Friday, March 27, 2015

Author Spotlight & Novel Giveaway: Author Johnnie Alexander

Welcome Dear Readers!! Today we have Author Johnnie Alexander with us! She'll be giving away an eBook copy of her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, to one lucky person who leaves their comment & email below. 
Meet Johnnie!
Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). The first of her three contemporary romances, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series), releases from Revell in January 2016. A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area where her morning chores include feeding dogs, cats, chickens, and a small herd of alpacas.
Johnnie, thank you for being here with us today! And thank you for being so willing to give away a copy of your debut novel, Where Treasure Hides. Please, tell us about your latest novel, Where She Belongs, and any personal inspiration behind it. will release my newest novel, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series), in January. I first wrote this story while participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) about ten years ago. Since then it has changed titles five or six times, the heroine’s name got changed once (after which she actually cooperated with the story), and the opening pages went through several transformations.
This is a story-of-my-heart novel inspired by a Civil War-era brick house I lived in as a teen. After my parents moved from there, the house sat empty and fell into disrepair for several years. My dream as a young adult was to buy the house, fix it up, and live there once again. That dream didn’t come true for me, but it comes true for the heroine of Where She Belongs. However, living in the house of her dreams doesn’t solve all her problems.
That's beautiful inspiration for a story. You've got our attention with a hook like that! Any other projects you're working on that will reel us in as well?
I’m working on Book #2 in the Misty Willow series tentatively titled Love’s Deeper Season. The not-so-evil antagonist of Where She Belongs steps into the role of hero in this story. It releases in September 2016. Then it’s on to Book #3, tentatively titled Before September Comes which releases in May 2017.
Your readers will be happy, and you'll be spending a lot of time at your computer! Do you have a favorite time of the day to get all this writing done? What about a favorite place?
These days I write at the kitchen table which allows me views of a gentle slope, budding trees, and clumps of daffodils from two tall windows. Mornings are often busy so usually write in the afternoon and into the evening if necessary.
Can I come over and write at your kitchen table!? Oh my goodness you have to post a picture of that view you described! Nowadays, I too write in the afternoons and evenings. Mornings are spent spending time in God's Word, and getting kids ready for the day. I have to say that when I miss my time in God's Word, I feel it for the rest of the day! I know you can relate. Could you share with us a favorite scripture?
I have to choose just one? (That’s so hard, she whined.)
My life verse is Colossians 3:1 and 2. But a verse that’s become more and more meaningful to me over the past couple of years is Psalm 31:8 which reads in part: “You have . . . set my feet in a spacious place” (NIV).
A similar passage is Psalm 18:19:  He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
God gave me Psalm 31:8 as a gift and a promise during my morning quiet time when I was at the 2008 Florida Christian Writers Conference. Nothing special happened for me at that conference, but I posted the verse on my bulletin board.
The thing about those kinds of promises is that it can take a long time before you know whether it’s a heartfelt hope or truly a promise. And yet a verse like this is so comforting because if nothing else it’s a promise that God is watching out for us, whatever happens.
When I dug out the manuscript which became Where She Belongs for the umpteenth time, I had no idea whether anyone would want it. In fact, I figured not since it’s a contemporary, and I was now contracted for my historical, Where Treasure Hides. (Genre-switching this early in one’s career isn’t exactly encouraged.) But I loved the story, and working on it was like a treat.
These two “spacious place” verses became important to my heroine as she accepts the truth that a spiritual legacy has more value than a material one.
Wow, Johnnie! I'm so glad I asked about your favorite scriptures. Thank you for sharing! Since you've shared something very heartfelt with us, would you mind sharing something a little silly? What is the quirkiest thing you’ve done? (My son and I like to speak in a British accent when we’re out in public. So much fun!)
It’s not really quirky, but in the past year I have learned to medicate an alpaca’s ear, worm the herd, and give subcutaneous injections. You never know what interesting tasks God is going to give you.
Okay, no, for real, that's quirky! I'm seriously laughing over this!! You made my day!
Onward! I'm an Army Wife, and I like to invite all my guests to step into the military world. Many Military families move several times over the course of their career relocating to duty stations all over the country and the world. While moving can be difficult, it’s also pretty exciting to meet new people and see new places. Sometimes we’re able to choose our duty station. If you had a choice, where would you like to be stationed and why?
My brother was stationed in Germany around twenty years ago, and he and his family were able to travel throughout Europe. I’d love to have that opportunity.
Out of the nearly 12 years my husband served in the Army we never got to go to Europe! What are the odds? Ha. :)
Tell us, are you a veteran or do you have someone in your family that served in the Military? Would you mind to tell us a little bit about your service or their service; it’s our way of honoring you/them.
Both my brother and my father served in the Army. My mom’s six older brothers fought during WWII and, thankfully, each one came home.
That's incredible! All six of them coming home is nothing short of a miracle! You have quite a heritage of service. A huge thanks to your family!!
 Our time together is coming to a close. I want to thank you again for joining us today. It's truly been a pleasure. Before we give this eBook away, is there anything you’d like to say to your readers? I know they’d love a personal note.
You are very important to me, and I appreciate your emails, Facebook friend requests, and notes. Thank you for your encouragement and support. God bless and best wishes.
There we have it folks! Give a round of applause for Johnnie Alexander!
Connect with Johnnie via the provided links below and pick up a your eCopy of Where She Belongs today! You can purchase this eBook at Amazon,, and Barnes & Noble. The paperback will be available in August 2015. Leave a comment AND YOUR EMAIL below in the comments section, and YOU could win an eCopy of Johnnie's debut novel, Where Treasure Hides!
Connect with Johnnie!
Facebook Author Page    

Friday, March 20, 2015

Author Spotlight: Renee Blare & Latest Novel GIVEAWAY!!

Today on our Author Spotlight we are lucky to have Renee Blare! Renee will be hanging out with us, talking about her latest novel, AND giving away a paperback or digital copy (winner's) choice!

Meet Renee! in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to Laramie and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media

Renee, thank you for joining us today! PLEASE Tell us about your latest novel, Beast of Stratton, and any personal inspiration behind it. of Stratton’s a contemporary suspense novel I wrote at the prodding of my crit group, Rough Diamond Writers. Each of us picked a fairy tale and penned a story. Historical, contemporary, romance, suspense…you name it, we did it. It was a ton of fun!
My story took on quite a suspenseful quality, of course. After all, that is what I write, but it’s also quite mysterious. It was quite the puzzle. I didn’t figure it out until the end myself!

I love to hear writers say that. Stories take us on a journey even as we write them! Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m working on a novella right now for Prism Books called Racing Hearts. It’s about a couple of newlyweds who, after discovering they’re expecting a child, move across the state in search of work. Here’s the a little bit about it:
Full of hope for the future, a young couple sets off on a new adventure. They welcome their home with open arms. The mountains glisten, the lakes sparkle, and a new life grows. But challenges soon arise and their fresh love faces a trial of almost insurmountable odds.
For the two Christians, placing the fate of their unborn child in the hands of God seems rather easy, but trusting each other? That may prove to be the challenge of a lifetime…as hearts race in the Rocky Mountains.

This sounds pretty suspenseful!! Of course it has to be! :) The dilemma(s) this couple face could benefit from God's Word, which brings me to my next question. What is your favorite scripture and why?
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I used to worry…a lot. A “dilemma” turned into a nightmare before I could blink. And then, with the help of the Father, I discovered what it meant to trust. He taught me not to worry about what tomorrow may bring. To rest in His arms no matter what was looming around the corner. It’s amazing to experience heaven’s peace amidst the sting of life.
 I can relate well! Life does sting at times, and there are definitely things I avoid to try to prevent that sting! Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? (ie I can’t stand to fold socks. Torture!)

Clean…period. I know. I’m terrible, but I hate to clean. The kitchen, the bathroom, you name it. I would blame my mom for making me do it as a kid, but that’s not fair. It’s not her fault. I just dread the task. So I put it off until I can’t anymore. Or my husband complains so loudly about having to do it time after time, I get the message. (If you get my meaning…) As far as laundry goes, I usually start it. Does that count? LOL Can I stop now? Please!
YUP! You can stop! Ha! Even talking about it is causing dread! :) Sorry. :( SO! Let's have a little fun with these next questions!
I’m an Army Wife, and all Military Wives have to be flexible. Plans change at the drop of a hat. So, pretend you’re a Military Wife. Ok. Ready?!

Your spouse came down on orders to relocate and you’ve got 30 days to move. What are the first three things you do to prepare? GO!

I’m not a military wife, but I can relate to the “relocation” issue…a lot. I’ve been married for almost twenty-six years and according to my husband, we’re on move number twenty-two. Let’s see…
Number one: Garage sale! Lighten the load. I’d sell anything and everything I don’t need or want to move. That means for pennies if I have to. After all, I’m trying to get rid of it, not make a fortune. LOL
Number two: Go out to dinner. Treat those friends who’ve stood by my side through thick and thin to a local restaurant’s fine meal and say thank you.
Number three: Donate anything I don’t need or can’t sell: If I can’t sell it, can’t wear it, don’t need it, it goes to Goodwill, Salvation Army, a local church or any other place I can find that may have use for it. That include clothes, books, tools, equipment…anything. If they don’t take it, a sign in the front yard’s always an option!

That's some seriously great advice! Hope my military wife friends are reading this!!
Ok, one last question!! I’m a bit of a History Buff and Sci-Fi Geek. Oh how I’d love to time travel! If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
It’s a toss-up between the past and the future. Both seem rather intimidating. The past? The highlands of Scotland before the time of England’s takeover. Although harsh and rough, it seems like an amazing time. When clans ruled their own territory and the land was as wild as the men. I’d like to see that. The future? Oh the prospects…living, working, playing in space? Traveling to other planets for the day and coming home to wake up the next day and do it all over again? Yeah, that be cool.
Yes it would! I think you could come up with a pretty good plot for another novel thinking about these thing!
Renee, I can't thank you enough for joining us today!

Readers, thank you for stopping by as well!! Renee will be giving away a copy of Beast of Stratton's away! Leave a comment, along with your email address, to enter to win a paperback or digital copy of this novel (winner's choice!). A winner will be selected and announced on Monday, March 23rd.

Contact Renee:

Friday, March 13, 2015

7 Verses That Can Rock Your World: Words to Live By

Today I'm sharing 7 verses that have rocked my world--words to live by.

We all know life gets hard. It gets crazy. Insane. Sad. Stressful. Unpredictable. Non-stop. Even when life is good, great, wonderful, and filled with laughter, we need something steady to keep us grounded, focused. Why can't we be our own source of strength? Why can't we choose to do the things we wanna do, and take the path of life we wanna take? Well, we can, free-will, right? BUT, God's Word tells that there's a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). Yeah, thanks, but I'll skip the death road. However, when we choose God's way, it leads to life. This whole life and death talk can be both literal and figurative. That's beside the point.

How do we know how we should live? How to act? How to treat each other?

We find those answers in God's Word.

The verses below grabbed hold of me many years ago and taught me a few lessons. 1)God's Word is powerful, real and living. 2) He wants me to trust Him with my worries enough to leave them with Him. 3)My thoughts matter. What I think about becomes my actions. 4) If I believe God's Word is powerful, real, and living, then it will transform every part of my life.

Simple, but profound.

These verses have rocked my world, and I hope they rock yours too!

  • 1 Peter 5: 7: Cast all your burdens on him because he cares for you
  • Romans 8: 28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  • Romans 12: 2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
  • Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  • Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength.
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Friday, March 6, 2015

5 Ways to be Blessed in the Stress: A Military Wife's Perspective

So. Stress. Let’s talk about that.
We’ve all felt it, right? Life gets real, real fast. Traumatic events. Loss. Broken hearts. Then there are the little stressors that just get under your skin like when a car pulls out in front of you, and then slows down! What’s with that?! Or the person at the drive in in front of you decides to order the entire store when all you want is a black coffee with no creamer or sugar. Geez people!
If you’ve never felt stress, where have you been? Tell me your secret! Turn on the news and I guarantee you’ll be taking meds for high blood pressure soon. The world is a mess, ick.
Stress doesn’t just come from things we experience or see. Certain types of food can cause our bodies to be stressed. Too much caffeine (Sigh of sadness). Sugar is the worst…so sad. Sugar is actually an anti-nutrient…it sucks nutrients out of our body and causes us to be sluggish, sick, and tired, but unable to get the kind of good hearty rest our bodies need, and a lack of good rest/sleep causes more stress on our body. A vicious cycle ensues!
No wonder the world has gone mad. We’re drinking some caffeine-filled beverage in one hand, eating something sugary with the other, couple that with a lack of sleep, our fast paced schedules, life’s issues, and we’re a big ball of stress just spewing all over the place.
Our environment, toxins in the air, and chemicals in the hygiene products we use every day can cause stress to our body. Nice, right?
The medical world even knows how serious our stress issue is, admitting that 80% or more of all disease and illness is stress related. How 'bout that? Insane!  
We can't live in a bubble, though, nor would I want to. Ok, maybe I would sometimes.

What does God say about stress? He says in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all your burdens on him because he cares for you. He says to come to him for rest (Matthew 11:28-30). He says not to worry about anything, but pray about everything (Philippians 4:6&7).
When the American Medial Association says that 80% or more of all disease and illness is stress related, do we have any other choice but to give that junk over to God?
Being an Army wife, I know stress, and being the wife of a wounded warrior who struggles with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), well…let’s say stress and I are on a first name basis. 
Yes, life gets crazy, but I can’t seem to find a time, even in the stress, that I haven’t been blessed. I’d imagine if we all took the time to look past our stress we could see how we’re being blessed.

 Having a hard time seeing it? Wanna know how to be blessed in the stress? Here are 5 ways:

1: Be a blessing and Love others:
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  I'd add, No Matter What to that if I could.
  • In Matthew 14, after finding out his cousin, John the Baptist, had been killed, Jesus withdrew to be alone, but crowds followed Him. He didn't lash out in his grief, or tell them to go away. He saw their need. He knew a key to being blessed in the stress was to be a blessing to others, and to love those around Him.
2: Be content:
A good friend once told me the keys to being content were: Don’t Compete, Don’t Compare, Don’t Complain. That's a pretty good start, and to keep us from competing, comparing, and complaining, Paul defines contentment best here:
  • Philippians 4: 12-13 “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength.
3: Get in God’s Word

If we're believers, we have no excuse but to be students of God's Word.
    • Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    • 2 Timothy 3:16:  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
4: Be intentional with your thoughts & words
I’m going to park right here for a second. As an author words are a HUGE deal to me. We create with them, and they have purpose and a meaning. Check this out: God created the world with his Words…and we're made in His image, meaning in part, that our words too, are powerful. He says we can speak life or death with our words (Proverbs 18:21), build up or destroy (Proverbs 12:6), and we're accountable for the words we speak (Matthew 12:36-37). Thoughts turn into words, so both are a  big deal. Our mind/thoughts/words need to be transformed and focused.
    • Romans 12: 2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
    • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
5: Forgive:
  • Matt 6: 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins
I don’t claim to understand all the ins and outs of this verse, but I will say, when we are able to kick our pride to the curb and forgive, there is some serious healing and stress relief that takes place. Sometimes we need to forgive, sometimes we need to ask for forgiveness, and often it's a combination of the two.

Here's the bottom line:

We can CHOOSE to be blessed in the stress. We choose love others, be content, get into God's Word, be intentional with our words & thoughts, and forgive.

I'm thankful for that choice, aren't you?