Monday, December 23, 2013

Have a Blessed Christmas!

David Phelps sings, O Holy Night. Enjoy!

I will be taking a blog break until Monday, January 6, 2014.

Writers and Readers: What's your favorite Christmas song and artist?

Photo Credit:  alexbruda

Friday, December 20, 2013

If You Agree to Accept This Mission...

God's love is an endless source of amazement to me. Although He knew Adam and Eve would sin, He still created them and made preparations to rescue mankind.

This plan would require tremendous sacrifice. Instead of walking on streets of gold, the Savior would travel dusty roads. The adoration of angels would be there, but muffled by those seeking to entrap Him with words. Heaven's perfection would give way to suffering humanity.

He had to succeed where Adam failed and fulfill the law as a Spirit-filled man. Jesus would be born free of the curse Adam brought upon us via the virgin birth. A slave can't free a slave. Since the fallen nature is passed down through Adam, God had to be His father.

After they tortured and crucified Him, God raised His sinless Son from the dead after three days. How can anyone doubt God's love? He went to great lengths to obtain forgiveness and new life.

Years ago, I heard an old spiritual that said, "I don't know why Jesus loved me. I don't know why He cared. I don't know why He sacrificed His life. Oh, but I'm glad, so glad He did."

That song often runs through my mind and heart. I can't explain it. I can't understand it, but I'm so grateful God sent His Son.

Photo Credit:  dogmadic

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's About to Start!

the scent of fear by susan j. reinhardt
First came The Moses Conspiracy, now comes..... The Scent of Fear.
The Zimmermans enjoy the tenuous peace in the wake of their hair-raising year battling the New Patriots. Unexpected visitors once again throw them into turmoil.
Jim Kenneman, Director of National Security, masterminded the plan to break up a hate group ravaging the Christian community. Now, his enemies are out to eliminate him. Should he make a run for it or stick by his tried-and-true negotiating skills?
Monty Addison, a topnotch operative, carried out his assignment in Bird-in-Hand. A plot to destroy his boss sends him on a mission. Without agency sanction, it may cost him everything - his career, his family, and maybe his life.
Dr. Abby Weaver strives to save infants and toddlers in Holmes County, Ohio. When she meets two strangers, she can't get the tall, handsome one out of her mind. Will their paths intersect again or will dangerous times keep them apart?
The Scent of Fear is available at:
The Book Series

susan j. reinhardtAbout the Author
Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include her debut novel, The Moses Conspiracy, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.
You can connect with Susan at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.
the scent of fear blog button
Blog Tour Schedule
December 16
~Diane Estrella,
~Pamela Christian,
December 17
~Sandie Czosek,
~Linda O'Connell,
December 18
~Lynn Mosher,
~Jill Ivy,
December 19
~Debbie Curto,
~Cecelia Lester,
December 20
~Cecelia Lester,
~Lee Privette,
December 21
~Patti Smith,
~Carene Havel,
December 22
~Darlene Arroyo-Lozada,
December 23
~Maria I. Morgan,
~Beckie Stoneking,
December 26
~Leah's Good Reads,
~Marja Verschoor-Meijers,
December 27
~Jennifer Van Huss,
~Brittany McEuen,
December 28
~Debbie Curto,
~Lori Drake,
December 29
~Kim Justice,
~K. Dawn Byrd,
December 30
~Ruth Schiffmann,
~Janette Dolores,
December 31
~Cindi Clubbs,
~Kathleen Maher,
January 2
~Jen Cudmore,
~Karen Lange,
January 7
~Jeanette Levellie,
My Review

Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of The Scent of Fear. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced January 17, 2014. Good luck!
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Susan J. Reinhardt. The author provided me with a free copy of The Scent of Fear to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lots of Decor, but No Context

We hear a lot about generics these days. Everything from prescription drugs to clothing has a no-name brand. The big draw is the lower price tag.

I've discovered another kind of generic: the generic holiday. Decorations adorn stores without the context of its meaning. In one store, the decorations were linked with the word, "dream." Ah yes, dream of those clothes and household items, and put them in your cart.

I'm sad today. I miss the Christmas Carols playing, the Merry Christmas greetings, the warmth of society celebrating one of the singular events in history - the birth of Jesus. We're left with the trappings of a holy-day, stripped bare of its meaning.

As a believer, I've committed to keep things in context. While I enjoy the decor and the fun, I'm in awe of the greatest gift I've ever received: forgiveness and a relationship with the One who created heaven and earth, Jesus Christ.

Writers and Readers: Has "generic holiday" sprung up among your retailers? What are some of the things you miss from past celebrations?

Photo Credit: suzz86

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Adoption Story - Guest Blog by Patti Smith

I was going through some boxes and found an Anthology of Student Writing from my son's elementary school. I went directly to a dog-eared page and this is what I found:

(A True Story)
Bobby Cleghorn
Grade 6

Up until I was 7 I remember that I lived in a truck and under a roller coaster and in motel rooms. When I was 7 my Mom left my sister Bonnie and I in a motel room to go bail my dad out of jail and she never came back. The principal of my school found out that we were left alone and called the police. We were taken to a shelter home. We lived there for a year. Then we went to a foster home with Debi as a foster mom. We stayed there for a year  then Debi and my sister moved to Connecticut. I moved to a group home. I was there for a year till Debi moved back and I went to live with her and my sister again. When I moved back in we both went to a new school. It was a small school. My teacher was really great and the school secretary started taking me to her house on weekends. I also spent Spring Break with her and Don. It was a “test-drive” to see if I would like living in Aguanga with them but I didn't know it.

One day, Debi took Bonnie and me out for ice cream. She wanted to tell us that there were people who wanted to adopt us. Bonnie's teacher in Connecticut wanted her and I guessed many names until Debi said Patti and Don wanted to adopt me. I was really happy about that!

We had to go to court and the judge said that Bonnie could move to Connecticut and I could move in with Patti and Don. I  lived with them a year and we went to court again. The judge said the adoption was final and I was Patti and Don's son forever. After court that day my new mom and dad had a surprise adoption party for me at Stadium Pizza. All the people from my school were there and so were my grandparents and my social worker. I was really surprised! I got really nice gifts and had a fun time.

I talk to my sister on the phone almost every week and we see each other in the summers. We share stories of our new families.

I am now in the sixth grade and still go to the same school. My new teacher is great!


What a blessing to have found that gem! Robert (I still call him Bobby, much to his dismay) is now 33 and the father of two beautiful daughters.  Even though he's a grown man, I still see that little boy that walked into my office and into my heart so many years ago.

   Then and Now. :)                   

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Here!

Have you heard? The long-awaited Christmas novella, The Christmas Wish, released on Amazon on Thursday, December 5, 2013. Here's the backcover copy:

Freddie Gilroy faces a bully head-on. His mom and the Director of the homeless shelter  both try different solutions to no avail. When a grown-up begins stalking him, things get totally out of hand.

Norma Gilroy still believes her husband will come back for them. As pressures mount, a former resident works hard to convince her she's wasting her time and that he's the answer to her problems.

Annaliese and Aaron's continued disagreement on how to raise Katie reach a serious impasse. One small boy's faith inspires them to trust God and believe for their own Christmas miracle.

Ellie and John Zimmerman help the Gilroys even though they're weary from their own challenges with The New Patriots. With storm clouds on the horizon, they once again see God's faithfulness in the lives of their friends and family.

Writers and Readers: Do you read Christmas novellas? What elements make a Christmas story WOW you?


Friday, December 6, 2013

A Hop, Skip, and a Jump

I've been hopping, skipping, and jumping around the Net. Here are a few posts I thought you'd find interesting.

1.  The BloggingBistro had an article on what to do if your Facebook account gets hacked.

BTW, when an established friend sends you a second friend request, their account has most likely been compromised. DO NOT CONFIRM THE REQUEST UNTIL YOU CONTACT THEM THROUGH THEIR BLOG OR WEBSITE. Ask them if they sent the request, and alert them to the possibility they've been hacked.

2.  Have you seen blog with a button to share the posts to multiple sites? I have and wondered how this was achieved. My publisher sent the link to Add This:  It's FREE. If this techy-challenged gal can get it on her blog, anyone can!

3.  The Write Conversation posted a fun list of special day in November. If you're looking for ideas, you may find one here.

Writers and Readers:  What social media tips have you picked up lately? If you've tried Add This, please share your experience. Has it generated more hits for your blog?

Photo Credit:  TALUDA

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How Veggie Tales Inspired a Novella - Guest Post by Amber Schamel

How Veggie Tales Inspired a Biblical Novella
It was a summer evening, I was in the kitchen making dinner while my little siblings (for some odd reason) were watching The Toy That Saved Christmas, a Veggie-Tales movie. My publisher had asked me to write a Christmas story and I was deep in thought wondering what I should write when I suddenly tuned in to what was playing on the screen.
Grandpa George was reading a scripture to Bob, Larry and Buzz-saw Louie. "And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in baby clothes and laid him in a manger."
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute, the passage didn't say baby clothes. In the King James it says swaddling clothes. That got me to thinking, what exactly are swaddling clothes? Are they just baby clothes? Or is there another meaning to them?
I looked up the passage in Luke chapter two and noted that it was mentioned not only once, but twice that Mary wrapped her first-born son in swaddling clothes. So I began my research.
I found out that swaddling clothes did not necessarily mean that Mary and Joseph were poor or destitute. Swaddling clothes were used by people of all classes to wrap a newborn in hopes that it would help their limbs grow straight, as well as calm the babe. But if swaddling clothes were so common during that era, why was it specifically mentioned as a sign to the shepherds of who the Messiah would be? So I searched some more.
Another source said that in the eastern countries they would use a cloth to put between the yoke of an ox, and the ox's shoulders. When Mary and Joseph were in the barn, they had nothing else to use, so they used this ox's cloth that was translated as swaddling cloth to wrap the Messiah that would carry the yoke of our sin and bondage.
 Many hours and websites later, I emerged armed with a ton of information, four different theories, and a story forming inside my head. So, I guess you could say that my new book The Swaddling Clothes was inspired by a Veggie Tales movie.
The things that inspire people, or give them an idea is very interesting to me.
What are some odd things that have given you an idea or inspiration?
The Swaddling Clothes Synopsis:
Through the ages, many stories have been told about Mary, Joseph and the birth of the Messiah. Stories of shepherds and sheep, kings, angels, and stables. But there is one story that has never been told. One story that has remained hidden in the fabric of time. The story of The Swaddling Clothes.
Mentioned not once, but several times in the Scriptural text, what is the significance of these special cloths? And how did they make their way into a stable in Bethlehem? From the author that brought you the Days of Messiah series comes a whole new adventure critics are calling "intriguing...thought provoking... a fresh twist on an age old story."
"I get tired of Bible stories sometimes, but The Swaddling Clothes brings the story to life."
"Heartwarming...truly inspired. A story you will want to read again and again. Rich details and a suspenseful plot will keep you reading while giving you a glimpse of God's wonderful power and His amazing love."

 Amber Schamel is a multi-published author of Christian Historical Fiction. Her passion for history and culture has led her to travel extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. Amber is actively involved in her church and enjoys volunteer work and music ministry.  Raised in a family of twelve children and homeschooled throughout her education, she currently resides in the beautiful state of Colorado where she also serves as bookkeeper and marketing director for their family businesses. Find Amber on her blog, or on all the main social media sites.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Where Do You Get Ideas?

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in my experience a picture can produce a thousand words. I've drawn inspiration from a number of sources. Here are a few examples:

1.  Often I'll be searching for a graphic and see something that triggers an idea for a blog post or a scene in one of my novels. I like the site, The Stock Exchange.

2.  Pinterest - the ultimate idea place. You can find pictures of clothing from various time periods, food, nature scenes, and just about anything you can imagine.

3.  Special Interest Blogs - I like to visit blogs that talk about hobbies or subjects I find interesting. Characters have hobbies or occupations that can be woven into a plot. Tamara Leigh often gives her characters an obsession with a particular food or activity. One of them, a romance writer, loved decking her nails out in bright red polish.

Whether you're a writer or reader/blogger looking for a quirky character trait, topic for a blog post, or theme for a child's party, a picture can jumpstart your thought processes.

Question for you:  Have you ever been captivated by a picture? What did you do with the idea?