can become uncomfortably intense when I’m involved. And when I play racquetball, it becomes full-contact spazoid-ball really fast. All that to say, if I were to play an actual full-contact game, involving minimal protective equipment, I would probably get myself killed in short order.

Charity – Dude. You don’t even want to get me started in a game of SPOONS. I will take off your fingers. Without blinking.

HOWEVER, I am like 90 year old princess. I am not even joking. In my mind I would be amazing at it. In reality, I couldn’t get past the smell of the other players, let alone be on the field.

— lame

Charity 5 / Zachary 5

6. Favorite current song/band/singer? 

Zachary – It’s gotta be either The Decemberists, The Accidentals, or Trip Lee. Yeah, that’s a weird mix, I know. Also, I acknowledge that it is pathetically dorky for a just-about-middle-aged white Baptist minister to listen to hip hop. Maybe that’s why it’s so perfect… but probably not.

Charity – Uh…Have you ever heard of NF? Andy Mineo? Totally cool to be pasty white and listening to Christian rap. woot. At least I hope.

I really love 21 Pilots (which…FYI, are a couple of homeschooled, Christian boys. Yep. True story). I also love Tenth Avenue North.

Here’s a fun Andy Mineo video.

— This is more like a never ending ping-pong match! Who’s going to flinch first…BRING IT!

Charity 6 / Zachary 6

7. Recommended vacation spot?

Zachary – Mackinac Island, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. It’s so beautiful and idyllic. No cars are allowed, so the streets are filled with horses and carriages. There’s an old 19th Century fort, beautiful houses, B&Bs, and the Grand Hotel (where they filmed Somewhere in Time). Also, they make the world’s best fudge there. On any given morning, I usually think at least once that I’d rather be riding my bike around Mackinac Island than doing what I’m actually doing.

Charity – Ok, I spoke WAY TOO SOON. I just looked it up and I am dying here! What in the world?!?!?! That has to be the coolest place EVER!

— Nicely done, my friend. Nicely done.

Charity 6 / Zachary 7

8. If you had to write a historical novel, what era would you choose?

-Zachary – Well, The Last Con had a series of flashbacks to 18th Century Europe, which I loved writing. That would be fun to flesh out. Having degrees in biblical studies, a biblical era novel would seem natural. In fact, I have some great ideas for biblical fiction, but the notion of getting every little detail right (i.e. doing all that research into everyday life) is just overwhelming to me. I’m going to Israel with Cliff Graham and Connilyn Cossette and some other authors in May; maybe I’ll try and steal their research secrets/methods.

Charity – Oh, yes! Do that! I went to Israel when I was in college and it was pretty dang incredible! Of course, I spent the whole time getting pictures with all the soldiers…

ANYWAY, I seriously need to read that! I can’t believe I haven’t read that yet. What up??

— Ok, you are pulling ahead now. Watch your fingers.

Charity 6 / Zachary 8

9. Worst natural disaster you’ve been a part of? 

Zachary – Oops. I just wrote something political and then deleted it. (I don’t need that kind of heat.)

[[just a side note…I couldn’t remember if I, Charity, wrote that last sentence or if you, Zachary, did. I now remember that you did…but it sounds like something I would say! haha]]

Living far away from the hotbeds of hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc. there aren’t many disasters to speak of around here. I’ve avoided tornadoes thus far. I guess my answer would have to be either the big flood of 1990 (people were rowing boats down my street) or the Great Blizzard of 1978, which apparently dumped many, many feet of snow on the High Five. Except that I was literally zero when the blizzard happened and the worst part about the flood was that my basement bedroom filled with an inch of water, ruining my box full of Breakaway Magazine back issues. Seriously, if I want to re-read that cover article about the radical skateboarding couple who were also super-radical  youth ministers, I’ll have to buy another copy online! I’m sorry, I can’t talk about this any more; it’s still too raw.

Charity – I should be a journalist. I know how to ask the deep questions.

I am going to refer back to my answer in question #1. Yes, I live on the East Coast amid hurricane after devastating hurricane. Still, my drive through WV was pure evil. (Did you ever notice that you can switch WV to VW and it becomes something wonderful??)

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Did I mention I am pretty ADHD?

— I am taking it! boom.

Charity 7 / Zachary 8

10. Funniest thing your son has said?

Zachary – How to even narrow this down? The main redeeming function of Facebook these days is that it pops up with “memories” each morning–usually hilarious stuff my little guy said and did years ago. Here’s a good one: when he was about four, he was running around the house one day, shouting, “Ovary!!!” We couldn’t get him to stop. When I asked him what he thought it meant, he just sort of shrugged. It was like a week later that we were watching one of his favorite episodes of Phineas and Ferb, and I realized he was emulating Phineas shouting, “Wolverines!” (i.e. a reference to the craptastic ’80s flick Red Dawn).  Also, he used to call his nipples, his “knuckles.” So that was great . . .

Charity – Oh my word. That’s amazing! hahaha.

Ok, so before I was following God in any way, I was a single mom in my early 20’s. My son was 2 years old and had never asked about his father (because the guy was not in the picture). We were at the beach just chillin’ and my pasty, white son sees this big, african-american man walk right by our towels and he yells, “HEY, MOM! IS THAT MY DAD?????” holy crap. That guy’s eyes were HUGE and he couldn’t have walked his big self any faster out of there. I was just horrified and laughing so hard at the same time.

–Yeah, I am taking that one.

Final:

Charity 8 / Zachary 8

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NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a worthy competitor, Mr. Bartels! Very worthy, indeed!! We will definitely need to have an instant death round soon!


Who’s ready to see the big COVER REVEAL???

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First of all, let me share the synopsis with you:

ON ALL SOULS’ DAY, THE FAITHFUL REMEMBER THE DEAD. THIS YEAR THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF DEAD TO REMEMBER.

It’s been a year since pastor Parker Saint found himself in the middle of an ancient conspiracy involving demon possession, ritual killings, holy relics, and Vatican operatives, and things are just starting to get back to normal. Well, as normal as they can be now that he’s married to Detective Corinne Kirkpatrick.

Corinne is having trouble adjusting to life as a pastor’s wife. And while she’d love to retreat to the familiarity of her precinct, she’s beginning to feel out of place there too–surrounded by younger, unfamiliar faces and beginning to feel like a relic herself.

When a new series of grisly murders rocks the quiet city of Grand Rapids, everyone is on edge, and no one more so than Parker–at every murder scene, there is some connection to him. Soon he and Corinne are thrown into a deadly game with a timer that is swiftly running out. As the stress takes its toll on their fledgling marriage, they’ll have to lean on God and each other–and even those Vatican operatives–in order to stop the killer before it’s too late.

And here it is!

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Want to pre-order your own copy? Head on over to:

Amazon or Barnes and Noble (hint: It’s cheaper at B&N)

OR……You can head on over to:

a Rafflecopter giveaway to win your own SIGNED copy when it’s released!

Zachary has graciously offered to do 2 GIVEAWAYS! You can win SIGNED copies of Playing Saint and it’s sequel, All Souls’ Day (paperback, once released). Wait, that’s just one giveaway! The second includes a hard cover copy instead of paperback! Now we’re talking!

Thanks so much for this fun post!! I hope you guys all the best! Remember:

  1. U.S. Rez only for giveaway
  2. Entries will be checked

GOOD LUCK!!!

Face-Off with Kristi Ann Hunter!!

Yep! That’s right!!!unnamed-2 It’s everyone’s newest fav Regency author! The amazing Kristi Ann Hunter is here today. Woot Woot!!

As you probably know, she’s on the front page of my blog for the monthly Author Spotlight. You can check it out for lots of fun info like why her family is “pop awesome” and why she asks not to be kicked out of the author club!

Be sure to pick up any one of her beautiful books (may I recommend my favorite? An Elegant Facade. But…I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tell you that A Lady of Esteem is FREE for the kindle right now!!! (Links are in the book titles).

You can also see my reviews of A Noble MasqueradeAn Elegant Facade, and An Uncommon Courtship.

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Let’s do this!


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The rules are simple. I ask Kristi some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. What’s your favorite/secret sin (and by sin I mean dessert/snack…)

Kristi – My aunt’s chocolate chip cookies. No contest. They are the bomb diggity of every baked good ever invented. I’m also a huge dark chocolate addict. Like, I eat bars of the 85% cocoa stuff. Love it.

Charity – Hmm. So, I am not a big chocolate lover. I could go the rest of my life without it. I mean, you would never guess that by my “curves”, but, alas, it’s the truth. I do have a fondness for candy (and chips…sugar and salt). Candy I can take down like a BOSS.

— I guess we are going to have to wait to see who wins this point…

Charity ? / Kristi ?

2. Which Jane Austen character do you relate to the most? What about your husband….which one is he?

Kris – Probably Elizabeth Bennet. I tend to run on emotion and fitting in with the norm has never been my strong suit. The Hubs would totally be Mr. Knightley from Emma. Patience of a saint, that man.

Charity – Ha! Mine is Knightley too. Same thing. This ol’ lady is HIGH MAINTENANCE and he just rolls with the punches. I am Marianne.

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— Tie

Charity 1 / Kristi 1

3. Have you ever been to a horse race?

Kristi – Only if the kids pretending to be horses and chasing each other counts. Actually, no scratch that. They were being dinosaurs, not horses. So, no.

Charity – face-with-tears-of-joy

— Ok, you get that one.

Charity 1 / Kristi 2

4. If you could conquer any fear, what’s the most exciting thing you would try?

Kristi – I’m gonna lose this one because my answer is totally boring, but I really wish I were a more adventurous eater. I don’t understand it because what’s the worst that could happen? It taste bad and I gag and spit it out? But I get really scared when it comes to trying new food. It’s sad.

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Charity – Yeah…What’s the worst that could happen biting into that? 😯

I would leave my house. I hate leaving my house.

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— Your answer is less boring than mine.

Charity 1 / Kristi 3

5. Have you ever eaten an apple with a worm? Not like, out to eat with a worm, but the worm was actually in the apple…

Kristi – The worm was no longer in it, but I did see a worm hole. Super nasty.

Charity – Barf. I haven’t and I would cry.

— Kristi…

I sure hope people like candy more than dark chocolate…

Charity 1 / Kristi 4

6. Favorite musical?

Kristi – Just one? Really? That’s not fair! Okay, as a movie, it’s hard to beat Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In the theater and on straight soundtrack, though, I’m gonna have to go with Phantom of the Opera. Though I will tell you that if you are sitting in the upper seats, above the level of the chandelier, the scene where it falls isn’t quite as dramatic and exciting. I like to put on the soundtrack and sing it at the top of my lungs when no one is home though. All I Ask of You  was sung at my wedding. My roommate had trained in opera.

Charity – What???!!! I absolutely agree. Hard to pick one. Movie would probably be Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (them sobbin’ women!). Live HAS to be Phantom.

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— Tie

Charity 2 / Kristi 5

7. Who are you most excited to meet in Heaven – from the Bible (Jesus doesn’t count because that’s a given! Besides, I’m going to be a God hog anyway)

Kristi – Rahab. I love her story. Left everything she knew, took all of her questionable life choices and threw them on the mercies of God and He made her part of the lineage of Christ. One of only four women listed by name in the line of Christ recorded in Matthew 1.

Charity – Oh, man. Can you even imagine? That’s amazing. I always thought it was going to be Joseph I couldn’t wait to meet. More and more, I am excited to meet David. I love that man’s heart!

— Tie

Charity 3 / Kristi 6

8. Funniest BFF story of you guys together.

Kristi – Okay, I’m going way back on this one. In sixth grade, my best friend and I were a terror. In math class we took turns sitting behind each other and we would see how far we could push the other one’s desk until the teacher glared at us. To this day I’m surprised she didn’t move us, but the only time she actually got mad at us was when we passed notes.

Charity – 😆 Nice.

Keeping this G rated (as I was not a Jesus follower until much later in life), I would definitely have to go with my best friend and I in college. We didn’t fully “appreciate” the dean there and decided to break into his office one night and set up his office furniture in the public elevators. He wasn’t too happy when he stepped in the elevator in the morning…

— I am so taking that one!

Charity 4 / Kristi 6

9. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Kristi – That’s a trick question. I’d like to say I try to do everything for the glory of the Lord but I fail so spectacularly at that I couldn’t begin to claim it. I work very hard to give God glory in my writing. These are His books, His to use to show an element of himself to whomever He wants. I trust Him to guide the story, protect it during edits, and then put it in the hands of whoever needs it.

Charity – Awesome answer. I agree. I just try to listen to His voice as much as possible. He asks me to do a lot of awkward things…It’s quite the adventure! 😆

— God wins!

Charity 4 / Kristi 6

10. Favorite kind of workout? (Is that even a legitimate question? Does anyone like to work out? Anyone that’s human and not some robotic, perfect person)

Kristi – A short one.

Okay, so actually do enjoy pilates/yoga/floor work type of stuff once I get into it. It’s the getting started part that troubles me. I also really love dancing. We have Just Dance on the Wii and I actually do that for fun. If I’m getting on a machine, I like ellipticals although I’ve seen studies that they are like the most useless of cardio machines which just figures.

Charity – Well, my goal in life is never to exert myself. So…Win!

–When my smart watch celebrates at 15 minutes of movement being a record…there’s no way I’m winning this point.

Final:

Charity 4 / Kristi 7

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Yep. Even the poll won’t help me this time.


Thank you SO MUCH! This was such a blast, Kristi.face-with-tears-of-joy Your answers had me cracking up!

Everyone else, be sure to pick up a copy of An Uncommon Courtship!  <– Link in pic. Enjoy!

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

by Julie Klassen

The much awaited, new series by Julie Klassen is finally here! Well, it was here before Christmas, but I have been a bit behind…

If you have read much Klassen, you will want to know that this book is significantly different than her others. All of her books have basically stood alone while this one is absolutely part of a series. The book didn’t really end at the end of the book. That being said, it was a great read. Her writing style has really deepened and grown since her debut novel, The Lady of Milkweed Manor.

Overall, I felt it was very well written. There were a lot of people to keep up with instead of the average handful you have in a novel. The point of view would switch from character to character rapidly and I would find myself confused at times trying to remember which person it was. I believe that it was just preparing the reader for the following volumes to come. So, if you don’t have severe brain trauma as I seem to have, you should be just fine! I definitely recommend this book (and anything by Julie!). She is a truly gifted writer!!!

Thanks so much for this read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

— Check out my fun face-offs with the awesome Julie Klassen!

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Who thinks we should do a giveaway???????

 

Head on over and enter to win. Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*US only (unless you would like to pay the shipping)

**Entries will be checked

Face-Off with Pepper Basham (take #2)

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Ok, so if you know me at all, you know that this gal is one of my favs! What an amazing writer and a sweetheart to boot!! Her books really wrestle with the tough things in life while keeping you turning pages with a gripping story. If you haven’t checked out our last face-off, please do so!! It is sure to keep you entertained.

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Ok, so this newly nominated Carol Award finalist is here today to have a bit o’ fun. (Yeah, I had to slip that in there! woot woot!! I am so excited for her!) I am dying to hear what fun she is bringing with her this time. We ended with a tie last time, so she’s going to have to really bring it to beat me now!

Let’s do this!


 

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Wow. That really didn’t turn out so well…

The rules are simple:

I ask Pepper some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Favorite 80’s movie?

Pepper – I can’t choose between these three: Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, and Star Wars…so…you’ll just have to pick one to battle 😉

Charity – I really can’t fault you for those choices. One glaring oversight would have to be The Neverending Story. Obviously, The Princess Bride still wins.

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— Tie

Charity 1 / Pepper 1

2. Biggest pet peeve?

Pepper – My children leaving their shoes in the middle of the floor

Charity – Hmm. Mine is being asked the same questions twice in a row by an overly eager child that doesn’t give you more than 1 second to answer before asking again. and again.

— Another tie

Charity 2 / Pepper 2

3. Have you ever had a major traffic blunder (ran a red light, drove the wrong way down a street with a car approaching you, etc…)

Pepper – HAHA!! Well, how much trouble will I get into if I answer this? Yes, I’ve gone through a red light and even had a fender bender once. I’m a pretty careful driver though. I grew up with a cop for a dad 🙂

Charity – Whew. Not tooooo bad. One time I was rocking out to music and I realized that a cop was behind me with his lights a-going. So, I pulled over and he come up to the car. He said that he had been behind me, with his lights on, for a few minutes (literally) and I hadn’t noticed him. He then said that my headlights weren’t on (and it was pretty late at night). I apologized and he said that it was ok, but I needed to pay more attention. I start to pull away and he is running after me waving his hands. I stop and he catches up…”Ma’am. Your lights still aren’t on…” hahahahaha. Nicest guy ever because he didn’t ticket me! 😯

— Taking that one!

Charity 3 / Pepper 2

4. What’s your favorite type of soda?

Pepper – Duh. Dr. Pepper 😉 (but I’m a big fan of Mt. Dew too)

Charity – Oh, man. Dumb question…Mine too, but…I can’t compete.

— (Dr) Pepper gets it!

Charity 3 / Pepper 3

5. Last movie you saw in the theater? *BTW, readers…this question was answered in April!

Pepper – Star Wars – The Force Awakens

Charity – Oh! That was a great one! I remember that I got three naps in during that movie. Pretty sweet… haha. Last one I saw was Bourne!!!!!! Holla!

— Tie

Charity 4 / Pepper 4

6. What is your love language?

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Pepper – Time and affection. I LOVE hugs!!

Charity – Aww! I will remember that when I see you IN NASHVILLE SOOOOOOON!

Mine are gifts and quality time…definitely NOT touch! hahahaha

— These questions are too hard to pit against each other!

Charity 5 / Pepper 5

7. Have you ever walked more than 1 dog at a time?

Pepper – LOL – nope. My dog is quite big enough to equal more than one dog at a time, but no…only one.

Charity – Well, we grew up in a household of a million pets. At one point we had 5 dogs. I am pretty sure I walked more than one at a time, but I can’t be positive…

— I will have to forfeit this point. I am so not an animal person.

Charity 5 / Pepper 6

8. What’s your favorite way to worship?

Pepper – Way? As opposed to what? 🙂 I love worshiping through song and music. Of course, true worship always includes the Word of God – but when that’s paired with music…sigh…I just love how close and alive that makes God’s spirit feel.

Charity – I agree. I used to be 100% Word + music. Lately, however, I have been trying something new and it’s got me so excited! I have been highlighting all the passages in my Bible that describe God and His character. It’s been AMAZING! I have also been taking the time to write some of them down. This is what I got about God from JUST Psalm 103

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— God Wins!

Charity 5 /Pepper 6

9. Place in America that you would LOVE to visit?

Pepper – New York – just for the experience. I’d also love to go to the Grand Canyon some day. (but above all I like out-of-America dreaming)

Charity – Girl! I know all about your out-of-America dreaming! You JUST got back from my favorite place….ENGLAND! SQUEEEEEE!!!!!!!

I really just want to visit all of America. I mean, all of it.

— Tie

Charity 6 / Pepper 7

10. How are your gardening skills?

Pepper – Only the strong survive.

Charity – lol…well, at least that’s something! NOTHING survives this black thumb. Nothing!

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— Bad way to end…

Final:

Charity 6 / Pepper 8

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ahhhhhh! Not cool! I need to ask better questions….


Thank you so much, Pepper! Please be sure to check out her awesome Blog Hop and Giveaway all this week!

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Face-Off with Susanne Dietze!!

**Stay Tuned Below For A Big Announcement from Susanne Dietze!**

8511498According to Susanne Dietze, she began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of over half-dozen new and upcoming historical romances. A pastor’s wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.

She has co-written multiple historical fiction books with some of the best Christian authors out there.

One of my favorite things about this fabulous lady is her love for all things Regency! That’s something we have in common ❤

You can check out some of her great Austen retellings here! They are such a good price!! Keep an eye out for my review of her book, Austen in Austin.

If you want to learn some fun Regency cant, check out her article! You might be buffle headed, or think she is dicked in the nob, but this is NOT a faradiddle! I daresay, you shall enjoy it! 😉

Shall we?

 


 

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The rules are simple:

I ask Susanne some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Have you ever had a tire blow out or something crazy like that happen while driving?

Susanne – Plenty of scary things, but the wackiest was one holiday weekend when I drove home from college. I had two passengers and had just dropped one off when I got back on the freeway, hit my turn signal switch to change lanes, and the switch literally broke off. It’s not like I’m the Hulk or anything–it just broke! The headlight controls on my ’85 Accord were on the turn signal switch, too, so when the switch detached from the steering wheel column, the headlights went out. It was night. In Los Angeles. I was hours from home and maybe 20 years old. I am so glad I wasn’t alone! The girl I was with helped me use a pencil to get the headlights back on, and we made it home safely, but of course the next day I learned I couldn’t just fix the switch. I had to replace the entire steering wheel column. The whole thing was nuts.

Charity – 😯 Now, that is what I call a debacle! What in the world. haha. I love that you needed to clarify that you aren’t the Hulk. ha!

I was driving along back in the early 90’s when all of the sudden, my car started making a horrific noise. I pulled over to the side of the ride and a policeman PROMPTLY pulled up behind me, jumped out of his car and started spraying the mess out of my car with a fire extinguisher! I was like, ????? He said that I had huge flames coming out of my hood! hahaha. Natural blonde here…

— Tie

Charity 1 / Susanne 1

2. Who was your biggest childhood celebrity crush?

Susanne – My first was Luke Skywalker. Not Mark Hamill, mind you. Luke. Maybe it was his swooshy blond hair, I don’t know. I was 6, maybe, and wrote Susie Skywalker on a piece of paper. As I grew older, I transferred my Star Wars-actor-affections to Harrison Ford. I had a poster of him as Indiana Jones on my ceiling.

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Charity – That’s great! Those were the days…I was so in love with Atreyu from The Neverending Story. hahaha. He looks like a BABY!!! That is really bonkers. hahaha

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— Who was YOUR celeb crush in the 70’s/80’s? (or even 90’s) I will leave this one to a crowd vote!!! Which one were you in love with as a kiddo?

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3. What’s your favorite Regency adaptation?

Susanne – I can’t choose between the BBC Colin Firth P&P and the Keira Knightley P&P. nickel-fig-2They are both utterly enjoyable in their own ways. To be honest, every version of P&P is highly enjoyable because I get to spend time with Darcy and Lizzie. Did you ever watch “Wishbone” in the 90’s, that PBS show? I mean, look at this picture from the episode “Furst Impressions”… Mr. Darcy is a Jack Russel terrier!!! How could you resist him?

Susanne Dietze Wishbone Pride and Prejudice

Charity – lol! hahahahaha. That is so frightening! SO frightening! Ok, I need to tell you that there is NO WAY I can give you that point if you even compare Keira to Colin Firth. No comparison in the two.

–I get it!

Charity 2 / Susanne 1

4. Which Jane Austen heroine is your favorite?

Susanne – Ack! This is hard! Can it be a tie?Elizabeth-and-Mr-Darcy Lizzie Bennet, because she’s Lizzie, but Emma makes me laugh because, like me, she thinks she knows what’s what, and half the time she’s wrong. I love how Austen heroines have weaknesses, just like real people, and they grow and learn through their mistakes and problems.

Charity – I agree!!! haha. I love Marianne and Emma. They are so much like me and are seriously the luckiest in their men. Nothing is as dreamy as Colonel Brandon or Mr. Knightley!!!! ❤ ❤

–Tie

Charity 3 / Susanne 2

5. Can you tell me what is in bologna? (Sorry about this frightening pic…I couldn’t help but use it once I saw it…)

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Susanne – My guess is “meat” and “parts” of “stuff.”

Charity – hahaha. I can’t even guess…*shudder*

–I will give it to you!

Charity 3 / Susanne 3

6. What’s the best kind of potato chip?

Susanne – Right now I have an affection for Baked Lays. They taste like Pringles. They are so light and crunchy, it’s easy to pretend they aren’t bad for me. Give me a bag and I’m like Cookie Monster. Nom nom nom.

Charity – Girl, I’m right there with ya. Chips are my downfall. I could go my entire life without chocolate, but….a bag of chips? I don’t think I could live without!!!!!! I pretty much love all kinds. Salt and Vinegar & Cool Ranch Doritos are probably my favorite.

–Tie

Charity 4 / Susanne 4

7. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Susanne – The short answer is by striving to be obedient, to serve Him, and to acknowledge Him as the source of every grace and blessing in my life. However, I struggle with obedience sometimes. One place I’ve found encouragement and challenge is in the writings of Therese of Lisieux, a 19th C. French Carmelite nun. She died when she was 24, and outside of her nunnery, she was unknown and unimportant–her world was very small. (But now she’s quite famous and Mother Teresa took her name from Therese.) She said something that’s stuck with me: “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

Therese used every single thing in her life to as a vehicle through which to praise God and thank Him. Sweeping. Putting up with an annoying person. Having insomnia. Dying of tuberculosis. It’s challenged me to change my outlook and give Him glory through all things, big or small.

Charity – Love it!! That’s a beautiful truth ❤

–God Wins!

Charity 4 / Susanne 4

8. What’s your biggest fear?

Susanne – Something happening to my kids. That is hands down the thing I struggle with most, when it comes to handing my worries over to God.  I surrender them to Him, then I take them back. Sometimes within five seconds.

But I am also afraid of rats.image005 When my husband was in seminary, we discovered we had a rat problem when we woke up one morning to find something had crawled atop our kitchen table and eaten a candy bar, leaving a several-inches-thick swatch of grime and filth so we knew exactly where it came from and where it went. So. Gross. We lived in townhouses, and one of our neighbors woke up with a rat on her bed with her. Ewwwwww!!!! In our current house, a rat got into the attic and chewed through the hot water PVC pipe. Caused water damage and we had to replace part of the ceiling and some kitchen lights. It’s like we attract them–wait, don’t respond to that. Anyway, I am not kindly disposed to rodents.

Charity – ew. That is so awful!

This is my biggest fear:

 

Dentist Holding Dental Tools
Dentist Holding Dental Tools

–Tie

Charity 5 / Susanne 5

9. Do you have any super weird habits?

Susanne – Do you count being vigilant in making sure rats can’t get in my house? Because there’s that.

Charity – Hmm. Yes, but I can see your need to do that. I find that I can only eat candy and mints in even amounts. Even chips. Odd.

–Tie

Final:

Charity 6 / Susanne 6

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So much fun! Thank you, Susanne!!!! balloons

This sweet lady has offered to giveaway an ebook of Austen in Austen!

This third Austen in Austin novella is based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

“Urged by her family to marry for the sake of their dwindling finances, Eliza Branch prefers to pay for the remainder of her time at the Austen Academy by writing for the local paper. There’s plenty to write about now that railroad baron William Delacourt has come to Austin. His proposed northbound line may be good for local business, but she’s still stinging from his terrible first impression. If the rumors about William are true, then he deserves to be skewered in print. But when Eliza’s pen gets ahead of her conscience, it’s William who makes everything right—and the reasons behind his sacrifice just might be the story of Eliza’s lifetime.”

Head on over and start entering!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!


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PicCollage(1)Susanne is releasing a NEW REGENCY BOOK. It was sold to Love Inspired Historical and will be due in early 2017!

Congratulations, Susanne!!! I am so excited for you and can’t wait to hold this fabulous book in my little regency loving hands!!! ❤ ❤

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Face-Off with Regina Jennings!!

authors20-427x640 I am SO happy to have Regina Jennings here today! What a lovely, lovely lady!!!!! She’s a homeschool mamma, avid traveler and a self-proclaimed “Redneck Bluestocking”. Love it!!

You may have seen one of my latest posts
about her new release, At Love’s Bidding. Be sure to check it out and grab a copy of this fun read!!! You won’t regret it.

Check out this cute pic of Regina in the outfit from her book, Caught in the Middle. I absolutely love this!! ❤ ❤

  You can check out a bunch of her awesome books here:

<– Only $1.99!!

Let’s do this!!!


The rules are simple. I ask Regina some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Most bizarre thing that happened on a mission trip?

Regina – We were going to a village in Mexico to have services at the farmhouse of some believers. Before we got there the missionary warned us about their dogs. They had aggressive dogs that might bite, so we were advised to stay away from them.

Of course the dogs were there at the truck just licking their chops and waiting for us to step out, but they behaved themselves. Still, I kept an eye on them as I trekked across the rough ground to the side of the house where we were having the service. Our host led us to a log bench next to a chain-link cage.

The cage was about five feet high and the size of a generous bedroom closet. It housed a rough shelter that could give you splinters just from looking at it.

“Great,” I thought. “I’m sitting next to the dog pen!” Then I see a guy sitting in the cage. He’s glaring at me, like he’s contemplating how it’d feel to chop me up with a rusty machete.

What was he doing inside the cage? Cleaning it? Then I see a shackle on his leg. What in the world? I waved the missionary over to me, too afraid to get up and leave. Turns out the man in the manacles was the son of the family we were visiting. He’d tried to kill them once, burned their house while they were sleeping, so now they have to keep him chained up for the safety of themselves and their neighbors. Likely he’s suffering from some sort of mental illness or possession, but this village family didn’t have any resources at their disposal, so they dealt with it the best they could. They cared for him, fed him, gave him clothing and tried to include him in their family life, all while keeping him chained up in a cage because he is too dangerous to let out.

After that, I wasn’t so concerned about the dogs.

Charity – 😯 Oh. My. Word. That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever heard!!! hahahahaha I have absolutely nothing to compare to that! I was thinking of how scary is was being driven around the Dominican Republic…Those people have no road rules and much road rage.

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— No comparison.

Charity 0 / Regina 1

2. As a “redneck bluestocking” and a homeschool mom, what is your favorite subject to teach (and your least!)?

Regina – I love teaching history and literature, and I chose our curriculum (Sonlight) because it is so rich in both. It seems every story connects to another story. Every reference brings up another interesting fact we can look up. Frequent referrals to the globe and our world history timeline book are required.

Ironically, what I hate to teach is reading. The mechanics of reading, the phonics and grammar, are so arbitrary, that it’s hard to get a feel for any consistent rule. Once I get a kid past that point, we celebrate.

Charity – I am a homeschool mamma too and, BOY, do we love our Sonlight curriculum! I have 3 boys and the teenage years are the best!!!!! I love all those subjects. I honestly can’t stand teaching kindergarten and the lower grades. Favorite subject is history. I’m such a history nerd and it’s so awesome that we live in the historic triangle. ❤ Least favorite is english mechanics. blah.

— Tie

Charity 1 / Regina 2

3. Have you ever been on a bucking bronco or a crazy bull?

Regina – I was on a horse with my husband and it gave a little buck. He landed on the saddle horn and got hurt. I was fine until he pushed me out of the saddle so he could regain his seat. That’s the truth, although he disputes my account. Either way I wasn’t as hurt as he was.

My only injury was on a donkey. I was helping my dad train a donkey and it got mad. It smashed my leg up against a pole fence leaving nice bruised-stripes on my leg. I didn’t go to the doctor because I was four months pregnant and thought I could do without the lecture.

Charity – Girl! You are crazy!!! haha. What in the world! I have not done either…but that could be because I am NOT an animal lover, thus I avoid them at all costs.

— Again, no comparison.

Charity 1 / Regina 3

4. Favorite BBQ on the grill recipe?

Regina – I eat a lot of Bar-B-Q, but I don’t grill. That’s my husband’s domain. Unless you are as big of a loser as I am in the kitchen, that question is an automatic win for you.

Charity – Hmm. Just look at the delightfulness of this picture and click on it for the recipe.

bangin-grilled-shrimp-skewers

— I’ll take it!!

Charity 2 / Regina 3

5. Would you have enjoyed living in the 1800’s? What would you have liked and hated?

Regina – When? Where? Am I rich or am I a servant or slave? C’mon, be more specific!!

I know I would like to live in a society that was more God-honoring and respectful. I would like to raise my kids in an environment that wasn’t as fraught with temptations and hostile to families, but as far as conveniences, I really enjoy having the time to write and pursue some of my own interests. If I was an average woman in the 1800s, spare time and access to books wouldn’t be readily available.

Charity – I have to agree with everything you said. I also wish women still wore pretty dresses!!!! I don’t care how many layers! So beautiful and ladylike.

— tie

Charity 3 / Regina 4

6. Awesome, obscure and totally useless talent that you have?

Regina – I can lick my nose. Yep. I guess it’s not totally useless, but it’s disgusting enough to render it close.

Charity – Ha! Nice. I can wave my pinky toe back and forth. Pretty cool… You’ll want to be sure to turn up the volume so you can hear me say, “Ew” at the end of this video.

— Tie

Charity 4 / Regina 5

7. What kind of food is your greatest weakness?

Regina – Dessert! I love ice cream, chocolate, cheesecake, cookies, brownies… I don’t eat a lot for supper, but I rarely skip dessert. Feel free to send me candy.

Charity – I always tell my kids to eat dessert first because you don’t want to get filled up on dinner and not have room for it!

I’m a candy love and CHIPS!!! Chips have to be my biggest weakness. I could live my life without chocolate and that would be just fine.

— Tie

Charity 5 / Regina 6

8. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Regina – We humans are a frail and fallible bunch. But instead of allowing us wallow in self-pity, God tells us the reason for His design. It’s because He wants no confusion over who gets the credit for our deeds (1 Cor. 1:26-29, 2 Cor. 4:7). So God is glorified through our weaknesses, but that’s kind of hard to strive for, isn’t it? Fortunately, I don’t have to work hard cultivating weaknesses. They appear way too frequently. But it’s so reassuring to remember that whenever I feel inadequate, whenever I know I’m at the end of my strength, my knowledge, my efforts, that is when I’m least likely to try to take credit for what God has done. When I’m trusting Him, submitting to Him, having faith that He is in control, that’s when I’ve seen His glory most clearly.

Charity – Love that. It’s beautiful. My sister and I were just talking about that today!!

— God wins!

Charity 5 / Regina 6

9. Do you garden?

Regina – Ha! I love gardens, beautiful landscapes, and welcoming lawns. In the spring I do my best. I plant flowers and I try to keep them alive, but the Oklahoma heat and droughts are determined to ruin my efforts. I don’t have much to show for my work.

As far as a real, producing garden, I hate vegetables, so what’s the point?

Charity – HA! Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. I actually love veggies…BUT, I have a total black thumb. I kill every plant I’ve ever had. Every. One.

— Another tie!

Charity 6 / Regina 7

10. Last item you returned to the store?

Regina – My daughter’s college textbook! It was such a rip-off. For $40 we rented the textbook and the access key for the online extras. When we tried to log into the online portion it said that the access key had already been used, but we could buy another access key for $94(!!!!) I called Amazon and they pointed out the fine print that says the access key might not work, never mind that the item is listed as “book and access key”. But they did let me return it for a refund- minus a hefty restocking fee that was almost half the purchase price.

Let me just say… textbook people, enough is enough. Now you’re putting in $100 access keys that can only be used once per student? Way to fleece our future!

Charity – Rant heard. I had no idea. That’s ridiculous, but good to know. My oldest starts college next year 😯 I will be watching them and their sneaky ways…

Last item I returned was a 49’ers shirt from Target. I ordered a Redskins shirt for my son and they sent me a 49’ers. Lame.

— Textbook drama

Final:

Charity 6 / Regina 8

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Regina–Question for you:

What is the weirdest thing you hoard?

Mine? Dryer lint and empty toilet paper rolls. I save those all year round, and then when winter comes, I stuff the dryer lint into the cardboard rolls and use them for fire starter for the fireplaces. Recycling Redneck style!

Charity – Wow! That is redneck style recycling!! haha. Love it! I am not sure what I hoard. I am a total organizer. Like, “Christmas is coming! What toys are you getting rid of to make room for the new?” Maybe skinny people clothes that I imagine I will actually wear again someday. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That’s a good one…By the time I fit in them, perhaps they’ll even be back in style.


Thank you, Regina! Such a blast. You are THE BEST! Custom-Balloon-design-tool

Who wants to win a book by this lovely lady? It’s easy! Just head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and start entering to win At Love’s Bidding. (Remember how I gave it a GLOWING review just a few days back? Yep, it’s a good one!)

*All entries will be checked
**U.S. Residents Only (sorry! We do love the rest of you too!)

GOOD LUCK!!

Face-Off with Melissa McShane!!

I am super happy to have Melissa McShane here today!! What a fun lady! She is the author of fantasy fiction and you are going to just love her!!

Here’s a little blurb she wrote up about her writing:

“I never thought to write fiction until a few years ago; I studied young adult literature in college and went on to write literary essays and reviews for many years. I had the idea for my first book, EMISSARY, and just for fun decided to see if I could turn it into a novel. It was hard, and exciting, and more fun than anyone ought to be allowed to have, so I kept at it. I’m in the process of publishing the next Tremontane novel, RIDER OF THE CROWN, and am always looking forward to the joy of beginning the next book.”

You can check out her fabulous reads here:

Also, if you sign up for Melissa’s newsletter, she is offering a FREE BOOK!!! Talk about a DEAL!!

Let’s play!!


PicCollage(1)The rules are simple. I ask Melissa some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Have your kids ever eaten something gross they found in a public place? Like gum?

Melissa – The funny answer would be “nothing more gross than a McDonald’s cheeseburger,” but fortunately for me they confined all their gross eating habits to things they found on the floor at home.

Charity – Ha! That’s funny. Although…I am a sucker for a fast-food burger. Yum. My oldest and youngest kids are polar opposites. The older one will eat anything off the floor…or anywhere for that matter. The youngest is a total germaphobe.

— Tie

Charity 1 / Melissa 1

2. Favorite hair dye color?

Melissa – Copper red. I always wanted to be a redhead when I was a kid and was afraid to do it because I thought it would look goofy. Then three years ago I decided, why not? And it looked AMAZING. I am never going back.

Charity – I love red too!! I change my hair pretty frequently. Right now it’s blonde. Here’s a shot of me as a redhead.

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— Another tie!

Charity 2 / Melissa 2

3. Who is your favorite Dr? As in “WHO” is your favorite dr?

Melissa – Most recently I like Matt Smith, but the truth is I am a die-hard Peter Davison fan. That’s right, I am that old. I own a cricket ball autographed by him and it’s one of my treasured bits of fandom. It was actually a gift from a guy who had a crush on me in high school and went to a con with a bunch of Doctor Who actors. I probably shouldn’t have accepted it, since I didn’t return his feelings, but it was just such a cool thing I couldn’t resist. Besides, it would have hurt his feelings if I’d turned it down. Yeah, I’m going with that.

MattSmith Fifth_Doctor

Charity – Ha! Nice!!! Well, I must admit that I have no idea who either of those fella’s are! I have only seen one episode of Dr. Who (the first) and it was … odd? I do have a good friend that has a huge Dr. Who bash every year. Their costumes crack me up!!

— Melissa definitely gets that!!

Charity 2 / Melissa 3

4. Did you ever go Christmas Caroling?

Melissa – Yes, and for some reason it was always on the coldest night of the year in the coldest places on earth. You wouldn’t think upstate New York could freeze your eyelids shut, but it’s true. I really question the wisdom of exercising your vocal cords under those conditions.

Charity – I haven’t been since I was a wee child..so, I don’t think that counts. On a side note, I am totally from Upstate New York. My parents live up there. Cool!!

— Melissa again!

Charity 2 / Melissa 4

5. Favorite scary movie?

Melissa – I am a total weenie when it comes to scary movies. The closest I come to liking horror films is The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. And that only counts because the library where I used to work shelved the movie in the Horror section.

Charity – Now, that is funny!! Horror..the Mummy? haha. I love suspenseful movies. M. Night movies are so awesome. He’s probably my favorite director!!

— I get it!

Charity 3 / Melissa 4

6. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Melissa – I believe in magnifying the gifts God gives us, whatever those gifts are. While I try to make my fiction reflect things I believe in, I also think teaching my children is one of the most important things I can do with my life. They’re not perfect, but I love it when they choose to spend time together, and I hope I played a part in bringing that about.

Charity – Sweet!

— God wins!

Charity 3 / Melissa 4

7. Last movie you saw in the theaters?

Melissa – Guardians of the Galaxy. (I can’t believe how long ago that was!) I’m a sucker for comic book movies, but I’d never heard of this one and had no idea what to expect. I totally loved it, probably because of the soundtrack. Did I mention I’m that old?

Charity – I can’t believe how long ago that was either!! I’m a movie junkie…well, theater junkie!! We saw Goosebumps last Saturday. It was really cute.

— I totally get it!

Charity 4 / Melissa 4

8. Do you sneak food into the theater? The one by us lets you order pizza and have it delivered there! They totally don’t care!

Melissa – I wish we had that kind of theater where I live! I have an enormous purse and have been able to sneak two 20-oz. bottles of Coke and several boxes of candy in without anyone noticing. Then I realized that if you buy their popcorn (which I never did manage to sneak in), they don’t care if you smuggle in your own soda dispenser or a cotton candy machine. I guess that says something about the price of the popcorn.

Charity – haha! Yep!! It’s ridiculous…OMGosh. A few months back, we went to see Insurgent. Well, before that, we went to Chick-fil-A. I had the bright idea to put all of our Chick-fil-A cups in my purse. Guess what spilled EVERYWHERE in my purse? Yep. All the cups FULL of soda and tea. hahahahaha. I was dripping as I walked down the hallway. The best part? I had to go to my doctor and request a new prescription. I had to fess up to what happened. He was laughing at my like I was from another planet. ha!

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— Tie again! We are Mom’s sneaking in food for our hungry little peoples.

Final:

Charity 5 / Melissa 5

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Thank you, Melissa!! Such fun!! 6ddd0-530b9ea8e4b035db7175a1af

Guess what?? This fabulous lady is giving away TWO BOOKS!!!! Just head on over to the Rafflecopter link and start entering to win both books in her newest series, THE CROWN OF TREMONTANE.

I’m tempted to enter this one too…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*US Rez only (Sorry! We love the rest of you too!)
**Entries will be checked!

Face-Off with Stephanie Landsem!!

Stephanie-Landsem-106-199x300Stephanie Landsem is here today! So exiting!!! I know that I usually write up something about them and their awesome abilities, BUT…Her write up is so darned cute that I thought I would share it:

“I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

I love to hear from readers. Feel free to start a conversation with me about Biblical fiction, history, travel, or dandelions.”

Check out her great reads here:

Let’s play!!


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The rules are simple. I ask Stephanie some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Best travel story?

Stephanie – My best travel story is a cautionary tale. Kids, do not attempt this.

When I was in college, I was traveling in Spain with my friend, Wendy, and we thought it would be cool to go to Morocco, since it was so close. Needless to say, we were young and rather stupid. We did know that two women alone in Tangiers had to have a male guide, so we called “a guy somebody knew” and booked his services. Looking back, that was a big mistake.

Needless to say, we made several more errors in judgment: we spent almost all our money on Moroccan carpets (I still have mine), ate roasted goat from street vendors, accepted cocktails from strangers, and learned to bellydance. In the wee hours of the next morning, we found ourselves locked out of our hotel. Our guide apologized and offered to take me to his ‘parents’ home to sleep. His friend said that ‘his parents’ would welcome Wendy into their home for the night.

Um . . . no.

With our common sense finally making an appearance, we demanded that our guide find us an open hotel AND pay for it, which he begrudgingly did. The next day—tired, poorer, but a bit wiser—we boarded the boat back to Spain, promising each other to never again speak of our adventure.

Sorry, Wendy, but it’s too good a story not to share!

Charity – Ha! That’s insane!! You are super lucky to be alive!!!! What a story. I couldn’t possibly beat that. Although…when I was in Israel, I think I got my picture taken with pretty much every single male soldier. It was fabulous.

— Stephanie took that one HANDS DOWN!

Charity 0 / Stephanie 1

2. Who was your celebrity crush when you were a teenager? Did you have posters?

Stephanie – I was quite a nerd as a teenager . . . in the 80s when being a nerd was not as cool as it is now. My crushes tended to be on fictional characters: Whoever I was reading at the time — Mr. Darcy, Gilbert Blythe, and Mr. Rochester come to mind.

Charity – Oh my. Yes, you were! haha. 🙂 I remember hiding my posters in the closet behind my clothes because my parents would never have let me have them. I had 2 Christian Slater posters and a Will Wheaton Toy Soldiers poster. Woot. I was cool.

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— I am totally taking it! Hiding your hunks in your closet was too cool.

Charity 1 / Stephanie 1

3. Favorite summer song (this year)?

Stephanie – My favorite band is a blues/rock group called Vintage Trouble. Their new album, 1 Hopeful Rd., is awesome, especially ‘Doin’ What You Were Doin’”. Do yourself a favor and find them on YouTube.

Charity – Strange video, but I absolutely love Avicii.

— Tie

Charity 2 / Stephanie 2

4. Where you really good at folding notes like kids did in the 80’s (before texting was around). There were so many fancy ways to fold them!!!

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Stephanie – I still have my notes from high school! Yes. We folded them so that we could slide them through the little grates in our friend’s lockers. It was way more fun than texting.

Charity – I loved them, but was never great at them!!

— Stephanie was the folding master…or so it would seem!

Charity 2 / Stephanie 3

5. Who, from the Bible (besides Jesus), are you most excited to meet when you get to Heaven.

Stephanie – Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Charity – It’s a toss up between David and Joseph.

— Tie

Charity 3 / Stephanie 4

6. Have you ever tried fried oreos? Pickles? anything like that? Strangest fair food you’ve eaten.

Stephanie – I’m from Minnesota and our fair is notorious for food on a stick. Anything you can eat, you can eat on a stick. I’ve had deep fried pickles on a stick, cheesecake on a stick, alligator on a stick, even macaroni and cheese on a stick! I love fair food but my favorite is always the roasted corn. It just tastes better at the fair.

Charity – Ok. Ew.

giphyI have had Fried Snickers, but…EW!

— No way I am winning that one!

Charity 3 / Stephanie 5

7. Favorite Reality Show?

Stephanie – We don’t watch TV much at our house. In fact, my kids say they are probably the only people in the U.S. who haven’t seen American Idol. I tell them “Congratulations, now you have something to complain about to your children.”

Charity – Oh. My. Word. hahaha!!! That’s so awesome.

Ok, I watch tv. Like…a lot. I love it. And, Survivor still steals my ❤

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— Taking it!!

Charity 4 / Stephanie 5

8. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Stephanie – Through my writing is my first answer, but on further thought, I think we’re given plenty of small opportunities every day to do God’s will. If we “do small things with great love” we are glorifying God at all times.

Charity – truth

— God wins!

Charity 4 / Stephanie 5

9. Have you ever tried the “chubby bunnies” challenge with marshmallows? Pics?????

Stephanie – No. But my niece did it once at an assembly in front of her entire high school. She choked on a marshmallow and they had to give her the Heimlich and call the ambulance. How’s that for an embarrassing story?

Charity – What??? No way! These questions are so not planned!!! hahahaha.

— I cannot EVER compete with that chubby bunnies story!

Charity 4 / Stephanie 6

10. Favorite place you have visited? Why?

Stephanie – Scotland! Beautiful place, lovely people. The accent – I could listen to them read the dictionary and be happy. Most people don’t know that the food in Scotland is incredible. They are obsessed with fresh fish, game, locally grown produce, plus the scones are to die for! Every meal we had there was amazing.

Charity – Ok, fancy-pants world-traveler! That is cool and I wouldn’t have ever thought about Scotland for their food!!!!

— Fancy Lady

Final:

Charity 4 / Stephanie 7

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Thank you, Stephanie!! That was insanely fun!6ddd0-530b9ea8e4b035db7175a1af

So, guess what?????? Stephanie told me, “We can let the winner choose which of my three books they’d like me to send.” Woo Hoo!!! Now that’s amazing!

Head on over to the Rafflecopter link and start entering!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*U.S. Rez only (We do love the rest of you too!)
**Entries will be checked

Good Luck!!