Saturday, December 20, 2014

To Laugh Once More (Book 2, Snippet 8): Inspirational Novel By Sherrie Wilson

An Inside Look at book two, To Laugh Once More, by Sherrie Wilson!

To Laugh Once More is a Victorian Inspirational Romance set in Georgia in 1895.

The War may be over but the battles still rage.

A dissatisfied wife. A misunderstood husband. Three tragedies will alter their path forever. Will their choices tear them apart, or will they allow them To Laugh Once More?

Three years after her marriage to Hamilton, former debutante Lydia Barrington Scarbrough is dissatisfied with life. She has yet to have children, and she spends most of her days sitting in a circle of women chatting about homemaking. She thought life would be more than what it's turned out to be. Hamilton travels on business and never takes her with him. What's a lonely wife to do when she has no children to raise? She longs for adventure and romance, and really, she longs for the fulfillment of her purpose in life. A purpose beyond being a wife and raising children.

Lydia faces a series of hardships that stretch her faith beyond capacity. Leaving her childhood home in Florida for Georgia proves to be more difficult than she ever imagined, and her marriage may not survive the trials. Lydia’s own personal battles drive a wedge between them. What will it take to make Hamilton attempt to save their marriage and draw Lydia back to him?

As Lydia strives to etch out a place for herself in a new world full of unfamiliar prejudice and attempts to overcome her private battles, she must help Hamilton understand her deepest longings and learn the true meaning of joy. Will she surrender her will in order to find her purpose? Will her future hold a happier marriage, motherhood, and a calling greater than she could ever have imagined?

Ready for a Sneak Peak? Enjoy snippet 8 of 10 below:

Snippet #8
Lydia focused her eyes on the wall across from her and bit the inside of her mouth to keep from exploding at her sister's words. How could these women not be frustrated with this mundane life? Everything had remained the same at Live Oaks from year to year, except now the cries and laughter of seven grandchildren permeated the walls of the mansion.
Lydia stood and shoved past the settee and the piano, which she'd never learned to play. She narrowly missed the English teapot that sat on a tray on the table in front of the sofa. The orange slices and bowls of sugar and cream wouldn't have garnished the wood floor as well as they'd graced the tray. Despite Lydia's tantrum, the warm teacakes, sprinkled with sugar, fanning out around the teapot, disappeared one by one by the hands of her amused sisters.
She rushed to the window and pulled back the draperies. The bushy-tailed squirrels scampered about the lawn collecting the nuts buried back in the fall and chattered with excitement at each unveiled treasure. The birds chirped in the trees, looking for seeds in the dormant grass. The worms, the innocent victims of the birds' voracious appetites, poked their heads out of the soil, and the birds devoured them seconds later. In the distance, the cows mooed as they waited milking on this dreary day, and the chickens clucked. Nothing changed around the plantation.
Why couldn't she climb the moss-draped live oaks and the cypress trees that towered above her childhood home? They were the only things that had ever blanketed her in protection. However, married women, especially ones who'd already turned twenty-four, couldn't do such things. Married women couldn't do many things.
She turned to face Mother and sisters. "Oh, you don't understand. I've been a wife for three years now, and I feel as if I've done everything a wife can do and nothing I want to do. Planning the meals and mending socks is hardly fulfilling for a spirited young woman like me." They didn't understand that she was born to be more than just a homemaker.

About the Author:

Sherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, and a former homeschooling mom who’d rather have laugh lines under her eyes than worry lines across her forehead. She lives in Georgia with her husband, her two children and her Chihuahua, Posey. Her favorite thing to do when she’s not with her family is to curl up with a good book or work on her current work-in-progress. She loves to dream of visiting romantic places and is passionate about the Lord, motherhood, homeschooling, and writing. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once MoreSong of the Meadowlark, and To Laugh Once More. She is a columnist with Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

Connect With Sherrie:



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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Baths: Christmas Fun with Health Benefits!


Nothing Like A Christmas Bath To Bring A Smile To Your Child's Face!

Not only is this activity just plain fun anytime of the year, there are added health benefits!

Epsom salt is used for healing, relaxation, better sleep, and adds magnesium to our bodies--a necessary mineral that most people are deficient in. Peppermint oil helps with digestion, headaches, respiratory problems, and a host of other things.

This is the PERFECT bath for a child or you, Momma, who has worked hard all day long!

What you'll need:

Let's Get Started!
  • Run warm bath water.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring or the colored water tablets. Let your kiddo mix the colors around in the water. It's fun to watch the color swirl around!
  • Add a small drop or two of the essential oil. Trust me, one or two drops is all you need.
  • Add 1/2 to 1 cup of Epsom salt and let your kiddo mix in these "ice crystals" with their sweet little hands.
  • Let your child soak for 20 minutes and enjoy their delightful Christmas Bath!

Tips: Christmas colors are great for this bath-time activity, but try blue for a wintry frozen bath! Play with different essential oils as well like lavender for a purple spring flower bath!

Not sure where to find some of the ingredients? Epsom salt will be in either the beauty/spa/facial/bath salts area of a local store or in the bandages/ankle wraps/band aides/splint section. I'm sure the aisles are named differently! lol :). For essential oils check your local natural store or even a vitamin shop like GNC or Vitamin World may carry them. You can also click the links I've provided in the context of this post to buy the oils and water colored tablets online.

Let me know how the Christmas Baths go!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bucket of Blessings: Our Family's Christmas Advent & Devotional Time

Jesus is the Best Gift of All...

And that's why we celebrate Christmas. Love's Pure Light came to Earth to free us from our sin and give us the gift of eternal life if we choose to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. (John 3:16-17, Romans 10:9).

God gave so much--all He had, to rescue us.  What a blessing. He gave and so we give, not only at Christmastime, but all throughout the year, so each year our family participates in Bucket of Blessings to help us remember why we celebrate Christmas.

We LOVE the Bucket of Blessings and hope your family will enjoy it as well!

Bucket of Blessings

Purpose: To highlight the fact that Jesus was and is the best Gift of all, and how we are to bless others just as Christ blessed us.

Let's get started:
  • Find or purchase a bucket or box. Something small or large depending on what you'd prefer or have lying around. Feel free to decorate it with your kiddos. :)
  • Choose an Advent/Christmas devotion/Scripture reading. This year we are using the God's Gift plan from the Bible App. We've used other sources before and you can create your own devotion time using the Bible as your guide. The book of Luke Chapter 2 is where you will find the most popular version of the Christmas story.
  • Decide how many days/nights you'd like for this to last. This year we're doing 9 days only because that's how long the devotion lasts. We typically do 5-7 nights.
  • Choose a time & location to do the Bucket of Blessings with your family. For us it's after dinner sitting near the Christmas tree. For you it may be in the morning at the breakfast table.
  • Schedule Blessings for each night. Here's what we're doing this year, feel free to take these ideas or come up with your own:
    • Day 1: The Blessing of Words. I found a .99 book from GoodWill for each of my kiddos. It was my night to give them a blessing.
    • Day 2: The Blessing of Fun. We will play "The Candy Cane Game." It's basically a "Mom hides candy canes and whoever finds the most wins," game, but the kids love it.
    • Day 3: Bless Your Neighbor. We will make/sign Christmas cards and take them to our neighbors.
    • Day 4: Bless Your Brother or Sister. This night each sibling will have several minutes to talk about only the good things about their brother or sister.
    • Day 5: Bless a Stranger. This year we will be putting a few quarters in the shopping carts at Aldi's. It's fun to be someone's quarter angel!
    • Day 7: The Blessing of Grace. Grace is getting a gift we don't deserve, so this year, each kid will be able to pick one of their nightly chores for me to do for them as an act of Grace.
    • Day 8: The Blessing of Sugar. Something sweet is to be celebrated! Right!? This night Daddy will be choosing a sugary snack for each kiddo. It's his night to give a blessing!
    • Day 9: A Blessing is a Blessing just because. So on this night the kiddos will have an extension on their bedtime! Yay for them, but more prayers will be needed for us! :)
  • Begin and enjoy! I find giving the blessing after the devotion/scripture reading time is best for attention purposes.
  • Note: Gifts that are not tangible are hand written, rolled up, tied with a bow and put into the buck of blessings for the kids to pull out and read.
I'd love to hear how you've taken the Bucket of Blessings and made it your own! Have Fun!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Merry Christmas! Shutterfly $20 GiftCard Giveaway & More!!
Merry Christmas!!

I absolutely love this time of year! The spirit of giving--isn't it the best? Giving is great, but there's something so much more incredible about it when others join in, which is why Christmas is the most beloved Holiday (My opinion only, but I'm sure I could make a pretty good case).

Giving is contagious! So onward we go!

I'm REALLY, REALLY excited to give out these fun little gifts just for you, and some for you to share--because giving is contagious!

Right now...
  • Take 15% of The Wounded Warrior's Wife in paperback!
  • Give a FREE eBook of The Wounded Warrior's Wife to a friend or family member when you sign up for my snail-mail list. Sign up HERE and I will send you a card in the mail with a special code for you to share with a friend or family member to redeem their free eCopy.
  • The eCopy of The Wounded Warrior's Wife is 99 Cents for a BIT longer, WOOHOO...and...
  • You and your friends and family have a chance to win a $20 Gift Card from Shutterfly! Details? Check it out below! Remember to share this site with them, lol!

  • a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Grand Prize Giveaway!! $50 Visa Gift Card & More!!!

    THANK YOU for helping launch my first novel,

    The Wounded Warrior's Wife!!'s been an amazing seven weeks and the support you've shown me fills my heart with gratitude! I pray that The Wounded Warrior's Wife has blessed you. Though this novel follows a military couple dealing with a variety of battles both on and off the battlefield, it was never intended to appeal only to those affiliated with the military. We've all had battles in our lives. Maybe no bullets were fired, but we've experienced the ups and down, highs and lows, and walked those dark valleys of life. God is there. Always. Forever. He never lets go of us and carries through life's difficulties if He must. The Wounded Warrior's Wife is a tale of love at its finest, but most importantly, it's a story of how God restores all things...even those things we thought to be broken beyond repair.
     This novel was a pleasure to write and I'm looking forward to releasing the Novella Prequel: Wedding a Warrior very soon!! Make sure you you've subscribed to my mailing list. A FREE copy of Wedding a Warrior will be sent to those on my mailing list when it is released!
    Now it's time to show my appreciation with a GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY!!
    What's in this Grand Prize Giveaway!?

    Who Can Win?
    Anyone!!! Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family.

    How do I Enter to Win?
    Simply enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

    When Will the Winner Be Announced?
    The giveaway will end on the 21st of November and the winner will be announced on November 22nd via social media. If an email address of the winner was provided, the winner will also receive an email notice. Please make sure you are following me on facebook and twitter to keep up with giveaway updates.
    Can't wait to see who wins this big-ole-grand-prize!!!

    Sunday, August 31, 2014

    The Wounded Warrior's Wife: Available NOW!

    WHITLEIGH CROMWELL dreamt of a happily ever after with her newlywed soldier husband. COLLIER CROMWELL loved God, his wife, and his country, though military life exacted a demanding toll.

     An unexpected deployment during the height of war sends Collier away for yet another year. Their lives tumble down a path marked with struggle, and fatalities. Burdened with unseen emotional wounds and crippled faith, Collier's homecoming only increases their trials.

     The angry, defeated hermit at Whitleigh's side barely resembles the loving, faithful hero she married two years earlier. Concerned about possible career repercussions, admitting his need for help proves difficult for Collier and his behavior worsens.

     Angry outbursts — and his cold, callous nature — isn't all that provokes Whitleigh to pack her bags. Collier seeks solace for his private suffering in the worst possible place leaving Whitleigh to walk away from shattered pieces of broken trust.

     Will Collier seek the healing he desperately needs in time to save their marriage, or is it over? Are there wounds too deep, marriages too broken, and lives so far gone they fall beyond even God's ability to restore?

    Check out The Wounded Warrior's Wife Pinterest Board!

 Conway, a Kentucky native, Army Wife, Stay at Home Mother of two, and Speaker, lives near Fort Campbell, KY where she and her family are currently stationed.  

    Hannah holds a BA in History from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy.
    Subscribe to Hannah's Mailing List to receive a FREE Prequel Novella to The Wounded Warrior's Wife entitled, Wedding a Warrior. Stop by and visit Hannah on Facebook at Follow Hannah on twitter @hannahrconway.  Order eCopy Here! Order Paperback Here!

    Friday, August 1, 2014

    Would You Marry in Order to Claim an Inheritance? Q&A with Author Dawn Crandall

    The Hesitant Heiress Q & A with Author Dawn Crandall

    Would you marry in order to claim an inheritance?

    I guess it depends.

    Author Dawn Crandall addresses that very question in her debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress. Written in a manner that would please Jane Austin herself, and any fan, but with a voice that is truly her own. The Hesitant Heiress is a read sure to please! Elegantly written, intriguing, a hint of suspense and description that throws you into the Victorian era. Dawn invites you to follow Amaryllis Brigham as she struggles through past hurt and rejection to find God’s place and plan for her life—a journey with which many of us can relate.
    Today, we are fortunate enough to have Dawn as our guest! Dawn thank you for being here with us today!
    Dawn: Thank you, Hannah! I’m so glad you chose to have our interview to take place on my first ever book release day! I’m probably at home right now freaking out… and trying to take care of my four month old… and doing a terrible job at that because I’m so distracted….
    Me: I can only imagine! A first ever book release is something to get excited about! I’ve had the privilege of meeting you and chatting a bit, but there’s more I’d like to know about you, and I’m sure our readers could agree. When did you begin writing, and what do you love most about being an Author?
    Dawn: I began writing The Hesitant Heiress (or back then, Amaryllis Brigham) in January of 2010. I’d been thinking about it for a few years while working full-time, but it wasn’t until we moved closer to my hometown that my husband encouraged me not to find a job, but to write. (Although I actually did work a little, I was a nanny for an infant of a friend of mine—writing during naptime on my laptop or iPod Touch).
    What I like best about being an author is hearing from my readers. It’s amazing to learn what each reader pulls from the story.   
    Me: What inspired you to write The Hesitant Heiress?
    Dawn: I honestly don’t know. I just started out that January with no plan (though I don’t always write like that now!) except to have fun with it. That was my primary goal. Not to be published, but to write a book that I would enjoy writing AND reading.
    Me:  What was the easiest part about writing your novel? The hardest?  

    Dawn: The easiest part was writing the awesome, intense “love and war” relationship between Amaryllis and Nathan Everstone. The hardest part was getting about three-fourths of the way through the book and not knowing how to get to the ending I had planned. 
    Me: Well you succeeded! I'm keeping hush about the ending! The Hesitant Heiress has strong spiritual themes which I admire.  Your faith seems to have shaped your writing. Could you elaborate more on that observation
    Dawn: Writing a spiritual journey arc into my main character’s beginning-to-end arc is one of my favorite parts of writing. I love figuring out and understanding the psychology of why people/characters do what they do. And then, if you throw in a spiritual journey in which God is also chasing after them, loving them and guiding them to where He wants them, or even where they can best find Him… What’s better than that? 
    Me: I couldn't agree more, Dawn! God is good, even when we are crazy! Is there a book(s) and or author(s) that have influenced you in your writing and life?

    Dawn: There are a lot of classics like Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontĂ«, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Christy by Catherine Marshall—all books written from first person point of view… but that’s not all they have in common. It’s the refreshingly blunt honesty of the heroine as she tells her story that I’m so in love with.
    Me: Many Authors use personal experiences in their writing. With that said, are there any instances or characters in the Hesitant Heiress in which you can relate to personally?
    Dawn: Yes… not that this book is anywhere close based on any part of my life, there are times when Amaryllis goes through things that create the same kind of emotions I’ve felt in similar situations. But even in situations I’ve never been in, for some reason, I find it very easy to conjure up the correct emotions and so closely commiserate with what they might be feeling.
    Me: What message do you hope readers receive from this captivating novel?
    Dawn: That God does indeed know what He’s doing, and that He even works through our fumbling about as we’re trying to make sense of things.  

    Me: Preach it, Dawn! I really loved Amaryllis Brigham’s character, and I’m not sure if it’s because I actually liked her personality or that your writing style made me feel like I was on this journey with her. Will her character appear in the other novels that I hear are coming out?
    Book Two
    Dawn: They do show up for the next book, but not as main players. I think you will all be pleased with seeing them again though. And oh, can I just say how very strange it was for me to write Amaryllis doing things in book two… but from Meredyth’s first person perspective? That was the weirdest thing ever! But I was sooooo into Meredyth, I really saw Amaryllis as Meredyth saw her! ……Okay, I’m done with the crazy-writer-talk now…..

    Me: Haha, crazy-writer-talk! I completely understand! Okay, so, I adore history and all of the nitty gritty details. You impressed me with your ability to paint scenes so accurately to the time period. What kind of research did you use to help make your novel historically accurate?

    Dawn: Thank you! I’m so glad you think I did a good job! I love writing descriptions—but the thing that I like best is writing them from where the main character is coming from. Everything anyone describes is always colored by where they are coming from.  
    And really, I don’t really think of anything I ever do as research. I actually have so much fun finding out about history that it’s just something I’ve always done, even before I started writing.

    Me: You’ve had a busy year! A new book, and a baby! You’re a first time Momma and Author! How are you adjusting, and how in the world are you finding time to write?
    Dawn: Um, considering I just had my baby four months ago, and I’ve been pretty busy preparing for this book launch between diapers and bottles… I haven’t actually figured it out yet. I’ve tried a few different things… but I seriously have a very difficult time prying myself away from Mr. Adorable. I think I’m going to have to take a weekend away every once in a while.  

    Me: Yes, you are totally going to have to get away! Come down to Tennessee with me for a writer's weekend! lol! Alright, let’s have a little fun getting to know you J
    ·       Favorite hobbies:
          Dawn: writing (well, it used to be a hobby!), reading, collecting photographs that go along with my characters and story-world [I was even doing this WAY before Pinterest!!]—which by the way, I have a Pinterest Board that goes along with The Hesitant Heiress—[]
          Me: LOVE the pinterest board!
    ·       Describe your “best day ever:”
          Dawn: I’m a very low-key celebrator...
          Me: Low key parties are sometimes the best!
    ·       Dessert you find impossible to say no to:
          Dawn: Chocolate Lava Cake. Yummmm!
          Me: Yes, YUMMM!
    ·       Dream vacation:
          Dawn: Spending forever on the rocky coast of Acadia National Park/Mount Desert Island, Maine—and yes, that’s why I wrote it into my book!
          Me: I've never been to Maine, but after checking out all the picks, it's on my list of places to visit now!
    ·        Three most important things in your life, in order of top priority:
           Dawn: God, my husband, my son… (I’m still not used to saying that!!!)
           Me: Amen to that! Any parting thoughts, comments, etc. you would like to add for your viewers?
    Dawn: Don’t give up on your dreams—if it’s what you want more than anything, keep trying. I’d given up on having a baby a long time ago, and I’ve given up thinking this book—as different as it is from most—would ever be published so many times in the last few years. And now they’ve both become reality. At this time last year, I never would have imagined that this is how 2014 would turn out! 

    Me: Thank you so much for being here today with us Dawn!! Hey sweet readers, please take a moment to comment below for a chance to win AMAZING prizes. Also, feel free to connect with Dawn and read more about The Hesitant Heiress via the info provided below.

    {Connect With Dawn}
    Book Review Blog: 
    Twitter: @dawnwritesfirst

    {About Dawn Crandall}
          A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

    Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
    Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.
    The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.
    {About The Hesitant Heiress}
                 After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.
    Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn't who she thought at all.

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    An interview with Beth Vogt, Author of Catch a Falling Star

    An interview with Beth Vogt, Author of Catch a Falling Star 

    Is there ever a point when you should let go of a dream? Shouldn’t you be content with what God has already given you, even if your life isn’t what society considers the norm? In Catch a Falling Star (Howard Books/May 7, 2013/ISBN 9781451660272/$14.99), Beth K. Vogt tells the story of Dr. Kendall Haynes, a successful family physician with a thriving practice, helping others just as she always planned. However, at age 36, her dream of a husband and family has not come true — at least not yet. 

    Q: Is there a message you hope readers walk away with after finishing Catch a Falling Star?  
    Everyone experiences life not going according to their plans — the outcomes range from humorous to tragic. What I’ve learned — what I hope readers discover as they turn the pages of Catch a Falling Star — is God is in the plans, the dreams that come true, and he’s also in the plans that elude us. Kendall finds herself on her 36th birthday without the husband and family she longs for. Do think society sometimes adds undue pressure on our expectations and/or interferes with our faith in God’s timing?  
    I certainly believe the church community can add unrealistic pressure on us when life doesn’t go according to plan — or some prescribed, “right” way to walk out the Christian life. Several years ago I read an article by a respected Christian leader who chastised Christian women for waiting so long to get married, reminding them they shouldn’t delay starting a family so they could have a career. He was assuming these women were turning down marriage proposals right and left. There are lots of reasons women are getting married later, and sometimes it’s because Mr. Right doesn’t show up when you’re 21 or 31. And then the question — the challenge for the church community — is: Where do older singles, both men and women, fit in the church?  

    Q: What was the inspiration behind making your lead characters a little older than most couples in love stories?  
    My stories are often sparked by some real-life circumstance, and this was the case for Catch a Falling Star. I had an eye-opening conversation with a friend who was in her mid-40s. She has a successful career, lots of friends, a very satisfying life in so many ways — and yet some of her dreams haven’t come true, including in the area of marriage and children. And she’s not the only person I know experiencing this. I wanted to examine this issue within the context of a contemporary romance novel because it’s relevant — and because I believe romance doesn’t just happen in your 20s.  

    Q: Catch a Falling Star looks at more relationships than simply the traditional love story. How do the experiences of singleness, adoption and the loss of parents connect the characters together?  
    All of these relationships fall under the umbrella of “life not going according to plan.” Relationships rarely do; they require hard work. Commitment. Trust. Prayer. Patience. Sacrifice. This is why I say there is more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.  

    Q: Your male lead is in the Air Force, much like your own husband was in the Air Force. Are there other parts of your life written into the story?  
    Griffin Walker, the male lead, is an Air Force A-10 pilot who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. My husband graduated from the Academy with an astronautical engineering degree (Yes, I’m married to a rocket scientist!) and then went to medical school. I did inflict a particular medical condition on Griffin I’ve had to deal with. Poor guy. Kendall Haynes, the female lead, is a family physician in solo practice in Colorado Springs, just like my husband. The theme of adoption was developed because I’ve watched a close friend embrace the ministry of adoption in her life, and I do believe adoption is a God-given ministry. 

    Q: One of your themes in Catch a Falling Star looks at how people respond differently to disappointment and unexpected circumstances. Which character do you most identify with in these situations and why?  
    There’s a bit of me in Kendall. I can say things straight-up, but behind that character quality can be a heart that is unsure of my own worth. It’s something I wrestled with for many years . . . I hit my knees over and over again in prayer about who I am in God’s eyes. One of my favorite Scriptures that talks about how much God values us is “Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands . . .” (Psalm 49:16a NASB).

     Q: Have you ever had to give up on a dream yourself?  
    Yes. Everything from letting go of a nonfiction book idea I believed so strongly in because it helps strengthen mother-son relationships to having to realize I couldn’t resolve a long-standing relationship conflict, at least for now. I choose to trust that God is in both of these situations, that he is still working even when I can’t see it.  

    Q: How has God surprised you in your life with plans of His own?  
    I believe God’s best is often behind the door marked “Never.” My original life plans included never marrying anyone in the military and never marrying a doctor. Um . . . I married an Air Force physician. At one time I said I didn’t want to have children; we have four children, including our “caboose kiddo,” who was born 12-and-a- half years after our third (and supposedly last) child. And I also said I was never going to write fiction — but God turned a season of burnout into a bend in the road. I’m getting ready to turn in my third contemporary romance novel.  

    Q: How was writing your second novel different than the first? Are there any lessons you learned the first time around?  
    In some ways writing Catch a Falling Star was easier because I had learned the fundamentals of writing a novel. But in other ways it was more difficult because my mentor, author Rachel Hauck, challenged me on a daily basis to up my game, to push past my writing abilities. I also learned how important it is to lean into God as I walk the writing road so I can keep the right perspective on both the praise and the negative feedback. One of the things I do now is listen to the song “Lead Me to the Cross” by Hillsong each morning before I begin writing. 

    Visit Beth Vogt’s website at to learn more about her books, sign-up for her newsletter, and read her blog. Readers can also follow her adventures on Facebook (AuthorBethKVogt) and Twitter (@bethvogt). 

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Summer Reading List: What's On Yours?

    Oh Summer.

    Pause for affectionate sigh.

    Pools. Water balloons. Late nights catching lightening bugs, grilling out, and movies at the park.

    Just feeling the sun against my face makes summer quite glorious, but reading--books on my beloved summer reading list--is like the cherry on top of this season.

    This year I have some lofty reading goals, but hey, shoot high, right? The kids are even chiming in to create their own list--I'll share it too!

    Not only am I aiming high, I'm shooting wide and seeking to read a variety of genres, and topics. This writer's got to be well rounded.

    So without further ado, meet my new poolside friends....

    1: Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze /Nonfiction/Instructional
    2: The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall (Releasing in August! Stay tuned for a Review!)/Historical Fiction
    3: Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson /Nonfiction/Instructional
    4: Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green/ Historical Fiction
    5: Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts/ Historical Fiction
    6: The Jewel Series Anthology by Hallee Bridgeman /Romance

    7: Divergent by Veronica Roth /Young Adult/Scifi/Fantasy

    8: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling /Young Adult/Fantasy (I have to re-peruse this book nearly every summer!!!)
    9: Iscariot by Tosca Lee / Historical Fiction/Biblical Times
    10:  Sisterchicks on the Loose by Robin Jones Gunn /Women’s Fiction/Comedy/Friendship

    11: Home Maintenance for Dummies by James Carey & Morris Carey Jr. (Yeah, if this book doesn’t help me fix things, then it’s back to youtube instructional videos, lol).

    WHEW…but wait, there’s more J ….

    Books I will be diving into to continue to sharpen my writing skills:

    1: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
    3: Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction by Jeff Gerke

    Now For the Kids:

    The kiddo's reading list is a bit different, more interactive, and filled with variety. It's more like a Creative Story Kids Summer Camp, lol. It includes books to read, movies to watch, book reports to write/draw/create, and stories to create.

    Goal: Choose and complete 10 of the 15 items on the list before school starts.
    1: Watch the Lion King & create a book report--drawn or written.
    2: Research an animal or historical event of your topic & create a fact sheet from what you learned.
    3: Cut out pictures from a magazine. Glue them on a sheet a paper, and make up a story using the images on your paper.
    4: Read a book, magazine, or comic book of your choice
    5: Pick a writing prompt from our 642 Things to Write About and fill a page with what you have to say.
    6: Read a book, magazine, or comic book your choice
    7: Watch: Honey I shrunk the Kids, because I LOVED that movie as a kid!
    8: Watch Mary Poppins, just because it's fun.
    9: Find a recipe for your favorite food. Plan a time to create this food. Eat it and discuss how it turned out...good? or bad? What could you have done differently?
    10: Read: A book, magazine, or comic book of your choice
    11: Watch Ratatouille, and spend time reading through recipes from around the world using the internet. Make a few if you're feeling up to it! ;)
    12: Compare & Contrast two movies on this list. This can be done in written form, or diagram.
    13: Read a book, magazine, or comic book of your choice
    14: Watch the Parent Trap (the original with Haley Mills), and create a list of all the other tricks the twins could've done to the fiancé.
    15: Read a book, magazine, or comic book of your choice

    When creating a summer reading list for yourself or you kiddos, include both fiction and nonfiction books, movies & documentaries. Make it FUN, and give incentives along the way as they mark off their Summer Reading List, like popsicles, a crazy game they've been asking to play or stickers. Be creative! ;)

    Asking yourself a couple of questions can help you create that perfect summer reading list. Questions like these:

    1: What interests you/them?
    Do you like mystery? Romance? Both? Do your kids like a certain cartoon character?
    Letting kids pick books/magazines/comic books that interests them helps foster a love for reading. Being forced to read things is never fun. Ugh. Anyone remember how awful some of those books were in High School?
    2: What would they/you like to know or what places would they/you like to go?
    Often times picking up nonfiction books on how things are made, travel destinations, or a specific historical event can be a lot of fun for you and your kids. Remember, kids really do love to learn, especially when you're excited about it.

    Hopefully, these tips help you create a list that's just right for you and your family, but if not, feel free to copy ours.