Monday, December 19, 2016

The Negotiated Marriage by Christine Rich ends 12/26

Please Welcome Christine Rich to my blog. Christine is giving away a copy of The Negotiated Marriage. Be sure to answer one of Christine's questions to enter. And don't for get to leave your email address. If you follow my blog by Feed burner be sure to let me know for an extra entry.

What’s in Your Hand?

A few months ago, I bore witness to a testimony of a gentleman residing at our local homeless shelter. He stood before our congregation with tears in his eyes, overwhelmed and excited. For sixteen years, he’d been disabled and unable to work. He had been thrown into a pit of despair and poverty.  For nothing better to do, he volunteered to help work on the new playground at the Mission’s Children Palace. They gave him a hammer drill and by the end of the day they offered to upgrade his orange volunteer shirt to a green employed shirt.

For sixteen years, this man had a label. Yesterday, he changed it. He took an active stance in the form of volunteering and realized he could do something more for himself. Somebody placed a tool in his hand and gave him an opportunity. His testimony touched me because I’ve been feeling out of sorts because I’ve allowed the voices of those around me to intrude on the Father’s voice.

Like the gentleman above, I haven’t ‘worked’ for twenty-seven years.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I did work, but I worked for my husband’s business and what should have been the family business, but because my husband was listed as a sole-proprietorship the kids and I were unable to inherit the business when he passed away. And even if we could have inherited the business, we didn’t know enough to keep it running. The girls cut and sewed fabric, I helped when I could, and my husband built and upholstered the furniture. All of our some days of learning and being taught by the master craftsman ran out when he became sick, which has left me and the kids in a new season.

The girls are young enough to seek out jobs and learn new skills and to figure out what is in their hands. As I mentioned above, it’s been at least twenty-seven years since I’ve applied for a job. When we had children, we decided that I would stay home and care for them. When they turned school age we decided to homeschool them.

So, yes, I worked. Maybe not in a socially acceptable form of work, and not something I can add to a resume, or work history, which is absolutely terrifying. I mean, who wants to hire a lifetime housewife and mother with no feasible work skills? It’s a dilemma that has been playing in my mind the last few months.

I’ve often asked the Lord, what now? I know I am to continue with ministry, but I’m not certain what that looks like, although I’m getting glimpses. I’m trying to wait on the Lord, but with bills looming time is running out and it’s been hard for me not to jump in and take the wheel. Last month, as I was cleaning out my husband’s van to sell it I was praying. To be honest, I was crying, at times that ugly-choking-sob kind of cry. As I was finishing the task, I noticed a small notecard underneath the driver’s side seat. The last place to clean. I picked up the card and written in my husband’s own hand was a scripture.

And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand?

Exodus 4:2 (KJV)

My crying paused and peace settled over me. I knew God was speaking to Moses about the rod and the authority given to him by the Lord. I knew immediately what God was saying to me. He was having me look at what was in my hand, what He had given me authority to use.

I’ve sold four books and three novellas over the last four years, not quite enough to make a living. Being consumed with life, I hadn’t been fully obedient to the calling God placed on my life. I hadn’t made room for full-time writing. And here God was, such a good Father, using my husband’s own words to remind me, to encourage me, and guide me to be obedient to the calling on my life and use what was in my hand.

Have you been feeling out of sorts, misplaced, and wandering? I fully believe God has placed dreams within us. Dreams, such as music, writing, building houses, painting, traveling, restoring antique furniture, etc., that are meant to glorify His name. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to go out and search for a job. What it does mean is I need to be a good steward of the thing He has called me to do, which is write, teach, and speak to glorify Him. In my obedience, in your obedience, there will be abundant blessings.

And let the beauty and delightfulness and favor of the Lord our God be upon us; confirm and establish the work of our hands—yes, the work of our hands, confirm and establish it.

Psalm 90:17 (AMP)

I want to encourage to examine what is in your hand. What has God placed in your hand? Are you being an excellent steward of the gift He’s placed there?

About Christine:
Christina Rich is a mother of four children, a grandmother of one, a romance author with Love Inspired Historical, Forget Me Not Romances, a photographer, and a painter, and she is currently working on several non-fiction books. She teaches writing workshops Writing for God’s Glory and classes on breaking word curses and breaking ungodly soul-ties. She is excited about a new adventure with P.E.R.K. Passionate Evangelicals Restoring Kindness and recently began Rich Ministries to carry on the legacy her husband began before he graduated to heaven, which focuses on reconciling people to God through Jesus Christ, helping equip the saints for spiritual warfare, and preparing them for the return of Jesus.

You can connect with her on Facebook at Author Christina Rich and on Twitter @Christinainspy

The Negotiated Marriage (November 2016) Love Inspired Historical

Dear Author (October 2016) Forget Me Not Romances

Rekindling the Flame (June 2016) Forget Me Not Romances
Captive on the High Seas (July 2015) Love Inspired Historical
The Warrior's Vow (July 2014) Love Inspired Historical
The Guardian's Promise (March 2014) Love Inspired Historical

The Negotiated Marriage
A Business Arrangement 
When the railroad pushes to buy her land, orphaned Cameron Sims will do anything to keep the only home she and her sisters have ever known. Even if she must marry a stranger. But she’s determined her agreement with the mysterious, dashing man—who’s unlike anything the Kansas railroad town has ever seen—will remain simply business.
Duncan Murray doesn’t want a wife. He wants Sims Creek, a sanctuary that can help him forget a troubled childhood. But his reluctant, and captivating, bride-to-be is key to making his dreams a reality. And despite their business arrangement, Camy and Duncan might be signing on the dotted line for true love…


Dear Author
When Janie Mason agrees to write editorials featuring the eligible bachelors of Hopper Falls, she hopes for an opportunity to write about the injustices plaguing their free-state community and the man whose family is responsible for instilling fear in the hearts of good folks. She never thought she’d find herself in a compromising situation with the object of her disdain.

No stranger to the gossip-mongers, Alec Dunn knows the best course of action is to pay them no heed, but when the object of the town’s pointing fingers is cast from her home, his sense of honor demands he rescue her, even if it means taking her hand in marriage.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The American Heiress Brides with Anita Mae Draper ends 12/19

Welcome, Anita Mae Draper to by blog this month. Anita is giving away a copy of her new book, The American Heiress Brides. Ask Anita a question or comment on her post to be entered. Don't forget to leave your email address and let me know if you are a feedburner follower for an extra entry. 

SWEET LOVE GROWS by Anita Mae Draper

When I was first presented with the opportunity to write a novella about an heiress, it was with the understanding that the proposal would include not only the type of industry that provided her wealth, but also one thing that defined her character.
An abandoned heiress came to mind. I immediately said to count me in even though I couldn’t provide a background or industry for my heroine at that time. I only knew that somehow, she would face the possibility of losing her inheritance.

But what industry to choose? Here’s what the other authors in this project were covering:
·       runaway heiress, silver
·       reluctant heiress
·       tender-hearted heiress, banking
·       hometown heiress, cotton milling
·       Southern heiress, horse ranching
·       California heiress
·       adventure-seeking heiress
·       beautiful heiress, Alaskan mining
Since I wanted to set the story out west during the last decade of the 19th century, I needed something that a man could build and sustain during that time. Something that people needed so there would be an ongoing requirement. Since ranching, mining, and clothing were already chosen, I researched food. However, I didn’t want farm food, like a market garden. I wanted something that would make today’s reader say, oh?
I decided on something that most people crave…sugar. Back then, your choice of sweeteners came from sugar cane, sugar beets, sorghum, maple trees and honey bees. (Corn syrup came later.) If you had the money, you could buy refined sugar in cubes, but that was expensive. Most people could afford the heavy cones of brown sugar, but they weren’t practical for baking.
Most western cooks used syrup or molasses for baking and from that, I chose the sorghum industry where my heiress’ father grows sorghum and then boils it down into syrup. I chose Minnesota as the setting because historically, it has a good sorghum growing record, and still produces the syrup.

As for the hero, the easy route would have been to write him as the heir. But from reading the back cover blurb, readers might assume the heiress would marry him and end up in her family home—where’s the abandonment there?
There had to be a question of whether or not she would end up in her familiar home with her inheritance intact. Hence, the hero of my story is the heir’s attorney who has a vested interest in chasing her out of a home she has no right to inherit.
With that decision, my storyline fell into place:
              Amelia Cord never doubted her father's love despite her illegitimacy. When he dies without a will, handsome by-the-books attorney Jeremy Moore produces a vindictive legal heir who demands her eviction without an inheritance. Can sweet love grow in spite of the odds?
I recently created postcards for Sweet Love Grows, but with a slightly different blurb than the one you see above. If you’d like to receive one of these postcards in your mailbox, sign up for my newsletter on my website, or on my Facebook Author page.  You’ll also be eligible for special subscriber-only giveaways.

If the links don’t work, try these:
Facebook Author page:

About Anita:
Anita Mae Draper's stories are written under the western skies where she lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. After retiring from careers in the Canadian Armed Forces, Anita and her husband ran a commercial greenhouse operation before moving to the farm they lovingly call, Draper's Acres. When she's not writing, Anita enjoys photography, research, and travel, and is especially happy when she can combine the three in one trip. You can find Anita Mae at

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hopeful Heart by Diane Kalas ends 12/12

Please welcome Diane Kalas back to my blog. Diane is giving away and ebook copy of Hopeful Heart to one luck commenter so be sure to leave a comment as well as your email address so we can notify you. Let me know if you are a feedburner follower for an extra entry! 

HOPEFUL HEART is the last story in my 3-book Journey Home Series. The series is about three Civil War POWs who met in the infamous Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers and survived because of their friendship and Christian faith. Each book features one of the memorable heroes and a unique heroine that’s perfect for him.  

HOPEFUL HEART, Journey Home Series 3

An inspirational historical romance set in the West

Pennsylvania. November 1866 –Lucy Garner is a recent widow who just buried her stillborn. Grieving the loss of two people she loved the most in her world, she decides to journey out West and escape her adopted father’s stepson whose intentions strike terror into her being. She goes to work for a difficult and unprepared family, headed to Oregon by wagon train.

Missouri. November 1866 - Nat Renshaw’s boyish good looks disguise his intense personality.

Before the war, his cheating wife died and he gave up on marriage. He joined the Union Army and became a Confederate POW with enough anger to power a locomotive. These events did not improve his outlook on life. Since the war ended, he’s elected sheriff for a river town.

Oregon Trail. March 1867 – Lucy’s arresting features and gentle spirit attract Nat Renshaw’s unwanted interest as he scouts for Lucy’s wagon train. Lucy’s distrustful of Nat’s determination for romance, but ends up admiring his courage and faith in God. Can Lucy open her heart for another chance at love amid the trials of the Oregon Trail?


Diane collects antique books written by men and women who lived through the American Civil War, and/or who pioneered out West. With a degree in interior design, she enjoys touring historical sites, especially Federal era homes with period furniture. Diane is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Published writers Pamela Griffin and Gina Welborn have been critique partners and mentors. Diane’s biggest challenge is writing Inspirational Historical Romance. Her biggest distraction is her fascination with historical research.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Seven Brides for Seven Texans with Vicky McDonough ends December 5th

Please welcome my friend, Vicky McDonough to The Sword and Spirit blog! Vicky is giving away a copy of  Seven Brides for Seven Texans so ask Vicky a question or comment on her post to be entered. Don't forget to leave your email address to be entered and let me know if you are a feed burner follower for an extra entry!

Seven cowboy brothers living on a massive Texas ranch—what’s not to love?

When the concept for this collection was proposed to me and I was invited to be a part of it, I was immediately intrigued and agreed. Having done other collections about families, I knew it would be a bit daunting to keep track of so many brothers and their personalities, different looks and mannerisms, not to mention the ranch staff, and the townsfolk who lived in the closest town, named Hartville, after the Hart family, but it can also be quite rewarding. A collection like this takes extra work to keep every little detail straight. I thought you might enjoy a peek into how one of these closely connected collections is created.

The Master Document started with the most basic info. Note: Each brother had his own “color” and every time he’s mentioned, his name was highlighted to make it easy to find.

The authors and the story order in the collection:
1 - Gabrielle Meyer -  HAYS (Son #7) First Comes Love
2 - Lorna Seilstad - CHISHOLM (Son #6) The Heart of Texas
3 - Amanda Barratt - TRAVIS (Son #3) The Truest Heart
4 - Keli Gwyn - HOUSTON (Son #4) A Love Returned
5 - Susan Page Davis  - CROCKETT (Son #5) For Love or Money
6 - Vickie McDonough - AUSTIN (Son #1) Mail Order Mayhem
7 - Erica Vetsch - BOWIE (Son #2) Love at Last

The group coordinator, Erica Vetsch, created a thirty-one page, highly-detailed master document, which contained a timeline of the stories, a synopsis of each novella (obtained from the authors), and much more. Here’s the story concept that was included:

Patriarch of the Hart family, George Washington Hart isn’t getting any younger. He’s got seven strapping sons, and not a one of them has had the decency to marry and produce an heir. It is time for George to meddle. He will divide his massive ranch in the Texas Hill country, the 7-Heart, among his sons with the provision that each one marry and settle on the land within the next year. The men, ranging in age from 21-34, all named after famous Texans, are resistant to the idea of settling down, but they’ll be hanged if they’ll lose their inheritance! Each sets about finding a bride in his own way, and in the end, each finds love deep in the heart of Texas.

Erica also created a detailed timeline of the family’s history in Texas. I added the info in parentheses for reader clarity. Here’s a little peek:

1858 Regalo(The Hart’s fancy home) is built as a gift from GW to Victoria (his wife)

1860/61 Houston Hart leaves Texas for California just days before his 18th birthday.

1861 The Civil War begins, Austin, Bowie, Travis enlist in the Confederate Army to fight for Texas’ freedom.
Part of General Hood’s Texas Brigade, they fought at every major battle of the Northern Army of Virginia except Chancellorsville. (Infantry)

1863 Bowie Hart wounded and captured at Gettysburg, spends the rest of the war in a Union Prison. First at the Fort Slocum hospital in NY, then at Elmira Prison. Family is told Bowie died at Gettysburg.

1863, Crockett Hart enlists the day after they bury his mother, Victoria Hart, dies.

Each novella had a section that included a picture of the hero and heroine, a short summary, and the full synopsis. Here are pictures of my main characters, Austin Hart and Rebekah Evans.

At the end of all the synopses info, was a section titled: EXTRAS: Characters, places, pictures and maps. It included detailed info of the various secondary characters that worked on the ranch and lived in Hartsville. Here’s a sample:

Cody - A young cocky blond haired/blue eyed cowboy who tends to flirt with the potential brides.
Gage A hardworking wrangler in his early twenties with dark blond hair, which stands straight up in a short haircut. He's Hays Hart's best friend and loves to play practical jokes around the ranch.

We had pictures of the massive Hart home, both inside and out. There was also a blueprint of the home to refer back to so that we kept the rooms straight from one story to the next, as well as a map of Hartsville. We even had pictures of the longhorn cattle on the 7-Heart Ranch and Bowie’s dogs. Massive kudos go to Erica for creating the Master Document. I shudder to think how convoluted things might have gotten without it.

Being a former bookkeeper, I like spreadsheets, so I created a quick-reference chart with key details. I’m posting the majority of the chart but I left off a few things like eye & hair color so it would fit on the page, but this gives you a good idea of what it looked like:

Birth Order
Author & Story order

Birth Yr
Vickie - 6
Stephen "Austin" Hart
Leader, tough, decisive, protective of family
Erica - 7
James "Bowie" Hart
Reliable, tough, watchful
Doesn’t want help
Doesn’t want help
Amanda - 3
William "Travis" Hart
Calm, steadying demeanor
Reserved. To heal and help people after war took so many lives
Reserved. To heal and help people after war took so many lives.
Keli - 4
Sam "Houston" Hart
Idealist, intuitive
Avoids conflict
Avoids conflict
Susan - 5
Davy "Crockett" Hart
Hard worker, very loyal
Lacks confidence, feels overshadowed by his dad and brothers
Lacks confidence, feels overshadowed by his dad and brothers
Lorna - 2
Jesse “Chisholm” Hart
Easy-going, fun, cool-headed, duty-bound
Feels like he can never measure up
Feels like he can never measure up
Gabrielle - 1
John Coffee "Hays" Hart
Easy-Going, confident, charming, fiercely loyal
Doesn't like confrontation, will stuff his true feelings if he thinks they will hurt someone he loves

There you have it. Collections that are closely connected are lots of fun for readers, but they can be a bit daunting for the authors who create them. But as with any task, hard work usually results in something you can be proud of. Time will tell what readers think of Seven Bride for Seven Texans. It releases on December 1st, but you can pre-order it now.

Buy link:

Check out the Seven Brides for Seven Texans Pinterest page that Erica Vetsch set up:

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is an award-winning author of more than 40 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel Award. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Vickie has recently stepped into independent publishing.

Vickie has been married for forty-one years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and a precocious granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, doing stained glass, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: