Face-Off with Olivia Newport!!

images I am so excited to be facing-off with Olivia Newport today!!! I love my job! Woot Woot!!

Ever since I started reading Christian Fiction, about 4 years back, I have been drawn to Olivia’s books as I’m perusing the shelves. Her Avenue of Dreams series always catches my eye. I finally picked up one of them and can’t wait to let you know my thoughts!!!

A small sampling as she is author of almost 20 books! Olivia has two grown children and lives a peaceful life, with her husband of over 30 years, in Colorado. She writes a lot of Amish Fiction and some Historical too.

Let’s get to it, shall we?


PicCollageThe rules are simple. I ask Olivia 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 been stuck in the middle of an epic storm? Like a Category 5 Hurricane?

Olivia – Literally? When I was about 4 my family visited relatives in Texas, and I have vague memories of sirens and rushing to a town shelter during a hurricane. Now figuratively speaking, all the time!

Charity – Oh! That sounds scary!! We live on the East Coast in Virginia. When Hurricane Isabel came through, it was a big deal. We left town and went to the western part of the state thinking that we would be safe there. Would you believe it totally land jumped and HIT THERE WORSE THAN THE COAST??? What in the world?


— I am going to have to give it to Olivia. Sirens and shelters sound terrifying!

Charity 0 / Olivia 1

2. What’s the coolest DIY project you have done? Pics?

Olivia – “Coolest” is a matter of opinion, but I had fun refinishing the sewing machine cabinet that belonged to my mom when I was young. So I should get points for sentimentality with a slight demerit for not being able to produce the photo.

Charity – Hmm. No picture? Well, I suppose I shall tell you of my fun endeavors. We are trying to adopt and needed an extra bedroom in our house. SO, we took the living room and “built-in”. Using Ikea wardrobes, we completely built a new bedroom!! You can’t even tell because we painted the backs of them and put crown molding on the top and bottom of each one!


— I get that one!! woot woot!

Charity 1 / Olivia 1

3. What is your favorite, unique holiday tradition (any holiday)?

Olivia – Hands down, chocolate frosted shortbread squares are required at every holiday meal throughout my large extended family. When the menu planning begins, everyone’s first question is “Who’s bringing the shortbread squares?”

Charity – Yum!!!!!!! I need that tradition! We celebrate 99 Days ‘Til Christmas every year. It’s so fun! We put up a few lights, miniature tree, some decorations, eat delicious foods, do small gifts and watch Elf. After all of that, we write out our Christmas Wish Lists. IT’S ONLY 3 WEEKS AWAY!!!

— Tie

Charity 2/ Olivia 2

4. Have you ever been in a maze? Corn maze, tree maze, any kind of maze made for adults?

Olivia – Um, no. And can I say “Achoo!” is what would happen if I went into such a place? (Pity points for allergies.)

Charity – No pity here! ha 😉 I live near Williamsburg and in back of the Governor’s Mansion, there is this cool maze made out of bushes. It’s not one you can get lost in. However, hubby and I went to the one at Luray Caverns and that one is awesome!!!

governors-palace-maze2  91d6e1c2c0e1b5083d5ad5676f8157ec
–Guess who is ahead?!?!

Charity 3 / Olivia 2

5. What is one kitchen appliance that you wouldn’t want to live without?

Olivia – Two Christmases ago my husband gave me a little gadget that warms and froths milk for my coffee. I would not have guessed I’d want one, but I use it every stinkin’ day.

Charity – Now that is cool!!! Froths AND warms?! Wow. I love my keurig. It makes me very happy.

— Your gadget wins!

Charity 3 / Olivia 3

6. What is the funniest joke you know?

Olivia – I concede the point. I’m sure I know funny jokes but I can’t perform when you put me on the spot!

Charity – Oh, honey. You didn’t concede a thing. I am the worst joke teller. ever. I’ve got nothing.

— tie

Charity 4 / Olivia 4

7. Have you ever dropped eggs at a grocery store?

Olivia – No, but I’m guessing a lot of other people have based on the number of broken eggs I find when I check the cartons.

Charity – hmm. Me either. I took a guess because, same as you, I assumed most people have. Weird.

— Tie

Charity 5 / Olivia 5

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

Olivia – Several years ago I felt a call to live my life more intentionally from a center of peace in God, which begins by welcoming God into the moments of my life and being more satisfied with a holy presence than I ever would be if I got everything I thought I wanted.

Charity – Beautiful!!!

— God wins!

Charity 5 / Olivia 5

9. Have you ever tried surfing?

Olivia – No, although ironically I went to college in southern California. But in my defense, a) I didn’t have a car to get to the beach; b) I was too nearsighted to get in the ocean without my contacts; and c) I actually studied! But I’m a pretty good web surfer. Does that count?

Charity – ha…it would if I HADN’T TRIED SURFING! Believe me, it wasn’t something you would want to see. I am so uncoordinated. It’s truly ridiculous.

— But…I have tried it!

Charity 6 / Olivia 5

10. Tea or Coffee?

Olivia – I came to coffee late in life–like just two years ago. But as you can guess from my favorite kitchen appliance, I do indulge in a sort of homemade latte every morning now. And when I go to the coffee shop to write on Saturday mornings, the barista knows to start a white rose, extra hot as soon as she sees me come in the door.

Charity – I still haven’t come into coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good cup every once in a while. I just don’t drink it every day. I could drink sweet or unsweet tea every day, all day though.

— Your barista knows your drink!!! I haven’t ever even heard of White Rose Coffee…


Charity 6 / Olivia 6

20130805_its_a_tie_ta WOO HOO!!

Thank you, Olivia! giveawayTimeWhat fun!!! I am sorry it ended in a tie. You were a worthy opponent!

Guess what???? Olivia has offered to give away a copy of her NEW RELEASE, which just happens to be sitting in Amazon’s “best of” category as we speak!

  Screen shot 2015-08-28 at 1.08.48 AM

So, you definitely want to head on over here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you follow the instructions when you enter so you aren’t disqualified! Good luck!!!

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

Face-Off with JoAnn Durgin!!

Author of many, many highly rated books, JoAnn is IN THE HIZZY!!! 🙂

JoAnn Durgin is the author of the beloved contemporary Christian romance series, The Lewis Legacy Series: Awakening, Second Time Around, Twin Hearts, Daydreams, and Moonbeams, as well as Prelude, Prequel to The Lewis Legacy Series. JoAnn is also the author of the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity and Heart’s Design, as well as novellas and short novels including Love So Amazing (The Wondrous Love Series, Book 1), Echoes of Edinburgh and the popular Starlight Christmas Series: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright and Sleigh Ride Together with You.

She loves to hear from her readers! Please feel free to contact her:

www.joanndurgin.com or www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin

Check out some of these great box set deals!!

There is also this wonderful set of 38 short, love stories!! Make sure to check this one out!!!

Another one that caught my eye was Love So Amazing.

Links are in the pics. Shall we play now?


The rules are simple. I ask JoAnn 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 dived off a high diving board?

JoAnn – When I was a kid, one of my favorite summer activities was swimming. My mom called me a fish. I would dive off the low board all the time but the high diving board…no way! Walking to the end and peeking over the edge? Scared. Me. To. Death. I only remember having the courage to jump off it once (I was about eight). I think it was something about being up so high (I’m height-challenged) and all that open air that terrified me. Now, what I really found fun? Strapping on goggles and picking up the spare change that had fallen out of the guys’ swim trunks onto the bottom of the pool. Then I’d take all my change and go buy Sweet Tarts at the snack bar. Worked like a charm every time!

Charity – Nice!!! Now, you were a very clever girl!! I have gone off of a high dive. I am also “height challenged”, but water is my element. I could float and read a book or take a nap. It is literally impossible to sink me. haha. However, ask me to dive off of one now? No. Way.

— I get that one because I DID dive off!!

Charity 1 / JoAnn 0

2. Do you prefer Sweet Tea or Un-Sweet Tea?

JoAnn – Sweet, but my absolute favorite is half-lemonade, half-sweet tea (a/k/a an Arnold Palmer). Perfect combination!

Charity – Learn something new every day! I didn’t know what an Arnold Palmer is! Now I do…

I am going with Sweet Tea, but I’ll take it either way!! Yum.

— Knowledge is Power!

Charity 1 / JoAnn 1

3. Ever lost all your food in a freezer death?

JoAnn – Can’t say that I have. At least not to my recollection. However, I’ve lost food due to death by power outages. Sad times, but we made it through somehow.

Charity – haha. Made it through somehow. ha!

We lost all our food last year. When we got home from vacation, bam. Freezer dead. So awful!! Smelly and gross.

— ME!!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 1

4. What is the closest you’ve ever been to a natural disaster?

JoAnna – I remember waking up from a nap when I was in high school and hearing that a tornado had cleared out trees in a nearby park and ripped off the roof of a sports arena (Louisville, Kentucky). When we lived in California, I was thrown against the wall by an earthquake in our daughter’s nursery. And there was an earthquake centered directly beneath the Rose Bowl stadium on my 30th birthday. I thought, “Here we go…I turn 30 and it’s all over!” When I taught Sunday school in the Boston area (we’ve lived a lot of places), I once asked my third/fourth grade students to name a natural disaster. A little boy raised his hand, waving it with excitement, saying, “I know! I know! The Big Dig!” The Big Dig was a massive construction project that lasted for years in downtown Boston (for all I know it’s still in progress). Because of the traffic nightmares, it was considered a natural disaster by many.

Charity – Oh my word! haha. The Big Dig! We have hurricanes all the time where I live. I think that you wiped the floor with me though?

— Being thrown against a wall? THE BIG DIG??!!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 2

5. List of your top 5 favorite cheeses?

JoAnn – What a fun question! Hmm…I’d have to say American (boring, I know, but I’m not real adventurous when it comes to my food choices), Cheddar, Provolone, Monterey Jack (what a funny name, huh?), and—I can’t believe I’m going to name this one (something a couple of years ago I would never have said)—Bleu/Blue cheese. I’ve developed a certain and inexplicable fondness for that last one. But I still won’t go near liver or beets.

Charity – Girl, you are cracking me up!! Monterey Jack is the dumbest name ever for a cheese. What in the world?! And I am totally with you on the liver and beets. Barf.

4. Cheddar
3. Mozzarella
2. Cranberry/Goat
1. PepperJack

— Tie

Charity 2 / JoAnn 2

6. Could you last in an Amish lifestyle for a month?

JoAnn – No. A couple of days is probably as long as I’d last. While I admire certain things about the Amish lifestyle, I’m too attached to my electrical appliances, Kindle included. But nothing smells better than laundry dried on the clothesline. We used to live in the Philly area (told you we lived in a lot of places; my hubby was a pastor), and we loved taking day trips to the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area. And Hershey? Fabulous place to visit!

Charity – Hershey and Lancaster are among the most BEAUTIFUL places I’ve ever been. It is so luscious and green! ❤

I couldn’t do it. It is so ideal to live a simple life, but I would have to REALLY know God was calling me to do that. Whew…


Charity 2 / JoAnn 2

7. How good are you at juggling?

JoAnn – Depends. If you mean “traditional” juggling, I’ve never tried it. I wrote a scene about my hero Harrison (“Harry”) juggling apples at an outdoor farmers’ market in Edinburgh, Scotland (at the base of Edinburgh Castle) in my book, Echoes of Edinburgh. writingjourney-durgin-01On my website, I have a photo of me juggling peaches (the peach is the favorite fruit of my core character, Sam Lewis, in my Lewis Legacy Series). Insider secret: that’s the wonder of modern photography (there was only one peach…shhh…). If it had been more than one peach, there would have been a few smashed peaches on the ground! Otherwise, I’m very good at juggling, i.e., multi-tasking. I like to believe I’m somewhat proficient and talented in that area (like most wives and mothers).

Charity – Nice!! I can’t juggle at all. Anything.

— The amazing peach juggler!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 3

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

JoAnn – My personal goal is to live my faith and to hopefully see it reflected in the lives of my three children. The theme scripture verse in my life and writing is Matthew 5:16, In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. My goal in writing what I like to call “contemporary Christian romantic adventures” is to present characters—flawed in their humanity—who strive their best to live God-honoring lives. I simply can’t write a book without a Christian message as an integral part of the storyline. I like to believe I accomplish this not by being preachy but by writing about people where faith is so intrinsic in their lives that it’s natural, not forced. My books are very romantic but realistic, and I add the element of humor. Life can be hard, and I want to make people laugh, make them cry, and make them think. I’m not a writer where critics will say, “It seems as though the Christian element was added in order to qualify it as a Christian book.” I’ve given away a lot of books free (more than 50,000 with two books in the past month alone). Yes, it’s smart marketing, but it’s also my ministry in getting solid Christian fiction into the hands of those who might never read a Christian book otherwise. In the last year, I transitioned from my full-time paralegal position to being a full-time author! I’m living the dream, and I am blessed.

Charity – So awesome!!! I love it!

— God wins!!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 3

9. Favorite crafty thing you have ever made?

JoAnn – I used to cross-stitch all the time. unnamedPerhaps my favorite is a Christmas scene, and I leave it on my family room wall year-round. I remember working on that canvas at a Bible conference in Erie, PA, the summer that I was pregnant with our second daughter, Chelsea (who just gave us our first grandbaby –unnamed-1 darling Amelia Grace!). I was so hot, humid, and miserable, but that piece kept me sane (although such intricate needlework would drive some crazy). The only piece I ever did with seed beads and gold filigree floss, it is an heirloom piece.

Charity – Wow! So pretty. I bet that took forever!

I think my favorite would be the iPad case I made.

10508501_10154243590640018_1659483862_n 10524938_10154243592670018_1528657307_n

— Tie

Charity 2 / JoAnn 3

10. Are you good enough at geography that you could spin the globe, put your finger on an unmarked spot and know what continent, country and state/region?

JoAnn – Depends on what area of the world. The Asian or Eastern European countries? Not so much. I hope there’s not going to be a test (she says, cringing). I’d rather visit countries than be able to point them out on a map. The countries of the European Continent are my favorite travel destinations. I can find and point out Italy (my personal favorite) in a heartbeat! From our days of studying with our three children, I could probably name all the states (and capitals). Maybe I should try that again to see how well I do!

Charity – No Way.

— You get it!


Charity 2 / JoAnn 4

41pQGKwBBLL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ once again…

Thanks, JoAnn! What a blast! You had me cracking up over and over again!!!

Ok, Guess what, guys??!! Balloons-for-Birthday-PartyJoAnn is giving away WINNER’S CHOICE of ANY of her novels!!!! This is an AMAZING offer!!

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

A couple of options?

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*U.S. Rez only UNLESS you want the e-book version

**All entries will be checked. Any falsified don’t count!!

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