Walk it Out
By Tricia Goyer
Published by David C. Cook
ISBN# 978-1434710994
224 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Women often pack their lives with family, friends, and faithful service, yet still end up feeling empty and unfulfilled. In Walk It Out, Tricia Goyer demonstrates to women that walking out the mandates of Scripture allows God to spark passion and mission within them.

Whether believers realize it or not, God intended for them to do what the Bible says: adopt the orphan, take the gospel into all the world, and care for the needy. These are mandates that point believers down the path of true living and eternal life.

Sometimes those steps are easy, but many times they require a move outside of what feels safe or secure. When women stop focusing on their own dreams and purposes and instead focus on God’s dreams and purposes, everything changes.

REVIEW: Tricia Goyer is one of my favorite fiction authors. Her stories are intriguing and her characters stay with me long after I close the book. When an opportunity came along to read about her spiritual journey I jumped in. Tricia gives readers a peek into her life as an author, mom, wife and her passionate pursuit of a loving relationship with the Savior. The book was written as if Tricia sat down with me to share her heart and inspires me to do the same. I loved her transparency. She encourages readers to walk out what God has laid on their heart to do. This author shares how failures and/or bad choices don’t define you. Because God is here to redeem the broken-hearted, set the captives free and turn things around for His glory and our good.

Tricia is the first to tell you we won’t be perfect this side of heaven. She also knows that life is messy and God chooses the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things if we let Him. Tricia gives examples from her own life on how God has used her. Wow!

I was encouraged by Tricia’s candor when she says, “I wish you could see me right now…my bedroom would be the last place I’d want you to see..for good reason. It’s a mess….I mean plastic-bins-filled-with-books-blockading-the-side-of-the-bed mess, which means I have to crawl from the foot of the bed to my pillow to get into bed…We crammed a desk into this room too, it’s littered with kids homework papers, therapy schedules, writing projects & psychiatrist’s notes. I dig around for 10 minutes just to find anything, and sometimes I don’t discover it on the desk, but in one of the piles on the floor.”

“Where did this mess come from? I’ve authored more than 60 books, and since I started writing 20 years ago, I’ve worked at home. A year and a half ago John and I cleared out my home office and library and hauled it all into our bedroom. We did this because our 4 new daughters needed rooms.”

Tricia shares her journey of how God moved in her and her families heart to take in foster children, adopt these children and for a season start up and run a pregnancy resource center. She says, “When I began to walk out scriptures’ mandates…– God sparked passions within me I never knew existed. My life became the racial result of living God’s word one step at a time. It didn’t happen overnight, but looking back I see God’s hand guiding me, bringing me to this full house and abundance, overflowing life.”

This is an inspirational heart-felt testimony showing how God filled this family with a love that spilled over to others God put in their lives and how we can be filled with that kind of love and life too. I highly recommend everyone read this book. You’ll see God can and does far more than we can imagine if we walk out the call He has for us!

“In this process of putting feet to your faith, you are never alone.” Phil 2:13

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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine
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One Christmas Bear
Written and Illustrated by Anne Vittur Kennedy
Published by Tommy Nelson
20 Pages

About Book: Count the Blessings of Christmas
Follow the merry adventures of a polar bear and the arctic animals as they enjoy winter fun! From crunchy candy canes and frosty snowballs to friends to play with and a family to love, your little one will enjoy counting God’s wonderful gifts. 

Anne Vittur Kennedy has been delighting young children with her humorous and playful books for thirty years. Her awards include American Library Association’s Notable Books List, Teacher’s Choice, The Green Earth Book Award, and The Green Prize for Sustainable Literature.

REVIEW: This is an adorable, colorful, delightful board book I enjoyed reading with my little ones. It’s a counting book that has a fun-loving bear who meets friends to play with on every page. They make snow angels, decorate a Christmas tree, have snowball fights, slide down hills etc.

Charming animals fill each page. One of the says, “Seven frosty snowballs all go flying through the air. Seven merry buddies all go sliding on the bear.”

Every page I read made me smile. I liked the message throughout the story. Especially loved the what it said at the end! This book is great for preschoolers and up. You will enjoy reading this together with small ones and they will enjoy reading it over and over themselves.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook site. 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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine
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ECPA Announces the Finalists for the 18th Annual Christy Awards™
Winners to be Announced at Christian Fiction Gala at Lipscomb University in Nashville on November 8 Awards and Gala Celebrate Excellence in Christian Fiction and Storytelling

Tempe, AZ – Today, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) has announced the finalists for the 18th annual CHRISTY AWARDS™. Winners will be announced at the awards gala, taking place on November 8 at Lipscomb University in Nashville TN, which will be hosted by best-selling Christian authors Karen Kingsbury, Andrew Peterson and Chris Fabry. 

“As the new caretakers and curators for The Christy Award™, we are thrilled with the list of 27 finalists in the nine Christian fiction categories,” said Stan Jantz, Executive Director of ECPA.

The nominees are:

Contemporary Romance:
Her One and Only, Becky Wade (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
The Red Door Inn, Liz Johnson (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)
Rescue Me, Susan May Warren (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)

First Novel:
Counted with the Stars, Connilyn Cossette (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
Like a River from Its Course, Kelli Stuart (Kregel Publications)
Stars in the Grass, Ann Marie Stewart (Barbour Publishing)

General Fiction:
Long Way Gone, Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)
The Promise of Jesse Woods, Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, Beth Moore (Tyndale House Publishers)

Like a River from Its Course, Kelli Stuart (Kregel Publications)
The Mark of the King, Jocelyn Green (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
Miriam, Mesu Andrews (WaterBrook)
Historical Romance:
A Note Yet Unsung, Tamera Alexander (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
From This Moment, Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
The Lady and the Lionheart, Joanne Bischof (Mason Jar Books)

If I Run, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
When Death Draws Near, Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson)
Without Warning, Joel C. Rosenberg (Tyndale House)

Short Form:
Looking into You, Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
Mirror Image, Laura Scott (Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense)
Restoring Christmas: A Novella, Cynthia Ruchti (Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Worthy Publishing Group)

The Alliance, Jolina Petersheim (Tyndale House Publishers)
King’s Folly, Jill Williamson, (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
The Long Journey to Jake Palmer, James Rubart (Thomas Nelson)

Young Adult:
If You’re Gone, Brittany Goodwin (Edge of 22 Publishing)
The Silent Songbird, Melanie Dickerson (Thomas Nelson)
Unblemished, Sara Ella (Thomas Nelson)



She sang this song Wow
This was the stage

DELIGHTFUL ANNOUNCEMENT made by Laura as she asked if we minded her eating a cracker. Laura and her husband are expecting baby number four and it's a boy! Last night we got to meet her three children and they said a little something to the audience. One of the almost three-year-old twins tried to make off with Laura's guitar.

The women's ministry handed out water and coffee to go along with the yummy mini cookies they were serving. This is how we started. It was Great.

They made parking easy. There was help filing every car in spots one by one.
We had a Great Girls'Night Out 
I enjoyed hanging out with this beautiful young lady that so happens to be my daughter. I'm grateful for her and the fact that she won these tickets from 104.7 The Fish.

Thank you, Hilary, for driving home. The rain came down and the lightning lit up the sky! I definitely prayed my way home, It was a night of worship, fun, fellowship, and laughter. Laura is transparent in what she shares and keeps the main thing the main thing. I appreciate that. She's the real deal!

The next time you can catch up with Laura is at the Family Life Center at Johns Creek Church October 15th  It's called a Night with Laura Story. You can get tickets at this website   Other events can be found on her website.

First time we met Laura Story downtown Atlanta soon after her song Blessings came out

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins


Ted Dekker will have a new book to be released in May, 2018. The 49th Mystic: Beyond the Circle. It's a whole new story in the universe of Black, Red, and White. 

Ted Dekker says, "Two books, two worlds, one story, one year. (2018) So I have to know: How many of you have read the Circle Books? Please let me know below. I'll pick one of you to send a PDF of the 49th Mystic now, 8 months before it comes out  " 

We're on the hunt for all readers of the Circle. These books are the culmination of all that has come before. Much more on that next year."

Reply to Ted on his FB page. You can leave a comment here too if you'd like. 

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins 



CLICK ON THEIR HEAD SHOTS - It will take you to their Author page

Must Answer ONE Question to be entered into the Drawing. Only one Kindle per winner!
Discussions open AUGUST 21st at "Live" Chat Event.

Coming in November for a December Giveaway:

It’s FREE and Easy to ENTER
JOIN TBCN if you are not already a member
LOOK for AUTHOR HEADSHOTS (like you see here)  – 
CLICK them to get to the authors' page 
JOIN their author page and Enter.

IT'S FAST!  Have any questions Feel Free to contact me Nora St. Laurent



Contest is at The Book Club Network Kindle Fire HD8

(5) different AUTHORS giving away Kindle Fire HD8 from Now until Christmas.

JOIN today it's Free, Fast and easy.

ENTER to Win one of these KINDLE FIRE HD8's Today.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins


A Time to Stand
By Robert Whitlow
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN# 978-0718083038
416 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: In a small Georgia town where racial tensions run high and lives are at stake, can one lawyer stand up for justice against the tide of prejudice on every side?
Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable—defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.
This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

REVIEW: “White cop shoots African-American youth” – racial tensions rise. Everyone reacts from their understanding of the situation. Hatred is fueled and things get heated. We see it in the news. This author takes readers on an unexpected journey as characters seek justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

The story kicks off with readers getting into the police car with Officer Luke Nelson as he goes about doing his job. He responds to a possible 211 – armed robbery in progress. He’s too far to go to the crime scene but hears the dispatcher give the fleeing assailants description and the direction they head. Tension builds and emotions escalate as readers scout out the area with Officer Luke to find the suspects. He’d worked on the Campbellton police force for 18 months and this was his first 211. When he worked in Atlanta he responded to calls like this every week. He knew the drill.

After Officer Luke Nelson tries to capture the assailant the story switches and readers are introduced to Adisa Johnson; a young female African-American attorney who has taken a break from her “dream job of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta,” to take on a pro-Bono case she believes in. All is well until a split-second decision changes the course of her life and career.

While reeling from her work situation Adisa gets a call concerning her Aunt Josie. She headed to the hospital in Campbellton as fast as she could. When she got there the town was in an uproar about a controversial case. She felt bad about what happened but she didn’t have time to think about it. Her life’s dream had just blown apart and her heart ached for her Aunt’s health condition.

“Lives are at stake; can one lawyer stand up for justice against the tide of prejudice on every side?” This author did a brilliant job of showing this horrific situation from many viewpoints. It is a multi-faceted story that takes place in a small town in GA. I was apprehensive about reading this book because I didn’t know where the story would take me. The author has the gift of getting readers to instantly connect with and care for his characters. I liked that he gave readers a front row seat as the facts unfold in the case.

This author acutely shows how fast hate and miss-conceptions can fly every which way! The situation can quickly become bigger than the small town. The author shows what happens in the church and how the boy’s family handles things. The reader sees Luke and his family struggle with what happened and sees the back lash from the community.

This situation seems impossible until the people let God intervene. God can do far more than we could ever imagine. Both Adisa and Luke struggle with letting go. Do they leave God out of this and handle it themselves? What could it hurt to seek God’s counsel? Pray.  Lay it all down at His feet.

A Pastor says this in the middle of the storm, “It’s time to stand! To look past differences the Lord created and come together in the unity of God’s spirit! To stand in agreement that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. To stand together on earth as we will one glorious day…...”

This is an amazing, heart-wrenching, hopeful read that shows how God can intervene if we let him. This is not a preachy book. It’s an honest look at what could happen if people pray and let God move in their lives. When He intervenes, hearts change so does our perspective; no matter what storm we face. I liked the plot twists and surprises inside this powerful drama.

This novel will get you thinking and praying. This is a must read for everyone. It will make a great book club pick as the author includes seven discussion questions to help navigate your lively book club meeting. Robert Whitlow hits it out of the park with this one. It will move your heart and have you look at life differently. If you haven’t read this author before I highly recommend this book. It’s a keeper.

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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine

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ABOUT AUTHOR: Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written seventeen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three most popular authors of Amish fiction.

She's won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer's Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn't realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn't allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times, Luann came to Cindy's house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them--afraid that if they didn't, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann's because her family didn't own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults' disapproval and the obstacles in each other's lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy's family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities--from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest. 

An interview with Cindy Woodsmall,
Author of Gathering the Threads

Q: The Amish of Summer Grove series introduces readers to a pair of girls, one Englisch and one Amish, who were switched at birth. What are some of the challenges each faced when pushed to experience the life she would have lived had the switch never taken place?

Cindy: Ariana, who was raised Amish, battles to keep her sanity and survive in a lifestyle she’d never considered living. Her biological dad has devised what he calls a “bucket list” because he believes if she returns to the Amish ways, her life will be over. Her thinking and faith are undermined at every turn, and the changes demanded of her break her in ways her Englisch dad can’t understand. She finds it appalling he wants her to remove her prayer Kapp and wear modern clothes. She struggles when he insists she has some length cut from her hair. She’s never had scissors used on her hair. She must learn to drive. She also must study various religions and learn the original meaning of words in the Bible. Her biological dad’s goal is to undo her religious beliefs.

Skylar, who was raised Englisch, agreed to live with her Amish family to avoid rehab. She’s used to living a very comfortable lifestyle. The Englisch parents who raised her were never married and never lived together, so she’s learned throughout the years how to play them against each other to get what she wants. Suddenly she’s in a poor home, stripped of her cell phone, electronics, and spending money. Her immediate challenge upon arrival in the Amish community is how to score prescription drugs. A tight-knit family and community is foreign to her. Manipulating her authorities isn’t easy, and in this home, everyone works to put food on the table and to keep a roof over their heads.

Nora: I was instantly drawn into this story. I was surprised along with the characters about their predicament. I love how you made me feel for each girl and their family. I felt their struggles as each tried to navigate their new worlds. They also started to reevaluate what they were taught to believe and figure out a new normal. This story is powerful!

Q: What are some of the questions about identity the girls must work through as they adjust to life with their new families?

Cindy: Ariana’s journey is about coming to a place of not submitting to the authority over her when she thinks and sees things differently than that authority does.

In book two, Fraying at the Edge, Ariana adjusted to life with her Englischer family. Three months later she comes home, and that’s where Gathering the Threads opens. She left as a sweet, obedient Amish woman, and now she’s being accused of bringing the world into her insular Amish community. Yet she can’t compromise the gains she has made in her own personality and in her relationships. Is she still the “rule follower,” or is she now an “activist,” pushing others to open their eyes to see a broader life and a bigger God?

Nora: I think everyone can learn from Ariana’s struggle.

Skylar feels rejected by both families, passed over in favor of the “good” and “giving” Ariana. Skylar needs to work through her jealousy and her desire to put herself above others, but can she? Being self-centered comes naturally for her.

Nora: Both of these girl’s struggles were heart breaking but hopeful. I loved these books (especially Gathering the Threads) I couldn’t put them down. I liked how you showed this dilemma from all sides making the reader evaluate their own lives and why they believe what they do and how that affects every aspect of their lives.

Q: Today’s news stories, even our social media feeds, are full of people arguing and treating each other poorly due to a difference of opinions. As Christians, how can we be respectful of others’ beliefs while standing for the truth?

Cindy: Ariana wrestles with this very thing in Fraying at the Edge when she is living with her birth parents. In Gathering the Threads, she’s returned to her Amish community a changed woman who must stand up to some of the backward thinking and biases her older bishop holds.

It’s important to remember we have the ability, even when we are overwhelmed with emotions, not to dump our feelings on others. It’s helpful to remind ourselves we are all wrong at times. We’ve all had situations take place where we were lied to or were misinformed. If we’re as right as we think, why lose our temper over it?

I remember telling my mom about something really negative someone had said about me, and my mom asked, “Is it true?”

I shook my head, “No.”

“I don’t think so either, but always ask yourself if what was said is true. If it is, look at yourself and choose to change. If it’s not true, ignore it and move on.”

When we don’t like something, anger is our go-to response. It begins quite young for all people. Toddlers, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic background, are known for throwing tantrums.

As adults, we don’t have to let anger take control of us. We can take control and be in control. We can deal with our overwrought emotions in a way that makes us stronger and tomorrow better.

Nora: Amen! Amen! I do like how you have Ariana handle this situation. It really makes readers stop and think about their own lives. I loved that about these stories (actually all your books Grin!)

Q: Ariana was deeply conflicted between respecting the parents who raised her and the pull of the world outside the Amish community. How was she able to balance the two sides and still hold on to her faith?

Cindy: Her emotions were a wreck much of the time, but she didn’t let them have the last say or rule her actions. She could see the extremes in each lifestyle — the Amish and Englisch — and she saw each way of life had strengths and weaknesses. When too confused to know what to believe, she talked to Quill, a good friend she rarely agreed with but who’d been through many of the same things as Ariana. He took her to a planetarium, her first time to go to one, to view images from the Hubble telescope of the universe and galaxies. While there she saw the power and awesomeness of God and realized He was bigger than anyone could understand. Suddenly faith wasn’t about rules and lifestyles. It was about the God of energy and light and creation beyond what she could comprehend. She saw God had a way of her tiny life in the huge universe to be what He designed it to be. 

Nora: Both Quill and Ariana have had similar experiences. Each struggled to discover who God made them to be. They had to be true to that. They couldn’t be anyone else. I liked how you showed that.

Q: Skylar experienced a culture shock when she arrived in Summer Grove. What lessons did she learn from her new Amish family that helped her overcome her battle with drug addiction?

Cindy: Oh, my, where to begin when it comes to Skylar! I’ve had readers contact me, sharing they felt she was unredeemable and wished I wouldn’t waste any more time on her and just toss her to the side to focus on Ariana and her Amish family. That surprised me, and it hurt because I have someone in my life who once had many of Skylar’s traits. We can’t give up the fight. Everyone wants the sweet, stalwart child. However, like winning the lottery, reality doesn’t give us everything we want.

Skylar lives a selfish life unchecked. Her desires for admiration and drugs are a bottomless pit of hunger, but despite those things, when Ariana was forced to live with her biological parents, Skyler was the only person who had the ability to save Ariana’s cafĂ© from going under. Skylar is smart and talented, but her addiction threatens to ruin her life before it can really get started.

It was quite a battle for Skylar to get clean, and she fought with her Amish family to leave her alone and let her be an addict. One Amish sibling fought back, saying, “Don’t let something that cares nothing about you control your life. It will make you as apathetic as it is. Fight, Skylar. Decide that you, your family and your future are worth more than these stupid pills!”

Other things came into play concerning Skylar and her addiction, but Skylar finally understood the value of life. She began the battle to get clean and stay clean. 

Nora: I think many people can learn from Skylar’s struggle and what she finally understands about how precious life can be.

Q: What lessons in hope and faith do you hope readers takeaway from reading Gathering the Threads?

Cindy: Metaphorically, we often have an idea or vision or number in our heads of what life and people are supposed to add up to be. In reality, life is messy and confusing, and it’s rarely what we thought it would be. Even God doesn’t always add up to our ideas or dreams or that elusive number, and we can’t make ourselves, others or God add up. We must accept and believe despite all the messiness and confusion. In the series, Ariana realized there were many translations of God’s Word, and it seemed to her there needed to be more grace and less legalism about exactly how to live. That’s the theme. Hebrews 13:9 says, “It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace.” 

Nora: You stated, “In reality, life is messy and confusing, and it’s rarely what we thought it would be.” That’s what I loved about this book. I liked how you showed this fact; that nothing is perfect and tidy even in an Amish community. God is in control and we aren’t. It’s a powerful concept you explained through both families.
Cindy Woodsmall speaks to Finding Hope Book Club

Q: Is there a subtle, maybe even hidden lesson you hope readers consider as well?

Cindy: I think there are many. A fictional story has the power to slip into a reader’s skin and enable her to see nuances of understanding that make life as broad and beautiful as God intended. I didn’t intentionally write hidden lessons, but when readers slip into a character’s world, they often discover things the author didn’t see. As readers, personal insight is our superpower.

Nora: I know I’ll be reading this book again. The story is rich. There were so many things to consider. I was blown away on many levels.

Q: Gathering the Threads is the third and final book in your Amish of Summer Grove series. Is it difficult for you to end a series and leave the characters behind?

Cindy: Yes and no. After three books, there are many pieces to put together and many facets of the story to juggle and remember. It’s a bit of a relief to get to start a fresh story, but at the same time, it feels like I’m saying good-bye to close friends. How can I not write any more about Ari, Quill, and Skylar? Possible spin-offs about their future lives fill my mind when I close my eyes at night, even though it’s not feasible to bring those to the page right now. The good thing about book-friends is they are always there on the page and in my heart whenever I want to visit them.

Nora: I would hope that the Lord lays it on your heart to tell another aspect of their story. I think it would be wonderful.

Q: Can you share a little bit about the book you are you writing next?

Cindy: I just finished writing my first non-Amish novella with my daughter-in-law, Erin. It comes out in October and is titled The Gift of Christmas Past. I’m currently writing a full-length non-Amish book that will release in the fall of 2018. Its working title is Soft Dusks and Noonday Fire, and the setting will be the beautiful St. Simons Island, Georgia. I have an amusing, spunky cast of characters I think my readers will enjoy getting to know.

Nora: Wow, I’m excited about these new projects. I’m making a list!

Learn more about Woodsmall and her books at She is also active on Facebook (@authorcindywoodsmall). 
Caught up with Cindy at ICRS Conference 2014

Thanks to Audra Jennings of Litfuse for allowing me to post this interview on TBCN Blog.

If you haven’t read this series and/or this book I highly recommend it. If you haven’t read books one and two don’t worry Cindy does a great job of catching readers up to speed to begin reading Gathering the Threads. But I suggest you read one and two afterward because you’ll grasp the depth of the situation and how profoundly this affected everything they were raised to believe. It also will show how it also affected both families.


ABOUT AUTHOR: Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author whose two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award for 2010's Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and being with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at

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

MELANIE: One “Wow” moment was definitely when I met with my first editor, Jacque Alberta of Zondervan, at the ACFW Conference to ask her if she’d had a chance to read my book, The Healer’s Apprentice, that my agent had sent to her two or three months earlier. (I was actually so sure she had already rejected it and I just hadn’t heard that I tried three times to get out of that appointment!) But when she started telling me she loved the book and hoped Zondervan would publish it, my jaw probably dropped to the floor! She said she’d been meaning to let my agent know. She started telling me some of the scenes and characters in my book that she loved, and I was on cloud 9, wishing that 15-minute appointment could have been an hour!

Nora: I loved your debut novel and the trailer. When I first viewed it I felt like I was watching the beginning of a full-length movie.

MELANIE: Another “Wow” moment was definitely when the wonderful team at Thomas Nelson started emailing me and congratulating me on making the New York Times Bestseller list! That was a dream I had hardly dared to hope would really come true!

Nora: Congratulations! That is exciting!

What keeps you sane in the middle of craziness? Hope in the middle of stress and Life’s storms?

MELANIE: Definitely, God and His Word, just reminding myself of all His assurances. I have certain verses on sticky notes all over the place. Right now I have Romans 15:13 right in front of my chair where I sit and write. “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

And it helps that my two beautiful daughters are amazing, and I know they are counting on me to stay sane. Ha!

Nora: Thank you for sharing this verse. It is encouraging. Rejoicing with you in your Wow moments.

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

MELANIE: I’m not sure I could take God completely out of most of my stories, and I really don’t want to. God is the biggest part of me and my life, so I enjoy infusing some of my love and faith into my characters.

Nora: What I’ve enjoyed about the spiritual thread in your novels is that it’s organic and not preachy. It’s a natural element that each of your characters deals with in one way or the other. I enjoy the internal struggle and/or place they get to when they realize they need Him.

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

MELANIE: Right now I’m working on my Aladdin story, set in my Medieval German world of Hagenheim. It will actually be the 8th book in that series, which began with The Healer’s Apprentice, which I never intended to turn into a series at all. Ha! The title is The Orphan’s Wish, and it should be out around September of 2018. I am absolutely in love with the story and characters already. I love orphan heroes.

Nora:  I’m marking my calendar. I look forward to reading that one. Grin!

How much research do you put into your historicals? Did you discover some fascinating tales that made it in your book? Some that didn’t?

MELANIE: I found out that the youngest prime minister in Britain’s history was William Pitt the Younger, whose father had also been prime minister, and that he was only 24 years old. I had wanted my hero’s ambition to be that he would become the youngest prime minister, but he was already 24.

I do a lot of research, but I also sometimes ask the experts, people I know have been studying Regency England much longer than I have. But there are always facts and people that you discover in your research that don’t make it into the book. After all, as a novelist you don’t want to write a history book, you want to write an exciting story.

Nora: Oh, Yeah! I LOVE learning about history through novels. When I read your books, I feel like I’ve been dropped in that time period. Experiencing a little history first hand. It’s so much more exciting than reading a history book.


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?

MELANIE: I am usually only a leader when no one else will step up to the plate. But when someone else is giving orders, I’m a follower. I’m also an encourager and an empath, so I’d be telling everyone how well they were doing, and when someone got hurt, I’d give them lots of sympathy. 

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? (besides meeting Jesus and company – that’s a given Grin!)

MELANIE: That’s a tough one.  I’d probably want to go back to Medieval times and spend some time checking out the castles and knights and jousting tournaments and trying to figure out what I got right and what I didn’t.

Nora: Fun!

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

MELANIE: My older daughter’s sigh of contentment when she hugs me, and my younger daughter telling me she loves me.

Nora: Ahhhh! Love that!


MELANIE: I so appreciate my readers! It means so much to me when they tell me one of my books inspired or helped them in some way. And I appreciate you, Nora! Thanks so much for being such a great friend and supporter all these years! You are very sweet and inspirational yourself! I love your story. God bless you for all you do.

Nora: Thanks, Melanie, that means a lot to me. I remember us working together on running an online book club before your first book came out. I remember you speaking to my book club in person. I was excited for you then even more thrilled for you now.

Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I liked, A Spy’s Devotion; once again your novel has a smart and relateable female character I enjoyed hanging out with. This lady was feisty and faithful to do the right thing with no care for her own happiness. Her faith and courage have inspired me. You also have some moments in the book that make me cheer and some that got me teary eyed. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to point people to this series and your books.


1.  What do you like most about reading a Regency story?
2.  If you’ve read any of Melanie’s books; which are your favorite. Why?
3.  If you could time travel would you go to the past or the future first? Why?
4.  Out of all the sounds in all the world which are your favorite? Why?


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To READ the rest of this interview GO TO BOOK FUN MAGAZINE Click Link Below

Nora St. Laurent The Book Club Network Inc.
You can read author interviews, reviews, learn about book signings and about TBCN giveaways on the blog she created called The Book Club Network blog,
Nora also does author interviews and reviews for Book Fun Magazine  

Nora has also run book clubs face to face and on-line with more than 100 members. She enjoys working part time for the Public Library as a CSA.