Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Faithful Review of Tanya Eavenson's To Gain a Mommy

Tanya Eavenson's To Gain a Mommy

About the Book, To Gain a Mommy (Gaining Love, Book 1):

They had a plan, but will it work?

Thirteen years ago, pediatrician Hope Michaels was the fool-hearted girl who came home from college to learn the man she loved was engaged to her twin. But now to move on with her life and accept a proposal of marriage, she must confront the one man who holds the key to the wounds of her past.

Fire Captain Carl McGuire can put out any flame, except for the one Hope sparks within him. As she stirs up his life and heart, Carl knows some things never change. Even a past he'd rather keep hidden.

When a new neighbor moves in across the street who would be a perfect fit for their family, Mary and Brody form a plan to bring their dad and Hope together. But how will it work if Hope keeps pushing him away?

About the Author, Tanya Eavenson: 

Tanya Eavenson is a bestselling and an award-winning inspirational romance author. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers International. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book.

Contact Tanya here:
Facebook ~Author page
@Tan_eave ~Twitter 


Renee's Faithful Review:

To Gain a Mommy is a great story.

The joy of children, the pain of loss, and aches of days gone by are woven in a tale of life at its best and worst. It touches the heart right where it hurts and offers hope with forgiveness and love.

Ms. Eavenson captures the attention with the first chapter and doesn't let it go. Every emotion leaps off the page directly into your heart. Are they easy to feel? No, but no one ever said that life is easy. And at the end of it all, you walk away with a smile.

I give this book five stars. Good job.

Renee's opinions are her own and not for sale or in exchange for any services or fees. She's not required to give a review and all books are provided by the author or purchased personally by Renee.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Writing and Reading with Terri Wangard (Book Giveaway)

The Coffee Corner Welcomes

Terri Wangard

We are blessed this week to have Terri Wangard on the Coffee Corner! Hold on to your hats as we learn more about this amazing author and her books. Don't forget to check out the amazing giveaway at the end of the interview. Without further ado...let's go!


Renee: Welcome to the Coffee Corner, Terri! I'm so glad you could be here. I'm sure everyone is anxious to get started so...first question out of the blocks do you decide what to write about and when do you do your research?

Terri: Thanks for having me, Renee. It's a pleasure to be here. Let's see...I wrote Friends & Enemies, the first book of my Promise For Tomorrow series, based on what I know about distant cousins in Germany during World War II. I have no idea about their political views, so I created a family to be proud of. Writing a series hadn’t been my intention, but an editor I spoke with at conference suggested a series would make it easier to get a contract. I based the second book, No Neutral Ground, in Sweden and the third book, Soar Like Eagles, features Red Cross volunteers because they seem to be unique topics in World War II stories.

Renee: Soar Like Eagles! I love that title. Anybody know why? (I'll let the readers answer that one.) Let's continue with the interview for now. Your series sounds fabulous. I bet the characters are amazing. How do you pick your characters' names?

Terri: Many of my character surnames come from my family tree. Five of the six main characters in Promise For Tomorrow have ancestral names. For given names, one is named for my mother and the others have names I like. They have to be since I work with them for so long. Sometimes I’ll use friends’ names (and don’t tell them!) or I’ll use a similar name in a situation. For instance, a boss’ name is nearly identical to a boss I once had.

Renee: That's a good way of "keeping it in the family." LOL What about your titles?

Terri: Good question. Friends & Enemies was obvious because Germans and Americans who were friends before the war suddenly found themselves to be enemies. I don’t remember dreaming up No Neutral Ground, but it is because much of the book takes place in neutral Sweden, yet the characters couldn’t be neutral. Soar Like Eagles comes from Isaiah 40, and I probably thought of the deadly war situations the characters had to rise above. All three titles have three words. I was a bit surprised that my first publisher didn’t make any changes.

Renee: You made good choices! They sound perfect to me and I haven't even read your books...yet. What would you say is your biggest challenge as an author?

Terri: Finding the time to write. Most of my writing is done on the weekends, so if special events are held on the weekend, there goes my writing time. I’m prone to migraines, so after doing computer work during the day on my job, I don’t spend my evenings or early mornings writing on my laptop. I do write in longhand during the week.

Renee: That's a challenge for many an author including me. Migraines, eh? I have them too, although I have to say that mine are fairly well controlled now. I only have one every two or three months now. By one, I mean severe enough to put me down for a day or two. I don't count the headaches that I'm able to "work" through. I admire you for being able to write longhand. I'm not good at that. Oh, I almost forgot! What about your setting? How did you choose that?

Terri: I chose Ridgewell as the air base in England as the setting for all three books because Ridgewell is one, easily pronounced word. The German settings in Friends & Enemies are my ancestral hometown and the city where the cousins lived. Both are near the Rhine River, which I’ve cruised, but unfortunately, I’ve been to neither. I’ve spent several days in Sweden. I wish I’d known I’d be writing about it in No Neutral Ground. I would have taken a lot more photos and visited much more of the Old City of Stockholm.

Renee: Well, you know what they say about hindsight. LOL So..what would you do if you couldn't write anymore?

Terri: I’d spent my time researching my genealogy and working on crafts. I used to do a lot of cross stitch and still have undone projects. I also have knitting projects.

Renee: I've always wondered what I would do. To tell you the truth...I don't know. I'd love to travel if I could. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Terri: Germany, because three quarters of my ancestry is German. I’d like to visit the places where my ancestors lived. I’d also have to go into Poland, since many of the towns are now within its borders.

Renee: I'd love to visit Scotland and Australia. Not for any particular reason, just because it sounds cool. ;) It's been a pleasure getting to know you. I (and I'm sure everyone else) can't wait to read your books! Thank you for visiting us on the Coffee Corner, Terri.



1st Edition

Answer the question below on the blog to enter giveaway!
One winner will be selected by random draw on 4/26/2017.
All valid entries must include name and email address.

Terri's cross stitch picture in the interview is based on which artist's painting? 


About the Book, No Neutral Ground:

After his father divorced his mother because of her Jewish ancestory, Rafe and the rest of his family flee Germany. As a B-17 navigator, he returns to Europe. On the ocean voyage, he meets Jennie, an artist journeying to Sweden to work with the OSS.
Flying missions against his former homeland arouses emotions that surprise Rafe. Despite being rejected, he’s troubled by the destruction of Germany and his heart still cries for his father’s love.
Sweden may be neutral, but it’s full of intrigue. Jennie thought she’d be doing passive, behind-the-scenes work for the OSS. Instead, she’s pushed into an active role to gain intelligence and frustrate the Germans.
How can Rafe and Jennie succeed in their dangerous roles when they are so conflicted?

About the Author, Terri Wangard:

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Connect with Terri:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

In Such a Time as This by Janell Wojtowicz (EBook Giveaway!)

In Such a Time as This

Patience and Perseverance

By Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Words like patience and perseverance tend to grind in people’s minds like fingernails on the chalk board. Like it or not, putting those words into action takes time, courage, questioning, and perhaps some type of pain. In the end there could be success, failure, or simply, peace. 

I had to put feet to patience and perseverance after my full-time career got caught in the wake of the Recession and came to a dead end in 2010. Initially, I was fairly confident that I’d find another job quickly after being laid off. The job coach said I had an impressive resume and relevant job skills 

WRONG! Within six months I was in trouble. I faced the new reality that being in your upper-40's is no longer a good thing when you’re in the job market. Also, I watched from the sidelines as the communication field turned upside down. My skills in writing were no longer enough. I needed to be proficient in website and database management and graphic design, too.

As I continued my search for a full-time job, I launched a freelance business and managed to find a few clients, as well as contract work through a creative agency. I applied for job after job and went on dozens of interviews praying that God would open the right door. But as doors continued to slam shut, my prayers were replaced by questions: What I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life? Is my career over? Do I need to start over? And if so, doing what? The career trek I had been on for over 30 years had been reduced to rubble. My patience was tried. My perseverance struggled. My doubts raged.

In the meantime, I was writing novels; none published. I had followed the traditional path of pursuing publication: critique partners, a writer’s conference, hiring an editor, entering contests, pitching to agents, working on two sequels. While some authors would have relished the thought of all that free time to write, pitch, and market, I discovered that the job search and agent/publisher search are similar—too similar: Cover letter vs. query letter, resume vs. writer’s platform, portfolio vs. sample chapters, rejection after rejection. The rejection double-whammy forced me to put the completed manuscripts on the back burner.

It’s been almost seven years since I had a full-time job. During that time, my semi-retired husband developed health problems that required doctor appointments, physical therapy and surgery. We downsized and moved, a massive undertaking after living in the same house for almost 20 years. My elderly widowed mother, who lives three hours away, fell and broke her ankle and needed in-home care, which I was able to provide. She gets lonely living on her own, so I visit her more often. My step-son and his family moved 600 miles away so we spend our vacations with them. 

Then it dawned on me (or maybe it was God waving it in front of my face): God had orchestrated my life “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). If I had been working full-time, I never would have been able to help my husband and mother, move successfully (and sanely), and visit family out of state when needed. By doing freelance work I’ve had flexibility to work anywhere anytime: sitting by a hotel pool, at a Starbucks surrounded by college students, in a clinic waiting room. And, “for such a time as this,” I found a publisher for my debut novel, “Embracing Hope”, which debuted last November.

I may not have felt it much, but God was right beside me during those tumultuous years. He led me down the pitted path—sometimes kicking and screaming. But it’s only through the grace of God that I had the patience to persevere. Or maybe it was God who was patient and persevered in spite of me.



Comment for a chance to win (email required)!
One winner will be selected by random draw on April 19, 2017. 


About the Book, Embracing Hope:

Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring. He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

About the Author, Janell Butler Wojtowicz:

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including journalism, Christian higher education public relations, and local government public information. She is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Janell and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. 

Purchase Links:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Cedars of Lebanon: A Post by James Blare, Jr.

The Cedars of Lebanon

by James Blare, Jr.

The Cedars of Lebanon and Lebanese cedar… two very different trees. The Lebanese cedar is just that, cedar wood found in Lebanon. However, the Cedar of Lebanon is a completely different tree. Some of the strongest wood mentioned in the Bible, it has roots said to be the deepest on earth. It’s even compared to the ministry of Christ.

Hos_14:5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, and He will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.

These unique trees are a standard which is used to describe the strength of God’s voice in Psalm_ 29:5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

If you are instructed to build something for God, He directs you to use the strongest wood possible, the Cedar of Lebanon.

What makes this tree so unique? It is how and where they grow. But what would happen for these trees to get so strong?

In the high mountain ranges of Lebanon, the wind blows at high velocities. While the cedar trees grow, they experience some of the toughest storms in the country. The roots grow deep, the tree is sturdy. But creating a true Cedar of Lebanon goes beyond the elements these trees endure in their natural habitat. It also takes time, dedication, and suffering...above and beyond.

Think of it this way: The Lord instructs a shipbuilder to build Him a ship. The builder constructs a beautiful vessel, and he's almost ready to set sail except for the mast. The most important part…

When the shipbuilder needs a mast for his ship, he does not just find any tree and chop it down. He hikes to the mountains of Lebanon and searches for a young tree. He chops down all the trees around it. Why?

In the years ahead, this lonely tree will grow all on its own. It will weather the storms and high winds of the mountain top. While the other trees grow in the shelter and shade of each other, this tree will be isolated, and  become as strong as it can possibly be. Alone. It will suffer the bitter wind, and cold, and when the storms are over, it will heal, its scars yielding strength.

The shipbuilder waits, refining his boat, and harvesting this fine specimen when it is strong and tall. Knowing that the mast has to be the strongest on the ship, he fashions it out of one solid piece of wood. Scars and all. It is anchored to the deck and the boat propels forward, its tied sails billowing in the wind as the mast remains unbending, unyielding no matter what comes.

Much like with the Cedars of Lebanon, the Lord is our shipbuilder, and we are His mast. When we give our lives over to Jesus, we are trusting Him to use us in all ways to propel His message throughout the world. Where it may seem as if we are alone and weathering senseless storms, they are, in fact, making us stronger. God needs us to be the solid mast, anchored in His ship, before He can attach the sails.

The good news? We do not have to go through the storms alone. God is watching over us and constantly repairing us as we grow.

So stand tall, even amidst the storms. Get ready to set sail with the Lord as your Captain...scars and the Cedars of Lebanon.

By James Blare, Jr.

About the Author:

James Blare, Jr. discovered his love for the Lord at an early age. He finds great joy in fishing and hunting, not only for creatures on this earth, but for the souls of man. An apologist, he doesn’t shy from a good debate. Bold and true, even in his everyday life, James stands firm in the faith. From his days on rigs to the classroom and retail world, he’s a testament to the molding power of the Lord.

photo credit: Dru! via photopin cc

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Coffee Corner Welcomes V.B. Tenery and Against the Odds (Giveaway)

The Coffee Corner Welcomes V.B. Tenery

Please welcome Virginia Tenery to the Coffee Corner, everyone! I’m excited to have her today. We’re talking about her new book Against the Odds and her life as a writer and Christian. We have a lot to talk about so let’s get started. Make sure you check out the giveaway after the interview though. This book is a great one and I’m excited to host this author!

Renee: Hi Virginia, thanks for being here. You’re an awesome writer and friend.

V. Tenery: Thanks for having me, Renee.

Renee: Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for your book?

V. Tenery: Like many people, I was horrified about the attack on the Benghazi Consulate and the heroes that died there. I began to think what would happen if there were other people outside the Consulate and how they might cope. You will note the book is co-authored with David Arp who lived with his family in the Saudi Arabia for ten years working in the oil fields. David and I have been critique partners for many years and I asked if he would like to join me in this venture. His knowledge of the Middle East was invaluable in making the setting realistic.

Renee: What’s your favorite part of the book?

V. Tenery: The tender developing romance between the two main characters amid the chaos.

Renee: Ah, romance. I love romance. How did you pick your title?

V. Tenery: LOL. I wish I could tell you I go through some elaborate process, but the title simply came to me out of the blue and it fit.  We never considered another title.

Renee: Sometimes that is a miracle from God! I love it when the title drops in your lap because when it doesn’t the process can be a painful one. Personally, when the title doesn’t come to me like that, I punt it to my readers or someone else!
I’d love to hear a fun story about writing this book. Can you share one with us? Please…

V. Tenery: Absolutely. I originally thought that co-authoring a novel would be faster than writing alone. However, I failed to take into the equation the time spent sending chapters between us. Plus, David works on an oil platform 100 miles out in the Gulf so naturally had to put his job first. What I learned was that two heads really are better than one for creative ideas.

Renee: That sounds rather challenging but fun. I’ve never co-authored a book before, but I’d love to try. Speaking of writing, what writing style do you prefer?

V. Tenery: I only write inspirational suspense novels, mostly contemporary. However, I have written one historical suspense and one speculative fiction suspense.

Renee: And how long have you been writing and why did you start?

V. Tenery: I’ve been writing for about 15 years. I was always an avid mystery/suspense reader and most main stream authors were adding more and more violence and sexual content. I decided to try my hand at writing exciting novels without all the violence and sex. Hopefully I have achieved that goal.

Renee: What do you do when your “stuck” or need inspiration?

V. Tenery: I usually have more than one project going at once. When I’m stuck on one, I go to the other one. Sometimes, I just take a break from the project, relax, and read a novel from one of my favorite authors. That gets my creative juices flowing again.

Renee: Oh, I need to do that more. I tend to be the one project person because I’m already so busy. Thanks for that, Virginia. Maybe I should just take some time and do nothing…pharmacy or writing. What do you think? What would you do if weren’t a writer?

V. Tenery: I’m retired now after many years in middle management in a large wholesale optical company. I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do, to write. However, being a tour guide in Great Britain sounds like fun. I could write in my spare time. LOL.

Renee: I’d be first in line for your tours! Where would you go to get away from it all if you could?

V. Tenery: My favorite spot is the River Walk in San Antonio. I love the Mexican influence and the many restaurants along the river, the music and the boat tours.

Renee: San Antonio is a cool place. Austin is too. Before we wrap up this interview, we’d love to hear about what makes you tick if you don’t mind. What do you believe your role is in the world today?

V. Tenery: I believe my purpose is to tell as many people as possible about Christ through my writing and in my community. The world has never needed it more than it does now. I especially have a burden for young girls. Morals are not fashionable today, and they face so many spiritual challenges. There are really no role models outside the church and most of them don’t attend church.

Renee: How do you face this changing world each day?

V. Tenery: I try to stay positive through prayer and to remember that God has everything under control, even when the world seems to be in total chaos. Nothing surprise Him and there is nothing too big for Him to handle.

Renee: God uses life to teach us many lessons. Can you share one with us?

V. Tenery: I don’t want to go into details, but there have been many instances in my life when I ran into problems that seemed too heavy for me to bear. I learned to turn those over to God and ask him to handle it. And He is always faithful. That doesn’t mean things always turn out as I would have wanted, but they are resolved satisfactorily.

Renee: Thank you so much for being here today. You are a true blessing to the world.


V. Tenery is an amazing author and great example to girls and women today. I thank her for coming and sharing her book and life with us. This world is a tough one and is only going to harder. She is a testimony to the world of God’s love and strength.

Virginia is giving away one copy of Against the Odds! Enter by commenting on her interview below. Leave your name and email address to be eligible for the drawing. Winner will be elected by random draw on April 5th!


Enter by commenting on blog!
Leave your name and email!

Winner chosen by random draw on April 5th.


About the Book, Against the Odds:

It was the mother of all bad days.
The date, September 11, 2012. The place, Benghazi, Libya.
While a brave band of warrior’s fight for their lives in the consulate and CIA annex, outside, a Mossad Agent, a missionary, and a Mississippi giant fight a different battle. 
Caught between terrorist and an enraged Russian arms dealer, they must complete the mission and manage to stay alive until they can escape or the cavalry arrives.
Never assume things can’t get worse.

About the Author(s):

V.B. Tenery: Author V. B. Tenery lives with her family in East Texas. Her passion is writing books with shinning characters and settings with plots so exciting readers come away feeling delighted with the experience. Not content to stay in one genre, her novels range from contemporary suspense and supernatural suspense, to an upcoming historical suspense set in WWII England. When not writing she enjoys reading, hiking, and tube-floating down rivers in the Hill Country.
God’s child trying to make Him proud.

David Arp: David Arp was born in Arizona, raised in Texas, and lives in Colorado with his wife of 30 years. He’s 59 and has spent the past 36 years in the drilling industry, traveling and working the oilfields of the world, from the deserts of the Middle East to the vast oceans offshore. His thirst for storytelling began on a rig in the Saudi desert with the availability of email when he started penning short stories about his experiences and passing them along to friends at home in the states.
When he's not working, he enjoys golf, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Faithful Review of Danele Rotharmel's Time Trap

Danele Rotharmel's Time Trap

About the Book, Time Trap, Book 2 of the Time Counselor Chronicles:

When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate. While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program. As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question. A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself.

About the Author, Danele Rotharmel:

Danele J. Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put into quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles. Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful.
Please visit for more information about Danele J. Rotharmel.

Renee's Faithful Review of Time Trap:

A story that captured me from the opening chapter.

Time Trap continues the story of the TEMCO time travelers, taking it to a new level of intrigue and suspense. Each twist and turn takes you to new heights as you turn the pages and the story unfolds. You experience a gamut of emotions from fear to fury with the characters all the while wondering who the culprit is. I can't wait to read Book Three! Good job, Ms. Rotharmel.

I give this book five stars.

All books reviewed are either provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest opinion or purchased personally by Renee. Her reviews are not for sale or in exchange for any services or fees.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Faith for the Journey: Clarice James' Clear Cache and Hit Refresh (Giveaway)

Faith for the Journey Welcomes Clarice James

Clear Cache and Hit Refresh

by Clarice James

(Guest Author sponsored Giveaway -see details below)

I’m a person with a list of a thousand things—all good—I want to do before I die. Sometimes I think I have to cram them all into one month. When my activities start to overlap, things get pushed around: my priorities out of order, my finances out of line, my emotions out of control, and my back, well, just out.
Recently, when my serenity was crowded out by busyness, I had a hard time hearing God's voice. And I needed to. [Duh.] So I prayed for the Lord to speak loud enough for me to hear over the din of my daily activities. He gave me this personalized paraphrase of 1 Kings 19:11-14 instead:

Go stand over there and be quiet. Don't check your email or Facebook and stay away from Pinterest. Wait for God to speak.
A critique group praised my manuscript and bolstered my hopes before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the critique group; after the critique, a great idea for a writing workshop, but God wasn’t in the workshop; and after the great idea, positive remarks on a blog, but God wasn’t in the positive remarks or the blog; and after the positive remarks, a gentle and quiet whisper.
When Clarice heard the quiet voice, she muffled her face with her great lap blanket, went to the mouth of her writing cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Clarice, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Clarice said it again, “I’ve been writing my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of God have turned toward the secular market, destroyed your places of Christian publication, and murdered the written word. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

Oh, the ego of it all! When I feel like I’m not able to give up some of my activities, writing or otherwise, because there is no one who can possibly replace me, that’s when I know I’m in trouble. BIG FAT PRIDE TROUBLE.
To make it right as quick as I can, I want to clear my cache and start again. However, if I’m not careful, I could rush the process and eliminate the wrong things.
So . . . now I’m waiting—really waiting—to hear the Lord’s gentle whisper. When the cache is cleared, I will hit refresh.

As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. ‘Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.’  The Master said, ‘Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.’ ~ Luke 10:38-42 (MSG)

Clarice James


Clarice is giving away one print copy of her book, Double Header.
Comment (make sure you leave your email address) on this blog to be eligible for the giveaway!

How do you "clear the cache" of your life in order to hear the voice of the Lord?

One winner will be selected by random draw on 3/22/2017 and notified by email.

About the Author: 

Clarice G. James enjoys writing smart, fun, relatable contemporary fiction. Readers are likely to find a thread of romance, a sprinkling of humor, and/or an element of mystery throughout each story. When she’s not writing or reading, Clarice enjoys organizing author and writing events. Her debut novel, Double Header (Mountainview Books LLC) was one of three winners in the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest. Party of One, a finalist in the 2011 Operation First Novel contest, will be released April 2017 (Elk Lake Publishing).

About the Book:





Amazon Print

B&N Print


Casey Gallagher credits a carefully crafted game plan for her wins: her solid marriage to Sam; her lucrative marketing career in Boston; and her popular sports column, Double Header, which she writes with her brother, Griffin. When Casey discovers that her late father, the one man she idolized, had an affair which produced a son even he didn't know about, she’s determined to discover his identity before her father’s reputation is blemished. As Casey attempts to fit the changes life throws at her into her idealistic plan, she is challenged by the dialogue running in her head. Is it her conscience or her imagination? Or is it the voice of the God she’s not sure she believes in?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Cooper Day: Fun with a Friend

Meet Cooper!

Cooper's our fun-loving Labrador retriever. He's full of energy and excitement...all the time. It's true that I have a blog just for Cooper called Cooper, the Water Dog, but I thought you may want to experience a little bit of him here on Inspirational Moments. After all, I think he's an amazing addition to our family and rather inspiring.

Every morning, Cooper wakes up with one thing on his mind, well, besides breakfast. Can you guess what it is? That's right. Fun.

Cooper makes a beeline for water, if it's around, the second he opens his eyes. That's why we call him Cooper, the Water Dog. But if no water is in sight, he plays with anything he can get his paws on. And I mean anything. Bottles, tennis balls, pillows, stuffed animals. Hey, I'm not joking! I've seen him reduce a 2 1/2 gallon water jug to smashed plastic in seconds.

Let's put it this way. He's a pleasure and a challenge. The poor cat doesn't stand a chance, and as you can see, Poco (our old and grumpy Cocker spaniel) puts him in his place on a regular basis.

Cooper's in to everything but he does listen...well, most of the time. He can sit, stay, and even wave "hi" on command. He loves hot dogs and watching television especially when other dogs are on it. What can I say? He's a competitor.

And then there's those pesky critters he has to share the house with. I already mentioned Poco and the cat, Shasta. Poco's the "old man" of the house and he gets a bit grouchy when Cooper runs all over the place. Now don't tell Poco this, but I think all this lively action's keeping the ol' boy young at heart. 😏 And Shasta? Well, she may not cuddle after I say this, but she's merely a hissing, spitting, irate, uh...toy. But she's still my cat and I love her.

If you're wondering what it's like to have a friend who loves water, television, and life in general, take a look at the following videos and pictures. You may decide you need a Cooper Day too. 😊

God bestows blessings through this pup each day. In fact, they're too many to count. The unconditional love, the uplifting joy...all from a four-legged friend we call Cooper.

A Post by Renee Blare
Videos and Pictures by Renee Blare

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Faithful Review of Julie Cosgrove's Baby Bunco

Sleuthing is the Game

Baby Bunco by Julie Cosgrove

Who would leave a newborn baby
in the bathtub
 of a condo in Sunset Acres,
a retirement community, and why? 

And was a young woman slain
behind the convenience store
across the highway it’s mother? 

Janie and the Bunco Biddies
want to find out,
but soon they discover
sleuthing can get a bit dicey.


The Review by Renee Blare:

Book Two in the Bunco Biddies Mystery, Baby Bunco continues the sleuthing expeditions of the retirees of Sunset Acres. It gathers a few pieces of Dumpster Dicing (Book Two) and no, I don't mean the victim in that book, to help keep the reader guessing and tripping along the pages as the mystery unfolds.

The characters are lively and unique. Each one brings the story alive. They capture your heart and soul in a matter of seconds and you can't help but wonder...what you will be like at that age? Well, if you aren't already there, that is. This series is a hopeful reminder that life remains a puzzle, and each of us, no matter where we are in the journey, play a role in its solution with the Lord's help and guidance.

Now, I loved the story, but I did struggle keeping everyone straight, and it had a bit of a slow start. But I read fast, and the plot and characters caught my attention. I recommend this book to all who love mystery and laughter. It's a great read.

I give Baby Bunco four stars. Good job, Ms. Cosgrove.


More about the Author, Julie Cosgrove and Baby Bunco:

Freelance writer, author and speaker Julie B Cosgrove leads retreats, workshops, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications.
Besides freelance writing and helping newbie writers on their path to publishing, Julie has personally published three Bible studies,two inspirational works, a devotional and a novel - Focused (2012), as well as the following through Prism Book Group: Hush in the Storm (2014) and Legitimate Lies (2015- Best 2016 Religious Fiction Award), Freed to Forgive (2015 - Grace Award Finalist) with Greener Grasses, Navy Blues, Hill Country Homecoming and a three book cozy mysteries series, The Bunco Biddies coming in 2016-2017. 
She is a member of North Texas Christian Writers, Texas Association of Authors, Advanced Writers and Speakers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Toastmasters International, Daughters of the Holy Cross and several web-based author groups Julie has one grown son and lives in Fort Worth, TX with two cats. 

Visit her website at 

All books reviewed are either provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest opinion or purchased personally by Renee. Her reviews are not for sale or in exchange for any services or fees.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Having Fun with Ellie Gustafson on the Coffee Corner (Giveaway)

Welcome to the Coffee Corner!

I’d like to introduce you to a fantastic author, Ellie Gustafson. Ellie has written a terrific book called Dynamo. If you’d like to read my review, check it out on my blog, Faithful Reviews, Dynamo by Eleanor Gustafson. I know you’ll love it, I sure did!

I’m giving away a Kindle copy of Beast of Stratton in honor of Ellie being on the Coffee Corner this week! Leave a comment with your email address to enter.
See details after the interview.

But right now, what do you say we get started with the interview?


Renee: Ellie, could you tell us how you came up with the idea for your book?

Ellie: Having loved horses all my life, writing about them seems only natural. They appear in four of my novels, but the horse world takes center stage in Dynamo. Sidebar: A horse I featured in Middle Night was ugly, nasty, but all business. I named him Glue. Dynamo, too, is nasty, but he’s a gorgeous stallion with great show possibilities. Though horses are obviously central, God (along with Maybelle) is actually the major character. Dynamo is, indeed, a dynamic stallion, and his name becomes a metaphor in Jeth’s life.

Renee: Dynamic is an appropriate description for your writing if I do say so myself! By the way, I loved Dynamo. I don’t want you to give away too much now, but what would you say is the favorite part of your book?

Ellie: My favorite parts of the story seem to come when bad things happen, but one scene in particular follows a major jumping-event victory for Jeth. The aftermath of this triumph causes deep soul searching, and Jeth falls prostrate before the Lord. Witnessing this, his boss, Rob, senses a holy presence, and even a horse nickers a welcome.

Renee: How moving…and utterly glorifying. Thank you for sharing that, Ellie. It’s amazing to see the Lord work in others’ lives and you’ve depicted it so well. Is Jeth your favorite character or has another one captured your heart?

Ellie: Actually, my favorite character, Maybelle, is an old lady who serves as Jeth’s spiritual mentor, feeding him verses and guidance at critical moments in his life. She battles the pastor on Jeth’s behalf at the time of his baptism. The pastor wins their contest over which verse should be read, but Maybelle wins the war with her prayer: “Now, El Shaddai, almighty God, clothe Jeth with power from on high—whenever and wherever it pleases You. Amen.” Jeth had felt warmed by the pastor’s remarks, but Maybelle’s last words—whenever and wherever it pleases You—turned his body to ice. He trembled uncontrollably, and it wasn’t because he was wet.

Renee: Maybelle is a mighty woman indeed. I love her! Your readers (or those who are thinking about picking up a copy of Dynamo) will absolutely love Maybelle! She’s one of those people that I would love to have in my corner. And she’s so…cool! Maybe that’s why I love her so much. But then this whole book is cool. Everything about it breathes “read me.” The plot, the characters, the setting. Where did you come up with all of this?

Much of this novel comes from my own backstory. I grew up in a small town that hosted a major horse show each summer. I rode in a few local, amateur classes but got to drink in the fine horseflesh over six wonderful days. One of the most spectacular events I witnessed became the jumping victory mentioned above. I had to use it, had to made it significant in Jeth’s spiritual life.

Renee: Do you have a funny or unique story to share about Dynamo with the crowd?

Ellie: A funny story connected­—not to Dynamo—but to the Sussex County Farm and Horse show. Each year, young women were invited to represent their town, vying for the title of Miss Sussex County. Branchville had not had a candidate for several years, and the town fathers decided to Do Something About It. I and an attractive pair of twins were approached, but I wanted nothing to do with this flesh contest. I expressed my hope that we would be judged on something more substantive than looks. After about three minutes in the vacant lot next to the post office, the local VIPs dutifully chose me as Miss Branchville. Contest night was cold, with each of us riding bare shouldered around the ring in convertibles. Then came the flesh show. We walked the plank before thousands of spectators, with a British judge commenting on looks and figgers. I had been diddled. I was, of course, not chosen as Miss Sussex County, but Branchville, pop. 900 and the locus of this grand event, was represented, and the experience continues to give me many laughs.

Renee: That is well, I hate to say it, funny! Not that you’d been duped but… Sorry, Ellie, but I can’t help but laugh. I guess your favorite spot that night wasn’t in a convertible! Not that I blame you, I don’t think I’d like freezing while people gawked at me either. LOL Still, nothing wrong with memories and a bit of laughter now and then. Hey, do you have a favorite spot now that you can get away from it all (including all those goggling eyes?)

Ellie: My favorite spot—(Mmm, now you didn’t say it had to be real.) Life often gets stressful for me, and I often retreat to a special garden that is featured in my upcoming novel, An Unpresentable Glory. This garden consists of annual and perennial beds, tiny garden “rooms” that may contain a swing or bench for reflection, a miniature troll garden, and a magnificent island gazebo. Much goes on in this garden, especially after its owner, Linda Jensen, discovers a stranger sprawled on the ground near her delphiniums. All this particular garden needs now is a publisher. Would appreciate your prayers for that.

Renee: Well, now…I can relate to a garden like that. I had one of those in my first release, Beast of Stratton! Miles Stratton had a rose garden in his architectural wonder of high-rise building in New York. It had a glass roof and a little pond with a waterfall. I loved to spend time with him in that beautiful place. I can smell the roses right now!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Ellie? I know my readers would love to know where to find you as well as your books!

Ellie: I love to interact with readers, so check out my website and email address. I’d be happy to hear from you!

About Ellie Gustafsom:
Ellie Gustafson began thinking up stories at a young age but did not begin writing and publishing until 1978. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she has been actively involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences include gardening, house construction, tree farming, parenting, and mouse wars—all of which have helped bring color and humor to her fiction. One of her major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable power of story.
Book links:


Twitter: @EgusEllie
Facebook: Ellie Gustafson





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