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.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Am MOVING... my own website.

As of today, this site will no longer be updated.

If you subscribe via e-mail, please join me at my new site. I will still be doing book reviews, and Writer Wednesday and adding tidbits from our family life--tentatively being called Monday Musings, just at a new place.

It's not completed yet...still a work in progress, but please move with me to...

To get to the blog, click on the tab A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included. I plan to make my first post over there on Monday--writing from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference. 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Shannon Taylor Vannatter - Giveaway

Help me welcome Shannon Taylor Vannatter.

Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.

Her nine titles are with Heartsong Presents and she’s contracted for six more. Her books are available at,,,, and Learn more about Shannon and her books at and check out her real life romance blog at

Changing Careers -- in Real Life and in Fiction
by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

When I was in my thirties, I had a mid-life crisis. Not the kind where I did anything crazy. But after working as a hairdresser for ten years, a loan clerk at a bank for two years, and various corporate office positions at a fragrance company for five years, I wondered if this was it. Had I fulfilled my potential? Would I always work in some office for someone else?

During this time, it hit me, I wanted to be an interior decorator. I’ve enjoyed decorating my house for years and several visitors have told me I should go professional. But I didn’t want to move. I live in a tiny community. Ten miles away is a city of 7,000, but this is rural Arkansas. Interior decorators aren’t in high demand.

Around that time, my friend moved to Memphis to be closer to family and started her own interior decorating business. She racked up clients fast and did pretty well. I envied her. But then we talked and she told me what hard work it is and that she was halfway doing construction projects. She didn’t stick with it long, but it helped me realize that interior decorating was probably a lot like being a hairdresser. It seems glamorous, but it’s really a lot of hard work.

Over the next several months, I realized what I really wanted to be was a writer. And a stay at home mom. Over the next two years, I wrote five books and got over two hundred rejections. In 2001, my dream came true, I had our son, quit my job, and concentrated on writing. I only completed two more books in the next three years as my son was my main focus, but once he started pre-school part time, my window of writing opportunity expanded.

Finally, after 9 1/2 years, I got published. And I realized, I can try whatever career I want to through my heroines. I’ve been:

  • A florist
  • A postmaster
  • An apartment manager who dabbled in interior decorating
  • An advertising exec
  • A photographer
  • A stay at home mom/horse trainer
  • A publicist
  • A rodeo queen/blingy western clothing store owner
The heroine in my latest release, Rodeo Song is an interior decorator who owns a decor store in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

I had so much fun as my heroine redecorated the hero’s house—picking paint swatches, tile, and fabrics was right up my alley. I googled Texas themed decor and took pictures of tile at Lowe’s. I giggled when the Lowe’s employee asked if he could help me—imagining what he’d say if I told him I’m trying to figure what kind of tile to put my hero’s house.

As my heroine railed against having to decorate with deer antler curtain rods and animal hide, longing for silks and satins, I was right there with her since our house is half and half. My son’s room, his bathroom, and my husband’s office have rustic decor with antlers, fishing lures, and log furniture. The rest of the house is flowery with moire curtains, pastels, and wingback chairs. My husband is constantly wanting to redo the whole house rustic style.

My next heroine works in the interior decorating store, but she gets to fulfill her dream of being a clothing designer. Then I get to be a school nurse, a veterinarian, own a jewelry store, be a wedding planner, and own a bed & breakfast.

This writing thing is perfect for me. If I get tired of one career, I just hop into the next one.

ME: Thank you for a great post, Shannon. I'd never thought of the possibilities of changing careers via fiction, most of my heroines are forced into marriage early on due to circumstances, but I will have to look into giving a few of my new ones great careers. BTW, you can come decorate my house any time you like. It could use all the help it could get because I am far from gifted in the decorating field. :) 

More about Shannon's book, Rodeo Song:

But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna's life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer. 
Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he'd be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he's found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.

Rodeo Song is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.

Shannon has graciously agreed to do a giveaway of one print copy of Rodeo Song.  One winner will be drawn using Random Name Picker next Tuesday, announced on next Wednesday's Writer Wednesday. To enter this giveaway answer the following question in the comments. What career would you choose if money/time were no obstacle?


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Amanda Cabot

Today I bring to you the wonderful, multi-published author Amanda Cabot.

From the age of seven, Amanda Cabot dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true.  A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian historical romances.  Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim; Christmas Roses was a CBA bestseller; and a number of her books have been finalists for national awards, including ACFW’s Carol award.

Comfort in Unexpected Places
by Amanda Cabot
It was January of 2000, and the last thing I wanted to be doing was driving from New Jersey to Western New York.  Oh, it wasn’t the threat of bad weather that made me so reluctant to be on the road.  It was what waited at the end.  My mother had developed Alzheimer’s, and as the oldest child, I had the responsibility for some tough decisions.  The goal of this trip was to select an assisted living facility for her.  To say the least, I wasn’t looking forward to anything about the visit.

Halfway along the route was the Welcome to New York visitor’s center on Interstate 81 near Binghamton.  My husband and I had stopped there a number of times over the years, but since we were only passing through, we’d never gone into the small room filled with tourist information.  This time, though, as I was riding down the escalator, I noticed a carousel horse inside that room.  Intrigued, I went over to it, looked at it for a few seconds, then picked up a brochure.

That was the beginning of what became a full-fledged case of carousel fever.  As I read about the six carousels in the Binghamton area and how they had been commissioned by George F. Johnson, my mind began to whirl.  Although I’d heard of Endicott-Johnson shoes, I hadn’t known that George F., as he was referred to, had grown up poor.  When he made his fortune, he was determined to make life a little happier for other children, and so when he donated the carousels, it was with the stipulation that the towns could never charge for a ride.

That story both touched my heart and sparked my imagination.  I started thinking about a poor boy staring through the iron fence that separated him from a carousel, wishing he could ride it.  I began to imagine the men who carved those beautiful painted ponies and what their lives had been like before they started carving carousel animals.  My thoughts leapt forward to modern times, and I pictured the men and women who painstakingly restored the antique horses to their former glory.  And, all the time I was thinking about them, I wasn’t dwelling on the real reason for the trip.

I know it was no coincidence that although the carousel horse had been in that room for years, that was the first time I saw it.  We’ve heard so often that God’s timing is perfect, and it was.  He knew I needed comfort on that particular trip, and He gave it to me.  He also led me to a wonderful church-run assisted living facility that was able to give my mother the 24/7 care she needed. 

That chance encounter with a carousel horse is the reason the hero of “One Little Word,” my novella in the Sincerely Yours novella collection, is a carousel carver.     

Sincerely Yours
A Novella Collection
Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey

Four unexpected letters. Four intrepid women. Four lives changed forever.

Spanning a century and a continent, these romantic novellas will lead you on a journey through the landscape
of love. Four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver’s workshop to a remote hospital, you’ll be swept into the lives of women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it.

Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes
Camilla Renfrew is a highborn English lady fleeing false accusations when she runs smack into love on a steamboat bound for the new Erie Canal. But can this unexpected attraction survive the treacherous journey?

Lessons in Love by Ann Shorey
Marigold Montgomery Bentley writes marriage advice for Kipler’s Home Weekly even though she is single. Everyone assumes from the initials that “M. M.” is a man. When the editor asks to meet Mr. Bentley, can Merrie come up with a ruse to keep her writing job?

One Little Word by Amanda Cabot
Lorraine Caldwell will lose her family fortune to a reckless cousin if she doesn’t marry quickly. When she learns her long lost brother is alive, she hopes she’s found the answer to her problems. What she finds instead is a mysterious carousel carver who turns her life upside down.

A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick

Grace Hathaway must rescue a dear friend from a remote and notorious clinic that promises healing but delivers only heartache. In a place laced with deceit, where lives hang in the balance, whom can she trust to help her?

You can find out more about Amanda at the following sites:

My review of Sincerely Yours.

Sincerely Yours is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.

Thanks for joining me today, Amanda.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Reviews - Coffee, Correspondence, and Coming Home

It's been a few weeks since I've posted reviews, so here is a variety for your perusal.

Murder Simply Brewed was a great romantic suspense. Vannetta Chapman outdid herself by giving us not one but two romances. I enjoyed reading about Amber and Hannah as they grow in their unusual friendship, as they solve the Village mystery, and as they each fall in love (not with each other LOL).

You don't have to be a coffee drinker to enjoy the book. :)

Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright can see profits in sight for her collection of Amish artisan shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a single hole in the front window and Mr. Gray dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. Hannah Troyer takes over the shop’s duties, and she and Amber become fast friends as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death to be a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t so easily convinced.
Old Testament clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to solve a mystery and bring peace to the Amish community.
Rating: 5 roses

Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


Sincerely Yours is a romance novella collection from four great writers-Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey. Within its pages you will find four love stories each instigated by a letter, which takes each heroine of a journey of a lifetime. Each reminds us that things are not always as they seem, and God ALWAYS has a plan. I especially loved the carousel horses.

In this collection of brand-new historical novellas from four outstanding storytellers, four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path toward a changed life--and perhaps lifelong love. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver's workshop to a remote and controversial hospital, readers will love being swept into the lives of four young women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it.
Rating: 5 roses

Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


I've long enjoyed Mary Ellis's books, and A Plain Man is no different. Caleb's story is a touching story of a wayward son coming home. Except it's not an easy transition. With a little help from his sister's best friend, Josie, Caleb discovers some things about himself that threaten his future. I hate spoilers, so I won't tell you more; you'll have to read it to find out the good stuff.

A Plain Man is a quick look into the life of an Amish man who stepped away from his upbringing and has much to regret about his life. Upon returning to his roots, he is determined to do the right thing.

Bestselling author Mary Ellis offers an engaging new standalone Amish romance about a prodigal seeking to find his way home.

Though Caleb Beachy lived in the Englisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he moves back home and goes to work for his father. Soon these two strong-willed men find themselves at odds. Caleb discovers there's more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up Levis.

Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future. She soothes his frayed temper and is determined to remind him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. Caleb is tempted to return Josie's feelings, but the choices he made while away are a heavy burden on his conscience. Will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance? Or will she be able to break through the wall around his heart?

A Plain Man is more than just a sweet romance centered in Amish beliefs. It's the ever-fresh story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God's infinite grace. 

Rating: 5 roses

Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.

I hope you found something to read and enjoy.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Deanna K. Klingel

Late again. The stomach bug hit me hard Monday and Tuesday. Today I am better, so here we are. Good thing it can't be transmitted cyberly. :)

Today A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included welcomes Deanna K. Klingel.

Deanna finds inspiration in a lot of places, but much of the inspiration comes from looking out her studio window into the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and her golden retriever, Buddy. They enjoy visiting around the southeast where their seven children live with their families. Deanna travels with her books while Dave and Buddy enjoy the dog park which Deanna operates in her community.

Writing Heroes
by Dianna K. Klingel

I’ll soon be starting my third nonfiction “hero” story for young readers. I’ll be interviewing a woman who worked with the French underground resistance as a teenager. My first hero story, Bread Upon the Water was about a Vietnamese boy who escaped as a boat person in order to follow his calling to the priesthood.  Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story, released in March. This is a true story of a boy and girl growing up in free and prosperous Lithuania in 1930s. When Russia invaded their beloved homeland both families began their arduous journeys across Eastern Europe as displaced persons. Life would never be the same.

I enjoy writing hero stories. These aren’t heroes with capes and magical powers; these aren’t the faces on the covers of People Magazine. These are real people, ordinary people who do extraordinary things in difficult situations. Putting  one foot in front of the other, day after day, they do the best they can with what they have. Often their only tools are their faith and courage. These are very personal stories that involve more hours interviewing than actually writing. It’s intense. Sometimes it conjures up bad memories. All my subjects had bad dreams following some of their reliving of the memories. I don’t write these to exploit anyone, bring up bad memories or put anyone in an uncomfortable spotlight. Heroes are always private unassuming people who don’t enjoy the limelight. True heroes never seek fame. They have a true humility. My books honor their stories.

When these people agree to share their stories they give all of us and our grandchildren a wonderful gift of history that only they can give. It is my privilege as well as my pleasure to give their stories life, to share culture and important world history with our children and grandchildren.  The publisher of Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story, calls it an important book, one she says she’s honored to publish. It’s important because it’s not just a personal story, it’s world history, in small bites. It’s one of many stories that need to be told, written, heard, and read. Those who can tell these stories have been named by Tom Brokaw “The Greatest Generation.” Time is running out to get their stories told.

Great spokesmen and spokeswomen have warned us for centuries if we don’t remember our history we are doomed to repeat it. If we don’t know our past, we can’t make a future.  Sadly, the very week Rock and a Hard Place released, I could have retitled it: "Rock and a Hard Place, A Ukrainian Horror Story." Ladies and gentlemen, our grandchildren must learn their world history. I have learned so much from the wonderful heroes whose stories I’ve written. They all share many of the same qualities: faith, courage, patience, endurance and a selflessness.


Historical events become personal when told by those who were part of the events. This true story, walking a narrow balance between history and romance, is the story of a boy, a girl, and the country they loved. What does the Russian invasion mean for Roman Catholic  children? What does it mean for Lithuania? Follow their heroic travels as displaced persons into war torn Germany where their lives intersect in divine and mysterious ways.

Her books at Amazon:
Bread Upon the Water
Rock and a Hard Place

Deanna can be found at her, or Facebook-Books By Deanna and Deanna K. Klingel

Thanks for joining us today, Deanna.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Writer Wednesday with James Callan

James R. Callan is my guest today. Please help me welcome him to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published four non-fiction books.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mysteries, with his sixth book releasing in Spring, 2014.

You can find James on the web:
Amazon Author page:
Twitter: @jamesrcallan

The Story Behind A Ton of Gold
By James Callan

For several years, I had wanted to write a book where the protagonist was a researcher in computer science, particularly information retrieval.  I had done some research in this area when working on a Ph.D. in mathematics many, many years ago.  Also, I had a son who was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Melon University.  A couple of ideas had formed, but none jumped up and said, “Write me.”

One night, a couple of years ago, I wanted something short and light to read before turning out the light and going to sleep. I grabbed a collection of old Texas folk tales, flipped through and selected one at random. Of course, it was interesting. Folk tales usually are. It told of a wagon load of precious metal being pushed into a lake to hide it from the pursuing Mexican Army. There was no mention of it ever being recovered.

This one played around in my mind and even as I went to sleep, it stayed with me.  In the morning, I thought about it and dismissed it for what it was: a folk tale.

Over the next month, it kept coming back to me. And each time, I would remind myself it was a 178 year-old story and had no relevance today. But all parts of the mind do not always agree.  And one part of my brain started asking the question: how could such an old story affect the lives of people today? 

The two ideas of information retrieval and the old folk tale kept popping up in my mind and slowly began to weave around one another. Before long, the skeleton of a plot took shape, and I was ready to begin.  

As I wrote, interesting characters presented themselves and demanded to be included in the story. Of course, I said yes, come right in and add your own flavor to this book. And in developing the back story for the protagonist, a very interesting subplot arose.

The end result was the 94,000 word mystery/suspense novel A Ton of Gold.  The protagonist, Crystal Moore, is a researcher in information retrieval. The old folk tale comes to the attention of some greedy and not too bright thugs.  This eventually leads to murder, arson and kidnapping.  And in the midst of this, the man who almost destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back.  This time, he can ruin her career.

Crystal will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise friend, and Crystal’s feisty, seventy-five year-old grandmother.

Set between Dallas and the piney woods of east Texas, A Ton of Gold answers the question can old folk tales affecting people today. And the answer is a resounding YES.  They certainly can.  Just ask Crystal Moore.

More about A Ton of Gold (a contemporary suspense novel):

Can long forgotten, old folk tales affect the lives of people today? In A Ton of Gold, one certainly affected young, brilliant Crystal Moore.  Two people are killed, others threatened, a house burned and an office fire-bombed – all because of an old folk tale, greed and ignorance. 

On top of that, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back.  This time he can put an end to her career.  She’ll need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, her streetwise housemate and her feisty 76 year-old grandmother.

A Ton of Gold is available in paper and digital editions at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   
Amazon, paperback
Amazon, Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook

Another of James' books, Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel, can be found here:

Thanks for joining us today, James, and telling us about why you wrote A Ton of Gold.

I'm not a prolific folk-tale reader, so tell me, my wonderful readers, what other folk-tales do you know that spark the imagination?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Mary Ellis

Running a little late this morning. I'm not sure why I forgot to get this done yesterday. I guess my mind is in too many places.

Today, please help me welcome Mary Ellis.

Mary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of her last series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award. She is currently working on a three-book series of historical romances set during the Civil War for Harvest House Publishers. The Quaker and the Rebel released in January. Her current release is A Plain Man. She can be found on the web at:  (Where you can also sign up for her newsletter.)!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

What I Learned About Newsletters 
by Mary Ellis

Every author wants to know the best way to reach potential readers. After a dozen years in the business I have come to the conclusion, there isn’t one correct way. Each author must try a variety of ideas, and then return to those which have the best results. Many industry professionals feel newsletters are an effective way to reach your audience. This month my publisher, Harvest House, released my twelfth Amish romance, A Plain Man. Soon I will send out my spring newsletter to help spread the word. Recently I organized what I’ve learned about newsletters into one concise list from a variety of sources. Keep in mind some of these “rules” I personally abide by, some of which I sometimes follow, and some of which I flagrantly ignore. Decide for yourself what works for you and good luck.
~ Newsletters should come out every two months
~ The best day to send: first day of the month
~80% should be content to benefit your audience, only 20% should be news about you (I don’t follow that exactly)
Each newsletter should contain:
1)    a feature article 500 words or less which should help, inspire, or entertain
2)    an extra “value” section, such as frequently asked questions or recipes
3)    A brief bio with your value statement (what your books intend to accomplish other than entertain)
4)    An endorsement from a name that your targeted readers would recognize (I’ve never done this)
5)    A calendar of your upcoming speaking or book signing events (usually I just insert a link to the calendar page in my blog)
6)    Your current featured release (now you get to talk about current book with blurb, cover, trailer, and if it’s on sale yet somewhere)
7)    Contact info: your email, website, blog, Facebook, and other media links (but don’t go overboard with this)
8)    Should have a professional layout  such as a banner across the top
9)    Give them something for free (like an article you’ve written or chapter one of your book. (These would be links readers can click on)
10) Mention your upcoming contest. (Twice a year I give away 10 signed copies of my current release to newsletter subscribers.
Thanks it! Now you know everyone I know about newsletters. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

More about A Plain Man:

Though Caleb Beachy tried the Englisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. But when he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting
with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up his Levis.

Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future and reminds him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. But will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance before it really has a chance to begin?

Delight in the story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace.

I have this novel sitting in my to-be-read pile. Arrgghh, now I want to read it all the more.

Time where art thou?  LOL

A Plain Man is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


PS. Mary has graciously agreed to give away one copy of A Plain Man to one person who comments below. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

How long is forever?

Do you know how long forever is? says, "without ever ending." That's forever. 

Kari Jobe has a new album out called "Majestic." On this album is a song entitled, "Forever." Our choir (The Rock FWC, Madison Campus) will be singing it for our Easter services (Friday @ 7pm, Saturday @ 4 and 6pm, and Sunday @ 9, 10:45, and 12:30). 

I like Kari Jobe. I think she's an awesome singer, but even better she's a great worshiper. This song has touched me a great deal as we've practiced it. 

It seemed appropriate to post this during this week leading up to Easter. I pray you will read these lyrics and think about the true nature of our God, about how much Jesus gave up to save us, and how much He loves us all, no matter our sin, no matter our past, no matter how we feel about ourselves. 

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse was broken
One final breath He gave
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken
The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated
Forever, He is glorified
Forever, He is lifted high
Forever, He is risen
He is alive
He is alive
© 2013 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP) / Worship Together Music (BMI) (Admin. at

Here is the video. It's long, but well-worth the 13 minutes of your day. Don't turn it off when the man gets up to speak. His words are powerful. He may not be singing, but his worship is just as poignant.

May God bless you today as you obey him, worship him, and give him the glory.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Alexis A. Goring

Join me in welcoming Alexis Goring to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

The Waiting and God’s Perfect Timing
Written by Alexis A. Goring, author

They say good things come to those who wait.

But what if you’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for a dream of your heart to come true?

Such is the case with Chandra McIntire, one of my main characters in the story Love Unexpected (story #1 in my novella Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories). Chandra is waiting on Mr. Right.

They also say you find love when you least expect it. And that is exactly what happened to Chandra when celebrity fitness trainer Sebastian Carter runs into her—literally—on the freeway. Granted, Sebastian and Chandra do not immediately fall in love—due to way they met, Chandra isn’t exactly seeing Sebastian as boyfriend material much less Mr. Right. But people around Chandra and Sebastian see the potential for a true love story.

Now a few things about Chandra and Sebastian—prior to meeting each other, they are not looking for love, in fact even after meeting each other they have their reservations. Chandra is focused on her career and Sebastian is focused on well, himself. But just like in real life, God works in mysterious ways. Despite Chandra’s strong, “Independent Woman” front and Sebastian’s fun-loving bachelor-for-life mindset, the two characters realize that they need each other. Sebastian needs someone to be honest with him and challenge him to think of someone other than himself, and Chandra needs someone to fulfill the hope in her heart which is to be loved and pursued by a man who she is not only attracted to but who respects her and adores her completely.

Several things I’ve learned from my fictional characters Sebastian and Chandra:

1)    True love can enter your life when you least expect.
2)    Sometimes God speaks through people who can see what you cannot see, so take note.
3)    God has your best interest at heart.
4)    God knows what and who is best for you in this life, so trust Him.
5)    God is the best matchmaker!

My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11. God is speaking in these words, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I’d like to say that Sebastian and Chandra’s love story is a perfect example of how God has good plans for His children, always! It serves as a reminder that good things come to those who wait on the Lord.

So what do you do while you’re “in the waiting”? Live in obedience to God’s will and trust that God is with you, working out His Master Plan. Ultimately, you learn to let God lead and rely on His perfect timing not just for discovering your true love but for everything! 

More about Hope in My Heart:

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.
In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.
Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.
In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

You can find out more about Alexis here:
Twitter, @pennedbyalex

And more about Hope in My Heart here:


Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring has sprung...I think

Spring in north Alabama is a funny thing. It really can't make up it's mind. Tuesday and Wednesday the highs were in the upper 70s and low 80s. This coming weekend we'll be back in the 60s.

I'm ready to ditch the cold weather, but I don't really look forward to the heat of summer. A few sure signs of warmer weather are the flowers blooming, the clover growing, and my dog gets skinnier.

 The Before picture.

The After picture (shaved and bathed).

See all the fur behind him, piled up next to the grass. It used to be on him. Isn't he such a cutie? He's about six years old now, even though he still looks like a puppy. He looks happier with all that fur off, don't you think? LOL

What signifies spring has sprung at your house?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Susan J. Reinhardt

Susan J. Reinhardt's journey to publication began as a non-fiction writer. She's been published in The RevWriter Resource, Devotions Magazine, A Secret Place, Vista, Live, and numerous other compilations and periodicals. Her appreciation for using fiction techniques inspired her to use fiction as a vehicle for truth. Her novel, "The Moses Conspiracy," is tentatively scheduled for release in late February/early March.

A widow, stepmom, and active church member, Susan enjoys reading, couponing, gardening, and searching for small treasures in antique shops.

Susan is represented by Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary Agency.

When Seat-of-the-Pants Writing Stands Up and Shouts
by Susan J. Reinhardt

"This story is about me."

I'd originally thought the couple from The Moses Conspiracy, Ellie and John Zimmerman, would once again take center stage in my second book. A reader commented on one of the social media sites that she liked Jim Kenneman, the Director of National Security, a lot. Her remark stuck in my head, but sometimes I'm a little dense.

I remember a time when I was out of work and kept saying, "I should get two part-time jobs and make one full-time job." After saying that as a joke umpteen times, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, God was trying to tell me something. One of those part-time positions became an excellent full-time job a year later.

Thinking outside the box has never been my strong point. During one of my writing sessions, I kept focusing on the Zimmerman family and coming up dry. Thoughts and scenes involving Jim Kenneman teased my brain. Since subtle hints weren't cutting it, he finally tapped me on the shoulder and said, "This story is about me."

Talk about a "Duh" moment.

Being a Seat-of-the-Pants writer has advantages and disadvantages. Writing a book is like a great adventure where I never know what's around the corner. Unfortunately, I can also end up going down rabbit trails that come to a dead end.

It takes prayer and a quiet heart to pick up on the cues the Lord gives me regarding each book. At times, there's a sure knowledge I'm headed in the right direction. The Scent of Fear was an exercise in trusting God and listening for those random thoughts on what to write next.

When something keeps popping up and waving its hands at me, I've learned to take note and further explore where it will lead. Someday, thinking outside the box will become as normal as breathing.

Writers:  What kind of detours have you encountered when writing a novel?

Readers:  What suggestions have you made to authors concerning their books?

More about A Scent of Fear:
The Zimmermans enjoy the tenuous peace in the wake of their hair-raising year battling the New Patriots. Unexpected visitors once again throw them into turmoil.
Jim Kenneman, Director of National Security, masterminded the plan to break up a hate group ravaging the Christian community. Now, his enemies are out to eliminate him. Should he make a run for it or stick by his tried-and-true negotiating skills?
Monty Addison, a topnotch operative, carried out his assignment in Bird-in-Hand. A plot to destroy his boss sends him on a mission. Without agency sanction, it may cost him everything - his career, his family, and maybe his life. 
Dr. Abby Weaver strives to save infants and toddlers in Holmes County, Ohio. When she meets two strangers, she can't get the tall, handsome one out of her mind. Will their paths intersect again or will dangerous times keep them apart?
Where to find Susan's books:
The Scent of Fear

And to connect with Susan:
Twitter:  @susanjreinhardt
She's also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I also have "duh" moments. With the manuscript that I'm working on now (editing to send to an agent), at the very end it took a twist that I didn't expect at all. I thought two brothers were fighting over the same woman, but it turns out one of them was only pretending so the other one would marry again after a disastrous first marriage. 

How about you? What is your answer to Susan's questions? If you've never made a suggestion, tell me what suggestion you would like to make (though you may never do so).


Friday, March 28, 2014

Reviews: Dark Tide, Love Redeemed, & Her Whole Self

Three more books to review this week -- a little something for everyone. A romantic suspense. An Amish romance. And a contemporary romance.

Gina Evans knows her brother was murdered—even if the police won't believe her. After catching a quick glimpse of the evidence her brother had gathered, the same criminals are after her and her baby niece. And Gina's only hope is the man she left behind. Despite the painful memories, private investigator Derrick Justice won't fail Gina and her baby. Yet now, the woman he never stopped loving and the baby he's come to adore are in a killer's crosshairs. But can Derrick trap the cold-blooded murderer before he strikes again? 
The Justice Agency: Family and law enforcement go hand in hand.
My review:

I've read every single one of The Justice Agency Series books and have loved every one. Dark Tide is no different. Derrick and Gina's story touched my heart -- making it beat faster during those inevitable scary times and making it slow in awe as they worked out their feelings for one another.

I love happily-ever-afters, and this is one series I will miss. I have come to "know" the Justice brothers and sisters, and each story has touched me in a unique way.

5 roses

Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


In the second book of the New Hope Amish series, acclaimed author Kelly Irvin spins a tale of romance, grief, and redemption deep in Amish country.
Phoebe Christner is thrilled when the families of her close-knit Amish community decide to spend a week at the lake. She feels she's earned a break...and it doesn't hurt that Michael Daugherty will be coming along. They'll find ways to spend time together--she's certain of it--and their romance will have time to blossom.
But when tragedy strikes, Phoebe and Michael are torn apart by their pain and the knowledge of their guilt. As they both cope with the loss of a loved one, they will come to discover that they are worthy not only of each other's love, but God's love.
A tender novel of faith and family set in the heart of Amish country.
My review:

This was a profoundly moving story about how to move on after tragedy. It made me cry, but it also made me smile. It was so real and emotional. I enjoyed it immensely.

4 roses

Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.

Abandoned by the two most important people in her life - her fiance and best friend - Jen flounders as she picks up the pieces of her life. Desperation prompts her to reach out to an old classmate, who regrettably is a Christian. Is a night of free entertainment worth the cost of spending it with a group of hypocrites? The answer to that question surprises her almost as the next several upheavals in her life.
My review:

This story is a beautiful reminder that despite the bad things that we do, or that happen to us, God loves us unconditionally. Sometimes bad things happen for the good of others, sometimes due to another's sin, but either way God promises us in his word that it will all work out for our good.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jen's story and highly recommend this book.

4 roses

Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Sandy Nadeau

Help me welcome Sandy Nadeau to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

Sandy Nadeau loves to go on adventures, photograph them and equally loves to write about them. She and her husband do a lot of four-wheeling in the back country of Colorado and share those experiences with others by taking them up in the mountains. With a background in writing a column about her community for a local newspaper, she also has had several magazine articles published. She loves to write novels about adventure, mystery, romance, but most importantly sharing God’s love. She is currently a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Vice President of the ACFW South Denver Chapter. Married for 37 years, she and her husband are loving life as grandparents to their nine month old grandson. Travel is their favorite thing to do and they don’t get to do it as often as they’d like. Adventure awaits around every corner, over every hill and mountain.

Are You an Adventurous Person?
by Sandy Nadeau

Are you an adventurous person? I am. I love to go on adventures wherever and whenever I can. We do that quite often here in Colorado. Load up a cooler, and head for the hills. Webster’s has a few definitions of adventure: a dangerous situation or a hazardous undertaking; a stirring experience, taking a risk, excitement. We’ve fit the descriptions often. 

On a couple of occasions, we didn’t know how we were going to get out of a particular adventurous situation. One time we went four-wheeling in the spring up in the high country. Nobody was out in this area. No one knew where we’d gone. We were driving along forest service roads leading down into the pine forest. The road narrowed considerably, trees lined the trail tight, and the ground still held the snow of winter since shade covered the area. We found ourselves slipping down the hill hanging on for dear life. Finally coming to a stop, we took a deep breath and hoped we’d be able to back up since the snow level ahead of us was not passable. With the four-wheel locked in, my husband began the process of getting us out. It took a few tries, and not until we prayed aloud to be able to get out, did the tires stop spinning and we crawled backward to safety. 

Another time, we had gone to Utah to pick up a trailer load full of used pews from a church. We’d volunteered for the task, to then deliver them to a sister church in Colorado. While on a mountain pass west of the Colorado border, we found ourselves in a blizzard. Our 10 year old daughter sat in the middle of us in the large pick-up truck that hauled the trailer full of old wooden pews. We headed onto a bridge that stood a hundred feet above the ground. Snow blew in every swirling direction, visibility was terrible and traffic crawled. Once on the bridge, the ice took over all control of the vehicle. We swerved one way; the trailer swerved the other way. As the cab headed toward the guardrail, all I could do was scream out, “Sweet Jesus, save us!” Quite suddenly, traction took hold, the vehicle and trailer straightened out in an instant. 

When faced with danger, with indecision, where do you turn for help? 

In my book Red Gold (released March 21 from Harbourlight/Pelican Book Group), one of my characters, Jenny, is a young teen that finds herself in more trouble than she can deal with. The main character, Mandy, has to continually rescue this girl, but the dangers become all too real causing Mandy to rely only on her faith to get through the situations. 

The events that happen on the guest ranch in the Colorado mountains show the absolute need to these characters of their dependence on God. Nothing else, no one else can help. They must call upon the Lord. 
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” He’s always there, just ask!

More about Red Gold:
Mandy Phillips loves life with her husband running an adventure ranch in the Colorado mountains, but when Mr. Shonee, their crotchety old neighbor, tries to stop them from building a kid-size old west town their dreams of expansion are crushed. 
Is Shonee just being a difficult neighbor, or is something more sinister going on? A discovery on the property of Colorado's state mineral leads to more mysteries for the ranch, and then a teenage guest finds herself thrust head first into danger. 
Mandy will have to rescue her, but who will rescue Mandy? Her faith in God is her only source to keep the guests safe, solve the mysteries surrounding her ranch, save her neighbor from himself, and discover the secrets of the Red Gold.

You can find Red Gold at:
Pelican Book Group

And you can find more about Sandy at:
Facebook: Sandy Nadeau, author

Thanks for joining us today, Sandy. I can't say as I'm all that adventurous, although a ride in the Colorado mountains (maybe in late Spring when there's no snow) sounds like fun. :)

How about you, readers, are you the adventurous type? If so, please share one of your adventures with us. Even if it's so I can live them vicariously through you. *SMILE*