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