Life is Like A Puzzle…

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So my new book, Puzzle House released a week ago. So I’ve been busy tweeting and posting and visiting blogs. Time to take a break and have some fun!

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A while back I asked my Facebook friends to finish this statement, life is like a puzzle because…. And here are a few of the answers in no particular order.

Life is like a puzzle because…

Francine Troyer: Because we look at the natural instead of at the Spirit.

Nancy Sonneman: the pieces don’t always fit

Keith Summers: it has a set border we can’t go beyond but the inside pieces though a jumble of different shapes, eventually fit together to make a beautiful picture.

Tina Leary Detweiler: Life is like a box of puzzle pieces, sometimes the pieces just seem to fall into place. Other pieces take a little work, sacrifice and faith. They will all come together to create a beautiful finished product. Makes me think of our creator. He is not done with me yet! My pieces have not all fallen into place but when they do, what a celebration of accomplishment it will be!

Amy Leigh Rohrer: Trying to make the puzzles fit is frustrating. I don’t like puzzles.

Linda Race Matye:  sometimes you think the piece you found fits but it’s the wrong one and you just have to keep looking.

 Amy Leigh Roher: Trying to make them fit is a lesson & that feeling of accomplishment is joyous

Joan Kiper: Because every day-like every piece-is different!

Blanche A. Rohrer: sooner or later, all the pieces fit

Joan Kiper: every day-like every piece –is different!

Carol Young: Life is like a puzzle because we can ponder over it for hours and yet, if we stap away from it for awhile the pieces come together…the same as our problems we face every day. Eventually, God sees us through. It all comes together.

Your turn to fill in the blank. Life is like a puzzle because….

 PS…Don’t forget to leave a comment so you’ll be entered in the drawing for Amazon Gift Card. To celebrate the release of PUZZLE HOUSE, I’m giving away a virtual basket of goodies! ONE lucky winner will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus their choice of one of my books (not Puzzle House) and an e-copy of Devotions from Puzzle House, the devotional companion book to Puzzle House. FIVE more lucky winners will receive their choice of one of my books (Not Puzzle House) and an e-copy of Devotions from Puzzle House. FIVE more lucky winners will receive an e-copy of Devotions from Puzzle House. That’s ELEVEN winners in all!

To enter, simply leave a comment on any of the posts that have the word PUZZLE in the title, including today’s post. The last day to enter the contest will be NOVEMBER 9!

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PUZZLE HOUSE–A Different Sort of Book

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So PUZZLE HOUSE is completely different from the other books I’ve written. I classify it simply as a Christian story–a parable if you will. My definition of a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly message. I like to think that defines all my books, but certainly PUZZLE HOUSE.

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Here’s the blurb:

 

Life isn’t a box of candy—it’s a puzzle!

Rachel Summers is all about Rachel Summers…until the day she crashes headlong into a semi-truck. As her life hangs in the balance, she has a visitor who asks a very simple question.

Does she want to be healed or to be a healer?

She makes her choice, but the journey doesn’t go quite the way she expected.

And so Rachel now runs Puzzle House. Every guest is different and yet the same. They all come to the Puzzle House for one reason and one reason only—to be healed, usually from a life-threatening illness. Sometimes they receive their miracle, and sometimes they discover there’s more than one kind of healing.

Nia is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. And she’s angry about that. Very angry. Against her wishes, Nia’s aunt brings her to The Puzzle House.

Together, Nia and Rachel will take a journey that will change both their lives.

 

PUZZLE HOUSE has a much deeper spiritual message than my suspense and mystery novels. And because of that, I’ve written a companion devotional book to go along with it–Devotions from PUZZLE HOUSE.

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DEVOTIONS from PUZZLE HOUSE takes the puzzle theme from the novel and delves deeper into God’s Word.

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

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BOOK GIVEAWAY ALERT!

My Friday Friend is Michelle Griep. She’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest

For information on the book giveaway read to the bottom of the post!

She’s here to ask and answer the question:

 How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

I’m frequently asked how long it takes me to write a book. That depends, of course, on how long the book is, but for an average 90-95k novel, I can do it in about 9 months. That includes my excessive editing and some research, assuming I have a basic knowledge of the era. If I don’t it takes longer. My newest release, however, is a gift book, meaning that it’s half the size of a regular novel, coming in at right around 45k words. That took me only 4 months to write.

So, now that you’ve got my numbers, how does that match up with other writers? Here are a some famous authors and their even more famous titles, along with the time it took them to write it.

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell—–10 years

LES MISERABLES by Victor Hugo—-12 years

LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien—-16 years

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens—-6 weeks

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte—-9 months

TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyere—3 months

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald—-2 1/2 years

HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE by J.K. Rowling—-6 years

So, as you can see, there is no standard time for writing a novel. Nor is there a standard time for reading said novels. This is the perfect time of year to grab a hot drink and a blankie, then cozy up on a couch for a nice read . . .and have I got a read for you!

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger…and love? England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love. Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series–a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale–by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite.

 

Thanks, Michelle. I loved seeing the stats on those books. I’m in awe that it only took 6 weeks to write A Christmas Carol! What about you, readers? Which one did you find surprising? Michelle has so kindly offered to give a copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor to one reader–print or ebook–the winner’s choice. Thanks so much, Michelle.

If you want to be entered to win the book, leave a comment and you’re entered. Contest will end on September 22!

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

 

My Friday Friend–Catherine Castle

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BOOK GIVEAWAY ALERT!

My Friday Friend is Catherine Castle–yes, I know this isn’t Friday! What can I say? Sometimes life doesn’t fit into nice little boxes. Anyway… Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Read to the bottom of the post to get the info on the book giveaway!

 

Celebrating Life, Love, Laughter and Nuptials

 

There’s nothing more joyous than a wedding. The excitement of getting the engagement ring; finding the perfect wedding dress; choosing a venue; spending all that money; and of course, the bliss of two people, hopefully deep in love, starting a new life, full of happiness, expectation, and promise.

Unless, there’s a third and a fourth person in that mix—say a meddling Mama and an ex-boyfriend that you haven’t been able to forget. Then things can start to get a bit complicated. And what if that ex-boyfriend is the one setting you up with the dates that your Mama hopes will lead to that perfect wedding? A wedding you don’t really want.

Well, then—you’ve got the perfect storm for a book filled with disastrous dates, a complicated relationship, some love, laughter and a wedding proposal. At least that’s what Mama hopes will happen when a string of disastrous dates on a cross-country trip to find a cure for Mama’s cancer and a groom for Allison, put Allison and Jack in the path of a determined Cupid’s helper–Mama.

A Groom for Mama by Catherine Castle

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

 Check out A Groom for Mama at Amazon. You can get in touch with Catherine on her website at https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/   or  blog at http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/

 

 

Catherine’s giving away an Amazon copy of her book so if you’d like to read it (and who wouldn’t since it sounds like a fun book to read), leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win. Contest ends on September 19!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

My Friday Friend–Jan Elder

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BOOK GIVEAWAY!

My Friday Friend this week is fellow writer, JAN ELDER. It’s an exciting day for Jan as it’s the release day for her new book, A SEMI-SWEET SUMMER.  Jan’s an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, introducing the reader to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.

Happily married for fourteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

Her new book, A SEMI-SWEET SUMMER, releases today! And she’s been gracious enough to do a book giveaway. If you’d like an e-book copy of Semi-Sweet Summer, be sure to leave a comment on the post. Winner will be picked on August 25!

Here’s the blurb:

 

Cassidy Cooper never wanted to set foot in Crystal Falls again. Ten years earlier, she’d given her heart to a boy who’d, in turn, humiliated her deeply. Now, back in town as the sole beneficiary of her sister’s estate, she’s determined to make her sister’s dream of an upscale chocolate truffle shop, come true.

Hunter Gray is very intrigued by his new neighbor. His escape artist cow, Marigold, engineers an introduction…but it’s not quite the first impression he was hoping for. Baffled by the nagging suspicion he’s seen this woman before, he plots to win Cassidy’s heart at every opportunity.

With the object of her unrequited love living within shouting distance, Cassidy prays for strength to forgive and forget. And Hunter? He just wants to get back to his own dream to grow his farm and get to know the pretty girl next door. If she’ll let him.

 

Sounds like a good read, Jan. Thanks for being my Friday Friend. If you’d like to learn more about Jan and her books, visit her

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Elder/e/B00VXW5F2C/  or her website at  http://janelderauthor.com  

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like to win an e-book copy of Semi-Sweet Summer!  Winner will be picked on August 25!

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

 

 

God, Writing, & Me!

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I love the way God shows up when I’m writing a new story!

Unlike many writers, I don’t create an outline before I write. I think about it and then I sit down and write. I started working on what I thought would be a Christmas novella (for next Christmas not this year.) but it seemed very dark. A baby is kidnapped a the beginning of the story. Not a light topic–nothing fun about that.

I like my Christmas novellas to be suspenseful but still show the Christmas spirit but this story had a different feeling than my other Christmas-themed suspense novels. And I didn’t particularly like it. Lately my writing has taken on a different style so I started to think my days of writing suspense and mysteries might be numbered. As I thought about this story, I really thought that might be the case.

So I prayed about it and did a little meditating on it as well. My conclusion, I would write the story God gave me and see what happened. Stories can change a great deal from the first draft to the final.

Anyway…this morning as I was working out and listening to Joey + Rory’s Hymns album, I was inspired on how to fix the story so that it kept the Christmas spirit and still had suspense.

God is an awesome God!

This Shadow by Jerusha Agen

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A BOOK REVIEW

I have to be honest. I wasn’t sure I was going to like THIS SHADOW by Jerusha Agen. After reading about 1/4 of the book, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like it but not liking a book doesn’t stop me from finishing it!

And in this case I’m glad I finished reading it!

Somewhere between the beginning and the end I fell in love with the characters and their stories. The problem I had with the book is that it was set in an urban school district. I retired from just such a district  so I know what urban schools are like and THIS SHADOW didn’t feel real… until it got very real. Which is much like what teaching in an urban school is really like.

Jerusha Agen has done a great job creating real characters with very real problems and yet shows them at their best and their worst. And yet shows how God can work through even the most difficult of situations to bring peace, joy, and love to his children.

I would definitely recommend THIS SHADOW by Jerusha Agen.

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UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!