Gail's Book Nook

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

On December 25th, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. Some believe Jesus was born on a different day, but they gather to remember his arrival on earth on December 25th.
Jesus came into the world to die for mine and all man’s sins and preached a Gospel of love. He was tortured and put to death, but he rose from the dead.

And His spirit lives today in the hearts and souls of Christians from the moment we accept Him. From then on, He is with us always from the darkest valley to the brightest hilltop.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2: 8 – 11).


Christ is born!

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question. Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and 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. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:  34- 40)

Christ’s Gospel of Love!


“Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life.’” (Matthew 20: 17 – 18)

photo courtesy of Photobucket

Christ’s sacrifice!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ( John 3: 16 – 17)

Christ’s gift, eternal life, given!

“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)

Christ lives today!

Celebrate the birth!
Honor the name, CHRIST, our Savior!
Sing it! Say it! Praise it! Shout it!
Merry Christmas!

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." (Mattthew: 10: 32 - 33)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Winner of A Merry Little Christmas



It was difficult to choose, so I jumbled up the names and selected three times. Two out of three it was...

Congratulations, Gail!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Question and Answer Session with Bestselling, Award Winning Author Anita Higman. She'll Give Away a Copy of Her Christmas Book


To enter to win a copy of Anita's book leave a comment and email address. 

A Merry Little Christmas is a sweet tale that teems with heart and characters you won't want to leave. Anita Higman will have you turning the pages of this lyrical story of healing and love.
Jenny B. Jones, award-winning author of Save the Date and There You'll Find Me.

Fall in love with this cozy story about two people from different worlds. Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who's preparing to spend the holidays alone...again. Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny's farm. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited, and she's more than happy to sell the farm and move to the city. As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart-that sometimes love comes when you're least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?


Welcome, Anita. How neat to have a Christmas story. Tell us a little more about your book.
Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.

The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?
I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.
 
Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?
Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Do you think that sometimes we don't pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?
Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?
My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
“The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Is Franny's character based on any "real life" person?
Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.

Does the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" have a special significance to you?
The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?
I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.

Bio
Bestselling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has thirty-two books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Please visit her online at www.anitahigman.com.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Winner of Freefall


Wow! It was so hard to pick a winner. To be fair I jumbled up the names and then chose one.

The winner is...

Congratulations, Pamela!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Love Inspired Suspense Author Jodi Bailey Talks about Her New Book, Freefall, Her Writing Life and How She Came to Write a Military Romantic Suspese. She'll Give Away a Copy


To win a copy of Freefall leave a comment and an email address below.
 
Welcome, Jodi. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, let me see.  I’m a native North Carolinian and SO proud of that!  Until I married my Army husband and we moved and moved and moved, I never realized how important home really is.  I returned to teaching last year after an eight-year break.  I love to cook and to read (and, oddly enough, to read cookbooks).  My favorite place in the whole world is Frisco, NC, and if we ever somehow magically get rich, I’m so moving there and planting myself on an ocean-front deck.  I laugh too loud and I probably don’t cry enough, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’m going to talk way too much. 

Lots of writers also love to read. How about you? Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
The joke in my family is that I read everything.  When I was about six, my grandmother found me reading the dictionary because there was nothing else readily available.  I can remember, under my grandmother’s living room cabinet, she kept Reader’s Digests  from as far back as the sixties.  I think I read every single one of them.  That’s the reason I think there is so much useless trivia in my head today.

I bet that trivia comes in handy when you’re writing. Would you tell us why you write?
Because I don’t know how not to.  As long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil, I’ve written stories.  I used to get my friends on the phone and just pull stories off the top of my head.  No planning.  No idea where I was going.  Just story after story.  I could never figure out why they couldn’t reciprocate.  It was only a couple of years ago that it hit me we’re all wired differently, and not everyone can turn a thirty-second TV commercial into a two-hour drama in their heads. 


Tell us about your latest book.
Freefall is a military romantic suspense set at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  The Division Parachute Officer for the 82nd Airborne has been framed to look like she’s running a smuggling operation.  In order to save herself, she’s going to have to team up with her ex-husband, whom she’d rather forget ever existed.  Or… would she?

That sounds like a good mystery and love story. What inspired you to write this particular book?
My agent said to me one day, “Have you ever thought about writing a military suspense?”  I told her no way.  But then this scene popped in my head. Then another.  And another.  And then my husband got involved and started giving me ideas.  Before I knew it, I was halfway done and obligated to finish because, once I bring a character to life, I have to see them through to the end.  If I don’t, it’s like I killed them.  Yes.  I feel that kind of guilt. 

Where do you get ideas for your books?
Usually, it’s one scene that suddenly leaps up.  I’ll be sitting around and pop!  There’s this quick flash of something.  It gets bigger.  I start to wonder what happened before and after.  The next thing you know, it’s growing.  For Freefall, it was this flash of a woman coming home, opening the closet door, and finding a man in there.  Only he wasn’t there to hurt her.  It gathered steam from there.

What themes do you write about?
I have noticed grace is huge for me.  I have four completed books and two in progress, and every single one of them deals with forgiveness and accepting grace.  They are all different versions of that theme, but it seems I can’t get away from it. 

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
Can you hear me laughing?  Before I went back to teaching, I sat down at the computer when my daughter went to school and I didn’t get up until she came home.  Boy, do I miss those days!  Now, I snatch moments when I can.  We recently cut a deal.  We come home from school and she works on homework while I lock myself in my office and write for an hour or so until her daddy comes home. 

Do you put yourself in your books?
Every female character has something of me—or the me I want to be—in her.  They’re sarcastic.  They’re dealing with “my” stuff.  They’re tougher on the outside than they are on the inside.  They’re in massive need of grace.  They have a tough thing in their past.  But are they autobiographical?  No.  I say they’re “spiritually autobiographical.” 

If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be? What shocking thing might that character say? Why?
In my very first book, my beta readers and I ALL fell in love with the MC’s best friend/cousin Ryan.  He ran away with his scenes. I had not planned to write a book two, but he and another character practically begged me.  It’s my favorite book I’ve written so far because he is so unafraid to be himself, so honest and downright cute.  I wish he could be in every book, because writing him is such fun.  There is no telling what he’d say, because he has this way of calling it like he sees it.  He’d probably start interviewing me. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Sleeping.

What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
Well… I went to ACFW conference in 2010, and I thought I really had it together.  I already knew a few better-known authors, so I figured I’d be able to handle myself without turning into crazy fan-girl.  And then I walked around a corner and ran almost smack into the author who turned me on to Christian fiction in the first place.  I was totally not expecting her to be there, and I grabbed her by the arm and just totally went out-of-my-head, call-the-cops, crazy-fan-girl on her.  My head was saying, “Shut up!” and my mouth was just out of control.  Poor thing practically ran away from me.  I really wanted to chase her down and yell, “I’m not crazy!” but that wouldn’t have helped, I’m sure.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Thank you for having me!  This has been so much fun. 

It’s my pleasure, Jodi.

Bio
Jodie Bailey has been weaving stories since she learned how to hold a pencil. When she grew tall enough to reach the desktop, her grandmother plugged in the family’s old yellow typewriter and let her spend hours writing such literary gems as “Ann Goes to the Fair.” Later, Jodie developed a sense of plot by making up stories for her friends… and wondering why it was they couldn’t seem to come up with any good plots in return. It was only recently she learned that everyone doesn’t make up whole other lives for fun in their spare time.

She is an Army wife, a mom, and a teacher who believes Mountain Dew, dark chocolate and a trip to the Outer Banks will cure all ills. In her spare time, she reads cookbooks, rides motorcycles, and searches for the perfect cup of coffee. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband and her daughter.

Visit Jodi at: http://jodiebailey.com/