Food for the SoulTweet
Posted 5/20/13 at 3:43 PM | Audra Jennings
Live Online Event to Feature Gist’s Latest Release It Happened at the Fair
Deeanne Gist will be hosting a webcast on May 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM EST, where she will be introducing readers to her latest release, It Happened at the Fair (Howard Books, April 20, 2013). During the live online event, Gist will be discussing her inspiration for the story, sharing interesting facts from her research on the fair, and answering reader questions. During the course of the evening, a number of prizes will be given away to those participating in the discussion.
The webcast will be hosted on Gist’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/deesfriends. Leading up to the webcast, readers can RSVP for the event and sign up to receive an email reminder. In coordination with the It Happened at the Fair blog tour, a drawing is also being held for an iPad Mini. Fans can also enter the contest via Gist’s Facebook page, and the winner will be announced at the end of the webcast.
About It Happened at the Fair:
The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair overflowed with the latest innovations welcomed by a throng of people from all around the globe. This setting replete with history, intrigue and wonder is the backdrop for It Happened at the Fair.
Gambling everything, including the family farm, young inventor Cullen McNamara is determined to make his family proud—and earn his father’s entry money to the Fair Expo back—by selling his design for an automatic sprinkler system inspired by his mother’s death in a mill fire. Struggling with hearing loss from his previous life on the farm, McNamara finds it difficult to communicate with potential buyers over the din in the Fair’s Machinery Building. In an act of desperation, he hires attractive Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.
Much like the newly invented Ferris Wheel, Cullen is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground or will he be carried away?
Gist’s unique blend of romance and historical fiction brings the past alive for her readers through her extensive period research. Readers will find themselves not only caught up with the exciting backdrop of the fair, but the blossoming love story between Cullen and Della. They will also encounter President Grover Cleveland, Alexander Graham Bell, Helen Keller, and Ann Sullivan, actually attendees of the legendary fair.
About the Deeanne Gist:
Deeanne Gist—known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee—has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captivated readers everywhere with her original historical and contemporary novels. A favorite among readers and reviewers alike, her popular titles include A Bride Most Begrudging, A Bride in the Bargain, and Maid to Match. It Happened at the Fair, is her ninth published novel.
Posted 5/17/13 at 6:56 PM | Audra Jennings |
Erin Healy’s Afloat is a stunning exploration of the human spirit and supernatural possibilities
We live in a world where a spiritual battle between good and evil is continually raging around us, whether we are aware of it or not. While supernatural fiction portraying the battle between light and darkness has become a popular genre in recent years, best-selling author Erin Healy hopes readers recognize a difference between her books and the others out there. “The secular paranormal genre is preoccupied with darkness. As honestly as I can, I try to be preoccupied with light.” In her latest release, Afloat (Thomas Nelson/May 7, 2013/ISBN 978-1401685522/$15.99), Healy’s characters are faced with the fight of their lives, in a desperate search for the light.
Architect Vance Nolan has crafted an architectural marvel — a first step toward his life’s goal. Eagle’s Talon is a set of shining residential units built on the water, afloat in a protected cove of the gorgeous Rondeau River. The project is nearly complete, partially occupied, and ready to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way. Then torrential rains and a flood leave a ragged collection of builders, investors and residents stranded in one floating building, completely cut off from the rest of the world.
With limited resources, the motley group is bitterly divided over what to do next. Vance insists they sit tight and wait to be rescued, but developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the unknown and save themselves. Single-mom Danielle Clement is obligated to each man and desperate to protect her young son; however, she isn’t sure which one is wiser.
Power failure, an unnatural daytime darkness, explosions and then a murder slowly expose hidden intentions and dark histories. But Danielle’s son, Simeon, has spotted something bright underwater — beautiful, shifting lights in the dark water beneath them. In this watery world, everyone’s secrets will eventually come to light, and deliverance may mean more than just getting out alive.
When Healy originally set out to write Afloat, she had a love triangle in mind. However, given the situation of the story — a group of people isolated under threat — the love element became something very different. The question she encountered, and in turn, her characters come face to face with, is, Can we love well when our survival instincts have kicked into high gear? “I hope this novel gives readers a renewed conviction that for believers, death is nothing to fear; our survival is guaranteed,” says Healy. “How we love each other, however, is entirely up to us.”
For those who may be new to the supernatural suspense genre, or may be skeptical, Healy offers this invitation, “to those who are curious, I would say that the supernatural world is real, it is biblical, it has a profound effect on our physical reality, and it is more bright than dark. I believe it’s no more terrifying than the physical world, because the same God rules over both. While I can’t speak for every supernatural story, there should be nothing to fear in mine.”
About the Author
Erin Healy is an award-winning editor and bestselling co-author (with Ted Dekker)of the supernatural suspense novels Kiss and Burn. Her solo debut, Never Let You Go, ushered in a new brand of fiction, building on her work with Dekker, that melds supernatural suspense with female-friendly relational drama. Healy continues to deliver a unique take on suspense with a little decidedly feminine point of view, although she admits that Afloat has more of the male point of view than her previous releases.
Healy earned her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. She began her career as an editor for Christian Parenting Today before serving as a book editor for WaterBrook Press. Healy founded WordWright Editorial Services in 2002 and specializes in fiction book development. She has worked with many popular authors in a number of genres such as Frank Peretti, James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, Robin Lee Hatcher, Gilbert Morris, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer and Robert Whitlow.
While her interest in supernatural fiction grew she while working with Dekker (she edited 12 of his well-known, heart-pounding stories before collaborating with him as a co-author), her interest in the spiritual realm has always been a part of her. “The Irish girl in me is fascinated by the concept of thin places, a Celtic name for locations in the world where the veil between physical and spiritual realities is so delicate that a person can see through it. For me, thin places are revelations about what it means to be a spiritual creation in a physical world. I write supernatural suspense novels from a Christian worldview, with eyes open to God’s mysterious side and where His world world intersects ours,” she explains.
Healy currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO, with her husband, Tim, and two children. She is a
member of International Thriller Writers and the American Christian Fiction Writers.
Posted 5/16/13 at 3:07 PM | Audra Jennings
Rachel Hauck’s Once Upon a Prince Shows What God Can Do When You Leave Your Heart Open
Every little girl dreams of being a princess. Every woman longs to be treated like royalty. We’re all just a little bit fascinated by royal weddings and the princess that lives in every woman. That’s why readers will fall in love with Once Upon a Prince (Zondervan/May 7, 2013/ISBN 978-0310315476/$14.99), the first release in the Royal Wedding Series by award-winning author Rachel Hauck.
“When my alarm went off at 5:00 AM the morning Prince William married Catherine Middleton, my first thought was, ‘Do I really want to get out of bed for this wedding? It’s so early!’” admits Hauck. “But the new Duchess of Cambridge captured me as well as the rest of the world with her poise and confidence. She is, in many ways, like me. An ordinary girl marrying the man she loved, living her dream. My imagination took hold, and that’s when Susanna and Nathaniel’s story started coming to life.”
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess — just to marry the man she planned to marry for the past twelve years. It was all a part of her grand plan. However, when her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer broke up with her instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life. Struggling with personal and professional disappointments, what was the plan for the rest of her life now?
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expected to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, was the queen of his heart. All he was looking for was a break from the realities of home. After all, a prince had duties. His family’s tense political situation all but had his bride chosen for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he’s blindsided by love.
He’s a royal prince, and she’s an ordinary girl — their lives were worlds apart with traditions and politics to consider. They can’t work. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation. It’s the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?
There is more to Once Upon a Prince than a royal love story. Hauck hopes that once readers reach the end of the book, they realize: God has a beautiful plan for them! She even works some of her own experience into the story. “The ‘I’ve got nothing’ journey Susanna experiences is my personal journey. It’s the dialog and MO between the Lord and me. Everyone is different, but I believe God leads us and directs us with recognizable patterns,” she said. “I know how hard it is to wait on the Lord. We feel we’re responsible for our own destiny, but He has amazing plans for us and works all things together for good.”
And there’s a bigger love story to consider — it, too, makes its way into Once Upon a Prince. “We should never give up on love. Love is always for the greater good of others, as well as us. I think we have to do is redefine love. Sometimes actions we consider love are really not love at all. Jesus gave up all the beauty and majesty of splendor of Heaven, became a man and died a cruel death on a cross. All for love. Wow, what kind of love is that? Not the world’s definition of love but the perfect model for true love.”
Join Rachel Hauck for a 12-Day Royal Wedding Preparation Giveaway May 16-27, followed by a Facebook Party on May 28 at 8:00 PM EDT where she will chat with readers. Watch for more details on her Facebook Page.
About the Author
Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of ACFW Book of the Year winner Sweet Caroline, RITA Finalist Love Starts With Elle, bestselling and RITA Finalist The Wedding Dress, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, The Songbird Novels. Hauck’s latest release, Once Upon A Prince, is already receiving rave reviews, including a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.
Hauck earned a degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes fan. She worked in the corporate software world until 2004 when she began to write fulltime. Although she admits to being Yankee-born, Hauck has lived in the south most of her life and works her southern experience into her stories. She now lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane-plagued, central Florida with her husband and writes from her own two-story tower.
She is the past president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves on the Executive Board. Hauck is also one of five author contributors to Southern Belle View Daily.
Posted 5/15/13 at 11:15 AM | Audra Jennings
What happens when three sisters come together in Nantucket for the first time since their mother’s death? Much more than the Marris sisters could have ever anticipated! The Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series (Guideposts Books) introduces readers to Caroline, Gracie and Sam as they gather for a vacation where they spent the summers as children, and follows their adventures as they fulfill their mother’s dream of opening a bed and breakfast. As the sisters heal from their mother’s passing, they bond in ways they never imagined and discover evidence of God’s hand in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
A team of four authors come together under the pen name of Evangeline Kelley to bring the unique personalities of each sister to vivid life and welcome audiences to the charming and historic island of Nantucket, complete with cobblestone streets, quaint shops, ferries, sandy beaches and salty air. The series weaves together the stories of each of the sisters as they progress through their own unique personal journeys. Along the way, readers will discover the wonder of God’s love in the lives of each of his children.
Q: Nantucket brings to mind images of historic charm and a certain mystery. What kind of research did you do in order to portray the essence of the island? If you were able to visit Nantucket, was it anything like you expected?
In researching this book and this series, I loved the historical richness of Nantucket. There were a lot of social and financial changes that happened throughout the decades, and it was a lot of fun to read about the history of the island, including snippets from old diaries of residents. That's what gave me the idea to include an excerpt of a society matron's diary in book three as a clue to the mystery about Hannah. I'm hoping the research that I and my co-authors did gives the readers a taste of the Nantucket historical time periods mentioned in the books.
Q: Several authors came together to write the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series. How were you able to maintain the characters and the story line from book to book? How did your collaborative process work?
We all started off with three rough outlines of the stories and a document that listed a lot of the pertinent places and people in the series, which had to remain consistent throughout all three books. Patti Berg made sure to include lots of cool pictures! Our collaborative process was all over emails, and it was a lot of fun! We have a Yahoo! group email loop, and we'd often shoot off an email asking about things like if anyone had any details in their book about what the library looks like, or if anyone had already mentioned in their book about the various people who owned the Misty Harbor Inn in the past. Since all three books were written within a few months of each other, we were able to fine-tune any inconsistencies or make sure we mentioned things that ended up changing in a previous book. It ended up being really exciting to see how the books were being tweaked even as we all finished our individual manuscripts.
Q: Is this the first time you have written a series with other authors? How are you recruited by a publisher to contribute to a series?
I had been fortunate to work with Patti Berg, Pam Hanson and Barbara Andrews (as well as other authors) on another Guideposts series, Miracles of Marble Cove. It was a delight to be collaborating with them on another series since I already knew we worked well together, and it was fun for the four of us to be discussing with one another a set of characters as interesting as the Marris sisters. Each of us had originally auditioned for and been selected to work for Guideposts for other series, and then we were asked to work on the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series.
Q: The Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series has elements from several different genres. How do romance, history, mystery and faith all come together in these stories?
I have to credit our editor for helping us balance the romance, history, mystery and faith so that they all intertwine so delicately and create wonderfully rich and cohesive books. Our editor, Jon Woodhams, worked closely with us from the synopsis phase all the way through the final revisions phase to make sure each of those elements in the books were just right so that no one element overshadowed the others.
Q: Readers are often curious as to whether or not a character in a story is anything like the author. Which of the three sisters are you most like?
It's coincidental that I'm most like Sam, and I was lucky to write the book that focused more on her own character arc. However, I long to be more adventurous like Caroline, and writing her wedding was a lot of fun.
Q: What are some of the lessons the sisters learn as they come together to run the Misty Harbor Inn?
Each of the sisters learn a slightly different aspect about the value of home and family. They are each coming from different places in their adult lives, so they have slightly different ideas of what “home” is to them. Through their adventures at the Misty Harbor Inn, they each come to understand the unique bond they share as sisters and the value of the new home they are creating for themselves in Nantucket at the inn.
Q: What do you hope readers walk away with after reading the series?
Home really is where your heart is! It might be a bit overused today, but the sentiment is always true. God puts us in the specific places in our lives where we can serve Him, love others and learn the value of what He's done in our lives.
Posted 5/14/13 at 11:39 AM | Audra Jennings
Q: Women often overcommit themselves and limit their Bible study time. How much time during a day or week is required for each Discover Together lesson?
Women today are busy, but fast-paced full lives mean they need God’s Word to guide them just as much, maybe even more, than women in previous generations. Most women can complete a lesson in one to one and a half hours a week, and even with this minimum time commitment, they can expect an in-depth grasp of the text. The key is consistency. Understanding, really understanding, God’s Word will radically change your life if you apply what you learn. Where else can you get life change for an hour to an hour and a half a week?
Q: How can women take part in The Year of Discovery?
Choices. Women can participate in The Year of Discovery along with their Bible study groups at church. Or, if they can’t commit to another night out of the house for a group study or their work schedule keeps them on the road, they can still engage in meaningful study by completing the lessons themselves and then finding community and discussions on my new Facebook page (Facebook.com/DiscoverTogetherSeries). I’ll be leading women through one study after another in 2013. Check out the calendar and join us. FULL POST
Posted 5/1/13 at 5:53 PM | Audra Jennings |
In Catch a Falling Star, Beth K. Vogt shares that God’s best is often behind the door marked “Never”
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.
“Everyone experiences life not going according to their plans — the outcomes range from humorous to tragic,” says Vogt. “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.”
Sure, growing her medical practice takes up a lot of her time and she is focused on her career, but that isn’t the reason Kendall is still single. She’d happily make room in her life for a family, but Mr. Right just hasn’t come into her life. All of her closest friends are now married or planning their weddings. Even her baby sister, 10 years younger than she, is getting engaged and demanding Kendall give up their grandmother’s engagement ring because, after all, Kendall isn’t using it and at this point most likely never will. Kendall decides she needs to stop wishing upon a star and face reality: Some dreams just never come true.
Kendall’s path keeps crossing with Griffin Walker’s, an Air Force pilot who makes it loud and clear he prefers flying solo in the air and on the ground. His life is focused on flying until he is grounded due to circumstances beyond his control. However, life becomes even more complicated for Griffin after the sudden death of his parents makes him the guardian of the adopted 16-year-old brother he barely knows. Griffin is convinced there is no way his life will ever get back on course now. When their lives collide during a near tragedy, Kendall and Griffin must decide if they can embrace the unexpected changes God has waiting for them.
Catch a Falling Star weaves the lives of her main characters and supporting cast together using the themes of singleness, adoption and loss of parents. “All of these relationships fall under the umbrella of ‘life not going according to plan,’” explains Vogt. “In fact, 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.”
Vogt was inspired to write a romance with characters a little older than many others on shelves today after a conversation with a friend. “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. It isn’t just society that puts marriage and family expectations on singles. 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. 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.”
Readers can connect with Beth Vogt at her Catch a Falling Star Facebook party on June 6 at 8:00 PM EDT where she will chat with readers, answer questions and give away books. Watch for details on her Facebook page.
About the Author
Beth K. Vogt knows all about her plans and God’s plans not being the same. There was a time when as a non-fiction author and editor, she said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Vogt has discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.”
Vogt earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University. Her publishing credits include: Discipleship Journal, Virtue, The Christian Communicator and Crosswalk.com. She is also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms and The Mommy Diaries as well as author of Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing Motherhood after 35. Catch a Falling Star is her second novel, following the release of her fiction debut Wish You Were Here, which hit bookstore shelves last year.
An encourager at heart, Vogt has more than 20 years’ experience teaching women at retreats, churches and other events, including the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers International) Convention and the Hearts at Home national and regional conferences. For several years, she edited Connections and is currently a consulting editor for MomSense magazine and writes a bimonthly column for MomsNEXT, MOPS’ ezine for moms of school-age children.
Beth and her husband Rob have been married for almost 35 years. They have three adult children and — thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest — a 12-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a “daughter-in-love,” two “sons-in-love,” and a grandbaby on the way, enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado.
Visit Beth Vogt’s website at www.bethvogt.com 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).
Posted 4/30/13 at 3:01 PM | Audra Jennings
The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair overflowed with the latest innovations welcomed by a throng of people from all around the globe. This setting replete with history, intrigue and wonder is the backdrop for beloved author Deeanne Gist’s latest release, It Happened at the Fair.
“I’m always drawn to events in our country’s past that are strangely absent from our history classes. Why the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition has been left out, I don’t know, especially since it was such a pivotal event for us,” explains Gist. “We were able to wow the world with our scientific innovations; and it gave women their first official board position recognized and approved by an Act of Congress (all before we had the right to vote). But it was technology which claimed the day as it nipped at the heels of horses, buggies, and man-powered tools.”
With every book topping bestseller charts since her acclaimed debut A Bride Most Begrudging, Deeanne Gist has sold over a half million copies, earning rave reviews and numerous awards, including back-to-back Christy Awards, four RITA nominations, National Readers Choice, and Book Buyers Best. With her trademark humor and rich historical detail, It Happened at the Fair is sure to delight her beloved fans as well as garner new ones. FULL POST
Posted 4/26/13 at 7:24 PM | Audra Jennings |
An interview with Beth Guckenberger, Author of Tales of the Defended Ones
What do adopted children from Ethiopia, a child in slavery in Cambodia, a special-needs orphan from Mexico, and a foster child in the U.S. have in common? They are all real children whose lives of heartbreak and abandon became stories of hope skillfully and lovingly told in Beth Guckenberger’s latest book, Tales of the Defended Ones (Standard Publishing / January 28, 2013 / ISBN: 978-0784736975 / $ 8.99).
Q: Tales of the Defended Ones is the second release in the Storyweaver series. Can you share more about your vision for the series and what you hope readers will gain from reading your books?
I hope it spurs between children and the adults in their lives conversations of substance about real issues. I want children to learn with God’s worldview how to pray and go and understand slavery, adoption and orphan care. I pray it takes the cause and makes it personal through these true and real stories.
Q: Who are the defended ones you refer to in the books title? How can we help be defenders?
There is a child slave girl from Cambodia, two boys adopted from Ethiopia, a sibling set fostered in the United States and a special-needs orphan boy from Mexico. We can help be defenders by listening, understanding, praying, going, acting on their behalf, understanding God will defend them and if we raise our hand, He will involve us.
Q: How do you try to explain to kids that sometimes bad things do happen, even though God is watching?
We talk about that tension right off the bat. It’s so black and white with children, as we grow we wrestle with sovereignty and free will, but as kids, it seems it should be simpler. I do my best to explain it in chapter one, but again, I hope it spurs on conversation at the dinner table, in the classroom and in a youth group so other adults can share honestly how they handle those questions.
Q: What are some of the ways we can teach our children to see God working in situations?
Look for his movements, where He provides wisdom, rest, guidance, a helping hand, encouragement, etc. I think we have the opportunity to teach children to look for Him moving and then jump in the story! He has something for each of us!
Q: How were you able to gather these stories from children around the world?
The Mexico story happened here, where I live. The foster family is from my hometown in the U.S. The Ethiopian boys are dear friends of my brother’s family, who has also adopted from Ethiopia, and the Cambodian story is from Destiny’s Rescue, a ministry to slave children with whom we have formed a strong friendship.
Q: Unlike Tales of the Not Forgotten, this time one of the stories comes from the United States. Why was it important to you to include a story from within the U.S.?
I know there are children with needs all over the world, and that includes the U.S. There are thousands of children in foster care right in our hometowns! I wanted to spur conversations about how our families and churches can reach out to them.
Q: What is a good age to start introducing children the idea of mission work and helping others who may not be as fortunate as they are?
I don’t think a child can be too young. They will hear about these realities from school or the media. They will learn about child slavery and unclean water, orphan care and famine. It’s our privilege to shape their understanding of how God sees the children impacted by these crises. It’s our opportunity to teach and engage children in the issues so they grow up not intimated by the cause, but educated about it. This is our next generation; let’s listen as God whispers to them and deposits his heart into theirs.
Q: What is the target age for the Storyweaver series?
It was written for children between the ages of 8-12, but like Tales of the Not Forgotten, I have heard of families and teachers reading the stories out loud to children younger than 8. I also get a tremendous amount of mail from adults who don’t realize until the end it was for children! I think all ages can appreciate the stories.
Q: What other resources are available to go along with Tales of the Defended Ones? How can churches and families use the book and leader’s guide?
There is a leader’s guide CD that has supplemental material on the countries and the issues each story raises, as well as great activities to use for devotionals at home or as a classroom curriculum.
Q: How does Standard’s summer 2013 VBS curriculum (God’s Backyard Bible Camp) and the mission kit to be released this fall fit in?
We realized with the release of Tales of the Not Forgotten how hungry families and churches are to address these issues with children. The VBS highlights one of the stories from Tales of the Not Forgotten, a story about a four-year-old orphan who prays and asks God for steak (and He delivers!). This story is a launching pad to talk about prayer, about hunger, about orphans, about faith. It is our hope that VBS’ all over the country will stir in the hearts of the children a bold kind of faith that trusts God for answers to their questions. We hope it, along with the user-friendly mission kit, will facilitate for the teacher or parent these substantive conversations that encourage children to listen to God’s heart for the nations.
Q: Your own family isn’t what most people would consider “traditional.” Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
Todd and I have three biological children, have three adopted children and have raised three foster daughters.
Q: How can families join your work at the Back2Back Ministries campus in Mexico?
If they check out the website, back2back.org, we have lots of tools and FAQs about taking a family on a missions trip! Check us out!
Learn more about Beth Guckenberger and Back2Back Ministries at www.bethguckenberger.com, http://back2back.org, the Back2Back Ministries Facebook page (back2backministries) or Twitter (@bguckenberger).
Posted 4/25/13 at 3:27 PM | Audra Jennings
Facebook Party will spotlight the release of Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions
Are you tired of asking the same questions at dinner and receiving uninterested, one-word replies? What did you learn at school today? Nothing. How was work, honey? Work. What do you think of my new recipe? Weird. Break away from the routine and get your family excited about sharing meals together. Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc./March 22, 2013/ISBN 978-1-5899-7676-4/$9.99) by Tricia Goyer and Crystal Bowman can help you bring substance and excitement to your family meals. On May 1 at 8 PM EDT/5 PM PDT, Goyer will be hosting an interactive Author Chat on Facebook to share ideas for meaningful and fun discussions with your family from the new release.
Spending quality time with family is turning into a rare occasion. Between having hectic schedules and being tied to electronics, something as simple as having a meal together turns into a major feat. Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions encourages families to gather around the dinner table by providing a variety of topics and messages to get your family talking, learning, and laughing. The book is composed of 90 devotions that are broken into three categories: everyday, holiday, and specially-themed devotions.
In addition to being an Adventures in Odyssey release, Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions is also a recommended resource of Focus on the Family’s Make Every Day Count campaign, a Facebook community where families are encouraged to be intentional with the daily meals in five areas: dinner, conversation, laughter, time, and prayer. Brock Eastman, Producer of the Odyssey Adventure Club launching this fall, will be joining Goyer during the Facebook party to give participants a preview of the new club.
Leading up to the Facebook Party, Goyer will be doing a 12-day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway. Starting April 19 and ending April 30, participants can visit Tricia’s Facebook page for a new giveaway each day. Prizes range from copies of Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions and gift cards to games and other fun, family-oriented activities.
During the May 1 Facebook Party, participants can submit questions for Goyer to answer and are qualified to win a variety of prizes, including copies of Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions. Those interested can RSVP and join the party via the author’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/authortriciagoyer).
About the Author
Tricia Goyer is the author of over 30 books and has been published in many national publications such as Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine, Today's Christian Woman, and HomeLife magazine. She has won numerous awards and has been nominated for both the Gold Medallion Book Award and the Christy Award. Tricia is a highly sought after speaker at workshops and conferences and is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana. Tricia is married to the love of her life, John, and they have six great kids. They live in Little Rock, Arkansas, where John works for FamilyLife.
About Tyndale House Publishers
Tyndale House Publishers, founded in 1962, is the world’s largest privately held Christian publisher of books, Bibles, and digital media. Tyndale has published many New York Times bestsellers. The largest portion of its profit goes to the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation, which makes grants to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world. Tyndale was founded to publish Living Letters, which later comprised part of The Living Bible, a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible that became a global publishing phenomenon. Tyndale now publishes the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT), the translation of choice for millions of people.
About Adventures In Odyssey
Mealtime Devotions is the latest release from Adventures In Odyssey at Focus on the Family. For over 25 years, parents have trusted Adventures In Odyssey to provide resources to help their children grow in their faith. Over 20 million products have been distributed worldwide including audio dramas, fiction books and devotionals. Adventures In Odyssey audio dramas are heard on radio by over 2 million in the U.S. and by others in over 40 countries around the world.
About Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family, which reaches about 238 million people in 130 countries, is a global Christian ministry that helps families thrive. We provide help and resources for strengthening believers in their faith and sharing the gospel; building resilient marriages that reflect God’s design; equipping parents to raise their children with a thriving faith; advocating for the preborn, orphaned and life at every stage; and engaging the culture through a biblical worldview. Visit Focus atFocusontheFamily.com or on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow the Focus PR team on Twitter.
Posted 4/23/13 at 4:57 PM | Audra Jennings
Tragedy brings out either the best in us or the worst. However, it is nearly impossible to predict what a person’s response will be until something life-changing happens. In his latest release, Darkness Before Dawn (Abingdon Press / March 1, 2013 / ISBN: 978-1426714672 / $14.99), best-selling author Ace Collins tells the heart-wrenching story of a young woman’s pursuit of justice after losing her husband in a senseless accident that never had to happen.
Q: You categorize Darkness Before Dawn in the genre of moral issues suspense. How would you define that category?
A novel has to be entertaining, so authors have to use some kind of genre, be it adventure, romance, drama, suspense and intrigue, in order to pull the reader in, then we can focus on moral issues. But the lesson has to be a part of the plot. This book uses drama, heartache and suspense in a way that might mirror Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, but its goal is to leave the reader thinking about choices. Those values or issues in Darkness Before Dawn include abortion, suicide, DUI and a judicial system that can be swayed by influence, power and money. Those are pretty heavy topics, and they are wrapped in a plot that centers of cost or price of revenge and retribution. In other words, Darkness Before Dawn is a wild ride going into areas a lot of Christian books really don’t want to touch. That includes showing the bad side of a really good woman and flipping our feelings for the villain from hate to actually empathizing with him.
My goal is first and foremost to create books you can’t put down. In other words I want these novels to be page turners, to keep you reading by being so interesting that they cost readers some sleep and examine life decisions. It will explore them not just in a black-and-white fashion, but in these pages I want to get readers to consider the middle ground as well. Moral issues are not easy, and when faced with doubt, grief and pain, many Christians often make choices that others don’t understand. So I want to leave readers with a lesson that there is great wisdom in leaving the judging to God and for readers to realize that there is great power in embracing those in need even if we don’t agree with their choices. After all, a doctor can’t heal anyone until he or she lays their hands on that sick patient.
Q: What message do you hope readers walk away with after reading Darkness Before Dawn?
I am hoping folks see the real pain and suffering in a life fueled by hate and vengeance. I hope in the end they also see the greatest power on earth is forgiveness and love.
Q: Meg is very angry at God after her husband is killed by a drunk driver. Do you think there anything wrong with asking, “If there is a God, why did He let this happen?” when something bad takes place in our lives?
I think it is a natural question. I think we all ask it when tragedies happen. When a hurricane or tornado hits and so many die, we wonder “Where was God in this?” I think the same thing is true when we see a child who has a terminal disease. Thus I think Meg’s reaction is one most of us would have, but I’m not sure how many would admit having it. That is why we have Nancy in the story. The dying woman who really knows about life not being fair gives Meg and us a perspective to consider.
Q: In dealing with her grief, Meg becomes very set on seeking justice for the drunk driver involved in her husband’s accident. How does her anger and bitterness make her situation even worse?
Seeking retribution and revenge brings out the ugliest side of any person. They become consumed by it and therefore lose their ability to reason. As we say in the story, a little bit of hate unchecked becomes a cancer that destroys all that is good in a person. So hate and bitterness gave her focus, but it made Meg’s life far worse and it took her being confronted by her own answered prayers to see the full cost.
Q: Meg found out she was pregnant on the very same day her husband died, which makes a difficult time in her life even more complicated. Once the baby is born, she names her Dawn. Can you share some of the symbolism of this choice as it relates to Meg’s life?
The name Dawn represents Meg living through a darkness she could not imagine and then once more finding the faith and the light. Dawn therefore represents not just a hopeful name for a baby but Meg actually finding a reason to live and the power to forgive. So it represents a new start for her as well.
Q: You’ve written everything from novels to biographies and how-to books to devotionals. What do you enjoy writing the most? How do your projects come to you?
I have had so much success in nonfiction over the years, I should say I really like that. But in truth I most love the challenge of the novel. Fiction’s only limit is imagination while nonfiction is limited by facts. Thus, to have the freedom to create lives and then take them on adventures is just an amazing experience. That said, I want to continue to write nonfiction, too. And both fit well with my fascination with history.
Q: Is it difficult to come up with new material constantly?
In truth, the ideas are pretty easy for me. I have all these characters locked in my head, and if I didn’t put them in books they might just drive me crazy. It is the writing that is the work. On top of that I have a log book where I keep ideas, book outlines, hooks, plot twists, etc. I figured out the other day I have to live to 128 and write four books a year to go through the whole log book. I also have more than 50 church bulletins filed away that have detailed book ideas on them.