Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Ride of Her Life

The Ride of Her Life
Lorna Seilstad
ISBN: 978-0800734473
May 2012/384 pages/$14.99

She's planted firmly on solid ground.

He's ready to sweep her off her feet.

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six-year-old. Widowed for three years, Lilly has decided to leave the home of her intrusive in-laws to stand on her own. However, her in-laws find her new life as a cook at Lake Manawa utterly unsuitable for their grandson. When an argument ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. But Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.

Filled with the sweet romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life will have you laughing out loud and sighing contentedly as you spend the summer of 1906 at Lake Manawa.

A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves and A Great Catch. She draws her setting from her home state of Iowa. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Oh my goodness! This has been SUCH a fun series (my reviews of Making Waves and A Great Catch are here), and The Ride of Her Life is as entertaining as the new-fangled amusement park contraption promises to be! Lake Manawa is filled with charming characters--as well as a few not so charming! Lilly and her sweet boy, Levi, absolutely endeared themselves to me from the very beginning. (Her controlling and conniving in-laws, on the other hand, generated a whole other set of emotions!) And then there is Luke Perrin, who Lilly is determined to keep at arm's length, not trusting him or that roller coaster he's building. If you are looking for a great summer read, set up your beach chair at Lake Manawa and be swept away to 1906 for a delightful time!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In the Good Ol' Wednesday Hodgepodge

The calendar says summer doesn't start for another three weeks or so, but school's out and it's after Memorial Day, and the temperature is in the 90's (with the heat index around 100!). Sounds like summer to this Texas gal! A great time to kick off the flip-flops and join Joyce for another Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. What can the average citizen do to honor a military veteran and/or those currently serving?

Tell them thank you. Support and minister to their family. Don't trample the freedoms they fought/are fighting to preserve.

2. Besides a flag what is something you own that is red, white and blue?

I have things that are red & white and blue & white which I could combine to be patriotic, but I can't really think of anything right now that is red, white and blue.

3. Does love really conquer all?

Love doesn't conquer. Love serves and gives.

Exception: Love conquers fear.
(Perfect love drives out fear. I John 4:18)

4. Strawberry shortcake or blueberry pie?

I'll take strawberry anything over blueberries. But I've gotten where I really prefer the strawberries without the shortcake. The strawberries are so good and the shortcake is just that many more calories. (Although that rationale goes out the window with whipped cream. I'll take strawberries and whipped cream anytime!)

5. Do you share personal stuff with your hairdresser?

No. But then I'm not from the generation of going to the beauty shop once a week. In fact, I don't even call her my hairdresser. I generally refer to her as the woman who cuts my hair. I associate the term hairdresser with those weekly wash-and-style appointments of the older generation.

6. Does money lead to selfishness?

Money itself does not. The LOVE of money does. People frequently misquote the scripture as saying "Money is the root of all evil." The Bible actually says "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (I Timothy 6;10) (emphasis mine)

7. What piece of furniture in your home most needs replacing or refinishing?

Our "temporary" coffee table that we bought at our next-door neighbors' garage sale 20 years ago for $25!

8. Insert your own random here.

It's a little disconcerting when ordering guacamole at a restaurant and someone at the table requests that it be "extra hot" and the waiter looks puzzled and says, "But the avocado is always served cold."

We educated him that, in Texas, hot is a synonym for spicy!


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spring Hope

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Spring Hope
( Realms (May 15, 2012)
Martha Rogers


Martha Rogers is a freelance author of both fiction and non-fiction and a speaker. Her stories and articles have appeared in a number of compilations and magazines. Her first fiction novella was released in 2007.

Her experiences as a public school teacher, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, First Place leader, Mom and Grandmother give Martha a unique field of ministry.

Martha is am alumni of CLASS and is available to speak at Women's Retreats, conferences, and luncheons on topics of interest to women of all ages.

As an author, she is available to speak at writing conferences and workshops on a variety of topics of interest to writers.


Can runaway Libby Cantrell finally get a new start?

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. After working in a brothel to support her abusive father, she sees no hope for her future until one cold winter night when she finds the courage to escape.

When she collapses in Portersfield, Texas, exhausted, ill, and hungry, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her and takes her to the doctor. Against Cory’s better judgment, Seth and Erin Winston take her in and offer her a job as a nanny for their young son. As a minister, Seth sees it as his duty to take care of her. As a deputy, Cory needs to know the truth about her even as he is attracted to the waif of a young woman.

As Cory’s feelings for her grow and winter becomes spring, will he be able to accept her as she is now and truly forget and forgive her sordid past?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Spring Hope, go HERE.


I have enjoyed reading and reviewing this entire series (including prior books Summer Dream, Autumn Song, and Winter Promise), and Spring Hope may be my favorite of the four books. (While characters recur and events are connected within the books, they can be read as stand-alones, although I recommend reading them all!) Libby's plight tugged at my heart, and I longed for her to successfully escape her past and begin anew in Portersfield. The burden Libby feels to keep her past a secret is underscored by the portrayal of the attitudes many of the town's inhabitants demonstrate toward saloon girls. A strong message of faith, compassion, and forgiveness woven throughout the story makes this historical romance a delight to read.


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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

May we never forget.


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Saturday, May 26, 2012

TSMSS - Come Thou Fount

One of the great classic hymns of the faith, simply and beautifully sung by Chris Rice.

I'm linking up at Amy's; come on over for more great songs for your weekend!


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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Anniversary Waltz

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Anniversary Waltz
Realms (May 15, 2012)
Darrel Nelson

A Word from the author:
I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story—a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

If you'd like to read the first chapter excerpt of The Anniversary Waltz, go HERE.

This book was shipped late and I have not received it yet.


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Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Giveaway Open Beyond the USA!

UPDATE Wednesday, 5/30/12 11:00 am WINNER!

Congrats to Cathy! Sherri Johnson will email you the eBook!

* * * * *

Today I welcome author Sherri Johnson, who shares about her writing journey and the ups and downs she experienced on the road to publication.

My Road to Publication
by Sherri Johnson

I have been writing for as long as I can remember—probably for as long as I have been reading. When I was around the age of eight, I wrote my first short story and have been addicted to writing ever since. My family could not afford a writing school, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming of becoming a Pulitzer Prize winner one day.

In high school, I wrote continuously and took as many writing and literature classes as my school offered. I had high aspirations of becoming a journalist of some kind. I wanted to be the woman sitting in front of the camera doing the evening news or the woman with her own newspaper column. My dream was to go away to a college that had a superior journalism department. Because of my poor grades and a few other issues, I did not attend college though.

Immediately after graduating high school, I began to work in an office as a secretary. I became a fan of romance novels. The problem was: there weren’t very many clean reads out there at the time so I filled my mind with things that it didn’t need to be filled with.

So I decided to write a Christian romance. I wrote on my typewriter at work when there was free time. Somehow I managed to produce a 500-page novel. I guess I wasn’t very busy at work, huh? I sent the novel off to a friend who thought I had a good story so I began the process of polishing it to prepare it for the publisher who would, of course, knock down my door to publish it. After reading a few books on how to write a novel, I decided my novel was no good. So I burned it in the fireplace at home. This was before the days of home computers and none of what I had written was saved on disk. The story was lost forever and I gave up on becoming an author. I consider this one of my greatest professional learning experiences.

I married a few years later, and then had my first child a few years after that. I began writing again while my husband worked at night. Submitting manuscripts or even simple proposals was a time-consuming and expensive hobby. So I shelved my story ideas and concentrated on being a mommy after the birth of my second child in 1994. However, my mind never stopped spinning tales. These ideas gathered in file folders and patiently waited to come out when my children went to school.

Then, God called me to homeschool in 1997 and suddenly my plans were postponed for just a little while longer. Don’t you just love God’s sense of humor? After I got accustomed to the routine of homeschooling, the writing bug bit me again. Instead of fiction, I wrote articles for homeschool magazines and finally got my first phone call from an editor. I was now a published author.

I kept at the writing and got a few more articles published. I took a two-year writer’s course through the Christian Writers Guild and eventually wrote a few Bible studies, which I taught for groups at church. Then I wrote a devotional for homeschool moms, which I self-published.

God used the teaching of my children to refine my writing skills. He opened my eyes to things that needed to be perfected in my works. I wrote several more Bible studies. And I eventually wrote three novels—and re-wrote those three novels. Because of easier submissions procedures, I submitted proposals constantly. But the ever-coveted contract never came. I tried to quit writing quite often, but had no success at that either.

I attended my first writer’s conference in 2003 and met several editors who requested to see manuscripts. I had been told that this was the way to go. For me, this was a one-time luxury because we were a one-income family. I could not attend conferences every year in hopes of finding a publisher. I had to give it my all and leave my writing career right where it needed to be—in the hands of God!

In 2008, I received a contract from OakTara for my novel To Dance Once More (my second “first” novel). After a long and arduous process, it came out in September 2011. My second novel, Song of the Meadowlark, will be coming in June. My third novel, After the Raging Storm, is still in the crock pot and I am writing the sequel to To Dance Once More, entitled To Laugh Once More, at this time. I am actively seeking agent representation and praying God will “enlarge my territory”.

The process for me began in 1974 with that first children’s story. 1985 marked the year of the first full-length manuscript, which perished in the fire. 1993 birthed To Dance Once More. 1997 began my journey through homeschooling and 2011 will forever go down in history as the year that I completed one calling (homeschooling) and launched the ever-awaited career as a writer – I mean, AUTHOR! God has indeed enlarged my territory. I am now a blogger, interviewer, book reviewer, social media coordinator, and novelist! My goal in becoming published was about more than having my book on a bookstore shelf. It was about spreading the news of God’s great love to my readers. Of course, winning the Pulitzer would be fine, too!

Sherri Wilson Johnson is the author of To Dance Once More (Sept 2011) and Song of the Meadowlark (June 2012). She is from Georgia, has been married since 1988, and is a former homeschooling mom. She loves to write, read, and make people laugh. She loves Jesus and hopes to spread His love to the whole world through her writing.

Connect with Sherri Wilson Johnson online:!/swj_thewriter


Sherri has graciously offered to give away an eBook copy of To Dance Once More. Here's the blurb:
All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore. April 1886. Debutante Lydia Jane Barrington lives a carefree, protected existence on Live Oaks Plantation in Florida. But while her sisters happily learn the traditional tasks of women and talk of courting, Lydia dreams of adventure and independence. Even her friendship with handsome Hamilton Scarbrough isn't enough to hold her back. Then one day Hamilton opens Lydia's eyes and her heart to love. But before they can receive permission to court, Lydia overhears a secret conversation about an unscrupulous business deal. Worse, it has everything to do with her and her future. Now she's faced with the biggest decision of her life-to concede or to fight. Either choice will require great sacrifice...and, perhaps, countless rewards. Passion.

Friendship. A bitter enemy. A life-changing decision. Set in Victorian-era Florida.

To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Tuesday, 5/29/12, and I will randomly choose a winner. And unlike most of my giveaways, this one is NOT restricted to US residents. All that's required is an email address! Be sure to include your email address so I can notify you and forward it to Sherri Johnson if you are the winner.

Disclaimer: I have not read Sherri Johnson's book and therefore do not have an opinion on it. The views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Sherri Wilson Johnson, and may or may not reflect the views of Mocha with Linda.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hodgepodge-ing on Wednesday

1. What's something you miss about the 1980's? If you're too young to miss the 80's how about the 90's?

Well, first of all, I'm sidetracked by trying to wrap my mind around the fact that there might be bloggers that are "to young to miss the 80's"! Shouldn't anyone in that category still be in school?! Nothing like a wake-up slap first thing in the morning! Joyce, you are making me feel my age! LOL

The 1980's - at least the first half - are kind of a blur to me because I was busy getting my nursing degree and then working night shift, but I do miss parts of that decade, especially 1988, the year we got engaged and married. Ah, young love and the fun of planning a wedding!

2. Do you have a library card? If so, how often do you visit?

We had a family card but it is expired. We live outside of any city limits, so we have to pay to even have a card. We faithfully renewed it annually and went to the library every week throughout the summers all through my kids' years in elementary and middle school, but they've got enough of their own books and once they outgrew the reading program with the cool prizes, we quit going.

3. What's the secret to success?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

4. This is National Backyard Games week...what's your favorite backyard game?

Sitting on a porch swing!

5. If I dropped by today what would I find on your coffee table?

Candles, a book or two, a Jason's Deli menu, some extraneous clutter.

6. Do you own a bicycle? When was the last time you rode a bicycle? Is that something you enjoy?

Yes. When my kids were in elementary school. Not as much as when the bikes were less aerodynamic and I didn't have to ride all hunched over like a racer.

7. What's your favorite cheese?

Depends on what else we're having. I usually like provolone or baby Swiss or Monterey Jack on a burger or sandwich. But nothing beats cheddar on a baked potato! (Although I haven't had one of those in a looong time!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

If you are a major university and you are preparing commencement programs for your School of Public Affairs, it is a good idea to have multiple people check them for typos before sending to the printer, especially when certain letter omissions can result in horrific embarrassment for the school's name.

The University of Texas is reprinting the programs and mailing them to all of the graduates so they will have a correct one for their keepsake.

May God bless the poor employee that did this. I hope her (or his!) boss has a sense of humor; s/he will never live this one down!


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Annie's Truth

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Annie's Truth
Realms (May 15, 2012)
Beth Shriver

Childhood memories of her grandfather's ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she understands pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She frequents a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

In 2003 Beth began writing her first book. A couple of years later it was published and she has been writing ever since. Beth received a degree in social work from the University of Nebraska and was a case worker before starting a family. Beth followed her passion and has written in a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction.

After learning the truth about who she really is, can this prodigal daughter be accepted back into the safety and security of home?

Annie Beiler seems to have it all—a loving family in a tight-knit Amish community and the affections of an attractive and respected young man. But when she learns that she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn, she sets out on a journey to find out who she is.

Her father is strongly against her decision to leave, as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.”

As Annie’s search brings her into the fast-paced world of modern life, she is confronted with all of the temptations she was warned of. Can she make her way back to the order and security of her family? Or will she remain an outsider—torn between her two worlds?

If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chapter of Annie's Truth, go HERE.

This book was shipped late and I have not received it yet.


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Treasure at Rainbow's End

Today I welcome author Valerie Comer, who shares a bit about her writing journey as she searches for -- and finds -- the proverbial treasure at Rainbow's End.

Looking for the Pot of Gold?
by Valerie Comer

Somewhere, at the end of the rainbow, there's a pot of gold. If you're a writer striving for publication, you're hoping that treasure is a publishing contract.

Of course there's no guarantee, is there? There's also no way to know how long it will take. Some writers sell their first book, others sell their tenth, and some never sell anything at all. Which brings me back to that pot of gold.

You know the saying, "Getting there is half the fun"? It needs to be true in our writing. If our only focus, as writers, is to get published--if that's the only thing that matters to us--then I don't think we're in a healthy place. Enjoy every minute of being a writer. Enjoy creating characters, settings, and plots. Enjoy being able to explore and figure out what you passion in writing is. Don't be in a rush.

I started writing in the spring of 2002. I'd recently landed a job in the small town flooring shop where I still work. My two bosses handle everything outside the building. I deal with sales reps, clients, freight, and the telephone. Still, most days are pretty quiet for me, and the boss guys were (and are) delighted that I can occupy myself for hours at a time without getting bored.

My first novel took me about a year to write and I've never opened it since. I learned two valuable things from it. That I could, indeed, get to 100,000 words, and that I needed to learn how to plot! For several more novels (and years) I tried to learn how to plot and tell a coherent story, but it didn't come easily to me. I've found I'm a good writer (as in, my sentences, paragraphs, and scenes are fluid and interesting) but that the over all structure was difficult for me to grasp.

In 2006 I wrote the first novel that was any good (it's out to a couple publishing houses right now, waiting). I wrote a couple more that there wasn't much market for. Then, in about 2008 I began to hit my stride with Domino's Game, a contemporary romance novel about a local food advocate who falls for the fast food addict next door. I felt like I'd found my voice and my niche, all in one. But, as of this writing, I have not yet sold this novel.

From 2008-2010 I searched for an agent and attended ACFW conferences while continuing to write and revise. I knew I was getting close, but it was so hard to break in. (Can anyone relate?)

In December 2010 I saw that Barbour Publishing had posted a call for submissions on their blog. After a few years of focusing their Romancing America novella anthologies on Christmas, they'd decided to open up for non-seasonal ideas. Each group of four authors was to consist of at least one established author and a maximum of one newbie.

I knew this was my best chance to get my foot in the door, but how? With whom? I wasn't on the inside track with any contemporary romance novelists. I asked around but couldn't find the one established author needed for the proposal. After banging my head against that wall for a couple of weeks, I decided perhaps it wasn't what God had for me, after all.

YA author Nicole O'Dell and I had been critique partners and close friends for a couple of years by that point, and her books were with Barbour. She said that being as it was her life goal to get me published, she'd try her hand at contemporary romance. We chatted up an idea, she pulled two of her friends into it, we created a proposal, and she sent it in. Then she asked what else I was working on. I felt like I was at a crossroads, unsure after eight novels what I should be doing, or even in what genre. Giving up wasn't an option mostly because then I'd need to find something else to do at work for 30 hours a week.

I told her about geocaching, an electronic outdoor treasure hunting game played with GPS (global positioning system) handhelds, and we started batting around ideas for using that as a base for another anthology proposal. Nicole pulled in two different friends and we put together a proposal and submitted it. Soon we had the rejection on the first one, with encouragement to try something else, but before we could complete it, we received "the call" (actually an email) re the geocaching proposal on January 31, 2011. (Read all about it here.)

The email stunned me. I couldn't believe it. After writing eight complete novels, I'd actually sold a novella on the strength of one measly paragraph! A novella wasn't exactly the treasure I'd thought to find at the end of my rainbow, but I was tickled pink all the same. This netted me Joyce Hart as my agent. It's so encouraging to have an advisor and advocate.

Now that I've found one pot of gold (metaphorically, of course), I've eagerly looked around at other rainbows, wondering if--and when--God will bless me with another treasure.

Only time will tell, of course. My job is to keep being faithful, to keep putting the stories He's planted in my head into my laptop, to keep learning and growing. The outcome is up to Him.

Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, gardening and geocaching with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Her debut released May 1, 2012, as the first novella in Rainbow's End. "Topaz Treasure" is the story of a closet believer who steps out of her comfort zone to help run her church’s geocaching challenge but runs into her former humanities professor who made fun of Christians, only to discover he’s seeking truth–and romance.

Connect at:

Valerie Comer, Annalisa Daughety, Nicole O'Dell, Cara C. Putman
ISBN: 978-1616266868
May 2012/352 pages/$7.99

Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness, with Lyssa, the enthusiastic volunteer who can’t see past her own plans; Madison, a city girl paired with an outdoorsy guy who gets on her very last nerve; Hadley, who doesn’t know enough about guys to realize she’s met a womanizer; and cautious Reagan, who meets an equally cautious guy. Will they find the treasure they’re looking for … or something else entirely?
Topaz Treasure by Valerie Comer
Lyssa Quinn volunteers at the Rainbow’s End geocaching hunt hoping she can point folks to the true treasure found in Jesus. She’s not expecting her former prof to be there, too. Kirk Kennedy’s treasure hunt takes him down a path he hadn’t intended when he is captivated by Lyssa’s intriguing sparkle. Can he convince Lyssa that there is more than one kind of treasure? Can Lyssa remind him of the greatest prize of all?

Beneath the Surface by Annalisa Daughety
Madison Wallace isn’t the most outdoorsy girl in the world, so spending two months traipsing around the Ozarks isn’t her idea of fun. Especially when her sister backs out at the last minute. Grant Simmons loves the outdoors, but when his grandfather’s health takes a turn for the worse, Grant is without a partner. When these polar opposites find themselves teamed up, will they find common ground and a love worth treasuring?

Love’s Prize by Cara C. Putman
Reagan Graham has never been one to tempt fate. But after four years of making numbers match as an accountant, she’s ready for a break. Colton Ryan is spending the summer before law school trying to relax. His plan doesn’t include falling in love. But the more time he spends with Reagan, the more he can’t remember why. Will Reagan and Colton risk their safe plans and their hearts to take a chance on love?

Welcome Home, Love by Nicole O’Dell
After winning her lifelong battle to get fit, Hadley Parker signs up for the annual Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt as a gift to herself. Once there, she begins to fall for the syrupy compliments of an ill-intentioned womanizer. Hunt director Noah Templeton tries to warn Hadley before things go too far. But will he manage to remind Hadley that the treasures she truly seeks are already within her. . .and right in front of her?

Disclaimer: I have not read this book and therefore do not have an opinion on it. The views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Valerie Comer, and may or may not reflect the views of Mocha with Linda.


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

TSMSS - He Hideth My Soul

There aren't many things I enjoy more than an old classic hymn sung with simple accompaniment. I was happy to find this arrangement by Guy Penrod, who used to sing with the Gaither Vocal Band.

I always enjoy linking up at Amy's for Then Sings My Soul Saturday!


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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Beginning of the End

One week.

That's all that's left of school but I feel like we're home free because we have only two more days of getting up early. Monday is the last day of regular classes for my girl, and her exemptions work out pretty nicely. Of course, the fact that she has four music classes doesn't hurt! Tuesday is a full day but finals start that day and she doesn't have any. Wednesday through Friday are shortened days for finals, and Wednesday she doesn't have to go in at all. Thursday she just has to show up for orchestra for two hours, and next Friday she has to take her English final, from 11:00 - 1:00.

And then my baby girl will be a high school senior.

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future!!


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Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Mocha with Joi Copeland - Giveaway!

Update Tuesday 5/22/12 8:55 pm WINNER

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-05-23 01:53:43 UTC

Congrats to Merry! Email me your address, Merry, and Joi Copeland will send you her book.

* * * * *

Today I welcome author Joi Copeland as she shares a devotional based on a scene in her recent book, Hope for Tomorrow)

by Joi Copeland

Steven wandered around the house a little bit more. He opened up the blinds that led to the backyard and saw a swing set left by the previous owners. His mind began to drift. He envisioned his own children one day playing on the swings. He could hear their laughter in his head as they tumbled down the slide together. He imagined him and his wife, sipping their coffee, watching them play. Suddenly, his heart ached. (Hope for Tomorrow)

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you are single and are anxiously awaiting the right person God has for you, just like Steven. Or perhaps you are aching to be a mom or a dad. What about the perfect job? Are you stuck in a job you don't like? You could be like me not too long ago. I desired, no yearned would be a better word, for a bigger house. My family of five lived in a two bedroom, eleven hundred square foot condo that we were renting. I would go to my sister's house or my friends' houses and wish I had a backyard for my boys or even a bigger kitchen. I desired a kitchen where my husband and I wouldn't run into each other just opening the fridge while one of us was making dinner.

Yes, desires can be pretty powerful things, can't they? We want what we want, and many times, those wants plague us. Everywhere we look, someone has what we desire. How are we to respond? What are we supposed to do with that? Let's take a look at what Steven did:

He began to pray, "Lord, You know the desires of my heart. You know how lonely I can get. If You want me to buy this house, I pray it will all work out. I pray my future wife will love it. I pray You will be with her right now at this moment, blessing her, guiding her, showering her with Your love. Have us come together soon. Lord, thank You for this opportunity. I pray You will guide and lead me this very moment."

Steven prayed. Isn't that what we should do when we feel our desires tugging us and pulling us into places we shouldn't go? Jealousy and envy can cloud our vision. Ah, but taking it to the Lord. Well, He gives us eyes to see and ears to hear, doesn't he? So here are my thoughts: When we are struggling with desires and wants, with maybe even a little jealousy and envy, take it to Jesus. Psalms 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Those desires could very well change once you delight yourself in Him.

Dear ones, I pray you will delight yourself in the Lord. Really, in the end, that is what matters the most, isn't it?

Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. She home schools her boys and loves being a wife and mom! Joi enjoys spending time with her sister Steffanne, and loves to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea with friends! She has been a Christian for over twenty years. Following Jesus has been the best decision she has ever made. Look for Joi's first book in this series, Hope for Tomorrow. Her next book, Hope for the Journey will be published in December.

Joi has graciously offered to give a copy of Hope for Tomorrow to one of you! To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Tuesday, 5/22/12, and I will randomly draw a winner. US residents only please. Be sure to include an email address if you do not have a blog. One entry per person, please.

Disclaimer: I have not read Joi Copeland's books and therefore do not have an opinion on them. The views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Joi Copeland, and may or may not reflect the views of Mocha with Linda.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brand New Music CDs - Giveaway!

UPDATE Monday 5/21/12 8:15 am WINNERS

Here are your random numbers:
3, 1
Timestamp: 2012-05-21 13:12:52 UTC

Congrats to Cindy, winner of the Kutless CD, and Sara, winner of the Adam Cappa CD! Send me your address, ladies, and the CD's will be sent to you!

* * * * *

I have two brand-new music CDs to tell you about along with a giveaway of each of them!

Kutless, "Believer"
After a successful 2009 release that spawned the mega-hit single “What Faith Can Do,” Kutless has released a new studio album titled "Believer" (BEC Recordings). The album is produced by Grammy-nominated Chris Stevens as well as David Garcia (TobyMac, Mandisa, Carrie Underwood) and Dave Lubben (worship leader, Kutless). With over two million albums sold, a RIAA Gold-selling album, AC Song of the Year in 2010, and 11 No. 1 radio singles, Kutless has transformed from that new rock band from Oregon to the one new bands look up to, the band whose music is all over the radio in multiple formats and on major tours. "Believer" finds Kutless using a decade of growth to deliver an expertly crafted set of songs with as much diversity in the music as there is consistency in the message. This album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart during street week as well as No. 1 on iTunes Christian Albums.

Although Kutless can sometimes be a bit more rowdy and energetic than I personally prefer, this album has some great songs with phenomenal lyrics. The very first song, If It Ends Today, grabbed my attention from the first lines - "Seems like the end is coming, Seems like the signs are lining up. . . ." But my absolute favorite song is simply titled "Even If" which includes lines such as
Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You are
Even if the healing doesn't come
And life falls apart. . . .
(Written by S. Krippayne & Tony Wood)
A baker's dozen of solid songs such as these makes it easy to see why this album landed at the top of charts immediately upon its release!

Adam Cappa, "The Rescue"
BEC Recordings’ is thrilled to announce the release of the LP from freshman artist Adam Cappa. He released his this full-length label debut, "The Rescue." This budding artist can be seen touring with his label-mate, mentor and co-producer Jeremy Camp on the “We Cry Out” tour currently on the road. "The Rescue" is his label debut, but his third career album. Cappa enlisted producer Andy Dodd as well as the aftermentioned Camp, who has been involved in Cappa’s career from the beginning. A vocalist, guitarist, performer, young songwriter and communicator through and through, Adam Cappa is ready to share his heart. It all started when Adam got involved with Young Life after accepting Christ as a sophomore in high school. Fast-forward a few years and two independent records later, Cappa is focused on his passion for ministry.

This is a great CD, and I'll be listening for them to play it on the radio. A variety of songs comprise this album, ranging from worship songs directed to the Lord to songs of personal conviction and commitment to songs of instruction/edification. The style is similar to that of his mentor, Jeremy Camp, which is a definite plus for me! I predict we will be hearing more from Adam Cappa in the months and years to come.

The publicist has authorized me to give away 1 of these CDs to two of you. One will receive the Kutless CD and one will receive Adam Cappa's CD. To enter, leave a oomment on this post by 8 PM CDT this Sunday (5/20/12) and I will draw two winners. US Residents only, please.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these CDs free from MergePR I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wish You Were Here - Giveaway!

UPDATE Monday, 5/21/12, 8:00 am WINNER

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-05-21 13:07:18 UTC

Congrats to bp! Email me your address, Bethany, and I'll send the book your way.

* * * * *

Wish You Were Here
Beth Vogt
(Howard Books)
ISBN: 978-1451659863
May 2012/336 pages/$14.99

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.

Still, kissing the groom’s brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a “Runaway Bride” complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend’s car doesn’t seem to solve her problems.

Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

Beth K. Vogt believes happy endings aren’t limited to novels.

She provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God’s lavish grace. Married to her husband Rob for 31 years, as the mom of three adult children and one 10-year-old, Beth embraces her less-than-perfect life. Her degree in journalism helped establish her as a nonfiction writer.

Beth was the editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) International, for four years and continues to be a consulting editor, as well as a bimonthly columnist for MOMSnext, their ezine for moms of school-age children. After focusing on magazine writing and her book Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35 (thanks to a surprise pregnancy at 41), Beth turned a season of burnout into her debut novel, Wish You Were Here. Learn more at here website

This is a delightful book, and I am amazed that it is a debut novel! Before reading it, I wasn't sure how I would feel about the "kissing the groom's brother" incident because I didn't want the book to make light of the engagement but it was actually unintentional and quite entertaining! Fortunately, it happened in time for Allison to avoid making a bigger mistake by marrying someone just because it seemed to be the obvious and "safe" thing to do. Calling off the wedding doesn't immediately illuminate her path in life, however, and I appreciate how Vogt guides Allison through a bit of personal turmoil and growth as she finds her footing once again. Drama and humor, exasperation and romance, faith and forgiveness fill this novel, providing plenty of entertainment as well as a clear (but not heavy-handed) message about trusting God and following Him. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. Beth Vogt is definitely an author to watch.

Details coming soon. Click here for more information.

See what others on the blog tour are saying here.

I have an additional copy of this book to give to one of you! To enter, leave a copy on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Sunday, 5/20/12, and I will randomly draw a winner. Be sure to leave an email address if you don't have a blog.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books & Litfuse Publicity as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, May 14, 2012

Story Ideas are Everywhere

Today my guest is author Jim Callan, who shares about finding ideas for writing stories.

We Are Surrounded by Story Ideas
by Jim Callan

I’m often asked where ideas for a book come from. I’ve spoken and written on this before. For a writer—at least once he or she really gets into the routine of writing—ideas are everywhere. The newspaper and TV news programs are full of ideas. My 95,000 word novel The Silver Medallion was the result of reading a two paragraph article in the Los Angeles Times.

Two years ago, a number of churches in east Texas were burned. The police finally caught the two young men who were setting the fires. But no real motive came out. It appeared to be a prank to see if they could get away with it. I thought about the fires and began to wonder what motive a person might have to burn several churches. Out of that came Cleansed by Fire, a novel released this spring.

William Carl wrote his first novel, The Prize, based on some of his experiences as a chemist. He said he introduced a murder to make it more interesting, but the basics of the story were similar to his real life. Another of his books, Daring to Love, was a fictionalized version of a real-life drama he watched while he was in management.

The Sickle's Compass, by Stephen Woodfin, is a work of fiction whose central theme is Alzheimer’s Disease. Woodfin had dealt with this progressive disease in his family.

Walt and Ann Davis took a trip, visiting every Texas county that touched the border of the state. Out of that came their illustrated book Exploring the Edges of Texas.

My youngest daughter, Diane Bailey, sang in a chorus that placed fifth in the International finals of the Sweet Adelines. We decided that would be a good setting for a murder mystery. Murder a Cappella was published by Wayside Press just last month.

Some time back, I read an interesting folk tale about Texas before it was an independent country. I don’t write historical novels. So, I wondered how that folk tale could affect life in the twenty-first century. A novel (as yet unpublished) resulted from reading this folk tale. The book is 90,000 words long; the folk tale was four pages. Clearly, long novels can come from small prompts.

Corey Mitchell, a Los Angeles Times bestseller, writes true crime. He searches for some crime already resolved and researches all the facts. He then weaves those into an interesting book. Obviously, they are popular books.

Take a story from the day’s news and ask the famous writer question: what if? What if the crime had not been solved? What if the police made a mistake and arrested the wrong man? What if the victim had been a celebrity, or not a celebrity? What if the girl had gotten on the wrong bus and this handsome man had helped her find her way back? What if the boy’s dog had been hit by a car and wasn’t there to defend the little boy? What if you gave a mouse a piece of chocolate? What if the President ‘s daughter, just as a lark, escaped from her bodyguards? What if the star quarterback broke his thumb before the big game with all the scouts present? What if you were writing your memoir and discovered a family secret that (pick one) shocks, amazes, terrifies, enlightens, changes your view on …? What if you find some letters from your grandmother that no one else has seen? What if your reclusive neighbor suddenly needs your help and must explain why he lives as he does?

Then, let your mind tumble ideas and see where they lead. Nothing is impossible. Outlandish things can happen. The range of things people are capable of, good or bad, is unbounded. And no character you can dream up is beyond reality. You cannot make your characters bigger than life. But you can make them bigger than normal, bigger than those around you, bigger than you have in previous writings.

Fiction is without bounds. Let you imagination run wild on story and characters. Do not be afraid to write an outlandish story. As unbelievable as you might think it is, it is not stranger than real life. There is only one restriction on you.

You must write it well.

* * * * *

James R. Callan took a degree in English, intent on writing. He went to graduate school in mathematics to support a family. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Data Processing Management Association. He has been listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science, and Two Thousand Notable Americans.

But writing was his first love. He has published a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, and picked up several awards along the way. Cleansed by Fire, 2012, is the first of the Father Frank mysteries. The trailer for Cleansed by Fire is here. Murder a Capella, a Sweet Adelines mystery, was released in April by Wayside Press. (View the book trailer here). Callan wrote this mystery with one of his daughters, Diane Bailey, a well published YA author.

Callan lives with his wife in east Texas and Puerto Vallarta. They have four grown children and six grand children. You can learn more by visting his website.

Disclaimer: I have not read Jim Callan's books and therefore do not have an opinion on them. The views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Jim Callan, and may or may not reflect the views of Mocha with Linda.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there. My mom has been in heaven for over three years, and it still seems weird not to get her a card for Mother's Day. Fortunately, I still have my MIL to love and honor! And it's funny: even though I've been a mom for 18 years, it still feels a little strange to be a recipient on Mother's Day!

I started thinking about this old song yesterday. It's almost 100 years old now, as it was written in 1914. I remember my mom singing it when I was growing up.


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Saturday, May 12, 2012

TSMSS - God is in Control!

We live in such a broken world. I don't even remember the last time we turned on the TV news, but my laptop certainly provides an up-to-the-minute reminder of humanity's downward spiral. Especially considering some of the events of this week, Romans 1:18-32 certainly describes our country and our world:

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Particularly in a Presidential Election year, it is easy to worry and fret over the future of the country and the well-being of our families. How reassuring to know that God is sovereign over even the affairs of those who do not please Him! Not one thing happens that surprises Him. In fact, Daniel 2:21 reminds us that God "sets up kings and deposes them."

One of my favorite passages of scripture is in Isaiah 45, which says,
This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of. . .
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
(Isaiah 45:1, 4-6)
I love this song by Avalon, which was also an old classic sung by Twila Paris. We can rejoice that God is in Control!

I love linking up at Amy's each week; come join us for more songs!


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