Ps 91 (NKJV)

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review and What's New for 2014

What a year. This time last year I had no clue what the year would hold. It's been a time of growth, the end of seasons, and some heartache.

I posted two goals last year: "lose weight (which will require I get off my backside and exercise), and take the plunge by sending out my writing to agents." I'm sad to say that while I did lose fifteen pounds in the spring, I gained much of it back over the summer and fall, and I never did get my writing sent to agents.

However, I DID do a few things:

  • sold my horses - bittersweet
  • sold a novel - to be released in 2014
  • read over 200 new books - I lost track after August, so this is just an estimate
  • started my 16th year of homeschooling
  • went to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference - had an absolutely wonderful time and met some new friends
  • joined Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas... Oh My! as a co-blogger
  • found a wonderful critique group
  • loved my family
  • tried some new recipes - some winners, some losers
  • made new friends
  • started a Twitter account - @GingerS219
  • started a Pinterest account - GingerSolomon - it's still really new, so there's not much there

Some things I hope to do in 2014:
  • laugh more
  • love better
  • live life to the fullest
  • lose weight
  • lift up the glorious name of Jesus without reservation
  • leave behind the insecurities and send the MS I've been working on for eight months
Today is your last chance to comment to win books in my New Year Giveaway. If you haven't been keeping up, shame on you. :)  However, you can find out about the books and giveaway here.

What did you do in 2013 that you are proud to say you did or name one thing you'd like to accomplish in 2014?


Monday, December 30, 2013

Excerpt from The Goblet by Sylvia Patzold

Today we welcome Sylvia Patzold to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

Sylvia Patzold was born and raised in Ontario, Canada.  She was a child of the 60s and a teenager of the 70s. When she moved to North Carolina five years ago, she was inspired to write a Christian based adventure.  Two years ago, she sent off the first chapter to a publishing company (Tate Publishing) and was shocked when she received an email of acceptance.  At that time, she did not have the last chapter completed.  The Goblet was published by Tate Publishing on January 22, 2013. She has finished the second novel and is working on the third. Only time (and God) will tell how many more books will be in the series. Sylvia has three beautiful children. Two of them live in Canada and the youngest is in North Carolina with her. She own a wonderful Quarterhorse mare.  She also has 2 spoiled dogs and 4 cats. We live together very well. She would love to attend more writer’s workshops and meet other authors/writers and readers (hopefully of The Goblet).

Here's an excerpt from The Goblet.

Sarah tried to stay awake during the drive to Jerusalem and watch the scenery around them as they were driving. She couldn’t get over the arid countryside with the spots of lush greenery. She was taken aback by the beauty of the country. But the harder she tried to keep her eyes open, the heavier her eyelids became until she could feel her eyes rolling, and she eventually just let her head drop back into the headrest.

She could feel the hum of the tires against the pavement and hear the children talking quietly. Rachel had a map with a brochure outlining the various points of interest, which she was reading out to the others. The children saw their mother’s struggle to stay awake and spoke quietly to let her fall into a quiet sleep.
Sarah was half aware of the conversation going on around her and could hear Bill playing with the radio, trying to get an English-speaking station. The stations were being switched rapidly, and she could hear the frustration in Bill’s voice.

“You can’t take it,” a small voice whispered.

Sarah rolled her head, lifted an eye open, and then closed it again.

“You can’t have it,” the small voice whispered again, however, this time raising in volume.

Sarah shook her head and kept her eyes shut. The hiss of the tires against the pavement increased in sound.

“We want it back.” A deep voice joined the small voice, whispering against Sarah’s ear.
Sarah tried to pull her eyes open but found it very difficult.

“We want it back now.” The deep voice started to sound angry as it growled into her ear. Sarah felt air stir against her cheek, and then there was a foul smell that floated across her face.
Finally, Sarah pulled her eyes open and looked around. “What?”

Rachel was reading out of one of the brochures. Stefanie and Alex were looking out the window of the van and were pointing out some of the scenery to their father.

“What do you want?” Sarah looked at her husband.

“I want to be able to find a station that has English-speaking people,” Bill said in irritation.

Sarah looked around herself and took a sniff. The smell was gone. She frowned as she tried to puzzle through what she had smelled and what she had heard. She shook her head again. She was just imagining things. Then she leaned back into the van seat and looked out the window.

Thank you, Sylvia, for giving us a glimpse of your story.

Sylvia can be found in the following locations:
Facebook page: Sylvia Stypa
Twitter: @SylviaPatzold
LinkedIn: Sylvia Patzold

Comment for a chance to win free books in my New Year Giveaway. Learn more here.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Elder-Love -- Like a Fine Wine by Deanna Klingel

Today we welcome Deanna Klingel.

Deanna Klingel lives and writes in the mountains of western North Carolina where she lives with her husband, David, who was her childhood sweetheart. They’ve been married 51 years and have raised seven children.

Elder-Love -- Like a Fine Wine

I’m always delighted when I find or see a story about elder-love. I mean over 40. Most romances involve sparkling blue eyes and nice fitting jeans, furtive glances, mysterious jitters. I love to see love that has aged, like a fine wine.

My parents are ninety and ninety one; they’ve been married 73 years. They’ve lived in the same little house since 1946 when Dad returned from France. Dad is blind now, but until I took his car keys away, he was still working, delivering the town newspaper as his retirement job. He never considered not working in retirement. Work, after all, is what he did. Mom has been a homemaker. She took in ironings to make extra grocery money. Together they raised the three of us, my youngest brother with a severe birth defect. Mom has dementia now, and no longer gardens her flowers, irons or bakes pies. She reads the newspaper to Dad every day. She doesn’t remember what she read.

Neither are people who say “I love you” aloud.  They hold hands when they walk and have always slept side by side in their little bedroom. I remember when they used to dance in the dining room. Dad could really polka! One never went anywhere without the other.

I called them in October to remind them they had an anniversary. Mom said, “Oh?” My dad said, “Oh, I know. Seventy third. It’s on Monday.” Good for you, Dad. Then he said, “You, know, I’d do it all again. All of it.” Ladies and gentlemen, this is romance. This is love. This is the kind we need to model to our youngsters. There are no smooth behinds filling out their jeans. Mom is like a little bird, maybe 100 pounds. Dad’s blind eyes no longer sparkle. There are no jitters. They are both confident in their love and rely on each other completely, every day. This is what love is. This is a love story.

Watch for my new release, Rock and a Hard Place: A Lithuanian Love Story. This is a true story of senior-aged love.

You can find out more about Deanna, and her upcoming release here:
Facebook: Deanna K. Klingel; book facebook: Books By Deanna
Twitter: @deannakklingel

Thank you Deanna for joining us today. 

Don't forget to comment for a chance to win books. Time is running out. :) Click here for more information.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

The First Visitors by Lill Kohler

Today we welcome Lill Kohler to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

Lill Kohler is a school nurse by day and a writer by night. In her free time she enjoys traveling the Texas Hill Country with her husband when they're not busy remodeling the house. Lill has stories published in two anthologies: Heavenly Company, Entertaining Angels Unaware and Falling In Love With You. She enjoys writing about overlooked facts, or little known details, in relation to the Bible and Bible events on her blog. ( )

The First Visitors

Every culture has a group they look down on. When I was in Romania we were told to stay away from the gypsies. In Germany we were told that the area we lived in was looked down upon for their poor use of the language. It was no different in Israel back in the day. 

Shepherds while they played a vital role in the life of the nation were the victims of ridicule. They were basically told to stay out of town, partly because they smelled of sheep. But also because they were thought to be thieves and not trustworthy. According to A Visual Guide to Bible Events most Jews would not do business with a shepherd directly . . .hmmm, getting a sacrificial lamb must have been an interesting task.

And how curious, since Jesus is known as the great shepherd and the sacrificial lamb; the Messiah who came for everyone. I once heard a sermon that pointed out it was only natural that the Great Shepherd would call the earthly shepherds to come and see the baby Savior. I can only imagine how surprised and taken aback the town people were when the shepherds dared to enter the outskirts of town as they looked for the baby in a manger.

Think about it, there Mary was resting with her newborn son and the first recorded visitors to come were the last people on earth she expected to see. Yet, they came and paid their respects to the newborn king.

God uses whoever he chooses and this visit wasn't the first time something like this happened. But it became more evident when Jesus was born that God calls people from all corners of life to come and worship him. First the shepherds and then the kings. He is open to receive all those who would want to bask in his forgiveness, his miracles, his love, his peace, or whatever he may offer them specifically. (Luke 2)

May each of us hear his call to come and see the newborn king, our savior. Let us be counted as one of the first visitors.

Thanks for this insight, Lill, and for joining us today.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I tried writing a cute poem for you to read, but alas poetry is not my strong-suit. So I will simply say,

I pray your day is blessed, whether you spend it with family and friends, or alone worshiping the Savior. Always remember the biggest part of Christmas is CHRIST.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

God's Home! by Linda Rondeau

Today we welcome Linda Rondeau to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.  Her next releases were her devotional book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses.

Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street and A Christmas Prayer have been released in time for the Christmas as well as her mini novel, Jolly Angel.  Songs in the Valley/ Helping Hands Press. Will be released in late 2013 or early 2014.  

God’s Home!
By Linda Rondeau

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which mans, “God with us” Matthew 1:22 – 23.

The pastor made a habit to go to his church study in the early evening during the Christmas season. The four-year-old who lived across the street watched the tree lights come on with regularity at six o’clock. Each night he remarked to his mother, “God’s home.”

This time of year, I look forward to the decorations. In the evenings, I turn off all the house lights and bask in the golden glow of our Christmas tree.

I wonder how the shepherds must have felt when the night sky was filled with splendor and angelic beings heralded the birth of the long-awaited Messiah. “You will find him in a manager,” they said. They never questioned the heavenly visitors, but I imagine some were curious as to why God’s son was born in a humble stable.  “God’s home,” they said. “Let’s go and see what has happened.” They found the baby just as the angel described.

I wonder how the astronomers of the East must have felt when a brilliant star muted all the others and fixed itself over a small humble village. So curious was the event, they traveled many months to find the reason. “God’s home,” they said, “and we will find him where the star hovers.” So they left to follow the light.

I wonder, as a believer, whether anyone looking at my life would say, “God’s home.” Would anything they see in me be worth imitating? Would they see a reflection of the One who sent that star? 

Readers may visit her web site at or email her at  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Goodreads.

Thanks for joining us today, Linda. You gave us some very thought-provoking questions.

Seven days left to comment to win. For more information, click here.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Shepherds and Kings by Carole Towriss

Today we welcome Carole Towriss, whom I was blessed to meet last year at a writing conference.

Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. She is the author of biblical novels In the Shadow of Sinai and By the Waters of Kadesh. She also writes for Christ to the World Ministries. You can find her at

My heater died yesterday (Thursday). The bad news is, they can’t get a new part until Monday, and it’s supposed to snow on Sunday. The good news is, we have two units: one for the main floor and basement, and one for the upstairs, so we won’t freeze. We even lost power once, and with all six of us in one room we were fine.

This has made me very thankful for the comfortable circumstances in which we live. By any standard of comparison, most of us in America are extraordinarily blessed. Not all the world sleeps so snug each night.

I’ve only visited a few countries on this planet, all far less developed than ours, including Kazakhstan to adopt our kids. People wonder why I’ve never been to London, or Paris, but it’s just never worked out that way. I keep ending up in places of great poverty and need. Most times a flush toilet was a luxury. I remember once in Nias, Indonesia, which was devastated by the tsunamis of 2004-05, I was relieving myself and thinking, “This is the nicest squatty potty I have ever been in.” In Bosnia, a year after the war ended, they still had running water only a few hours a day. They filled empty coke bottles to have water for the rest of the day. Three of our children are adopted from Kazakhstan. The oldest was fed formula only once a day. The other times she was given diluted mashed potatoes.

But these are exactly the circumstances into which Jesus entered our world. He was born to a teenage girl, and laid in a manger. Worshiped by shepherds—among the lowliest of peoples. He wasn’t born in the Washington DC of his time, or even the Moscow or Beijing. His birth wasn’t announced on CNN or Fox. The news was sent to the homeless, the drug addicts. The people whom few would believe when they spread the word.

Jesus came to those who were aware of their need for His love and acceptance, His healing and provision. He came to those who knew there were great gaps in their lives. The rich and powerful—and comfortable—rarely acknowledge a need for anything, and in extreme cases, like Herod’s, will try to destroy anyone who finds them lacking anything rather than admit it.

This Christmas, and all year long, may we strive to be more like shepherds than kings. Thankful for what we have, aware of what we need, accepting of what He offers.

Carole's links:
·                     Facebook
·                     Twitter
·                     Pinterest

What a poignant reminder of how blessed we are. Thanks for joining me here today, Carole.

Want free books? Comment for a chance to win. For more information click here.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dealing with Loss without Losing the Season by Jennifer Hallmark

Today we welcome Jennifer Hallmark. She has given me permission to link to a post she wrote on another blog. I'm blessed to call her my friend.

Check it out. It's very helpful if you're dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Jennifer Hallmark is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.
She will be published in early 2014 in a multi-authored Romantic Comedy novella for Valentine’s Day called A Dozen Apologies. Her website is  and she shares a writer’s reference blog with friends, Christina, John, Ginger, Dicky, and Betty,

Dealing with Loss without Losing the Season
by Jennifer Hallmark

Christmas can be a time of great joy or great despair. The holiday season might be packed with activities or spent alone. Circumstances, especially when it comes to loss, whether a loved one, a job, or something personal, can devastate you and pull the life right out of the holidays. From personal experience, I’ve often had to come to a point and make a decision as to how I’ll spend the holidays. It was my choice. Do I celebrate Christmas or despise the holidays?

When facing loss and the holidays, several things enabled our family to enjoy this time to the best of our ability.

(1) We looked at our Christmas traditions and decided what to keep and what to change. Especially in the case of a loved one who has passed away, old traditions can be too hard to bear. After my husband’s mother died, we changed the way we exchanged presents and started a new tradition. We incorporated a game and that small variation helped each of us cope during our regular Christmas Eve celebration.

To read the rest of Jennifer's post, please visit Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas...Oh My!

In addition to her website and Writing Prompts, Jennifer can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Just over a week, and a few more posts to enter into the New Year Giveaway. Learn more here.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Memories of a Different Kind by Tanya Eavenson

Today we welcome Tanya Eavenson. She brings a touching, hard-to-read blog, but I encourage you to read to the end.

Tanya Eavenson enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries.

Christmas Memories of a Different Kind
By Tanya Eavenson

I still remember what it felt like—shivering under the hospital sheet, legs drawn, unable to stay still. The two things I wanted were my baby and the pain to stop. I was guaranteed one of those when I awoke and sometime later, the pain had stopped, but my child was gone.

Christmas that year brought many firsts. The first snowfall, the first snow man my husband and daughter rolled, the first time our acre pond froze over that you could actually walk on, and the first time it seemed a part of me died.

I can recall the days afterward as vividly as the day it happened. Like when my husband asked if I wanted to take a ride into town to see the snow and how everything within me cried, No! Or how I told him, “I want that dining room table we talked about. If I can’t have the children to go around it, at least I’ll have the table.” I wanted to fill the void left in my heart, and if a table would do that, then I wanted the table. But nothing filled the void my child left no matter what I tried. At times I felt the Lord nudging me to draw near to Him, but I couldn’t. If I did, I would relive what happened, and I wanted to forget, so I avoided what I felt.

For months I was lost in nothingness--nothing I did could make me happy. Then one day I felt the Holy Spirit pulling me to read scripture. I hadn’t read for a while, but I picked up my Bible and began. It didn’t take long for me to find the scripture God had for me. 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10 says, 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Yes, I remembered pleading with God to save my baby, and to say I was weak was an understatement. But that’s where God had spoken through His word. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” To me, God was saying, I am all you need and I will help you through this. I will make you strong, not in your power, but Mine.

Over the years, God has used my loss to comfort others who’ve lost loved ones. I can relate to what it feels like to lose someone they will never hold again or at all. Do I truly know what they are going through? Only God does, but I’ve become sensitive to others who are hurting. Whether it’s bowing in prayer with someone or through sharing my story, I’ve found joy, knowing God keeps His promises. God never left me, even when I turned from Him in my pain, He drew me like Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

If you’re hurting today from a loss and Christmas is a reminder, remember this, God is near, and He is faithful. Take comfort in knowing He has loved you with an everlasting love and draws you to Himself. There, in the shelter of His arms, you will find peace and rest.

To find Tanya online:

Thank you, Tanya, for coming and sharing such a painful, yet powerful message.

Ya'll know the spiel by now. Comment for a chance to win in my New Year Giveaway. If this is your first visit to my blog in the last few weeks, you can find more information here.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Worst Road Trip Ever by Heather Gray

Today, we welcome Heather Gray. 

Heather Gray is the author of the Ladies of Larkspur inspirational western romance series, including Mail Order Man, Just Dessert, and soon-to-be-released Redemption.  Other titles include Ten Million Reasons, His Saving Grace, and Nowhere for Christmas.  Aside from a long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys are her relationship with her Savior and family.  She decided years ago that laughter is better than yelling.  This theme is prevalent in her writing where, through the highs and lows, her characters find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud.

Worst Road Trip Ever

My newest release, Nowhere for Christmas, is about a road trip.  You know the one.  It's the worst road trip ever – the one where everything goes wrong.

Sadly, I can say, road trip disasters follow me.  If they don't happen to me personally, I  hear about them from my friends.

Here's a small sample:
  •       At least two of my friends have had a headlight fall OUT of their rental car while traveling.
  •       We got pulled over once for traveling the wrong way down a one-way street.  In front of the police station. (Although I wasn't driving that time!)
  •       I've had a friend discover that the rear bumper had been mysteriously removed from and then poorly reattached to their car. (They finally decided it had gotten knocked off in a parking garage and that the person responsible reattached the bumper so the damage wouldn't be noticed until later.)
  •       I've gotten food poisoning while on a road trip.
  •       Our defroster has gone out, forcing us to invest in one of those dashboard heaters that plug into the cigarette lighter. (Let me tell you, they don't work as well as you need them to!)
  •       Something had come loose in the engine and knocked out one of our cylinders.  Cars do NOT run well without all their cylinders!
  •       I've hit ice, ice, and more ice…on a road trip that wasn't even supposed to be cold!
  •       My windshield wiper has fallen off the car while in use. The snow was coming down so heavily that I was instantly blind without it. Luckily I'd just started taking an exit off the freeway and was able to get my window down and see enough to pull to the side without getting hit. That one got my heart pumping!
  •      A friend of mine was on a police chase years ago (he was the one doing the chasing, thankfully), and his car ran right over a skunk. The smell was so atrocious they wouldn’t let him into the police station when he got back.
  •       I've been in a motorhome whose drive shaft fell off while going down the road. Literally fell off.

Trust me, I could tell more stories. It almost sounds like the makings of a horror movie…or a fantastic comedy. Since I prefer laughter over terror, we'll go with comedy!

I'm the first to admit I don't always manage to laugh at situations while I'm right in the middle of them, but as I've gotten older, I've learned to trust that God has a plan. Nothing – not even a flat tire with a flat doughnut and broken jack – is too big for Him to handle. Somehow, putting my trust in Him to handle the challenges that come along has freed me up to enjoy the road trip of life a whole lot more.

So tell me, what are some of the most bizarre things that have happened to you and your vehicle? Make them good though – I want to laugh!  :)

Back Cover:
Anything can happen on the road to Nowhere…

A journalist and single mother, Avery is used to being in control, though she tries to remind herself to let God take lead in her life. Eli, her teenage son, is happy as long as he has his music, plenty of food, and the occasional adult on which to practice his rapier wit.  Gavin, a virtual stranger, is a photojournalist who mysteriously disappeared from the scene a few years ago.

The trio ends up together for a Christmas road trip to the small town of Nowhere.  An eight hour drive in a rental car turns into two days of misadventure and calamity as bad luck stalks them.  They get a flat tire, the bumper falls off, the car overheats – and that's only the beginning! Along the way they meet some interesting people – from a bait shop owner who moonlights as a mechanic to a chatty preacher's wife and a highway patrolman whose wife and mother can't agree on the best way to remove a skunk's stink.

Hungry, cold, and tired, the three finally arrive in Nowhere only to discover the town is nothing like they expected. Reaching their destination, it turns out, doesn't necessarily mean the journey has ended.

"I'm going to have to go get the other one out of the attic," she said with a sigh, hoping her son would volunteer to climb up in there and retrieve it for her. 
Instead, he nodded and asked, "You want me to pull the ladder down for you?" She grinned to herself as she nodded. They had a regular battle about the attic. Neither of them liked going up there. Since he'd gone up to retrieve all the Christmas decorations earlier in the month, she'd let him have the victory this time. 
After Avery scaled the creaky ladder up into the attic, she scanned the web-dusted contents, quickly locating the suitcase she needed. It was older and more faded than the green one, and it had a rust-and-mustard-colored seventies floral pattern on it. At least no one will try to steal it. 
As she dragged the suitcase with its one broken wheel across the attic floor, a cloud of who-knew-what gently puffed up into the air around her. Then she got a mouthful of it and started coughing, which led to more grime and dust billowing into the air. That, of course, led to more coughing. 
Avery lost her balance and started to fall out of the attic opening, but the suitcase blocked her way enough to pause her descent, giving her time to reach out and grab the back of an old chair that had been in the attic longer than they'd lived in the house. The suitcase wasn't so lucky. It fell zipper-over-wheel down the attic ladder and landed with a loud thud on the carpeted floor below.
By the time Avery pulled herself back to her feet and made her way down the ladder, she expected to find Eli standing there wondering where his dinner was. Alas, her teen was blissfully unaware of her near-death-by-attic experience. He was in his room listening to his MP3 player. It's for the best. I wouldn't want him to pull a muscle laughing at me.

Nowhere for Christmas can be purchased at these retailers:

Heather can be found at the following sites:

Thanks for coming by and helping us laugh a little, Heather.

Okay, everyone...another chance to enter my giveaway. Answer Heather's question to get your name in the drawing to win free books. For more information, click here.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Preparing for the Season by Patricia Kiyono

Today we welcome Patricia Kiyono.

In a previous life, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school students by day and changed diapers at night. Now she teaches college students part time and changes diapers only when she's taking care of grandkids. She loves to do anything that doesn't involve exercise. Right now her favorite activities, other than writing, include scrapbooking, sewing, and making music. She and her husband live in southwest Michigan, near their five children and nine grandchildren.

Preparing for the Season
By Patricia Kiyono, author of Christmas Wishes

As I'm writing this post, my kitchen table is littered with pieces of half-started projects. My Christmas card envelopes have been addressed, but are awaiting stamps and the completion of our annual Family Christmas Letter with all the highlights of 2013. I have piles of promotional materials to mail out to winners of an online giveaway last night. And I've got recipes for Christmas cookies, waiting for me to decide which ones to make. I've got to bring four dozen cookies to an exchange next week!

Though the preparations for the holidays are hectic, I love them. The anticipation is an important part of the season. I look forward to having all my children and grandchildren here, along with their spouses. I love having a house filled with laughter and companionship, special gifts given and received. This is what I think about as I go through the motions of getting things ready for the big day.

The same sense of anticipation applies to the Advent season. We look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior. And part of that celebration includes pageants presented in schools and churches around the world. Christmas Wishes describes Sophie Gardner's trials as she prepares her little charges for their celebration. 


Photographer Mitch Carson is tired of big city life. He just wants to settle down in a quiet town with his daughter, Angie. Even that doesn't quell his fear of losing his daughter to his scheming mother-in-law.

Sophie Gardner wants to be a screenwriter. She's ready to leave small town Zutphen, Michigan and go to Hollywood. With a theater degree under her belt, she's busy writing scripts while helping out her sister Joanie, who's bedridden with a difficult pregnancy. Unfortunately, Joanie has somehow coerced Sophie into directing the Christmas pageant at Zutphen Community Church.

When Sophie and Mitch meet, the attraction is instant and mutual. But each wants what the other is trying to get away from. Can they deny their feelings and pursue their dreams? Or will the holiday prove to them that their true wishes might not be what they'd thought?

Christmas Wishes can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets. 

Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website, blog, facebook, Amazon, and twitter @PatriciaKiyono

Thanks for joining us today, Patricia.

Readers, don't forget to comment for a chance to win free books. You can learn more here.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advent - Preparation for Christmas by Jessie Andersen

Today we welcome Jessie Andersen.

Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band. You can find information about her books at, and you can follow her blogs at Therabidwriter.blogspot (Personal blog) and (Book blog). You can also follow her on Twitter at and on Facebook at


The Advent season is upon us. “Advent?” you say. “I thought it was Christmas.” Nope. Not yet. Advent is that season of preparation before Christmas. Amongst Christian believers, it’s a time not only to ready ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but to ready ourselves for his return. 

When I write a book, I plan ahead. I figure out who my characters are. I brainstorm and lay out the plot. The plot twists are planned well in advance, and I know the ending before I begin. But that’s just the surface of the story. There are deeper things I need to plan as well. My antagonist has to have at least a few likable characteristics. My reader needs to fall in love with the main character. He/she has to be likable, so I’m constantly thinking, “how can I make this person real and likable?” After I’ve done everything  I can to prepare myself to write, I jump into the rough draft.

I think preparing for Christmas is like that. We have to do the surfacy stuff. Bake cookies, decorate, buy and wrap gifts. In our house, we put up the Christmas Story Leg lamp in the front window, decorate the tree, and put out the crèche and the Bethlehem village. But there’s more preparation that needs to be done. The inner preparation.

When I was little, my family would sit around the dinner table each night of Advent. (Advent starts four Sundays before Christmas.) We’d read a little devotional (The Advent Alphabet) and then put coins in a little bank shaped like a loaf of bread. With each coin, we’d say one thing we were thankful for. It made this time a time for thankfulness and what we can give rather than what would be under the tree on Christmas morning. I carry this tradition on with my kids. I can still say most of the alphabet from memory. A is for anticipation. B is for Bethlehem. C is for Christ…It helps us focus on the inner preparation we need for the celebration of Christ’s birth. Because of this, I see my children taken with the entirety of Christmas. I see them wanting to give. I see them getting excited to put out the baby Jesus in the Bethlehem village. Don’t get me wrong. They’re still kids and they still have lists, but they also know that Christmas is a time of giving of themselves. That makes me proud.

I’m praying that this season, you will be filled with the wonder of Christmas and the joy that comes with knowing the Savior. 

About At What Cost:

During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side. 

While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Spotlight: Trust of the Heart by E.A. West

Today A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included welcomes E.A. West as she introduces her recent release, Trust of the Heart. Don't you just love this cover?


Josh Teague has dark memories from his time in Iraq. While he longs to share the burden of those memories with someone, he is afraid they will scare his girlfriend. Unwilling to risk losing her, he keeps the memories to himself and tries to keep a cheerful attitude despite the holiday season threatening to bring his mood down.

Leann Robak has her own set of memories causing trouble. Abandoned by her father when she was ten, she is devastated when her mother announces she’s taking a month-long trip to Europe over Christmas. Although Josh’s invitation to spend Christmas with him at his parents’ house holds exciting prospects, Leann can tell he’s hiding something from her. That knowledge leaves her wondering how well she truly knows him and whether he even wants to be in a relationship with her.

Can Josh and Leann learn to trust each other fully, or will their insecurities drive them apart?

Short Excerpt:

Leann eyed him, suspicious about the hand she couldn’t see. “Why are you grinning like that?”

“Because I’m wondering what you think about me making a snow woman.”

“A snow woman?” She gasped as she realized what he planned to do. “Don’t you dare!”

“Sorry, family tradition.” He ran after her and caught her arm; then he dumped a huge, lightly packed snowball on the top of her head. It burst on impact, sending snowflakes cascading down around her.

She shivered as some of the snow slid down the back of her coat and chilled her neck, but it was all she could do to keep from laughing as she looked into Josh’s sparkling eyes. “It’s a family tradition to dump snow on your girlfriend?”

“Yep.” He drew her close and gave her a kiss, warming her up despite the melting snow soaking through her hat. “We dump snow on anyone we can catch.”

“And Megan thought you couldn’t be a goofball.” Leann shook her head and gave into the laughter.

“That reminds me...” Josh released her and scooped up a handful of snow. “Hey, Megan!”

His sister turned around as he let the snowball fly. It hit her in the shoulder with a thump, and she grinned. “Yes! It’s about time!”

ME:  I haven't read this book, but it sounds good, doesn't it?  LOL 

Trust of the Heart is available from most online booksellers including:


About the Author

Award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance E.A. West is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn't laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Connect with E.A. West and learn more about her books in the following places:


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