Praying for Salvation

by June Foster

Is there anyone in your life – friend or family – that you’d love to see come to salvation? Have you been praying for this person for what seems like forever, and sometimes you ask God if He really hears your prayers? I have. And I’d like to encourage you. Don’t give up.

Let’s see what God’s word says. First of all, He wants everyone and that means the person you’re praying for, to come to Christ. 11Peter3:9 says “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Just as He waited until you were ready to receive Him, He’s waiting to save your friend or loved one when they are, and He absolutely wants them to enter into His Kingdom.

Have you been praying with someone else for that person’s salvation? Matthew 18:19 says “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” I know – God doesn’t violate a person’s free will and force them to receive salvation, but I’d say that agreement in prayer sounds like a powerful tool in seeking God.

Now Acts 16:31 says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Again, that’s no guarantee that another will be saved. But still, this statement is in the Bible and worth considering. If that person you’re praying for is a member of your family, I’d take this verse to heart. To me it indicates that there is a good possibility other people in your family will be saved when or after you do.

11Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is God-breathed.” This means it comes from God’s own mouth. So if God says something in the Word, we can trust it as truth. Pray for the person who’s on your heart and remind God what He says in His word. I believe when you storm Heaven in this way, your loved one doesn’t stand a chance to hide from God for long. I’ve seen it more than once in my own life.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012.  June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

And the Winner Is……

 

The winner is Julie-jliippo.

 She will be receiving copies of “Missing” and “Found” by Suzanne Williams…

Romance and a Cup of Tea

by Suzanne D. Williams

So there I was, Kindle in hand, ready to read, and my thoughts went something like this:

Ah, a romance story. This should be good. Chapter one, enter main male character. Rugged cowboy who used to live here. Gotcha.

I clicked. Next page. Enter female character. Oh, I like her. She has a bit of a past to overcome. That’ll keep it interesting.

Chapter two. Male character stumbles across female character. Chemistry. Yes. I see where this is going.

Chapter three. Wait! He has a past too, and his traumatizes him. Fun. Will he overcome it? Will it drive them apart? (Of course not. It’s a romance novel. They’ll get together.)

Click. Chapter four. Chapter five. Chapter six. Yawn. Wait. I’m bored? What happened? Click. Chapter seven. All is resolved between them.The family thinks he’s great. He’s overcoming his obstacles. I glance down at the percentage meter. Thirty percent? What happens in the rest of this book?

Chapter eight. Stop. Why am I reading from her brother’s point of view?

Chapter nine. I don’t care he’s eating catfish.

Chapter ten. Hold up. She does charity work? You’re just now telling me this? What does that have to do with him and her?

Chapter eleven. Big cataclysmic event. I rub my hands in glee. Maybe the author will drive them apart. Make this more interesting. No? What? The streets of the town lay which direction? The little old lady had what happen to her? Volunteer fire department? And who’s the blonde girl?

WHERE’S THE COUPLE AT?

Oh, that’s right. They’re great. We fixed them by chapter seven.

That’s when it hit me. Writing plot in a romance novel is like brewing a good cup of tea. (You say, “How about coffee?” But I don’t drink coffee and I’m writing this, so I say “tea.”) A good plot boils the story down to the perfect concentration. Too weak and the reader becomes lost. The story rambles. It’s no longer a romance. It’s a … story about an entire town. It’s not him and her fixing what lies between them. It’s “and then we went here, and then we went there, and then this happened.”

My favorite plot advice uses the words “but” or “therefore” to determine what happens next. Never slip into “and then” or the story will fall flat. The biggest “and then” problem in a plot is usually spanning time. If the story covers many months, it’s not necessary to fill in all the gaps. Often, it can be done subtly. They met in the spring, but aren’t married for a year. If nothing happens during the summer, I don’t need an entire chapter that serves no purpose. Instead, concentrate the flavor.

Where the characters are in the plot, should tie to where they were and where they are going. In a romance, each scene needs to be about them or to affect them. Leave all the little stuff, what other characters may be doing, to the reader’s imagination. After all, people don’t read a romance to know how the family is or what the town looks like.

Use each event to condense their relationship to its finest level and forget the other stuff. Put me in his head and in hers. Make me love them individually, then bring them together, overcoming the odds stacked against them. That, my friend, makes for one tasty cup of tea, and one I’ll long remember.

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother. She writes a monthly column on digital photography for the Steve’s Digicams website. She is an author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She also works in graphic design and is a professional proofreader.

Book Title: MISSING

Author’s Blog: http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/

Amazon site for the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008DFT1VS or http://www.amazon.com/Missing-The-Sanders-Saga-Volume/dp/1475294913/

Create Space site for the book: https://www.createspace.com/3867174

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSYgV1vWLYY

 

Going on Hiatus

by:  Staci Stallings

With the end of May and beginning of June being particularly busy for me this year, I am putting the G&F blog on hiatus until June 26, 2012.  For the latest news direct from our authors please visit us on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Faith-4-U/249437741772914

I’ll see you in June!

Have a great start to your summer!

Staci Stallings

G&F Welcomes Fearless Author, Suzanne Williams

Today I’d like you to meet a lovely woman who has overcome many challenges thanks to God’s help.  Suzanne Williams now runs the Fearless group on FB, helping others to overcome fear issues and live again.

Welcome, Suzanne.  Thanks for joining us!

We’d love to know a little about you.  Who is Suzanne Williams?

I always say my life is ordinary. I am a “born and raised” Floridian. In fact, I live only a few miles from where I grew up. I attended a local high school, graduating with honors. My parents were always active in the church, dragging my older brother and I to every service imaginable. My mother is an ordained minister who teaches in churches across the U.S. and in Bible schools around the world. I have worked for her as the office staff for twelve years doing everything from sound and video editing, to graphic design, accounting, and even typing and filing.

My spouse and I have been married for twenty-two years. We have one eighteen-year-old daughter who is graduating from high school this year. He is my best friend and she is my sidekick.  We have one spoiled dog, a dachshund, and two saltwater fish.

I know how active you are on the Facebook page and with writing, but if you weren’t doing that, what might you be pursuing?

If I am not writing, I am reading. I think a writer learns to write better through what they read. I am an avid nature photographer. I take time out at least once a week to concentrate on photography. I see life through the nature around me. I enjoy gardening. I grow everything from flowers to seasonal vegetables. I especially like to plant what draws in insects or birds.

Gardening is not my forte!  I can kill plastic plants, so I have a great admiration for people who can grow things–especially when they can grow things for a purpose like to attract butterflies or birds.  You sound like you lead a very quiet, peaceful life.  Have there been any challenges along the way?

I never thought my life would have a great challenge.  But in 2007, my world fell apart and I became physically ill. I found myself gripped by fear to the point I couldn’t leave home. It was a struggle even to buy groceries or attend church.

I turned to God as the answer. First, I repented. I had bitterness in my heart that required forgiveness. Then I poured myself into the Word of God. I turned off the television, closed all the books, and spent my days and nights feasting on God’s words about peace and freedom. I learned to worship. Worship lifted God back into the place He needed to be for my life to have balance, and through it, God became bigger than my problem.

I will not lie; it was a very hard and slow process. I had to go places I was afraid to go. Often I went sick, but I went. Still today, I find myself doing things out of the ordinary, having little victories. Just yesterday, I drove after dark by myself. That was a huge step from where I was a few years ago.

It’s amazing how we take things like that for granted when others struggle so much with them.  Is there a quote or saying you live by now?  Something that gets you through the hard times?

At the end of my emails, I have a quote made by Peter Marshall, Senate chaplain, on April 18, 1947. He said, “Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for—because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”

I believe Christians must live clean, moral lives in the midst of the sin around us. We must walk in the love of Christ, our lives shining as examples of who Christ is.

Boy, AMEN to that!  Are you working on anything new right now?

I am writing a fiction series, the first book to be released through Write Integrity Press in April. I never thought I’d write fiction, but one night the Lord sparked an idea in me that I had to pursue. It has been fun and I’ve received only positive comments from those who have read it so far.

Awesome!  Something to look forward to!  So what about your other writing endeavors?

This month, one of my letters released in the book Love Letters from the Heart, published by Pix-N-Pens Publishing. These letters serve as testimonies to people in a variety of situations – letters from people who have experienced pain and suffering and want to share their heart with someone going through something similar. Love Letters from the Heart is a beautiful book that will touch hearts and has the power to change lives.

Last year, Tracy Ruckman and I began a project for a series of anthologies entitled “Life Lessons.” Our first book in this series, Life Lessons From Grandparents, came out in December. Currently we are seeking submissions for the other books in the series  – Moms, Dads, and Teachers. We are looking for heartfelt stories about how these special people touched your life. Visit Write Integrity Press for information on how to submit.

One year ago this March, I released my book, Fearless. It is my testimony of freedom from fear, words God spoke to my heart that set me free. I am so blessed at the comments people have given of how it has helped them. That was truly my heart in creating the book. I saw so many trapped in the cycle of fear and wanted them to know there is a permanent way out.

I know our readers would love to read that!  Tell us where we can find you on the ‘net to learn more.

I write regularly in my blog. All the links to my places on the web are listed there  – both with my writing and my photography. I also write monthly for Steve’s Digicams.com on the subject of photography. Email subscribers to the blog will receive notice of anything I have coming out.

http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/

Readers, Suzanne is giving away two prize packages of books – one digital and one print! Just leave a relevant comment here on the blog about her interview, and then tell us whether you’d like to win the digital package or the print package.

She’ll then draw two winners – one digital package and one print package – each winner will receive one copy each of her books:

Fearless

Love Letters from the Heart

Life Lessons from Grandparents

The print package is available only for residents of the US, but the digital package is available internationally.

Comments must be posted by March 2, 2012 – Winners will be contacted by e-mail, so be sure to put your email address in your comment.

 

 

Thanks for joining us Suzanne.  Best of luck and many blessings on all you do!  Join us next week when our guest will be Judy Hampton.  Until then… Have a blessed day!

Review of “Your LIfe, a Legacy”

Reviewed by Peggy Blann Phifer
“Your Life, a Legacy”

by Joy DeKok

For being only 45 pages, Your Life, a Legacy is amazingly packed with wonderful truths and insightful thoughts. Things, I admit, I have seldom, if ever, given much consideration.

Joy did a guest post on my blog earlier this month and blew me away. We’ll get to that later. For now, let me share a few things that touched me from the book. No, they whomped me right upside my head. Real eye-openers.

Joy begins with some bits and pieces of herself. Things she experienced through the years and how they affected her. But then she talks about the regret in not knowing much, or not enough about her family background. She knew who they were but not much about where they’d been, what they’d done. A lot of these memories used to be handed down through generation after generation when everyone would gather together for family celebrations. Does that happen anymore? I wonder. So Joy wrote this little book to help us to leave a legacy for our future generations.

Legacy Giving is an opportunity for you and your Receives to get the best there is from the times of your life.”

Call them memoirs, maybe, but I believe she meant something much more. Not just the good things. Joy tells a little story about something she did as a little girl that comes back to haunt her every now and then. I have a similar story. I’ll bet you do, too.

Okay, Joy quoted someone who is Giving a Legacy as saying, “As I write, something unexpected is happening. I’m owning my life. All of it.”

Ah. In other words, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is oddly freeing. Am I ready to do it? I don’t know. Would my children and grandchildren be interested or even care? Again, I don’t know. But, giving it some honest thought, perhaps it would help them understand things that have happened over the past 30 years.

So, that’s whomp number one, and for me the biggest.

You see, the cover of Your Life, a Legacy has some old black and white snap shots, and as I looked at that for the first time, my mind snapped to the realization that I have a whole bunch of pictures like that! Where are they? Not sure. But my sister, about 15 years ago, started scrapbooking, and she assembled a remarkable “Memory Book” as she called it, with pictures from our youth, some wonderful old pictures of our grandparents, and some stories she gleaned through one-on-one interviews with our mother and father. I don’t have that scrapbook. It was intended for her children and grandchildren. However, I did talk Marty into copying the pages for me. And I’d forgotten I even had that.

Well, maybe I got off track here a bit, but then, I don’t really think so. The intent of a review is to express how it affected me as the reader of the book. Obviously, it had a great deal of impact. And as a result, I am highly recommending it to you, no matter your age. It’s never too late to start Giving your own Legacy.

It’s an eBook you can get on Amazon HERE

There’s a fun giveaway riding along on this. Joy and I are doing a Backward Scavenger Hunt. Below you’ll find a scrambled word. It’s not hard. Shouldn’t take you more than 30 seconds to unscramble it.

Here’s the first clue . . . Unscramble this: EORC That’s the easy part.

Set it aside and go to my Whispers in Purple blog where Joy guest-posted and look for a misspelled word. There’s just one. Leave a comment there with your name and email address (you[at] yourdomain [dot] com/net/org) stating that you found the misspelled word, but DON’T say what it was.

Once you’ve found that, take the incorrect letter and add it to your unscrambled word to form a new word. Then add a letter of your own and add it to for yet another word. Leave a comment here with the same information, but here you may share your words. Set them aside and wait for the next clue, which you find at either of these two sites: Joy Dekok or Books by Joy or BOTH!

The Prize is being assembled, but there WILL be a free copy of my new release TO SEE THE SUN, and a copy of Joy’s YOUR LIFE, A LEGACY, and a sterling silver heart necklace with a diamond. So far that’s all I’m sure of. Watch the next posts to see how the prize builds.

Find Peg at: http://peggyblannphier.com and http://www.whispersinpurple.com

Joy Dekok

author of Your Life, a Legacy

 

 

 

Peg Phifer

author of To See the Sun

Changes coming to Grace & Faith 4U

First of all, thanks so much for following our inaugural blogs on this site!  We so appreciate all of our readers and authors.

As the new year begins, we are making a few relatively minor changes around here to better serve you.

Beginning Jan. 2, this main blog will transition to reader-only content.  We will have reviews, interviews, and devotionals only on this site.

Marketing tips and info for our authors will transition over to the Grace & Faith Marketing blog, which will post on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  If you’re a G&F author and you want to post about marketing or writing tips, your post will be featured over there rather than here.

Please invite all of your reader friends to join us over here for great content and head’s up on awesome Christian books and ebooks!

Again, thanks for following us, and here’s to a fabulous NEW YEAR!

Some Thoughts & Ideas for Marketing a Series

by: Naomi Musch

I’m feeling my way through marketing madness just like every novelist these days. We learn as we go, and pray our way through as we hasten to keep up with blogs and tweets, and try to determine which social marketing techniques really work for us and which are time-wasters or simply not our cup o’ tea. It’s challenging with one book, but when we publish a series we wonder how to keep the interest alive in book #1 which will attract new readers, while promoting book #2, #3, and so on.

Besides all the usual blogging, interviewing, and trying to garner reviews, here are a few ideas I’m testing with my Empire in Pine historical series. Feel free to add your own in the comments.


Business Cards
— I order (from Vistaprint) new folded business cards for each book. Some people like to use postcards or bookmarks. As mine are eBooks, these unique business cards work for me. They look just like tiny books. On the outside is the cover in vivid color. On the back in gray-scale is the cover overlaid with purchasing and web site information. Inside is the book’s blurb. I can get quite a bit of info in there in a comfortable 10 pt. Times New Romans font. As each new book in my series comes out I spread these around liberally. They get mailed with my dentist bills, left in the teacher’s lounge at school where I work, dropped on the table when I dine, or handed out to anyone who seems curious. Also, I use them when doing giveaway drawings with groups of writers. For instance, recently we gals at The Barn Door site did a one year anniversary gift basket drawing. I sent both in an envelope with a Christmas card and my email telling the winner they could choose either as a free download.

A variation of this idea is to put covers of all your books on one postcard with one-line hooks and purchasing information.

Specified Facebook Group Pages — When The Red Fury, book 2 in my series, released, I started realizing I could search out group pages in Facebook that related to the historical setting of the Great Peshtigo Fire, an incident central to the story. I joined the group, and without spamming them, just let them know that I’d written a novel which told the Peshtigo story through the experiences of a young woman with a broken past, torn between the love of brothers running from their memories during the Civil War. You have to think a big outside the box as to what themes, settings, or informational tidbits might be running through your books that could have a connection there in Facebook or Twitter land. Which reminds me, I do the same thing on Twitter, using hashtags of place (towns), themes, personalities, or historical detail that might draw attention.

Interviews Related to Locale — If each of your books is set in a particular local, try to set up talks or interviews which are at or near that local if at all possible (or via the internet). For instance, for The Green Veil, set in my home town, I could try setting up talks or interviews there at the library, historical society, on local blogs or radio shows, etc. For next year’s release, The Black Rose, I hope to hit up coffee shops between Superior, WI and the U.P of Michigan. The thing with local talks is that it gives you the opportunity to not only promote one book, but the whole series. I really suspect that as much as you need to develop a world-wide web presence, building a reader base in localized communities (either your own, or where your book setting is located) is a great way to begin the word of mouth process.

Series Tweets — On your own blog or Twitter page, try running a series of posts such as “What Empire in Pine is about”, then each day post something related to the series as a whole, while offering excerpts or chapters from book #1 one day, from book #2 the next, and so on.

Mentions — When doing guest posts on others’ blogs, primarily promote the current book, but also find a way in the interview to at least comment on something from the previous.

Billboards — There’s always the billboard approach. T-shirts, pens, and even car magnets with your series book covers and website address will draw attention wherever you go. You might find yourself handing out business cards at the gas station.

Fund-raisers — If you have a Christian radio station in your town, I’ve often thought about offering a book giveaway during their fund-raising marathons. You might get on air with a chance to tell something about your series, and at the same time be a service by attracting charitable donations. I’ve also done this with auction gift baskets for schools. There are always folks doing fund-raisers where you might be able to contribute. In the process, you can give everyone involved with the fund-raiser one of your business cards and probably be able to talk up your series face-to-face.

About Blog Interviews — When I visit other blogs, I consider whether the audience will be different than others I’ve already likely touched. If it is, I may talk about the series verses a single book. In other words, I select certain blogs for the new book, others for concentrating on the series as a whole. But when I have a new one out, that’s the one I primarily focus on.

As the world of publishing changes, and the internet alters to open new opportunities, there is only one certainty. As always, the main thing is to write a Great Book each time. If it turns out book #1 doesn’t rock because we’re thinking too far ahead into what books we’ll write after that, then that’ll be the end of it. Make sure each novel you write is your best work. How do you know if it rocks? We all think our own babies are the cutest, cuddliest, most charming creatures in the world. We think their drool is cute. We overlook the burp-ups and smelly messes. Do we do the same thing with our stories? If you happen to be self-publishing, this is the biggest danger. Make sure you hire an editor to help you clean that baby up! Then show it off any way you can.

Naomi Musch is the author of the historical romance series, Empire in Pine from Desert Breeze Publishing. Her aim is to surprise and entertain readers while telling stories about imperfect people finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles. She invites you to visit investigate her series and other works at http://www.naomimusch.com 

Merry Christmas from Grace&Faith4U!


We here at Grace & Faith 4u would like to wish
all of our readers and authors
a very MERRY and peace-filled Christmas!

In this time of joy, we remember those we have lost and those who are with us only in spirit.  May we remember to give hugs to everyone who is here, extending Christ’s love for us to them. 

May God bless you all
in this Season of Hope, Joy, and Love!

Blog Party TODAY ONLY!

Don’t miss the first-ever GraceAndFaith4U Blog Party! “Faith, Fun, & Food” today only…

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