Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Shape Of Mercy - Susan Meissner’s Blog Tour


The Shape of Mercy

Lauren Durough is a college student longing to break free of family expectations when she stumbles into a project for eighty year old Abigail Boyles—transcribing the journals of Mercy Hayworth, a seventeenth-century victim of the Massachusetts witch trials. Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with the mysterious Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to discovering the candid truth, Lauren must earnestly ask if she is playing the role of helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and recognize who she really is?

In our high-pressure, success-oriented culture, readers will identify with Lauren’s struggle to forge her own identity separate from the plan her family designed for her. Offering intrigue, romance, and heartbreaking drama, this contemporary novel with a historical twist conveys the intense beauty that emerges when we see how our stories affect the lives of others.

SUSAN MEISSNER

From early school-day projects to becoming editor of a local newspaper in Minnesota, Susan Meissner’s love for writing has been apparent her entire life. The Shape of Mercy is her latest novel in a string of books that delve into the deeper issues of life. She is the author of nine novels and lives with her family in San Diego , California . Find out more about her at www.susanmeissner.com.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Margaret Iuculano - My God Box


A special opening message from Margaret Iuculano:

I want to thank our Blog Host for taking the time to read My God Box a memoir about an abusive childhood but more importantly on how a mustard seed of faith in God turned around the life of a child. I feel blessed that you are willing to share the book on the Blog Tour Name. You are helping to create awareness about a topic that desperately needs to be addressed and has reached epidemic proportions - 500,000 children in the Foster Care System within the US.

Our country is in a crisis with an overloaded Foster Care System and children falling through the cracks daily and being put into homes to provide safety only to be left neglected again. How can we expect these children to become productive adults growing up in this environment? How can we teach these children how to have faith in God and then themselves to correct the wrongs being committed in their lives? How can we help Foster Parents to recognize the difference they can make in a life of a child and the importance of their role? And most importantly, how can we teach to break the Cycle of Abuse so we can shrink the numbers of children going into foster care in the future?

There's a truth I came to realize that changed my life and can change the lives of others. Have Faith in God - put your troubles into his hands and allow him to use you for the purpose you were born for. Once I started to follow this truth in my life I came out of despair to complete happiness and peace. I recognized my ability to help others and the importance of viewing each other as Gods children, people who possess a lot of value and have a mission just like I do for God.

When I began to see that God had a mission for my life, I started to embrace my challenges and learn from them without looking back. I was able to rid myself of the victim mentality and succeed where I was told I never would.

My prayer is that you see the message in My God Box and that it will inspire you to learn to overcome a traumatic experience and more importantly help someone else. I pray that you will agree that all it takes is a mustard seed of faith to realize your God Given potential.

God Bless You,
Margaret Iuculano

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I am a wife, mother, entrepreneur and children’s rights activist with an unwavering faith in God that has led, leads and will undoubtedly lead me to the successful outcome of all my projects.

What compelled you to write My God Box?

I feel I was blessed to have found God amid all the pain and misery I endured during my growing years. However, I also feel it’s time to give thanks and give back. I struggled for over two years with doubts and mixed feelings about setting my life in print, but whenever I took a step back, I was energized and encouraged by the awe-inspiring certainty that God wanted me to tell my story—for self-healing, but more importantly to open the minds and hearts of other suffering individuals to the mercy and goodness of God. God is hope. Without God there is no hope. Without hope there is no life.

Who is your target audience?

My God Box is addressed to anyone struggling to overcome the traumas and challenges of a dysfunctional or broken life. It is also for anyone associated with someone living in pain and misery. Furthermore, it is for anyone who wants to live a serene life in harmony with the wishes of their Creator. In other words it is for everyone who seeks happiness and fulfillment for themselves and/or others.

What are some of the stark realities surrounding Foster Care Programs?

The truth is that children are not ‘OK’ just because they have been removed from an abusive home and entrusted to a foster family. Although there are kind, nurturing people enrolled as foster parents, on the flip side there are individuals interested only in the monetary aspects of the program; individuals often just as, if not more dysfunctional, emotionally unstable and abusive than the child’s biological parents. This is one of the reasons why I wrote My God Box—to bring awareness to the plight of foster children—and to hopefully fix the shattered parts of a system in desperate need of repair.

How many kids in the U.S. are in foster care?

On any given day the statistics show over 500,000 children in the US in the foster care system. The number has reached an epidemic level which has burdened a system not built or equipped to handle the issues facing these children.

How long do they stay in foster care (on average)?

2.5 years is the average across the US - the federal government has asked the individual states to try and reach a permanency solution for these children within 9 months but unfortunately the system is not equipped to meet this goal.

Do they live with the same foster parents the entire time?

If they are lucky! I personally experienced over 15 different living environments and see the same movement between homes and shelters happening today.

You grew up in foster care - what was your experience like?

My experience was most of the foster parents were not equipped to handle a troubled child who needed help. I was in poverty struck homes as well as abusive homes within the foster care system and these are the homes I advocate against. Children removed from their abusive home environments should not be put into a system that is not providing them a better environment than the home they were removed from.

There are many wonderful foster parents who want to help children. But there are people who take in foster kids for the money - how can that be changed?

Not all but too many foster parents see their role as a job not wanting to get too attached to the child as it is a temporary situation thus making the child feel like a 2nd class citizen. The daily stipend a foster parent receives is not a lot of money but if you take in a few children it can be more than a welfare check.

Do you think there’s enough training for foster parents?

There is not an easy answer to this problem with continual budget cuts within the foster care system but there really can't ever be enough training to learn how to cope with a child who needs help. You can become a foster parent in many states with only a few days of training and a criminal background check. Foster parents need so much more to make them successful.

Is abuse a common problem in foster care?

It is too common and this is due to lack of resources and money to create a system that rewards foster parents based on outcomes versus number of children per day you take in. Local Department of Children and Families needs to be monitoring these children more effectively to eliminate the abuse taking place in these homes. It is not okay to have 1 child abused within the system and this issue needs to be addressed as a priority.

What are your long range goals?

My goal is to promote awareness of childhood abuse by using My God Box as a vehicle to become and advocate for children’s rights. I want to inform and encourage others to join with me to make a difference in the life of an innocent vulnerable child who needs to be protected and defended from society’s evils. I am planning speaking engagements/seminars which will help motivate people to start thinking about making changes in their lives and in the lives of others.

Thank you for allowing me to share my book and God’s mission for my life with you. If you would like to learn more about me and my mission please visit - http://www.margaretlano.com/ and http://www.angelsforfosterkids.org/ and know that 100% of the book proceeds goes to Angles for Foster Children. Please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Passion Redeemed - Julie Lessman

A Passion Redeemed

Revell (September 1, 2008)

by

Julie Lessman



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure was her first novel.




ABOUT THE BOOK

No man can resist her charms. Or so she thought. Charity O'Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. Her stunning beauty and flirtatious ways have always succeeded with men. Until Mitch Dennehy, that is.

Brilliant and dangerously handsome, Mitch is a no-nonsense newspaperman who wants nothing to do with her. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won't play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants--one way or another.

Or does she? Will her best-laid schemes win his love? Or will her seductive ways drive him away forever? Book 2 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Redeemed will captivate your heart and stir your soul with a story of faith and redemption rising from the ashes of temptation, desire, and shame.

Praise for the first book in the series:

"Full of romance, humor, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page." --Historical Novels Review "Superb! Incredible!

"I loved Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure from the second I picked it up until the very last moment I stopped reading." --Armchair Interviews

"I devoured this book and loved every single page. . . . This is a thick, juicy read, and one I would pick up again in a heartbeat." --christianreviewofbooks.com


If you would like to read an excerpt from A Passion Redeemed, go HERE.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

BLOG TOUR - Coppper Fire - Suzanne Woods Fisher


Suzanne Woods Fisher’s just-released historical novel Copper Fire, is the sequel to the three-time award-winning Copper Star, a World War II love story inspired by true events. Fisher was a contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her work has appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, Worldwide Challenge, ParentLife, and Marriage Partnership. She has contributed to ten non-fiction books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs. A wife and mother, Fisher lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. The best thing about being a writer, she feels, is that all of life becomes material for writing. It’s all grit for the oyster.

Suzanne can be found at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com/.

During the month of June, Suzanne is running a book-a-day-giveaway contest. To enter, scoot on over to her blog (http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.blogspot.com/) and pop her an e-mail: Suzanne@suzannewoodsfisher.com

Tell us about Copper Fire.

Copper Fire is the sequel to Copper Star, picking right up at the very end of World War II. On a summer day in 1945, my main character, Louisa, receives a telegram from the International Red Cross Tracing Service. She discovers that her cousin, Elisabeth, has just been released from Dachau. Louisa is determined to go to Germany to get Elisabeth…and that’s where the story begins.

Tell us a little about you!

My name is Suzanne, I’m 48, happily married (most of the time) for 26 years, with four kids (two boys and two girls), ages 16-25, and now, a son-in-law! I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

How many hours of television do you watch per week?

Four or five. Mostly Food Network while I’m cooking dinner. For inspiration
How many phone calls do you make a day?

2-6. Now ask me about e-mails? 30-50 a day.

How much time do you spend on the Internet?

Anywhere from 2-6 hours a day

Morning person or night owl?

Morning. Worthless at night.

How many hours of sleep do you get?

Seven. But I try to get an hour of reading in before I turn off the light at night, so I’m probably in bed 8 hours.

What's the messiest spot in your home?

I have a basket for papers that need to be dealt with in the kitchen. Paper seems to breed and multiply in the night.

What surprises you most about your adult life?

That time is going so quickly.

Fill in this sentence: The big decision I'm currently wrestling with is....

…how much time and energy do I give to my aging parents when my own family needs a lot of time, too? And I’m trying to keep my writing career alive. Oh, and have friends, too.

What can readers look forward to?

In late August, Grit from the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers, will be released from Vintage Spirit. I wrote Grit with three other very talented authors.

And another piece of great news! I just received a contract from Revell/Baker for a non-fiction book called Amish Peace in an English Life. It won’t be out until 2010…but it is taking up 90% of my brain right now.

Thanks for letting me hang around, La Shaunda!

Find Suzanne on-line at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com/

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mike Dellosso - Hunted Blog Tour


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted, was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years, has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets, and has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer’s Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master’s Graduate School of Divinity.

THE HUNTED

After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible. But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence. As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God's hands.

Where did you get your idea for The Hunted?

The idea for The Hunted came from the internet. I was surfing one day just looking for ideas or something to spark my imagination and get the wheel churning when I came across this story of a small town in Indiana that reported lion sightings back in the 1920’s. Several of the townsfolk said they saw an African lion in the fields surrounding the town. A couple cows were mauled and eaten. Then the sightings just stopped. No one knows where the lion came from or where it went. I thought it was a pretty neat idea and ran with it. Story born. Happy birthday!

What are some of the underlying themes in The Hunted?

Themes are something else, aren’t they? An author can write a story expecting to convey one message and then, when the book’s done, look back and find he’s actually conveyed several messages and none are the one he intended. And then someone can read the book and get something out of it totally different from what the author thought he conveyed.

Okay, so what themes were you thinking about when you wrote the book?

So, here’s what I think the themes are, what I wanted the themes to be when I wrote the book (whether anyone actually finds these themes is another story entirely, and I’m okay with that, really I am, as long as they get something meaningful out of it). One theme is the idea of not putting God in a box, of letting Him be God, letting Him work in your life and do some miraculous things. I think too often we put a leash on God and tell Him what He’s allowed and not allowed to do. That’s not our place. God can do anything He wants to do. He’s the one in charge, remember?

Okay, enough of that. The second theme is the danger of a vengeful heart. Vengeance is a powerful thing; I think that’s why God said He’d take care of it. In the hands of mere mortals, it’s a deadly poison, able to consume a man and turn him into a monster. Revenge is not something we should try to harness. We have no business playing with that fire. In The Hunted we see the end result of a vengeful heart unbound.

Lastly, there’s the theme of forgiveness and acceptance and redemption. Beautiful things we experience from the heart our Heavenly Father and pass on to others.

Why did you choose to write supernatural suspense?

Because I’m weird. No, not really . . . well, maybe. Plenty of people think I am weird after reading my stories. It was a natural gravitation for me. I grew up loving The Twilight Zone and The X-files and any kind of monster movie. I’ve always been intrigued by legends like Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster. The unexplained has always fascinated me. I honestly can’t see myself writing anything else. I have so many ideas now, but maybe when I exhaust them I’ll try my hand at something else . . . maybe westerns.

With which character do you identify most and why?

Boy, that’s a tough question. I think each of my characters have a bit of me in them; I’m a composite of each of their personalities. Yes, that means there’s even a little of me in the psychopath bent on revenge—and that really scares my wife. I think the character with whom I identify the most, though, is Joe Saunders, the agonist. Joe is complex and real in that he struggles on a daily basis with his faith and how God works. He’s got God in a box and has set neat little boundaries and guidelines for what God can and can’t do and how He can and can’t work. And if I’m not careful I can fall into that same trap. When I put God in a box I miss out on witnessing those strange and mysterious ways He works. During his journey, Joe has to learn to let God loose and trust Him to take care of things in His way, not ours. That’s a lesson I need to review every day. Now, that’s not to say I identify with Joe in every way. He’s much braver than me. There’s no way you’d get me to go hunting a man-eater in a fog-blinded woods. I’m too much of a fraidy-cat.

How much research did you do for The Hunted?

I have to admit, I’m not a research-aholic like some authors are. I honestly don’t like it. One well-known author once suggested to do enough research to make the story believable. Readers want a good story, not a textbook or how-to book. I try to keep that in mind. Are all the details of everything in my story right on? Probably not. Is it a good, entertaining story with a solid moral message? I sure hope so!

I’m not a hunter and don’t own any guns so I did research on different weapons and how they work. I did a fair amount of research on lions and their behavior and on man-eating lions. I also read up on schizophrenia and the common behavior of schizophrenics. Then there was the normal research on the fauna and flora of central Pennsylvania, sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset, that sort of thing. The research I enjoyed the most was that on lions. Did you know a lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away? Or that lions are lazy beasts and really don’t want a fight so they go for the back of the neck first to paralyze their victim? And then there were stories of man-eating lions in Africa—just creepy stuff.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Love Virtual Book & Podcast Tour - with Kimberly Cash Tate



Virtual Book & Podcast Tour - “Purpose”

Hello SORMAG readers and welcome to In Love Virtual Book & Podcast Tour celebrating the release of my new novel, Heavenly Places!

I’m Kimberly Cash Tate and I am honored that my fourth virtual tour stop is here with you! In my novel, Heavenly Places, Treva Langston’s purpose in life was to be “somebody.” She worked hard in school and then in her career to prove that she was worthy, and now that she’s without that career, she’s sure she has no real purpose at all. But she’s about to discover “purpose” from God’s point of view.

Have you ever asked: Why am I here? What is my purpose?

And the answers are:

There is a reason you exist. There is something you are to do!

Listen to my podcast - Purpose - and the first 2 bloggers who comment and share their thoughts about their purpose, will each receive an autograph copy of Heavenly Places!







Kimberly Cash Tate is a vibrant new voice to the genre of Christian Fiction. She is the founder and president of Colored in Christ International, Inc., a nonprofit ministry dedicated to equipping and encouraging believers to walk with a true perspective in Christ. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology from the University of Maryland in College Park and is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Law. Kimberly resides in Missouri with her family. Heavenly Places is her first novel.

For more information about Kimberly, visit her online at http://www.kimberlycashtate.com/, www.myspace.com/kimberlycashtate, and http://www.kimberlycashtate.blogspot.com/

Heavenly Places

Kimberly Cash Tate
Walk Worthy Press
March 2008
$13.95

Treva Langston has always been plagued with self-doubt, thanks to her mother. She found her worth in a career, with success…until it was gone. Now her life has suddenly been turned upside down. Without her high-powered job, she has returned with her family to her hometown and all the memories of heartache she fought to escape. Worse, she’s near her mother again, who hasn’t changed a bit. Beset with feelings of unworthiness, she’s filled with despair, until her sister coaxes her into a women’s home Bible study. Though Treva resists, and quits a couple of times, she comes to learn the importance of family, the blessing of friendship, and the powerful truth that conquers a lifetime of lies.

To every woman who has ever doubted she is fearfully and wonderfully made, Heavenly Places by Kimberly Cash Tate is a novel for you!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Whisper of Freedom Blog Tour



Battles heat up…not only those being waged by the soldiers on both sides fighting for Spain, but in the hearts and minds of the men and women who must sacrifice more than their dreams to save the lives of their loved ones.

In this meticulously researched novel, brave and idealistic Sophie, Philip, Jose, and Deion realize their only hope for freedom is escaping Spain 's borders.

By continuing the story of this band of volunteers during the Spanish Civil War, A Whisper of Freedom proves that there are whispers of hope and liberty that resonate through even the darkest night.

Book excerpt: http://triciagoyer.com/cmsdocuments/WhisperCh1.doc

Buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Freedom-Chronicles-Spanish-Civil

Watch the series trailer: http://cg.creativenuclei.com/wip/TriciaGoyer/cscw.html

Tricia’s website: http://triciagoyer.com

Tricia’s Blogs: http://triciagoyer.com/blogs.html

Tricia Goyer is the author of twelve books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana .



MEME questions!

1. List three things you would do with a chest full of gold (assuming you got to keep it!)

I would donate money to build my church a new church.
Put up money for my children college
See SORMAG as a glossy print magazine.

2. List three charities/missions/organizations you support (and why).

Lupus Foundation - My mother has lupus and I hope one day they find a cure.
Komen Cure for Cancer - A few friends who are Cancer surviors
Kidney Foundation - My mother has kidney failure

3. List three ways you have volunteered your time/services.

I'm the Children Church coordinator at my church
I volunteer at my children school
Online conference for SORMAG

4. List three things you keep "hidden" when company comes over.

Dirty clothes

5. List the last three things you've lost.

A lose my keys every other day.

6. List the last three things you've found.

My keys


During the tour, you can enter to win one of FIVE signed copies of A Whisper of Freedom by signing up for Tricia's newsletter here!

Three brave "players" will be selected at random to win their own lost gold (Gourmet chocolate coins and all three books in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series). To enter all you have to do is answer the MEME on your blog and then leave a comment on Tricia’s blog tour post here http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2008/03/whisper-of-freedom-meme-sticky-post.html that you’ve posted your MEME.

Monday, April 21, 2008

BLOG TOUR: Jane Kirkpatrick

The Change and Cherish series

by Jane Kirkpatrick

The Change and Cherish series follows the story of feisty Emma Giesy


A Clearing in the Wild


Spirited young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of her 1850s religious community, which values conformity over independent thought, especially in women. Skeptical of the colony’s growing emphasis on preparing for “the last days,” Emma clashes with their increasingly autocratic leader—and faces the unexpected consequences of pursuing independence.


A Tendering in the Storm

This lyrical novel, based on an historical figure of the 1800s, follows the spirited and intelligent Emma Giesy, who achieves her goal of separating her family from the repressive religious community in which she grew up. But unexpected and dire consequences leave her family—and her faith—struggling to survive.


A Mending at the Edge

This richly textured novel, the third in the acclaimed Change and Cherish series, follows the historical figure of Emma Wagner Giesy, who chafes under the restrictions of her 1860s religious colony. When her bid to belong in her unique way unravels her most precious relationships, she seeks new ways to stitch meaning into her life.


Jane Kirkpatrick is the best-selling author of two nonfiction books and fourteen historical novels, including the popular Kinship and Courage series. Her award-winning writing has appeared in more than fifty publications, including Sports Afield and Decision. She’s won the coveted Western Heritage Wrangler Award, an honor shared by such writers as Larry McMurtry and Barbara Kingsolver. Jane is a licensed clinical social worker as well as an internationally recognized speaker. She and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 acres in eastern Oregon .

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blog Tour: Do Hard Things



Do Hard Things
A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations
by Alex and Brett Harris

With over 10 million hits to their website TheRebelution.com, Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge in a growing movement of Christian young people who are rebelling against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to “do hard things” for the glory of God.

Written when they were 18 years old, Do Hard Things is the Harris twins’ revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form, giving readers a tangible glimpse of what is possible for teens who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential. Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, the authors weave together biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life and map a clear trajectory for long-term fulfillment and eternal impact.

Written by teens for teens, Do Hard Things is packed with humorous personal anecdotes, practical examples, and stories of real-life rebelutionaries in action. This rallying cry from the heart of revolution already in progress challenges the next generation to lay claim to a brighter future, starting today.

Alex and Brett Harris founded TheRebelution.com in August 2005 and today at age 19 are the most popular Christian teen writers on the Web. The twins are frequent contributors to Focus on the Family’s Boundless webzine, serve as the main speakers for the Rebelution Tour conferences, and have been featured in WORLD magazine, Breakaway, The Old Schoolhouse, and the New York Daily News. Sons of homeschool pioneer Gregg Harris and younger brothers of best-selling author Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye), Alex and Brett live near Portland , Oregon .

Alex and Brett has offered a free copy to a lucky winner. Tell us something hard you did for God.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Generation NeXt Marriage by Tricia Goyer - Blog Tour


Do you still find yourself humming the love songs of the 80s and 90s?

Do you still believe that every marriage should be between soul mates?

But -- do you wonder how you can succeed at love and marriage when the generation you grew up in didn't?

Marriage isn't what it used to be-it can be better than ever.

If you are a Gen Xer, your marriage has challenges and potentials that no other generation has known. A Gen Xer herself, Tricia Goyer offers realistic help to achieve the God-honoring marriage you long for. She includes:

·Ways to protect your marriage despite the broken relationships modeled in your youth

·Stories, suggestions, and confessions from fellow Gen Xers facing the "What now?" question of real-life marriage

·Advice from the ultimate marriage survival guide: the Bible

·Stats, quizzes, sidebars, and study questions related to this "relationally challenged" time in history

·Practical helps for negotiating kids, work, sex, money, and dirty laundry-sometimes all in the same evening

If you are part of a generation of adults who don't want to bow to their culture or live and love like their parents did -- this book is for you.

Here are what a few people had to say:

"Where do Gen Xers find the priceless principles to make a marriage work? Most didn't get them in the homes they grew up in, and they didn't get them from the TV or movies they watched or music lyrics they listened to. But Tricia Goyer, an Xer herself, offers real help and real hope for the Gen X marriage and insightful truths for all who work or minister to those in the Gen X age group."
-Pam Farrel, best-selling author of Men Are Like Waffles-Women Are Like Spaghetti, Red-Hot Monogamy, and The First Five Years

"Generation NeXt Marriage is a much-needed marriage manual for a generation ready to make the most of marriage. Thoughtful, interactive, well researched, and exceptionally relevant for couples who want to thrive in their marriages, this book is a must for beginning and continuing young couples."
-Elisa Morgan, CEO, MOPS International and publisher, FullFill magazine

"Tricia Goyer refuses to play the 'blame game.' This extraordinary Gen Xer, raised in a blended family, steps up to the plate and speaks to ALL generations -- but especially to her own. She is gifted and blunt. She shares that it's time to really LIVE and LOVE YOUR HUSBAND GOD'S WAY -- and tells the reader just how to do that. Tricia is young enough to be my daughter and wise enough to be my mentor. This book is GenXcellent!"
-Nancy Cobb, author of How to Get Your Husband to Listen to You


Chapter One!

You Might Think

Before we got married, John and I spent hours and hours talking. We discussed our growing-up years, our hopes and dreams, our likes and dislikes. We literally spent every free moment together. I thought I knew him pretty well. After four months of dating we were engaged, and we married five months later. I'd found the man for me. For life.

Even though I didn't realize it at the time, I had expectations of what life would be like after we were married. Very unrealistic expectations, I soon discovered. For example, I'd visited John's apartment on many occasions, and I could tell he was a neat freak. His bed was always made. The dishes were washed and put away. He did his own laundry and ironed his own clothes. What a guy! I was just the opposite. In fact, one thing my mother repeatedly told me when I was growing up was, "I'd hate to see what your house will be like when I'm not around to pick up after you." Cool, I thought. John will do all the housecleaning -- this will work out perfectly.

Okay, let's stop right here. I'll wait while you finish laughing.

You see, John had his own expectations. Great, John thought. Once we get married Trish will be around, so I won't have to do all the housecleaning.

As you can imagine, we both had unrealistic expectations. And we were both hugely disappointed! Now, if those had been the only expectations we had for each other, then married life would have been fairly manageable. But they weren't. In fact, our expectations were just one drop in the tidal wave. Our differing thoughts on issues like money, child-rearing, sex, and our extended families soon created waves, as deepseated emotions, past experiences, and firm opinions stirred the sandy beaches of our honeymoon paradise.

Ohmigosh! Who is this person I married? I wondered, my chin set and my arms firmly crossed over my chest. When did he get so opinionated and stubborn?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seeing Through The Lies Blog Tour


Seeing through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe

We have been seduced by half-truths and whole lies since time began. Remember the garden? In Seeing Through the Lies, author and speaker Vonda Skelton humorously addresses the disappointments women experience as they search for truth while believing a lie. Each chapter opens with amusing anecdotes from real life and ends with answers and guidance straight from God s Word. Exploring topics such as pride, fear, motherhood, and the busyness of life, this book offers practical steps for peeling away the layers of deceit and finding the joy of living in real truth. Through honesty and humility, Vonda takes women on a hilarious journey through all things female and brings them to a soul-searching point of decision. Readers will identify with both the positive and negative examples of women in the Bible, and will be encouraged by Scripture, as well as quotes from notable men and women. Each chapter ends with five steps for exposing the lie and embracing the truth of God s Word.

Are you striving to be a woman of excellence, but feel you're landing somewhere between mediocre and unfit?

Do you want to be your husband's lover, but feel more like his mother?

Are you convinced that busyness is next to godliness?

Are you trying so hard to be everything to everybody that you feel like you're nobody to anybody?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're not alone--you've simply fallen victim to the lies of Satan! But you don't have to be seduced by his masquerade any longer. Join the fun as we take a hilarious journey through all things female on our search for real truth in a counterfeit world.

From spider veins and webs of deceit to cartoon characters and feminist funnies, Seeing through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe will help you recognize the lies and take joy in the light of His Truth.The suggested Bible readings, small group discussion questions, and meditations on the very words of Jesus will help you discover not only the lies that bind you, but the keys that set you free.

Listen, girlfriend, it doesn't matter who you are or where you've been or what you've done, God is ready to give you a fresh start on a new life--one that can only come through the acceptance of His unchanging truth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vonda Skelton is an entertaining speaker with a heart for women and their families. Her first women's book, Seeing through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe, "takes a hilarious look at all things female as we search for truth in a counterfeit world." Her first two books are part of the Bitsy Mystery Series for children 8-14 years old. The third book in the series, Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island, will be released in the spring of 2008. An RN and freelance writer, Vonda's articles frequently appear in magazines such as HomeLife, Christian Single, Focus on the Family publications, and New Man Magazine. An award-winning playwright and lyricist, her scripts have been performed in churches around the country. She is a frequent instructor at writer's conferences and enjoys mentoring and encouraging new writers.As one who tries--and often fails--to be like Christ, Vonda is thankful God continues to take her messes and use them for His glory!

Why did you write Seeing Through the Lies? Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?

This book was written out of my passion for women's ministry. We--not just women, but all of us --are deceived by so many lies! They are woven throughout today's culture. I wanted to help us get focused, or in some cases, refocused, on the timeless truths of God's Word. I knew I could reach many more women through a book than I ever could reach through my speaking ministry. So, I started with the key points from my Celebrating Womanhood presentation, where we look at the seasons of a woman's life and come to the conclusion that God can use each of us, no matter our age or situation. After several revisions and rethinking the needs of women, Seeing Through the Lies was born.

What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?

I hope that after women read my book they'll realize that Satan works hard tomake us believe his lies, but this is what God wants you to know:

Your worth is not dependent on your beauty, your busyness, or your stuff.

A happy marriage is one that endures.

Motherhood is an honorable profession.

God has the power to overcome your fear.

You win when you lose.

Your life won't be perfect until you reach perfection in heaven.

You can't win God's love because of your goodness, and you can't lost His love because of your sin. And that, dear sisters, is the truth.

How do you deal with your other obligations (family, job, church, etc.) when it's crunch time near writing deadlines?

Did you have to ask that question? In all honesty, this is one of my biggest struggles--balancing my time between my husband, my family, my home, my church, and my writing and speaking ministry. The truth is, my husband, Gary, is a dream husband. As I mentioned in the book, his mother made sure he knew how to cook, clean, change diapers, and iron long before we married. And I know you're not going to believe this, but I promise it's true: I never have to ask him to take out the trash, fix the car, or pay the bills. (And no--you CAN'T have him! He's MINE!) So on those days when he comes home from work at 6:30 and there's no dinner on the stove and I'm still at the computer in my pajamas, he doesn't say a word. He simply goes to the frig, pulls out the sandwich makings and asks if I've eaten anything that day. Can you tell I tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to crunch time? Yes, God has to rein me in over and over. I'm kinda like Paul, "I don't know why I do the things I do!" (Now, if somebody out there could just tell me how to go to the potty without having to actually leave the computer--just think how much more I could accomplish in a day!)

What's your favorite worship song, and why?

One of my favorite songs is "Majesty" written by members of Delirious. The line that says, "Your grace has found me just as I am--empty-handed but alive in Your hand" just gets to me. I can see myself standing before Holy God, falling to my knees...empty-handed, with nothing to offer Him. And yet, He takes me just as I am--selfish, self-centered, and proud--and cleans me up to be used by Him. I can't wait to get to heaven, 'cause I know that when I belt out the songs there, it will be beautiful! No off-key notes, no frightened, trembling voice--it'll be loud and clear and powerful! And Jesus will be there, smiling at me. Yep. I can see it now. I'm the lead singer and Hillsong is backing me up. And Jesus is smiling real big. As we say here in the south, it just don't get no better than that!

What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer's stress?

Oh, a banana split always works, as long as it's a real one. That means chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, real fruit, and wet nuts, with whipped cream on top. And anything chocolate, of course. But then you have to balance it with salt, right?

Can you share something with our readers about what God has been teaching you lately?

He's teaching me that I need to trust Him more. I recently had so many things going on that I couldn't prepare for three events as thoroughly as I usually do. I found myself feeling vulnerable, weak, and needy. Not that I don't ask for His help every time I speak, but this was different. I was crying out to God, begging Him to fill me with His words, His message. And you know what? Those three events were the most powerful, most amazing events I've ever had! Instead of working from a well-defined plan, I spoke the words God placed in my heart and mind. As always, I had been praying God would use the week's events to change hearts...and He did. He changed mine. I learned to relinquish my agenda and plans to His; to trust Him in a way I hadn't truly trusted Him before. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That week, God's power was made perfect through my weakness. I never want to work in my strength again.

What are some of the lies or myths women tend to believe? And what are the best ways for women to see through the lies and unmask the myths, in order to live the lives God would have for them?

You mean, besides the one that says we have to be a size 2 and perpetually 23 years old? Besides the lies we're most familiar with--like our worth is based on our beauty, our busyness, or our stuff--we look at nine areas of deceit women tend to struggle with, like the lies inadvertently promoted by the Christian community. How many times have we been told, "Just believe God and everything will be wonderful?" Or "If you have enough faith, you won't be sick." (The truth is, Jesus tells us we will have trouble in this world.) Or what about the lie that says we'll get married and live happily ever after everyday? The only way we can unmask the myths and find the truth is to go to God's Word. Read His instruction. Take to heart the Bible stories of people who lived through similar experiences and then apply the principals to our own lives.

What are the effects of women being sucked in to the lies? What are the benefits of overcoming this temptation to believe what the world and the enemy would want women to believe?

Regardless of where I go, I find that women are disappointed. We're disappointed in ourselves, in our marriages, in our lives in general. The problem is, we're trying to reach some impossible dream the world sets for us. Living in truth frees us to be what God uniquely created us to be. He wants us to live the abundant life. But we can't do that as long as we're falling for the lies.

What is your philosophy about integrating humorous thoughts into writings that have more serious subjects?

Some people believe that Christian women speakers have somehow "arrived." Ha! All you have to do is spend a day at my house and you'll see that's one of the biggest lies of all! Let's face it, we're all in the same boat. We're all struggling along this path called the Christian life. When we laugh at ourselves, we level the playing field and see that we're not alone. That in itself removes a mask. Then we can move ahead to the truth God has for us.

You give great discussion questions at the end of the book that really helps readers assimilate what they have read. Do you have some ideas or suggestions for how churches and other groups can use this book in a group study? How would a group dynamic enhance individual growth?

For a long time, I compared myself to women at church...and always found myself lacking. But when we come together and honestly confess our hardships and celebrate our successes, we encourage each other in the struggle. Isn't it great to have a team of prayer partners who will intercede on our behalf throughout the week? What strength! What love! Oh, just imagine what we can be for Christ when we take off the masks and become real! (By completing either one or two chapters a week, the study can be used as a 6 or 12 week study.)

Vonda is offering a lovely gift basket for a lucky winner. Leave a comment for a chance to win.


The drawing will be held April 2, 2008. The winner will receive:

Designer Gift Box (looks like a piece of luggage with the words "Faith, Family, Friends" on the exterior).

One copy each of three books by the author: Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe, Bitsy and the Mystery at Amelia Island, Bitsy and the Mystery at Tybee Island.

A stretchy bracelet with Sterling Silver Beads, Gold Swarovski Pearls, Turquoise and Blue Zircon Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver Masquerade Mask Charm.

Bookmark custom-made with Sterling Silver Beads, Gold Swarovski Pearls, Turquoise, Blue Zircon and Clear Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver Masquerade Mask Charm on a 4.75 inch Silver Plated Bookmark.

Gold Tri-fold picture frame.

Pewter-colored oval picture frame.

Jeweled decorated cross.

Peanut caramel clusters.

Caramel Truffles.

Mini-Yankee Candle.

Three-pack sample tea bags.

Sample Columbian Supremo Coffee.

Oh My! Itty Bitty Chai Packet.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Sister's Test Blog Tour


Romance is in bloom once again in Holmes County. Cleon and Grace Schrock are expecting their first child together and are happily settling into married life. And Grace’s younger sister, Ruth, is falling in love with Martin Gingerich. As their love blooms, the attacks on the Hostettler family begin again threatening their peace and security once again.

First, the attacks are just pranks...

A stink bomb in the family barn

The farm gets toilet-papered

Then, they escalate...

Laundry on the line is shredded

Weed spray in the garden kills all their garden plants

Finally, the unthinkable...

A horse and buggy are run off the road, costing the family dearly

Who’s to blame? Footprints lead directly to the Larson homestead and shortly thereafter Ray and Donna Larson make an offer to purchase the Hostettler homestead should they decide to move. But it could also be Luke Frieson, a young man still on rumspringa who hangs around with a rowdy English crowd. Cigarettes at the scene of one attack could point to him. Or they could point to heavy smoker Sheriff Osborn.

Bestselling Amish fiction author Wanda E. Brunstetter is certain to keep her millions of readers up late into the evening to learn whether all the mischief and mayhem will finally come to an end.

About Wanda E. Brunstetter

Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband’s family in Pennsylvania, Wanda E. Brunstetter combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She has also written an Amish cookbook, an Amish devotional and some Amish children’s books. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the States.

A Sister’s Test is the second installment in the Holmes County Series and deals with mysterious attacks that test the faith, perseverance and forgiveness of the characters. What was the inspiration behind this series and what message(s) should readers take away after they’ve read A Sister’s Test?

After reading a newspaper article about some Amish people who’d been attacked by someone with a grudge against them, I decided to write a series addressing this issue and showing how I believe the Amish would respond to a situation such as this. The message I hope my readers will take away from reading A Sister’s Test is the message of forgiveness, forbearance, and trusting in God to bring about something good even in bad situations.

In the past you’ve mentioned having a serious fascination with the Amish people and it’s clear from your writings that you respect their culture. What is it about them and their culture that you admire?

I admire their strong faith in God and their commitment to God and family. I also admire the fact that they do not put their emphasis on worldly things and spend more time reflecting on God’s creation and the blessings He bestows.

How can we adopt these principles in today’s society without giving up the ‘modern’ way of life and becoming Amish?

We can slow down and take time out to spend with the Lord, as well as our family and friends. Many people are so busy “doing” that they miss a lot of the wonderful things God created for our enjoyment. Realizing that “things” aren’t nearly as important as “people” will help us keep our focus where it should be.

How do you think you’d respond to the attacks in A Sister’s Secret if you were Ruth?

I would no doubt be very frightened and concerned for the welfare of my family. I would, of course, notify the authorities, and perhaps do a little investigating on my own. Most of all, however, I would trust God for protection and ask Him to bring the answers that are needed to put a stop to the crimes. I would also ask Him for patience and a sense of peace.

The ability, or inability, to have children whatever the reason can be devastating to a woman. Do you have any advice to women struggling in this area of life?

Two of my best friends are not able to have children of their own. One friend chose to adopt, the other friend did not. Both women are loving, nurturing, caring people, and both are living fulfilled lives. While motherhood is a fulfilling responsibility, I don’t believe being a mother is the only way a woman can be fulfilled. There are many other things we can do in this life that bring fulfillment, and if we seek God’s will and ask Him how we can best serve Him, He will fulfill our needs.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nana’s Bible Stories Blog Tour


It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to share some of my personal thoughts and experiences as a new author with you, LaShaunda, and the Sormag readers! I am so blessed to see the work you are doing to help and encourage each other!

There are so many gifts lying dormant in the lives of women—just waiting to be discovered or understood. I pray not only that my book, Nana’s Bible Stories will be encouraging to the children in your life—but, also that my personal story will be of encouragement to many of you as you pursue your calling.

Why did you decide to write Nana’s Bible Stories?


ROBERTA: Books are such an important element in a child’s life. Books with stories of the Bible are wonderful, because kids can start at an early age, learning wonderful lessons from this great book. The Bible has more adventure and excitement than any book ever published.

I wanted so much to write stories that were warm, exciting, with the emphasis on how much Jesus loves children, and how He was such a wonderful loving person on this earth, even though He was the Son of God! I wish for children know how important they are in the Kingdom of God. Jesus was passionate about them and I want kids to be passionate about Him!

Bible literacy is so important! The Bible is the most influential text in all of Western culture – in fact, ninety percent of high school teachers in a 2005 study said that Bible knowledge is critical to a good education. Yet, sadly, the rate of Bible illiteracy among teens entering college is alarmingly high and is severely limiting their ability to understand classic and modern literature, art, music and culture.

You are a Jewish believer. Do you think your Jewish heritage played a role in the telling of Nana’s Bible Stories?

ROBERTA: Yes, yes, absolutely yes! I always look on the Bible as a Jewish book to begin with. However, my love for Israel and the Jewish people is a big help. I have been to Israel too many times to count, and am in touch with the people and the culture. The land is exquisite, and when I am writing stories, I can picture the people, and the place in which the story takes place.

I do believe that often, we forget Jesus was Jewish, and many things He said and the content of the stories He told were very Jewish.

I have worked closely with the illustrator, Susan Mitchell, who was wonderful illustrator for my book. It was great fun inspiring her with pictures and describing the people as she brought Israel to life through her illustrations. I think she did a great job, in color and characters!

Why do you believe it is important to introduce our children to the Bible when they are young?


ROBERTA: I do believe, and it is also scripturally true, that if you train up a child in the scripture, and encourage that child to have a personal relationship with God, then when he/she grows up they will truly not depart from it. I have done this, and seen the results. I can truly say that all my children, and their children, know the Lord!

If we can promote the Bible as interesting, exciting, etc. then children will want to know the content. I want my stories to be exciting and truthful, so that my book can serve as an introduction to the Bible, and they will want to read more!

We need to reach kids when they are young, when their minds are open to accepting new concepts, characters etc. Look at how easily young kids can pick up new languages. When I was five years old I went to a Welsh school, where no English was spoken. I could choose to hide in a corner, as I did the first day, or jump in and learn the language. I chose to learn, and learn I did!

The minds of children are so open, and accepting. When kids learn the Bible at an early age, it teaches them great values, and greatly influences the development of their character!

I think it would make such a positive and wonderful difference in children’s lives if they were required to learn Bible stories!

Some of your royalties from Nana’s Bible Stories will be going to children’s charities. Please explain.

ROBERTA: While we were working with Jane Seymour on her narration, we learned about all the wonderful work that she was doing on behalf of various children’s charities. It was touching to see first hand the work that is being done and actually meeting some of the young people who are benefiting from her charity work. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book will go to these charities, including City Hearts in Los Angeles.

I am also involved the Children’s Trust in Barbados. They do a marvelous job of helping, sick, and underprivileged children on this island.

It is a great joy to be writing, knowing that the Lord is blessing children both spiritually and financially through Nana’s Bible Stories.

Do you think we ever become too old for God to use us?

ROBERTA: Absolutely not, not, not! As long as we have breath we can be used. As long as our heart is ticking, we can move out of our comfort zone! Even if bad health or accidents get in our way, we can pray, pray, pray!

Thank you for allowing me to share a part of my life and calling with you. If you would like to learn more about me or my book, please go to www.nanasbiblestories.com. You may download one of my favorite stories, The Butterfly and the Cross—the story of the crucifixion as told through the gentle and tender eyes of a butterfly. I have also included a special devotional for the story which you may share with your children this Easter season. Cuddle up with a child and enjoy!

Nana’s Bible Stories are narrated by two different readers: Red cover is Jane Seymour, Blue cover is Sheila Walsh.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Closer Than Your Skin Blog Tour


Closer Than Your Skin
by Susan D. Hill

Like the vast majority of Christians, author Susan Hill felt frustrated in her search for spiritual intimacy, unable to bridge the gap between knowing about God and personally knowing Him. Closer Than Your Skin traces her journey beyond the trappings of faith to an everyday companionship with God.

Through stories of her awe-inspiring experiences, Hill assures readers that knowing God is more than spiritual rhetoric; it’s a genuine, tangible reality when our eyes are open to his presence. With undeniable honesty, she vividly captures the experience of genuine intimacy with the Creator and reveals how to move beyond obstacles that stand in the way.

Readers will discover that divine encounters aren’t reserved for moments of crisis or the select few. Through these unforgettable insights and the interactive study guide, they will find that God is standing at the door, knocking, asking to be allowed in.

Meet the author:

Susan Hill is an award-winning feature writer, whose work has appeared in The War Cry and Light & Life. A long-time leader of interdenominational women’s groups, she also serves on the board of the Uganda Orphans Fund, a non-profit Christian relief organization. Susan and her husband, Duncan, have three children and live in Montana .


I’m currently reading this book and it has struck a few nerves with me.
1- I’m truly over scheduled and it’s worn me down. This book is showing me my errors and what I need to do to improve my ways.

2- I’ve learned that I do have an intimate relationship with God even when I wasn’t a Christian. He was there guiding my path.
I'm looking forward to reading more of this book and I thank Susan for taking the time to write it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear Blog Tour


Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear

When a man turns up dead in a teddy bear costume, Ginger and the other ladies of the Bargain Hunters Network learn a lesson about trusting in God rather than in wealth as they try to solve the crime and clear one of their own.

Sharon Dunn is the author of Death of a Garage Sale Newbie, book one in the Bargain Hunters Mysteries, and the Ruby Taylor mystery novels including Sassy Cinderella, which was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. She earned a BA in television production and a master’s in history Sharon lives in Bozeman , Montana , with her husband of twenty years, three children, two cats, and lots of dust bunnies.

Win a copy of the book - tell us where you find your bargains online

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Automatic 2nd Date Blog Tour


Dating is too often a part of our lives filled with anxiety and stress. Dating Coach and author of The Automatic 2nd Date Victorya Rogers says her dating secrets can remove that stress and help any woman transform her dating experience. Here are some of her dating tips:

Your new book offers a unique dating approach. Why focus so much on getting a 2nd date?

VICTORYA:
If you can’t get past the first date, you won’t be booking a honeymoon anytime soon. The sad thing is ladies who would really be great catches are just blowing it and scaring their dates away by making silly, careless mistakes on their first dates—like talking too much, obsessing on exes, talking about marriage, calling the guy before or after the first date. If they just tweak a few of their dating behaviors, they can transform their dating life without changing who they are! If these secrets become a habit, you can stop stressing about first dates and focus on your man and deciding if HE is the great catch and worth your time. When you do that, 2nd dates become automatic.

How can one back on the dating scene after a long absence adopt this hopeful attitude?

VICTORYA:
Before you jump back into the world of dating allow yourself time to heal and reflect on where you’ve been. What was missing in your past love life? This is your season to really make it all about you. Love yourself first and deliberately pursue the life you always wanted! If you’re a single mom, obviously you need to seriously consider the needs of your children. But you also have to take care of you and come up with what you really want in a relationship before you start dating again. If you don’t know what you want then you’ll just date whoever takes notice and most likely that is was your problem in the past. You are valuable deserve to have a great relationship. But you have to believe that and know to recognize him when is comes along!

You say every woman has an internal “Male GPS.” What is it and how do we use it?
VICTORYA:
Available men are everywhere -- at the drive-thru, at work, at school, at church, at restaurants, at the mall, the gas station, sporting events, etc. You just have to know what you’re looking for and believe he exists. The Male GPS –male global positioning satellite—is in your mind. Your mind is an extremely power instrument that is always working and wants to be right! When you think about something enough, amazingly it seems to begin appearing everywhere you go. Let’s talk cars as an example. If you want that new blue Honda SUV, of course you believe it exists and it’s on your mind so it suddenly stands out every time one drives by. Just like thinking of your next car, think about what kind of guy you want.

The key to finding your next 1st date begins with your mind. You can instantly turn on your internal MALE GPS by figuring out specifically what you’re looking for in a guy, visualizing a man with those traits and believing he exists.

In Automatic 2nd Date you list many unique places to meet men. Tell us a few.

VICTORYA:
I advise skipping bars and clubs and just plunging yourself into the social world around you—be it at your church, country club, charity, or a special-interest group at your community center. As you interact with more and more people, you will automatically find yourself around — and introduced to — available men.

You say the three-second flirt is a great way to get noticed. How does it work?

VICTORYA:
FLIRT with him! Find someone who catches your eye? I have a lot of dating tips in The Automatic 2nd Date. One of them is to make sure you catch his eye. Eye contact is huge! Next time you’re in a “target rich environment of potential dates, slowly scan the room with calm, soft eyes, resting your eyes briefly on any man who captures your attention, then casually glance for a bare ring finger. If the finger is bare, lock into a gaze for your three-second flirt... Add a slight smile or grin, and then casually look away. You can repeat it several times to get your point across if you’d like. Just any longer than 5 second glance at a time borders creepy.

Are there any definite “First Date Don’ts” to ensure a 2nd date?

VICTORYA:
Oh my, there are definitely some First Date Don’ts! 1st dates are about holding back. Use RESTAINT and self control across the board if you want your first date to become a 2nd date. That goes for whatever you say and whatever you do. Here are my top 7 Don’ts for First Dates.

--Don’t dress sleazy

--Don’t talk too much

--Don’t go off on past relationships

--Don’t reveal hatred for the male species

--Don’t expose enormous debt

--Don’t tell him he’s THE ONE

And definitely

--Don’t put out on that first date!


The first date is over. Now what? Does The Automatic 2nd Date offer advice on what to do AFTER the date? Such as can you call or text your date the next day to thank him?

VICTORYA:
When the first date is over, just relax and go on with your life, no matter how much you are into your new man. Do NOT call or text your date before he contacts you! Sure you can and should thank him at the end of the date, but no need for a follow-up thank you unless HE sends you a thank you gift. (Even if your romantic date was as incredible as a ride in a helicopter to see the lights of downtown, it is in your best interest NOT to call him the next day. If he’s treating you like that, you certainly don’t want to scare him away by chasing HIM.


What would you say to someone who went on a date, thought everything was perfect, yet never received a call back for a second date?

VICTORYA:
If you haven’t heard back from your date within a couple of weeks, even if you were convinced it went wonderfully, think back about that evening. Did you really have anything in common? Did you talk too much about yourself? Did you “go too far” physically to the extent that you felt a little guilty the next day? Did you act too needy, too pushy, too bossy, too snotty or too boring? If any of this is the case, your date may have been scared away and wouldn’t tell you even if you asked. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though; just let it go. It was only one date and if he’s gone, that person wasn’t meant for you. At least by reviewing it honestly in your mind, you may be able to learn what to do on your next first date.

How does a confident single gal survive a dateless Valentine’s Day or any regular “date night” for that matter?

VICTORYA:
There are great ways to spend a dateless Valentines or traditional “date night” that can actually put you on the path to ultimately find your man worth keeping! Here are 4 quick tips:

1. On Valentine’s Day you have permission to do something to spoil yourself a little. Don’t go crazy. Just give yourself one treat. Carve out time during your day, even if it has to be on your lunch hour, to pamper yourself. Get a French manicure or new hairstyle, color or cut; indulge in a massage or facial, or buy yourself SOMETHING just for you--just don’t mess up your entire budget. You want to pamper yourself, not punish yourself.

2. This is NOT the night to go out to eat—too many couples gazing dreamily across the table at each other. Instead, order your favorite take out or skip dinner and have a huge portion of your favorite dessert. While you’re enjoying your meal, pull out your journal a design your ideal man. Dream big. Write every character trait and every quality you hope he will possess. What better evening to do so than when Cupid is flying around?

3. Another idea for the evening is to plan a girls night. Invite over your single gals for dinner and your favorite chick flicks or better yet, reminisce on what did and didn’t work in your previous love life. Share funny dating stories, dating horror stories and warm fuzzy dating stories. In the very least you’ll have a good laugh with your girlfriends. End the evening by having each girlfriend write out exactly what you definitely want in your ideal mate, that way you’ll recognize him when he shows up!

4. My last solo Valentine idea is to grab a friend or boldly go solo to the movie theatre. After all Valentine’s is the perfect night for escapism.

Do you have a website or blog with any of these tips for our audience to check out?

VICTORYA:
Yes, my website has a lot of additional tips and advice for single women! Check it out-- it’s www.mantokeep.com. You can also order my books and learn about my coaching program. I hope I have helped you begin to see that dating does NOT have to be overwhelming, scary and stressful. In fact, believe it or not, you can actually enjoy the process if you take the time to find out what you REALLY want in a man, sharpen your dating skills and take risks. There is so much information I’d love to impart to you to make dating less anxiety filled, so feel free to visit my site anytime and/or check out my book The Automatic 2nd Date.


Meet the Author:

Victorya Michaels Rogers, Dating Coach, Author The Automatic 2nd Date


From no dates to being pursued by an Academy Award winner, rock star, gospel singer, doctor, policeman, athlete and more, this former Hollywood agent went on more than 100 first dates with 98% of them asking her out for a second! She has dating down to a science and enjoys teaching that science to her audience. During her single years, Rogers spent over a decade as a Hollywood agent. She also taught 3 years at UCLA.


With a bachelor's from Cal. State University at Long Beach and a master's degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, this motivational speaker/dating coach has been happily married for 10 years to Will, one of her automatic 2nd dates and definitely her man worth keeping. They have two precious children live in a suburb of Dallas.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Humble Housewife 2008 Virtual Book Tour


SORMAG Online Tours welcomes The Humble Housewife 2008 Virtual Book Tour featuring the novel, Sweet Georgia Brown by bestselling author, Cheryl Robinson!

This new novel is about a woman named Georgia, who is fed up with her husband Marvin, a popular radio personality, after 11 years of marriage. It's not just because she suspects he's having an affair, or because she's suddenly expected to raise his thirteen-year-old daughter, Chloe-whom she never knew existed. It's because of the comments he makes about her weight, their marriage, and their sex life...on national radio! Now, to save their marriage, Marvin invites Georgia to the station for an on-air rebuttal, having no idea it will launch her career. Or that what began as a battle at home will now be a blistering war for all to hear on national radio!

Disagreements and conflicts are going to arise in most marriages. But how couples choose to resolve those conflicts will determine if marriages are going to be harmonious or a battle ground. I found the marital conflict between Marvin and Georgia very interesting and wanted to know how Cheryl came to write about this topic in her new book.

So I asked her:

1. How did you come to chose marital conflict as one of the main topics for your new novel?


2. What message are your really sending to men and women about relationships in this story?

And this is what she had to say . . . .

I was surfing the net and stumbled upon the following article on marital conflict: http://www.allaboutlifechallenges.org/what-is-marital-conflict-faq.htm. The writer mentioned that, "one writer has stated that marital conflict stems out of unmet needs, wants, and desires. When one person needs or wants something badly enough, and the other person is unwilling or unable to meet that need, resentment grows. Then, if one were to add the power of an unruly tongue, the situation becomes ripe for open conflict."

I thought that example was fairly consistent with what occurred in my latest novel, Sweet Georgia Brown. Georgia Brown was indeed a humble housewife determined to become a household name. She was going through a period in her life where she had an unmet need. Without spoiling it for those who haven't read the book, but plan to do so, I will say that my primary message was that dreams can and do come true and there is no age limit. You are never too old to go after your passion. I started my novel by showing a family that was struggling and I had that family experience a rags-to-riches transformation. And then I asked myself the question, Does money solve all problems? The answer, of course, is no. It can stop the creditors from calling, and afford you the luxuries of life, which I am sure can be nice, but it doesn't buy love. The love was present when the Brown's didn't have money. But after the Brown's strike it rich, so to speak, the love then seems to fade.

Ultimately, I feel that there were two things happening behind the scene of their marriage. Of course, the obvious were the affairs, which on that basis alone Georgia could have felt justified to leave. But she had convinced herself that Marvin was being faithful to her. However, there was also the verbal abuse. I chose to have that abuse become public. It is of my opinion that verbal abuse is often done behind closed doors. Many experts say that verbal abuse is the worse form of abuse because the wounds never heal. The words being thrown out stay in the victim's mind like a broken tape to be played over and over again.

While Marvelous Marvin went to the extreme by airing his dirty laundry on 102 HITZ, there are many people who will take their private family matters to their friends, other family members, coworkers and sometimes strangers, but never to their spouse or significant other. Even though men are supposedly from Mars and women are from Venus, I still believe that we need to figure out ways to effectively communicate in our relationships so that our conflicts won't get so out of hand that our next resort is divorce court. The encouraging news is that as of the last statistical reporting, the divorce rate is down. However, so are the number of people getting married. Why is that I wonder?

What I love most about Marvin's on-air antics are the responses that I receive from men that are being directed to Marvelous Marvin. For those women who are still under the false belief that there are no good men out there, here's an example of what a good man had to say to Marvin:

At 10:42am on February 8th, 2008, Marvin Ellis said…

I'd like to leave a comment about the Georgia Brown, Marvelous Marvin situation. As a husband and father of eight, an author, inspirational teacher, lecturer, musician, teacher and who just happens to share the name Marvin with the character, I have to say that I was pretty disturbed by what I heard. Not only did Marvelous Marvin make all Marvin's look bad but he disrespected a Nubian Goddess or Earth Deity as I like to call them. It has taken our people too long to even begin to replace the fragments of dignity that make us great after years of oppression, humiliation, racism and all the other evils perpetrated on us by what is known as modern society for us to air any personal dirty laundry we have publicly. It seems that "pop culture" relishes in promoting more of the "dirty laundry" from our personal lives than anything truly with substance. It's all the about the dollars and ratings so anything goes in an industry dominated by the "dog eat dog" mentality. I don't agree nor condone any public disrespect of Black women because our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers and wives have been through too much already for US to give them a bad rap. I personally like thick women so I was extra hurt when MM referred to GB as a cow. We don't do that brother, we don't put our women on front street negatively like that. Ain't enough ratings in the world to make me disrespect my Nubian Sisters!

Peace
the REAL Marvelous Marvin...


Visit Cheryl Robinson’s official website at http://www.cherylrobinson.com/ or blog at http://mybestlife365.blogspot.com/



To join The Humble Housewife 2008 Virtual Book Tour in progress, visit www.thegrits.com/virtualbooktour

Monday, January 28, 2008

JAN BOOK TOUR: Nathasha Brooks-Harris


Nathasha Brooks-Harris

Nathasha Brooks-Harris is the co-author of the Kimani Books (Harlequin Books) anthology, Can I Get An Amen Again, for which she developed the concept. It is the sequel to the ever-popular, Can I Get An Amen. In addition, she currently has a short story in the anthology, Erogenous Zone, and an essay in Gumbo For The Soul anthology. Her debut novel, Panache, earned her an Emma Award as Best New Author in 2002. She is the former editor of Black Romance and Bronze Thrills Magazine and the Associate Editor of True Confessions Magazine at Dorchester Media, and she edits independently under her company, NBH Literary Services. She is also a Contributing Editor at Today's Black Woman Magazine and freelances for several other publications. In her spare time, this Brooklyn-born and bred author and editor creates cloth dolls and quilts under her recently-created Studio 447.

Can I Get An Amen Again?

When Dr. Gabrielle Talbot arrives in Red Oaks, Georgia, the last thing she has on her mind is romance--that is until she meets Marcus Danforth. But will he break her heart like her ex-fiance, or will he find a way to win her trust? From Nathasha Brooks-Harris's "A Change is Gonna Come" in the anthology Can I Get An Amen Again?


What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that life can throw you some serious curves and setbacks. I learned that when they come about, you must be strong and deal with them head-on. I also learned that whatever doesn’t kill you, fattens you, or makes you stronger, whichever comes first. I learned that even when the words wouldn’t come, a quick prayer got me back on track and writing again.

How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?

Truthfully, I didn’t do any marketing of this book. I was the sole caretaker of my mother. She was ill and couldn’t be left alone. Help from family members was non-existent, so book marketing was the last thing on my mind. She was all I had left and she came first. I left it in God’s hand and just said that if it was His will, this book would do well. I let the other three co-authors know that I couldn’t do anything because her care was critical and she demanded all of my time when I wasn’t at work. I told them that it was on them and that they should do whatever they could to help move this book.

In the past, though, I found that getting out meeting the readers and fans worked best. They were able to put a face to the name and I began to develop relationships and connections with them. Speaking at conferences and teaching workshops helped me as well. I love doing that and giving back some of what I’ve learned. Romance Slam Jam has helped me in a major way. Those readers are phenomenal! They are serious about their romance-reading and are very loyal. They make authors feel like a five-pound box of new money in hundred-dollar bills! That’s pretty damn good.

What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

Very simply, writers should realize that the publishing business is about the bottom line: can their book sell? Publishers are concerned about sales and profits. No sales or profits, no book! It’s a very simple and uncomplicated concept. If a writer wants to write, she needs to go into it with the mindset that all a publisher is obligated to do once the contract is signed is to publish the book. The publisher is not obligated to push it and give the book much (if any) promotion. If the company does that, it’s a gift with a big red bow on the package. It is up to the author to push the book and make it sell. That’s where things get real interesting. From what I’ve seen, so many authors aren’t willing to do that. They sit around and complain about what the publisher is not doing to promote the book. The bottom line is this: if an author gets out there and hustles and really pushes a book and it does well, the publisher is more inclined to help with promotions for the next book or somewhere down the line.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

I wish that non-writers would understand that writing is what a serious writer does. When a non-writer calls a serious writer up and starts talking about their man problems or baby daddy drama, if a writer says I’m writing, call back later! At least, ask the writer when’s the best time to call so they can chat! That doesn’t happen. You say you’re writing and the call goes forth as if the caller is saying, So what? You’re just writing. Surely I’m more important. They just have no clue what it means to put butt in chair and write until it hurts. They see it as a joke or a hobby or something!

When it comes to writing, what do you know for sure?

When it comes to writing, I know for sure that if you don’t begin, the book won’t get written. A book begins with a single word and the determination to keep writing no matter what happens.

How can readers contact you?

Readers can contact me at:
Nathasha Brooks-Harris
P.O. Box 150232
Brooklyn, NY 11215-0232
Or by e-mail at: nabrooks@aol.com or writernbh@yahoo.com.

My website is currently under construction at www.nathashabrooksharris.com. It will be live very soon.

I love to hear from readers and fans. Please do contact me.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you via this book tour. Thanks for taking the time to read this and learn more about me and my writing. Be blessed and always remember: “To whom much is given, much is required!”