Never a Bridesmaid: A May Wedding Story

by Janice Thompson

Never a Bridesmaid is a fun, short and simple read. This is a novella, so it is an easy commitment in your busy life 🙂

Janice always brings a lot of spunk to her characters. Mari’s sister, Crystal, is getting married and she’s not chosen to be the maid-of-honor, in spite of their closeness. Mari has to sort through her feelings, realize it’s not about her, and make this the best wedding that she can for her best friend/sister.

I love that it is full of good, hard choices. These are things that we all deal with on a daily basis and must choose how to respond. Lots of great lessons interwoven into the story. I definitely recommend!

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

Also, if you would like to check out my fun Face-Off with Janice Thompson, just CLICK HERE!

Face-Off with Deborah Raney!!

I am so excited to have Deborah here today! She is so much fun!!!!

Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have since won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, and have—three times—been Christy Award finalists.

Impressed yet? Whew!! I am!!

You can check out some of her great reads here:

Let’s play!!


The rules are simple. I ask Deborah 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 new breed of dog would be the cutest? What two would you mix? And…What would you call it?

Deborah – Well, every breed I thought I’d come up with, when I googled it, turned out to be a real breed! But I like my names better! What is now called a Cockapoo (cocker spaniel poodle mix) I would call a Cockadoodle. And what is called a Chi-Spaniel, a cocker spaniel chihuahua mix, I would call a Cockahuahua (pronounced COCK-a-wah-wah). That’s all I got! LOL!

Charity – Oh man!! haha. I love it!!! Cockahuahua is awesome!!!!

Ok…I got it:

+ =

Pug + Chinese Crested = is the Pugese

— I thing that I found the worst breed…

Charity 1 / Deborah 0

2. Have you ever been in the middle of a tornado? If so, what happened??

Deborah – Yes! I live in Kansas—tornado alley! Our town of Hesston was hit by a tornado in 1990, the year our youngest daughter was born. The town was devastated, and two lives were lost in the state in that tornado that traveled for 48 miles and was a quarter mile wide at its strongest. And yet, through that, we saw how a town could pull together and come back even better and stronger after the storm.


Charity – Oh my word! No way. That’s insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— I didn’t have a chance…

Charity 1 / Deborah 1

3. What’s the worst type of soup?

Deborah – I’ll have to go with chilled borscht. Cold soup just should not be, nor should beets be made into soup!

Charity – I think I just threw up in my mouth.

I know that I am not going to “beet” you (wow, that was REALLY bad), but I have to go with the idea of eating peas…in any way, shape or form, is of the devil!!!

— Deborah got that one for sure…

Charity 1 / Deborah 2

4. What was your favorite song when you were in high school?

Deborah – Oh, dear…I’m really going to date myself here, but I have to say “We’ve Only Just Begun” sung by the late, great Karen Carpenter, who I believe had the most beautiful, crystal clear voice I’ve ever heard. “We’ve Only Just Begun” is a wedding song and I definitely had stars in my eyes all through high school.

Charity – Oh no!!!!! I was tortured by the Carpenters in my youth. We would go “youth group roller skating” and they played 4-5 Carpenter songs on a loops for the entire 3 hours every month. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My favorite…Ok, this is really embarrassing.

— Hiding in shame

Charity 2 / Deborah 3

5. Fun memory from childhood?

Deborah – My dad was a farmer and used to grow a crop called sudan, a sorghum crop that he used to feed cattle in the winter. It grew a lot like a cornfield with high rows of stalks, and my three sisters and my brother and I used to have a blast playing in the field. We would mash down “rooms” and trails throughout the rows of sudan and create mazes and secret passageways that covered a quarter of a mile! Think Field of Dreams or Signs (without the sheer terror). Even though I’m sure we destroyed significant portions of the harvest, my dad never complained…well, until we mashed down an auditorium once. Then he did put his foot down. 😉

thumb_PICT0034_1024Cute pic of Deborah!!

Charity – Oh my gosh! SO fun!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember doing a lot of fun things. We had a home church that was pretty big and always had people over. Every Sunday afternoon we would have a bunch of people for lunch after church and we would sit around the giant dining room table with piano benches and whatever we could find to squeeze in. My Dad always told really fun stories and we just laughed and feasted. ❤ Food and Fun ❤

<— Frightening pic of me with the pink skirt.

— Tie

Charity 3 / Deborah 4

6. Naughtiest thing you did as a child and got in trouble for?

Deborah – Oh, my! I remember coming home from a trip to town with brand new shiny patent leather Sunday shoes and wearing them directly out to the muddy, muddy pig pen! My sister and I instantly sunk into that stinky muck up to our ankles and we were in SO much trouble when my mom discovered what we’d done! Spankings for both of us. To this day, I don’t know WHAT we were thinking!

Charity – HAHAHAHA! Oh man! That is awful!!!! I bet she did give you a whoopin’!!!!

I was a nightmare child. I mean, seriously. Well, I was actually really good until I turned tween. haha. It was always about the boys at that point.

One time our youth group went to a lock-in at the local YMCA with another youth group (the same one we roller skated with). They were a really strict yg. Well, my mom told me, before I even went, that I better not play music, cards, or anything that could offend them. She was nervous…rightfully so! Well, I got a rousing game of cars going with a bunch of kids and my mom found out. Needless to say, I always caused drama wherever I went. My punishment was not fun because she made me wait a few weeks while she decided on the appropriate one. hahaha.

— Sunday Shoes in the Pig Pen? Might take the cake.

Charity 3 / Deborah 5

7. What’s your favorite movie that you wouldn’t want anyone to know you watch? (Because it would be really embarrassing)

Deborah – LOL! I don’t know if you could embarrass me about this because I always had the excuse, “Well, my kids want to watch it, so I’d better check it out to see if it’s decent.” I think I’d have to name Napoleon Dynamite as the one I wouldn’t want anyone to know I watched because I sat through the whole thing and it was SOOOOO stupid!

Charity – WHA???? No way that should be embarrassing!!! It is the most quotable movie of all time. Period. It even beats The Princess Bride…which is a sheer miracle.

“Make yourself a dang quesadilla, Napoleon!!”
“How would you like a round-house kick to the face in these bad boys?”
“My lips hurt real bad!”
“Are you drinking 1% milk because you think you’re fat? Because, you could be drinking whole if you wanted!”
“Your mom goes to college!”
“Your just jealous because I’ve been home chatting online with babes all day.”

I could go on and on!

I think the one I am most reluctant to admit would be the Twilight series… *nervous giggle* I love those ❤


Charity 3 / Deborah 6

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

Deborah – I think I use my God-given gifts most gloriously as a wife, mom, and “Mimi.” (NOT that I’m so great in those roles, but that I cherish the roles so much.) I also think one of my traits that brings God glory is my cheerful spirit. I suppose my cheeriness drives a few people nuts, but I hope most people see it as a direct reflection of how grateful I am for God’s blessings in my life, and how much I want to reflect His joy and peace.

Charity –

— God wins!

Charity 3 / Deborah 6

9. Favorite pair of shoes that you own?

Deborah – I am really, really not a shoe person. If I could go barefoot every day of my life, I would! I probably only wear shoes for 10 hours out of each week. Socks in the winter, yes, but shoes only if absolutely required by law—or freezing Kansas weather. Right now, my yoga sandals are what I wear if I just must wear shoes. They may not look comfy with leather between all my toes, but they are! Next best thing to being barefoot.


Charity – Nice! I am not sure about my favorite. I have a lot that I love.

I am a shoe person. Love them!!! These are a couple that I <3!

and saving the best for last:

— I’m taking it!!!!

Charity 4 / Deborah 6

10. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Deborah – Can I say neither? I’m so not a sci-fi/fantasy person, even though my husband REQUIRED me to read Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan and John Carter of Mars before he would marry me. And I DID enjoy those books, but that’s just not what I would choose to read (or watch on film). If I have to choose something along those lines, I’d go with Lost in Space, a favorite show from childhood.

Charity – I am not really a sci-fi gal either, BUT, I do enjoy the Star Wars movies. The newer Star Trek movies are OK too. I would definitely go with SW though.

— TAKING IT! Two words: Han Solo


Charity 5 / Deborah 6

b3667-i_lost_the_game_button-p145927742900468090t5sj_400but almost made a comeback!!!!!!

Deborah – And now, a question for you!

11. If you had to only eat ONE food the rest of your life, what would it be? (Nutrition and money are no objects…we’re going taste only here.)

Deborah – Ice cream, of course!! But honestly, potato chips might be a close second! And if I could dip my potato chips in ice cream? Pure heaven!)

Charity – Ohhhh…tough one! I am a girl that delights in change. If I was stuck with one thing I might die!!!!!!! I would absolutely have to go with fruit. It’s my favorite thing to eat…follow VERY closely by chips.

Thank you, Deborah! I had so much fun with this face-off!!!il_570xN.321850012 You are the best and welcome back any time!!!!!

Ok, peeps!! This lady is giving away one of her books!!!! woot woot!!!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*U.S. Rez only (Sorry! We do love the rest of you too!!)
**Entries will be checked. Be sure to confirm subscriptions with your email addy.

Face-Off with Tracie Peterson!!

Yes. You read that correctly. TRACIE. PETERSON. is in MY house!!!! ahhhhhh Ok, my online home. STILL! This is something special!

41Ah8+zfXiL._UY200_If you haven’t heard of this lady, I don’t even understand. I don’t comprehend. She has written over 100 books!!! Is that insane, or what? I couldn’t even begin to list the awards that she has won. I think they stopped offering individual awards, threw their hands up and started giving her lifetime achievement awards. I mean, seriously.

First of all, you want some free Tracie Peterson books? You asked. I deliver. Well, she does, I suppose.

Ok, now here are a handful of different series/genres that she has available:

As you can see, she has co-authored with some pretty big names! Click on the links to pick up any one of her great books 🙂

Let’s get to it, shall we?

PicCollage(1)The rules are simple. I ask Tracie 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 seen a live bear (outside of the zoo)?

Tracie – Yes, I live in Montana and it’s not unusual to be driving down the road and see a bear or two. We’ve even managed to catch a photo or two.

Charity – Oh, my! Ok, that’s just frightening!!!

— Definitely your point!

Charity 0 / Tracie 1

2. Have you ever had acupuncture?

Tracie – Nope, hate needles which is why I think God has to have a tremendous sense of humor to allow me to have Multiple Sclerosis because it requires I do self injections of medication.

Charity – Oh my goodness! I had no idea.Well, that doesn’t sound like fun at all. My father and brother have diabetes, so I have seen them do that at every meal. yikes!!! No fun!!!

I have had dry-needling, which is the same thing. The only difference is where they place the needles. For dry-needling, they put them right in your trigger points to loosen them up. Whew! Not fun!! It works though!

— Tie

Charity 1 / Tracie 2

3. What is the scariest thing you have ever chosen to do? Skydiving, hunting, etc…

Tracie – Give birth 3 times– without medication. 😀 Frankly, just having a baby is scary – waiting and wondering if everything is going to be all right – then wondering why you were crazy enough to have children when you hadn’t been trained or given a manual or license to prove you knew what you were doing. You can’t have a pet without a license, or drive a car without proving yourself capable – but you can have all the kids you want.

Charity – 😮 Hmm. That’s one way to think of it. haha!! You are totally right…

Scariest thing…Swimming in the ocean is scary because there are sharks. However, I don’t think that really counts. Maybe hiding in an abandoned building, in the middle of the night, while a cop (my friend) had his K9 hunt me down. SO. SCARY!! First he had me run through the woods and sent his dog after me. Then, he had me hide anywhere in this big, abandoned warehouse in the middle of the night! Did I mention it was THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?

— Hmm. You did three, epidural free births? You win.

Charity 1 / Tracie 3

4. If you had to choose another era to live in, what would you choose and what would you be?

Tracie – I’d choose 15055 AD in heaven after Satan has been defeated and everything has been set right and we’ve been living there 10,000+ years

Charity – Can you even imagine?!?! That is going to be glorious. WOW!!! I can’t wait to just sit in Jesus’ lap for eternity. haha. God hog right here.

As far as past eras…I don’t know! I wish people were a bit more modest, had some character and were respectful.

— Tie

Charity 2 / Tracie 4

5. Ever had a funny tan (like, you left your sunglasses on, or held a cup on your lap and there was a big white circle…)?

Tracie – Nope, I’m a red-head and burn sitting under light bulbs too long, so I avoid lengthy sun exposures.

Charity – I have DEFINITELY had sunglasses tan!!!!!!! So embarrassing…

— Get it!

Charity 3 / Tracie 4

6. Creek with a beautiful waterfall or a totally clean pool?

Tracie – Creek

Charity – Creek!


— Tie

Charity 4 / Tracie 5

7. What was the most fun age you have been?

Tracie – Hmmm that’s a hard one. I’m not sure I’m reached it yet.

Charity – haha. I am right there with ya!! I love getting older. Yes, sir-ee!!

— Tie!

Charity 5 / Tracie 6

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

Tracie – My writing is a ministry for Him – I wouldn’t be where I am without Him and I hope to never fail in telling people that. I do my best to live life through prayer and His Word, putting into action all that He has directed me to do. It isn’t easy and sometimes I’m not very good at accomplishing that, but it is what I’m striving to do.

Charity – Beautiful. He is blessing you because you are bringing Him glory through it all. Love it!!


Charity 5 / Tracie 6

9. Have you ever accidentally left your windows down going through a car wash?

Tracie – No, but there were hot days when we lived in humid Kansas that I wanted to just to cool off.

Charity – No, I haven’t either. But it is totally something I would do. I just haven’t been through many car washes…

— Tie again!!!

Charity 6 / Tracie 7

10. Favorite “oldies” song?

Tracie – That’s hard. I have a ton of them from all over the board. I love Unforgettable – Nat King Cole, Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins, almost anything Mozart or Vivaldi, Abba songs, and great old hymns like What a Friend We Have in Jesus and Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Charity – I am a HUGE Frank Sinatra fan. Love him!!!

— Tie! ahhh!!!


Charity 7 / Tracie 8

b3667-i_lost_the_game_button-p145927742900468090t5sj_400TO TRACIE PETERSON! Can’t really complain too much…

Tracie has a few extra questions for me!!!! Woo Hoo!!

1. Ever been to a costume party? What was your favorite costume?

Charity – oh my goodness! Of course!!! Love costumes. Hmm. Hard to decide. One of my favorite was when my husband and I were ninjas. I was a pink ninja, OF COURSE. It’s pretty easy to feel good about yourself when you are a ninja! haha 🙂

2. Ever had the dream where you’re back in high school, and you have to take a test and realize you haven’t studied?

Charity – Uh, that was reality, not a dream!!!! 😮 See, I’m one of those annoying people that got good grades and didn’t study…Which, is NOT a good thing, like it may seem. I had no discipline as a teenager. whew…

3. What’s the zaniest thing you’ve ever done with one of your pets?

Charity – Well, my dirty little secret is this: I am not an animal lover. I don’t have any pets 😦 HOWEVER, I did have pets growing up!!! I would dress my dog up in clothes every day. I would take him for walks in a stroller too, while he was dressed in little outfits. He totally hated it.

Thank you, Tracie!Custom-Balloon-design-tool So much fun getting to know you 🙂 You have really blessed me and lots of readers!

GUESS WHAT, GUYS?!?! Yep, you got it! Tracie is giving away a copy of her new release!!!!!! SQUEEEEEE!!!!
Screen shot 2015-09-13 at 11.44.30 PM I know you want to win this one!! It even has one of these little Amazon badges calling it Best Books of 2015 So Far. Not too shabby!!

Just head on over and start entering:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*U.S. Residents Only (We love the rest of you too!!)

** Entries will be checked


Face-Off with Billy Coffey!!

It’s always fun to have a new author on my blog!! Today, I’ll be facing-off with the author of 4 novels, father of two kiddos and husband to ONE lovely lady! All of his books have incredible reviews and there is so much buzz about this author, I couldn’t wait to have him as a guest!! He’s a country boy at heart, so let’s see if I can get him off his porch long enough to answer my questions…tn_when_mockingbirds_sing

Oh, guess what?? My awesome assistant, Sam, has found a book by Billy Coffey FOR FREE! Isn’t she the best? Just click on the first link and you can pick up the audiobook for a total of zero dollars! So cool!!! The second link is for the free kindle version. Woot Woot!

Billy’s new release, The Curse of Crow Hollow, is available now!! It was released on August 4th and already has 4 and a half stars. Make sure to head over and pick up a copy. It looks super spooky…

Let’s play this game, shall we?

PicCollage(5) The rules are simple. I ask Billy 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. Best part about living in Virginia?

Billy – Oh wow. The history? The people? The natural beauty? Let’s go with all three. Let’s also go with the fact that there are half a dozen major universities within fifty miles of my house, yet the lead story in our Sunday paper last week was about a group of people looking for Bigfoot in our woods. The dichotomy is fun, but it can sometimes make your head hurt.

Charity – HA! Did they find him??? That would be pretty sweet if he has been living in your backyard all of this time?!?!

I would have to agree with you. Virginia is amazing. I live in the Historic Triangle area and absolutely love it!!!! I’m a major history nerd, so….there’s that. But, it’s beautiful. We have all 4 seasons and I love it.

— Tie

Charity 1 / Billy 1

2. Have you ever been in a rodeo?

Billy – In? No. I’ve been to many, though. Rodeos are the best, but I watched a guy get thrown from a bull and trampled during the first one I ever saw. That pretty much cured me from ever participating. My son used to get on a sawhorse and pretend that was a bull. I did do that a few times. It was fun.

Charity – Yikes! That’s so scary!! Why would anyone do that. crazy. I have never been in a rodeo, obviously. I am a princess, in real life. I have only been to a rodeo at the state fair when I was a little kid. I did enjoy it, but not enough to get my princess self on a sawhorse.

— You totally get that one.

Charity 1 / Billy 2

3. Biggest phobia?

Billy – I an handle snakes, spiders, bats, heights, closed spaces, the space under ladders, and the number thirteen, but if I see a clown, I start weeping like a baby.

pennywise_the_clown_gif_by_miasmahex-d3g4yky How could you hate this guy??

Charity – OMGosh. I love that you added “the number thirteen”! haha!!

I am so scared of the dentist, it is ridiculous. Those drills….and scratchy tools! ahhhh!!!!!

— Tie

Charity 2 / Billy 3

4. What’s the best fireworks story you have?

Billy – When I was a kid, there was an old farmer down our road who lived alone. He would go out in his fields every July 4 and let off the most amazing fireworks anyone had ever seen. You know the ones – so illegal it would have landed him in jail if anyone would have cared to arrest him, which they didn’t, because the cops would be with everyone else on the side of the road, watching the sky explode. The farmer died one year on July 2. Everyone was sad for him, for his farm, and for the fact that we’d never see his fireworks again. Come the night of the Fourth, we started hearing these huge booms outside. Everybody around gathered at the edge of the road and watched those fireworks go off. To this day, no one knows who did them.

Charity – Ok, you are a good storyteller. That gave me goosebumps. I’ve got nothing.

Charity 2 / Billy 4

5. What’s the worst thing you have ever eaten?

Billy – A ham casserole. It was the first meal my wife ever cooked for me. I remember trying to get it down (and keep it down) and thinking, Oh my gosh, what am I going to do for the next fifty years? But I asked for seconds, and now she’s the best cook in the world.

Charity – You asked for seconds?? ahh! Now, that was just too nice… And, no you didn’t just throw your wife under the bus!!! At least you added a short little phrase at the end saying she is “the best cook in the world”. Kinda redeemed yourself.

I want to say…Fried Snickers. Maybe not the WORST, technically….but, disgusting, nonetheless. We ordered one at the county fair a couple years back. It sounded like such a train wreck, hubs and I had to try it.

1083502_10153032759560018_150622466_o Here is the hubs. He’s just moments away from the big purchase. You like his corn dog ears? Total accident!

— I think that the story of your wife’s first meal just, narrowly, beat out my fried Snickers bar.

Charity 2 / Billy 5

6. Did you ever want to go on the show, Survivor?

Billy – I don’t know that I’d do all that well on Survivor. Too much backstabbing and lying. I’d end up being the guy who just went off by himself and told the others to come visit once they got hungry.

Charity – Well, maybe you would win because they would forget to take you to Tribal Counsel!

I would love to be on it…under certain conditions. 1. I would be allowed to wear a moo moo. America would be scarred for life if I was traipsing around in a bikini. 2. Well, that’s pretty much it.

— I totally get it!

Charity 3 / Billy 5

7. Worst country song you’ve ever heard?

Billy – Here’s what’s so great about the majority of country music: it’s story-driven. Most of the songs you’ll hear on the radio are about people just trying to get by, trying to make sense of things, trying to raise a family and make a life. But of course there are a whole lot of songs that have nothing at all to do with any of that, and the two that come to mind first are “Red Solo Cup” and “Achy Breaky Heart.” Please don’t make me pick one. It’s too painful.

Charity – Well, thanks so much for getting Achy Breaky Heart stuck in my head. The two that come to mind for me are the Brad Paisley one where he’s talking about picking ticks off of her. In no way, NO WAY, is tick picking romantic. barf. Secondly, Boot Scoot Boogie. You’re welcome for getting it stuck in your head.

— Tick Picking is gross.

Charity 4 / Billy 5

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

Billy – It begins with being the best father and husband I can and goes from there. Whether you call it fair or not, I think a lot of people’s impressions of their heavenly Father are influenced by their impressions of their early ones. I take that as a great responsibility with regard to my children. I try to bring glory to God in my books, too. I write about some tough themes with tough people and tough situations, but that’s what I feel led to do. There are authors who write novels to hopefully help people escape from reality for a bit, and authors who write novels to hopefully help face reality for a bit. I’ll never begrudge a writer who does the former, but I’ll always be a writer who does the latter.

Charity – Love it.

— God Wins!

Charity 4 / Billy 5

9. Most embarrassing thing that you are good at. (ie…juggling, crabwalking, singing opera…)

Billy – I can spit a watermelon seed thirty feet on a straight line. Not the most exemplary of acts, but it ain’t easy, either.

Charity – OMGosh. How did you even come up with that answer??? haha.

— You get it for sure!

Charity 4 / Billy 6

10. Which person in the Bible are you most excited to meet in Heaven someday? (God doesn’t count! That’s a given)

Billy – Wow. In no particular order, I want to: have a catch with Babe Ruth, dinner with C.S. Lewis, go for a walk with Andy Griffith, have a conversation with G.K. Chesterton, and see my grandparents again. There are two dogs waiting up there for me, too.

Charity – I am confused which one of those was in the Bible again? Probably Andy Griffith. 😮

Can’t wait to meet Job and David. I mean, God called Job His “friend”!! Can you even imagine!


Charity 5 / Billy 6

4cf50e9cb5bcb0b8123f8209d5c7f036 So close!

Thanks, Billy! balloonsThat was a blast!! It was fun getting to know you a little better. I had some readers swooning at the thought of you being on the blog! ha!!!

Guess what?? He has agree to do a giveaway! WOO HOO!! All you have to do is head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and start entering!

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

Face-Off with Anita Higman!!

Wow! What a way to finish out the week!!! I have best-selling author, Anita Higman, here today. Woot Woot!

Her new release, Summer’s List, is now out! Make sure you check it out!! (Link is in the pic)

Just in case you don’t know all about her, here’s a little info:

CBA best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has forty books published (several co-authored) for adults and children, and she has three books (fiction and nonfiction) to be released. She is a two-time finalist for a Selah Award, and she’s won a Cascade Award as well as an Inspirational Readers Choice Award for 2011 and 2013. She has also been honored in the past as a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston. Her coauthored book, Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe, was on the Nielsen’s best-seller list for five weeks for religious adult fiction and #6 on the CBA best-seller list for fiction (January, 2011). Anita’s novella in the compilation, Once Upon a Christmas Eve, was given a four-star review in Romantic Times Magazine and has been optioned for a movie.

Sounds awesome, huh?

Let’s play!

PicCollage(3)The rules are simple. I ask Anita 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 taken a road trip across America?

Anita – Yes, I have taken some road trips like that, but I doubt I’ll ever do it again. I am such a squirmer in the car. I could pull off long road trips when I was young, but now it just seems like a torture instead of an adventure. My husband and I still travel, but it’s mostly by air now.

Charity – I am right there with ya! I used to LOVE a good road trip. Now, I’ll settle for being home.

I haven’t taken any road trips across the country, but I have been up and down the East Coast many times!

— Tie

Charity 1 / Anita 1

2. What artist have you seen the most in concert?

Anita – Josh Groban. I’m a huge fan.


Charity – I guess it is tobyMac for me!! That old man has the energy of my 8 year old!!!


— I have only seen him twice, and it sounds like you have a major Groban crush! 😉 It’s yours!

Charity 1 / Anita 2

3. What is the biggest storm that you have been through? Hurricane? Tornado? Earthquake?

Anita – I experienced an earthquake when I lived in Hawaii for a summer. That gave me an uneasy feeling to have the earth move under me, but it wasn’t terribly scary. I’ve been through a tropical storm in Houston, and I would say that the flooding after the storm was indeed alarming.

Charity – Oh man! First of all, HAWAII!! You lived there?!?! So jealous.

Secondly, storms are crazy. CRAZY! I live on the East Coast, so we get a LOT of hurricanes. It is pretty exciting. We also had an earthquake a few years back. Total freak accident. Who knew we lived on a fault line? I had just lied down for a nice, afternoon nap when it hit. I thought my oldest son was shaking the bed and I yelled at him. HAHA! He was in the bathroom, on the pot. Scared him!

— I guess it’s even! Sounds like we’ve been through the same things.

Charity 2 / Anita 3

4. Coolest place you have vacationed?

Anita – Melbourne. I explored that city for weeks and really enjoyed it. I’d love to see more of Australia.

Charity – Oh wow! How can I compete with that??? I haven’t ever vacationed overseas. I went to Israel for school. That was incredible. I went to Dominican Republic for a mission trip. Awesome.

As far as vacation…right before my youngest son was born, I went on a “babymoon” by myself! haha!! I spent a week in Chicago…shopping, dining, walking around….*sigh* glorious. #TheMagnificentMile #NavyPier

— How can I compete with Melbourne!?

Charity 2 / Anita 4

5. What is the worst job you could imagine having?

Anita – Any kind of outdoor work in Houston. I could never take the heat and humidity!

Charity – I always thought Texas had dry heat! Who knew?

Worst job? Anything to do with porta-potties. EW!

— Porta-potties

Charity 3 / Anita 4

6. What kind of junk food is your greatest weakness?

Anita – A piece of chocolate cake with big gloppy fudge frosting, so thick it’s dripping off the sides. Oh yeah…


Charity – hmm. I could pass by that in a MINUTE! Don’t show me the candy…This is, literally, what my house in Heaven will be full of:


— Tie

Charity 4 / Anita 5

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

Anita – I pray a lot. Otherwise it’s easy to get centered on one’s own life and less focused on God.

Charity – Short and sweet. I LIKE it!

— God Wins!

Charity 4 / Anita 5

8. What is the best western movie you ever saw?

Anita – I don’t watch many westerns, but I think I enjoyed The Man From Snowy River. Honestly it’s been so long since I watched it, I can’t remember the plot. Since you brought it up, maybe I’ll look it up and watch it again!

Charity – Oh!! What a GREAT pick! Those movies were really good. I liked the second one better.

— Nice call!!

Charity 4 / Anita 6

9. If you could live in a different era, what one would it be and what would your “position” be?

Anita – Can’t leave this era. As much as Victorian times might look romantic from the outside, the reality is I couldn’t stand being without modern convenience even for an hour. Yes, I know. I’m a wimp.

Charity – Hmm. I guess you won’t be going on Survivor anytime soon?

I would be a rich old lady that never had to marry because I already had a fortune. Oh, and definitely the Regency Era! I would be Emma. Then I could marry Knightly, if I found him!

— I’m taking it!!


Charity 5 / Anita 6

9d5b5-closegame That’s right!!

Anita – Now I have a question for you. Why do you think people love stories so much?

Charity – Oh! Easy!! We live vicariously through the romance and adventure! Real love doesn’t stay mushy all of the time. You fall into a pattern and love them for their character and strength. It’s fun to relive those exciting moments of falling in love! It’s also fun to be submerged in other eras, vocations, and lifestyles.

Thank you, Anita! What fun 🙂Custom-Balloon-design-tool

This week is insane, RIGHT? I mean, so many giveaways!! These authors are incredible!!!

Anita has offered to give away a copy of her new novel, Summer’s List. I reviewed it a few weeks back and gave it 5 stars! Great summer read!!

Just head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway
and start entering! Good luck!!

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

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

by Beth K. Vogt

When Vanessa heads to Florida to plan her destination wedding, she never expects to run into her ex-husband, Logan. Her time there is extended, due to Hurricane Cressida, and she has to face the fact that there are still feelings that haven’t been dealt with. Her, very patient, fiancee is waiting back home for her and she faces a huge decision.

Great book with a lot of depth to the characters. I had a hard time “liking” Vanessa, but I still enjoyed her story. God is a big part of her healing and I liked seeing that play out. There is a lot about forgiveness, unconditional love, friendship and relationships here. Beth doesn’t avoid the hard stuff. I highly recommend it!

Thank you, Litfuse, for this great read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

Face-Off with Zachary Bartels!!

Zachary is the author of multiple critically acclaimed suspense thrillers. His newest release, The Last Con, is a finalist for the prestigious Carol Award! Can’t wait to see what happens!!!biopic

Check out his latest!! Links are in the pics.

Zachary is a pastor, blogger, author, husband and father. Sounds like a lot of work to me…Let’s see what he can bring to the table, shall we? But, before we start, this is for you, Zachary. (and I’ve gotta say that it’s probably the worst movie clip of all time…)

PicCollageWe both look like bugs.

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. Have you ever hit an animal while driving? If so, what did you do?

Zachary – No, I have not. I love all animals (except mosquitoes, who should all suffer horribly and die a coward’s death!) and I am perhaps the world’s best precision driver (at least in my own mind), despite how often my wife works the ‘invisible brake’ while I’m at the wheel. The only time my driving dips down below mind-blowing is when I’m kind of overwhelmed with awe at how amazing it is, which causes me to lose focus for just a second in a sort of fishtail of irony…but then I steer into said metaphorical skid and begin driving amazingly again. I imagine (seriously, I imagine it frequently) that if a large animal were to run out in front of me, I would pull a Dukes of Hazzard over that sucker and land cinematically on the other side.635713579229865733-XXX-ZX37507-d-dukes-hazzard-mov- Also, my horn would magically become the General Lee’s horn.  And I would have John Schneider’s hair.


Wait… what was the question?

Charity – Oh my stars. I don’t remember the question. The Dukes of Hazzard had nothing on The A-Team and their mad van jumping skills. I mean, think about it. The could build an entire vehicle in 15 minutes. AND, in every episode there was a car explosion, AFTER WHICH, the people miraculously climbed out of the car.  I mean, come on. That’s precision combat right there.

— huh?!

Charity 1 / Zachary 1

2. Do you go Black Friday shopping?

Zachary – Oh, heck yes! I actually love crowds, unlike anyone else in my family. We usually crash at my parents’ or my in-laws’ house on Thanksgiving night (because they live a ways away) and then I drag people with me — against their will — in the morning, because I don’t like hunting for deals by myself. But I also don’t like getting up super-early, so by the time we leave the house all the good deals are over and the good merch is gone.

Charity – Nice!! We are definitely Black Friday peeps. In fact, I think it is our favorite day of the year. It’s such a joyous occasion to be trapped in small buildings with thousands more than the fire code legally allows. One year, we were just doing our thing at Target…trying to wedge past people to get to the good “merch” when, out of nowhere, some psycho (let’s just call her Annie Wilkes) starts shopping out of our cart. She totally grabbed a bunch of our goods and took off. hahaha. We were just dying laughing because, that’s really all you can do so you don’t go postal in those situations. It was funny to see her running with our stuff under her arms.

— Again, we are both too cool for school.

Charity 2 / Zachary 2

3. What was your favorite song/band from your high school years?

Zachary – If you had asked me in high school, I would have used the question as an opportunity to plug my own garage band “(couch.)” (with the parentheses and period; those are part of the name).  We were a sort of prep-punk-rock wannabe. In reality, though, my favorite band was MxPx and my favorite song was called “Want Ad.”  Or was it “Missing You” by Value Pac? Wait, forget all that. My favorite song was Jesus Freak, as it is twenty years later and it’s still my ring tone. (Also here’s a link to a video of my then-five-year-old performing it as special music in church with a little help from me and his mom). Yeah, I have to say DC Talk was ultimately my favorite, in that I still hope to somehow finagle a hang with all of them before I die. It’s not looking really good at this point…although, through my buddy Cliff Graham,  I’ve got Kevin Max following me on Twitter, so I’m like 1% there.

Charity – Oh man! I love his little “whoop whoop”s in that! So cute! You can go wrong with a long crotch scratch during a song in front of church either. Oh man! Kids are awesome!!!

I loved MxPx. I like NoFX too. All those great, punk bands. My favorite song of high school days was…I am going to totally embarrass myself here.

— I can’t really compete with your little man singing Jesus Freak! I do wish he would have sang the “silly” version though…

Charity 2 / Zachary 3

4. So [Or you could go with “speaking of which,” as it segues nicely, no?], tobyMac is like 50 years old. No joke. Do you have the energy or talent to jump around stage and do back flips while rapping?

Zachary – Yes. Let me explain. This shrine is located in my basement:


That’s literally 25 years of Jolt Cola represented there.

Charity – Um, never heard of Jolt Cola. Looks….like something that DOES belong in your basement. And, I am insanely impressed if you can pull off some tobyMac moves.

It is my policy in life to never exert myself. So, I don’t.

— Jolt Moonshine gets that one!

Charity 2 / Zachary 4

5. Ever broken any bones?

Zachary – I’ve never had a cast, but I have freakishly wide feet, such that my second-smallest toe is where a normal person’s little toe would be, and then my little toe is hanging way out there, waiting to snag any and all furniture, walls, toys, whatever may be lurking in the dark. Both of my little toes have been broken many, many times over and are now just sad, battered little nubs of pain and regret.

Charity – Whyy!!!?????? Why did you have to bring that up?!?!

1240380_10153805051745018_1018665421_n 1625460_10153805436990018_1765619768_n

Last year I had an…incident. It was a clean break. Caught my toe on the side of my desk and it totally tore through the entire bone. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I had surgery, got a pin in it, waited a few weeks to get the pin out. THE. DAY. AFTER. I. GOT. THE. PIN. OUT. I. DID. THE. SAME. THING. TO. THE. SAME. TOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— I win because I have pictures.

Charity 3 / Zachary 4

6. Worst pick-up line?

Zachary – When I first asked my wife out, it was 1995 and she was fifteen and I was seventeen. Actually, I didn’t ask her out. I just said, “So we’re doing something Friday.” Come to think of it, that was my best pick-up line because we got married five years later. I (wisely) haven’t used any pick-up lines since then.

Charity – Nice!!! Right to the point! My oldest son, a few years back, thought one of my friends was pretty. When she came over one day, he walked past her and dropped a sugar packet on the ground. He picked it up and handed it to her saying, “Hey! You dropped your name tag”. I was impressed. hahaha

— Your’s won you the girl!

Charity 3 / Zachary 5

7. Best crime/action show on tv?

Zachary – Best of all time? Easy: Breaking Bad. It’s not technically on TV anymore, but it’s on my TV frequently. Also, Better Call Saul is one of the most tightly-written things I’ve ever encountered. Oh, and Marvel’s Daredevil blew me away. Remember when people thought Netflix would kill TV? They were sort of right, except that it did it by raising everyone’s standards to the point that regular TV all seems just…sad.

Charity – Daredevil is really good! I agree. However, I think that Blacklist wins for me. I love that show! So awesome. My hubs and I are watching The Killing right now. It’s really good too.

— Tie

Charity 3 / Zachary 5

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

Zachary – I like John Piper’s twist on the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which reads “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Piper said that we might paraphrase it, “To glorify God by enjoying him forever.” When I find my satisfaction in Him and Him alone and do everything (whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, I Cor 10:31) in a way that increases my gratitude, rather than in a way that vies for my allegiance and affection, I bring Him glory. Or, as Dr. Piper puts it, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Charity – I know those phrases well! My son is studying to be a pastor, so we have learned a lot about the Westminster Cat (too hard to finish writing it out). And…Come on, that quote by John Piper has to be our family mantra. Love that man!

— God. Wins!

Charity 3 / Zachary 5

9. Have you ever taken a ride in a cop car?

Zachary – No, but I just wrote a scene for a Parker Saint sequel, in which a detective takes a ride on top of of one!

Charity – Boo! Doesn’t count!

A friend of mine is a cop and I went on a “Ride Along”. They make it sound like you are a child when you go. Ride Along. Anyway, it was amazing. He’s a K-9 cop and so he  took me out into the woods and had me try to run and hide from his dog. AH!! Scariest thing ever!!!!! I thought I was going to die from a dog or a crooked cop that I thought was my friend and had me run into the woods in the pitch black of night while he sent his dog after me.

— I totally get that one.

Charity 4 / Zachary 5

10. Do you have any trophies? If so, what from? 

Zachary – Ummmm…


Charity – hmm. Fail. Unless, of course, I was right about what Jolt really is. Then that would count.

I have a trillion piano and drum trophies. You know. Because I was that good and took home 20 gold medals in our local piano olympics. Believe me, it’s not as cool as it sounds.

— Woot! I get it!


Charity 5 / Zachary 5

20130805_its_a_tie_ta WOO HOO!!!! Nice!!!!

ThCustom-Balloon-design-toolank you so much, Zachary! This has been a blast!

GUESS WHAT, GUYS?? This is incredible because he has offered to give away 3 BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two copies of The Last Con and a copy of  Playing Saint! (Pics and links above). Just head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and start entering!!!

*US Rez only (We do love the rest of you too!)
** Entries will be checked, so don’t get yourself disqualified with false entries…

Face-Off with Lena Nelson Dooley!!

sGl30RrW3AxB-5LrhBaaiZlLRyy40SiHm_R9hocQXEkP84oZZBIX0fheHRShRWlIad04RmM56-tyDTBdDXvEmacgIOkg0-kuugQR6rH8hCp6tom_o7fuubwLTuUBulTyxl5SgLs63qLGBtBhxt1Z29kiThhppXxKv5mc-yz1W4WFbsB71j0ssb2Y9Od9hpe_ugMBG5xiGOrvRNmoKnnDev3aSEb7D1Zlb Today is an exciting day because I am facing-of with Lena Nelson Dooley! She has sold over 800,000 books and three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins. She also received the American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

11863496_1480686162229624_8454508594779766707_nThe rules are simple. I ask Lena 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 is your favorite song from the 50’s or 60’s time period?

Lena- My all-time favorite love song is “Love Me Tender.” I think it’s the most romantic song ever written.

Charity – Oh! That is a good one! I love that song too!!! I also like Alley Oop.

— Tie!

Charity 1 / Lena 1

2. Are you an avid roller skater?

Lena – When I was much younger, I roller skated a lot. It was one of the most popular forms of entertainment when I was a teenager (late50’s and early 60’s)

Charity – I love it too! When I was growing up, it was still pretty popular (in the 80’s). We always had a fun time. The youth group I went with always had a cassette tape that they took along and it played the same 5 songs on repeat the entire night!!! The worst part is that there were two artists on the tape. They were Ann Murray and The Carpenters. :-/

— Raindrops keep falling on my head….

Charity 2 / Lena 2

3. What was your favorite subject in school? Why?

Lena – I’ve always loved history. I’m sure that’s why I’ve been published with so many historical novels. Of course, I’ve been published with contemporary novels, too. A lot of people, who are readers now, hated history. So when I write a historical novel, I do massive research to make sure I get as many of the historical details about setting, clothing, society, etc., correct. That way they learn about our history in an interesting way.

Charity – History is my favorite too! I love it. I especially love American and English History ❤

— Lena not only LOVES history, but also writes historical fiction. She totally gets that!

Charity 2 / Lena 3

4. Do you like to go camping?

Lena – I like my creature comforts too much. The only time we went camping in a tent was when our oldest daughter way under a year old and it rained a lot. Not a pleasant experience. But several times, we’ve gone camping with a couple who owned a really nice RV.  That was fun.

Charity – haha. I agree! Whew. you are brave though. I am a little scared of RV’s too!!

02b2f85dbe20dfb7760a8c4696a49bd5Now…If only I had one of these…

— At least you are brave enough to try the RV!!!

Charity 2 / Lena 4

5. Funniest thing a child has said to you?

Lena – I hope no one will be offended by this. When my oldest daughter was about 4 years old, she wanted to be a boy when she grew up. Our next-door neighbor had a daughter about her age, and a new baby boy. I was baby sitting for them one day. When I changed his diaper, my daughter said, “I don’t want to be a boy. I want a plain bottom.”

Charity – Oh my goodness! hahaha!! How could I compete with that??? That is so funny 🙂

— Lena, for sure!

Charity 2 / Lena 5

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

Lena – I asked Jesus into my heart and life when I was 7 years old, so I’ve walked with Him way over half a century. He is so much a part of my life, He’s often in my conversations with others. And I only write my novels to bring glory to Him by showing characters live through hard times with Him. I’ve also been a speaker at Christian writers conferences, as well as speaking in two foreign countries. I’ve mentored younger women, and mentored other Christian authors.

Charity – Love it! I

— God Wins!

Charity 2 / Lena 5

7. If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go?

Lena – I’d like to go to Australia. I fell in love with Australia before it was chic to like Australia. I’ve read well over 200 books set in Australia. What I’d really like to do is rent a luxurious RV and tour all over the continent, stopping and staying awhile when we wanted to.

Charity – Oh! Sounds so fun.Santorini-Blue I would love to go to Greece. This has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen (pictures of….)!!!

It would really be fun to tour all of Europe too. I love English history.

— Tie!


Charity 3 / Lena 6

Thank you, Lena! Custom-Balloon-design-toolI loved getting to know you a little better 🙂

Guess what, guys!! Lena has offered to give away a copy of her newest release. So exciting!!!!

Just head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and start entering.

*U.S. Rez only (Sorry! We do love the rest of you too!!)

** Entries will be checked, so don’t falsify and get yourself disqualified.

Summer’s List

by Anita Higman

Summer just found out some terrible news and now her Granny wants her to complete a list. Before reading what’s on the list, she agrees to do whatever she can to help her Granny out. All her life she has helped others and put others’ needs before her own. Now she must complete this in the hopes of finding out who she is.

Mixed with some mystery, drama, and family complications. There is plenty here. The characters had depth of character. They were VERY quirky, but interesting too. There was plenty about God and their faith without going away from the story. Overall, intriguing read.

Thank you, Litfuse, for this great book! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

In Firefly Valley

by Amanda Cabot

Marisa is back in her small hometown and she is not happy about it. She worked hard to get a degree and get out of there. Now back at a newly updated resort, she is trying to sort out her life. Her dad is missing, she’s had her heart broken, her brother-in-law passed away, and she is starting over.

When she meets Blake, she thinks that, just maybe, her dreams have come true. Of course, he has a little secret that just might change things. Romance, intrigue, and loveable characters make you want to keep turning the pages. Sometimes Amanda can get caught up over describing things, but I know that is just a matter of taste and style. Some people want a lot of descriptions and some just want to get on with the story. Other than that, it’s a great book! She has a real talent!!

Thank you, Revell, for this great book! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

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