Gail's Book Nook

Monday, January 17, 2011

Looking Out the Window: An Elaine Marie Cooper Devotional and Giveaway




I'm so happy to have Elaine Marie Cooper here with an inspirational devotional, "Unwrapped Hearts," and a giveaway for February. She'll also tell us about her new book, The Road to Deer Run, and share some of her reviews. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address (name at address dot com) for a chance to win a copy. I'll draw a name and announce a winner on Monday, February 7th.




UNWRAPPED HEARTS

Don’t you love those bright, beribboned heart boxes of candy that appear in the stores in February? You hope against common-sense hope (how many calories in those sweets?? Oh my…!) that maybe you will be one of the lucky recipients this year.

But imagine receiving such a heartfelt gift from someone you love…only to discover that someone had been poking around in there beforehand, leaving undetected holes in the bottom of each candy. I would personally be hurt and more than a little disappointed. No one wants such a special gift to be ruined by someone’s selfish act. It would, at the very least, make us question the sincerity of the giver.

I can only imagine what my Savior thinks when my gifts from the heart to Him are filled with finger pokes of selfishness, pride, and other seemingly undetectable sins. He can see past the wrapping straight through to my heart that is so easily prone to wander from His perfection.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV)
“Wellspring” is defined as “an abundant source or supply of anything.” It could be a source of compassion, a source of forgiveness, a source of real love—the kind of love that Jesus poured out for us on the cross when His heart stopped beating for us.

As we celebrate love in this season of Valentine’s Day, let’s be diligent about keeping our hearts safely wrapped and untampered by that which so easily distracts us from the purity of God’s love. Let’s be HIS wellspring!

ABOUT ELAINE MARIE COOPER: Elaine Marie Cooper lives in the Midwest with her husband Steve, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandbabies, who are often referred to as “the most beautiful grandbabies in the world.” Elaine’s only daughter, Bethany, passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor.

A retired registered nurse, Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is currently a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door (http://www.thebarndoor.net/) She is also the author of her debut novel called “The Road to Deer Run.”

About The Road to Deer Run
The year is 1777 and the colonies of America are at war with England. In the midst of this fierce and painful conflict, two enemies—a wounded British soldier and a colonial farmwoman—are brought together through circumstances that challenge their fortitude, their faith and their ability to forgive. In the struggle comes healing and love. But as their destinies become intertwined, so do the forces that oppose them.

What Are Reviewers Saying about The Road to Deer Run?

“A heartwarming love story, sensitively written and a well-researched bit of American history. The book has a solid faith-based perspective that sets it apart.”
— Jean LemMom, former Editor, Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

“A captivating tale of love, honor, redemption, and patriotism….Cooper breathes life into her characters and their world in an entertaining way with generous details and facts.”
— Wanda Ventling, Editor in Chief, Life: Beautiful Magazine

“With subplots as appealing as the main story, the book is well researched, well written, and well worth the purchase price. Ready for the sequel.”
— Kirkus Discoveries Reviews

“The Road to Deer Run” is available at:
http://amazon.com/
http://barnesandnoble.com/
http://iuniverse.com/
http://www.deerrunbooks.com/

Elaine Cooper can be reached on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000997223171 or visit her website at: http://www.deerrunbooks.com/

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Devotionals, Interviews and Giveaways

STARTING IN FEBRUARY


Stop by often


Read a series of devotionals written by different authors.


From time to time look for author interviews and giveaways.


I'm excited to have so many good writers coming to my blog to share their devotionals. From time to time there will be author interviews and giveaways too.
I hope you'll come by to read these wonderful, inspirational posts. See you soon!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Looking Out the Window: The Bird Feeder

It snowed in Georgia on Christmas day. It was the first time we’d had a white Christmas in over one hundred years. I think the birds were as surprised as we were. The area around the bird feeder in our backyard looked like an aviary. I was glad that my husband, Rick, checks and fills it every day. The cardinals, wrens, nuthatches and English sparrows found what they needed. They stayed with us for a long time and came in flocks throughout the day. I couldn’t help but think of Luke 12:24, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet, God feeds them…”

That day the birds got a little help from Rick.

I recalled the rest of the verse, “And how much more valuable you are than birds!”

If we feed the birds, shouldn’t we help one another?

Matthew 22: 37 - 39, “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Inspirational Writer Jennifer Slattery



Multi-faceted Christian writer Jennifer Slattery talks about Clash of the Titles and her new romance novel.


First, tell us a little about yourself.
Wow, that’s a loaded question, Gail. First and foremost, I’m a follower of Christ who wants to bring Him glory in all I do. Everything else hinges on that. Second, I’m a wife, mother, Calvary Bible College student and writer.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
I was, although I always had a tendency to “check out” and venture into my own story. I went through a period where I was fascinated by Shakespeare, and I loved the Odyssey. I know, weird. I think I’ve always enjoyed “symbolic” writing. If there wasn’t a hidden meaning, I’d create one. grin. But I like things that have multi-layers that you can read again and again, digging a bit deeper each time.


I enjoy symbolism also. What do you write?
Wow, another loaded question. I write a bit of everything. As the Marketing Representative for Clash of the Titles, I do a lot of article writing. I love blogging! I’ve had a great time getting to know some very talented authors (you included. grin) and knowing that we are doing our part to expand the Christian fiction market!

Thanks for the kind words. I know you’re working on a book also. Tell us about that.
I’ve just started my first contemporary romance and it’s been a lot of fun! It’s about a girl raised by rather…hedonistic parents who cycle through relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning. This has left Ainsley Meadows, my heroine, rather gun shy. Deep in her heart, she wants to experience true love, but her fear of divorce sends her running for the predictable, safe and…dull. She’s engaged to a successful, albeit self-absorbed, psychiatrist. They’ve dated for quite some time and Ainsley’s grown accustomed to his ways. In her wounded mind, she’s come to equate stability with love, until a handsome, gentle, and rather comical man moves next door and awakens the Cinderella hiding in her sheltered heart. As their wedding date nears, she begins to see a different side to her fiancĂ©, and wonders: was it there all along, or is his rather calus behavior the result of stress? At the same time, her heart is increasingly drawn towards Teddy, the man next door, and his gentle ways.

That sounds like a meaningful and fun read. What inspired you to write this particular book?
A shower? lol. To be honest, I’m not sure. I had just completed a rather intense women’s fiction and was working on the second novel in the series, and I kept hearing about romance novels and felt the nudge to write one. But I threw a fit and told God I didn’t care if everyone wanted romance, I was writing for Him. Besides, I couldn’t write a romance novel to save my life! I’ve been happily married to the man of my dreams for almost sixteen years now. What do I know about first dates and first kisses and butterflies in the stomach? That’s like ancient history.

So, after throwing my little fit, I jumped in the shower, and the story started to swim through my brain. I had to laugh. Apparently, I did have a romance novel waiting to come out. But the whole process reminded me, it all comes down to surrender—and not putting limits on God.

What a great story, Jennifer. Where else do you get ideas for your books?
Not sure. I think I just live in stories. My mind spews in so many directions! And, I spend a lot of time in prayer, because if my writing doesn’t point back to Jesus in some way, it’s nothing more than pointless drivel, not fit for the manure pile.

In three words describe your style of writing.
Sarcastic, Slattery-ized—quick-moving (husband’s words on the last one).

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
Right now I’m working on numerous projects, and going to school, so I tend to do it in chunks. And I write everywhere, although I really need to move to my office…permanently. Our house is cluttered with research books, notebooks, dictionaries, you name it. Oy, praise God for patient husbands!

I can relate to the books, notebooks, etc. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I am very blessed that God has allowed me to focus almost all my time on writing and that my husband sees my writing as a ministry. One night I asked him why he was so supportive—he’s the director for a large railroad and works twelve hour days, but will come home and do the laundry or unload the dishwasher if I have an article that needs to get out. He said, “It’s awesome to know that my job enables you to write. I love what you are doing.”

Aww, that’s nice. Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
I once heard someone say they were a writer who happened to be Christian. For me, it’s totally opposite. I’m a Christian who happens to write. My ultimate goal is to be totally surrendered to Christ at every moment.

Thanks for having me! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you at Clash, and having you on my blog.


It was my pleasure, Jennifer.

Bio


Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, freelance writer, and biblical studies major at Calvary Bible College. In 2009 she won the HACWN writing contest in the book category, and was just recently acknowledged as the second place winner of the 2010 Dixie Kane writing contest in the inspirational category and placed fourth in the 2010 Golden Pen. She has a weekly marriage column on the Reflections in Hindsight website, reviews for Novel Reviews and has written articles, devotions and devotional stories for numerous other publications. She is also the marketing representative for the literary website, Clash of the Titles. Read more about her at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/