Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love Finds You in February Winners!

Thank you for all who participated in this fun contest. All of we author-types had lots of fun answering your awesome questions!

Sandie’s books to: Martha A. and Katheyeeberly

Loree’s to: Sherry K and Marlee

Ocieanna to: Shelly

Tricia to: Abi

Cerella’s to: Emily

Miralee’s to: Kim & Elyssa

So Shelly, send my your address and I'll shoot a signed Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie over to you!

Thanks to all who participated!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Love Finds You in February!!!

The "Love Finds You in February" Contest kicks off today and runs until Valentine's Day. If you leave a comment (and your contact information) at one of the following blogs and your name is selected, you'll win a copy of one of the fantastic Love Finds You titles highlighted below.

We’re giving away free copies of eight separate books--not all to one person, either! There will be eight winners, and here's how you can become one of them:

We’re not doing canned author interviews. You’ll be doing the interviewing! Pick as many authors as you like, ask any question you please (such as, something about their book(s), their writing or personal lives), and the author will post the answer in the Comments section. Be sure to bookmark the page and come back often (or have comments forwarded to your email) so you can keep track of the answers. And be sure to identify which author the question is for!

PLEASE NOTE: If someone has already asked the author of your choice a question on that particular blog, you must pick another author and a different question. Questions will be moderated before posting, so naturally, no inappropriate questions will be included.

All of the participating authors will post this same contest on their personal blogs. You can visit each one by clicking on the link listed with each book/author below. That way you can ask a different author a question on each blog, if you’d like (and increase your chances of winning!). You're allowed multiple entries for posting on different blogs... but only one entry per blog.

So let's get started! You can click on each author's


Web site

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana

Julia Cavanaugh has never left New York City. But in 1890, the young woman must head west to ensure that the orphans under her care are settled into good families. After her final stop in Montana, she plans to head straight back east. But upon arriving in the remote town of Lonesome Prairie, Julia learns to her horror that she is also supposed to be delivered into the hands of an uncouth miner who carries a bill of purchase for his new bride. She turns to a respected circuit preacher to protect her from a forced marriage but with no return fare and few friends, Julias options are bleak. What is Gods plan for her in the middle of the vast Montana prairie?

Web site:

Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon
In the thriving 1902 lumber mill community of Bridal Veil, accidents happened.
But nobody expected murder.
Against the backdrop of the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls in a historic Oregon logging community, a schoolteacher finds herself torn between a past love and the man who could be her future. Sixteen-year-old Margaret Garvey promised her heart to Nathaniel Cooper the night he disappeared from town. Four years later, just as she’s giving love a second chance with Andrew, a handsome logger, Nathaniel suddenly returns to town with a devastating secret. While grappling with the betrayal of those she trusted most,Margaret risks her reputation and position by harboring two troubleds disaster strikes the town and threatens the welfare of its citizens, Margaret will be faced with the most important choice of her life.

Love Finds You in Last Chance, California

Alexia’s father has died unexpectedly, leaving her burdened with a heavily mortgaged horse ranch. Marrying one of the town's all-too-willing bachelors would offer her an easy solution, but Alex has no interest in marriage. Instead, she dons men's trousers and rides the range, determined to make the ranch a success on her own. But des pite Alex's best efforts, everything seems to go wrong: ranch hands quit, horses are stolen, and her father's gold goes missing. Alex is at her wit's end when wrangler Justin Phillips arrives in Last Chance with his young son, looking for a job. But there seems to be more to Justin's story than he's willing to share. Will Alex ever be able to trust him?

Web site:

Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania
“Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania is a swirl of chocolaty goodness mixed with multi-layered characters and a touch of surprise. In this lively tale of a klutzy-yet-fiery heroine with a will to succeed, Cerella D. Sechrist creates a delicious story of forgiveness, grace and sweet romance. Highly recommended.” -Julie Carobini, author of Truffles by the Sea and Sweet Waters.

Chef Sadie Spencer has learned that in life, as well as in food, sour balances sweet. After returning to her deliciously charming hometown of Hershey with a young daughter in tow, Sadie has managed to rise from the ashes following the death of her husband, the passing of her mother, and the dissolution of her career as a TV chef. With the help and encouragement of her best friend, Jasper, she opens a restaurant and looks forward to savoring the sweet side of life. That is, until a handsome Russian entrepreneur arrives in town, apparently intent on opening up his own restaurant in direct competition to hers. Sadie becomes obsessed with honing the one skill she’s never had – creating desserts – to keep up with her adversary, and in the process, she finds a love that’s simply icing on the cake.

Web site:

Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida
Award-winning author of laugh-out-loud comedy for the inspirational market. The Big 5-OH! - Abingdon Press - Due on bookstore shelves 2/1/10 Always the Baker, Never the Bride - Abingdon Press - Due on bookstore shelves 9/1/10

Cassie Constantine has no intention of staying in Florida. She's just there to get her late husband's vacation home ready for the real estate market, but the place needs more work than Cassie bargained for. What's more, her widow status is like a target on her back, and the elderly matchmakers around town manage to sidetrack her mission at every turn. Holiday is a landmine of golf tournaments, ballroom dancing competitions and unexpected intrigue. But the biggest obstacle of all? Richard Dillon, the stuffed shirt she's paired with on the dance floor. He makes her heart beat faster than the rhythm of The Quickstep.

Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas
So what if she can't hook a fish? This city girl has a plan to snag something else...and his name is Justin. Lucy Binoche is reasonably attractive, intelligent, and fit. She has French lineage and better-than-average hair. So why is she nearly 30and still single? Justin Gerard is the rugged hottie new to her church's singles group. When he signs up for a camping trip in the Ozarks, Lucy loses no time writing her name on the line beneath his. Theres only one problem Lucy's idea of "roughing it" is suffering through a long line at Starbucks. She assumes she can rely on the grace of God and the assistance of her friend to get through.

But at the campsite in Snowball, Arkansas, Lucy bungles everything she attempts as she tries to impress Justin. She can't fish, hike, or ride a horse; caves make her hyperventilate; and hot-air balloons make her ill. Soon, events are snowballing out of control. Will Lucy pretend to be someone shes not just to snag a boyfriend? Or will she discover someone who loves her just as she is?

Web site:

Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska

A former marine is no match for the spunky Sam Sinclair!

Wounded in battle, Bryce Stone has returned to his home town of North Pole, Alaska, aknd the self-admitted scrooge isn’t happy about living in the town “Where the spirit of Christmas Lives Year Round.” What’s worse, he must postpone his dream of opening a furniture-making shop when his aunt retires and leaves him the family’s cramped and cluttered Christmas boutique. When Bryce underestimates the young woman he’d hired to manage the store, it becomes a battle of wills, and soon Bryce and Sam find themselves fighting for more than just the success of the shop.

Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania

For as long as anyone can remember, tourists have flocked to the quaint town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, where Amish buggies are as common as shops that sell hand-crafted goods. But to attorney Julia Spencer, this town is anything but a paradise. Raised in foster homes, Julia has succeeded in life only through steely determination and independence. The close-knit

Amish people are a mystery to her. But local veterinarian Simon Thomas knows them well and is fiercely protective of their simple ways, which are increasingly threatened by the outside world. When Julia agrees to defend a local teenager charged in a case involving an Amish boy, she and Simon find themselves on opposite sides of an intense legal and emotional battle. Just when it seems they will never understand one another, God has something to teach them both about the power of forgiveness… and the joys to be found in Paradise.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Laundry Lessons--When My House Looked Like My Righteousness

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Is. 61:10 ESV

Remember the verse from Isaiah. “Our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Yesterday my house reminded me of my righteousness—full of filthy clothes!

I’ve spent the last year writing two books, Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana and Love Finds You in Victory Heights Washington. The deadline for Victory Heights was Monday and, sisters, for the last week I worked 10-12 hour days.

Needless to say keeping up on housework, and especially laundry, went out the window—or rather into huge piles all throughout the kids’ rooms, my room, and the hallway.

Our physical well-being was at risk (in case an unaware wee one tripped and crashed her head into a lego creation or other strewn mess.) And our spiritual health also hung in the balance (not the prettiest words pour out when a struggling-to-maintain-her-happy-demeanor mama stumbles on a pile of dirty jeans.)

So yesterday, the first day after the deadline, I jumped in with both feet—and elbows, hands, and a bottle of bleach—to clean! For some reason, I thought my kids would be as fed up with the mess as I was. It was TEAM FLEISS time, and we would conquer the house together.

So, while I chucked one load after another into the washer, scrubbing showers and dishes in the down time, I cheerfully gave the kids tasks. “Christian, yank all that stuff from under the couch.” “Abigail, take this sponge and scrub the stains on the wall.” And the ultimate goal— “Gabrielle, those piles of laundry in the hall need to come down!”

Then as sweet Gabrielle lugged her third basket of laundry down the stairs, she began to make a strange sound. Could that be whining?

I was so surprised. My daughter was whining about cleaning? Doesn’t she know this house is a disaster? I’m gonna be honest. A rumbling frustration grew in my chest. I wanted her to willingly help with a smile—like Snow White in the dwarves’ cabin. “Whistle While You Work.”

Even though my crazy fantasy lacked any understanding about kids’ attitudes toward cleaning, I was disappointed, and tempted to snap at her. “Don’t you want to be on Team Fleiss? Don’t you want to stop living in filth?”

But by God’s grace, instead of snapping, I took a moment to pray and think. Maybe my ideal was extreme, but my desire to instill the value of hard work and a clean home was a good one. How could I take this moment to teach her?

Here’s what I told her.

1. “Sweet Gabrielle, after you brought all those loads down, when you looked at the empty hallway, how did that feel?” She shrugged and said, “Good.” Phew, she said the right thing. “One reason we clean is because it feels good to work hard to make it look nice.’ She liked that. So I moved on.

2. “Another reason we keep our house tidy is to bless others. When you brought down the laundry it meant the family will have clean underwear (which is gleeful!) AND nobody will crash to his death from tripping on the piles. All because you did the not-so-fun work. Thank you, Gabrielle.” A big smile spread across her face.

3. Finally, the most important reason. “We also clean with a cheerful heart because it pleases God. Remember that verse, ‘Rejoice always.’? An orderly house pleases Jesus. It means we care about the home he gave us.” My thoughtful girl’s eyes squinted. “Hmm. Okay, Mama.”

So by the end of the day my house no longer looked like my righteousness—not so full of filthy clothes. But the question still remains. How can my righteousness be cleaned up?

Well, my logic to Gabrielle only worked because God is in her heart, making the truth come to life. And the same is true of me. My temptation to snap shows how scroungy my heart is when ruled by my own selfish desires. I need someone to change my heart from mucky to clean.

There’s hope.

Christ takes our filthy clothing and exchanges them for garments of righteousness. Unlike my home, I can’t scrub hard enough to clean my own hearts. But when I trust in him alone, he does it for me. And dressed as his bride, I go out with joy, serving him in all I do—whether scrubbing showers, teaching whining children, or folding piles of laundry. He is with me.