Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Remembering at Christmas

”Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” -- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Do you remember a special Christmas? A time that comes back bringing with it a certain joy, a warm embrace, a taste of nostalgia?

I don't really remember this Christmas. My mother was in a TB hospital in Indiana and I was living with my Grandparents and my aunt and uncle (who were teens) in Tennessee. My Aunt Linda would dress me up or stage photos to send to my mother (who is in the photo to my right.) She tried to keep my mother informed of my progress. When my mother got this photo, she cried. It makes me cry for her to see it now.

Now my Aunt Linda has her own daughter (and grandchildren.) Her daughter, Annette, became my friend and even was my matron of honor in my wedding. And she is now battling brain cancer.

I am nostalgic and remembering both good times and not-so-good times in Christmases past. It brings a smile, a familiar sweetness and yes, also a tear at times.

What Christmas stands out to you this Christmas from your childhood?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Laminin: You Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

There are things in this world that we take for granted. For example, just how we are made--how our very cells are held together. There is a plan in it all.

On this blog where there are so many amazing people who tell how they grew up and how that influenced who they are today, I had to share this talk about Laminin.

We are amazing--thank you, Father God.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Country Girl, Deborah Vogts

On Grandma's Steps

Deborah (Swiler) Vogts, a country girl at heart, grew up in the country and had a storybook childhood. When you read her debut book, the first in a series, Snow Melts in Spring,you get to see a bit of her heart and passions in the setting, which is one of the last tall prairie grass regions in the world.

I know you are going to enjoy this glimpse into Deborah's past as much as I did!

Childhood Ambition:

As a girl I had high aspirations of becoming a concert pianist, or an artist or clothing designer, and then in high school I decided I wanted to be a writer.

Fondest Memory (then):

That’s hard. I had a very idyllic childhood. We lived in an old farmhouse built in the late 1800’s with a lovely L-shaped porch. I had two older brothers and our bedrooms were upstairs. Summers were hot and winters were cold—very cold. I can still feel that frigid wind seeping through the uninsulated walls, and the wood floors were so cold beneath my bare feet. Brrr.

As for a fond memory, though, there was an old storage shed next to our house that was falling apart. My folks had abandoned it for anything useful, so I took it over and turned it into Debbie’s CafĂ©. I made mud cakes, mud lemonade, mud pies, mud hamburgers, and a host of other items. What was really fun, though, was when my brothers or mom and dad would come up to the “restaurant” and order food from me. They were very good at feeding my imagination. So fun.

My First Job:

My junior year in high school I became a Princess House Consultant (fine crystal dealer.)I scheduled 2 home parties a week and did this for one year. This job helped me out of my shyness. I’m still an introvert, but I can be bold and outgoing if I have to. LOL

Childhood Indulgence:

Hmm. I’m not sure if this is really an indulgence or not, but I’m going to say homemade ice-cream. My dad LOVED homemade ice-cream, (still does, for that matter,) so we made it often—at least once a week, sometimes more—on an old hand-crank machine. Mom would dish what was left from the ice-cream freezer into little containers for us to eat later. I recall many mornings waking up and eating rock-hard frozen ice-cream with my dad for breakfast. I think that qualifies as an indulgence…

Favorite Outfit as a Child:

Oh, that’s a fun question. I think I may have been around 8 years old, which would mean it was 1973. Mom bought me a pair of denim bell bottoms that I adored, and also a red, white & blue leather belt to go with them. I think I often wore a red sleeveless shirt with it. Loved, loved, loved this outfit. LOL. Oh, and I wore cowboy boots with it, of course. ;)

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show:

Little House on the Prairie, but also I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Gilligan’s Island and Happy Days!

Favorite Childhood Book:

Little House on the Prairie, The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, and Misty of Chincoteague.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime:

Reading and playing with my dolls. I had LOTS of dolls, from baby dolls to Barbie dolls. One of my favorites was a Timey-Tell Doll, and then there was my Velvet Doll (I think those were the only two whose hair I didn’t cut off). And then there was this really cool Dusty Doll. She was like a Barbie only she had “real” features. A thicker waist, small bust and short hair. LOL. Mine played golf, but there were others that played tennis, softball, etc.

Playing with My Dolls

Oh, I almost forgot our Johnny West collection. Every winter, (usually during our Christmas break from school) my brothers and I would get out our Johnny West dolls and set up the “ranch” in our living room. Between the three of us, we had quite the setup. My brothers collected the cowboys, Indians, and outlaws, and my collection included Jane West, Josie West, and Princess Wildflower, along with a “Flame” horse. We also had a cardboard bunkhouse that we set up, along with cardboard furniture. All of this burned in a house fire, but I recently found a Jane West at a thrift store and bought her to show my girls and future grandchildren. Maybe I’ll try to find more of the set to start my collection again.

Childhood Hero:

Fonzie. I was even a member of the Henry Winkler fan club. LOL

Any childhood pets?

- Of course…a collie named Lassie, a horse named Strawberry, lots of kittens and puppies and even baby piglets. Oh, and one winter, I remember my oldest brother bringing an orphan lamb into the house when it lost its mama. That was really cool. So cuddly and soft.
Deborah on her horse, Strawberry

Greatest spiritual influence (when you were a child):

My Grandpa Swiler. He was a very faithful man and loved to sing hymns, often leading songs during Sunday school at our church. I don’t recall him being a great singer, but he was loud and always had a grin on his face.

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?

– I grew up in the country with lots of space to roam and the freedom to dream big. I remember climbing to the top of one of our grain bins and looking out over the countryside, thinking that I couldn’t wait to get out on my own and start my life. Then, only a few years later, I recall being in a city park and flying kites with my youngest daughter and longing for “home” and for the wide-open spaces of the country.

Little did I know as a girl, that my strong bonds of childhood would bring me back home to the country. And that’s what I write about today. Country at Heart is the tagline I use for my writing, as well as what I call my blog. It’s what I know, and it comes from the memories that I draw upon.

Thank you so much, Crystal, for allowing me to stroll down memory lane with you. It’s been such a joy recalling all of these fond moments from my childhood. Blessings to you and to your readers!

You can find Deborah at her web site and on her blog! Do check out her web site for a book trailer on Snow Melts in Spring, recipes and more about Deborah, including tips if you are interested in writing.



Deborah has also graciously offered a free copy of her book,[UPDATE: Sarah Rupp won !! ] Snow Melts in Spring published by Zondervan. If you'd like a chance to win a copy, leave a comment with your contact info (email, but leave spaces or spell out the ISP) to be included in the drawing. And all of you Johnny and Jane West collectors or who had those action figures as a child, tell us about it! (I had the West collection, too, so I related a lot to Deb's childhood on several points.)Her book has become one of my favorites this year because of the setting, characters and story.

Don't forget that you can request a copy be acquired at your local library, if you can't get your own copy.

Deborah's debut novel: Snow Melts in Spring

Snow Melts in Spring

Book #1 ~ Seasons of the Tallgrass Series

When an aged horse is severely injured on a gravel road in the Flint Hills of Kansas, country veterinarian Mattie Evans accepts the challenge to save him. But she finds herself in the middle of a longstanding feud between the horse’s owner, pro quarterback Gil McCray, and his ailing father—who is also her dear friend.

As the snow melts in spring, Gil’s return to his estranged father’s ranch brings a chance for new beginnings and reconciliation, but when he falls in love with Mattie, he must face the truths that haunt him or run from his past. Meanwhile, Mattie encourages Gil to return permanently to Kansas rather than retire in California.

Their love collides when Mattie’s sister arrives on Gil’s doorstep, causing Gil to come to terms with the jealous acts leading up to his brother’s death and seek forgiveness from those he loves most. Can he accept God’s forgiveness, and will that be enough to make him stop running from his memories of home? In turn, if Mattie forgives, she’ll be forced to choose between the man of her dreams and the land she dearly loves.

The Seasons of the Tallgrass series captures the spirit and dreams of ordinary people living in the Flint Hills of Kansas--one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world. In writing this series, I hope to share my passion for this place, showing that God's great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.

Order at amazon.com christianbooks.com or zondervan.com

ISBN - 0310292751

ABOUT THE FLINT HILLS OF KANSAS: The Kansas Flint Hills is a strip of land stretching from Nebraska to Oklahoma, two hundred miles long and fifty miles wide, that refuses to be tamed because of the flint rock embedded in the hills. Although farmers once tried to run plows through it, they abandoned their efforts, leaving it to its original native grass. That is why it remains as one of the largest tallgrass prairies in the world.


Some of you may be writers. My writing career really took off when I joined the online writing group ACFW. Many wonderful authors took the time to help me, and I want to do the same. Visit my writing page for a few meager tips.

When I'm not writing, reading or working on the Internet, I enjoy taking walks with our golden retrievers. I also love to cook and have included recipes to share with you. This page will be updated each season, so check back regularly.

It's always fun to hear from my readers. If you'd like to introduce yourself, please sign my guest book or contact me. To help stay in touch, I invite you to join my newsletter, visit my blog, or maybe I'll see you at one of my future book signings!

It's been fun sharing my life with you. May God bless you. ~ Deborah

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Joy DeKok: "Believed and Loved"

Young Joy Getting Her Photo Taken (a girl named appropriately!)

What if you have a dream, and it doesn't turn out the way you envisioned it? What if it's a little different?

Joy DeKok knows what that is like. And she now sees a little better how her dream would pan out in God's perfect vision for her. Her delightful and poignant own story is the drive behind her author coaching and she "believes and loves" not only her readers, but also those who wish to write. Be sure to leave a comment with your email contact (YOU [AT] ISP dot com, to discourage the trolls.) Joy is giving away her book!

Childhood Ambition:

I had a 3-fold ambition – to be a wife, mommy, and writer. When I was about
three- years-old, a friend of my dad’s who had promised he would wait for me to grow up so he could marry me – married someone else. On his wedding day, I promised myself I’d find my very own man someday. Part of that dream, was also children. Lots of them. As a teenager I read, “Cheaper by the Dozen” and thought I’d like that many children. I used to stare at the huge convent in our city and dream that one day the nuns would sell it to me so I could fill it with my children and lots of dogs.

When Jon and I started dating and I told him about this dream, he was delighted. He came from a family of 7 kids so 12 didn’t seem like such a daunting number. We assumed our dreams were part of God’s plan. We were wrong. I won’t go into the whole journey here, but at 50, I can see part of God’s plan clearly – we have the sweet privilege of loving and being loved by a huge number of nieces, nephews, their spouses, and children. (The combined number is over 40!) At twenty-something accepting infertility as God’s perfect plan was a lot harder.

Joy's new perm and new coat--snazzy!

The writing started before I could read. I traced the words in my books and then taped together those pieces of paper into my own books dreaming about the day I’d write my own words and see them in “real” books. I am married to the man of my dreams and am a published writer. Two out of three ain’t bad!

Joy reading the paper wearing Grandpa's glasses. Joy says, "I couldn't read the words yet--I was a word watcher and the paper had so many to look at, sort of like a word catalog!"

Fondest Memory (then):

Being with my grandpa. He was very sick and I spent lots of quiet time with him – usually in his arms. He loved me deeply and listened to me as if whatever I said was the most important thing he’d ever heard. I knew he loved God deeply and I was certain he loved me almost as much.

Grandpa letting Joy play the piano.

Proudest Moment (then):

The day my dad stood up for me at school. I was a chatterbox and first grade work wasn’t a challenge for me (I’d been reading and writing since I was 4)--being quiet was so hard. My teacher had called my parents in several times with good reason.

One day one of the other girls was talking and the teacher assumed it was me. It wasn’t. The teacher yanked my desk out of the row (again) and made it clear--my parents would deal with it this time or else. Not sure what or else meant, I went home sick in my heart. My parents listened to me and told me they’d take care of things the next day. The next morning instead of riding the bus, my dad took me to school. Before we could go in, the girl who had done the talking got in a taunt or two--she thought the victory was hers. So did I. Daddy stood with me in front of the teacher and said, “Joy’s mother and I believe her.”

He confirmed that when confronted with wrong doing in the past, I’d always “owned up” to my guilt. The teacher eventually agreed with him. My dad is around 5 ft 10 or 11 inches tall. That day when he said he believed me, he was a giant of a man. As he continued to talk to the teacher, he advised her to ask the girl who had confronted me at the school door. He left after giving me a gentle kiss on the top of my head.

Believed in and loved. I was so proud of him. Still am.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:

Pleasing people. I wanted to be liked and worked hard at it. Then, I wanted to be cool. Then I wanted boys to think I was beautiful. I wasted a lot of time worrying and striving to please when I could have been having a lot more fun just being me.

My First Job:

I baby sat two little girls every day after school when I was in the 6th grade. I also baby sat for another family on Saturday mornings. I was young but loved kids, was highly responsible, and enjoyed earning a bit of money doing something I loved.

Childhood Indulgence:

Paper and pencils or pens. I loved them and bought them with my allowance at the local Ben Franklin or Woolworth’s. I loved the way paper felt, the sound of a pencil or pen on paper, and the smell of paper with either lead or ink words on the pages. Sometimes I saved out a dime for Mac’s Grocery where they had a huge selection of penny candy. A dime went a long ways and we made those candy treats last for days.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:
My black winter coat with the fake leopard tam and purse. I felt like a movie star.

Joy with her new coat, hat and purse, looking like a movie star, no doubt!

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show:

I loved Snow White. She was loved by animals, the dwarves (I could not pick a very favorite--I loved them all,) and the prince. I went to Disney on Ice this winter with my great niece. It was the princesses and their princes and we enjoyed each one. I was missing Snow White when at the very end, the castle doors opened and there she was. The whole crowd cheered. We all loved her.

Favorite Childhood Book:

I have many of my books from childhood. They are battle worn--some falling apart. They all smell old and are all fragile. They are on my office bookshelf as a reminder of a dream come true. My favorite? As a teen I read Blueberry Summer and the Christmas Bride. I loved them both--they are together on the shelf.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime:

Tracing words and eventually, I was given my favorite toy ever--a little red typewriter with a full like-real keyboard, red and black ink ribbons, and a real bell that let me know it was time to return the carriage. If it had to do with words I loved it.

Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child?

I wrote to my only girl cousin as a child. She was my pen pal. My friends and I wrote notes to each other almost every day in school. We doodled on those pages and wrote our hearts out. Then, we walked home from school together, talked on the phone, and walked together again the next morning. We were constant communicators!

Childhood Heroes:

My dad and my uncle Frank who served in WW2. Frank told me stories from the war--things he didn’t tell anyone else. He even cried in front of me. For whatever reason, that made him even more a hero to my tender heart. Later, when confined to the VA hospital, this hero went to visit the Vietnam vets--clearly communicating to them that they were his heroes. I went with him and saw destroyed men light up at this old man’s words. They’d cry. He’d cry. I’d cry. I knew I was in the presence of great men and wondered why in the world no one else knew it. Oh my--what an honor!

First Crush:

My uncle Lee. He was quiet, handsome, and always had room for me on his lap where I could breath in the scent of pipe tobacco and after shave. He could hold me for hours and again, made me feel like I was the only person in the world worth listening to. I knew he belonged forever to my Aunt Dorothy, but when I was on his lap, even she gave us our space.

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?

I’d written all my life until I was about 17 years old. A teacher I greatly respected condemned my writing and I burned hundreds of poems--keeping on the first one I wrote after I came to faith in Jesus.

Later, my husband encouraged me to do whatever it took to follow my dream and write. While he didn’t stand at her desk and defend me, he stood in home and when I got cranky he quietly ordered a desk and word processor – they arrived at our door the next day. The examples of the loving men God placed in my life are part of the driving force behind Getting It Write and the Author Coaching that I do.

Joy's handsome husband, the guy who believes and loves Joy, and gave Joy her wings (and tools!) for writing.

I can be honest, but there’s no reason to destroy another person’s dreams. We’re all works in progress. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing someone else’s dream, seeing it become their vision, then their reality, and watching them soar. Then, something else amazing happens – after they catch their dreams, I get to watch them cast their vision into the hearts and lives of others. Wow. Who knew? Only God.

Rain Dance by Joy DeKok

Rain Dance is a novel that deals with the issues of infertility and abortion. It attempts to answer the question: Can shattered dreams be part of the plan?

From Joy Dekok: Christian Author & Speaker

"Abortion is still one of the most divisive issues women and men confront. Infertility is still one of the most misunderstood experiences women and men face.

I'm passionate about both which can be dangerous for an author. The rules of writing say the author must stay out of the story. I knew that couldn't happen with Rain Dance.

Then there was the fact that combining these topics in one book made the project daunting. The issues looked mountain-sized and I'd have to climb them both. I also knew I was going to ask readers on all sides of the abortion issue to look beyond the politics to the personal. My own beliefs and hypocrisies would splash all over the pages. . .so that meant I'd break a rule of writing . . . as the author, I'd have to show myself on the pages. I could only hope it didn't come across as intrusive or meddling or worse yet. . .preachy.

According to readers. . .it didn't.

Instead, the characters drove the plot. The story and the format worked. Both readers and critics loved it!

The spoken - sometimes whispered - reader responses amazed me even more and confirmed to me: The Jonica's and Stacie's (characters in Rain Dance) in real-life experience similar experiences.

Then I heard from women who were neither infertile or post-abortive. . .but who found compassion and love for people they thought they could never understand on the pages of a novel.

Those revelations could have been a high for the author. . .and I admit - they were. However, that faded in the face of what the comments revealed below the surface of encouraging words: A need for a place we could all meet on common ground and find resources and that would lead to uncommon support."


Leave a comment with email info (see above as to how to avoid the "trolls.") Win this book in a drawing! If you don't win, be sure to see
www.raindancebook.com to order a copy of your own.

Be sure to check out Joy's web site, coaching site and other places!
Getting It Write!
Joy says: "Need a writing coach? Do you want to discover and then what matters most? Are you wondering what’s up in the publishing world and where you fit in?

Then…you might be at the right place!

As an author coach, I help people write what matters most and discover their publishing options."

And for fun and excellent pages and to see her books for KIDS! check out this site!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer: From "Kid" Sitter to Romance Author

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer is an author who at the end of this interview is giving away her Hearts on the Road (to U.S.A. addresses only) in a drawing. To enter, just leave a comment with your email address, so I can contact the winner.I haven't done a Kid Interview in a while and this one delighted me, as my dad was a truck driver and Diana's romance book is about a truck driver (though, of a different sort!)

When Diana was just a kid, her first job involved kids and KIDS. (See her first jobs.) Read about Diana's childhood and be sure to leave a comment.She shared some great photos.

Childhood Ambition:
I wanted to be a roller derby girl. My father was strongly against that idea. Still I skated as much as I could just in case there was a chance.

Fondest Memory (back then):

Every summer my mom would bribe me to play games with her. She set all kinds of stuff on our kitchen counter from Avon and tell me if I won the game I could pick something. It was so much fun. We played Aggravation, Booby Trap, Canasta and Double Solitaire while eating popcorn and drinking sweet tea for hours every night until it cooled off enough to go to bed. No air-conditioning! We still play games when I see her, now it’s Scrabble.Mom and Diana Fishing

Proudest Moment (back then):

Having my Thanksgiving prayer picked as the best one in my fourth grade class.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:

Eating fruit and vegetables. I know that sounds crazy but I really hated those things! In school it was MATH! Did not like that subject, still don’t. I think it feels the same about me.

My First Job:

Babysitting before I was old enough to work for a paycheck, then I worked as a waitress for a very short time. After that I worked at Six Flags. Now that was FUN! My favorite part was working with the goats in the petting zoo.

Diana and a Goat

Childhood Indulgence:

Making fudge! It never seemed to turn out right but my brother and I didn’t care, we just ate it with a spoon.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:

My mom made me a dress with ladybugs on it. I loved it!

Saved from Diana's Ladybug Dress!

Diana & Brothers, David and Karl, at Easter

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show:

Gilligan’s Island and The Monkees, which I only got to watch if I could get my spelling words written three times before it came on.
(CLM: Diana, who was your favorite Monkee? Could you tell us in the comments?)

Favorite Childhood Book: Harriet the Spy tied with Little Women tied with Gone with the Wind. My husband found an old library copy of Harriet the Spy on eBay and bought it for me. It feels so right in my hands!

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime:

Reading! And roller skating.

Diana's first doll, Susie, whom she still has.

"The poor thing has a crooked eye and some of her fingers are chewed because I forgot and left her outside one night." (Diana did this page above for her with her scrapbooking.)

Diana and Susie

Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child?

Yes, I did (*passed notes!) and I got caught a few times. The teacher made sure everyone knew I misspelled a word in that note. Text messaging would have been great to have back in the day—you don’t even have to spell the words!

Childhood Hero:

My dad. I thought he could do anything—something I’m sure he encouraged me to believe. Oh, and Popeye! I even tried eating spinach because of him. After that experience, though, it seems I didn’t think him quite so exciting.

Diana and Her Dad

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?

Kisses: Diana with Danny, Her First Brother

"I had two younger brothers who were very sick and eventually died. They took a lot of attention from my parents and I learned to be quiet, read and make-up stories in my head during that time. I would clean out my closet and have my very own reading nook."

Diana and Danny, Diana's First Brother

"I wanted my dad to let me go up in our attic, he wisely said no, I’d fall through since there wasn’t a floor. My mom made all of my clothes and I watched her, she is creative and would do things that didn’t follow the pattern and that interested me."


"Now I find myself stepping past rules and seeing them only as suggestions when I sew, quilt and write."

Diana in Her Bedroom:Diana in her bedroom at age 6. "I was very proud of that room, my mom made the bedspread."

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer has a background in education and psychology. Her credits include My Devotions, The Metro East Family Gazette, Little Visits Family Devotions and The Lutheran Witness. She received her degree from Webster University. She is the author of Hearts on the Road, A Time to Dance, Mystery of the Smithton Necklace and The Trouble with Ralph. She lives in Southern Illinois where the corn grows at a rapid rate behind her home.

She’s married and has 3 grown sons all on their own now, each of them bringing someone special to join the family. Yay! Daughters-in-law!

Diana loves having pets, right now there is only one in the house, a cat named Wendell and an occasional granddog named Rusty.

Diana's web site : http://www.dianabrandmeyer.com/
Diana's Blog

Hearts on the Road
By Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
Heartsong Presents Book Club

Abandoned, betrayed, and feeling forsaken by God, truck driver Randi Davis crisscrosses Wyoming with a broken heart, vowing never to love another man. Suddenly Matthew Carter, a pastor in search of a mobile ministry is thrust into her life and into her cab. And there’s nothing she can do about it.

Matthew sees the seedier side of trucking every day, and he feels a pull toward the the people—a definite call to minister to them. But getting this ministry established is proving more difficult than he imagined.

Soon Matthew and Randi find themselves at cross-purposes. His life on the road has just begun. Her eight-year-old niece needs a parent to come home to every day. Will this be the end of the road for Randi and Matthew’s romance?

Want an autographed copy? Go to Diana' web site.

Available NOW at Heartsong Presents.

In January it will be available at on-line bookstores. Or you can order it from your local bookstore.

(Winner of the drawing for Hearts on the Road was Janalyn! 7/19/09)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Coming Up!

In July I'll be hosting author Diana Brandemeyer, so come back for that! She has so many photos that she's sharing along with her own story.

Today Christine Lindsay is hosting me on a guest blog with the story of my heart and a little of why I do this blog and why I do manuscript reviews. Visit Christine's blog, leave a comment with your email contact and you'll have a chance for me to review the first five pages of your fiction manuscript.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Janet Dean: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Janet's childhood was filled with family storytellers. The creativity and stories from then have influenced Janet's writing today.Janet reveals some little details about how she came up with names in her books, and more information about her childhood that influences her writing in subtle ways.

Be sure to leave a comment for the drawing to win Janet's newest release, Courting the Doctor's Daughter! (I'll draw a name on Saturday, June 6th, 2009.)

Let's take a look at this beauty's past!:

Childhood Ambition: At twelve I wanted to write. I illustrated my little romances, drawing my heroines in profile with turned up noses and long curly hair. I wish I had those stories today, but as I matured, they must have embarrassed me because I tossed them.

Favorite Subject in School: I loved school and liked all subjects except math. I don’t have a head for numbers, but fortunately my husband does.

My First Job: I babysat and picked strawberries for my dad, but I got my first real job during college. I took care of the younger children at an elementary school near campus while teachers had their lunch. I met my husband on that job. He oversaw the older children. We joined forces on the playground during recess. Soon children sang,” Dale and Janet sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First came love, then came marriage, then came Janet with a baby carriage.” LOL Not sure if that’s why he asked me out, but we started dating. That job gave me way more than a paycheck and five lunches a week.

Childhood Indulgence: Ice cream cones. Still love them.

Childhood Pet or Favorite Toy: The family dog, a shaggy mutt named Rags. He lived to a ripe old age, but we had to put him down following a stroke. A sad day at our house. Since then, I’ve developed allergies to cats and dogs. So our girls had hamsters, fish and a guinea pig for pets. My favorite toys were dolls. I still love them.

FAVORITE DOLL as a child: My Toni doll was my favorite by far. Mine had long dark brown hair. She came with a kit that included rods and solution for giving her a permanent. I washed her hair frequently. In the process I all but washed off her eyebrows. Anyone else have a Toni doll?

Favorite Doll you’ve collected as an adult:

I don’t collect dolls per se, but I treasure the dolls I inherited from my mother-in-law, Lois. Two are Armand Marseille dolls from Germany, Ruth and Floradora. The name of each doll is inscribed on the back of her neck along with the initials A.M. The other is a German metal head.

My mother-in-law’s A.M. doll Floradora has a kid body with jointed limbs, bisque head, open and shut eyes and blond wig. All original to the doll. The doll’s clothes were made by Lois’s grandmother. She gave Lois the doll when she was five, advising her to take good care of it as it would be her last good doll. Lois took that counsel to heart. She kept Floradora in a dresser drawer and only played with her on Sundays.

Both Ruth, a small doll much like Floradora, only with a cloth body and new wig, and the metal head belonged to Frances, Lois’s baby sister, who died at three. Frances ruined the body of the metal head doll when she used the doll to stir a kettle of apple butter. In case readers don’t know—large quantities of apple butter were made outdoors by cooking apples and sugar in copper kettles over a low flame. I named a character in the Courting series after Frances and a character in my February 2010 release, The Substitute Bride after Lois.

Favorite Outfit as a Child: My mother made me a black velvet straight skirt. I was so proud of that grown-up skirt. I wore it to our extended family Christmas celebration and split the seams jumping with my younger cousins on my grandparents’ featherbed. I was devastated and red-faced to admit I wasn’t the young lady I believed myself to be.

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: I loved all of the cowboy TV shows. I could watch one after the other and never tire of them. Still love the cowboys!

Favorite Childhood Book: Black Beauty.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime: Reading and coloring. When I have the time, I now draw with colored pencils.

Childhood Hero: My mom. I thought she was beautiful. I admired her fun spirit, work ethic, and creativity. She was a quilter, made ornaments for our Christmas tree, could whip up a lovely meal and a couple pies, and volunteer in the community. I loved to sit on her bed and watch her get ready for formal occasions. I can still see her powdering her shoulders. I miss her.

Tell us a story from your childhood about being ill:
What do you remember particularly about doctor visits and interaction with him/her?

The only memory I have of doctors is a bit gruesome. When we were preschoolers, my brother and I had our tonsils removed in the hospital on the same day. My brother’s scab came off one night causing profuse bleeding. The doctor came to the house and cauterized his throat on the kitchen table. Listening to his screams, I sat on my bed and cried the entire time, thinking I would be next. I remember the doctor rebuking me for raising such a fuss. Having a doctor come to the house shows I'm ancient. Maybe I write historical fiction because I lived it. :)

(Janet with her brothers above)

Anything in your childhood which inspired Courting the Doctor’s Daughter?

In Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, my heroine wants to attend medical school. I’m no Mary Graves. I’ve never aspired to be a doctor or a nurse. In fact my stomach flops like a landed fish when I’m confronted with wounds or blood. Except for naming two of Mary’s sons after my brothers, Michael and Philip, none of the circumstances in the story came from my life. Yet I believe writers can’t help but put a part of themselves in their heroes and heroines.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen: The summer before I entered fourth grade, my family moved from a city suburb to the outskirts of a tiny community five hours away. It seemed everyone was either related or knew each other from birth. I was shy so making friends wasn’t easy.

Was there ever a time in your childhood where you didn’t trust adults?

I was a shy child, but I trusted adults, even total strangers, until I was in middle school and had an inappropriate encounter with a man I’d trusted. Fortunately for me, I was aware enough to run. From that point on I was more leery of men, but oddly not really frightened. Sadly these experiences are all too common, then and now.

Fondest Memory (then): Christmas was a very special time in our house. Decorating the tree with icicles hung just so, singing Christmas carols, lighting a star-shaped candle, the excitement of Christmas morning with gifts under the tree. When we were little, my brothers and I woke before dawn. Some years our parents had barely gotten to bed, but they’d drilled into us that we weren’t to go downstairs until they were up.

How old were you when you learned to trust in God? What influences in your childhood helped to make this step?

After an appointment at the dentist at the age of five, I told my mother I’d prayed I wouldn’t have a cavity. As far as I know, this was my first awareness of answered prayer. My parents were a huge influence on me. They took us to church every Sunday, taught me right from wrong and provided a happy, loving, secure home. They frequently sang hymns in the car when we traveled. Whenever I hear “Rock of Ages” and “In the Garden,” I think of my father and mother. Our pastor preached frequently about hell and I knew I didn’t want to end up there. I didn’t understand grace then as much as I do now. I thank God that I don’t have to earn my place in Heaven.

Proudest Moment (then): Good grade cards. My dad was a teacher and I became one so perhaps that’s why I took such pride in my report card.

Anything else in your childhood which influenced the themes and writing that you do now?

I’m not sure my childhood influenced my themes of forgiveness and unconditional love—though I experienced both in my family—as much as I seem to have been born with a tender heart toward others going through tough times. That’s carried over to my characters. When they face adversity or struggle to overcome their pasts, I put myself in their shoes. How would that feel? How would their past affect their relationship with others, with God, even their self view? I suspect this empathy is how most of us are wired. Otherwise books couldn’t hold us in their grip as we experience the journey with the character. Creating that kind of book is both a huge responsibility and blessing for writers.

Thank you for having me today. It’s always a treat to be on your blog, Crystal!


Janet is one of my favorite authors, both as a person and as a writer! And she set her books in the town I was born in, Noblesville, Indiana.

Janet's Bio: Janet grew up in a family who cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted wonderful stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. During their early years together, Janet and her husband found their church, joined Bible studies and developed a love of scripture and a closer walk with God.

Teaching and rearing two daughters put her dream of writing on hold, but one day she recalled her girlhood aspiration. By then she knew she wanted her stories to honor God and eagerly turned to Inspirational historical romance. Janet’s journey toward publication took nine exciting, sometimes painful years of learning her craft and dealing with rejection.

Janet's Awards for
Courting Miss Adelaide

National Reader's Choice: Best First Book

The Golden Quill: Best First Book

Bookseller's Best Award: double final, Best First Book, Inspirational

Finalist in The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Inspirational category

The second book in the Courting series, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter released in May 2009.

Courting the Doctor’s Daughter

Courting the Doctor's Daughter
by Janet Dean

Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical
May 2009
Category: Inspirational
List price: $ 5.50

Buy at eHarlequin.com

An Unexpected Match

A widow with three boys to raise, Mary Graves has no time for peddlers of phony medicine. She’s a dedicated healer working alongside her doctor father. When a handsome stranger blows into town with his “elixir of health” and asks questions about her newly adopted son, Mary’s determined to uncover the truth behind all his claims.

Once the reckless heir to a Boston fortune, Dr. Luke Jacobs travels the country with his herbal medicine while searching for his long-lost son. After meeting the feisty doctor’s daughter and her youngest boy, Luke has found what he’s been looking for at last. But can he convince her to let him into her home, her family—and her heart?

Romantic Times 4 Stars:
"Dean writes from her heart, and her characters are deep and touching. This is a tender love story with unconditional love for the reader."

Courting Miss Adelaide

Mass MarketPaperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Steeple Hill (September 9, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0373827962
ISBN-13: 978-0373827961

The “orphan train” seemed like small-town spinster Adelaide Crum’s last chance to know the simple joys of family life. So many lost children, every one of them dreaming only of a caring home—the home she longed to offer. And yet the narrow-minded town elders refused to entrust even the most desperate child to a woman alone….

Newspaperman Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by this lovely, lonely woman who was fighting for the right to take some motherless child into her heart. And her gentle soul and unwavering faith made him wonder if even he could overcome the bitter lessons of the past, and somehow find the courage to love….

4 1/2 Stars, Romantic Times BOOK reviews

"Janet Dean's Courting Miss Adelaide (4 1/2) is a wonderfully sweet love story that includes facts about the orphan trains."

Copyright © 2008 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. ® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.

Janet's Awards
Fascinated by history and the role of strong women in our nation's past, Janet brings both together in her faith-based love stories. Two of her manuscripts were 2005 and 2006 Golden Heart finalists. One of those manuscripts was a 2006 Genesis finalist.
You can also order at eHarlequin.

Her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide, a Steeple Hill Love Inspired historical, released in September, 2008. Her second book in the Courting series, Courting the Doctor's Daughter released May, 2009. Her third book The Substitute Bride will release in February 2010.

See photos and more of Janet's writing journey at:

See what Janet's thoughts are at her blogspot, A Cup of Faith:

Janet and her writer friends' blog at Seekerville:
Random Drawing WINNER of Janet Dean's book, Courting the Doctor's Daughter is DOTTIE RHOADES Be sure to leave a review of her books on Amazon.com and Christianbooks.com and if you'd like to read a first chapter, go here:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy: Winner of Free Book

The drawing was held on Monday, but I needed to hear back from the winner of Mary Connealy's book, Gingham Mountain before announcing her.

SHERRINDA won the book published by Barbour. If you don't have a copy of this book, they are reasonably priced and worth it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mary Connealy: Kid on the Road to Great Stories

Mary and two of her sisters in their fancy scarves

I'm just going to say it--Mary Connealy writes the funniest and most poignant novels and I love them!Over the years that I've been a book reviewer, I've passed along books or recommended titles to local book clubs. I have a friend who is the president of a local historical society. I loved Mary's historical romances so much, I couldn't wait to give her those. Well, that lady is a harsher critic than I am ("good story, but..." LOL) but she said about Petticoat Ranch, "Mary's voice is authentic. And I really liked this book, do you have any more of her books?"

What's a better recommendation than that?

I explained to my friend that there is a good reason Mary is so good at writing--she grew up in a big family with great parents, she married a guy who grew up with brothers, they live on a farm, Mary's a teacher, and Mary and her husband had girls! Mary is a reader from way back.She just has lived so many things. The first time I met Mary, I liked her immediately. If you haven't met her, then read her books or if you are in Michigan, then be sure to go to her booksignings (see list at the end of this.) Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win Gingham Mountain.

Let's see what shaped Mary into the author with humor and insight that she is today:

Childhood Ambition:
I wanted to build roads. I had a really huge impression made on me by the first interstate highway interchange I ever saw, overpasses and on-ramps, and I remember thinking that, like the Appian Way in Rome, this would last forever. And I’d love to help build them and then something I did would last forever. You know, writing books lasts. Right???

Fondest Memory (then):
I remember my parents buying a house…a small country farm house…and having it moved and stuck onto the small country farm house where we lived, eight of us in a two bedroom house. Two Bedrooms is an exaggeration. One of those two bedrooms was a fold out couch in what was laughably called a DINING ROOM. No dining went on in there. And the other was a attic, really small with sloping ceilings. So, when we added on the house, we quit using the attic and the DINING ROOM and so, our two bedroom house, added three bedrooms and subtracted two for a total of THREE bedrooms. Although, in honestly, I now got to sleep on that fold out couch for a few years, so I guess you could call it a four bedroom house, for ten people. And I loved the fold out couch. I was the only kid who had her own room.

When they bought that house, I remember watching it come down the road, very impressive.

Proudest Moment (then): Hmmmm….
I was a very shy kid. I remember vividly spending a lot of time clinging to my mother’s skirts and burying my face. I wasn’t about PRIDE back then. I remember being in a wedding when I was about five, picked from among my then…four sisters (ages 7, 6, 5 (me) and 1). I really loved that, being plucked out and given that honor. I may have just been the right age but it made me feel really special.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:
I’d say shyness. It’s one of the reasons I make a great writer. I can have both sides of a conversation myself and, if I say something stupid, I’ve got a lot of time to think it over and delete it. A perfect world for a shy person.All my instincts are to withdraw. I live a whole world inside my head. I’m never happier than when I’m alone, in front of a computer monitor makin’ stuff up.

Mary as a teen 

My First Job:
Babysitting. I babysat for a neighbor with three little kids, including an infant when I was probably twelve. I was fearless. I had five little brothers and sisters by that age. I feared NOTHING about little kids.

Childhood Indulgence:
Reading, I think. My parents would let us get out of almost any chore if we were reading a book. They just considered it a constructive activity. So, if I was reading, I could duck washing dishes or cleaning, almost anything but helping milk the cows. There was NO ESCAPE from that.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:
A pink flower girl dress from that Proud Moment above, it was beautiful!!!!!!

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show:
I don’t know about favorite but we watched the Wizard of Oz when I was a kid. And I didn’t know it turned into color once they weren’t in Kansas anymore, until really late in life. We only had black and white TV. We watched Ed Sullivan instead of Bonanza because my mom thought it was too violent. Go watch an episode of Bonanza sometime. Very tame. It makes you see just how far we’ve fallen.

Favorite Childhood Book:
I was a ravenous reader. Dr. Seuss when I was really young. I love the 500 Hats of Bartholmew Cubbins, anyone remember that? I read Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and just any book I could get my hands on.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime:
I had a friend right across the road, Joani, one year younger than me and we played together constantly. We were always outside. We had horses and barns to climb in. Woods behind our house and beside Joani’s. We ran wild, except we never got too far.

About 1960: Youngest to Oldest: Lois, Don, Mary, Nila, Ruth

I also had all those brothers and sisters so there was never a shortage of playmates.
Mary and all of her siblings

Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child?
I went to a One Room Country School when I was a kid and one teacher had twenty-four kids in eight grades and that woman was FORMIDABLE. We didn’t misbehave much, it was just too scary. I look back at her and just love what she was, how she acted. I remember her telling us her husband had died of a heart attack really young because he smoked and we must never, ever smoke. I remember her turning on the radio the day JFK died and letting us listen to that unfold. She cried. Very scary to me to watch such a strong woman cry. Of course, my brothers and sisters were all there, and Joani and her brothers and sisters (seven in all). Plus a lot of other good-sized families. We had a blast, all while behaving pretty well.

Dad and his three big girls: (Mary says) "I'm third of eight, so I'm the baby in
 this one
(Around 1956, right Mary??) Look at all those books beside his chair!

Childhood Hero:
My dad, I suppose. He used to read to us. Now, in this modern era, my dad wouldn’t rate that high. He didn’t do diapers, he didn’t help around the house at all. But he read to us, held us on his lap, he was funny and did wonderful voices with all the characters in the book. Meanwhile, my mom is out cooking supper for ten people, so she’s my hero, too. But she was grateful for him distracting kids. She felt blessed, too.

Childhood Favorite Memory of Church:
We had this really lovely old church. I remember the Jr. High & High School age kids got to go up in this room in the STEEPLE for their Sunday School class. And I wanted to do that so badly. I was nine or ten when we built a new church-I had maybe two years to go before I’d make the cut into the steeple classroom. The new church was beautiful with big, roomy classrooms and I loved it. But I always was a little frustrated I never quite got to the age to go up in that steeple. I did go up there some, between Sunday School and church, sneaked. And it was cool.

What kinds of memories from childhood are used in your book(books?)
I consider a lot of Gingham Mountain to be like my childhood life in a general way. Grant’s tiny house and all those kids. Enough food but not much else, no luxuries at all. I knew I could take that tiny house and shoe-horn all those kids into it because I’d lived it.

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?

My parents were both college educated. My mom was a teacher, though she worked…maybe one year at it. My dad had a degree in agriculture. Then they got married and he was a farmer and she was a housewife. They used their education later for work but at the time it was just a part of their background.

We were kind of raised with this,almost, mythology about how they’d gone to college and found each other. I don’t know if that ‘love story’ was the roots of it, but education was really respected in my family. We didn’t have fancy stuff. My mom was no Martha Stewart. Too many kids, the house was bitter cold in the winter and blazing hot in the summer. We had a very starkly simple bathroom in the basement and a shower but the basement was cold. We bathed in a tin tub in the winter, one that got dragged in off the porch. Most of our clothes were used and they were crammed into not nearly enough drawers that wouldn’t shut, overflowing closets.

But we had what was important. We had love. My parents adored us. If they were worried about money they didn’t lay that burden on us ever. We had faith in God and a love of books and learning and a sense that we could do anything we wanted to. All eight of us went to college. Two doctors, including among spouses, several masters degrees, two pastors with divinity degrees and one published author.

I remember saying to my mom one time that I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up, I just wanted to be happy.She said, “Find out what God wants you to do and you’ll be happy.” That struck me as being really profound and I always remembered it. Years later, I told her that really impressed me.Mom couldn’t remember saying it. She was just this lovely, gentle-hearted woman of faith who could look at her chaotic, poverty-stricken, child-burdened life with a husband who wouldn’t change diapers and feel lucky. And my dad acted lucky 

to have found her. She knew how to love beautifully and that came out in every word she spoke.

Mary Connealy Today: Child of God,Daughter, Wife, Mother, Grandmother,
Friend, Teacher, Author (Still talking in her head, but not quite as shy)

Mary's Web site
Mary's Blog
Seekerville, where Mary and other authors blog
Petticoats and Pistols (historical) blog

From Barbour Publishing



February 2007

International Readers Choice Contest Finalist
Long Historical Fiction Category

Sophie Edwards’ life is one long struggle for survival, and, more importantly, the survival of her four daughters. She wants to avenge her husband’s murder, but she has no idea how to do it. And as if she hasn't got enough to do, now a wounded man is disrupting her family’s lonely life.

Clay McClellen left an idyllic, all-male world in the mountains. But, after plunging headfirst over a cliff, Clay finds himself at the mercy of a widow and her four girls.

A suspenseful romantic comedy about a mountain man trapped in a pretty, sweet smelling, confusing all-girl world.


July 2008

4 1/2 Stars from Romantic Times

Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutches of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process?

GINGHAM MOUNTAIN  (Just released. See below to be entered in a drawing for a free copy!!!)

February 2009

4 1/2 Stars from Romantic Times

A rancher runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he's made slave labor out of eight orphaned children.

Grant Cooper crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children, it's Grant she can't stand.

Other books by Mary Connealy:

From Heartsong Presents

August 2008
By Cathy Marie Hake, Mary Connealy
and Kathleen Y'Barbo

Contains Golden Days winner of ACFWs Book of the Year contest as Best Short Historical
The historic Alaskan frontier makes a wonderful setting for romantic adventures. Trek into the wilds alongside three women who have strong faith, determination, and no need for a husband. Can they surrender their independent hearts when love comes to call in the form of a friendly neighbor, a grieving widower, and a secretive gold miner?

from Heartsong Presents Mysteries

Coming in June 2009

November 2008
Join the club here:www.heartsongmysteries.com

Being named in Great-grandma’s will was like hitting bankrupt on Wheel of Fortune. The whole family held their breath while the wheel ticked around and around, or rather while the lawyer opened the envelope. Then they all heaved a sigh of relief when the wheel stopped on Carrie’s name. Carrie the heiress. Great. Clean up the house. Clean up the yard. Clean up Great-grandma’s rap sheet.

Carrie hates mice and loves the big city. So why is she living in a huge mouse infested house in her dinky hometown? The dead guy in her pantry closet is the most interesting thing that's happened since she came home. Of course the carpenter who's helping her trap her mice and solve the crime is pretty interesting, too.

Coming 2009

Joe Manning comes to town to finally meet his dead beat dad, only to find his father has been murdered.

Bonnie is attacked while she's at work in the Melnik Historical Society Museum, proud home of Maxie the World's Largest Field Mouse. Only her attacker now claims it was an accident, and he claims he's never seen the guy before who's dead in Bonnie's store room.

Bonnie wants to be suspicious but once he stopped attacking her he turns out to be pretty sweet. And lots of people had a motive to kill Sven Gunderson - including Bonnie herself. Gunderson, the true owner of Maxie, wanted his mouse back.

In Melnik, that means war!

Coming 2009

Tyler Simpson is opening a new law office and he's home to stay.

The very British Dr. Madeline Stuart is writing an anthropology doctoral thesis about a small town that worships an oversized rodent. Success with her project should lead to her dream job, a full professorship at Oxford... even better, a guest shot on Oprah.

When a body falls out of a cupboard in Tyler's law office, clutching Maddy's necklace in his cold, dead fingers, Maddy gets arrested and Tyler is appointed her attorney.

But once Tyler finds out Maddy's here to betray his beloved Melnik, he isn't giving her his best effort.

And someone out there thinks blaming the murder on Maddy would be a perfect solution to his own problems. And Maddy's more likely to cooperate with being framed - if she's dead.

Maxie the World's Largest Field Mouse must come through one more time to thwart the criminal in his peaceful, if someone mouse-obsessed, hometown.

~ Heartsong Presents~


October, 2008

Book #1 in the South Dakota Weddings Series from Heartsong Presents

They'll never see eye-to-eye.

Buffy Lange has spent her life learning about, caring for, and protecting buffalo. She's landed the job of her dreams, managing a huge buffalo ranch in South Dakota. With stars in her eyes, she imagines all of the Midwest given over to free-ranging buffalo. To her, buffalo embody beauty, majesty, and strength. To Wyatt Shaw, however, the buffalo are a constant threat. Wyatt's ranch adjoins the Buffalo Commons and he watches in trepidation as its owner expands and rides roughshod over the local ranchers. Buffalo are wild, untameable, and dangerous. They present a hazard to man and beast.

When disaster strikes, Wyatt's worst fears are realized and Buffy can do nothing but clean up the mess. With one determined to rid the area of buffalo and the other determined to see them flourish, the dust seldom settles around these two. Will they find a common ground or are they destined to forever stand alone?

November, 2008

Book #2 in the South Dakota Weddings Series from Heartsong Presents

Emily Johannson discovers a cranky man living in a derelict house in the woodland behind her ranch. When she orders him off, Jake Hanson tells her he bought this wreck and is planning to live there. He's filthy, starving, and furious that Emily found him. He wants to be left alone. And she would if she didn't keep needing to save his worthless life.

December, 2008

Book #3 in the South Dakota Weddings Series from Heartsong Presents

Michael Davidson was a tyrant for a husband, and Jeanie was born to be a doormat.

They got along great.

Then Michael abandoned his submissive wife, just another way to be a jerk.

Michael returns a Christian and wants to heal their relationship. Jeanie is in possession of the first bit of hard won self esteem of her life, and she doesn't believe for a minute her cranky husband can change his ways.

They commit to building a healthy marriage but his new job as her boss slips them back into old habits.

Barbour Authors Booksigning Tour in Michigan, March 30th-April 4th, 2009

Authors: Christine Lynxwiler, Kaye Dacus, Mary Connealy, and M. L. Tyndall

Monday, March 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Family Christian Stores

Minges Brook Mall

5700 Beckley Road, Suite B-2

Battle Creek, MI 49015

Tuesday, March 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Family Christian Stores

3155 Westshore Drive

Holland, MI 49424

Tuesday, March 31 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Baker Book House

2768 Paris Ave SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Wednesday, April 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Family Christian Stores

Rivertown Center

3819 Rivertown Parkway SW, Suite 100

Grandville, MI 49418

Thursday, April 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Leighton Township Library

4451 12th Street

Moline, MI 49335

Thursday, April 2 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Jude 3

2279 North Park Drive, Suite 810

Holland, MI 49424

Friday, April 3 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Family Christian Stores

Jolly Cedar Plaza

5132 S. Cedar Street

Lansing, MI 48911

Friday, April 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Family Christian Stores

Westnedge Corners Shopping Center

4413 S. Westnedge Ave

Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Saturday, April 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Family Christian Stores

3343A Alpine Road NW

Walker, MI 49544

To be placed in a drawing for Mary Connealy's Gingham Mountain, leave a comment with your contact info: 
(yourname AT Isp dot com) 
and I'll draw one winner on March 9th, 2009 (Sorry, U.S. addresses only.)