Hearts Entwined: The Love Knot

by Karen Witemeyer51l747pg64L._SY346_

Ok, so this whole book isn’t officially by Karen Witemeyer, but this review is specific to The Love Knot. Just to specify, the other authors that contributed are absolutely recommended by me as well. ❤

51+6E5Az98LKaren is one of the ladies that really got me into reading. I’m a huge fan and have always enjoyed her writing. In this novella, we once again visit the all ladies colony of Harper’s Station, Texas. (You first read about this in No Other Will Do.) Claire is living in Harper’s Station when she receives a cryptic letter from her sister telling her to go to the train station to pick up something important. When she arrives, she realizes quickly that her whole life is about to change.

What’s not to love about this story? It’s well written and a beautiful story. Please be sure to pick up a copy! Also, read the others novellas included. I promise you will love these ladies if Turn of the Century West is your thing. If it’s not, it might soon be!

You can also learn a little more about Karen in our fun face-off. She’s amazing! 🙂

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Karen Witemeyer

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Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

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Catching You Up: Amish farm girl, Hannah, is being stalked by an English boy that is in love with her. Her family must flee for her protection. With her siblings resenting her and her family going through another crisis, she must sort through her fears and learn to trust again.

My Thoughts: When I think of Amish, all I can think of is how “dark” the lifestyle is. I know it’s because I am a visual person and life without a lot of color is VERY SAD! One of the things I love about Shelley Shepard Gray is that she brings color out of their lifestyle. As strange as it sounds, reading her Amish fiction is the first time I can really connect with the characters.

This is a short and light read, but that does not take away from the content. Her characters are always well developed and complex. I am not usually surprised, but there was definitely some intrigue that got me! Well done, Shelley!!!

Need a great read for a flight? Something you can grab and go – pick up and put down without missing a beat? This is your story! I definitely recommend anything by this author. Make sure to pick up a copy! Link is in the pic above!!


Want to see Shelley Face-Off with me?

Click Below:

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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!

Castle-Combe-s

– 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!!!

A Fine Gentleman

by Sarah M. Eden

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Oh how I love Sarah! She’s always been at the top of my (theoretical) Best Regency Author list. Her books are so sweet and just…lovely!

A Fine Gentleman is her new and much anticipated release! It is the latest in the story of the Jonquil brothers. Jason Jonquil, the barrister, is orderly and in control…that is, until Mariposa Thornton walks into his life and turns it totally upside down.

Like every other amazing book this lady writes, it grabs your attention and keeps you flipping the page. Her characters are witty, yet hold a deepness about them that makes you want to continue to explore them and their story.

As you can tell, I definitely recommend this book and anything else Sarah M. Eden writes. You won’t be disappointed. You can also check out our fun face-off and learn a little more about this fabulous author.

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

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Link in pic above

Face-Off with Jocelyn Green!!

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And….WE’RE BACK!!!!! Woot Woot! I am so excited to announce that face-offs are back up and running with all kinds of fun in store! I’m especially “psyched out of my mind” about this fabulous author agreeing to be the first after a long break. (If you are wondering where I have been, just check out this post.)

green-4-hi-res-1This lovely lady is finally back with a new series. I loved her last series that featured different women dealing with the atrocities of the Civil War.

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She has since moved onto writing 51lzkp0tnql-_uy250_about the 1720’s Louisiana. I absolutely can’t WAIT to read and review this book. Coming soon!

You can also learn a bit more about Jocelyn as she is my Author Highlight of the Month. Just check out the HOME page to see her thoughts on writing the Heroines Behind the Lines series. Or, go HERE to find out her favorite Bible verse, some fun traditions and much more.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?


 

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The rules are simple. I ask Jocelyn 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. Worst storm/natural disaster that you have lived through?

Jocelyn – I have spent most of my life in the Midwest, so our signature natural disaster is the mighty tornado. The closest call came when I was pregnant with my second child. An E5 tornado almost completely wiped out the small town of Parkersburg, IA, which is 20 miles west of us. When the sirens came on, of course, we didn’t know where the tornado would touch down. I headed to the basement immediately but was totally freaked out because my husband was out with our 2-year-old daughter on a shopping trip. He told me later that he was speeding home on the highway, and could see the tornado in his rearview mirror!

Our town has also survived some major flooding. We live seven blocks from the river but we’re uphill, so our house hasn’t personally suffered damage, but other places in town had water up to their roof lines. Our family has been fortunate!

Charity – Woh! That had to be the most terrifying thing EVER! Seeing an E5 tornado in your rearview mirror? What in the world. There’s no way I can top that. I live on the east coast, so we get hurricanes. I live in Virginia though…so, they usually aren’t too bad.

— Definitely Jocelyn!

Charity 0 / Jocelyn 1

2. What TV show is your guilty pleasure?

Jocelyn – Fixer Upper. I only feel guilty about watching it when I’m on a tight deadline and should be writing. (But we all need breaks, right?)

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Charity – I have to be honest. I have never seen it! They look adorable though and I love a good fixer upper! haha.

Mine is Survivor. Man, oh man! I love that show. It never gets old. Just gets better and better. Cook Islands was probably the most intense season though.


— I suppose it has to be a tie…Nope. “The Tribe Has Spoken”. I am taking it.

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 1

3. Favorite Bible verse?

Jocelyn – Ephesians 2:10!

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Charity – Oh, that’s a good one. I don’t even begin to know how to answer this question. There are so many that just …. blow my mind! Here are a few:

I could continue forever, but I shall stop there! ha ha 🙂

— God wins! ❤

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 1

4. Who would you really like to sit down with and talk to from past history?

Jocelyn – Hannah More, English poet and writer who was born in 1745. She was one of William Wilberforce’s compatriots in the campaign to abolish the British slave trade, and she had such influence through her writing in many other ways. I so admire her.

Charity – Oh my goodness, yes! I am not sure if you read Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, but it’s absolutely incredible. It’s a biography of Hannah More’s life. I did a review on it and Karen has faced-off with me a couple of times! She’s fabulous!!!

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**PS – It’s on .99 cents on kindle right now!!! (link in pic)

As far as my “sit down”. George Washington is my crush. I have always admired him. Such a hero. If you have not seen this mini-series, you are 100% missing out!

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Do yourself a favor and pick this up! It’s only $12 for the whole thing!!!! (link in pic)

— Both were fabulous choices! It’s definitely a tie.

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 1

5. Favorite Date w/ Hubby

Jocelyn – Tickets to the National Cathedral when we were living in Washington, D.C., to see the Dublin Men & Boys Choir perform Handel’s Messiah.

Charity – Oh, wow! That must have been incredible. I bet it gave you chills.

I couldn’t even say what mine is. We are total homebodies and creatures of habit. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our dates because we almost ALWAYS go out to eat at Chili’s and then see a movie in those fabulous recliner chairs. ha! It’s like, the perfect date. Why try to improve on perfection?

— Ok, at least you dressed up and went out…I take a blanket and recline on my dates…

Charity 1 / Jocelyn 2

6. If you had to be on a reality show, which one would you do?

Jocelyn – Worst Cooks of America! Not because I’m actually one of the worst, but I would love the opportunity to learn from Bobby Flay!

Charity – Hmm. So, is there one where I could recline and watch tv…?

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The Amazing Race would be fun. I would either be really relaxed and laughing a lot, OR Big, Angry, Momma Bear. Not sure which would come out under the pressure. Let’s not find out.

— Unfortunately, your answer was much better. I want to watch tv for everything, it would seem.

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 3

7. Favorite pizza toppings?

Jocelyn – Sausage and pepperoni.

Charity – Ew. ha! I would definitely say veggies. I love a veggie pizza. YUM!

— I got that one because your choice doesn’t sound yummy to me! face-with-tears-of-joy

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 3

8. Craziest thing God has asked you to do? (or one of)

Jocelyn – Marry a military officer. I’d told myself I would NEVER marry into the military, but I knew two weeks after meeting Rob that I would marry him.

Charity – Oh my gosh. Never tell God “never”. I have learned that’s the fastest route to getting it…I don’t even know because I think that God has continually asked me to do things that are SO out of my comfort zone. It’s truly not funny. Could it be to buy a 732 sq ft home? How about to try to adopt? How about homeschooling? How about throw away my favorite TV show just to see if I was willing? I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Good thing He knows what makes me the happiest! I sure would be heading in the opposite direction because it doesn’t seem like those things would work. HA! I couldn’t be happier in my life though. Truly. He truly does know what makes us happy if we are willing to listen. SMH

— God is amazing. He wins ALWAYS

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 3

9. What are some of your favorite hobbies? (Besides writing)

Jocelyn – Baking, gardening, knitting (but only scarves!)… I would say scrapbooking but it feels dishonest because I haven’t actually scrapped anything in about seven years. Oops.

Charity – Ha! That’s awesome. 99f8f508cfd4833784f54a3a6e0b268aMe either. It makes me crazy to try. So….hobbies…Um, does watching BBC count? How about reading historical novels? I also like to do my nails? Does that count…

— Oh my word. I am really lame!

Charity 2 / Jocelyn 4

10. Craziest haircut story?

Jocelyn – I once decided I needed a haircut RIGHT THIS SECOND and so I went into a walk-in place. The young woman who cut my hair was on her “trial” period, so she was really really nervous. And slow. And after everything she did, she had to ask her supervisor for advice. Whenever she asked me a question, she would roll her eyes and groan at my answer. I remember I needed to get a “correction cut” at my usual place pretty soon after that, so my plan to save time totally backfired. But what I remember most was that she seemed so put-out by the whole process. LOL I don’t think she kept her job.

Charity – Oh, boy. That’s awful. So rude!!!

I am so going to win this one. I have so many to pick from…Ok, here’s the best. Growing up, I had long, BEAUTIFUL, blonde hair. I had met this person online and we talked every day for 3-4 years. He was my best friend (never anything romantic). Anyway, he lived in Israel and was coming to the States and we were going to meet IRL (ha ha ha). Anyway, I had just had my first son and was still a bit on the chunky side. I went and got my hair cut so that would at least look nice. Holy Momma. I hear an, “Uh oh!” and see a huge chunk of hair fall. I had asked for a trim. She. Gave. Me. A. Butch. Cut. Literally cut my hair to the scalp on most parts. It was absolutely horrendous. I looked HORRIFIC and there wasn’t a darn thing a could do about it. She had accidentally cut off a chunk, so she figured she would just style it differently…

Most embarrassing meeting in my life. EVER.

His friend that came along actually said, “This isn’t the girl in the picture!” face-with-tears-of-joy

— Taking it!

Final:

Charity 3 / Jocelyn 4

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Thanks so much, Jocelyn, for taking the time to face-off even during deadlines! You are absolutely fabulous and I adore you!!!! ❤

Show her some love and comment your favorite Jocelyn Green books or what you would love to read by her!!!

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

The Loyal Heart

by Shelley Shepard Gray

Shelley Shepard Gray is a fabulous writer. While I am not a big reader of Amish fiction, her books have always won me over. This book, The Loyal Heart, is NOT Amish (which she is known for), but Civil War fiction. While the South struggled to find it’s way after the war, many lived under oppression and fear. Shelley takes her ability to write in a new direction and tackles the hardships of the time.

Her characters are always really likeable. They have good sense and you really root for them. This story is a bit of drama, mystery and romance. If you are a history buff, you will really enjoy the whole story. If you aren’t, you’ll still enjoy the storyline and characters. I definitely recommend!

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

Check out my fun face-off with Shelley Shepard Gray while you are here!

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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!