Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Regina Andrews Tells Her Love Story



  Regina Shares her Love Story
    And Tells us about her New Book
                                                                                                        
                                         LIGHT OF THE HEART



When Love Comes Knocking on Your Door
                                           by Regina Andrews
Sunlight fills the room, warming the lemon chiffon walls. I look over from my side of the bed and see him there, sleeping peacefully on his side, his breathing relaxed and his limbs at ease.

Closing my eyes, I open them quickly. Yes, he is still there. Yes, he is my husband. And yes, today is our wedding anniversary.

A breeze flutters through the open window, rustling the sheer curtains and stirring memories of such sweetness and contentment. Our wedding anniversary! A truly blessed union that was meant to be.

I smile as I recall how those who knew me “before” were amazed when I finally “tied the knot.” Fancy-free and independent, I was the quintessential free spirit, with no desire to “settle down.” Me, get married? No way.

Then, my sister buys a condo and two doors down she has a neighbor named Jon. They are both on the Condo Board. One day I’m visiting her and she asks me to deliver a flier to him about Maintenance of the Grounds.

Grumbling under my breath I stomp up the stairs and knock on the door. Jon answers. Lo and behold, I am knocked off my proverbial horse.

He’s sincere, cute and a great conversationalist. Before I know it he’s offering me a drink and I’m sitting on his sofa, giggling and sipping a grape juice-club soda spritzer.
An hour later the doorbell rings and his mother and sister enter the living room, their eyes wide and their mouths frozen in round, open “o”s. They sit down, Jon gets them spritzers and before we know it another hour has gone by, and we’re laughing like old friends.

Then my cell phone rings and my sister is squawking on the other end about all the other stuff we have to do that day. I say good-bye and we all set up a time to meet for lunch together the following week.

Easy, natural and fun. Before I know it, Jon’s calling me every night and we’re doing as much together as we can possibly fit in – including going to Church together on Sundays.

I find myself telling him things and wanting to know his opinion on things like never before. Little by little, I am opening my heart to him. I realize I trust him.

This starts me praying for guidance. You see, I don’t want to get tangled up in anything serious. So I don’t want to begin anything I’m not intending to finish. Jon deserves honesty, and he deserves the best.

My answer? A strong, sure, unwavering certainty inside that trusting him is right. This is a good man, a positive person, a sincere soul and a humble servant of God. It’s a feeling that being with Jon is almost beyond me, my designs or anything I might decide on my own.

It feels like a calling. God is knocking on the door of my heart, offering me a gift. God is rapping with persistence, letting me know it was time to open up and cherish another, take care of another, put another ahead of myself. God is blessing me with an angel.
That’s exactly what it was; we were called to be together, and blessed by God’s hand.

I look back over at Jon as he stirs. It won’t be long before he’s awake. I can’t wait to begin our day together! I have so many things planned to make him happy today, starting with his favorite breakfast.

Then I realize that even though it’s our anniversary, I feel like this every day, anyway. How lucky am I, to feel this! Sure, there are days when we’re exhausted by life. But not by each other. And that’s pretty wonderful.

Fresh, new and joyous, every day. Hard to fathom that it’s been fourteen years. Memories have been created, challenges faced, tears shed, wounds healed, triumphs celebrated, faith nurtured, love cherished, gratitude expressed. All of it, shared together.

The sunshine illuminates the lemon chiffon walls. It’s our wedding anniversary! I feel as excited as if it were the morning of our wedding. With a smile, I recall us all laughing as my dear mother-in-law, Joan, proclaimed: “I always said, for Jonathan to find the right girl, she’s going to have to march right up those front stairs and knock on his door. And, Gina, you’re the one who did it!”

What a delightful memory, and what a blessed union. It all came from answering the call, which in this case was a knock on the door. Literally, the front door of a condo and spiritually, the inner door of my heart. These are the ‘knocks’ which called me into marriage.

It leads me to wonder: how did you get the call from God to share your life, and how are you sharing it?

                                                              
                                                                  
Light of the Heart by Regina Andrews
More than anything, Cascade Preston wants to forget her dark childhood in Sterling Lakes, so there’s no way she’ll agree to help refurbish that town’s church. Then she meets Dan McQuay. Will she be able to forgive the past and let the light of God’s love shine through into her heart?

Back Cover Blurb
A stained-glass artist based in Boston, Cascade Preston’s world is a kaleidoscope of color and beauty. She has overcome a dark childhood, deeply shadowed by domestic violence, in the town of Sterling Lakes. When she is approached to design new windows for a refurbished church in Sterling Lakes, she ignores the request. But when the no-nonsense Project Manager Dan McQuay appears looking for the window plans, the project takes on a whole new light. Will Cascade be able to keep the dark, protective cocoon she has built around herself intact, or will McQuay break through and shine new light into her heart? Is it possible that God’s plan for Cascade will lead her to forgive the town that ignored the situation in her family?
REGINA'S BIO
A resident of Providence, RI, Regina grew up in nearby Barrington. After graduating from Providence College she attended the University of Delaware, eventually earning her Master’s Degree in American Civilization from Brown University. She is inspired by anything to do with nature, and she and her husband enjoy visiting nearby Cape Cod.

Regina’s hobbies include Travel, Museums, Theater, Classical Music, Choral Singing and Gardening. She is a radio host for In-Sight, an association dedicated to providing services to the visually impaired of all ages.

Learn more about Regina at her Web site - http://www.reginaandrews.com/
Visit Regina's blog - http://www.reginaandrews.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Looking Out the Window: A Good Laugh with a Spiritual Message from Margaret Brownley





                                            



Notes from Camp


One day, Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1 NIV

When my oldest son went away to summer camp for the first time I was a nervous wreck. Although he was nine years old he hadn’t as much as spent a night away from home, let alone an entire week. I packed his suitcase with special care, making sure he had enough socks and underwear to see him through the week. Since this was prior to the advent of cell phones I also packed stationery and stamps so he could write home.

Thanks to a conscientious camp counselor I received the first letter from my son three days after he’d left. I quickly tore open the envelope and stared at the childish scrawl. Camp is fun and I only barfed once.

The next letter offered little more. Jerry wet the bed. Who’s Jerry, I wondered. The third and last letter provided this interesting piece of news. The nurse said it’s not broken.

Fragments. Bits of information that barely skim the surface. A preview of coming attractions that never materialize. It’s kind of like the text messages I get today from my grandkids.

It makes me think of my own sparse messages at times to God. “Dear Lord,” I plead when a loved one is late getting home. “Keep him safe.”

“Give me strength,” I pray after breaking down on the freeway or getting a letter from the IRS.

“Let me have wisdom,” is another favorite prayer of mine, usually when I’m giving unsolicited advice. “God is good,” I say when an editor agrees to extend a deadline.

Fragments. Bits and pieces. Are my notes to God as unsatisfactory to Him as hurried text messages are to me?

I knew that my son was safe at camp, and somewhere in the cryptic texts I get from the grandkids I know all is well with them, too. After all, how much trouble can you get into when your fingers are glued to a keyboard? But sometimes you just want to pick up an old-fashioned land phone—one that makes you stand in place and concentrate on the person you’re talking to—and have a good heart-to-heart.

“Thank you, God,” I murmured recently when a repair bill wiped out only half the bank account. I then settled down for a nice long chat with Him. God deserves a lot more than a text message or hasty note from “camp.”

Dear God, help me to prioritize the countless things in my life that clamor for attention, so that I always have time for you. Amen.
 
 
                                                 
 
More Love and Laughter in the Old West

From Bestselling Author Margaret Brownley

 Sage Advice for Photographers from Margaret’s new book

A VISION OF LUCY


• When photographing stampeding cattle, charging bulls or blazing shoot-outs, use a fast shutter speed.

• Brides, take pity on your photographer. Matthew S. Brady and his helpers were able to record the entire War Between the States with little more than 1100 photographs. Half that number should satisfy most brides.

• Doctors, do not look at the camera like it’s a patient needing help through death’s door. Such a pose will speak ill of you, and it won’t do much for your practice, either.

• A man imagines himself more handsome than his photograph; a woman believes herself more homely.

• While posing for a photograph spinsters should avoid looking desperate or deprived. A serene smile will show that your circumstances are by choice and not for lack of beauty or character.

About Margaret

My writing career began, and ended, early. I wrote my first book in fifth grade—a mystery without an ending. I was on a roll until I reached eighth grade. Unimpressed with my essay on why I wanted to be a writer my English teacher not only flunked me but suggested I not even think about a career as a writer.

Dream squashed, I did little writing until I became editor of the church newsletter many years later. After making a church picnic read like a Grisham novel, my then pastor took me aside and said, “Maybe God’s calling you to write fiction.” So that’s what I did. I now have 25 books to my credit, published in 15 different languages. I’m currently working on a new series.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome K. Dawn Byrd









K. Dawn will be giving away a giftcard for a free download of Mistaken Identity, her new young adult romance. To enter to win leave a comment and your email address.


It's so nice to have you here today K. Dawn.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?



I was an avid reader as a child. My favorite picture book was about a little boy who refused to get a haircut and when he hid behind some mops in the grocery store, a woman grabbed his hair thinking she was choosing a fuzzy mop. When I became a better reader, Nancy Drew was my absolute favorite. I must have read every Nancy Drew book in the school library...twice.

Aww, that's a cute story about the little boy who refused to get a haircut. Tell us about your latest book. It's a young adult romance. Here's the blurb from my publisher:

Eden Morgan longs for a boyfriend of her own, an impossible goal when her best friend, Lexi Branson, gets all the attention and all the guys. When they fall in love with the same guy, Eden believes she doesn't have a chance. She can only hope that sometimes the good girl gets the guy.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

It's hard being a teenager. Sometimes it's ever harder being a Christian teenager. I admire those teens who live a Christian life before their peers. I'm sure there are times they wonder if it's worth it. This story is for them.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

I write my novels in thirty days. I plot them out and then map out how many words I'll need a day on a calendar and also where I should be in word count every day. My goal is to write 60,000 words in thirty days. I write on my netbook and since it's very portable, I carry it with me wherever I go. I've been known to eat lunch alone in a restaurant while pounding on the keys.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I'm plotting. I have a special plotting notebook that I use to flesh out my ideas. When I feel inspired, I'll choose one and take another personal thirty-day challenge. I enjoy writing a novel in thirty days. It's a lot of work, but I believe it's the only way to write.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

My advice for aspiring writers would be first and foremost, don't give up. Second, write something every day. It's important to write every day even if it's only a few hundred words. Third, don't let rejection get you down. You'll become a better writer with every book. You may have to shelve the first few, but that time wasn't wasted as it was a learning tool to help you develop your skill.

BIO:


K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Mistaken Identity, her first young adult romance released on June 15 from Desert Breeze Publishing. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense released in April 2010 and was the bestselling book for her publisher during its debut month. Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense, released August 1, also with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at http://www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com,/ most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=128209963444.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Finding Refuge Because of a Storm

Award Winning Author Eva Marie Everson Talks about Finding Refuge in the Eye of a Storm. Eva Marie is offering a free book to one lucky reader who leaves a comment. She's picking a number, she's writing it down--will yours be the one?





To win a copy of Eva Marie's Latest Book be sure to leave a comment and your email address.

                                                          
                                                                                                                                                                  

FINDING REFUGE BECAUSE OF A STORM

I found a place of refuge because of a fierce storm. Not just one, actually. Four.

The 2004 Hurricane Season is one most Floridians will long remember. In August, Hurricane Charley swept around the eastern coastline, encircling the state, and threatening to hit the west coastline. Instead, on Friday morning August 13, 2004, Charley took a turn toward Port Charlotte near the Southern tip. It sliced up the state as a Category 4 hurricane, weakening, but remaining strong with wind gusts of over 100 mph when it hit my hometown of Orlando.

The devastation was unthinkable. We began the process of cleaning up, but no sooner had gotten our bearings together when we heard the news: Hurricane Frances was on her way. Weather reports and photos take from the International Space Station showed her to be beyond huge and her eye large, which offered respite but not for long. Only three weeks after Charley, Central Florida scrambled to prepare. And then, one morning in early September, Frances came to call. Again the devastation was felt, this time more so because what had already been weakened was now destroyed. Clean up began again, but we may as well have waited. Ivan—the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded—was on his way, followed by Jeanne, who had the distinction of being called the deadliest hurricane of the season.

These hurricanes affected my town, my home, and my life during that dreadful summer. Later, as I prepared an upcoming writer’s retreat previously held in a hotel in Vero Beach, I discovered our hotel was not yet suitable for visitors. I panicked, telling everyone I knew about my dilemma. My hairdresser suggested a place she’d heard of, Cedar Key, a tiny somewhat forgotten island below the panhandle, nestled in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I looked it up online. It appeared to have promise so I called my friend and fellow writer Janice Elsheimer and asked if she’d like to take a little road trip. She said she surely would.
 In my recently released novel, Chasing Sunsets (which is set in Cedar Key), I have a line that reads: There are four bridges leading into Cedar Key but only one road. I admit, the moment Janice and I crossed Bridge 4 (ironically, the first bridge), I felt tranquility wash over me. Marshlands—wide and lush—spread out on both sides of the road. Blue water reflected the sunlight, casting what I described as a “crushed diamonds on glass” effect. Dolphins played and fishermen fished and I was nearly beside myself as soon as we arrived at the hotel where we’d reserved a room.
I was equally delighted early the next morning. Janice and I walked outside with a cup of coffee in our hands, faced the east and watched the sun come up in all its splendor. And, that very same night, we walked a little ways to the west and, along with locals and visitors, watched that very same sun—under which we’d played all day—make its way to bed in colors of brilliant reds and oranges.

Cedar Key became my eye in the storm. (In the early days, I couldn’t even get cell reception, which I adored. But eventually CK caught up and now I can.) Over the next few years, as my world seemed to get just a little crazier and my workload became—blessedly—heavier, I found myself shirking off that day of rest God allotted for Himself and me. I thought I could get more done or even help God make more sense out of my life. Instead, just the opposite happened.

When I decided to set a three-book series in Cedar Key, I told myself that “this will mean going to Cedar Key for research.” But the truth is, while going there was necessary, I found myself lulled more by the tranquility of the island than the stories I heard there. In Cedar Key, God reminded me that there is nothing better for me than just sitting quiet, praising Him for His glorious paintings of nature.

I’ve certainly learned that I don’t need to go away to find rest. Goodness, no. It’s nice, of course. But it was in my own dining room where the Lord directed me to Isaiah 30:15: This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” This verse did not come gently but as a word of discipline, one I hope to never have to experience again.

I have learned through many storms—real ones and those which are a natural part of life—that in the midst of them, I can find the “eye,” the place where it grows quiet. Whether on a tropical island, a church filled with worshippers, a lazy Sunday afternoon on the sofa, or looking out my own back door…I must find these places of respite.

Bio:
Eva Marie Everson is the award-winning author of a number of books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her latest work of Southern fiction for Baker/Revell is Chasing Sunsets. Read more about Eva Marie’s Southern Voice at http://www.evamarieeversonssouthernvoice.blogspot.com/ or her deeper moments of personal healing at http://www.evamarieeverson.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 5, 2011

AND THE WINNER IS...

Anne Payne wins Christa Allan's
Walking on Broken Glass.

Congratulations, Anne!