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 April Marie

Collide by April Truitt

Go ahead and just push the play button while you are reading this. WARNING: You might just have to stop reading to worship!

Today I am changing things up a bit. This is a SPECIAL DAY because I will be facing off with a MUSICIAN instead of an author! April Marie is an amazing friend of mine that has broken into the music industry. With two CD’s out, she’s working on her third.

I thought we could have a little fun and face-off while you learned a bit about her!


The rules are simple. I ask April Marie 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 are your “Go To” hot, little, favorite pair of shoes?

April Marie –  Haha! Well, since my feet scream at me and refuse to wear any heels, I’m usually in tennis shoes! I like comfy 🙂

Charity – I don’t have a pair either! I mean, I have some really cute shoes, but nothing hot and sexy!!!! booo!!!!

— we both stink.

Charity 0 / April Marie 0

2. Do you garden?

April Marie – Yes, slowly but surely getting more determined and brave with it. This year I’m going to try to grow Luffa! It’s the stuff you scrub with in the shower!

Charity – What?? Are you serious!? Am I being punked???? I didn’t know you could grow that! ha ha (:

I have a black thumb. Dead. Dead. Dead.

— April gets it FOR SURE! Who Knew???

Charity 0 / April Marie 1

3. Favorite restaurant?

April Marie – Boston Market. Absolutely must have the creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn bread…while eating, I am in bliss…

Charity – Girl. Food makes me happy. I can’t wait to get to Heaven and banquet all day long when I won’t get the size of a whale!!!

I can’t ever decide between Chili’s and Panera. I think Chili’s wins it. Their chips are happiness itself!!


Charity 0 / April Marie 1

4. Ever washed your white laundry with a red sock?

April Marie – All the time! I don’t separate colors and whites. It all goes together unless I do think it will bleed.

Charity – OMGosh. I would have a heart attack!! I did that ONCE. When I was in college, I didn’t know that would happen..

Every. White. Shirt. Sock. And. Underwear. Was. Pink.

Now I am psycho about the separating.

— it happens..

Charity 0 / April Marie 1

5. Worst job you ever had?

April Marie – Childcare, with 15 two year olds. I cried my first day at work and only stuck it out about 2 months.

Charity – Ok, you win that hands down. I would die. I would cry and cry and cry.

— April. *shudder*

Charity 0 / April Marie 2

6. How early do you put up your Christmas tree?

April Marie – All depends. I like it up the first week in December, but if my 2nd son has a birthday party at the house, I try to wait until after Dec 5th to do it.

Charity – Booo!!! We like to put our tree up around November 18th. And that’s pushing it for me. My uncle had his up in September last year. I was insanely jealous.


Charity 1 / April Marie 2

7. Worst Christian Song?

April Marie – ha ha. No Comment 🙂

Charity – Probably wise. I’m going to have to go with Friends, by Michael W. Smith. I could stab pencils in my ear when I hear it.

— I am not nice.

Charity 1 / April Marie 3 (that rhymes)

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

April Marie – I believe I do in those moments when I am not focusing on myself, but serving and loving on others.

Charity – Beautiful. I couldn’t have said it better.

— God Wins!

Charity 1 / April Marie 3 (Still Rhymes)

9. Funniest/most embarrassing thing one of your children has done?

April Marie – lol! At Christmas time a few years ago, I was standing in line at Walmart’s layaway department, and my son, Caleb, was standing beside me. He stared behind me, pointed and said, “Look at his hair, Mama!”. I, shyly, half turned around to see a guy who literally was sporting the hair cut of Ramses’ from the Ten Commandments movie. A shaved head with a single lock of hair coming from the middle. The guy looked mad. Caleb was still staring and waiting for my response. I tried my best to distract him and focused in on the saleswoman in front of me until I could escape from the line.

Charity – HA!!! My kids have noticed that their grandparents got a bit shorter as they aged. So, we confirmed that when you age, you shrink a bit. One day, out at Colonial Williamsburg, my son saw a little person/dwarf and yelled, “MOM!!!! That guy must be REALLY OLD! Look how short he got!!!!” OMGosh. It was horrible.

— Kids win! They are too funny!!

Charity 1 / April Marie 3 (STILL RHYMING!!)

10. Ever had acupuncture?

April Marie – No, I freak out with needles. I have to focus on breathing every time I have a blood test, cause I’ll pass out otherwise.

Charity – I have had dry needling. It’s basically the same thing. You get a bunch of long needles stuck into your pressure points/knots until they relax. Insane!!


Charity 2 / April Marie with 3!!! (Rhyming until the end!)

9d5b5-closegame but still lost.

Now, April Marie has some questions for me… Scary!!

Ok, Go!!!

April Marie – If you were handed the keys to a time machine, where would you go?

Charity – “Back to ’82! If they would have just put me in the 4th quarter…”

ha (: I don’t know!! Probably to the second before I die so I can get to Heaven faster!! ha ha ha (:

April Marie – What Cartoon Character is most like you?

Charity – uh…. Tazmanian Devil

April Marie – If you could pick one super power, what would it be?

Charity – EASY!! I would have Mystique’s powers. She can turn into anyone!!! Or else invisible, so I can spy on people because I’m insanely curious and nosy.

April Marie – Favorite Movie?

Charity – Hands Down: Warrior!!!!!

April Marie – If you could meet anyone famous from the past or present, who would it be?

Charity – Uh, Justin Bieber!! Duh!!

NOT. REALLY! ha ha. Besides, Jesus… Probably Joseph or Job.

April Marie – If you had to have a disability, which one of these would you pick and why: blindness, deafness, or an inability to walk?

Charity – Ugh! What is this!!?? ha ha. I suppose deafness…I do love music, but I would rather see and walk, I suppose.

April Marie – If a genie would give you only one wish, which would you pick and why?

a. Being World-Class Attractive

b. Being a Genius

c. Being World Famous for Doing Something Great

Charity – Well, I already have the first two, so, I suppose the third!! 😉 ha ha

I would pick “C” because I would love to help people and get a lot of people on board!!!!

So much fun (: Thanks, April Marie!!

Guesssssss What???????balloons Yep!!! You got it!!! April Marie is giving away a copy of her last CD!!! Woo Hoo!!!!!

God of Mercy was released in 2012. You can click on the link to listen to some samples!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Remember, all entries are checked and any falsified will be disqualified (I’m all about the rhyming today!)

**US rez only. Sorry ): We love you foreigners though 😉 That sounded really strange…

That’s How We Roll

by Anna Weaver Hurt

What. An. Exciting. Read!!! Anna Weaver Hurtt writes a memoir about life on the road with her family band, The Weaver Believers!! Living in a RV with a family of 9 has it’s interesting stories and she’s here to share them! All I can say is, “One Bathroom”. That’s it. Nine People. You do the math…

While this book has it’s fair share of fun and exciting stories about life on the road, I was so impressed by Anna’s love for God. She has a beautiful way of intertwining serious subject matters with humor and wit. I highlighted more in her book than I ever remember doing in another! So many words of wisdom for such a young girl. There is plenty there to grab ahold of and let it grow you in your relationship with God.

Five SOLID Stars! I recommend this for everyone. Not just because of the fun stories, but because of the depth within. Thanks so much, Anna, for sharing this book with me. As always, this is my honest review. Here’s to many more!!!

Guess what?! I bet you did!! balloonsANNA IS GIVING AWAY A COPY OF HER BOOK!! WOOT WOOT!

Believe me, this is a FUN read!! Just check out a Rafflecopter giveaway and enter away!!! It’s reader’s choice for a Paperback or an e-book.

*Remember, all entries are checked and any falsified will get disqualified.

** US Only for Paperback or ANYONE can pick the e-book!!


imageI’ve always heard that “free books don’t grow on trees”.

Ok, maybe I just made that up.

The fact is, they actually do!!! If you haven’t heard of noisetrade, it’s time to get your head out of the sand. I am just cleaning the sand out of my hair because I’m new to it as well.

Noisetrade is a site where artists and authors choose to give away their music and books for free. ABSOLUTELY FREE! We aren’t talking about self published and terribly edited pieces of work. It’s top notch. Some of the few that caught my eye right away were:









I could continue to post picture after picture. There are thousands of books and albums to download ABSOLUTELY FREE! Many different genres as well. Cooking, travel, arts and leisure, etc…

All you need to do is head over HERE and set up an account. It’s free and easy peasy! Enjoy!!

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