Gail's Book Nook

Friday, February 26, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Presenting A Work in Progress, Book Number Four in Prism Book Group's Love Is Series...Still a Few Days Left to Enter to Win Books and Prizes

In honor of the start of Prism’s new Love Is… series – a string of romance novellas based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 – we are inviting you to BE OUR VALENTINE!

We will be giving away a Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Square Tower (value $46.96) as well as the entire Love Is… series as it releases (in format of choice including ebook or print) to one lucky winner!

Two runner-ups will receive the first Love Is… book in print (containing the first several novellas) and a $10 gift certificate.

 To enter, hop on over and like our Facebook page. Then post a message to our Facebook page and tell us what you feel is an important quality of love!

For a second entry, join our mailing list. The sign-up box is on the top right of our web site

Ah, love! Such a topic!

For me, I had a close, loving family growing up, but we hit some rough times when my siblings and I were all teenagers in the 1960’s, and the closeness often became strained and rocky, especially with our Dad who felt pretty overwhelmed with his outspoken, stubborn children. How I longed for the uncomplicated days when we were smaller!

 I’d always gotten along well with boys, and often preferred their company. But due to a childhood trauma, as I grew older, I was wary of any romantic relationships, and figured I’d never marry since the whole dating process appeared pretty scary to me. Though I perceived interest from various boys during high school, I kept a friendly distance, protecting myself from the titanic hurts I watched my siblings suffer as they navigated through their dating years.

Then, in my junior year, when I was seventeen, I became re-acquainted with a boy who’d once lived next door to us years back, and who I’d hardly seen in recent years. He had soulful, dark blue eyes, and a marvelous, quirky sense of humor which captivated me. He didn’t show any of the annoying romantic attention that always made me wary, and I delighted in humorous bantering with him, and sharing comic observations about everything. He was such fun to talk to.

Somehow, he snuck through my giant defenses, and I found myself fascinated at the thought of getting to know him as more than a friend. Though I resisted it once I realized he was becoming romantic toward me, it grew more difficult to push away the strong feelings I had for him. To his credit, he waited and maintained our friendship while the attraction deepened. When I finally opened the door to my heart, he rushed in and though we’ve had our rough times, now five sons and 40 plus years later, he still makes me laugh and is my other half.

We also shared our spiritual journey toward new birth in Christ in our twenties, and God has been a huge part of our ongoing relationship. I am well and truly blessed with love, and children and we even have two grandchildren now. We’ve never had a regular sort of life, but I’m comfortable being rather an oddball, and so is my husband, who first taught me to embrace my eccentricities, and enjoy them, just as he’s always enjoyed his and mine.  God makes all kinds of quirky folks, and I’m so happy to share my life with my husband John, though honestly sometimes he drives me nuts!!! I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Check out Nancy’s contribution to Prism Book Group's new Love Is series…

A Work in Progress

“Love is kind…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4
There’s something cooking outside the kitchen….
They’ve worked together for two years, but that’s all they have in common. Like oil and water, they just don’t mix. Julie thinks he’s a shallow flirt, Mark thinks she’s a cold fish. Despite their mutual dislike, they’ve carved out a civil work relationship at the restaurant. But after each of their inner worlds suffer a jolt; the careful, polite kitchen routine becomes a stew of conflicting emotions. Things are about to get interesting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Jennifer Slattery, Dr. Ohaju and His Nigerian Medical Mission

A Warm Welcome to Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer's visited my blog several times, and I'm so happy to have her here to share a touching personal story about meeting Dr. Ohaju. She tells readers how she grew to admire him and his passion for his Nigerian Medical Mission
From Jennifer

How many challenges and setbacks can one man encounter before he decides to give up?

I hate to admit it, but if I’d experienced even half of what Dr. Ohaju, director of St. Joseph's Trauma Center.) endured, I fear I may have retreated. Thrown my hands up in defeat and turned down an easier path.

I could learn a great deal from Dr. Ohaju, not only about perseverance but about gratitude, humility, and what it means to have a servant’s heart.

I met this man during a very frightening and stressful time. My mom-in-law had gone into the emergency room with stomach pain and a distended abdomen. After an emergency scope, she was rushed into surgery where Dr. Ohaju saved her life.

I shudder to think what might have happened had God not placed my mom-in-law under his care that week, and it was a good week that she spent in the hospital as she began the difficult and painful process of recovering from major surgery.

While dealing with a cancer diagnosis. That stung, and created all sorts of questions and uncertainties. You could feel the apprehension in the room, a tension that instantly dissipated whenever Dr. Ohaju walked in. God’s love flowed from him and instantly set us all at ease. We knew immediately not only that we were in the presence of a brilliant and compassionate surgeon, but also that, through him, God had absolutely everything under control.

That’s what happens when we surrender our gifts and passions into God’s hands; He uses our every act as a love letter from us to His hurting world. As he did for us through Dr. Ohaju, and as he does for numerous impoverished Nigerians to this day, also through Dr. Ohaju.

He grew up during the Nigerian Civil war, also called the War of Biafra. It was a brutal, terrifying time where innocent people were slaughtered and masses of children and the elderly were abandoned. Many starved to death.

During this time, Dr. Ohaju did whatever he could to survive while helping his family put food on the table. One would find him standing outside the train station, waiting to sell oranges or bananas or whatever he could find to hungry travelers. He went to school in starts and stops, when he was able. Until it came time for him to enter sixth grade, when, in Nigeria, one must pay to go to school.
There was no way Dr. Ohaju’s family could pay his tuition.

Until one day, a teacher had mercy, and offered him an opened doorway. One of many to come. Because God saw something in Dr. Ohaju—God saw past his devastating beginnings to the gift that poor little boy would one day grow to be.

I’ll be telling his story, which is quite extensive and nothing short of miraculous, over the coming year, but first, I’ll give you the ending. Well, not the ending, as his story is still unfolding, but what this godly man is doing now.

By God’s grace and with the help of others, Dr. Ohaju came to America where he pursued a degree in medicine. It was an incredibly difficult and long journey. One marked by heartbreak, for while he was in America, his father, back in Nigeria, died. From a treatable condition. Like so many others in Dr. Ohaju’s homeland.

Many Nigerians are dying daily from illnesses and diseases that are easily treatable, a tragedy Dr. Ohaju is determined to do something about through the medical missions nonprofit he started.  In 2004, the VOOM foundation, named after his deceased father, was born. The mission’s goal: to bring medical care to the poor and indigenes of Nigeria. More information is available at
And you can help. I encourage you to check out his foundations website and visit them on Facebook

I also invite you to visit a blog, Truth in Fiction, where I’ll be sharing bits of Dr. Ohaju’s story in more detail. In addition, I’m hoping to capture the essence of his story in a full-length novel, one he’s graciously agreed to help me with.

In the meantime, pray for us both: pray that he stays encouraged and focused on the call God has infused in his heart, and pray for me that I can capture the beauty, miracle, and perseverance of his story in novel form.

Now it’s your turn. What thoughts came to mind as you read about Dr. Ohaju’s story? How do you typically respond to setbacks? 

To learn more about Jennifer and her books visit her web site 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Celebrating Prism Book Group's Love Is Series...Book Three, Greener Grasses by Julie Cosgrove

In honor of the start of Prism’s new Love Is… series – a string of romance novellas based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 – we are inviting you to BE OUR VALENTINE!

We will be giving away a Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Square Tower (value $46.96) as well as the entire Love Is… series as it releases (in format of choice including ebook or print) to one lucky winner!

Two runner-ups will receive the first Love Is… book in print (containing the first several novellas) and a $10 gift certificate.

 To enter, hop on over and like our Facebook page. Then post a message to our Facebook page and tell us what you feel is an important quality of love!

For a second entry, join our mailing list. The sign-up box is on the top right of our web site
Sibling Love

I guess most sisters bicker as they grow up. We have a tendency to be a tad jealous of each other. “How come she gets to…” and later, “Why do all my boyfriends notice her?” Even later, “Why doesn’t my husband treat me like hers treats her?” or “”Why are her kids so well-behaved?”

My sister and I are six years apart so by the time I entered my teens she was married. I felt a deep loss and for a long time I felt the odd person out. She and my brother’s wife were closer in age, so they bonded. They always huddled at family events. I felt the pangs of exclusion like the wimpy little kid slumped on the sideline bench whose muscles would never fill out his uniform.

Until my husband died suddenly in the shower getting ready for work. Though five hours away, my sister dropped her life and rushed to my aid. She boarded her animals at the vets, packed a bag and drove to my door. I honestly cannot tell you how long she stayed with me. Certainly until after the funeral five days later. Having lost her husband a year previously, she guided my numbed mind and aching heart through the planning, the visitations and the arrangements as I sniveled for days on in overwhelmed by it all.

When I sold the house and moved to a one bedroom apartment, all I could afford at the time, she returned. We spent hours rubbing masking tape onto the floors mapping out where furniture would go and plotting what I could bring and what I should leave behind for the estate sale. She then monitored the estate sale like an award winning  car salesman, raking in the bucks so I could afford the moving company.

My brother, an attorney, drove in to handle all the legal affairs pro bono without blinking an eye. All I had to do was show up at the courthouse and swear my husband to be deceased—by far my highest hurdle. Declaring him legally dead before a magistrate made it real, too real. My brother stood by my side as my knees quaked. His even-toned professionalism became my boulder. I watched, wide-eyed and tear-blinked as he handed off paper after paper to the court clerk. Documents all identified by letters and numbers which I never understood.

Growing up, my brother seemed a phantom. Eleven years older than me, he was a teenager locked in his world by the time I could toddle. Then came the college years away. When I was in third grade, he walked down the aisle. After that, he moved away, had a child of his own and built a life. Eventually I did the same. For decades we acknowledged each other like shadows at family gatherings. But that day at the courthouse, he became flesh and bone to me.

God purposes good from tragedy. My husband’s passing brought me closer to my siblings and showed me what family-bound love is all about. Five years later, we are able to communicate at a deeper level, share our feelings openly, and be there for each other through this rollercoaster called life. Now, that’s true love— a love akin to no other on earth.

Check out Julie’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…

Greener Grasses
“Love does not envy…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4

Twin sisters, Erin and Ellen, covet each other’s lives and husbands. Their festered envy has not only kept them at arm’s length for almost two decades, it has placed both on a precipice of divorce— something they’d never admit to each other.

Yet after two weeks together with their spouses, as they sort through their mother’s belongings following her funeral, they discover the flaws in their sibling’s “grass-greener” lives. But will that revelation help each sister appreciate her own husband and lifestyle as truly according to God’s plan? Or is it too late for a change of heart?

Read an excerpt here

Buy on Amazon

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Prism Book Group's Love Is...Celebration Continues with Books and Prizes. Book Number Two, Clue Into Kindness by Gay N. Lewis

In honor of the start of Prism’s new Love Is… series – a string of romance novellas based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 – we are inviting you to BE OUR VALENTINE!

We will be giving away a Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Square Tower (value $46.96) as well as the entire Love Is… series as it releases (in format of choice including ebook or print) to one lucky winner!

Two runner-ups will receive the first Love Is… book in print (containing the first several novellas) and a $10 gift certificate.

 To enter, hop on over and like our Facebook page. Then post a message to our Facebook page and tell us what you feel is an important quality of love!

For a second entry, join our mailing list. The sign-up box is on the top right of our web site

From Gay N. Lewis

A Whirlwind Relationship

At the age of seventeen, my boyfriend presented me with an engagement ring. I said yes and then wondered what I’d done.

My fiancé was good-looking, charming, and he cared for me, but our goals were different. The man I’d promised to marry planned life as a farmer. Can you imagine me as a farmer’s wife? I grew up in the city, had never even planted a pot of ivy, and possessed no idea about country life.

And to top that off, at the age of eight, I’d surrendered for God’s service. I presumed I’d teach children Bible stories in a distant country in South America. After all, I was studying Spanish.
To say I had second thoughts about marriage to this nice guy is an understatement. Our ideas were totally incompatible. I guess when I said yes I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

I finally decided it would be kinder to undo this tragedy in the early stages rather than continue in a relationship destined for failure. Three months later, on a Saturday night, I gave him the ring back. He reluctantly accepted it and said to me, “You’re gonna get your feet wet.”

As I tried to sleep the night of our heartbreaking parting, I thought about his odd remark. I’d never heard the expression before, but I had an idea what he meant. The thought came to me that my feet had been in hot water when I’d accepted his proposal. I’d just dried them off when I returned the ring.
The next morning dawned warm for early March in Texas. After church, I spent the afternoon washing cars for a high school fundraiser. The project kept my mind off the sadness dwelling in my spirit. During a lull between vehicles, I inspected my appearance and gave a rueful smile. My feet were literally wet, and so was the rest of me. I was a dirty mess, but I don’t think that was the kind of prognostication my former fiancé had meant.

As I finished hosing down the last car, a friend and her mom came by. I declined their invitation to attend a new church, but they talked me into it and waited for me to change clothes. The three of us strode late into the service. The small, crowded sanctuary left no room for us to sit together, so we split up.

A handsome young man with black, wavy hair and sparkling brown eyes led the music.
At the end of the service, he slipped out the back door and managed to be the first one to greet me as I left the sanctuary. The guy must have sprinted—he appeared faster than Texas tornado. We exchanged names and spoke a few minutes, and then I left.

Intuition told me he’d call on Wednesday night. And he did. We made a date to go bowling the coming Saturday night. The evening was fun, and in between my falling down once or twice and throwing my ball into the gutter rather than down the alley, I discovered he planned to enter the ministry.

He walked me to the door as our date ended. He kissed me goodnight and then said, “I’m in love with you, and I’m going to marry you.”

Whaaat? Was he kidding? Seriously?

I’d just ended a relationship and had no intention of jumping into another one. This guy didn’t know me, and he loves me? What kind of nut could he be?

Before long, I learned. This man is a fast mover, makes speedy decisions, and is seldom wrong with his discernment.

Our relationship moved along at a rapid pace, and I discovered we shared the same goals.
He was in college, worked full time, gave twenty hours a week to the church, and somehow managed to find time for me.

Before long, a church in Oklahoma invited him to become their pastor. He accepted the invitation, and then drove back to Texas. We met for lunch the day he returned. He proposed marriage—presented me with a ring. I felt comfortable accepting this one, but I wanted to wait before we said the vows. I’d just graduated high school and wanted to attend college for at least one semester. During those few months, I could plan a wedding.

“Oh no, you can’t do that—no time. I told the church I was bringing a wife in three weeks. We have to marry now.”

Whaaat? Was he kidding again? Seriously?

After I gulped back my shock, I responded. “I can’t marry you right now. My mom is in the hospital.”

His reply? “We can have the ceremony there.”

My fiancé drove to the hospital to visit with mom. She was extremely ill, and we weren’t supposed to upset her. She surprised me by accepting the news well, but she asked the young preacher how much money he would be making.

“Fifteen dollars a week.” Came the reply.

Mom almost fell from the bed. “Fifty dollars a week? You can’t live on that.”

Uh oh. She’d misunderstood the amount. My sweetheart merely nodded and said, “The Lord will provide for us.”

Six months after we met, we had a small ceremony in the chapel at the Methodist Hospital in Dallas, Texas. We said vows on a Thursday night and packed our few belongings on Friday. We drove to Oklahoma on Saturday, and Paul preached his first sermon on Sunday morning.

Our meeting and wedding sounds fictional, doesn’t it? But it is a true story.  I tell it often when I speak to groups. Maybe I’ll include it in a book in the near future.

My sweetheart isn’t the most romantic guy in the world, but he is kind, caring, thoughtful, and funny. The first time I saw the Dallas skyline lighted up against the black sky as we drove in from rural Oklahoma, I cried.

My new husband said, “If I’d known lights would make you this happy, I would have fastened a string of them in the back yard.”

Three daughters, and four grandchildren later, we find we think alike—even finish each other’s thoughts.

The Lord, Paul Lewis, family and friends are the loves of my life. I’m thankful that God graciously prevented me from making a mistake with a nice guy—but he was the wrong one for me. God was kind to me, and I didn’t get my feet wet. God gave me the husband He’d intended for me all along.  I just had no idea a whirlwind came with him.

And here’s the thing, this man of mine still moves faster than I do. Somewhere over the years, I’ve adapted to his swifter pace. On the other hand, he’s slowed down a bit so I can keep up.

About Clue into Kindness
Georgia loves her husband, Alan. She shows him kindness with actions and words, but Alan responds in a heartless, selfish way. To receive respect and admiration from people, he believes he must have a perfect wife—so he criticizes Georgia at every opportunity—even tells her she’s fat! Alan’s best friend Ken and his wife Jana reassure Georgia that she remains the gorgeous beauty queen she was during her college days. Who will Georgia believe—her friends or the mysterious, handsome stranger who comes into her life?
Circumstances bring a change to Alan’s attitude. But is it too late to save this marriage?
Buy Clue into Kindness on Amazon

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Celebrating Prism Book Group's Love Is...Series with Chocolate and Prizes

In honor of the start of Prism’s new Love Is… series – a string of romance novellas based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 – we are inviting you to BE OUR VALENTINE!

We will be giving away a Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Square Tower (value $46.96) as well as the entire Love Is… series as it releases (in format of choice including ebook or print) to one lucky winner!

Two runner-ups will receive the first Love Is… book in print (containing the first several novellas) and a $10 gift certificate.

 To enter, hop on over and like our Facebook page. Then post a message to our Facebook page and tell us what you feel is an important quality of love!

For a second entry, join our mailing list. The sign-up box is on the top right of our web site

From Anita Klumpers, author of Hounded, the first in Prism Book Group's Love Is...Series

Old Maid, Do-Si-Do, and the Bottomless Cup of Love

By the time I was twenty-five my mother had given up on the hope that I would marry. She bought me pots and pans and Pfaltzgraf and flatware because, she reasoned, even single women need to live. And, Lord willing, I wouldn’t live with her and Daddy forever.

Dad wasn’t too concerned. After all, he hadn’t married Mom till he was in his early 40’s. And if God didn’t want me to wed, then I could follow in Cousin Angie’s footsteps and be a missionary in Africa.

The idea of a single life filled me with dread. Please, please, PLEASE God, don’t be equipping me to remain unmarried. I developed crushes. Friends tried setting me up with their relatives. I went out dancing with friends. To bars. After all, I was a nice Christian lady at a bar. Why couldn’t there be nice Christian guys there too? Maybe there were. I never met one.

A few months shy of my 27th birthday I decided I was tired of looking for potential mates. Although not at the point of picking up books on how to enjoy the gift of singleness, I figured it might be time to focus on my relationship with God. So, along with several wonderful single girlfriends I went to a spiritual winter retreat for young adults from a dozen churches across our state. Did I mention I’d determined not to check out every eligible young man also in attendance?

I meant it. So when I took note of a devastatingly handsome man with dark eyes and a dimpled chin sitting across the room, it wasn’t his good looks that got my attention. Arms crossed, looking bored, he was the only one sitting out the square dance mixer. In gracious and generous Christian-girl fashion I thought ‘Jerk,’and went back to dancing my little size 9’s off and trying to remember my allemande left from my do-si-do right.

Later that night, after devotions, a group of us played cards. A game I didn’t know, called euchre. I’m a dab hand at Old Maid but this one had me flummoxed, and a group of generous friends tag-teamed trying to teach me to play. It was hilarious. Really hilarious.

Later that night a group of us went into town for coffee. The dark-eyed square-dance-boycotter came too. He sat across from me and told me he got a kick out of watching me laugh over euchre. He flirted just enough to make me feel interesting but not so much as to make himself look insincere or lecherous.

We went our separate ways after that weekend and didn’t meet up till early summer. It took him till late summer to ask me out and in the meantime one of my major crushes from the previous few years, a Christian marathon runner and photographer I’d met at work, finally returned my interest and began asking me out. After I lectured God about his timing I realized maybe He knew what He was doing. I had to make a decision between two attractive men (my daydream back in the days before I realized it would be painful) and I chose the right one.

Wouldn’t my story make a fine romance movie? Sort of an ‘At Long Last Love’type of life? But now, three sons, four grandsons and countless prayers and tears and rejoicings later, I realize that my entire life has been filled with love.

From birth, before my birth, my parents loved me, and continued until their last breath on earth. Aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens meant extended love and the kind of safety net children long for but don’t always enjoy. Then there is my family in Christ. Brothers and sisters more than the sands on the shore, and wherever there are God’s children there is my family, and we love each other. We don’t always play well together, but the love is there.

My friends—oh, my friends! When I bemoan my limited practical skills and meager dose of common sense I remember my glorious friendships with some of the most godly, delightful, gracious, fault-overlooking women as can be found. I would rather have my friends than an artist’s eye, a singer’s silver tongue, or an athlete’s supple limbs.

On all this abundance of love God set a gem of a husband. He is as attractive, open, and affirming as when I first met him, and he still refuses to dance. Those three sons love me in spite of a plethora of faults and mistakes and my little grandsons still give me smooches in public.

Do I know I have been gifted far and above anything I could think or ask, much less deserve? You bet. But what if God had not seen fit to give me a husband, children, grandbabies? What if my parents had been cold, negligent, absent, and I didn’t have some sort of strange ability to find wonderful friends? Would I be any less blessed? No. Not a bit.

God loves me. God has loved me before I knew what love was. If I had never known human love, God’s love would be beyond the heights and depths and breadths of what I think I need. Jesus prayed for me the night before His death and prays for me today and the Spirit intercedes for me with sighs too deep for words and the Father’s love is vast beyond all measure. What wondrous love is this?!

Family, friends, husband and children have all hemmed me in love, and the love that comes from God is greater than these.

Elise Amberson’s husbands always die before she can get the marriage momentum going. At least this last one left her with lots of money. Now she can hang out with her dogs, avoid men, and try to keep off God’s radar.
But her dogs are behaving oddly, a pesky pastor can’t keep his hands off her soul, and God is backing her into a corner.
It’s all more than a rich, beautiful young woman should have to bear. But when someone begins targeting Elise, she’ll have to figure out why before she becomes the late Widow Amberson.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Winner of Time Tsunami

Wow! My husband's going to draw a name out of a bag.

Drum roll...

He's shaking the bag...

He has it.

And the winner is...

Congratulations! Janet E.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Danele Rotharmel Talks about Time Tsunami, Gives Away a Free Print Copy and Prizes. Shares a Yummy Recipe

A Warm Welcome to Danele Rotharmel

Danele will give away a Sunflowers & Seashores Prize
It includes  
A paperback copy of Time Tsunami
 A cup and saucer painted with sunflowers
 A “seashore” journal with the saying, Call unto me and I will answer you.
 A set of 10 butterfly note cards with envelopes.
To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.

Hi Danele, I'm so happy you could stop by my blog. Lots of writers loved reading as a child. How about you? If so, what did you read?

I LOVED reading when I was growing up! I simply couldn’t get enough books--my room was crammed with them. I walked the prairie with Laura, solved mysteries with Trixie, and I considered Anne (spelled with an e) to be one of my very best friends. I felt like life wasn’t worth living when Beth died, and I cried buckets when Old Yeller was shot. I explored a magic wardrobe and walked with my hands snuggled deep in Aslan’s soft, glossy mane. (He’s not a tame lion, you know). I figured out tesseracts with Meg, trapped monkeys with Jay Berry, and I tried to hide long underwear with Ellen. I mourned the fate of perfectly lovely pickled limes with Amy, and I shivered my way through Mirkwood. I loved both the Evergreen Castle and the Blue Castle, and I emptied a whole tube of toothpaste into a sink with Ramona. I wandered the Limberlost with Freckles, and I searched for a new home with Fiver and Bigwig. I found a secret key with Mary Lennox, and I wrote to Daddy-Long-Legs and the Dear Enemy. And in between my “serious” reading, I faithfully looked for where the Sidewalk Ends with a friend named Hobbes.

Ahh, that's great, and it sounds as though these books provided you with a magical childhood.

Let's talk about your writing. In three words describe your style.

Flying. Dreaming. Speeding.

Do you put yourself in your books?

I think there’s a little bit of me in each of my characters. When I became ill, one of the things I experienced was partial amnesia. I put together over forty scrapbooks filled with memorabilia to rediscover who I was. I think that exploring the inner thoughts of my characters was another way for me to “find” myself. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Enjoy yourself. Be real. Don’t worry about what other people think. Love yourself. Love what you write. Treat people kindly. Honor God with your talent.

What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?

Before I became ill, I did many wacky things, but by far my coolest adventure was a missions trip to Uruguay, South America. The Uruguayan people were incredibly nice, and I really enjoyed myself. Some things were very different from the USA, for example, it was common to see five people riding on the same motorbike, and I also saw people drinking tea out of hollowed out cow hooves.

I’m a terrible klutz, and on an earlier missions trip to Mexico, I accidentally sat on a rock that housed a nest of scorpions. I also sat on an anthill and ended up with my pants full of ants. When I went to Uruguay, I was DETERMINED to be more careful. I managed to do pretty well until one chilly Sunday morning. I was dressed for church, and I stood too close to a heater and melted a huge hole in the back of my velvety skirt. I’m lucky I didn’t set myself on fire! I tend to do silly things, and one day, the mission’s team visited an elaborate tomb in Montevideo. It was dark, and I got nose-to-nose with a life-sized wax figure to inspect it. The craftsmanship was incredible! I was studying its face when it blinked at me! It nearly scared me to death. The wax figure was a real soldier.

While I was in South America, I fell in love with dulce de leche—literally. I kept buying bottles of the yummy stuff to take home as souvenirs. When I went home, my suitcase weighed a ton. I nearly died lugging it through four different airports! I’m usually VERY meticulous when it comes to packing, but I was so exhausted by the end of the trip that I tossed everything into my suitcase while in a half-comatose haze. My bag was a sloppy, jumbled mess. I figured it didn’t matter--but wouldn’t you know--my hideously, messy suitcase was opened up and inspect in Uruguay, Argentina, AND the United States. I never thought I fit the profile of a dangerous international smuggler, but I obviously do.

LOL. What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?

Oh, Gail! If I told you every embarrassing experience, we’d be here for a week—maybe   two. But here’s one example of a typical klutzy “Danele” moment. One day, I was carrying a bowl of curdled milk outside. Since my hands were full, I tried to close the door with my foot. My ankle turned beneath me, and I fell down the porch stairs and landed flat on my back. The door slammed shut behind me, trapping my long hair beneath it. The icky sour milk splashed all over my face making it impossible to see, and since I was trapped by my hair, I couldn’t reach the doorknob to open the door. I was stuck in that undignified position until someone rescued me! The story of my trapped hair became legendary in my family, and I’ve used it as a funny episode in Time Search, the third book in The Time Counselor Chronicles.

It's great you were able to use the mishap.

Danele Shares a Favorite Family Recipe from her grandmother

Cooking plays a part in most of my books because nothing brings people together like preparing a meal. Cooking has always been an important part of my family’s history. I can remember hearing stories about my great-grandmother Anna spending each Saturday baking bread for her fifteen children. I also heard stories about my great-grandmother Katherine’s ingenuity during the Great Depression. Since she didn’t have many ingredients, she ended up making eggless, milkless, butterless cakes.

Today, I’m going to share a recipe from Winnie—yet another of my great-grandmothers. Winnie grew up in Kansas where her husband ran a threshing crew. Later they moved to Colorado where they mined for gold in the Rocky Mountains. They never struck it rich with gold, but they sure struck it rich with Winnie’s recipes. Our family still uses them. Here’s Winnie’s sugar cookie recipe. It’s a family favorite!

Mama’s Sugar Cookies:
½ c.  Shortening
½ c.  Sugar
1 tsp.  Vanilla
1  Egg
1 ½ c.  Flour
¼ tsp.  Baking Soda
½ tsp.  Salt
Mix the shortening, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Sift the dry ingredients together. Combine the sugar and flour mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cookies may be frosted or eaten plain.

Yum. Yum. There's nothing better than hot sugar cookies.

And to Nourish the Soul—One of Danele's Favorite Bible Verse

I have many favorite Bible verses, but the one I tend to cling to is Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I cling to this verse because my life hasn’t turned out the way I envisioned it. I never expected to be poisoned by carbon monoxide from a faulty furnace. I never planned on developing Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or spending seven years locked away in quarantine. During my dark days, Jeremiah 29:11 gave me hope. God has a perfect plan worked out for each of our lives—sometimes it’s just an unexpected road that takes us there.

About Time Tsunami (Book 1 of The Time Counselor Chronicles)

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…
Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution.
Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.  William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline.

As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path? Will she return from the deadly mission?

Time Tsunami is a fast-moving Christian thriller with time travel twists that keep the reader guessing until the very last page.

An Excerpt:
Gil sprinted into the dark hall. The broken rubbish on the floor crackled beneath her feet, making her easy to find. Grabbing at her, Rick tossed her into the kitchen. She fell against the sink and reached for the window. She tugged on it until she realized it had been nailed shut. Shrinking back against the counter, she knew with sudden clarity that Rick had made the kitchen a trap with only one exit—an exit he was blocking. Standing absolutely still, she forced herself to calm her rapid breathing. She had to be quiet, very quiet. Sooner or later, Rick would leave the kitchen doorway, and when he did, she would sneak past him.

“All ye, all ye, outs in free,” Rick sang in an eerie voice that sent chills racing down her spine. “Come out, come out, wherever you may be.”

Gil shivered and choked down a whimper. She saw Rick’s eyes flicker. Peering from side-to-side, he whispered, “Why don’t you come out and play?”

With baited breath, she watched as he slowly advanced. She knew he was trying to draw her out. If she moved prematurely, she’d give away her location. Her muscles tensed and a mist of perspiration beaded her brow. As he made his way deeper into the kitchen, she made a sudden lunge for the doorway.

What people are saying about Time Tsunami
5 Stars! "Incredible book! Fast paced and captivating. A thrill ride that keeps you guessing til the last page." –Barnes & Noble Review

5 Stars! "Hang on to your hat with this one – the novel takes you into the future, reverts back to the past, and has you holding your breath willing the time traveler’s safe return." – Amazon Review

5 Stars! "Wow!!! Fabulous book!!! Couldn't put it down! Great characters. Super plot twists. Fun time travel. Suspense. Humor. Romance. It's all there! Don't miss it!"
-- iBooks Review

Time Tsunami is available on Amazon
 and Barnes and Noble

About Danele
Danele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her 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 in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.

 During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.

 When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.

 Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.

Learn more about Danele and her books on her Web site
and at Prism Book Group

Gail, I’ve had so much fun talking with you today! Thank you for allowing me to be here! I really appreciate it!

It's my pleasure.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Sandra Ardoin Talks about A Reluctant Melody, Shares a Recipe Great for Super Bowl Watching

A Warm Welcome to Sandra Ardoin

Sandra will give away an e-book of A Reluctant Melody. To enter to win leave an e-mail address and a comment below.

Sandra shares her favorite Bible verses and a favorite recipe.

She says, "I have two favorite verses (technically, three). Together, they remind me of the power, compassion, and mercy of God."

The first is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (KJV)

Also, Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (KJV)

A Favorite Recipe:

My mom used to make this regularly. In fact, she made it for my wedding reception twenty-eight years ago. I can’t say where she got the recipe, but when I was young, we lived near Chicago where Italian Beef sandwiches are Mmmm! I suspect she mostly made it up. This isn’t true Chicago-style Italian Beef, but it’s good!

Italian Beef

4 or 5 pound rump or sirloin tip roast
1 tsp. each of oregano, garlic powder, parsley flakes
½ cup of cooking sherry
2 bell peppers and 2 large onions—slivered, not chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (My mom did most of her seasoning by taste.)
Beef bouillon

Place the roast in a baking pan and sprinkle it with oregano, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then add the cooking sherry. The meat is baked at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half. Add the peppers and onion around the sides of the roast halfway through the baking time. Mix the beef bouillon with enough water to cover the onions and peppers and pour it over the roast. Baste occasionally until done.

The keys to this recipe are the thinly sliced beef (Mom would take it back to the store where she bought the meat and have them slice it), the broth, and the bread. You want the broth to soak into the bread aus ju style, so use a softly-textured, sub-type roll and spoon the broth onto the sandwich. After slicing the meat, put it back into the broth to heat through. This is one of those “the longer it sits, the better it is” recipes.

Thank you for sharing! That sounds absolutely delicious, and what a treat it would make for Super Bowl watching!

About A Reluctant Melody:

Kit Barnes’ alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past.

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Purchase A Reluctant Melody on Amazon

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, GoodReads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.