BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW WITH SARAH BECKMAN


GIVEAWAY UNDERWAY
Last Day to Enter
FEBRUARY 28th


Book Blurb: Hope in the Hard Places is a practical, encouraging guidebook for the weary soul looking for hope in dark circumstances.

In this life, everyone must face trials. Cancer, chronic illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, depression, prodigal children, caring for aging parents, and other unknown terrains can cause people to feel hopeless and helpless. For those who feel like they don’t know where to turn, Hope in the Hard Places equips readers to walk through their trial with hope rather than desperation. Sarah Beckman, a speaker and author, teaches effective and powerful ways to get through the pain with biblical truths and principles. She also includes insight from others who have experienced all manner of trials. Packed with practical strategies, checklists, encouragement, wisdom from seasoned travelers, and rock-solid biblical truth, Hope in the Hard Places provides a beacon of hope in the darkness so that readers can walk through the depths of hardship with insight, dignity, and certainty.


QUESTION AND ANSWER INTERVIEW WITH SARAH BECKMAN

You have described your debut book, Alongside, as a book about loving people well. How would you describe your new book, Hope in the Hard Places?     


SARAH: Alongside teaches people how to love their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers well when they’re facing adversity.  But over the last few years since that book came out, I met so many people facing hardship themselves who wanted hope, help, and encouragement to navigate the hard places in life. And I didn’t have a solution for them, only their loved ones.  

So I wrote Hope in the Hard Places to give people practical tools to walk through their own difficult situations.  It’s filled advice, insights from others who’ve been in hard places, biblical truth, and encouragement.
This book is a guide book designed to help them live their best life - despite their hardships - so they don’t feel so alone, helpless, or hopeless in the middle of it.

Everyone goes through difficult times, yet we’re often caught by surprise. Why do hard times seem to catch us off guard? 

SARAH: We don’t want to think it could happen to us. But inevitably it will.  That’s why I wanted to write this book, because so many people struggle, but there’s no manual.  It’s not fun to think about being prepared for a what-if occasion or situation.  But hearing others’ stories has caused me to want to be more prepared myself!  And I believe that this book is a way for us to understand what it takes to navigate the difficulties we’ll face, whether you’re about to head into, in the middle of, or coming out of a trial, this book will give you the tools you need.

One of your chapters is titled Packing List, Can you please talk about the importance of being prepared and how it can make or break your journey?

SARAH: It’s essential to be as proactive as possible in the middle of a hard place.  If we fall into being reactive, we will quickly feel out of control. There are two items I suggest packing for your difficult journey: mindset and a focal point. 

Choosing a mindset to embrace, like a bible verse, phrase, or truth, helps us stayed aligned with that instead of always being caught up in our difficult circumstance. Some examples are, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, “Bloom where you’re planted”, or “Choose Joy.” When we fix our thoughts in this way, it helps us frame our thoughts in the positive.

Establishing a focal point is a similar concept and can be a word, phrase, verse or even a hashtag. Just like women in childbirth are taught to have a focal point that brings joy or peace, this idea is to help distract you from the difficulty you’re facing.  It’s also a great way to build comraderie and support when you share it with others, and everyone can refer to your focal point.

Someone reading this interview may be at the end of their rope. How would you encourage them today in their hard place?

SARAH: Our worst-case scenarios can paralyze us.  Death, divorce, loss, illness, abuse, or addiction can threaten our hope.  It’s normal to fear and it’s tempting to wander in the wilderness of “what-ifs.”  But you can’t camp out there forever if you want to survive. 

Even if your worst fears come to pass, you will be okay.  No matter the depths you’ve gone to, no matter the intensity of the fight, even if doesn’t turn out the way you planned, faith says you’ll be alright.  That’s the difference between faith and fear, fear wonders what if, but faith proclaims, even if. 

And God sees you in the pain.  He is with you and is for you. Nothing you’ve done can separate you from His love, and nothing you are going through is a surprise to him. EVEN IF… you will survive. 


ABOUT AUTHOR: Sarah Beckman grew up the youngest of 14 children. As a young girl, her family endured much trial and the community gathered around her family--or came alongside--to provide for them in a very dark time when her Dad was hospitalized and they lost their family home. After her parents divorced, she watched her Mom love others, even in the midst of raising a bucket full of children as a single mom.

As an adult, Sarah experienced health trials of her own, which put her on the receiving end of help once again, as she faced bedrest and multiple back surgeries in just a few short years. During that time, Sarah also walked alongside three close family/friends who faced terminal illness.

Through her experiences on both sides of the bed, Sarah recognized the need for better information about just how to serve others who were experiencing significant trials in their life, whether it was cancer, death of a loved one, long-term illness or any other life-altering circumstance. There were lots of short articles or blog posts, but she was unable to find a comprehensive resource about how to help others effectively.

So she created one herself. Her own experience, coupled with interviews with over 50 people who faced all manner of trials, is woven together to create a guide like no other. Filled with practical advice, poignant stories, and loads of insight, you will never have to be uncertain about helping someone you care about when they're in need again.

Alongside is your solution. And it's Sarah's life mission to help you love people well. No matter the circumstance.

MUST ANSWER ONE QUESTION TO ENTER DRAWING
Please remember to leave an email address.
1. What's the first thing that popped into your head when you woke up today?

2. This is a story of hope and encouragement. What gives you hope when there seems to be none?

3. I'd like to ask you the same question I asked the author. If you could be any super hero for 48 hours; which would you be and why? (You are the creator here. You can mix and match powers if you’d like)


4. Who and/or what is your inspiration? What has gotten you through hard times?

Nora: Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your new book Sarah. Looking forward to sharing this book and your interview with readers. I'm Excited about the giveaway opportunity. Grin!

Sincerely,

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent The Book Club Network Inc. http://www.bookfun.org
You can read author interviews, reviews, Learn about TBCN giveaways, she created called The Book Club Network (TBCN) blog, http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com

Nora currently runs a face to face and TBCN On-Line Book Club. She enjoys working part-time for the Public Library as a CSA.

ARE YOU AN OSTRICH OR AN EMU? ARTICLE & GIVEAWAY BY ROSE DEE




Are you an Ostrich or an Emu?
By Rose Dee

On the way to our camp in the Australian bush, we travel past a field that is home to a mob of emus. These birds are almost the largest in the world, second only to the African ostrich.

There are many similarities between these two flightless birds. Both are massive animals—six to nine feet tall. Both run extremely fast—around 40 mph for the ostrich, and 30 mph for the emu. Both are very good parents, with the female laying the eggs and the males contributing to the incubation. Emu dads also take on the parenting of the young once they are hatched.
But there are some significant differences in our perceptions of these birds.  
‘Stick your head in the sand like an ostrich’.

Surely you have heard this saying, used to depict a person incapable of facing a difficult situation. But it’s a bad rap. Ostriches don’t stick their heads in the sand. The misrepresentation is thought to have come from when animal behaviourists first studied these birds. From a distance it appeared they were pushing their heads into the sand to hide from danger, when in fact they were just crouching.

Nevertheless, the coward’s image stuck, and this ostrich saying is still widely used today. You may have even used the term to label a complacent person, or refer to a coward’s actions. I know I’ve used it. And I know I don’t want to be accused of ‘sticking my head in the sand’ about any matter of righteousness.
Ignorant judges! Head-in-the-sand judges! They haven’t a clue to what’s going on. And now everything’s falling apart, the world’s coming unglued. Psalm 82:5 (MSG)

Even jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert. Lamentations 4:3 (NIV)
The emu has a different reputation.

Emus enjoy warrior status here in their native country, Australia. You probably haven’t heard of the Great Emu War. It took place in 1932, when farmers and graziers in Western Australia reported a massive invasion of the animal onto prime land. The larrikin emus were taking over, making a nuisance of themselves. The nation declared war and set out on a shock-and-awe cull.
The army moved in. Weaponry might was applied. Casualties were inflicted.
And the victor? The emus!

No matter how much force was used, the emus kept coming and coming and coming. Like wave after wave of battle-hardened soldiers, these birds refused to give in or go away. It was more than a little embarrassing for both the Australian authorities and the soldiers involved, many of whom had bravely and successfully faced real battles in times of war.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NLT)

In many ways, we Aussies are quite proud of the emu’s win. After all, this unlikely creature appears on our Australian Coat of Arms. This symbol was designed and implemented to represent Australia at Federation (the birth of our nation) in 1901, and features a shield held by a kangaroo to the left and an emu to the right. The kangaroo is an understandable choice. Who doesn’t associate the Land Down Under with the kangaroo! But the emu? Not the obvious recipient of such an honor.

The reason both these animals were chosen is because neither animal is able to go backwards. That’s right—the kangaroo can only hop forwards, and the emu is unable to either walk or run backwards. Unlike its African cousin, the ostrich, our emu is strictly a forward-moving bird. Perhaps this is why they made such formidable warriors.

The founding fathers of our nation knew that if Australians were going to overcome the challenges of our geographical distance, the tests of unity, and the endurance of living in one of the harshest lands in the world, we would have to apply the go-forward nature of the native emu. We’d have to strive forward towards our future, never looking back.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13 (NIV)

So, dear reader, there is only one question left to ask. Which do you want to be—an ostrich, or an emu? I know what I’d rather apply in my life: the forward motion attitude, the perseverance and overcoming tactics, the honorable reputation of the emu.

If you would like to see more of our emu, check out this clip from an ABC education resources website. You may even want to turn this emu lesson into a Sunday school project or talk.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Rose was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her Resolution series.

Two of the three Resolution novels have won Australian CALEB awards. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel highlighting the pain of Australia’s past policy of forced adoption, as well as standalone novel, Ehvah After. Her most recent release is the novella, A Christmas Resolution.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and her desire to produce stories that point readers to Jesus. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband and son.


LAST DAY to Enter Drawing FEB 28th
PLEASE remember to include your email address!


1. Have any of you seen either of these animals? If so what was your experience?

2. What would you like most about reading a book set in Australia?

3. This author is from Australia and some the book takes place there. If you'd been given a chance to go there in a private jet where would you go? What would you do?

4. What is something that you couldn't live without now but that you didn't have a year ago?


Sincerely,

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent The Book Club Network Inc. http://www.bookfun.org
You can read author interviews, reviews, learn about book signings, TBCN giveaways, she created called The Book Club Network (TBCN) blog, http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com



Nora has also run book clubs face to face and TBCN On-Line Book Club. She enjoys working part-time for the Public Library as a CSA.

GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW DEBT NOVELIST DAVID RAWLINGS


ABOUT AUTHOR: (from his website).."I'm a writer. Always have been, always will be. And while I've been published in the non-fiction arena, having penned two books that follow my expertise, I'm not heading into fiction.


My writing brings together my Christian experience and life experience, and I write novels that talk about everything from the media to consumerism to atheism to megachurches to advertising to family relationships to carrying emotional baggage.

The best stories come out of passion - and I write about subjects that I'm passionate about: where we fit in modern society, or how reality TV isn't real, or how consumerism is driving us apart. I love passionate stories, where I can tell on page one that a novelist cares about an issue, and they're hoping that I'll care too. So, that's me. What about you? ...Drop me a line at my website.

How did you come up with the idea for The Baggage Handler?

DAVID: The Baggage Handler itself was borne out of rejection. My first manuscript - about reality TV and churches - finaled in a range of fiction awards but I couldn’t get industry interested in it. Someone suggested for my next novel maybe I should focus on “life lesson” stories.

I read a couple of stories like that, then at 9pm one night I was reading when The Baggage Handler arrived. It pretty much downloaded into my head. When I next checked the clock it was 1am, and I had the story, the characters, plot, twists, structure - almost everything. That hasn’t happened before or since with books 2 and 3, but I’m glad it did with The Baggage Handler. 

NORA: I loved it. I'm glad you went in that direction. It's powerful!

What do you hope readers take away from The Baggage Handler?  

DAVID:  I write to make people think. Some books are about escapism or entertainment, but I’d like to get people to think deeper about their life. The story is a modern-day parable about the things that weigh us down. I want them to put down The Baggage Handler but not the story or its themes. I had one reader say that after reading my book she was still thinking about the baggage in her own life. Two weeks later. That’s a win in my book.

NORA: Oh, yeah! I'm still thinking about your book I read months ago and discussing it with friends.

Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has surprised you?

DAVID: It is… and more. I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil, and putting words on the page to put food on the table for nearly 30 years. But I’ve found a deep satisfaction in fiction. It’s what I’m called to do. And God has been there.

What has surprised me is the human response to rejection of something you’ve created. I’ve been a corporate writer for 25 years, and rejection of ideas, or clients saying “I don’t like it”, has been a part of my working landscape for as long as I can remember. That’s not to say I’m a bad writer J - every creative faces this. But despite my steeling against subjective criticism, I’ve still found I need to work through the occasional rejection of my story. It feels different to an ad campaign, brochure or web site I’ve written. I guess it’s because the story comes from deep within, reflects my values and is, for want of another term, my baby.

NORA: Thanks for sharing your heart David. I'm so glad that you are writing inspirational fiction. What I love about Christian Fiction is you never know about what's in your heart until the author allows you to walk in someone else's shoes, being their skin for a little while. It's then things change in your outlook and in your heart.

What was your favorite scene in The Baggage Handler? Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?

DAVID: My favorite scenes in The Baggage Handler are where the characters are brought to the realization of what they are carrying. They all react differently, but I found it satisfying to reflect how people would react in that situation.

There is also a scene where one-character faces who they could be if they no longer carried their baggage. That one actually made me cry, and I don’t cry. I’m a guy. From Australia. 
NORA: I loved that you showed all different scenarios in reference to baggage. It does come in all shapes and sizes. That's one of the things I loved about your story. I'm glad you gave readers a peek at what that person could be if they let go of what they'd been carrying around all their life. It was a tender touching, powerful moment. Choked me up.

Can you tell me of two “Wow” moments you’ve had in your writing career? What made it a wow for you?

DAVID: In 2016, my first manuscript was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis Awards and I had neither the time nor the money to get there. (You won’t get much change out of $5,000 to get there from Australia). 

That money arrived from two completely unexpected sources, down to the last cent. I had corporate bookings that were immovable – except the client was able to move them because someone hadn’t promoted them for some (still) unknown reason. 

Then, at that ACFW Conference, I connected with James L Rubart, my mentor, who played such a key role in connecting me with Steve Laube, my agent. So although my first manuscript didn’t get anywhere, the seeds of The Baggage Handler were sown.

And the day I got an email from Becky Monds at HarperCollins, asking if The Baggage Handler was still available was truly heart-stopping stuff. HarperCollins were my dream publisher, and here was Becky asking if I would mind if they took my story to Acquisitions Committee. 

I’m still speechless when I think about that email. This came while Steve and I were playing that “on hold” waiting game with industry. And my dream publisher has turned out to be exactly that. Now I’m contracted for three novels – in December this year The Camera Never Lies will follow The Baggage Handler.

NORA: What fun to read your Wow, Moments, Thanks for sharing! I am so excited to read your next book, The Camera Never Lies!

Why write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?

DAVID: I write Christian fiction because I believe I’m called to do it. And it’s great being able to write stories that mirror my values, and encourage people to think deeper about life.

I’ve always liked the way Jesus spoke to people – told stories, used analogies and word pictures, asked clever questions. If anyone could have bashed people over the head with Scripture instead of engagement and care, it was Him. But He didn’t. That’s what I aspire to do. Like with The Baggage Handler – it’s a way to speak eternal truth without preaching at them. I got one review that said “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual” and she loved the book. I was happy with that.

NORA: That's why I love your books they are engaging but right to the point. Your story reminded me of a Twilight Zone out look and Matrix flavor to your story as people have to choose what they will do next. Will they continue to carry the baggage to be set free? We have that choice daily.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?

DAVID: The Camera Never Lies comes out in December this year. The theme of this story is honesty and transparency in relationships. Here’s the blurb …

Daniel Whiteley is a successful couples counselor who regularly puts families back together. He gets them to face up to the things in life that they hide – advice contained in his best-selling book: No Secrets. But his own marriage is falling apart.
         
His wife Kelly is working in a job she resents, wishing she was more available for their 12-year-old daughter who is withdrawing more each day. And she just knows the reason for her failing marriage is Daniel’s interest in a woman at work.

Daniel’s grandfather dies and leaves him his beloved SLR camera. The 1980s camera – an Olympus OM-10 Infinity, from a time when cameras pointed away from the person taking the photograph – is inscribed: “Use this camera wisely and remember, regardless of the picture you think you took, the camera never lies.” Along with the camera is an old photograph album, with an unusual collection of photos of Gramps’ friends and family, including a photo of Milly, crying at her own birthday party. Something he didn’t notice.

Daniel goes to use the camera but finds someone has already filled his new roll of film. Annoyed, he gets the film processed at the only film processing lab in town and finds strange photos that hint at a secret he’s been hiding from everyone. He has no idea who took them, and no-one is owning up. Also on the camera are photos that point to secrets Kelly might be hiding from him, and now he needs to find a way to address this without revealing how he knows.

Daniel meets Simon, the eccentric owner of the film processing lab, and suspects him of doctoring his photos. But how would he know of secrets Daniel and Kelly have never told anyone? And why does he know so much about Daniel’s life … and Gramps?

Now every time Daniel uses Gramps’ camera, the photographs reveal another secret in their lives  they’ve try to either bury or ignore.  And neither Daniel nor Kelly has any idea who is taking the photos … or how to stop them.

But Simon does.
  
          And I’m also writing Book 3 (which is based in Australia). This one will be out in 2020.

NORA: Wow, sounds intriguing and something I look forward to reading. I'm looking forward to reading books three as well. I loved book one the Baggage Handler. It was imaginative and thought-provoking.

What movie affected most you when you were young? If you didn’t watch movies what books affected, you most? What touched you about the movie/book? Made it memorable.

DAVID: The one that stands out is probably Ghost, with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The sense of loss of your loved one was palpable, as was the sense of injustice. It must have stayed with me because Unchained Melody from the Righteous Brothers – the music from the movie’s key scene – was our wedding song.

NORA: Yes, Ghost messed with me for a long time. I had forgotten about that.
I left the theater crying. Grin!

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play? 

DAVID: I’d probably be the one getting every organized and working out a way off the island. I’ve seen the TV show Lost – the island probably isn’t uninhabited and it’s not safe to stay… J

NORA: Oh, good I haven't watched that, but I too heard it wasn't safe! Grin!

A friend of yours has a time machine and they will let you use if for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?

DAVID: I’d head back to Biblical times. I want to see and hear the Sermon on the Mount and hear how Jesus told parables to deliver eternal truth. Just an amazing way of engaging with people through story.

Oh, and then I’d stop in Liverpool in 1963 to hear the birth of the Beatles at the Cavern Club. I am a music junkie after all.

NORA: Fun times!

If you could be any super hero for 48 hours Which would you be and why? (You are the creator here. You can mix and match powers if you’d like)

DAVID: Iron Man’s ability to fly would save me a fortune flying to the USA to see my publisher and do book signings for The Baggage Handler. Professor Xavier’s (X-Men) ability to read other people’s thoughts would be more than handy when pitching ideas for books too!

NORA: Great combination!

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?

DAVID: Music. Any opening chords of a song in E minor, a choir singing four-part harmony or a familiar opening four bars of a favorite song.

And being an Aussie, hearing the sounds of a kookaburra first thing in the morning is the sound of home.

NORA: Cool!

DAVID RAWLINGS, ANY FINAL COMMENTS FOR READERS? 

DAVID: I hope you enjoy The Baggage Handler! It’s also designed to be a gift for others, so if you’d to help someone get a handle on what they may be struggling to deal with, I’ve found it’s a good lead-in to a conversation people may need to have. And it’s done in a non-confrontational way. And let me know what you think – through a review or drop me a comment on Facebook. You’ll find me under David Rawlings – Author. https://davidrawlings.com.au/ 

And lastly, if you’d to read more in the way of my writing, head to my web site. There are excerpts from The Camera Never Lies, as well as short stories for my subscribers. 

NORA: Wonderful I'll head on over and check out your next novel The Camera Never Lies. Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. 

MUST ANSWER ONE QUESTION TO ENTER DRAWING
Please remember to leave an email address.
1. What's the first thing that popped into your head when you woke up today?

2. In this novel three people have an issue with their luggage and have to go back and fix it. Have you had a luggage mishap at the airport? Do tell!

3. I'd like to ask you the same question I asked the author. If you could be any super hero for 48 hours; which would you be and why? (You are the creator here. You can mix and match powers if you’d like)

4. The author lives in Australia if you had an all expenses paid vacation in Australia where would you go, what would you do? What type of food would you like to try and eat?


I’m thrilled about sharing the message of your book and the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting the 21th of the February, LAST DAY FEBRUARY 28th at www.bookfun.org  and also TBCN blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com 

Sincerely,

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent The Book Club Network Inc. http://www.bookfun.org
You can read author interviews, reviews, learn about book signings, TBCN giveaways, she created called The Book Club Network (TBCN) blog, http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com



Nora has also run book clubs face to face and TBCN On-Line Book Club. She enjoys working part-time for the Public Library as a CSA.




PEACE DURING THE PAIN - CHERI SWALWELL - GIVEAWAY


Cancer. It’s a word no one wants to hear when sitting in a doctor’s office or from a loved one during a phone conversation. Yet, it’s a word so prevalent in our society today. I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t been touched personally by this word, this disease, this diagnosis.

Approximately four years ago, I fulfilled a seven-year promise to God and published a book titled Hope During Heartache, a compilation of 13 different men and women’s personal stories about infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and/or death of a child. Each story was so different, told in the words of the person who experienced the traumatic event, and yet offered so much hope to others experiencing something similar.

In 2006, our family lost a baby in the twelfth week of pregnancy. During the subsequent months, my heart hurt and I wanted reassurance I would find hope again, a reason to smile. Being an avid reader, I couldn’t find a book that filled that emotional need and in a fit of anger one day, I cried out to God and told Him (long before I ever dreamed of writing and publishing books), “Fine, then I’ll write the book that I want to read!” God heard my promise that day, and with Him directing each and every step, seven years later, Hope During Heartache was published.

While I’m not sure if the book has helped others the way I wanted a book so desperately to help me, I have received the following feedback from people who have read Hope During Heartache:

“I could empathize with her (my friend), but I did not really understand the loss of a child until I read this book. I now am able to feel how very difficult it is to lose a child due to a miscarriage, still birth or death after birth.”

“Each story in their own way demonstrates how they have processed and dealt with the grief … I wish it would have been there when I had my miscarriages and stillbirths. I know it would have brought me some guidance and help at those times.”

“Hope During Heartache is a book that will help families relate to the pain of losing a child and begin the healing process. It is not a how-to book or a 5 step process to healing. It is simply a heart-to-heart account of how each family dealt with loss.”

“What a great book. How I wish it had been around years ago, but thankful that we have this as a resource now.”

After Hope During Heartache was published, I asked God if He had other books He wanted me to share about other difficult topics, to encourage people as they struggle with other areas in life that just don’t seem fair.

As a result, Peace During the Pain was born. This book is a compilation, similar to Hope During Heartache, but because the topic is cancer, a disease that is so complex and all consuming, I have asked 11 individuals to share their stories – either personally about their own journey or the journey they have traveled with their loved ones – and share from their heart how they were able to find peace despite the pain.

Within the pages of this book, you will find a woman who longed to be a grandmother because family was her first thought when she heard her diagnosis. Another woman saw God use her diagnosis to help her land her dream job which was helping others through the pain of a cancer diagnosis themselves. God was able to use another woman’s diagnosis to help her address the act of complaining and turned it into focusing on her blessings, despite the drastic turn her health took so suddenly.

Another woman shares how God taught her the power in the words we speak as another has used the healing God gave her to begin a ministry in her city, while another woman used her cancer diagnosis to show her new husband just how personal is the God we serve.

This book, though, isn’t just written from the standpoint of people who have experienced cancer personally – there are many chapters written by wives, daughters-in-law, and children, sharing how their loved ones fought valiantly and how close and personal God was during the pain.

I began the journey of writing this book three years ago, but because of the difficult subject matter, because cancer touches so many lives, and reaches farther than we realize, it was a struggle for me to reach the finish line. I’m so glad, though, that I didn’t quit. It was most important to me to honor the people who took the time to share their journeys with me, and I wanted to give voice to their stories so that they could be an encouragement, inspiration, and help to others who are valiantly fighting their own battles.

Peace During the Pain was a project built from love. I am so honored and blessed to have the opportunity to share with readers the heart of the contributors who trusted me to showcase their lives in such a personal way.

I pray that if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer or has gone through the fight and come out the other side victorious, maybe this book would encourage you or your loved one to feel God’s peace during the pain.



Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. She enjoys writing regularly for Book Fun Magazine. Her Spoken from the Heart Series is available through Amazon in both eBook and paperback versions. Her book, Hope During Heartache, a compilation of 13 men and women’s stories told from their viewpoint about hope after the loss of a child, is also available at Amazon in both paperback and eBook versions. To read one of her many articles on life from a Christian perspective, visit her blog at: http://bit.ly/1gRp9oK. She loves to interact with her readers, so send her an email at clSwalwell99@gmail.com or “like” her on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1h4eudV.

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WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU by MATTHEW PAUL TURNER REVIEWED



When I Pray For You
By Matthew Paul Turner
Illustrated by Kimberley Barnes
Published by WaterBrook
Release Date February 19, 2019
ISBN#978-0525650584
48 Pages Preschool – 2 ages 3-7

BOOK BLURB: From the author of the best-selling When God Made You comes a new illuminating message about God’s design affirming young readers.

With lyricism, whimsy, and heartfelt emotion, Matthew Paul Turner reveals the tender emotions connected with watching a beloved child grow up and experience the world. Paired with Kimberley Barnes's vivid and playful illustrations, When I Pray for You is a beautifully affirming book, in which children and parents will see their own stories come to life.

When I Pray for You celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings parents pray over their children, and shares with the little ones how much care and concern a loved one feels for them.

This is a book you will read to your child again and again. Perfect for any occasion, as well as for milestones including baby showers, birthdays, and graduations.

From the moment I saw you,
I started to pray.
Big prayers and small ones
I have sent God's way.

I prayed you felt safe,
full of joy and content.
When I whispered, "I love you,"
you knew what I meant.

REVIEW: My grandchildren have loved Matthew Paul Turner’s books. They are fun, heart-felt, and helpful in helping discuss different spiritual matters with your kids and grandkids. Through the colorful and entertaining illustrations this book shows  that prayer is not just done in church. The bible says pray without ceasing. This gives the child a peek into how often parents pray for their kids. It may not be audible for them to hear but it is definitely on going.

The book starts out with a mom rocking a baby, “From the moment I saw you I started to pray.”

As the book goes on and the baby gets bigger there are all different scenarios the mother prays….”When you giggled out loud or made yourself proud. To God I said, “Thank you,” and to you I said, “wow.”

I liked the line that affirms the parent in the story as well. There is a picture of children praying outside…”Cause when I pray for you God knows this is true, every word I whisper is a prayer for me too!”

I read this book to my grand-kids and they were fascinated by the pictures and interested in the story. My granddaughter said, “read it again.” This book beautifully expresses a love of a parent for a child, how God loves us and maybe they will realize that parents need prayers too.

This book blessed my soul. I know it will bring an understanding and love to the parent/child relationship. I highly recommend this book to everyone big and small.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

DRESSING ON THE SIDE (AND OTHER DIET MYTHS DEBUNKED) REVIEWED



Dressing On The Side
(And other diet myths debunked)
By Jaclyn London, MS, RD
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Release date January 8, 2019
ISBN# 978-153847452
320 Pages

HashTags# Weight Loss, Diets, Nutrition, Health, Fitness, Wellness

BOOK BLURB: Debunk diet myths and make better food choices with this helpful guide that will transform the way you think about nutrition and health.

Whether it's a new fad, "detox" diet, news report or a celebrity-endorsed supplement, the constant flow of diet information is cluttered, conflicting, and often devoid of scientific research -- leaving millions of us confused, overwhelmed, and feeling totally helpless in taking ownership our health and making better food choices.

In Dressing on the Side, Jaclyn London -- the Nutrition Director of Good Housekeeping -- debunks the diet myths and mental blocks that keep you from reaching your health and weight-loss goals. Filled with accessible information, simple strategies, and practical application of scientific research, London breaks what's at the heart of the issue and offers tools, short-cuts, and solutions that work within any scenario, including:

Using your schedule to inform your food choices
Identifying "fake" nutrition news
Eating to feel satisfied, not just "full"
Making the choice to eat dessert -- daily
London empowers us to form life-long habits that result in real, long-lasting change -- while meeting the demands of our busier-than-ever lifestyles. Dressing on the Side is the anti-diet book that will completely transform the way you think (and speak!) about food and health -- and help you lose weight for good.

REVIEW: Another new year to re-evaluate our lives and our diets. This book was a refreshing on many levels. The author starts out, “It’s January 1, and your head feels like it’s going to explode…You’re hangry; your headaches, your eyes are puffy; your face is puffy; hell, your right toenail looks a little bloated…Okay, think, you say to yourself. Who would know how & where to start?”

She then talks about how her mother called tells her she’s on the Wholesome diet she’s lost 10 pounds, she talks to her cousin Joe and he’s into fasting he’s lost weight too and is feeling great. She reads her favorite blogger and she’s into the “just apples” diet. She wonders if it’s for real. She talks to her dad who informs her the Dr. has him on a low-sodium diet. She goes to work, and her co-worker is on the detoxing plan. She thinks Clean-Mean-Grean-2b-lean protein shake. Maybe that’s the deal for me. There are so many more diets she could have mentioned Keto, Paleo, South Beach – each works for a short period of time but what works for me. She starts out the chapter by saying; I’m so confused. “Ditto! I’m right there with her. I realize that one diet doesn’t fit ALL!! I enjoyed how she went about getting down to the nitty gritty and helping readers think about “what is healthy for them”

This author did a great job of not only opening my eyes to what words meant, deciphering what choices are healthy, and realistic in our fast-paced lives but she made learning funny and entertaining. She helps you get the correct information for you, your life style, and taste buds.

The author reminds readers there is no magic pill or dream away diet plan out there. We have to do our part in getting the facts about maintaining a healthy body. She helps readers uncover the truth in the medical information we are bombarded with she says, “My point is that not all science you hear about day-to-day is created equal.” She tells readers what to look for and how to get to the bottom line. I enjoyed this authors’ refreshing approach to a healthier you. I learned so much.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

ABOUT AUTHOR: Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian, New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist. and Nutrition Director of Good Housekeeping magazine. She is an adjunct professor of nutrition in the Biology Department at Touro College, a consultant and guest lecturer in sports nutrition at SoulCycle, and a regular participate in speaking engagements, panels, and presentations for various national organizations including The James Beard Foundation, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, The Culinary Institutes of America, Wellness in the Schools, and New York University.