Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Award-Winning Author Carlene Havel Introduces Her New Novel, Song of the Shepherd Woman. Winner's Choice E-book Giveaway

A Warm Welcome to Carlene Havel

Congratulations on your wonderful new book, Song of the Shepherd Woman

Carlene will give away an eBook. The winner may choose from any of her romance or historical books. Make a selection from Carlene's Amazon Page then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.  Just click on Choose Your Own Option and leave an email address.


Carlene Shares her favorite Bible verse and a favorite recipe

Carlene’s favorite Bible verse (today) is John 3:17: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Carlene admits her favorite verse seems to change fairly often, but usually comes either from John or Romans.

December is Carlene’s month to invade her husband’s domain, the kitchen.  She loves to make Christmas treats both to serve and to give away.  She loves quick, easy recipes that yield something cute as well as tasty.  One of her favorites is this simple, no-bake recipe for holiday mints.

Holiday Mints

Thoroughly blend one cup confectioner's sugar for each ounce of cream cheese. Mix and flavor with peppermint extract to taste (I use at least two tablespoons for a batch of 4 cups sugar/4 oz cheese, but I love mint.)

Shape into small balls and allow to dry for at least an hour or two, in the fridge if it’s a warm day.

Dip in melted white chocolate coating after drying. Sprinkle something festive from the cupboard on top, and your mints are both decorative and yummy.

About Song of the Shepherd Woman

In the first century, Channa’s stepfather gives her to her maternal great-uncle Avram to raise.  He is known to be a peculiar, perhaps dangerous, man with a wife who cannot speak.  Nevertheless, they are kind to Channah and teach her how to care for sheep. When her stepfather unexpectedly announces her betrothal to a Jerusalem tanner, the girl is forced to leave the only home she knows.

The ebook is available at an introductory price of 99 cents for a while, and it’s available just about everywhere.  Here are a couple of links.

Other Digital Stores

Bio: Carlene Havel writes historical stories set in Biblical times with her writing partner Sharon Faucheux.  The duo’s latest release is Song of the Shepherd Woman.

Connect with Carlene Havel on:

Her Website

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Terry Marsh Shares Spiritual Insights For Endurance And Overcoming Sorrow In Deep Calls To Deep, A Devotional. Gives Away A Copy.

A Warm Welcome To Terry Marsh

Terry will give away a print copy of Deep Calls to Deep, A Devotional (U.S. Residents Only)

Click on "invent your own option" and leave an email address on the Rafflecopter to enter to win.

Hi Terry, first, tell us a little about yourself.

Growing up, I wasn’t an avid reader.  Once I was older with two precious children, I became fascinated with the Word of God.  I knew there were hidden treasures waiting to be discovered providing that I would diligently seek for them.  Of course, along the way I reared my children in a Christian home.  They blessed me with six darling grandchildren, whom I adore. In recent years, I’ve devoted myself to writing.  Currently, I’m writing my second devotional and loving it.

Tell us about your latest book.

Deep Calls to Deep: A Devotional is my debut into the literary world.  It was my intention to write a Christian love story for many years, yet ten pages into the manuscript, I felt the Spirit of God moving me to write a devotional.  The endeavor seemed insurmountable at the time, but I decided to just sit down and write.  After writing three devotionals, it became evident to me that I was meant to share the insights that God had bestowed upon me.  This devotional was written so that one may embrace the deeper aspects of the Word of God thereby enhancing their walk with the Lord and to perceive the intrinsic beauty created in nature and us.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

Psalm 42:7 had intrigued me for many years, which reads, “Deep Calls to Deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.”  Those mysteriously alluring words resounded in my mind until I fully embraced what they meant.  Once I knew, a silent knowing came over me.  I knew that verse would be the title of my book, although at the time, I didn’t know it would be a devotional. 

What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?

I love the spiritual connections that the Lord had given me while writing this book, mostly during the wee hours of the morning, which hopefully will translate to everyone in a uniquely personal way.  I hope that readers would share or gift this book to their friends and family.  Often times we would like to share our spiritual insights with others, but time rarely provides the opportunity or they seldom fit into everyday conversations.  Hopefully, this devotional would bless the reader and their loved ones in a beautiful way.   

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I talked about writing a book for years.  Then one day I knew that I had to stop talking about it and just do it.  So, I would advise aspiring writers to create a pleasant writing space first.  After that, write and keep writing until it becomes clear to them what they are meant to do.  In addition, it will help if they make it a priority.  Life will always present obstacles and cause delays, but if you make it a priority, it will happen one page at a time. 

Terry's devotional below shares its title with that of her book.

Deep Calls to Deep 

Passage for the Day: Psalm 42 (ESV)
Verse for the Day: Psalm 42:7 (ESV)
A waterfall is simply irresistible.   Gazing upon such beauty beguiles us.  We become mesmerized by the sight of cascading water, continuously falling, ever descending the side of a mountain.  The sound of rushing water speaks to the deepest part of our being.  We are taken captive by a compelling force within us that draws us nearer and nearer.  We willingly surrender.  We partake.  For in that glorious moment, our spirit soars to a place of pure bliss.  Our senses are awakened to the majesty of God.  His presence is felt so intensely that it seems almost tangible.  God’s voice calls to us from deep within the waterfall.  We listen so as not to miss a Word.  As His loving kindness pours out upon us, we are filled with the full measure of His grace.  Our eyes see and our hearts perceive the glory of God.   God Almighty gives us a glimpse of paradise here on earth.

Life is splendid, yet at times, a torrent of sorrow comes upon us.  It can be so tumultuous that paradise on earth seems obscure.  Our perceptions become hazy and dull.  We grope about in murky waters, bewildered by our circumstances.  We question everything, even our salvation.  Our spirit is brought so low that it seems to take our breath away.  We wonder if we will survive.  Yet deep within ourselves, a gentle current flows that gives us hope and reassurance in the midst of our trouble.

In Psalm 42, the psalmist opens his discourse with “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”   He longs for God as he descends to the depths of sorrow.  He writes, “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.”    The psalmist acknowledges that the depth and heart of God calls to him as the waters of affliction are poured out from above.  He, in turn, calls out to God from the deepest aspect of his soul in the midst of his despair.  He listens acutely for God’s voice in the resounding roar of the waterfall.  His life depends on that deep communion, that deep connection with God.  The surface may rage, but that quiet pool within, where only calm waters flow, is where he finds refuge.  In the stillness of his being, deep within his soul, he knows that God is his stronghold and salvation no matter what life presents.  This knowledge and resoluteness sustains him as it comes from an intimate relationship with God.  It fortifies him, enabling him to rest in God’s sovereignty. The rippling water washes away any doubt and despair.  He sings songs of deliverance, as God delivers him from the oppression of his enemies and lifts him out of the mire.

Likewise, deep within us is a calm place where God abides, where there is a resolve, a knowing.  We know that God is in control even though troubling waters may rise.  This knowledge and reassurance comes as a result of testing.  In times past, we have learned that during the crucible of suffering, we come to the end of ourselves.  We sought God when we were weak, helpless, and distraught.   As a result, we experienced His comforting grace and that peace that surpasses all understanding.   During those times, the power of God rested on us, which enabled us to endure and overcome.   This empowerment came only when the breakers and waves threatened to engulf us.  Deep called to deep.  God called to us and we responded.  We survived, and our faith grew stronger.  Our faith was tested, and it proved genuine—authentic.

We should consider future floodgates from above an opportunity.  Deeper testing will surely come as we mature in Christ. We should welcome these divine visitations, for God longs to have an intimate relationship with us.  He wants to manifest Himself in our life.  Testing is a sure sign that God loves us.  When God calls to us, we should listen intently so as not to miss a Word.  Paradise awaits us on the other side.   

~ ~ ~

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
                         —Psalm 46:1-5 (ESV)

About Terry’s Book, Deep Calls To Deep, A Devotional

Once the veil of doubt and unbelief has been lifted from our eyes, the kingdom of God becomes visible to our heart and mind.  Only then may we see the spiritual realm.   Deep Calls to Deep A Devotional was written to inspire anyone who is seeking to perceive the miraculous hidden among the earthly and those who long to embrace the deeper aspects of the Word of God where divine truth and beauty abides.  In this search, profound revelations of God and glorious truths about ourselves are discovered.

Psalm 42:7 intrigued Terry May Marsh for many years.  Those mysteriously elusive Words, “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.” called to her.  They resounded in her mind, beckoning her to discover the true meaning hidden in this alluring portion of Scripture, which ultimately inspired the title.  Like many passages and verses in the Bible, they resonate with our spirit, compelling us to not only seek but to find the heart and mind of Christ.  Terry shares many of her personal insights in Deep Calls to Deep A Devotional.  She invites you to spend some relaxing moments enjoying this devotional in comfortable places of inspiration and insight into the Word of God.

Buy Deep Calls To Deep, A Devotional 

on Amazon
and Barnes and Noble

About Terry 

Terry May Marsh grew up along the Delaware and Maryland shores with her family and friends.  Spending many summers with her grandparents in Virginia was a welcome change, as she worked on the farm with her cousins, and snapped beans and baked biscuits with her grandmother.  Terry grew up loving God’s Creation where she takes long walks along the beach and through the woods taking pictures of whatever catches her eye.  Taking long rides along winding back roads enjoying the sweet aroma of wild honeysuckle and woodland scents is one of her favorite things to do.  Visiting gardens is another chosen past time, particularly Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, where the conservatory is like a sanctuary to her.  When she isn’t writing or gardening, she loves to paint landscapes.  Sharing High Tea with friends and especially her granddaughters is a highlight in Terry’s life.  She presently lives with her beloved husband and two Golden Retrievers in Smyrna, Delaware.  She has two adult children and six grandchildren, whom she adores. 

Visit Terry on Facebook

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Looking Out The Window: American Christian Fiction Writers December Releases

December 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Rebecca's Redemption by Lee Carver -- A nurse seeking redemption for past sins joins a doctor contending against the jungle. Both healers need healing. (Contemporary, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:

The Christmas Baby by Lisa Carter -- Mistletoe Mommy Anna Reyes is pregnant and widowed, and a Christmas homecoming isn’t so simple. Reuniting with her best friend, Ryan Savage, makes it easier—even though she knows he’ll soon be leaving their small coastal hometown. After putting his career on hold for his family’s business, Ryan’s finally ready to pursue his goals. But as he and Anna work to make the holidays special for a group of at-risk kids, Ryan wonders if he can give up one dream for another. They’re determined to make this a Christmas to remember, but can Ryan and Anna also make their holiday family last forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

You're Gonna Love Me by Robin Lee Hatcher -- Nick's love of thrills and danger and Samantha's love of safety and security drove them apart two years ago. After her worst fears came true, can they build something new upon the ashes of the past? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

A Christmas Kind of Perfect by Christine Schimpf -- Conrad Hamilton thought his life would be easy. A great job running his own construction business, living in his hometown in Door County, Wisconsin, with Lila Clark by his side. He planned on marrying her as soon as she returned from her Chicago internship but it never happened.
Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor did she plan on spending the last decade in New York. But she did. Can the magic of Christmas turn two hearts back to one another again or is it too late to capture that special kind of perfect? (Contemporary Romance from Prism Christian Publishing)

Under the Mistletoe: A Christian Christmas Anthology by Jenna Brandt, Lorana Hoopes, Carol E. Keen, Elle E. Kay, Mary C. Findley, Judith Robl, Evangeline Kelly, C.J. Samuels -- Christmas is the time when families get together and love abounds. Eight inspirational authors have teamed up to bring you 8 wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring you joy this season. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Making Spirits Bright by Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Toni Shiloh, April Hayman -- Christmas is a season for new beginnings and second chances. A time for hope and joy and laughter. A time for people of all ages to find love and come together in community. Making Spirits Bright is a collection of just such stories - four never-before-published inspirational Christmas novellas. From romance to cozy mystery, with a generous dash of humor, these contemporary stories are sure to warm your heart as well as brighten your season and lift your Christmas spirit. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

The Calico and Cowboys Romance Collection by Mary Connealy -- The Old West comes to life under the talented pen of bestselling author Mary Connealy. Enjoy a lighthearted ride alongside seven historical and one contemporary cowboys and the women who tame their hearts. (Historical/Contemporary Romance Novella from Barbour Publishing)

Would-Be Mistletoe Wife by Christine Johnson -- Worried she might lose her teaching job if funding is cut for her boarding school, widow Louise Smythe must consider marriage. But the only prospective groom in town is lighthouse-keeper Jesse Hammond, and he wants children--something she may never be able to provide. While Jesse waits for the ideal woman to make his wife, though, Louise can't help but long for something more than his friendship. If he wants to be promoted to head lighthouse keeper, Jesse needs to find a wife suited to his rustic lifestyle. But as he and Louise partner to give the town's homeless orphans a joyous holiday, he's drawn to the petite woman. Will the light of Christmas finally inspire them to trust in each other's hearts? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Circle of Blessings by Deborah Raney -- A young college student is determined to win the love of her English professor at the university in the Dakota Territory where she is studying to be an architect. (Historical Romance from Raney Day Press)


Return to Bella Terra by MaryAnn Diorio -- When she receives word that her mother is terminally ill, Maria Landro Tonetta travels to her Sicilian homeland with her son Nico. She finds herself yearning for the life she once knew as a child on Bella Terra, the family farm, now on the verge of bankruptcy. Caught between two worlds, Maria dreams of moving back to Sicily with her husband and children to save the farm. When, however, Nico’s biological father unexpectedly appears at Mama’s funeral, Maria faces a new enemy to her dream.
But is there an even greater enemy within her own soul? (Historical, Independently Published)

Brides of Minnesota by Lena Nelson Dooley -- Follow a Swedish family’s journey as they settle in Minnesota where each brother seeks a living—and wife. (Historical from Barbour Publishing)


Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert -- When the dead body of an overdosed teen turns up next to Tess Spencer's mom's trailer, it'll take a miracle to keep Tess from becoming a casualty in her own personal war on drugs. (Mystery, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman -- The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . . can they? (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Holiday Secrets by Susan Sleeman -- When his ex is thrust into the crosshairs of a deadly syndicate, FBI agent Gavin McKade will do whatever it takes to protect her. Even work the case with his stubborn sheriff dad. As if protecting Lexie from professional killers isn’t difficult enough, the unlikely reunion has rekindled their complicated romantic connection. But if Gavin can’t untangle Lexie from this dangerous web, the blurring line between duty and love may not matter…because this Christmas could be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


The Redemption of Jedidiah Pinkney by J.R. Pitts -- A crippled and bullied young boy finds redemption and healing after an encounter with Jesus. (Speculative from Ambassador International)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Leeann Betts Introduces In Search of Christmas Past, A Romantic Suspense. Giveaway.

A Warm Welcome to Leeann Betts

Leeann will give away EITHER a print book (U.S. residents only) OR an ebook of  In Search of Christmas Past. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.

 Hi Leeann, tell us about your latest book.

In Search of Christmas Past is a romantic suspense about two people who want what the other has. Grace Bellows, a senior in college, receives a Christmas card one month after her grandmother’s death, where her beloved Grammie challenges her to an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Raised by her grandmother after her parents’ death in a car accident when she was eight, Grace has lived a jetsetter lifestyle with her wealthy grandmother. Now all she wants is to settle down and have a normal life.

Luke Fisher manages his family’s Christmas tree farm out of a sense of loyalty to his deceased mother because she gave up her dreams of being an attorney. He doesn’t want to live with any regrets, and longs to escape the confines of loyalty to live a life of adventure in the real world.

Can Grace and Luke solve the clues and uncover the truth about their real feelings, or will the tension and their differences in goals and faith drive them apart?

What do you love about this book?

 And what do you hope readers will tell others about it? I love the fact that despite our best laid plans, God still has room to work His way into our lives and get us on the right path.

In three words describe your style of writing. Structured. Passionate. God-centered.

How do you get to know your characters?

I usually spend about two chapters writing backstory, then I work my way through to the real start of the story. I delete the backstory, marvel at what I discovered about my characters, and weave in the backstory later.

What themes do you write about?

 I write about second. . . and third. . . and fourth chances and a God Who is bigger than our mistakes.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write? I usually write in my office, but two or three times a week, I can be found in a local coffee shop, because I find that getting away from the laundry and cobwebs that scream at me for attention helps me focus.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

I am a plotter, and I have used all forms of plotting tools in the past including charts, diagrams, snowflakes, and the like. I’ve recently figured out that since I need a teaser, a blurb, and a synopsis for a publisher, I might as well start with that. So I write those before I write my story, and it serves as a plot outline for me. Keeps me on track, too.

Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?

As a born-again Jesus follower, my faith affects every part of my life. Otherwise, I couldn’t call myself a Jesus follower. And while not every book I write has a salvation scene, the characters are on a journey to find where they fit into God’s plan.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Prepare to invest time and money in your writing. Attend writing conferences. Join local writing groups but don’t spread yourself too thin—you don’t need to join every group. Get involved in a critique group. Read books on writing. Read lots of good books and lots of bad books. And ask God to show you His plan for your writing. And don’t be scared off by what He shows you.

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

I am an accountant by training, so I guess I’d be counting beans somewhere, just like my heroine in my By The Numbers series. Carly Turnquist, a forensic accountant, has made it her life mission to prove that accountants are not boring. That would be me.

What is the coolest, whackiest thing you've ever done? 

I left everything behind and moved to the US to marry my husband. We met online. But that’s a story for another day.

Introduce us to the main character in your new book. (the one we’re featuring this time)

Grace Bellows is a college student who wants to settle down. Raised by her jet setter grandmother after her parents died, she has lived on just about every continent, enjoyed the best of hotels and food, but finds it hasn’t filled that empty spot in her life. She thinks that if she can just do this one thing—live in one place long enough to wear out the welcome mat—she’ll be happy. What she doesn’t realize is that the God she blames for her parents’ death is still chasing her—and while she might be done with Him, He still has good plans for her.

About In Search of Christmas Past:

Grace Bellows, a senior in college, receives a Christmas card one month after her grandmother’s death, where her beloved Grammie challenges her to an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Raised by her grandmother after her parents’ death in a car accident when she was eight, Grace has lived a jetsetter lifestyle with her wealthy grandmother. Now all she wants is to settle down and have a normal life.

Luke Fisher manages his family’s Christmas tree farm out of a sense of loyalty to his deceased mother because she gave up her dreams of being an attorney. He doesn’t want to live with any regrets, and longs to escape the confines of loyalty to live a life of adventure in the real world.

Can Grace and Luke solve the clues and uncover the truth about their real feelings, or will the tension and their differences in goals and faith drive them apart?

About Leeann:

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released six titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Petty Cash releasing in December. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at All books are available on in digital and print, and at in digital format.

Learn more about Leeann on her website  and receive a free ebook just for signing up for the quarterly newsletter.


Books on Amazon  and  Smashwords

Monday, November 20, 2017