Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NEW RELEASE: Patti J. Smith "Christmases Past - Volume 4 - The Pearls of Christmas"

The romance between Sarah and Jason bloomed as the war in Vietnam escalated. Jason avoided the draft by enlisting in the Air Force with hopes of being assigned stateside. Those hopes were dashed when he received orders for Thailand.
Sarah waited nervously as he served his year-long tour, relieved when he returned unharmed. They began planning their future together but because peace talks with the North Vietnamese failed, Jason was recalled to participate in an operation that would eventually lead to the end of the war. This time he didn't make it home.
The story follows Sarah as she struggles to get past the grief and on with her life. A life that takes a surprising turn after a tragic accident.

What are readers saying about story?

"Patti J. Smith continues Christmases Past with a tender love story set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. "The Pearls of Christmas" examine the delicacy of the human mind when face with tragedy. Can spirits touch one another across the miles when they are truly one?
For a quick but worthwhile read, grab some hot tea and "The Pearls of Christmas."

"This is Volume Four of the Christmases Past series, and Patti J. Smith has created a wonderfully heartbreaking and heartwarming story set in the Vietnam War era.

Jason Jacobsen volunteers for the Air Force the day after he graduates from high school, leaving behind his sweetheart Sarah Anderson. At first, it's not all that scary. They exchange almost daily letters and frequent phone calls. Jason stays stateside until he has a brief tour in Thailand. No phone calls then, but the letters are regular. Even so, Sarah has a recurring nightmare of a chaplain showing up with Jason's dogtags to report his death.

When he is released from the Air Force, they think their fears are past--but he gets a recall notice. He's optimistic, though, that he will be home by Christmas. Just in case, he sends her gift--a string of pearls and a scarf--that arrive a couple of days before Christmas. Then her nightmare comes to pass. The chaplain tells her and his parents that there is no hope and they need to accept that Jason won't be coming home.

Beyond all reason, Sarah refuses to accept that reality. "

The Amazon Kindle link for the story is:

Patti J. Smith was born in Wimpole Park, England. She lived in England and Morocco as well as several state-side Air Force Bases and considers her father's last assignment, Moses Lake, Washington, her hometown. She audited for the Dept. of Labor and Veteran's Administration Offices of Inspector General, served in the U.S. Army Reserve (Transit Control Unit and Criminal Investigation Division) and recently retired as a background investigator.

Patti lives in Vista, CA with her husband and has three granddaughters. She serves as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Co-leads Rachel's Hope After-Abortion Healing Retreats and sings in her parish choir.

Her writing includes devotionals, light romance and suspense, and her strong faith is reflected in each genre.

She is a prolific blogger and reader, and proudly admits to being a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and Fantasy Football fanatic. Her travel adventures include Spain, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Fiji, South Korea and almost all states - including Hawaii and Alaska.

Follow her blog:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NEW RELEASE: Peggy Blann Phifer "'Tis The Season In Sweetland - Volume 4 - Silver Bells And Candlelight"

Rozene and Pastor Mike Carson have been seeing each other since May, their relationship deepening with each passing day. When Mike finally proposes, their lives enter a new stage of exciting preparations. When and where would the wedding take place? Where would they live? Who would be the Maid of Honor? The Best Man?
Rozene had already started the process to adopt all four girls from the Youth Acres Group Home—Veronica, Shira, Melanie, and Misty, three in college and one in high school—and the preadoption trial period would be up in early December. But now that Rozene and Mike are engaged, Mike also wants to adopt them all right after they’re married, to make them a forever family. Would they agree to that? Would the girls consent to taking on the Carson surname as their own? The excitement builds as December 27, the wedding date, draws near. But Rozene, even while going through the wedding plans, is terrified at the prospect of becoming a pastor’s wife. What does she know about that? What, exactly, does a pastor’s wife do? Fear and trepidation plague her. She wants to marry Mike, loves him with all her heart. But a pastor’s wife?

The Amazon Kindle link for the story is:

"Do you enjoy romance? Do you enjoy stories that show how love can make a difference in the lives of others? Then Silver Bells and Candlelight is the tale for you. Rozene is a widow who opens her home to four orphaned teens. Misty, Shira, Veronica, and Melanie learn for the first time the meaning of belonging to a family. It gets better when Pastor Mike and Rozene become friends. Will they become more than friends? And if that happens, what happens to Rozene's foster teens?"

"Peggy Blann Phifer continues the Sweetland stories in Volume Four of Tis the Season in Sweetland. Rozene has overcome grief and opened her heart to four girls who need a home. Pastor Mike has grief of his own to bear, but he, too, embraces others in "Silver Bells and Candlelight."
Expectations real and imagined can muddy the season's delights.
Can four girls trust again? Will Rozene move forward or allow fears to trap her forever?
Light the candles and ring the bells!"

Peggy Blann Phifer retired from an executive assistant position after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale industry. She came to writing later in life when a prayer she wrote appeared in a two-volume Guideposts Book compilation, 'Prayers for Every Need,' in 2000. She self-published her debut novel, 'To See the Sun,' which released in January 2012. Her writing has appeared in three anthologies in 2014 with Helping Hands Press, with a fourth coming up. A novel she just completed, 'Somehow, Christmas Will Come,' will release sometime in November 2014, from Elk Lake Publishing.

Widowed in October 2012, Peg now makes her home in northern Wisconsin in a home she bought together with her daughter and son-in-law. The three of them share the house with three cats, one dog, and one granddog. She converted a third of the house into a cozy 'apartment' where she spends most of her time writing.

Peg has three children, six grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and numerous other granddogs and great-granddogs.
Follow her blog "Whispers in Purple," and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

NEW RELEASE : Ruth L. Snyder "Uplifting Devotionals for Parents"

Have you ever wanted to resign from parenting? The responsibility is overwhelming some days. Thankfully, we don't have to parent in our own strength. God walks with us each day, strengthening us, guiding us, and giving us wisdom - if we ask. As you'll see in these readings, I'm still learning. My prayer is that God will use these devotionals to provide encouragement, help, and joy in your parenting journey.

The Amazon Kindle link for the Devotional is:

"If you think you're the only parent whose kids ...... you'll want to read Ruth Snyder's Uplifting Devotionals for Parents. Her honesty and humour in dealing with a rowdy, dynamic, and very normal family brings God's love into perspective in a gentle, accepting, and most of all, believable way. Parents, grandparents, and anyone who knows anyone raising kids will enjoy this short, but, yes, uplifting book."

Ruth L. Snyder was privileged to spend the first 10 years of her life in southern Africa where her parents served as missionaries. From there her family moved to Canada, settling in Three Hills, Alberta. Ruth enjoyed her years as a "staff kid" at Prairie and is grateful for the biblical grounding she received there. She now resides close to Glendon (the pyrogy capital of Alberta, Canada) with her husband and five young children. Ruth enjoys writing articles, devotionals, short stories, and Christian fiction. She is a member of The Word Guild and The Christian PEN. Ruth currently serves as the President of InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship.

Ruth's children have taught her many things about living with special needs. She is a strong advocate and spent several years serving on the local public school board.

Ruth loves her job teaching Music for Young Children. She is fascinated by children's imaginations and enjoys helping young children learn the basics of music through play.

In her spare time, Ruth enjoys reading, crafts, volunteering in her local community, photography, and travel. Several years ago, Ruth and her family traveled through 28 States in 30 days! Find out more about Ruth and her writing at

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Writing Process by Anne Baxter Campbell


I suppose there are as many different writing processes as there are writers. And really? I’m not too sure I have a process! I realize most people are going to write about how they go from point A in their novels to point Z in the publishing process. Therefore, I choose to be different.

I write every day. I can’t remember the last day when I wrote nothing at all. Even on days when I’m “taking the day off,” I usually answer emails and check Facebook. Okay—I admit it. I’m addicted to written communication.
My day usually starts out with email. There are always a few to answer or initiate, because, you see, my brain didn’t stop when I went to sleep. It kept going. Then I check the blog to see if anyone has commented on a post, share it to Twitter and Google Plus (it’s already been shared with Facebook automatically), and if it’s a book review, I copy the review to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, or wherever else.

Then Facebook—I go to my timeline and share that blog to a few other places on Facebook as appropriate. Oh, yes, also check messages, accept or reject friend offers (what is it with spammers anyway?), and see if my family or friends have posted neat stuff. (Okay, so not everything I do is work-related.)
After that, I dive into editing and writing. I usually have a blog post to do, sometimes a guest blog for someone else, or an interview. Finally—I get to splash around in my own creations—fiction. Love it. Fiction is where I get to live the life I wish I could live. Well—sometimes—except when my heroes and heroines get into trouble. Can’t say I’d love to be captured by slave traders or be run over by a horse-drawn chariot. I’ll leave those adventures to my characters, ones who usually have more strength and stamina than I do.

Long story shortened mercifully: I write. Pretty much all day every day. On Sundays I try to limit it to devotionals (after church, of course) or something relaxing (games of Scrabble, for instance). Occasionally, there’s a deadline I can’t postpone though.
So, six days a week, ten to twelve hours a day…Write on, Write on, about and with His Majesty, our Lord and King. It’s not work—it’s joy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Memory Challenged, the Bermuda Triangle of my brain by Patti J. Smith

Life brings us subject matter for future writing projects every day...a long lost memory, a profound statement, an event, a random thought or even a dream. I don't know about you, but my memory is no longer the steel trap I had in my youth...and as quickly as an idea comes to me, it disappears into the Bermuda Triangle of my brain.....never to be seen or heard from again.

I now accept the fact I'm "memory challenged", and am doing something about it. I now have a notepad that goes with me everywhere. No matter where I am ... the grocery store, a parking lot, a restaurant ... my new best friend is there. I do get funny looks at church when I jot down a verse or something the priest says, and my husband gets a tad bit annoyed when I wake up in the middle of the night from a dream, and turn on the light to document an epiphany ... interrupting his slumber...but it's worth it. My days of lost inspiration are long as I remember the pencil!


Patti J. Smith was born in Wimpole Park, England. She lived in England and Morocco as well as several state-side Air Force Bases and considers her father's last assignment, Moses Lake, Washington, her hometown. She audited for the Dept. of Labor and Veteran's Administration Offices of Inspector General, served in the U.S. Army Reserve (Transit Control Unit and Criminal Investigation Division) and recently retired as a background investigator.

Patti lives in Vista, CA with her husband and has three granddaughters. She serves as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Co-leads Rachel's Hope After-Abortion Healing Retreats and sings in her parish choir.

Her writing includes devotionals, light romance and suspense, and her strong faith is reflected in each genre.

She is a prolific blogger and reader, and proudly admits to being a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and Fantasy Football fanatic. Her travel adventures include Spain, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Fiji, South Korea and almost all states - including Hawaii and Alaska.

Follow her blog:

What’s in a Name? by Melanie M. Jeschke

What’s in a Name?
J.R.R. Tolkien found inspiration in words and names. After inventing his own languages, he began to wonder about the people who would have spoken them. What was their history and culture? His musings led to the creation of an entire mythology in The Silmarillion and eventually to The Lord of the Rings.

To a far humbler extent, I also find inspiration from my characters’ names. Just as my husband and I prayerfully and carefully chose the names of our children, I give considerable thought to the names of my characters and the back-stories their names evoke. Let’s take for example the protagonist of my series The Oxford Chronicles: David MacKenzie. David happens to be the first name of one of my sons as well as my nephew, and I like the name for its kingly biblical connotation and its meaning of “beloved.” The name David suggested to me that my protagonist would be a man of strength, a warrior (at least in a spiritual sense), an athlete, a leader, a beloved son, and a “man after God’s own heart.” My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was “McKenzie,” a Scotch-Irish derivative of the Scottish “MacKenzie” (which means “son of the king”), but a dear friend with Scottish heritage, who had greatly encouraged me in my early writing ventures, urged me to use the Scottish spelling.

The Scottish identify opened a whole new story line to me. My protagonist’s father had to hail from Scotland. How did a Scotsman end up in Oxford, England? What was his back-story? My friend and her husband traveled with me to Scotland to help me “discover” the history of David’s father, Eric MacKenzie. We located the MacKenzie clan’s lands near Gairloch in the north western highlands of Scotland, and stayed there in a lighthouse over-looking the Irish Sea. Naturally, a good Scotsman has to be a golfer, right? And so, we drove to the eastern shore of Fife and walked the Old Course of St. Andrew’s, where providentially we met the head caddy who “happened” to be a MacKenzie and who shared some wonderful stories about other MacKenzie caddies. We visited the nearby fishing village of Anstruther with its picturesque harbor and stayed in stately Cambo House with its lovely gardens and golf course along the coast. The richness of the Scottish setting evoked Eric MacKenzie’s back-story and inspired the plot of my World War II novel Evasions.
So, to quote the Bard: “What’s in a name?” Why, possibly a great deal. A name could just spark the plot and setting for a new novel.

Melanie M. Jeschke (pronounced “Jĕsʹ-key”) is the author of The Oxford Chronicles, including Inklings, Intentions, Expectations, and Evasions, as well as Jillian Dare, the Oxford chapter of Rick Steves’ England guidebook, and numerous travel articles. An adjunct professor of English, pastor’s wife, and mother of nine, Melanie resides in Northern Virginia.


Monday, October 20, 2014

“Abraham Lincoln Likes my ‘Cattle Drive’ Book” By Big Jim Williams

“Abraham Lincoln Likes my ‘Cattle Drive’ Book”

By Big Jim Williams

I spoke with Abraham Lincoln the other night,” I said.
“You did what?” asked my friend. Dan.
“I exchanged words with the Great Emancipator,” I repeated.
“But Abraham Lincoln’s been dead a hundred and fifty years.”
“I thought so, too, but that didn’t stop him from swapping words about politics, books, and how the Dodgers are doing?”
“The Dodgers? The baseball team?”
“Abe’s a big fan. Watches all the games”
My friend cleared his throat and smiled at me like a straightjacket salesman measuring a new client.
“The great Civil War president,” I continued, “came right into my dream.”
“Ah, now I understand,” said Dan. “So you admit you were dreaming.”
“Of course. But things were just as real as when John Wayne rode a horse into my bedroom last week when I was dancing with Marilyn Monroe. Pooped on the floor, too.”
“The horse, John Wayne, or--”
“The horse of course,” I interrupted. “A man can always use another scoop or two of fertilizer for his garden.”
“Jim, those are sure mighty strange dream you’re having,” said Dan. “But all you writers are weird or you wouldn’t be writers.”
“The real nice part about my dream,” I continued, “is that Honest Abe, the Old Rail Splitter, said he’s been reading my new western novel, Cattle Drive, and liked it. Said it was some of the most exciting words he’d read since writing the Emancipation Proclamation.”
“You’re kidding?”
“Nope, I wouldn’t lie about something that important. Abraham Lincoln sure made my day, or should I say night. Said he also loved my new series, Jake Silverhorn’s Revenge, and would be delighted to write a supportive blurb on the back of my Cattle Drive book if I wanted one.”
“An endorsement by Abraham Lincoln!” exclaimed Dan. “That’s unbelievable.”
“That should help sell a few copies,” said I.
“So, what did our sixteenth President write on the book jacket?”
“He wrote, ‘Cattle Drive by Big Jim Williams is a great book about the Old West. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a page turner full of cattle stampedes, double-dealing gamblers, wild women, friendships, broken promises, and more gunplay than a night out in Ford’s Theatre.’”
“Wow! President Abraham Lincoln actually wrote that?”
“But I still find your dreams hard to believe?” questioned Dan.
“Now,” I said, “all I need to do is get book endorsements from John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Amazing Journey By Karen L Kosman

Amazing Journey
Karen L Kosman

When God steps in and changes the direction of your life get ready for an amazing journey. Many of us have experienced moments in life when circumstances seemed beyond our control. During those times we feel stuck and question, “What am I supposed to do? Why can’t things just stay the way they are?”
For years, I’d worked as a trainer in the field of phlebotomy. Then the unexpected happened when I became ill. Medical tests were taken to disclose the reasons behind my kidney infections, respiratory infections, and joint pains that suddenly plagued me.
My doctor’s words still came as shock. “Karen, you have lupus. I’d advise you to retire, because of the stress in your job.”
Six months later, I finally gave in to his advice. During the first month of retirement I walked from room to room at home and asked, “Lord, what am I to do the rest of my life?”
His answer came as gentle whisper, “Write.”
I shook my head and whispered, No, I must have misunderstood.
I continued to pray, and I asked, “Lord, please send me a mentor if this is your plan for my life.”
The following Sunday I woke with a sense of anticipation. The beautiful blue sky and fluffy white clouds added to the joy in my heart. That morning a new family placed membership in our church and as our pastor introduced them he said Cynthia McClure was an author and inspirational speaker. She became my mentor and her words always encouraged me to move forward.
I began attending writer’s conferences where I met wonderful, loving people who shared with me their world of journalism: Their language seemed foreign and their lifestyles seemed out of reach. But as I began writing I felt a mounting elation inside of me. And when my first article was published I did a happy dance! Even more astounding was when my physical symptoms, of my illness, went away. My immunologist said, “Lupus is a hard disease to diagnose. You have been misdiagnosed.”
Today, as a published author, I know God used my diagnosis to change the direction of my life. It has been an amazing journey, one that continues even today. Recently, together with several other authors I have written my first fiction for Helping Hands Press. The setting for our stories is in a country town known as Sweetland. Added blessings are the friendships being formed among the authors.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Anne Baxter Campbell Devotional - "The Kingdom of Heaven is Like..."

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like...

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. (Matthew 18:1-5, NKJV)

Why would Jesus say we need to become like small children? Children are messy: They spill their milk, push food on the floor, throw their toys everywhere. Children test our patience constantly. They lie to get themselves out of trouble, steal cookies, hide cell phones.... Oh, the list could go on and on.

And yet--Jesus wants us to be like children. What is there about children we need to emulate?

They are honest in their affections. They don't pretend to like someone because that person is richer, more important, better looking. And--if your hair is a mess, they will tell you if you ask them--but they will still love you.

They have an avid curiosity. They soak up information with amazing eagerness. If we could learn during our entire lives at the rate children do--wow. Computers couldn't store anywhere near as much information.

They believe without reservation that if they jump, you will catch them.

Prayer: Lord, may we become like children who will believe You can catch us when we fall--or even when we jump and shouldn't--if we just trust You. May we be like children eager to learn more of You. And Father, may we give You all of our honest affection. You are deserving of all this and so much more! Amen.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Dutch Author Writing American Civil War Stories by Marian Baay

A Dutch author writing American Civil War stories.

Early 2013, author Murray Pura asked me to join his new Civil War series. I seriously doubted his wisdom in asking me – a Dutchie who hardly knows anything about the American Civil War – to write a story about this very same war. So, I declined.
Until then, I simply thought it was impossible to write about a place I had never visited.

However, the idea to write did not leave my mind. Several months later, I finally decided to give it a try. And so it happened that my research began about a place I had never visited and about a war I hardly knew anything about. A story idea had begun to form in my mind, and now I only needed to find the right city or town in the United States where the story was going to take place. After googling on ‘Dutch in the Civil War’ I was led to Michigan and I started reading everything I could find online about this state. So, for my debut story, Heaven Is Not Far, the internet was the main source of my research.

For my second story, The Officer’s Daughter, I downloaded several free Kindle books. I found most info about the war background that I needed in Union General Sherman’s memoir. Although Sherman was not in Nashville during the battle of Nashville, he did write about his correspondence with General Thomas who was in command of the Union army in the city. An eyewitness account of someone who lived in the hills around Nashville gave me the info I needed about the weather and how the area looked back then.

U.S. Army veterans have helped me understand the military ranks and terms and other info about the army I didn’t know.

During my research, I also use Google Earth and Street View Maps to visit the places I am writing about. Of course, everything looks different 150 years later, but it gives me a good idea of hills and woods and streams in the area.

It was—and still is—lots of fun to write about this period in the American history. However, it can be hard to read about all the horrible things that happened back then. Therefore, I try to add a touch of romance and hope to my stories. Even during the time that the states were at war, people did fall in love and hoped for a better future with their loved ones.

Marian Baay lives in the Netherlands, together with her husband and dog, near the North Sea. She enjoys reading a good book, hiking in the woods, dunes, or nature reserves. As a lover of animals, she has always had various pets to brighten her world. In the outdoors, her imagination runs wild and seeds for stories are planted there.
Marian likes to read and write in various genres, but romance is an important ingredient in her stories. The love between a man and woman is such a wonderful gift from God that she likes to add a touch of that heavenly delight into all her stories.

Find Marian online at:
Amazon Author Page: