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.

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*


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Christine Lindsay

Today on Writer Wednesday, help me welcome Christine Lindsay to A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included.

Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that great ship.

It was stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her Multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj. Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and Christine is currently writing the final installment of that series called Veiled at Midnight to be released August 2014.

Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine is also VP of Christian Authors’ Network. She makes her home in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.


When I saw the submission call from Pelican Books for their new Passport to Romance line, I jumped at the chance. 

One of the cities in their list of proposed stories was Londonderry, N. Ireland, not far from where I was born in Belfast. Even though I am mainly a historical writer, I really, really wanted to write this contemporary romance. 

The setting just reached out and grabbed me. I'd been to Londonderry, you see. I've been 'back home' to N. Ireland a few times, the last time was 2006. This was my opportunity to show my grown daughter, Lana, the beautiful emerald isle where I was born...where her ancestors came from.

The rolling hills around Londonderry lead south to County Tyrone where my mother's people come from. In fact a few of the family farms still exist there. It was my Aunt Maggie's charming farm and farmhouse that inspired so much of the setting for LONDONDERRY DREAMING.  

My aunt had a two-story house, the outside of warm, crushed gray stone. The main parlor was downstairs, and the sitting room just off the working kitchen, what they call the scullery. I remember the large Aga stove that sat in the sitting room, not the same as the new cooker in the scullery. The Aga was kept for warmth, and as a reminder of the past. Up a steep set of stairs you find three bedrooms under slanted eaves. Again, each room decorated with bureaus and wash stands from decades gone by. 

Pale mint green walls were enhanced by lace curtains fluttering in a warm summer breeze.

Back downstairs, you step out of the scullery to the cobblestone courtyard leading to the barns. Each morning you'll be greeting by the chickens, a rooster, and an assortment of barn cats. My Aunt Maggie (who was my grandmother's sister) would give the cats the left-over morning porridge. 

Leaving the house by the front door brought you to the large garden. A little farther on will be the narrow lane. I most often visited my birthplace in the summer, so my memories of the lane are of it filled with wild rose thickets and meadow sweet and other wild flowers. And the rolling green hills beyond are dotted by the new lambs. A fresh stream gives water to the sheep and the cows.

These are just a few of the memories that go into my contemporary romance LONDONDERRY DREAMING. 

About the book:

Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi separated them.

That root of bitterness keeps them apart until a letter from Keith’s grandmother, Ruth, draws Naomi to Londonderry to find she’s too late. Ruth has passed on. After the death of his beloved grandmother, Keith has also come to Londonderry only to open the door to his past…Naomi...beautiful as ever, the girl who broke his heart.

A mysterious painting in Ruth’s attic brings up questions about their grandparents’ entwined past and their own broken romance. But more comfortable with the unspoken languages of art and music, Naomi and Keith find it difficult to share their old hurts and true feelings.

Will the majestic coastline of Northern Ireland inspire them to speak the words to bring peace to their grandparents’ memory and to rekindle love?

For an enchanting jaunt to the Emerald Isle view this minute long book trailer to Londonderry Dreaming.

My review: 
Give me an inspirational romance to read and I'm all for it. Set it on the Emerald Isle and I fall in love, too. I thoroughly enjoyed Londonderry Dreaming. When I had to step away, I looked forward to the next moment I would have free to come back and read Keith and Naomi's story and "see" parts of Ireland. The book also reminds us that communication in any relationship is of the utmost importance.

5 roses

Please drop by Christine’s website or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook  and  Goodreads


And many more places.

Question: If you could travel anywhere that you've read about, where would you go? 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Feature: Writer Wednesday's - The Shepherd's Song: Naming the Cast by Betsy Duffey & Laurie Myers

Every once in a while I would invite an author to come and guest post. Now that I'm a full-fledged published author -- I can still hardly believe it -- I want to help my fellow authors get the word out about their books. One way for me to do that is by helping them promote on A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included. So each Wednesday, a guest will be blogging and introducing us to their books. I hope to have a wide variety of genres, including nonfiction.

I will not have read the majority of the books by the guest authors, but as I have done in the past, I will try to make sure the books have a Christian worldview and are suitable for your grandma or 13 yo to read.

So without further ado, my first guests are the Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers.

The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars.  They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults is  The Shepherd’s Song,  Howard Books, March 2014.

The Shepherd’s Song:  Naming the Cast of Characters

The Shepherd’s Song has a cast of characters and all those many characters meant many names.  Each name provided us with a challenge. Like choosing a name for a baby you want it to be just right. 

Names are important.  We want each name to be memorable and to fit the character.  You tend to remember well-named characters, like Atticus Finch or Cruella Deville.

The main character of The Shepherd’s Song, started out with the name Candy McConnell.  Although her name is now Kate McConnell in the book, we still refer to her as Candy.  The name came with the first chapter, and there was never any second-guessing.  For us the name implied good and sweet. 

It wasn’t until later we began to realize that it might not appeal to some of our readers.  Our editor helped us see that a name that has appeal to us might not have a broad appeal.  The hunt was on.  We used our favorite resources – One Hundred Names to Name Your Baby, our online search for the meaning of different names.  We compiled lists. We typed different names into the manuscript and read it aloud.  Finally we decided on Kate and it fit perfectly.

Sometimes we try to show something about the character through the name.  Marra means sorrow and was the perfect name for the young girl in the book fleeing from an abusive relationship in a tattoo parlor.  Her abuser who is pursuing her was a challenge.  We decided on Lobo, which means wolf.  It seemed to capture his stalking nature.  Both of these names helped the reader to understand the characters.

Some on the characters were named after people we both knew and liked – Chris, a friend of Laurie’s, or  Cornelia, Betsy’s neighbor.  Other names were chosen to reflect the nationality of the character, like Francois, the French art restorer, or Kioni, the Kenyan runner.

We can play with Biblical names.  In one story a man wrestles with God at night under the stars.  The perfect name:  Jacob. 

Sometimes a character seems like the type of person who would have a nickname.  Tater was our favorite nickname in the book and became a soldier in the second story.  Lou and Frankie showed the casual demeanor of the brothers in Italy while Roland, our business man, would never go by anything other than his given name.

As we develop each character of the book the names become a part of who they are. As we write a name helps us to know our character better. If a character is well-named the same is true for the reader.

Do you have a favorite character name in fiction?

Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper—a copy of Psalm 23—as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…

Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.”

Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. From a lonely dry cleaning employee to a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing her country, to a Kenyan runner in the Rome Invitational marathon, this humble message forever changes the lives of twelve very different people. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures.

With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.

Want to know more about the Writing Sisters or The Shepherd's Song? Here are their links:

I was privileged to be able to read this one, so here is my review:

To be honest I put off reading this novel because I wasn't sure what to expect. It's not a genre I normally read, but I must say it was wonderful.

Ms. Duffey and Ms. Myers take the twenty-third Psalm and transform it into something even more powerful and touching by the stories they tell. I warn you, you will cry -- some happy tears, some not so happy, but it was SO worth it.

I pray that I can touch the world for God half as much as Kate did. What a legacy.

5 roses

Now let's go back to their question: What's your favorite character name?


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weekly Reviews: Autumn, Beginnings, and Balance

Elizabeth Harding arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to establish her medical practice thanks to the wooing of her two older sisters who extolled the beauty of the land. She's certain she'll have a line of patients eager for her expertise and gentle bedside manner. However, she soon discovers the town and its older doctor may not welcome a new physician. Even more frustrating, the handsome young attorney next door may not be ready for the idea of a woman doctor. For his part, Jason Nordling has nothing against women, but he's promised himself that the woman he marries will be a full-time mother.
Despite their firm principles, Elizabeth and Jason find that mutual attraction--and disdain from the community--is drawing them ever closer. And when the two find themselves working to save the life and tattered reputation of a local woman, they'll have to decide how far they're willing to go to find justice--and true love.
I loved this book from the beginning. The characters were real and invited me into their lives and one by one, I became invested in the outcome of their story. Elizabeth, the tough as nails doctor, soon becomes Elizabeth, the vulnerable woman. We watch her grow into her own as she suffers trials and tribulations that go along with being a woman doctor and starting a practice in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

5 Roses

With Autumn's Return


It wasn't Cassie Haddon's fault that she had managed to reach the age of twenty-five without possessing any useful skills. Until the war, she had always had servants to wait on her. Since then, she and her widowed mother had moved from place to place, relying on family to care for them. Now she's forced to find work to support them both. What isn't in her plans is falling for Jacob West, a local restaurateur and grocer. She needs a job and he needs help. But what they both need is love.
I loved Cassie's growth into a woman with her own mind, and her willingness to learn new things in order to provide for herself and her ungrateful, overbearing mother.

I'm sad to say I didn't really care for this novel. It seemed slow to me at the beginning, and I had a hard time getting into the character's lives.

I did find the writing to be excellent. I didn't get stuck wondering what was going on, and while it won't be one of my most loved books, I did finish it, which is more than I can say for some other books I've read recently.

I found the end to be quite satisfying. I just love a good HEA (happily-ever-after).

4 Roses
Love's Sweet Beginning


Working at home while raising kids and juggling a career and family responsibilities is no easy feat. Author and homeschooling mom Tricia Goyer shares her tips for finding balance among all your many hats as a mom.
Ms. Goyer has definitely given me something to think about. My schedule is out of balance, and not in a good way. This is one book that I'll be reading over and over as a reminder that my husband and my children are far more important than clean windows or a little dust. God and I have a lot to discuss. *smile*

I highly recommend this book if you are a mom/dad and work from your house (or attempt to). While Ms. Goyer applies her theories to being a writer, the basic premise works for anyone.

5 Roses
Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom

Enjoy and blessings,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Quaker, a dog and a bunch of matches

What do a Quaker, a dog, and a bunch of matches have in common? They are part of the next three books on my review list.

First the Quaker:

Emily Harrison's life has been turned upside down. At the beginning of the Civil War, she bravely attempted to continue her parents' work as conductors in the Underground Railroad until their Ohio farm was sold in foreclosure. Now alone, she accepts a position as a governess with a doctor's family in slave-holding Virginia. Perhaps she can continue her rescue efforts from there.
Alexander Hunt is the doctor's handsome nephew. While he does not deny a growing attraction to his uncle's newest employee, he cannot take time to pursue Emily. Alex is not at all what he seems--rich, spoiled, and indolent. He is the elusive Gray Wraith, a Quaker leader of Rebel partisans. A man of the shadows, he carries no firearm and wholeheartedly believes in Emily's antislavery convictions. 
The path before Alex and Emily is complicated and sometimes life threatening. The war brings betrayal, entrapment, and danger to both of them. Amid their growing feelings for each other, can they find faith in God amid the challenges they face and trust in the possibility for a bright future together?
It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I connected with the characters, I enjoyed reading about the escapades of Emily and Alexander as they each did their part to help in the Civil War.

I'm not usually a fan of war era books, no matter the war, but this one was interesting. I don't know much about historical accuracy, but Ms. Ellis did an excellent job of keeping me enthralled in the goings on in the Bennington and Hunt households as they dealt with their heritage and the war the best they could.

4 Roses

The Quaker and the Rebel: 1 (Civil War Heroines Series)


Next is the matches.  LOL

In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?
A Cowboy Unmatched
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?
An Unforeseen Match
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.
No Match for Love
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?
Meeting Her Match
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him?
Four of my favorite authors in one book.

A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer - the last Archer brother. I am so sad to see the end of this serious, but it's finishing with a great story. My only complaint, which is not really a complaint at all - Neill didn't get a full-length novel to call his own. LOL  I loved his interaction with Clara and his protective instinct.

An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings - I loved the play on words in the title. The story was heartwarming as Grace struggles with her reality and the need to rely on others. I, too, would struggle as I hate asking others for help.

No Match for Love by Carol Cox - Ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night...oh, sorry, it's not a ghost story, more like a comedy. I love the way Ms. Cox added a touch of suspense and intrigue to this romance.

Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy - The helper finally gets the tables turned on her in a most unsuspecting way. After years of taking care of others in one capacity or another, this heroine (you have to peak within the pages to know her name) is shoved face first into her own romance, but she doesn't go without some struggles and a lot of misunderstandings.  LOL

5 Roses - every single one of these stories deserves a 5

Match Made in Texas, A: A Novella Collection

And finally, the dog.  *smile*

Former Navy handler Timbrel Hogan has more attitude than her Explosives Detection Dog, Beowulf, but she’s a tough woman who gets the job done. Green Beret Tony “Candyman” VanAllen likes a challenge and convincing the hard-hitting handler they belong together might just get him killed.

When tragedy strikes and Tony’s career is jeopardized, Timbrel must re-evaluate her priorities—and fast! A terrorist plots to unleash a weapon of mass destruction on American soil. Can Timbrel and Beowulf track the chemicals in time? Will Tony surrender everything to save the woman nobody believes in?


I say this a lot when referring to Ms. Kendig's books, but it's worth repeating -- this was great. The main problem I had with Beowulf was that it ended. Not how it ended, but that it did. I wanted to keep reading, and reading, and reading. It's destined to be one of the better books released in 2014, well, until Raptor 6 releases because her books keep getting better and better.

5 Roses

Beowulf: Explosives Detection Dog (A Breed Apart)

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did.