Thursday, December 12, 2013

Spiritual Hobbits with Jill Richardson

~ Author Spotlight ~ 

Let me introduce you to Jill Richardson. She's joining in with a bunch of us this month as we celebrate our books and give you the chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card.

1, Why The Hobbit? What sparked your interest in Tolkien?

Hah. Years ago, my brother tried to get me to read the books. He said they were the greatest things ever. I tried first with The Silmarillion and said, “Yeah, right. Don't think so.” Fast forward to years later when my husband started to read them to our girls when they were elementary school aged. I listened, saw the first movie, then picked the books up myself and devoured them. There is something magic about Tolkien's skill mixed with real, unforgettable, and deep characters, and a story of epic good and evil fought by everyday heroes. Who else would get away with such unlikely heroes? He manages to show both the greatness and depth of evil in humankind in this small world of his.

2. Describe what the book is about, how it's organized, and what a reader can expect.

It's about twenty Tolkien characters, who they are, what makes them do what they do, good or bad, and how that relates to both God and the reader. As far as organization, each character is introduced, quoted, and discussed. Add a relevant Bible passage, discussion/journal questions, and action steps for each person to take going forward. Choose to memorize the short Scripture at the end. A reader can expect to be  both entertained and challenged. I try to have a lot of fun with it, but I don't shy away from tough questions and applications. Teenagers are capable of asking tough questions. They are more than able to recognize things that need changing. I refuse to talk down to a teenager or make it easy for them. They are intelligent, fun, and up for a challenge, and that's what I make the book as well.

3. Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
Sooo hard to answer. I have to say I love Eowyn. I didn't at first; I thought she was too cold and discontent. But her loyalty and fierce need to do something important—I can so relate to that. Plus, she's a princess who isn't afraid to pick up a sword and fight for what matters to her. How cool is that? I love strong female models, since I have three girls.

4. Tell me something more about you.
I used to teach high schoolers, and I loved it. Odd enough for you? I truly think they are a great age. I've spent ten years working in community theater, performing and directing. I have pictures of me doing so that will never see the light of Facebook. Pink hair, purple tights, giant false eyelashes? Yep, I've done it on stage. But—I'm a flaming introvert. Hugely so. I am also a pastor, which is a fun bit of mold breaking as well as serious stuff. I love my three daughters and one husband, manage our three cats, garden on an acre in the western suburbs of Chicago, and love planning our next vacation as soon as we get home form the last one. In fact, my last book before this one was about taking your family on short term mission trips.

Hobbits, elves, and dragons have become common fantasy characters but do they have more relevance to your life than you think? Are they as real as, or the same as, people you meet every day? Maybe not literally, but J.R.R. Tolkien's famous characters bring to life real character qualities we all can learn from, whether good or bad. What can the bravery of a hobbit, the faith of a elf, or the greed of a dragon teach teens about themselves? How can their stories lead us to the real Kingdom where God is working out way more than a fantasy for his people? Dig in to these familiar characters and relevant Bible passages to find out. Come out understanding how to live your own epic story!
Hobbits, You, and the SpiritualWorld of Middle-earth

Bio and Contact Information:
Jill's love for hobbits and elves comes from her time as a literature  teacher and as a lifelong reader of great stories. She also loves an epic challenge and a chance for grace wherever they exist. Jill has a BA in English and Education and an MDiv in theology and is an ordained minister who has served as a worship, preaching, and discipleship pastor. She has published four books previously, as well as articles in national magazines such as FamilyFun, Discipleship Journal, and Today's Christian Woman.

Jill enjoys speaking on a variety of topics and has been very active on the MOPS circuit, as well as in junior high and high school classes. She enjoys speaking for retreats for all ages.

With three daughters, three cats, and (thankfully!) only one husband, she keeps busy otherwise with community theater, gardening, reading, scrapbooking, and traveling. Jill loves oceans, cats, chocolate, teenagers, her family, the Cubs, and God, not necessarily in that order.


From December 1 through December 16, the John 3:16 Marketing Network is hosting a Christmas Book Launch and Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World is a featured book. As part of the event, the Network is offering a $200 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner. For a chance to win, go to and enter the Rafflecopter (toward the bottom of the page). And be sure and pick up your Kindle version of Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World for 99 cents at

Monday, December 9, 2013

Introducing ...Carole Brown

~ Author Spotlight ~ 

As I mentioned last week, I’m participating in a group book launch this month. It’s super fun and crazy busy. Also participating in this launch is, Carole Brown. I thought it would be fun to invite her over here to my blog and ask her to play my favourite little game of Five Favourites… 

Favourite foods:  fruits, veggies, and well done steak and chicken, ice cream, and home-made goodies

Favourite coloursI love combinations like:  blues and greens, orange shades and browns, black and dark reds

Favourite authors: I love old time mystery writers like Dorothy Gillman, Mary Higgins Clark, Lillian Jackson Braun, Agatha Christie, and Elizabeth Peters and I love writers like Dean Koontz, Steven James, Patterson (on certain books), Dick Francis, Robert Parker, and Clive Cussler. But I also adore excellent classics like Pride and Prejudice, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Doctor Zhivago. To round out my selection I still love many children’s stories that I adored as a child and beyond with my own sons: The Velveteen Rabbit, Black Beauty, The Black Stallion series, Hardy and Nancy Drew books, The Five Little Peppers, and many, many more!

Favourite past times:  Being with family and my husband tops everything. I can’t think of a more wonderful opportunity then to blend with them and enjoy the antics, past memories and fun games and meals.

My husband and I also enjoy brainstorming and plotting novels together, both for children and adults. We love reading together and separately, long walks, dining out, a dinner show now and then, music, our hot tub and fireplace.

Favourite places: Some of the states that are my favorite places to visit include: Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington state, and the New England states. There are so many wonderful places we’ve visited that it’s hard to pick just a few. Thankful for the privilege of seeing so much of America! The statue of Liberty in New York; the Hershey Factory and the Sight and Sound Theatres in Lancaster, Pennsylvania are fun and inspiring visits well worth your time. We’ve enjoyed many caves throughout the southern states including Mammoth, underground lakes, and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico along with the White Sands. Tennessee is one of our favorite all-around fun places to go with family. Whether spending nights in hotels or cabins, it’s always a blast of laughter and great times. Closer home we have the LaComedia Theatre palace, caverns, parks, historical sights, museums including the Creation Museum, zoos, etc.

I can’t go on, there’s just too many. But it’s been a real blessing to share them with my family and some friends and now our grandsons.

Thank you, Michelle, for hosting me on your site. {You are so very welcome Carole. Thanks for coming!}

And to help us celebrate the launch of this book, make sure you visit HERE for your chance to win a $200 Amazon voucher. 

Carol's Book...

How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death? Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews! Now available from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an ACFW approved publisher. 

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:

I also am part of several other blogs:
Geezers Guys and Gals:
Barn Door Book Loft:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Whirlwind Tour

Oh my goodness!!!
what a worldwind the last week has been
I've been on excerpt tour
and blog tour
and promoting the awesome $200 Amazon voucher prize.

If you've missed the where and when's
Here's where you can catch up.... 

Blog Tour

Dec.1 Barbara Derksen - the details
Dec 2 Catherine Johnson  - an interview
Dec.3 April Gardener - wise decisions in 4 steps
Dec.4 Carol Riggs - an interview
Dec.5 The Book Review Sister - a Christmas tradition and a Christmas excerpt
         Lisa Lickel - 5 favourites 
Dec.6 Alice J. Wisler - A favourite recipe
Dec 8 Katy Lee - blurring the bookshelf lines

Spiralling Out of Control excerpt tour... 
Dec.2 Martin Roth  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Introducing ... Lisa Lickel

~ Author Spotlight ~ 

I've just got to know Lisa this year through the John 3:16 group. I invited Lisa to come visit my blog and play my Five Favourites game - and she loved it so much... she's playing it on her blog as well! How cool is that?

Favourite foods – lasagna, cinnamon raisin bread, raspberries, vegetable cheddar cheese
Favourite colours – green, rust
Favourite authors – Ray Bradbury, Anne McCaffrey, Steven James, Michelle Griep
Favourite pastimes – quilting, reading, traveling
Favourite places – Newfoundland, Wisconsin’s Great North Woods.

About the book: Two boys learn how cultural and language are no barriers to friendship. Historical fiction for young readers, based on true events.

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A muti-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor.


Carol Riggs recently interviewed me - please pop over and say hi. You can find that post HERE

On the Book Review Sisters' blog I'm talking about Christmas traditions - with a Christmas excerpt from Spiralling Out of Control  HERE

Kevin Smith has posted an excerpt of Spiralling Out of Control HERE

and then following Kevin's post is the next excerpt at Paulette Harper Johnson's website HERE

after you read Paulette's post - you might want to visit Carole Brown's to read the next installment HERE

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Katy Lee - Who Doesn't Love Free?!?

I invited Katy Lee to come and hang out on my blog for a day and she surprised me with this crazy 
Buy One Get One 
Sale of her books!

I've already bought my copy and requested my free book... why don't you do it too? Also, make sure you read right to the end for your chance to win a $200 Amazon voucher.

In Katy Lee’s latest romantic-suspense story, WARNING SIGNS, her heroine, Miriam Hunter, is deaf. Owen, her hero, has some misconceptions of people with hearing impairments, but can Miriam change his way of thinking before she goes to jail? Or worse, killed?  WARNING SIGNS is the first story in Katy’s inspirational series that takes place on a fishing island in Maine.  Stop by the Island of Stepping Stones, where the lobster traps are always full and romance awaits even the hardest of hearts. 

RT Book Reviews gave WARNING SIGNS 4 ½ Stars, making it a keeper.   "Miriam is a strong character who is not held back by what others may perceive as a weakness. Acceptance is a key theme as Lee dispels some misconceptions regarding people with hearing impairments." ~RT Magazine

about Warning Signs:

When a drug-smuggling ring rocks a small coastal town, the DEA sends Agent Owen Matthews to shut it down. A single father with a deaf son, Owen senses that the town's number one suspect—the high school's new principal—doesn't fit the profile. Miriam Hunter hoped to shrug off the stigma of her hearing impairment when she returned to Stepping Stones, Maine. But her recurring nightmares dredge up old memories that could prove her innocence—and uncover the truth behind a decades-old murder. Yet Owen's help may not be enough when someone decides to keep Miriam silenced—permanently.

To read an excerpt, please visit Amazon

about Katy Lee:
As an Inspirational Romantic Suspense author, Katy Lee writes higher-purpose stories in high-speed worlds. Through her writing, ministries, and teaching, she dedicates her life to sharing tales of love, from the “greatest love story ever told” to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Katy and her husband are born New Englanders and love to travel with their three adventuresome homeschooled children.  You can connect with Katy anytime at her website. There you will find links to Facebook and Twitter.  Please look her up!

To purchase the WARNING SIGNS Kindle version, you can go to:

B.O.G.O. Sale: If you purchase WARNING SIGNS between 12/1/13 -12/16/13 from any retailer, contact Katy at her website at for directions to claim your FREE ecopy of REAL VIRTUE. If you would like to see the details on REAL VIRTUE, go here: But remember to contact Katy directly at her website to claim your ecopy!

ALSO ... I'm over at April Gardener's blog with 4 steps to a wise decision.  Please pop over and say hi! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Introducing ... Martin Roth

~ Aussie Author Spotlight ~ 

Let me introduce you to, Martin. This week he's launching his novel and to celebrate, you can enter a competition to win a $200 Amazon voucher. HERE 
I asked Martin if he could hang around to play Five Favourites so make sure you read right to the bottom to learn a little more about the amazing author. 

Martin Roth is a veteran journalist and foreign correspondent whose reports from Asia have appeared in leading publications around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and The Guardian. He is the author of many books. His Brother Half Angel international thrillers focus on the persecuted church. They feature Brother Half Angel, an abrasive former military man who heads a clandestine new military order that is dedicated to fighting for the rights of persecuted Christians around the world. He lives in Australia with his Korean wife and three sons.

Brother Half Angel is the leader of a secret new church military order, dedicated to helping Christians under attack around the world. In this book, the first in the Brother Half Angel series, he is dispatched urgently to China, where an underground seminary is under siege from fanatical sword-wielding members of a local cult who still pay homage to the bloodthirsty extremists who tried to expel all foreigners from China in the nineteenth century.

Favourite foods – I lived in Tokyo for 17 years and love anything Japanese, so long as it is not still wriggling (which in Japan it occasionally is).

Favourite colours – I’m a pretty conservative guy, not flashy, so I prefer somewhat subdued colours. Nothing too bright.

* Favourite authors – I write mysteries and thrillers and enjoy reading them too. Raymond Chandler is the master. He wrote some of the classics of the genre, like “The Big Sleep” and “Farewell My Lovely.” And recently a Scottish friend left Melbourne, Australia (where I live) and has moved with his family back to the UK. Before he went he gave me his collection of Ian Rankin detective mysteries, and I’m reading the series now. They’re great – excellent writing, marvelous characters and a gritty, very atmospheric Edinburgh locale. 

Favourite pastimes – I love art (viewing it that is, and studying art history – I can’t draw to save my life). Here in Melbourne we are blessed with a very fine art gallery, which I enjoy visiting. I also have a strange addiction to what is know as “world music” - pop music from Africa, Latin America and other places. Often when I’m at my computer I’m engrossed in listening to strange music from Mali or Brazil or somewhere else exotic.

Favourite places – as I said, I lived in Tokyo for 17 years and I just love the city. It’s been said that when you’re in Paris or Rome you feel like you’re living in the past, when you’re in New York you feel like you’re living in the present and when you’re in Tokyo you feel like you’re living in the future. It’s a very exciting place.

Thank you so much, Martin for visiting my blog today.

Make sure you all head over HERE and enter the Rafflecopter to WIN 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lorilyn Roberts Counts It All As Joy

~ Remember to read right to the end for your chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card ~ 

I'd love for you to welcome Lorilyn back to my blog. She was here a few months back and she much have had a good time because she's returned and let me interview her!

QUESTION: You write so widely, picture books, YA Fantasy, memoir, recipe book, devotionals. Do you have a favourite genre and why?

LORIYN: No, I don’t have a favourite genre. My passion is to write whatever is on my heart. Those who know a lot more than I do advise against writing in multiple genres, recommending that authors stick to one, but I have waited a long time to write and have accumulated many stories in my lifetime that don’t fit neatly into one reader group.

In addition to the genres you mentioned, I hope to write a series for 8 to 10-year-olds involving the same characters from “The Donkey and the King.” I also want to write a book of animal stories for adults. I have rescued many animals from the shelter, abandoned animals, and one from a puppy mill. I suppose you could say I write in the genre of animals—if there is such a thing.

The second book in the Seventh Dimension Series will be heavy on the historical record, much more so than the first one. I love doing research and look forward to engaging in the process as soon as I have time. “The King” will stretch me because it presents challenges I haven’t dealt with before. It’s the story, though, that God wants me to tell. I know the message and the theme—but I am still asking God to show me exactly how He wants me to tell it.

The third book in the Seventh Dimension Series will be futuristic. I grew up on science fiction and Star Trek. I want to wrap a Christian visionary story around the emergence of Islam on the world scene. I will leave the reader to ponder what that means for the protagonist, Shale Snyder, and her friend, Daniel.

QUESTION:  What are you writing at the moment?

LORILYN: I just finished the devotional book “Am I Okay, God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension” and will spend another month or so marketing it. In the back of mind, though, I am plotting the second book in the Seventh Dimension Series, “The King.”

While I know the turning points, I need more of a skeleton before I begin. Fiction is much more challenging, I think, to do well, and I spend more time thinking about fiction than nonfiction. I even write fiction differently.

I type nonfiction on my stenograph machine and then import the file into Office Word. Fiction I write at the computer, a totally different process.  I can’t write fiction on my stenograph machine, which would be much quicker. Then I use an Excel spreadsheet to organize the scenes. By the time I do a lot of the writing, the story seems like nonfiction because it’s so real to me. Hopefully I will have “The King” finished by next June. That is my goal.

QUESTION: Where or when was your desire to write first ignited?  

LORILYN:  I have stories underneath my bed in a box that I wrote when I was young. The first complete short story I wrote I still have—written when I was eight. I loved writing all the way through school—term papers, research papers, poetry, books (I wrote two books in middle school and high school, though I never finished them)—and for many years I lamented that I could not fulfill my dream to be a writer. I was steered away from that, my parents telling me I needed to choose a career that would “pay the bills.”  So I spent twenty-five years working as a court reporter and fifteen years writing closed captioning for television. I was writing stories, just not my own.

Many years passed before I could once again pursue my desire to write. Writing is the only thing I ever wanted to do and the only thing that came easily to me. Now my writing is fueled by my passion for God. I suppose anything I might have written when I was young God would have counted as “rubbish.” My Savior had many “stories” to teach me. I didn’t truly understand in my heart what being a Christian meant until I was 30. Then God took me through a deep valley of suffering that lasted several years. God needed to wound me to make me realize I needed to rely on Him. I was one of those who had to suffer many things before I understood how much I was loved. Only then could God use me. Now I count it as all joy, knowing that I am in His will, and that’s the best place to be, even if it came late in life.

QUESTION: What's something fun about you that not many people know? 

LORILYN:  I have scuba dived all over the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Caribbean, and the Red Sea. I’ve made over one hundred dives and during that time, had some close encounters with the Creator. The world underneath the ocean is an amazing place. I hope to incorporate some of my diving adventures into a future book—once God shows me the story He wants me to tell.

I am thankful that God has given me no shortage of material from which to draw—a lifetime of memories. I even went back to school and earned my Master of Arts in Creative Writing so I would have the knowledge and skills to write more effectively. And when you are as old as I am, at 58, learning a new craft is truly an adventure.

About the book ... “The Donkey and the King” is a story of love with Christian symbolism and allegory. A donkey longs for an easier life beyond the stable. He dreams of no heavy burdens to bear and no one to tell him what to do.

After leaving the safety of the stable, however, he becomes lost in the wilderness. A sheep finds him, after being sent by the king. With his new friend, the donkey sets out on a very unusual journey.

The reader will find "good" hidden in the artwork, and children will delight in searching for the word on each page. This is a story even adults will like -- the true test of a classic -- enjoying a book as much the one hundredth time as the first.

If you enjoyed looking for the mouse in “Goodnight Moon” you will want to share this book with your child. The moral is:
There is “good” in the world if you look for it.

From December 1 through December 16, the John 3:16 Marketing Network is hosting a Christmas Book Launch and The Donkey and the King is a featured book. As part of the event, the Network is offering a $200 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner. For a chance to win, go to and enter the Rafflecopter (toward the bottom of the page). And be sure and pick up your Kindle version of The Donkey and the King for 99 cents at

About Lorilyn... Lorilyn graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama in 1991. Her studies included spending two weeks in Israel at the start of the Gulf War and touring England, Australia, New Zealand, and several countries in Europe. She later attended the Institute of Children's Literature and earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College.
When Lorilyn was in fifth grade, a teacher accused her of plagiarism in front of her classmates. Little did Lorilyn know the humiliation of that would later lead to a career in writing. When not writing, Lorilyn provides closed captioning for television.
Lorilyn says, “When I start to doubt that anyone is reading my books, I remind myself of the millions of people who have read my captions, even all of my mistakes. The best thing about creative writing is you can make your words perfect. With captioning, it's live and you only get one chance to get it right.”
Lorilyn has two daughters whom she adopted from Nepal and Vietnam as a single mother. She homeschooled both of them, the older one through high school, and believes that the hope of the United States may rest on the conservative values homeschooling families instill in their offspring.
“If we fail to teach our children how to live out their Christian faith practically, we will have lost an opportunity to impact the world for good. It only takes one generation to forget the past. As JRR Tolkien said, ‘There is some good in this world and it's worth fighting for.’”

Lorilyn's books...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hello December with all your Christmas lustre and a chance to win $200!

How I love thee
Decorated & lovely
Is our Christmas tree
Standing in our corner
Silently waiting for the gifts
Although we know the best gift
Has of course already been given
So right now here today I will declare
This is the season for you
Check out the links below
And please take your chance
On a $200 Amazon voucher!

(ok... so I was going for the shaped poem.. a Christmas tree in a pot ... almost? ) 

Seriously! I joke but... I do have something amazing to offer you. 
The John 3:16 group are launching seven titles this month - and Spiralling Out of Control my debut novel is one of them. 
Do yourself a favour and pop over to check out all the other authors and their amazing books - and while you're there, make sure you enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a $200 Amazon voucher. Click here... JOHN 3:16 PROMO  and make your dreams come true! 

Over the next few weeks I'll be interview authors and some are even popping in to play five favourites plus I'll be all over the place appearing on twenty something blogs during this month to celebrate so I hope you have time to pop back here. 
I'll post the links every day to let you know where I am. 

Today you will find me over at Barbara Derksens blog with a scene that didn't quite make the final published version of Spiralling Out of Control 

Part of the celebration includes an excerpt tour  - every day a little more of Spiralling Out of Control will be posted on these blogs...