Monday, August 29, 2016

Angela Ruth Strong

Finding Christ in Christian Romance

I recently downloaded Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade to Audible so I could listen to it in the car while on a family vacation. One of the great things about audio books is that more than one person can experience it at a time, and though I hadn’t expected my husband to get into the romance, he seems to be enjoying it.
Saturday morning he said, “Let’s ride the Harley to a pastry shop for breakfast like Ty did in that last chapter.”
Then, over coffee: “Matthew McConaughey would play a good Ty.”
The next day we watched You’ve Got Mail where he compared Ty to Tom Hank’s character.
Yes, I’m married to the sweetest man ever. And yes, Becky is a great writer. But I also think there’s something magical about Christian romance that appeals to readers.
I know love changes lives, so I broke down the power of my own love story along with the beauty of every Christian romance I’ve ever read into three important parts: 
1.)    God is love, so without God, there can be no love story. Romance, yes. Chemistry, oh yeah. But love? The self-sacrificial act of putting another person first because we can see the big picture about how our lives are for so much more than simply getting what we want? That’s where healing comes from. That’s what brings restoration.
2.)    Characters are hopeless without Jesus. If characters are flawed (and they should be if readers are going to relate to them), then there’s no way they can earn the kind of love they desire. In order to accept grace, they have to honestly admit their failures and realize their value in the fact that Jesus considered them worth dying for.
3.)    The story doesn’t end at happily-ever-after. God didn’t create us simply to find soul mates. He gives us gifts to use to bring glory to his name, and he brings people into our lives who can help us use our gifts more wisely. When two people fall in love, that’s only the beginning to what God has in store for them. This understanding creates an abundance of lasting joy.
I’ve read a lot of romance in my life. Some good. Some bad. Some Christian. Some secular. But it wasn’t until this summer that I read a secular romance and realized how empty I felt afterward. It was well-written. It had good characters and a nice story arc. It made me laugh. But afterwards, I thought, “So what?”
There was no self-sacrificial love. There was no grace. And the story ended at happily-ever-after.
God compares the bride’s love for her husband to how we should feel for our savior. There should be no “so what” involved. There should only be a “THAT’S what I’ve been looking for.”
They are all meant to be mine.
This is what we are all looking for. And it’s why I’m proud to say I write (and listen to with my husband) Christian romance.

Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana:

Bright Star Ranch led him to her--but will he stay?

Josh Lake is forced to head home for the holidays after he’s suspended from his job in the city, but running into Paisley Sheridan could be exactly what he needed. Not only does she board him at her ranch in exchange for his advertising expertise, but spending the Christmas season with her in Big Sky brings more joy than he’s felt in a long while. Is he willing to give up the lavish lifestyle he’s worked for in exchange for the gift of love?
The last thing Paisley wants for Christmas is to spend time with Josh Lake—the guy who broke her heart in high school—but until her bank loan goes through, she has to take all the free assistance she can get. Unfortunately, Josh seems to want back in her life again, and the town’s quirky coffee shop owners don’t help by hanging mistletoe at every opportunity. Will Paisley succeed in driving him away, or will she find the healing needed to have hope for a future together?

About Angela:
Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her debut novel Love Finds You in Sun Valley in 2010. Six years later, she is rereleasing the novel as part of a series. Book #2, Finding Love in Big Sky comes out September '16 and will be followed by Finding Love in Park City in spring '17. Her romantic suspense novel Presumed Dead releases in February '17. She lives in Idaho with her husband and three children where she also founded IDAhope Writers to encourage other Christian authors. Find out more at

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hope in Christ by Tamera Kraft

Do You Have Hope?
By Tamera Lynn Kraft

We all hope for things. If our flowers need watering, we hope it will rain. If we have a picnic scheduled, we hope it will be sunny. We all hope life will be easy. Hope in the Bible is different than this kind of hope of wishing something would happen or wanting something.

What is Hope?

In the New Testament, the word hope is translated from the word elpizo. Elpizo means confidently trusting in and waiting for something or someone. The book of Hebrews calls it an anchor for our souls.

Hebrews 16:19-20 (NIV) We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf…

What is Our Hope Built On?

The old hymn says “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” That pretty much sums it up. Our hope is built on the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to Earth to die on the cross for our sins, to rise from the grave in victory, and to ascend to Heaven. We also confidently hope that He is one day coming again.

Romans 5:2 (ESV) Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Hope in Christ Brings Peace and Joy

When our hope is in Christ instead of in our circumstances, that kind of confident expectation bring us a peace the world can’t understand and a joy that doesn’t depend on everything happening exactly right. We can rely upon Christ to work things out for our good. That relieves us of the pressure to fix things we can’t fix.

Romans 15:13 (ESV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

In my soon to be released novella, Resurrection of Hope, Vivian visits a friend named Hope who has just lost a child and was told she couldn’t have children. Here’s a short excerpt from that scene.

Vivian swallowed. "I… I don't know what to say. I expected to find you distraught after what happened, but you seem to be… almost cheerful."

Hope's eyes closed and her head tilted back into the pillow. "I have my moments. Trust me." She opened her eyes and smiled. "I keep my hope in Jesus Christ, and He gives me the peace I need to get through this."

Vivian held back a snort. "How can you of all people talk of hope knowing you'll never have any children?"

Hope pressed her lips together as she propped herself up on her pillow. "If my hope rested on having children, then you're right. There would be no reason, but my hope is the kind they talk about in Psalms. 'But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.'"

Book Blurb:
Resurrection of Hope
She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?
After Vivian’s fiancĂ© dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancĂ©’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.
Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.
Resurrection of Hope is available at these online stores:
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 novellas in print. She’s been married for 37 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two 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:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Make-Believe Beau by Keli Gwyn ends 8/15

Please welcome Keli Gwyn to my blog this week. Thank you for joining us this week, Keli. I love your picture. So cute! Keli has a fun and interesting post on roller skating. She's giving away a copy of her new release  Make-Believe Beau. Answer one or more of the questions she asked 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.

Roller Skating Then and Now
by Keli Gwyn

I grew up in the days when kids could play in the streets of my small town without a parent in sight. It wasn’t quite the Dark Ages. It was the 1960s.

One of the activities my childhood friends and I enjoyed was roller skating. We had heavy metal skates like those pictured. We’d slide our feet into them and use the skate key to crank them to our size. The skates had to fit snuggly, or they could separate from our shoes—with unpleasant consequences. I know because I kissed the pavement a few times.

I’d like to tell you that I zipped along the sidewalks with grace and ease, but that wasn’t the case. Those skates were heavy, and I wasn’t the bravest child on the block. A more honest description would be to say that I wobbled my way down the road, arms flailing as I fought to remain standing, wearing a goofy grin.

By the time I reached my teens, skates had improved. The wheels were attached to the boots, which provided a whole lot more support. Most of us rented our skates, not caring that countless others had worn them or that they smelled like a gym locker. We pretended that quick spritz of disinfectant spray the attendant shot into the boots worked wonders.

Skating had moved indoors to roller rinks with spinning disco balls splashing the walls with a rainbow of dancing lights. Music blared from the speakers, combining with the thunder of wheels rumbling over smooth wooden floors. The laughter of skaters whizzing past me bolstered my courage. If they could zip along, so could I. And I did, albeit a bit more tentatively. I still crashed on occasion, but I was conscious of those around me, so I’d hop back up, paste a smile on my face and keep on doing laps. Despite all my falls, I had a blast.

When I learned that roller skating was all the rage in the 1870s and that my historic Gold Rush-era town had a roller skating rink back then, I knew I had to have a skating party in one of my stories. Since Make-Believe Beau is my first story set in Placerville, I finally got to include a skate date, so-to-speak. I had such fun writing that scene.

I had some research to do in order to accurately portray an 1874 skating rink. As I expected, the floors were wooden. Since the phonograph wasn’t invented until three years later, the music would have been performed live. Women and men roller skated. Many rinks would hold classes for the ladies before the general skating sessions.

Surprisingly, the skates (similar to those in photo) weren’t too much different than those heavy, clunky models I wore as a girl. A skater slid her foot into the clamp at the toes and buckled the strap around the ankles, just as I did. Thanks to James Plimpton, who revolutionized roller skates in 1866 when he created the four-wheel model with turning capabilities that we’re used to, skaters could go in circles rather than being limited to straight lines as they had been until that time.

The hero and heroine of Make-Believe Beau, Flynt Kavanaugh and Jessie Sinclair, have a great time skating. As is often the case with couples in romance novels, things soon take a turn—for the worse. Not to worry, though. Flynt and Jessie may have to deal with all the difficulties I throw at them, but that just makes their hard-earned Happy Ever After that much sweeter.

Questions for You:

Did you enjoy roller skating when you were younger?

If you skated, were you on the timid side, like me, or did you race around the rink with flair?

As a draftswoman in a man’s world, Jessica Sinclair causes a stir as her new male colleagues vie for
her attention. And the company manager has an ultimatum: fake a courtship with her boss, Flynt Kavanaugh…or lose her job. But pretending to be smitten with the handsome engineer unleashes a real, complicated attraction—and could reveal the past she hoped to keep hidden.
Jessica is certainly the best person for the job. But as their make-believe romance escalates, Flynt knows that’s not the only reason he wants her on his team. However, with his past shrouded by a shameful secret, Flynt has always focused his ambitions on building a career, not a family. Now he has designs on Jessica’s heart, but can they trust each other with the truth?

Award-winning author Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.
When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, other Gold Rush-era towns and historical museums. She loves hearing from readers and invites you to visit her Victorian-style cyber home at, where you’ll find her contact information.

Find Keli's books here.

(All images are from Wikimedia commons. Photo 1. Photo 2. Photo 3.)
Link to photo 1
Link to photo 2
Link to photo 3

Monday, August 1, 2016

Choice of A Family for the Rancher or Then Came Love by Louise Gouge ends 8/8

Debbie Lynne, thank you for inviting me to your blog. Rather than my usual promo for my current release, A Family for the Rancher, I have something a bit different to share with your readers today.

To celebrate the summer, I’ve teamed up with more than 40 fantastic inspirational romance authors to give away an amazing collection of books, PLUS a Kindle Fire! You can win my book Then Came Love! Enter the contest by clicking here:  #bookgiveaway 

So here's what I want to offer your readers this week: If you leave a comment (not just "please enter me in your drawing") and tell me who your favorite literary heroine is, we'll enter you in our drawing for either of these two books, A Family for the Rancher or Then Came Love. Open only to U. S. residents.

If you're interested in learning more about an inspirational romance writer's life, please subscribe to my newsletter on the right side of my web site:

You can also visit my Facebook page:

Or follow me on Twitter: @Louisemgouge


Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical Romances. She received the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in 2005 and placed in 2011, 2015, and 2016; and placed in the Laurel Wreath in 2012. When she isn't writing, she and David, her husband of fifty years, enjoy visiting historical sites and museums.

A Family for the Rancher

Rancher Edmund McKay likes his life simple and quiet—everything feisty neighbor Lula May Barlow is not! But with a cattle rustler on the loose, he’s duty-bound to protect the widowed mother, even without her approval. Yet he never expected to enjoy her company. And he certainly never thought her crowded, bustling house would be the first place he’d ever feel at home…


After a harsh childhood, Lula May knows how to stand on her own two feet. She doesn’t need Edmund’s help—but she’s starting to want it, all the same. So are her children, who clearly have matchmaking in mind. And when a threat from the past resurfaces, she realizes all that’s at stake…including her chance for a lifetime of love.

Then Came Love

Torn apart by the Civil War, two young couples find restoration through love, grace, and forgiveness. Louisa Maria Downs has waited three long years for her soldier-sweetheart’s homecoming. But when he returns, John Jacobs stands aloof, his deep blue eyes revealing his longing for her, but his lips strangely silent. Convinced it is God’s will for them to marry, Louisa defies decorum and pursues the man who has owned her heart since she was twelve years old. 

John Jacobs has spent three years fighting to keep the Union intact. Now back home, he longs to marry the young woman he has admired since boyhood. But shattering memories of what he did during the war magnify the bloodstains on his hands. He awakens each day more certain than ever that he is not worthy of the love of a decent woman, much less the love of God.