Monday, March 19, 2018

You're Beautiful by Hannah Arduini and Julie Arduini ends March 26th

You’re Beautiful
When It Hits Too Close to Home
Julie Arduini

               When I finished ENGAGED last year, I was set to start my next contemporary romance series, Surrendering Opinions. God often has other plans, and when both of our children went through adversity that I couldn’t stop or fix, it was our daughter He used to bring a new series to mind.
               For Hannah, she was transitioning to junior high, never an easy time. More than that, there were situations when people in her influence chose to tear down instead of build up, and in a matter of months, Hannah went from smiling and joyful to withdrawn and depressed. My husband and I prayed through options and once a plan was in place and things settled, Hannah and I talked about how we handled things. There were choices we thought were wise, and things we thought we could improve on.
               As Hannah continued to share, she told me she wished there was a way to encourage girls before they encountered situations like what she went through. She kept talking, and a story began to form. I realized something was there, a tangible message that could help girls of all ages. I promised I would write it if she kept going with the plot and help me through the process.
               Hannah plotted a three-book series.
               You’re Beautiful is the first book in the Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series. It follows a group involved with a mentoring ministry called Linked. In You’re Beautiful, Hayley is a junior high student who attends Linked with her friends. She is told she is not just “ugly, but pretty ugly.” Hayley believes it, and withdraws from her friends and Linked. At the same time, one of the mentors, Sabrina, is trying to adjust to life as a college graduate. She runs into a family member who reminds her that her chances of finding love and marriage are not good. Both Sabrina and Hayley have to face the lies they believed and surrender them, so they can find freedom in Christ.
               Hannah created character names and supervised my writing. One of the chapters involves Hayley going to the mall with her friends. As they try on clothes, Hayley realizes the stores Jazmin and Bethany love don’t feature sizes for her. That’s something I can relate to, even as I approach fifty. I clearly remember a boy raising his hand in gym class during our swim rotation asking the teacher, while pointing at me, “Does fat float?” He could have kicked me and the breathless feeling wouldn’t have been as strong as the pain I felt that day. Knowing all Hannah has been through with her health, her slight delays, and bullying issues made writing that chapter raw, but therapeutic. Hannah never lost sight that this book is to help others, even if we had to hurt first.
               We tell people that the book is for girls ages 10-100. We’re finding that grandmothers are remembering times from their childhood and are impacted as much as current tweens and teens. If one reader decides to watch their words and use them to build others up, we believe our experiences were worth it.

You’re Beautiful by Hannah Arduini & Julie Arduini

Hayley Atkinson withdraws from her friends and new opportunities with the new mentoring group, Linked,
after she is told a lie that she believes is true about herself. Sabrina Wayson is a mentor in Linked who feels she can’t help encourage girls because she’s struggling as much as they are. Can they surrender the lies and find freedom?


Hannah Arduini is in the eighth grade and lives outside of Youngstown, Ohio. She loves fashion, Starbucks, and serving at church. She has a brother who lives at home, and siblings that live in Wisconsin. She also has two nephews. You’re Beautiful is her first published book.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series Surrendering Time, featuring ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED. FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER is her 30-day devotional using the surrender themes and characters from the series. She shares her infertility story in A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, and also is a blogger for Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mountain Brook Inks Romance Reads Blog Tour Winners!

Thank you everyone who participated and followed the tour. Below are the winners!


Steve Weber

$10 Amazon Gift Card Winners (Second Place Prizes):
Will Griesmer
Chanel Monroe
Wendy Newcomb
Trish Musgrave

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Story Behind the Story by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The story behind the story: The idea of writing a series of novels about Ladies who graduated from Oberlin College before the Civil War came about because I was interested in women preachers and women leaders of Christian causes. I had an idea of writing about them for some blog posts. Oberlin College kept coming up in my research. That's when the germ of an idea sprang up.

Oberlin College was the first college to allow women to graduate with a bachelor's degree. Oberlin College was founded in 1833 in Oberlin, Ohio by two Presbyterian ministers, and became the first college in the United States to admit women as well as men. In the early days, women could only get women's studies certificates, but that changed in 1837. Four women - Mary Kellogg, Mary Caroline Rudd, Mary Hosford, and Elizabeth Prall – entered the college degree program, the Collegiate Department. All but Kellogg graduated with a Bachelor of Arts College Degree.

Lucy Stone, a Christian who fought for a woman's right to vote, was a graduate at Oberlin College in 1847. Antoinette Brown Blackwell graduated in 1847 and was the first woman to complete a theological degree in 1850. Blackwell was the first ordained minister in the US. Many of the women who graduated from Oberlin were involved in abolition, women's suffrage, child labor and abuse laws, ministry and overseas missions work, and prohibition. These women forged the way for those who came after them.

One other interesting fact about Oberlin was its commitment to equality in races. It was one of the first US colleges that allowed blacks to earn college degrees from its beginning. In 1862, Oberlin graduate Mary Ann Patterson was the first African American woman in the US to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. She went on to become the first black principal in a public school. Oberlin also became the center of controversy when Oberlin student chased down slave catchers to rescue a fugitive slave from them. The incident became known as the Oberlin Wellington Rescue. and 20 students were arrested.

My character in Red Sky Over America, America Leighton is a student at Oberlin College in 1857. She wants to become a missionary, but she believes if she doesn't have the courage to confront her slave owning father in Kentucky, she won't have the boldness she needs on the mission field.

Red Sky Over America
Ladies of Oberlin, Book 1
By Tamera Lynn Kraft

William and America confront evil, but will it costs them everything?

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America's classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

Red Sky Over America tackles the most turbulent time in history with thorough research and fascinating characters. Tamera Lynn Kraft has woven a tale about the evils of slavery that should never be forgotten. -- Mary Ellis, author of The Quaker and the Rebel, The Lady and the Officer, and The Last Heiress.
You can purchase Red Sky Over America at these online sites:

 About Tamera:
Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novels and novellas in print. She’s been married for 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. 
Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.
You can contact Tamera on her website at

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.
Word Sharpeners Blog: