BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

The Amish Family Cookbook REVIEWED

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (October 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Tina Eicher was born and married in the Amish faith, surrounded by a mother and sisters who were great Amish cooks. At fellowship meals and family gatherings, Tina’s dishes receive high praise and usually return empty. She and her husband, Jerry Eicher, author of several bestselling Amish fiction titles, are the parents of four children and live in Virginia.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
From bestselling author Jerry Eicher (more than 350,000 books sold) and his wife, Tina, comes this warm and inviting peek into an Amish kitchen, complete with recipes, Amish proverbs, and a dash of Amish humor. Readers will laugh, pray, and eat robustly with The Amish Family Cookbook at their side.

Product Details:
List Price: $ 14.99
Spiral-bound: 272 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (October 1, 2012)

Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736943773
ISBN-13: 978-0736943772

AND NOW...A FEW RECIPES FOR YOU TO TRY (CLICK ON PICTURES TO SEE THEM LARGER): 













REVIEW OF COOK BOOK

There are several things I really enjoyed about this cookbook!
First of all I think this would make a great book club companion. Why? There are several recipes that come directly from this couples fiction Amish book. Included in the book are the title and quote from the book that mentions a food item the character was making or loved. For example:

In the book Rebecca's Return she mentions Rebecca's Vanilla can rolls, In the book Ella's Wish - they mention Ella's Broccoli Soup, In A Hope for Hanna, Aunt Betty's Country Fried Venison, Missing Your Smile they talk about Susan's Christmas Buckeyes, in Rebecca's Promise there is Rebecca's Oatmeal, and in A Wedding Quilt for Ella there is Ella's Beef Casserole. There are a few more. This makes for great book club fun.

I made several of the recipes in this book. I found the recipes easy to follow and all were yummy. The only thing that I missed in this cook book was the fact that she didn't mention how many servings each recipe made. I didn't know how much I depended on that especially when I was making muffins, cookies or bread.

Scattered throughout the book were Amish words of wisdom that I really enjoyed for example: "Lying in bed dreaming never got the work done."

" We don't realize how wonderful today is until tomorrow"

"Great leaders take joy in the success of those under them"

"If you walk with God you will be out of step with the world"

"The cost of a thing is the amount of life which must be exchanged for it."

This book is broken down in to several categories. Appetizers and Beverages, Breakfast, Cakes, Candies, Cookies and Bars, Desserts, Grilling, Main Dishes, Pies, Quick Breads, Salads and Gelatin Salads, Soups and Sandwiches, Vegetables and Side Dishes and finally Yeast Breads.

This book is fun in more ways than one. I highly recommend it.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

Q & A with ROBERT MORGAN, author of ALL TO JESUS


Q&A with Robert Morgan, Author of All to Jesus
Permission to reprint is authorized with credit given to Robert Morgan, All to Jesus



All to Jesus
A Year of Devotions
Robert J. Morgan
B&H Books/October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4336-7786-1
$14.99/Hardcover/400 pages


Can you tell us how your new devotional, All to Jesus, came into being?

One night when I was troubled, I found 1 Peter 5:7, a verse of Scripture I had known for years: Casting all your care on Him for He cares for you. The word "all" struck me. I'd never seen it before. The verse would have been wonderful without it, but its inclusion lifted the promise to infinity. No burden or problem was beyond the reach of 1 Peter 5:7. I could cast "ALL" my burdens on Him without limitation. That made me wonder if there were other verses in the Bible that were similarly modified with that little adjective and I found over 5000 of them. We selected 366 "alls" for this book.

What is “the largest little word in all the world” and why do you think so?

Someone said: "All means all and that's all all means." We often use the word "omni" to describe God — He is omnipresent, omnipotent and so forth. The little word "all" is the earthly application of God's omni-qualities. It takes His infinite nature and shows us what it means to us here and now. The Lord doesn’t waste words in His Book. In the verses above, the alls could easily have been left out; yet there they are. Seems it’s one of God’s favorite words. He used it thousands of times, often in passages that would have read nicely without it; yet the all maximizes the meaning to the absolute. It’s the largest little word in the world, taking already-strong statements and broadening their applications to virtual infinity, which, after all, is what one would expect from an omnipotent Father.
How many times is “all” mentioned in the Bible? Why do you believe God uses the word so frequently?

The word “all” appears in the Bible 5,675 times. God loves to speak in all-encompassing superlatives because He is eternal and infinite. According to 2 Corinthians 9:8, He is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

What are a few of your favorite “all” verses and why?

All things work together for the good of those who love God—Romans 8:28
You have thrown all my sins behind Your back—Isaiah 38:17
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted—Matthew 10:30
Love the Lord your God with all your heart—Matthew 22:37
Trust in the Lord with all your heart—Proverbs 3:5-6
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened—Matthew 11:28
Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life—Psalm 23:6 (NIV)
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you—Matthew 6:33

What do you hope readers will take away from their daily readings of All to Jesus

Each of these devotions is excerpted from my pulpit ministry and represents what I believe to be solid exposition of Scripture, sprinkled liberally with stories, quotes and interesting tidbits of truth. Each reading calls us to total faith and total obedience, based on the totality of God’s grace. Because He is our All in All, we can say, “All to Jesus.”
___________________________________________________________________________

About the Author:
Robert J. Morgan is a best-selling, Gold Medallion Award-winning author whose over twenty-five books include Then Sings My Soul, The Red Sea Rules100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart and The Children’s Daily Devotional Bible. A staff writer for Dr. David Jeremiah and Turning Points Magazine, he has also served as pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, for three decades. Morgan and his wife have three daughters and ten grandchildren.

JULIE LESSMAN'S HUGE CONTEST - PROMOTING NEW BOOK A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW



 
A.) KINDLE FIRE CONTEST: 1st place with the most points wins a Kindle Fire (or equivalent gift card). If more than one top entrant with equivalent points, winner will be selected via random drawing.
Next three runners-up receive signed printed manuscript of A Light in the Window or $20 gift card.
There will be a random drawing for those with even just one point (with extra entry for each point accrued) for a signed manuscript of A Light in the Window or $20 gift card.
HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:
1.)   ORDER A Light in the Window (5 points in contest) at Amazon NOW or Barnes & Noble, CBD.com or Smashwords on November 9.
 2.)   GET SOMEONE ELSE TO ORDER A Light in the Window (2 points per order).
 3.)   SHARE this contest page on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Goodreads, wherever (2 points per 1-time share each).
 4.)  "LIKE" the book on Amazon and B&N or get someone else to do so (1 pt. per LIKE).
 5.)   E-MAIL ME through the "Contact Julie" tab of   this website to let me know which of the points above you have done, and I will enter you in the contest. NOTE:Kindle winner MAY be required to show proof of purchase via the Amazon Order Confirmation number listed on their confirmation e-mail from Amazon.
Contest ends December 31, 2012 and winner will be announced here on the Contest page and in my January 4th Journal Jot. 
B.) REVIEW CONTEST: Publisher's Weekly states that good reviews are critical to an author's success!! 1st place (the most points accrued for good reviews posted) wins a character named after them in Love at Any Cost (release date April 1, 2013), a $50 gift card and signed copy of Love at Any Cost.
Runner-up wins a bit character named after them and signed copy of Love at Any Cost.
Random drawing for those with even just one point (with extra entries for every point accrued) for a signed copy of Love at Any Cost. 
HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:
1.)  POST A BRIEF, POSITIVE REVIEW for A Love Surrendered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD.com, other online bookseller, personal blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc. (1 point per each review posted.)
2.)  CLICK THE “LIKE” BUTTON for A Love Surrendered on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (1 point per LIKE).
3.) E-MAIL ME through the "Contact Julie" tab of this website to let me know where you have posted the reviews and the links to each review.
NOTE: This contest is to promote reviews for A Love Surrendered, but if you are a new reader who has NEVER posted a review for any of my books before, you may do so and accrue points that way as well. However, I regret I cannot count reviews posted in the past for my books as part of one of my prior contests. Winners will be announced in my next newsletter scheduled to mail in FEBRUARY so make sure you are signed up for it via the Newsletter tab of this website. 
C.) A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW FACEBOOK GIVEAWAYS:  Join me on Facebook November 1 - 30 for fun trivia and tips on making Christmas memorable for your family and those you love. The discussion takes place on my author page each day, where I'll be giving away FIVE copies of A Light in the Window over the course of the month, either e-book or signed printed manuscript, so I hope you'll be a part. Here's the link and hope to see you there!


GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS!!!
Hugs,
Julie

LION OF BABYLON by DAVIS BUNN - REVIEWED


Lion of Babylon 
By Davis Bunn
Published by Bethany House
ISBN#978-0-7642-0905-5
378 Pages

Back Cover: Marc Royce works for the State Department on special assignments, most of them rather routine, until two CIA operatives go missing in Iraq--kidnapped by Taliban forces bent on generating chaos in the region. Two others also drop out of sight--a high-placed Iraqi civilian and an American woman providing humanitarian aid. Are the disappearances linked? Rumors circulate in a whirl of misinformation.

Marc must unravel the truth in a covert operation requiring utmost secrecy--from both the Americans and the insurgents. But even more secret than the undercover operation is the underground dialogue taking place between sworn enemies. Will the ultimate Reconciler between ancient enemies, current foes, and fanatical religious factions be heard?


Review: Bunn hits a home run with this new novel that has you rooting for his main character Marc Royce. I’m thankful for the review copy of Davis Bunn’s suspenseful action novel introducing the first book in a new series and Marc Royce, a man who walks out his faith in amazing and dangerous situations.

I was instantly captivated from the beginning of the novel, “The current Administration in Washington is fractured. Top to bottom. I’ve never seen such in-fighting. Worse than Nixon. It’s a virus that’s eaten into every dept, including Intel. They need a voice they could trust. Someone who’s beyond politics. I advise what Intel is fact, what is biased and what is pure political lard.”

“Who watches the watcher?” Marc Royce asks.

“Everyone” Ambassador Walton replies.

Marc Royce was on a leave of absence from the Bureau taking care of his wife during her illness when Ambassador Walton dismissed him from intelligence. Now he wanted him back? His friend Alex was missing. They think it had to do with an issue tied to the Green Zone Chapel – the underground church in Baghdad! Marc heard enough from the Ambassador – Personal matters aside, He’d take on the mission.

The heart of the story shines out in the middle of the action, drama and complex plot. Davis Bunn worked and lived in the Middle East and Israel. He’s very familiar with the underground church there, has an understanding for the people their culture and love of the land.

Marc Royce is asked to help find his friend Alex, who’s been kidnapped. This author gives the reader a visual snapshot of this region, helps them understand the traditions of the people and their history all throughout this page turner.

This is a deeply moving and memorable novel that will leave you wanting more. You’ll want to read the next book in this series called Rare Earth, where Davis Bunn takes Marc Royce and the reader on another mission impossible. I highly recommend it!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

RARE EARTH by DAVIS BUNN - REVIEWED


RARE EARTH 
By Davis Bunn
Published by Bethany House Publishers
ISBN#978-0764209062
368 Pages

Book Cover: Davis Bunn Strikes Gold Once Again!

Marc Royce stares down from the helicopter on the Rift Valley slashing across Africa like a scar. Tribal feuds, drought, and dislocation have left their devastation. And he sees a new wound--a once-dormant volcano oozing molten lava across the dry landscape--and clouds of ash obscure his vision. His undercover assignment is similarly obscured. Supposedly dispatched to audit a relief organization's accounts, Marc finds himself amid the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps caught in a stranglehold of corruption and ruthlessness.

But his true task relates to the area's reserves of once-obscure metals now indispensible to high-tech industry. The value of this rare earth inflames tensions on the world's stage as well as among warring tribes. When an Israeli medical administrator, Kitra, seeks Marc's help with her humanitarian efforts, they forge an unexpected link between impoverished African villages and another Silicon Valley rising in the Israeli desert. Precious metals and inventive minds promise new opportunities for prosperity, secure futures, and protection of valuable commodities from terrorists. As Marc prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes a chance to restore justice to this troubled land. This time, he may have gone too far.

Review: After Marc’s last mission in Baghdad, life has not been normal. “In fact, Marc Royce, decided the best way to handle it now was stop trying to define what normal was.”

Marc Royce is on another mission impossible, all the while keeping the main thing…the main thing. I enjoyed that aspect of the story, the rich characterization and intricate plot with all the surprises and drama.

This author’s work experience in the Middle East and his compassion and understanding of the people and their traditions radiate through out this story. He delves into crucial issues with sensitivity I appreciated.

Guard asks, “Pastor Philip wishes to know if the Lord Jesus ordered you to come.”

Marc, “I would like to think that Jesus guides my every step. But I am human enough to know that there is too much of me in everything I do.”

I love how Davis Bunn naturally weaves his faith message amongst the drama and action. Jesus is with us always. I like how this author is not preachy but lets the reader know a relationship with Jesus is important to Marc Royce and others in this novel. I was moved to read how faith united Marc and the people of the Middle East. They shared the same father.

I’m thankful for the review copy of this novel which depicts Marc being thrust into the middle of a highly explosive situation. He goes undercover to work for a relief organization. He seeks to get to the bottom of the chaos reeking havoc on refugee camps in Kenya. Warning to readers this is a nail biting suspenseful mission that will keep you up reading. The author leaves the reader wanting to know what will happento Marc Royce next. I know that Davis Bunn will have Marc in the middle of a mission that shows the reader all things are possible with Christ working in us and through us! I highly recommend this riveting novel and series.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

GIVEAWAY & SERENA B MILLER'S INTERVIEW@TBCN






ABOUT AUTHOR: Serena B. Miller is the author of The Measure of Katie Calloway and Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman's World, Guideposts, Reader's Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and more. She lives on a farm in southern Ohio.


How did you come up with the idea for A Promise to Love?

A.     My dad once commented that his mother married for love, but that his father married for convenience. That statement was the basis for the birth of this book. My grandfather was an impoverished, widowed farmer with five children. He was a handsome man, and kind, but his land was thin and poor. The youngest child was just a few months old when they married. Grandma was a hired girl who walked past his house every day on her way to work and saw the mess the man was in. They had three children together after their marriage and my father was the youngest. He always found it remarkable that she loved and was loved by all the children so much that he was nearly ten years old before he realized that his mother was not the biological mother of all his siblings. As the youngest, he was frequently pressed into service to help her carry the family wash to “The Faraway Spring” which was our family name for a spring way back in the woods that never went dry (and which is mentioned in the book.) My grandmother always laughed that her “honeymoon” lasted for as long as it took for her and grandpa to walk the quarter mile from the small church where they were married, to their home. Upon her arrival, her immediate concern was the family’s laundry, which had piled up terribly. I believe she said it took her approximately two weeks to get that house whipped into shape, and then she went after “her” baby Bertie when Grandpa came home without him. The scene where she sits in the living room until they give the baby back to her is loosely based on a true account in our family of how Grandma fought to bring her own Bertie back into the house. At one point in their marriage, Grandpa told her that she was a better mother to his children than his first wife, and Grandma treasured that comment for the rest of her life. The book I wrote is not a biography (Grandma did not go through the fire of 1871) but there are bits and pieces of her life I enjoyed weaving into the story.   

 Why write Christian Fiction when you could write any other market? What’s the draw for you?

I’m not sure I could write any other kind of literature. Even if I tried to write secular stories, Christ has always been such a big part of my life, I think it would be difficult to keep a faith element out of them.   


What was your favorite scene to write in A Promise to Love? Why? What was your most difficult? Why?

My favorite scene to write was right after she’s been so terribly hurt by him for rejecting her, and she lays there in bed redefining the rest of her life with a man who does not love her. When he hears her chopping firewood in the middle of the night and goes to investigate and isn’t quite sure if he should get within swinging distance of that axe she’s wielding, it was quite satisfying to see him not sure how to handle himself around her.

The hardest scenes to get right were those happening during the fire. I had read so many first-person accounts of the horror of those few hours and I was trying to portray the reality of the enormity of the fire without it being too graphic. There were two scenes I wrote and then took out because the images (which were from real-life) haunt me still. I decided I didn’t want my readers to have to deal with those mental images, also. . 

 What questions and feelings do you want your book to provoke on a spiritual and emotional level?

My greatest hope would be that it might help each person reading the book to reevaluate and recommit themselves to their marriages and their families. The moment when Ingrid’s little step-daughter asks if she’s ever going to walk out on them, and Ingrid promises that she never will, is a pivotal one. It defines Ingrid’s faith and personal integrity. I hoped to leave the reader with courage to face the tough stuff of life with a little more nobility.

How does the cover process work for you? Did you have any say in picking out the cover for your books? I've really enjoyed them.

I am given a list of questions to fill out. Things like the color of hair, eyes, etc. Very mundane stuff. Then Revell’s artists take that dry-as-dust list of questions and create something magical. I've gasped both times I've first seen my covers. They were beyond anything I could have hoped for. I was especially impressed with the fact that A Promise To Love had Ingrid against a backdrop of cherry blossoms. In the book, trying to keep those fledgling cherry trees alive was a terrible ordeal for Ingrid and Joshua. The fact that the artist resurrected that beautiful dream of a cherry orchard and put it on the cover really got to me. I hadn’t even thought to mention the cherry orchard on the list.

What do you like most about the writing process? What do you like least?

I honestly love every bit of the process. The interesting research. The excitement of the rough draft. The self-editing process. I even enjoy, to some extent the editing work I do with my editor, Vicki Crumpton, because she always helps make the manuscript better. The only thing I do not enjoy is having deadlines. It seems that no matter how hard I work, I’m always down to the wire. On the other hand, if I did not have a deadline, I’d probably work on one manuscript forever and never start a new one. There’s a fine line between doing one’s best and becoming obsessive. I would become obsessive if deadlines didn’t force me to hand the manuscript over.


 Can you tell me about two WOW—moments you've had since being published? What made it a wow for you?

Oh my, the night I won the RITA for The Measure Of Katie Calloway was quite a WOW! I was up against such wonderful writers that I had not allowed myself to even dream of winning. I was just grateful for being a finalist. I couldn't attend the banquet because I was trying to push through to another deadline that was looming. I was in the same room as my husband, who was watching TV, when I saw on-line that I’d won. I was so shocked, I shrieked. My husband said, “You WON?” and then he jumped up and danced me around the room, both of us crying and laughing. It had been a long, hard journey to that point, and that sweet man had prayed me through all of it. Only two years before, he had been desperately ill and we had not been sure he would live. All I could think about that night was how incredibly grateful to God I felt that my husband was alive and healthy again and able to celebrate this good thing with me.

Another WOW moment was a much quieter one, but profound. A young friend, about fifteen-years-old lost her father suddenly. I had just published my first book, Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, Ohio, a book written against the back drop of Amish country and her mother had a copy. A few months later, my young friend told me that she had read that book six times while going through the days of her father’s funeral and visitation and the weeks afterward. She said that being inside the world I’d created felt like a safe place to be when things were so scary, and that it had helped so much. That book took many months to research and write, but I would do it again just for the comfort it gave that one precious girl. That’s the kind of comment a writer can live on for years.

FUN QUESTION I JUST HAD TO ASK 


A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for a couple of days. What would you do with it? Any events you’d like to experience? If so which ones?

I’d kinda like to interrogate the Apostle Paul about some things that, in my opinion, could use some clarification. I’d definitely like to be one of the women at the tomb. It would be fun to talk with Lazarus for a while—after he’d had a bath and put on some fresh clothes, of course--but I’m assuming you’re talking about non-Biblical things? 

Outside of the Bible, I have often wished that I could go back in time and be present at a meeting between Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. I think of the deep depression that Lincoln fought, and the self-doubt Grant felt going up against the great General Lee. I wish I could go back and tell both of them that it was going to be okay and that they ultimately managed to hold our country together. I would also warn Lincoln to NOT go to the Ford Theater  Things would have gone so much better with the restoration of the south had he lived. Oh—and on the second day of my time travel, I’d love to go spend it with the great Shawnee chief, Tecumseh. I’ve always had a bit of a historical crush on Tecumseh. What a man! And if there was any time left over on the machine, I’d head on over to Monticello and hang out with Sally Hemmings for a while and see if I could get her to tell me exactly what the heck was going on between her and Thomas Jefferson!  

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?

I’d be the one figuring out a hundred and one ways to prepare fish and getting huffy when not everyone liked my culinary experiments.

What THREE things would you not want to live without?(besides your bible, family and friends) 

1) I really, really love my home in the country that my husband and sons built.  It is my sanctuary. 2) I make my living with my computer, so that’s very important. (Although I’m pretty good with an old manual typewriter if push ever came to shove.) 3) My good, sharp, chef’s knife would be hard to live without along with my crock-pot which I rarely even put away.  

What movie impacted you most as a child? Why? If you didn’t go to the movies much what books impacted you the most? Why?

We didn’t have television or go to the movies when I was little, but The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder was unforgettable. That’s the book that made me realize that words alone could transport a person into another world. I read it in the dead of summer, and was so immersed in it, that I clearly remember looking out the window when I finished and being shocked that there wasn’t any snow outside.

What is something that would surprise readers if you told them? 

I rarely read fiction anymore. Actually, it surprises me, too. The problem is, I’m so busy doing research for future books, as well as writing my own, that there just doesn't seem to be much time left over. After a lifetime of being a voracious fiction reader, I miss it.   

ANY FINAL COMMENTS AND/OR THOUGHTS FOR READERS!!

If a reader is inspired by or simply just enjoyed a book that a Christian writer produced, please consider passing it on to another reader or recommending it to someone who would enjoy it. Perhaps even pray that it gets in the right hands and consider leaving it on a bus seat when you’re done. There is a lot of darkness in the world and we’re trying hard to use our God-given talents to light a few candles in as many homes as we can. Janet Oke once remarked that she considered each copy of any of her books to be a paper missionary. So do I.

Serena 

Thanks for stopping by and letting us get to know you and your books better!
I’m so excited that Revell will be giving away 5 copies of Promise to Love this month. I’m also thrilled that you’ll be part of the discussion. It’s going to be fun!!


With a grateful Heart

Nora St.Laurent
The Book club Network CEO

YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO STOP BY @TBCN AND ENTER THE 5 BOOK DRAWING FOR SERENA'S NEW BOOK A PROMISE TO LOVE! TODAY www.bookfun.org!

SEE YOU THERE www.bookfun.org 



GIVEAWAY & JULIE LESSMAN UP-CLOSE & PERSONAL -





ABOUT AUTHOR: Julie Lessman is the popular author of A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied, as well as A Hope Undaunted, which was one of 2010's Booklist Top Ten Inspirational Fiction winners, and A Heart Revealed. Lessman has garnered several writing awards, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She lives in Missouri.


1.) Why write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?
Are you kidding? To me, romance is not romantic unless God is in the center! I used to read secular romance novels, but frankly I got SO sick of the world pushing its amoral agenda that I decided to try and write my own where I could push God's agenda instead. For my tastes, there’s nothing “sexy” about sin in a romance novel or movie. I’ve had people tell me that Bridges of Madison County was one of the most romantic films they have ever seen. Seriously??? Since when is adultery romantic, no matter the situation! Maybe that’s just me, but I personally can’t enjoy romance (in a movie or book) unless it is according to God’s precepts OR unless it uses sin to point the reader TO His precepts. That’s the reason I love Inspirational Romance so much.

My thinking was to promote His precepts with the lure of the same kind of passionate romance that I fell in love with at the age of twelve, when I read Gone With the Wind, which, by the way, is when I started writing my novel A Passion Most Pure. Back then I wrote 150 single-spaced pages of what is today my debut novel, but I didn't finish it till after I turned 50. But better late than never, I guess, eh?

Nora: Oh, Yeah!! God's timing is perfect. I'm thrilled you chose to write in the Christian Market!

2.) Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has surprised you? If yes, what do you like the most?

Uh, no. I wish I’d known what an emotional roller-coaster it was going to be AFTER I got published. Like a lot of unpublished writers, I thought all the anxiety and self-doubt would dissipate after I signed on the dotted line. I mean that would validate me, right? Give me confidence as a writer? But I discovered (AGAIN!) that true confidence is not in accolades from your editor or a really good review, but instead in where your heart is with God. HE is my confidence when my sales rankings on Amazon.com are high or low, which is why I CLING to the following Scripture from 2 Corinthians ll:3: Do not let my mind “be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

Nora: This is why I pray for you all on the front line writing the stories the Lord lays on your heart. It's not easy.

What do I like the most? Writing dramatic, breathless and compelling love scenes. Sigh.
Like the least? With books sales, reviews and awards, focusing on self instead of on God. Yuck!

3.) What is your favorite scene in A Love Surrendered? Why?
Oh, that’s easy. There are actually two, and both are spiritual scenes that literally rip my heart out every time I read them. The first is a scene where the heroine Annie, who has been angry at God since her preacher father died of cancer six months earlier, is crying in her room one night, missing her father terribly. Her aunt hears her and attempts to comfort her by giving her a letter she’d been saving for Annie’s birthday as instructed by her father who wrote it before he died.

I literally sob when I read that scene because it so reminds me of the powerful love of our own heavenly Father for each of us. The scene is too long to post here, but if anyone would like to read it, I actually posted it on my Excerpts tab http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/ ) of my website under the header “Spiritual Scene” for A Love Surrendered.

Nora: That was a powerful scene Julie. I appreciate you sharing this and the excerpts.
The second favorite scene is much shorter, so I am posting it below. Basically it’s at the end of the book where the hero Steven finally gives his heart to God after his father divulges things from his own past that Steven can relate to. Here is that scene:
“God will help you do the right thing.”
His father’s parting word opened his eyes, prompting him to search the heavens. “Will you, God? Will you help me to do the right thing, not just with Annie, but with the rest of my life? I …” His whisper broke in the dark, hoarse and cracked and so desperate for change that emotion choked the words in his throat. “I-I’ve made so many mistakes … with my father, with Maggie, with you. I’m begging you …” A heave shuddered his body. “Forgive me, please … and change me like you changed my father … and help me to become the man you want me to be.”

The steady beat of the rain drummed on the roof while the cold air chilled his body, the cool and damp of impending winter heavy in the air. And yet somehow, Steven felt warm, his breathing shallow as his eyes scanned the sky. There were no bolts of lightning to illuminate the dark nor peals of thunder to herald anything new. Only the still small voice of God in his heart stirring a flame of hope that brought peace to his soul.

He leadeth me beside the still waters ... He restoreth my soul … He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness …

“I don’t understand—why do you even care?” Steven rasped, eyes brimming with tears.
Because you are mine, the thought came, and Steven bowed his head and wept.
Because for the first time in his life, he finally understood.
He was.

Nora: That's the beauty of your story and the theme of a Passion Most Pure in all areas of our life. I like how you show the human side and how God is interceding on our behalf! I like how you naturally interweave the spiritual theme into your stories. They are not preachy. I also LOVE your humor and family get together!

4.) Which scene in A Love Surrendered did you have the most fun writing? Why?
HA! As a bonafide CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), I would have to say all the scenes between Luke and Katie, the powder-keg couple from book 1 in this series, A Hope Undaunted. They are both so strong-willed, that it’s just a blast to write a scene where they butt heads, which they do quite often AND quite well! :)
5.) What has surprised you about being a Grandma? What’s your grandbaby’s name and how old are they how? What do you enjoy most about this time in life?
Rory - Julie's Grand baby
This is a little silly, I guess, but the thing that surprised me the most was that I actually refer to myself as “Grandma” now, which I did NOT initially want to be called. Originally I opted for the name JuJu instead because as the 2nd youngest of 13 kids, the term “grandmother” left a bad taste in my mouth since my own grandmas were reallllly old and white-haired and not nice to us at all.

My prayer partner kept telling me that being a grandmother was THE BEST thing ever, but to be honest, I didn't buy it. When I used to work at a large company as a travel writer, women would bring their babies in and while all the other ladies would crowd around, I’d head for the ladies’ room because I am just not one to fawn over babies or kids. But … I will say that this little gal (Rory, who is now one year old) has made me eat my words and then some. I still remember the day my daughter came home and found me on all fours, gooing and fawning in a high-pitched chipmunk voice over my granddaughter on a blanket, making a royal fool out of myself. “Never thought I’d see the day,” she said with a shake of her head, then promptly got down on all fours and joined me. J

Julie and her Grand Daughter - Sweet

Nora: I adore the pictures of you and your grand baby. My grandson just turned two. I love when he stops by and runs through the door screaming my name, "Mi Mi!! Where are you?" Arms open wide ready for a big hug! Nothing like it!

What do I enjoy most? Oh, without question, the giggles and smiles—on both my precious granddaughter’s face AND mine!!
The worst? Baby-proofing the house—yuck!!






Have you been surprised by readers’ reactions to one of your books, to one of your characters? If so, which ones or what surprised you?
Readers’ reactions? Oh, you bet!! Once I read a review from a person who said she stayed up late to read it, then got in the tub the next morning to read a few chapters and finished the book—in the tub!—all 475 pages!! I actually found this tub review (written by a blogger I didn't even know) via a Google Alert, so you can bet I e-mailed her to see if it was true. She assured me it was quite true and that, yes, she was quite pruned by book’s end!

Another reviewer I didn't know wrote that she read the book while heating her curling iron, eating her breakfast, at stoplights on the way to work and … are you ready for this?? Under her desk at work during lunch hour, so she wouldn't be disturbed! I have to admit, responses like that tickle me to no end!



What surprised me the most about readers’ reactions to a character was how much everyone hated Charity in book 1, A Passion Most Pure. I actually had one reader say she loved A Passion Most Pure, but could I do her a favor—slap Charity for her! Another reader said she had this overwhelming desire to see Charity “maimed or killed.” But personally, I have always loved Charity (just like I loved Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind), maybe because she is so wonderfully flawed and needy of love, not unlike I used to be before Christ. I can tell you one thing—it was SO much fun redeeming her because she is such a hoot in the later books, actually making me laugh in almost every scene she is in. J



7.) What was your most memorable reading group experience? What made it so special?
A Passion Most Pure Book Club Meeting
Without question it was at a Life Way Store in Atlanta a few years ago, hosted by none other than Mrs. Nora St. Laurent herself. What made it so special? Well, beside the fact that I got to speak and laugh with a large group of incredibly wonderful women, I was also blessed to meet YOU, my friend, for the very first time—a friendship that has brought me more joy than I can say. :)

Nora: I was THRILLED to meet you too! I'm so glad we met and I was able to hear your testimony first hand. I'm so excited to see how God is using you through the stories He's having you share!
8.) Can you give us a peek into what you are working on right now and when it will be out?
Yes! Although I usually only have one book release a year, I’m very excited to announce that I have THREE books coming out in a six-month span! A Love Surrendered—the final book in the O’Connor family saga—released October 1st. Then my Marcy/Patrick e-book prequel, A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story releases November 9 and I am SO proud to say that my artist hubby designed the cover and my daughter modeled for it! Then, April 1st, book 1 in my new Heart of San Francisco series, Love at Any Cost, releases, so there’s lots of “Passion with a Purpose”—my tagline—coming, and here are the blurbs for each:


A Love Surrendered:

He broke her sister’s heart.
Will she be next?

Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt, longing for romance to fill the void of her parent’s death. But when she falls hard for Steven O’Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart, too, when he discovers she’s Maggie’s sister?

New E-Book Release out soon





A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story:

One Woman. Two Men.
One stirs her pulse and the other her faith.
But who will win her heart?
Marceline Murphy is a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues. But when two of Boston's most notorious pursue her, attraction, dreams and faith only muddle her mind. Can the light in the window illuminate the path of true love?

Julie's Daughter Model for book Cover A Light in the Window



I Love the cover of this one













Love at Any Cost:

Fooled by a pretty boy once, shame on him.
Fooled by a pretty boy twice, shame on me.

Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who just as soon hogtie a man as look at him … until Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well lassoes her heart. But when Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than him, Cassie finds herself bucked by love a second time, sending her back to Texas to lick her wounds and heal her heart. In her absence, Jamie discovers money can’t buy love, but love built on faith can set a heart free, a truth he discovers a little too late … or is it?

As far as works in progress, I am halfway through book 2 in The Heart of San Francisco series, working title Dare to Love, which is my ninth novel. Like book 1 in the series, Love at Any Cost, there is spontaneous combustion between the two main characters right off the bat! My spunky, hot-tempered Irish heroine goes head-to-head with my hard-as-nails, Italian police-detective grouch of a hero in the first chapter—or maybe I should say the first round. I have to admit, I’m having WAY too much fun at the expense of these two in a relationship that goes from fireworks to a flaming romance in the short lick of a fuse. Here’s the premise: A sassy socialite burned by love twice butts heads and hearts with a jaded cop burned by the upper class.

FUN QUESTIONS – QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK
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?
Two things immediately come to mind. First, prayer warrior. To me prayer is more important than anything else I do because I do not want to make a move, take a step, draw a breath, without God, and I trained myself LONG ago to make Him my first resort, not my last in absolutely every single thing I do, be it buying a dress or writing a book.
Secondly, I would like to be the one who decorates the grass huts or tree houses because I seem to have a knack for making something cozy and homey out of almost nothing. For instance, when I got my very first apartment at the age of twenty-one, somebody gave me a huge over-the-sofa picture that was ruined in a fire, but the frame was still intact. I sanded and painted the charred frame black, then covered the scorched picture with burlap in which I placed branches and various dried flowers into a sweeping floral arrangement. It was so pretty and eye-catching, that people would compliment me on it and it cost me almost nothing. Next, I asked a friend’s father to cut and bolt together some two-by-fours I found in a junk pile in order to make little end tables and a coffee table that I sanded and stained. They actually looked store-bought and cost me nothing since I borrowed the stain. :)

Nora: I can attest to you being a prayer warrior. For that I am thankful. Pleasantly surprised about your decorating talents. Do you give lessons? Grin!
Julie getting into the spirit of Christmas

If you could be a super hero for a day, who would you pick and why? (you can mix and match powers if you’d like, you an author you can be creative! Grin!)
Oh, Wonder Woman, of course, because I love her long hair and cute outfit, and the “invisible jet” she flies wouldn’t be bad either …

Nora: Oh, Yeah, "invisible jet"! I'm game!
What three things would you rather not live without? (Besides friends and family)
The Bible aside, of course, I would say—laptop, lip gloss and love stories. How’s that for alliteration???

Nora: Lip Gloss is a must, It's amazing all the things we can read on our Laptop, nook and Kindle. It makes it easy to carry around the bible and other things! 
Can you tell us something about yourself that would surprise people?
Yes, I used to be a Duck Tape Queen! I’ve used it for every and anything—from wadding around a rod to lift sheers up an inch off the floor (my husband HATED that one!) to taping it over itchy labels in a blouse or mending a tear in my purse. You see, I’m dirt-practical like my father used to be. Although he was an eye surgeon, that man would throw a wad of string over the telephone wire outside his bedroom window so he could tell which way the wind was blowing, and like father, like daughter, I guess. :)

Nora: My father said you could fix anything with Duck Tape! LOL! I had to smile and laugh when I read this.

Name three books you adored as a child?
I don’t remember my mom reading to me when I was a child, but in grade school, I got hooked on romance BIG TIME! When the bookmobile came to our school once a month, I would have a stack of Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney-style books almost as tall as me. And then one day, my life was irreversibly changed forever when I picked up a copy of Gone With the Wind. This is the book that launched my romance-writing career at the tender age of twelve and the number one book I adored as a young girl! I think I may be one of the few people around who actually LOVED Scarlett O’Hara … and don’t even get me started on Rhett Butler! My second favorite book was To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee—incredible storytelling! And my third? Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt. Sigh.

Nora: My Mom and Dad didn't read either. I didn't start reading until I started to run book clubs. I have Gone With the Wind to read because you talk about it so much!! And many of the author I've interviewed have said To Kill a Mocking Bird was an incredible read too. They are top on my list! Thanks for sharing these!

JULIE, ANY FINAL COMMENTS YOU WANT TO LEAVE MY READERS WITH?
Thanks, Nora, for allowing me to connect with your readers. I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me through my website at http://www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/.

My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways including two right now to win a Kindle Fire or have a character named after you or a loved one in my next book. Contest details can be found at http://www.julielessman.com/contest/.

Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” at http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/, which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing.

Or readers can check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website at http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/.  

Finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.

Hugs,
Julie

THANKS for stopping by Julie and letting us get to know you and your books better. I read A Love Surrendered and have to say it's my favorite of your books so far. The cover of your new book A Light in the Window looks intriguing. I can't wait to read that.

REMEMBER EVERYONE - YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO ENTER the DRAWING of the 5 Book GIVEAWAY @TBCN. ENTER TODAY www.bookfun.org!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
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