Sunday, December 31, 2023

Favorite Nonfiction Reads of 2023

An Explorer's Guide to Julian of Norwich 

Growing up evangelical, I didn't learn about the Catholic saints. This guide by Veronica Mary Rolf was the perfect introduction to Julian of Norwich and her visions. Read my review.

Return From Tomorrow 

This book restored my hope and gave me a greater understanding of God's goodness and lovingkindness toward us all. Read my review.

Wake Up to Wonder

This one provided wise advice, practical suggestions, and open invitations to live fully and healthily in the present. Read my review.

Wonder Dogs

Filled with highly interesting short stories, my daughter and I read this book together. I closed the book feeling amazed at what properly trained assistance dogs can do. Read my review.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Author Interview: Living Secrets by S.F. Baumgartner

About the Book

Book: Living Secrets: A Thriller

Author: S.F. Baumgartner

Genre: Christian Thriller

Release Date: September 29, 2023

Can the secret love child of a U.S. Senator deliver the cure for a bioterror threat before time runs out?

Lily Tso is bored and unfulfilled. Orphaned at birth, the twenty-two-year-old Hotel Guest Service Officer is overwhelmed to discover her parents are alive. But the young woman fears she’s woefully unprepared for a treacherous operation to save America and to meet her parents.

Teaming up with an FBI Special Agent and a young tycoon, Lily sets out on a dangerous mission to prevent a heinous biological attack. But as unknown forces bent on thwarting her attempt, she fears time is running out for both her and the country she calls her new home.

Will Lily be able to survive the attacks and save America from certain doom?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

S.F. Baumgartner is a Christian suspense thriller author and creator of the Mirror Estate series. She graduated from the University of Hawaii and the University of Cincinnati. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her cats, staying active, and binge-watching crime TV shows. She lives in Ohio with her family.

Author Interview with S.F.

Q: How long did it take you to write this novel?

S.F.: It took me three to four months to finish it. I started it back in 2019 but set it aside when the pandemic hit. It was only last year that I picked it up again.

Q: If the novel was made into a movie, who would like you to see play the main characters?

S.F.: For Lily, I’d like a younger version of Chloe Bennet or Christine Ko.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know?

S.F.: I worked in a hotel soon after high school for a little bit. I also worked as a tour guide for a summer in a tourist attraction, much like The Biltmore.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

S.F.: When I’m not writing, I read, or binge watch TV cop/crime shows (where I get a lot of inspiration)

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your novel?

I have a website, and they can follow me on my social media . My novels are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and other online retailers and some libraries, as well as my website.

More from S.F.

The Journey to “Living Secrets”: A Tale of Hurdles, Hiatus, and Hope

Hello everyone,

I’m incredibly excited to share with you all the backstory of how “Living Secrets,” the first book in the Mirror Estate series, came to be. If you’re a fan of the series (or soon to be), you might know that we’ve got a prequel, “Buried Secrets,” already out in the wild. While it provides some extra flavor and context to the series, “Living Secrets” can totally be enjoyed as a standalone.

The Seeds of a Story

The seedling of the Mirror Estate series started forming in my brain quite some time ago. In fact, I penned an earlier version of the prequel back in 2019, under the title “The Secrets.” No sooner had I hit ‘save’ on that manuscript than I dove head-first into plotting out “Living Secrets.” The story was pulsing through my veins, and I couldn’t wait to get it down on paper.

The 2020 Slump

Then 2020 happened. Ah, yes, the year that shall not be named. Amidst the chaos, my writing spirit decided to take an unscheduled sabbatical. My keyboard gathered dust and the characters in my head seemed to go into hibernation. It was a tough period, creatively speaking, and I know I wasn’t alone in feeling that way.

Rising from the Ashes

Finally, something clicked earlier this year. It was as though my internal storytelling engine roared back to life. I decided it was time to re-enter the world of Mirror Estate. I dusted off the old prequel, gave it a facelift, and republished it as “Buried Secrets,” a more fleshed-out and refined version of the original. But I didn’t stop there; I tackled “Living Secrets” with renewed vigor. After long writing sessions, late-night plot debates with myself, and endless cups of coffee, it’s done. And I couldn’t be prouder to announce that “Living Secrets” is scheduled for release on September 29!

So, whether you’ve been with me since the early days or you’re just discovering the series now, I’m thrilled to have you on this journey. Get ready for a rollercoaster of emotions, plot twists, and unforgettable characters.

Thanks for reading, and I can’t wait for you to dive into “Living Secrets” come September 29.

Until next time, happy reading!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 17 (Author Interview)

Exploring the Written Word, December 17

Betti Mace, December 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 19

Artistic Nobody, December 20 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 21

Blogging With Carol, December 22

Lily’ Corner, December 23

Guild Master, December 24 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 25

Beauty in the Binding, December 26 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, December 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 27


To celebrate her tour, S.F. is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and an eBook copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway:

Author Interview: Sweet Rivalry by Terri Gillespie

About the Book

Book: Sweet Rivalry

Author: Terri Gillespie

Genre: Women’s Contemporary/ Christian Romance/Family Life Fiction

Release Date: October 27, 2021

Just an ordinary morning for Sarah Sweeting—watching her favorite baking show, Cupcake Rivalry, getting ready for work at her Granny’s small-town bakery. All that changes when Sarah spots a contestant who looks like her, sounds like her, moves like her.

Was this her twin sister? The twin her mother ran away with twenty years ago? Were hers and Granny’s prayers finally being answered?

When Granny confirms Sarah’s shocking discovery, Granny suffers a heart attack.

Raven Souwer’s morning began at a frenzied pace—incessantly ringing phones and a Beverly Hills’ bakery full of customers. All because everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the Cupcake Rivalry contestants—Raven and her best friend, Will Durning.

But a phone call from an excited woman who claims to be Raven’s long-lost sister—a sister Raven has no memory of—informs Raven that a grandmother she never knew was in the hospital.

The call changes the course of Raven’s life and brings up the pain she thought she’d overcome.

Will Sarah and Raven finally be united, or will other rivalries—like competing in a baking show—separate them again?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Award-winning author, YouTube personality, and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption. She has won best contemporary with the Lyra Awards, Rattler Contest, Golden Scroll, and placed in the Angel Book Awards.

Life is a journey. Terri lived in fear most of her life. Stories helped her see life through the lens of adventure and God’s abiding love. Those stories changed her life. They empowered her to be brave. She hopes hers will do the same for you.

She is the author of critically-acclaimed Making Eye Contact with God (now in its 15th year), She Does Good Hair, CUT IT OUT!, Really Bad Hair Day, and Sweet Rivalry.

Author Interview with Terri

Q: What was the inspiration behind Sweet Rivalry?

Terri: Cupcakes. Over ten years ago, my writing friends and I were brainstorming ideas, and I came up with an undeveloped thought about sisters who ran a small-town bakery. I called them the Cupcake Sisters. That was the extent of the concept, but for whatever reason it resonated with the three of us.

A few months later, one of my friends gave me a cupcake candle as a reminder to write the story. That candle sat on my inspiration shelf for ten years, nagging me.

During Covid quarantine, I binge watched TLC’s Long Lost Family. The American version follows the stories of people who have been separated from family and are reunited with their birthparents and biological families, or the show finds children families had to place for adoption long ago. Very emotional. Very inspiring. Lots of tissues. But . . .

I asked myself, “What happens when the camera crew leaves?” Do families embrace the “long lost” person as family? Or do they struggle with how to do that. Some of the adopted children were a result of infidelity, teen pregnancy, and even one episode, the son was a result of rape.

That took an unformed premise about two sisters who baked, into something tangible enough to write the story. Twins separated as toddlers by a mother with addiction problems. Twenty years later, how do they become a family again.

Q: How long did it take you to write this novel?

Terri: Once the plot was established, six or seven months for the first draft.

Q: What was the most surprising thing you discovered while researching and writing this novel?

Terri: The most surprising thing? Bakeries don’t like “revealing” insights into their operations. Our local bakery has several awards, and the owner was on the Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship. I met with the manager at least a half dozen times who told me they had to talk with the owner. Nothing.

So, praise the Lord for the Food Network. I binge watched several shows and took copious notes.

No hard feelings with the local bakery. We frequent the quaint shop as often as the waistline permits.

Q: Do any of the novel’s characters hold a special place in your heart?

Terri: Rachel, known as Raven. Raven’s traumatic childhood almost destroyed her. Baking saved her life—or rather, the Lord gave her a talent for baking that ultimately saves her life and then enables her sister to find her. Raven has a difficult time trusting—understandably so given her mother’s drug problems.

More than anything, Raven needs for people to be honest. Secrets are anathema to her. It was refreshing to watch her tear down her understandably strong walls with truth.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know?

Terri: Ready?

I was a managing editor for a bestselling Bible translation: The Tree of Life Version of the Holy Scriptures.

I’m related by marriage to Vincent Price, Frederick the Great of Prussia, and Rush Limbaugh.

I was responsible for over one million tons of petroleum coke and coal on the inland waterways. This product was shipped by barges, and I negotiated the barge rates—every day.

I wrote radio spots for the Restoration of Israel which aired over twenty stations in fourteen states.

I organized and managed an Israel tour of over ninety people.

Q: Who is an author you would recommend to anyone and everyone?

Terri: Just one? How about three? In random order:

Cathy Gohlke
Angela Hunt
Jaime Jo Wright

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your novel?

Terri: My website:

Social Media:


More from Terri

Where do stories come from? Oh, so many places. Sweet Rivalry began over ten years ago with an idea called the “cupcake sisters.” Two sisters who worked in a small hometown bakery trying to be true to family recipes and not get overrun by the food chains. Not much more than that. Boring, right?

The other day, I ran across my notes written years ago with other ideas for the sisters. No plot could carry an interesting enough story to get the creative juices going.

A dear friend—and amazing author—gave me a life-sized cupcake candle. The vibrant colors and glittery icing were meant to inspire me to develop the idea and write the book. It sat on my inspiration shelf for years.

At first every time I looked at it, I would smile.

But, as the years went by the sun faded the candle, as did my hope of finding the right story for the cupcake sisters.

Then, during COVID I got hooked on those reality shows about long-lost families being reunited after decades of separation. Some of the families had no idea the other family member existed.

Each episode meant a fist of soppy tissues. Yet, even with the dramatic music, professional editing, and big build-up, some families’ smiles didn’t quite reach their eyes.

I wondered, what happens to these people after the camera crews leave? After the emotional reunions, the drama and excitement subsides and reality settles into their respective homes? How do these people from very different histories become a family? Do they even try? Do they want to face the secrets that separated them?

Some of the “long-lost” family members were children of affairs. Most were children given up through adoption. Others abandoned. One man found his birth mother, only to learn he was the result of a rape. How do they navigate the choppy and complex psychological waters?

These interesting stories became delicious ingredients for the Sweet Rivalry novel. Twin sisters separated as toddlers by a troubled mother with addictions.

One sister, Sarah was raised by her loving, Christian grandmother who owned the local Sweet’s Bakery.

The other sister, Raven was raised by her using mother, in crack houses. Still, Raven manages to become a celebrated pastry chef.

How do twins with completely different childhoods become a family? How does the sister raised in a loving, stable, Christian environment form a relationship with the sister who has seen the worst of society and had to pull herself from a terrible background all on her own? Who now blames God for the horrific things that happened to her?

And a grandmother that hides a terrible secret?

Now, throw into the mix three handsome men vying for the twins’ affections, then bake with the emotional investments into the lives of these women, and you’ve got quite a recipe for a delectable story.

With humor, passion and delicious recipes, Sweet Rivalry will satisfy the hungry reader looking for a unique story of hope.

You know, Sweet Rivalry’s journey proved to me once again, that creativity can’t be forced, and GOD’s timing is always the best—even if it is a ten-year wait.

How about a recipe?

Raven’s Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cupcakes with Fritos Frosting

The Recipe That Almost Won the Cupcake Rivalry competition for Raven and Will.

Raven’s cupcake recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup unsalted butter softened

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar packed

2 eggs room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup Dr Pepper

½ cup buttermilk

Will’s Fritos Cream Cheese Frosting

4 cup powdered sugar

½ cup unsalted butter softened

6 oz cream cheese softened

4 T Dr Pepper to taste

Original, Regular flavor Fritos (up to 1 cup)—Don’t use the scoop type


Raven’s Chocolate Dr Pepper Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350o F. Prepare 2-12 count muffin tins with cupcake cup liners (22-24 total).
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or a hand mixer and large bowl), add in butter, granulated and brown sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on low until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Keeping mixer speed on low, add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix in the Dr Pepper.
  5. Add the other half of the dry ingredients as well as the buttermilk. Mix until just combined—do not overmix. Batter should be thick and fluffy.
  6. Pour cupcake batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups 2/3 full. Tap the tin on the counter a few times to level the batter.
  7. Bake cupcakes one batch at a time for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Place muffin tin on a wire cooling rack to cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove cupcakes and allow to finish cooling on wire rack.
  9. Wait until cupcakes are completely cooled before applying the frosting.

Will’s Fritos Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Use a clean stand mixer (or a hand-mixer & large bowl) on high speed beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy, roughly 2 minutes.
  2. Drop speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. May be clumpy at this stage—don’t worry.
  3. Keeping speed on low, slowly beat in softened cream cheese. Will recommends cutting the cream cheese into 4-5 pieces and mixing in one piece at a time.
  4. Finally, add in the Dr. Pepper. Now if you want more Dr. Pepper flavor, you can add more, and you can add up to a cup more of powdered sugar, but after that, you lose the great cream cheese flavor.
  5. Finely ground ½ cup of Fritos. Almost as fine as coffee grounds. Fold in by hand into frosting.
  6. Frost the cupcakes.
  7. Remaining Fritos you can either roughly ground and sprinkled on top, or Will likes to leave one Frito curl nestled on top, right before serving.
  8. Eat immediately—I mean, who would wait?

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Artistic Nobody, December 17 (Author Interview)

Books I’ve Read, December 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 20

Cover Lover Book Review, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 24 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 25

Beauty in the Binding, December 26 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, December 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 28 (Author Interview)

Exploring the Written Word, December 28

Lily’s Corner, December 29


To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of Sweet Rivalry, Cupcake Stickers, Sweet Rivalry bookmark, and a Hand-poured Cupcake Candle!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway:

Friday, December 22, 2023

Epic Book Launch: Call to Embrace by Maryann Landers

About the Book:

Book Title: Call to Embrace

Author Name: Maryann Landers

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Release Date: November 1, 2023

She’s detached in a stormy marriage because of both of their unfaithfulness. Now she faces the aftermath of her compromise with an unwanted pregnancy. Will fleeing bring her the freedom she yearns for?

Emily Corentin wants to escape the jagged edges of her brokenness. She believes the only option she has is to take her young daughter, leave her husband, and end the unintended pregnancy with an abortion. But her plans take an unexpected turn when the homeless shelter she finds is not the type of help she wanted. She’d buried religion years ago with the death of her Gran. Any God-fearing place will only confirm how much God abandoned her.

An offer from a shelter volunteer may be the lifeline she and her daughter need, but Emily only sees it as a means to an end. The unlikely friendship that follows, draws her closer to the answers she may have carried with her all along. But rash decisions bring new challenges that drag her further into a sea of helplessness.

When all hope is lost in despair will she be washed away by the patterns of her past? Or will she answer the call to embrace the mercy of the cross and in turn bring reconciliation to her marriage?

Book Excerpt

I'd spent most of the night packing a few items into my backpack and forming a diminutive plan. Eric's blasting words had confirmed my choice to meet with Heather, an old friend from Prince of Wales, who had agreed to help me with Destiny without asking questions. Conveniently, she had no contact with Eric, so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything getting back to him. I would drop Destiny off with her, find a clinic to help me, and then file for divorce.

All Destiny and I needed to do was walk down the road a couple of miles. It was more than a little farther, as I'd led Destiny to believe, but it was our only hope for the day.

I picked up Destiny and carried her close to me as we neared a large flow of water from a melting snow pile. Winter in Anchorage seemed to last forever. I hadn’t expected the harshness it brought compared to the maritime climate of Southeast Alaska. Even though Anchorage was a coastal city, it still had temperatures well below freezing, and at one point, they'd dipped below zero Fahrenheit, which had been a new and bitter experience for me.

Links to all Excerpts:

Alaskan based author Maryann Landers writes women’s faith filled fiction based on true stories of extraordinary women of her magnificent state. She loves to showcase the unique north and give her readers a little taste of rustic Alaska.

While writing in her log home in the woods she is also looking forward to her next adventure with her Alaskan husband, juggling mom tasks such as crafting homemade meals from moose and caribou meat, building DIY projects from scrap wood piles and guiding her teens in their homeschooling.

To learn about her inspiration to write Alaskan based stories read her blog at

Her first novel in the Alaskan Women of Caliber Series; Alaskan Calibration released June 2021.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Book Review: Calling on the Matchmaker by Jody Hedlund


  • Title: Calling on the Matchmaker
  • Series: A Shanahan Match (Book 1)
  • Author: Jody Hedlund
  • Genre: Historical Romance, American Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 12, 2023)
  • Length: (304) pages
  • Format: Trade Paperback, eBook, & Audiobook
  • ISBN: 978-0764241963‎
  • Tour Dates: December 11 – 20, 2023


Haunted by the death of her sister, Finola Shanahan has resolved that she's not worthy of a family of her own and commits to spending her days caring for immigrants in the slums. When Finola sabotages yet another unwanted relationship her parents arranged for her, her father calls upon the local Irish matchmaker, who pairs her with successful wagonmaker Riley Rafferty. Finola quickly realizes her usual tricks won't work on him, however, as she cannot outsmart or outwit the dashing, determined, and daring man.

A candidate in the St. Louis mayoral election, Riley is confident a union with the wealthy Shanahan family will help solidify his chances of winning--and even more assured he and Finola can make a difference together. When a cholera outbreak begins to take St. Louis by storm, they must navigate a burgeoning attraction and growing danger testing all they know about love and sacrifice.


“Hedlund’s textured historical backdrop brings the city’s Irish tenements to life, and the romance between Finola and Riley, full of longing and barely contained passion (“She was like a fire burning down a building. And he was walking straight into the flames”), is a treat. Readers will revel in this charming romp.”— Publisher’s Weekly

“SOOO CRAZY GOOD!!! Absolutely loved this book - one of my new favorites from this author!”— Marilee, Marilee Loves to Read

“Sizzling chemistry, rich detail, and compelling action.”— Misty M. Beller, USA Today bestselling author


I’ve read most of Jody Hedlund’s historical romances, and Calling on the Matchmaker takes the cake for wily characters and humorous dialogue. Neither Finola Shanahan nor Riley Rafferty are eager for marriage, but their betrothal sets in motion Finola’s plan to sabotage the match and become a Nun. Her antics are met by Riley’s uncanny insight and steadfast determination to pursue her. Humor, romance, and hidden hurts swirl between the two as they face an uncertain future.

Calling on the Matchmaker sizzles with romantic tension and physical desire between Finola and Riley from start to finish. At some points, I wished the relationship depth matched the level of steam, but it caught up eventually, which satisfied me. Jody Hedlund certainly knows how to write a kissing scene. The “awakened manly desires” rhetoric felt unoriginal, but it didn’t make me put the book down. Calling on the Matchmaker is edgy for a Christian Fiction romance, but stays in the “clean steam” romance category. 

I’m not quite sure how to rate Calling on the Matchmaker by Jody Hedlund. While reading the book, I had some challenging personal circumstances that affected my experience with the story. However, when I sat down to finish the novel more recently, I found myself truly enjoying Finola and Riley’s love story. I do intend to continue reading this series, especially since Matchmaker Bellamy McKenna will reappear!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.



Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over fifty novels and is the winner of numerous awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband, busy family, and five spoiled cats. She writes sweet historical romances with plenty of sizzle.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Author Interview: Home from the Storm by Laurel Blount

Home from the Storm JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Home from the Storm by Laurel Blount, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Home from the Storm

Title: Home from the Storm
Johns Mill Amish Romance #4
Laurel Blount
Release Date:
December 26, 2023
Genre: Inspirational Romance Amish

In this stirring Amish romance about love and second chances, a shunned man returns to protect the wife he left behind—and falls in love with the family he never knew he had. 

After a senseless loss, hotheaded Caleb Hochstedler left his Amish faith and his young wife to seek justice. Two years later, he tracks his parents’ killer back home to Johns Mill, where he’s astonished to learn he’s the father of twins. Now he's determined to protect his children and the woman he still loves—if she’ll let him. 

Her new husband’s abandonment broke Rhoda Lambright’s heart and proved her father, the bishop, right. Such a stubborn man could never be happy among the peaceful Amish. When Caleb unexpectedly returns, Rhoda is caught between her rock of a husband and a very hard place. 

Her church forbids divorce and requires forgiveness, so Rhoda lets Caleb back into their home. But can she ever let him back into her heart? One thing’s for certain sure. This second chance will take all the faith they can find.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | BookBub


The rosy-cheeked girl he’d married had turned into a woman. Rhoda’s features were sharper, and the innocent softness he remembered was gone.

Guilt rolled in Caleb’s chest. Their marriage hadn’t been kind to her. It hadn’t done him any favors, either. He’d hurt her by leaving. She’d hurt him by staying.

It had been a mistake, just walking in the bakery like this. The shock of being in the same room with Rhoda after all this time had hit him hard. He couldn’t seem to move or speak. He couldn’t do anything but stare at her.

She stared back, her face blank and stunned.

He should say something. The problem was, he had no idea what. He’d been driving all night, pushing past exhaustion with truck stop coffee and determination. All he’d wanted was to get here, see Rhoda face-to-face and reassure himself that she was all right, that Trevor hadn’t gotten to her first. He had no idea how he was going to explain this, no idea how to get her to listen to him.

All he could do right now was look at her. Because even with that new hardness in her face, when she’d gone white as a sheet, her brown eyes huge, Rhoda was still the prettiest woman he’d ever laid eyes on.


Hearing her whispering his name again cut at him.

Ja, it’s me, Rhoda.” It was the first time he’d spoken an entire sentence in Deutsch in a very long time.

Except, of course, in his dreams.

More Books In This Series

Shelter in the Storm   

About the Author

Laurel Blount

Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes inspirational romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart! She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals.

An enthusiastic multi-tasker, Laurel writes for both Berkley/Penguin Random House and Love Inspired/Harlequin. She’s a Publishers Weekly best-selling author and the recipient of ACFW’s Carol Award, The New England Reader’s Choice Award and GRW’s Maggie Award. She’s represented by Jessica Alvarez of Bookends Literary Agency.  

Home from the Storm is Laurel’s twelfth book—and more stories are in the works! Stay tuned!

Connect with Laurel by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Author Interview with Laurel

Q: What was the inspiration behind Home From the Storm?

Laurel: What a great question! I think Home from the Storm was inspired by the ideas of love and forgiveness—and how those things might play out in difficult times.

We often hear that “love conquers all.” But does it really? For example, what happens when two very different people fall in love and get married in spite of their differences? And what if their “opposites attract” love is then further tested by a tragedy?

That’s what happened with Caleb and Rhoda Hochstedler in Home from the Storm. Caleb was the town troublemaker, always skirting the church rules, but he fell head over heels for Rhoda, the Amish bishop’s devout daughter. When Caleb’s parents were killed by an unstable Englischer, the church—and Rhoda—expected him to follow the guidelines of their faith and forgive. But forgiveness was the last thing on Caleb’s mind—he was determined to bring the killer to justice.

There’s no doubt these two young people love each other, but is that love strong enough to bridge the widening gap between them? Home from the Storm explores that question.

Q: How long did it take you to write this story?

Laurel: It’s always so hard to figure that up! My book writing is done in spurts—first I write the rough draft, then it goes through lots of edits and revisions—and often I’m also working on another book at the same time! My best estimate would be that I spent about seven months writing Home from the Storm.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote from this book?

Laurel: It’s hard to pick! But I do love the character of Abram, the new bishop of Johns Mill, and I especially love what he tells hard-headed Caleb at one point in the story:

“Gott has great need of such men as you, Caleb, given the world we live in. Men who stand up for what is right, no matter the personal cost. Men”— Abram winked—“who will guard the fences well. Of course, there is a cost. Such a man will have a hard time submitting his will, even to Gott. But . . .” The bishop leaned forward and tapped his finger on the desk, punctuating each word as he spoke it. “Submission. Is. Necessary.” He leaned back in his chair. “A man’s greatest strength is always also his greatest weakness. What Gott wishes to use for His purposes, the enemy will always try to turn to his own. It is up to you to prevent that by following the Lord as faithfully as you can.”

Q: What do you hope readers take away from Home From the Storm?

Laurel: This is a story about family and about forgiveness—and all the hard, gritty heart-work that requires. I think we all struggle with forgiving people who’ve hurt us, and I hope that seeing how Rhoda—and especially Caleb—work through their pain will spark some thoughts about how we deal with our own wounded relationships.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

Laurel: Hmm—that’s a toughie! I love to share about my life, so if readers subscribe to my monthly newsletter (and I hope they do!) there’s probably not much they don’t know about me! But here’s something—my grandmother used to dance with Winnie the Pooh! She was from Cedartown, Georgia, the birthplace of Sterling Holloway. He was the original voice of Pooh, and when he and my grandmother were in their teens, they were both excellent dancers. She said there was never any romance between them, but they often paired up at parties because they danced so well together and they always had, as she put it, a “grand time.” As a little Winnie-the-Pooh loving girl, I loved listening to her stories!

Q: How long ago did you start writing?

Laurel: I’ve always loved to write, and as long as I can remember I’ve written stories. But I started writing professionally in 2015 when I sold my first inspirational romance, A Family for the Farmer, to Love Inspired.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Laurel: There are so many things I enjoy about this career! If I had to pick just one thing, I’d say it’s being a part of the writing community. Being able to spend so much time interacting with readers, other authors and editors—people who love books every bit as much as I do—that’s a dream come true for me and a privilege I don’t take for granted!

Q:  Do you prefer to read eBooks or physical copies?

Laurel: I love both! I love the feel of a “real” book in my hands, but I also love the convenience of eBooks. (My husband loves that I can fit thousands of eBooks on one small device—otherwise he’d spend all this time building me more bookcases!)

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

Laurel: Eight very large ones! And they are all stuffed to the gills. I also have stacks of books on nightstands and end tables, a Kindle crammed with books and a very well used library card!

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Laurel: So many things! I love to cook, and I find baking bread particularly relaxing. I enjoy long, thoughtful talks with friends and family over cups of tea or coffee. And of course, I also love reading!! I’m never happier than when I have a good book to read, a hot cup of tea, and a friend to talk it over with!

Thanks so much for letting me visit with you today!

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win print copies of Shelter in the Storm, Strength in the Storm and Courage in the Storm plus a $25 Amazon gift card!

Home from the Storm JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 11, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 18, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Book Spotlight: Never Hire a Hero by Regina Scott

Never Hire a Hero JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Never Hire a Hero by Regina Scott, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Never Hire a Hero

Title: Never Hire a Hero
Fortune's Brides: Guarding Her Heart #3
Regina Scott
Edwards and Williams
Release Date:
December 11, 2023
Sweet Regency Romance

Three children and a marriage of convenience may be his biggest challenge yet.

A former elite soldier, Stephen Roth was trained to be ruthless as he served as bodyguard for kings and princes. So why would his English patroness, Lady Belfort, and her cat, Fortune, arrange for him to take a position as the tutor to the heir of Alldene Castle and the boy’s siblings? And why does the children’s mother, Lady Alldene, look at him with shining eyes, as if he could be some sort of hero? This was not the sort of challenge he bargained for! 

A peer in her own right, Thea, Countess of Alldene, was raised in Alldene Castle and taught how to rule over it. But nothing prepared her for the death of her husband and the villainy of the man he appointed as guardian for her children. If a tutor with a razor-sharp gaze will prevent that man from taking her sons away from her, she’s willing to put up with Roth’s rough-shod ways. 

But the castle holds a secret that may prove Thea’s undoing. When danger threatens, she turns to the one man who might be able to keep them all safe. Could a marriage of convenience over Christmas prove that heroes can turn up in the least likely places? 

If you like warm, witty historical romances, with a touch of mystery, then you’ll love this historical romance by an award-winning, bestselling author. 

“All readers who love Regency and historical romances need to pick up stories by Regina Scott. The author has never disappointed me. I am very happy to recommend any of her novels.” – Huntress Reviews 

Hire yourself a hero, today.

PURCHASE LINKSGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub


Her sons were becoming gentlemen, but for a moment, they were just her little boys, her darlings, their bodies warm against hers. Tears stung her eyes, and she blinked them away.

Please, dear Lord, do not take my sons too!

“Maybe you could marry someone else,” James suggested, safe in her arms. “Someone big enough to scare Lord Westerbrook away.”

And, just like that, hope burst free.

Over their heads, she saw Roth returning. He moved calmly to the wall to stand beside Felden, who thumped him on the shoulder before facing front with all the dignity her butler could pretend.

The will said if she married again, her new husband would become the boys’ guardian as well as their father. A husband could help her think through decisions. A husband could protect her sons. A husband could teach them to grow into the gentlemen she knew they could become.

One man was already fulfilling those functions.

Thea released her sons and gave them each an encouraging smile. “I’m sorry Westerbrook’s demands troubled you. We will find a way, my loves. Will you go up to the schoolroom? I must speak with Mr. Roth.”

James nodded and started for the door. Shaw gave her a puzzled look before following.

“Alone, Felden,” she said.

Her butler blinked, then bowed and left them.

Roth eyed her from the other side of the room. “Am I being discharged?”

“No,” she said with a laugh that sounded hysterical to her ears. “You might say you’re being promoted. Mr. Roth, would you marry me?”

More Books in This Series


About the Author

Regina Scott

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing. Since her first novel was published, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has now published more than 65 works of warm, witty romance and more than 1 million copies of her books are in reader hands. She and her husband of 30 years reside in Washington State on the way to Mt. Rainier. Regina Scott has learned to fence, dressed as a Regency dandy, driven four in hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research, of course.

Connect with Regina by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Tour Giveaway

(3) winners will win ebook copies of all 14 books in the Fortune's Brides series!

Never Hire a Hero JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 13, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 20, 2023. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Books will be delivered via BookFunnel. No country restrictions. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

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Friday, December 8, 2023

Book Spotlight: Her Christmas Healing by Mindy Obenhaus

Her Christmas Healing JustRead Takeover + Review Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover + Review Blitz for Her Christmas Healing by Mindy Obenhaus hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Her Christmas Healing Title: Her Christmas Healing 
Series: K-9 Companions #17
Author: Mindy Obenhaus
Publisher:  Love Inspired 
Release Date: November 28, 2023 
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Christmas is around the corner…

And love might be right next door. 

Hope Crossing, Texas, is just what Jillian McKenna needs. Here, she can recover after a terrible attack…and create a home for her baby-to-be. But she also has a complication next door. She once saw a future with veterinarian Gabriel Vaughn—a future that feels impossible now. But with love, faith, a support dog and some Christmas spirit, maybe it’s not too late after all… 

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope. 

More Books in Series

The Cowgirl's Redemption A Christmas Bargain Loving the Rancher's Children

Excerpt from Her Christmas Healing

“Jillian…” He stood and started to reach for her, then thought better of it. “Just because I don’t understand doesn’t mean I won’t support you. I was taken aback, that’s all. Choosing to keep a stranger’s baby, well, that takes a lot of guts. I admire you.”

Pausing, she nodded. “I appreciate that. I mean, this certainly isn’t how I envisioned becoming a mother. But God doesn’t always work things out the way we expect. What He does promise, though, is to work all things together for good to those who love Him. That’s what I’m clinging to, regardless of what anyone else thinks.”

“As it should be.” Meaning he needed to stop dwelling on what might have been and focus on being the friend she needed now.

Realizing it hadn’t thundered in a while, Gabriel moved to the door, shoved the peach-colored curtain out of the way and peered outside. “Looks like the storm has passed.” Sadly, Jillian was still caught in the throes of a different kind of storm.

He turned to face her. “I should go. We both need some rest.” And he needed to process. His gaze fell to Aggie sitting at Jillian’s feet. “I think she likes you.”

Jillian gave the dog a rub. “I’m growing rather fond of her, too.”

He opened the door. “Aggie, come.”

But the dog remained at Jillian’s side. Because whether she knew it or not, Jillian needed Aggie.

“How would you feel about letting her stay here tonight? She’s housebroken and generally sleeps through the night, so I don’t foresee her keeping you awake.”

Jillian scratched Aggie’s head. “I don’t know. What do you think, Aggie? Do you want to stay with me?”

The dog lay down on top of Jillian’s slipper-covered feet.

Gabriel smiled. “I think you have your answer.”

About the Author

Mindy Obenhaus

Best-selling author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching the Hallmark Channel.

Connect with Mindy by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of the book and a $20 Amazon gift card!

Her Christmas Healing JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight December 6, 2023 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on December 13, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Author Interview: Countin’ On Jesse by Mary Pat Johns

About the Book

Book: Countin’ On Jesse

Author: Mary Pat Johns

Genre: (Inspirational) Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 12, 2023

Peeps’ gym owner Jesse seeks accreditation. Accountant Brenna wants to help Jesse reach his goal. They’re a great team, but can she count on him when trouble strikes?

Accountant BRENNA MCKINLEY only wants what’s best for Peeps, the wildly popular gym in Valiant, Texas. But when money goes missing, and she’s the obvious suspect, will she be able to clear her name or face criminal charges? Keeping her dream job matters, but falling in love with her boss isn’t part of the plan. Neither is the creepy guy stalking her.

Young veteran JESSE JACOBS manages and co-owns Peeps, an exercise facility in Valiant, Texas. He needs help to gain accreditation for the gym, and his new accountant is all in. But is she who she seems? Too bad he’s falling for her like a man with no parachute. When the pressure builds, PTSD renders him moody and volatile, risking everything he loves.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Mary Pat Johns’ writing career began once she retired from years of teaching speech and writing. She’s written devotions for an online publication and had short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. She currently writes a biweekly faith column for the local newspaper.

Countin’ On Jesse is her debut novel, and she’s hard at work on the rest of the Valiant series. God put it in her heart to tell stories of brave veterans and their reintegration into civilian life after suffering the traumas of war. As she kept writing, her focus generalized to include ordinary people who learn how to move forward after devastating events. Her writing has a strong spiritual thread since she considers a return to faith in God the solution for what ails the civilized world.

She lives in South Texas with her husband and their two dapple dachshunds. Her grown children and five grandchildren are useful sorts who keep her grounded with her reading/writing obsession. You can find her at the gym, at her computer, or reading a good book.

Countin’ On Jesse placed second in inspirational contemporary romance in the TARA contest. It was also a finalist in the Crown and the Maggie contests for unpublished authors.

Author Interview with Mary Mary

Q: How long did it take you to write this novel?

Mary: The first draft to publication was seven years. The first draft took about three months; the rest of the time was spent honing my fiction writing skills and learning how the industry works. People are usually surprised and appalled at how long it took, but that amount of time is average for a new writer.

Q:  Do any of the novel’s characters hold a special place in your heart?

Mary: Jesse, the hero, is a composite of the favorite men in my life. He reminds my of my daddy, my husband, my son, and my son-in-law. Bossy and intense, but also protective and tender. Also like the men in my life, Jesse has good communication skills and knows how to make things happen.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from this novel?

Mary: Well, first of all, I hope the readers love the story so much, they’re sorry to see it end and can’t wait for the next book in the series! On a more serious note, I want readers to know that Christians are still flawed humans who make plenty of mistakes And sometimes, Christians have this “just Jesus and me” mentality and don’t think they need help from others—but there’s nothing scriptural about that idea. Part of Jesse’s character arc is the realization he needs professional counseling.

Q: In what setting do you enjoy writing the most?  

Mary: My office is on the second floor of our home. Sunshine creates a light, bright atmosphere, and it has a glass door that leads to a balcony. There’s a large oak tree outside my window and my husband’s woodworking shop is clearly in view. My daughter gave me a set of chimes that sing when the wind blows. It’s here I get the most work done because it has all the sights and sounds of home.

Q: What are you reading now?

Mary: Reading is my favorite hobby. Rarely ever do I finish a day without reading a portion of whatever novel I’m reading. I just finished Pepper Basham’s Mistletoe Countess. What a marvelous celebration of married love! I absolutely loved it and am currently reading the second book, The Cairo Curse. To all who love romance, the Freddie and Grace Mystery series is one of the best. Basham writes authentic stories from the heart.

Q:  How many bookshelves are in your home?

Mary: I only have three bookshelves, though I could fill up a library with all the books I’ve read. I just don’t keep them—unless you count ebooks. I’m always in the “dangerously low on storage space” with Kindle. For hard copies, one bookshelf is reserved for my writing craft books because I prefer hard copies I can mark up and go back to. My other bookshelves hold some longtime favorites, years of journals, and Bible study literature.

More from Mary

I wrote Countin’ On Jesse because I couldn’t NOT write it, though learning to write fiction was an act of faith. My son is an army vet and deployed to Afghanistan during the war. When he returned, the adjustment back to civilian life was difficult. The PTSD he suffered was real. His dad and I prayed often for his restoration. I also experienced an urgency to share how people recover from traumatic experiences, but it’s not my MO to tell a sad story. I used humor, but never downplayed the seriousness of the hero’s issues with PTSD and anger. My goal was to impart hope.

One added sweet note. My son helped me craft a short story as a prequel for the series. I believe it was healing for him to revisit the Afghanistan setting through the perspective of time and distance. Readers have shared they felt like they were in the story. In truth, there was an eyewitness. I’m forever grateful that he came home to tell me of such events.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 28 (Author Interview)

The Lit Lady, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 30

Back Porch Reads, December 1 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 3

A Reader’s Brain, December 4 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 5

Beauty in the Binding, December 6 (Author Interview)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 6

Cover Lover Book Review, December 7

Holly’s Book Corner, December 8

For the Love of Literature, December 9 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, December 10


To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway:

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Author Interview: And Their Numbers Grew

And Their Numbers Grew JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for And Their Numbers Grew by Naomi Craig & Donna E. Lane, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

And Their Numbers Grew

Title: And Their Numbers Grew
Naomi Craig and Donna E. Lane
Bear's Place Publishing
Release Date: November 7, 2023
Biblical Historical Fiction

Four lives. Four destinies. One gospel.  

Fans of Mesu Andrews and Connilyn Cossette will love And Their Numbers Grew.  

If you love The Chosen, the story continues in And Their Numbers Grew.

Rumors of the risen Christ spread through Jerusalem like a wildfire—and the Sanhedrin is paying attention. 

Their efforts to stifle the name of Jesus only fuel the cause until a young Pharisee gets involved, breathing threats of imprisonment—or worse. Stephen’s brutal stoning accelerates the persecution and sends the faithful fleeing the city for their lives. 

They are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. As the fledgling church disperses, their numbers continue to grow. Now, the apostles must train the new believers in the ways and words of Jesus—and what it means to live in God's Kingdom here on earth. 

The Kingdom of God spreads to Damascus, Joppa, Caesarea, Antioch, and Tarsus through the testimonies of Ananias, Tabitha, and Barnabas. While an outraged Saul sets out for Damascus to arrest them all, the followers press on fervently, with the help of the Holy Spirit—though it may cost them their lives.  

Four disciples whose lives are intertwined, told in four novellas, chronicling the birth pains of the early church.

PURCHASE LINKSGoodreads | Amazon | BookBub

About the Authors

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor's wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church or trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes, you'll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory on YouTube and helps facilitate Biblical Fiction Aficionados Community on Facebook. When not writing or trying to wrangle social media, Naomi attempts to get her rescue dog to be cute on command for the many pics she takes throughout the day.

Connect with Naomi by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Donna E. Lane is an award-winning, multi-genre author with a passion for exploring all aspects of the human experience. As a Christian counselor and spiritual director, Dr. Lane has dedicated herself to guiding individuals on their spiritual journeys, offering solace and wisdom through her integrated approach. Her 46 years of experience in this field have provided her with insights which she seamlessly weaves into her writing, delving into the complexities of relationships and the depths of the human heart.

With a boundless imagination, a fervent devotion to Jesus, a love for history, and a fascination with time, she crafts stories that resonate deeply with readers, offering the opportunity to embark on unforgettable journeys to other worlds, across time, and into space. 

A devoted wife of 44 years and mother of three, she now cherishes her role as a grandmother and mom to her new puppy, a little white furball named Rosie Cotton. 

Connect with Donna by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Author Interview with Naomi and Donna

Q: What do you hope readers take away from And Their Numbers Grew?

NAOMI: I love the evangelistic heartbeat of ATNG. I would love for readers to come away inspired to live boldly like the disciples and the apostles. To come to rely on the Holy Spirit and his power while sharing their faith in Jesus.

DONNA: I hope readers feel encouraged by seeing the characters’ flaws, their failings, and their fears in the midst of trying to follow Christ’s direction, and how they continue to fight the good fight despite those vulnerabilities. I hope they see themselves and recognize their own courage and strength rather than feeling inadequate to the call of Christ.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from the series and can you tell more about him or her?

NAOMI: My favorite character is Ananias of Damascus (not the guy who sold land and donated money to the church, while lying about the entire profit). In ATNG, Ananias and his wife are in Jerusalem for the birth of the church, and he scatters after Stephen’s stoning. He is unsure of himself--Have I shared enough information? Is this person’s conversion genuine? How will I share the good news if I don’t have all the answers?—and changes as the Lord works through him. My grandma always shared her testimony of how someone read John 3:16 to her. Then had her read it this time inserting her name in it. I have Ananias leading someone to Christ in that same way.

DONNA: One of my favorite characters in Scripture is Stephen, which is why I chose him for one of my two main characters in And Their Numbers Grew. I’ve always been impressed by his courage, strength, and faith as he made his case before the Sanhedrin, knowing it could mean his death, and I’m in awe of how he stood with his eyes fixed on the Lord as they stoned him (Acts 6-7). Stephen’s willingness to confront falsehoods, handle conflict, and maintain his composure are some of his strengths. He is described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and “full of grace and power” (v. 8). In the book, I imagine him as intelligent, passionate, and headstrong. I envision the strength of his faith producing boldness as he preaches the truth of Christ and heals through the power of the Holy Spirit. Based on his fervor for Christ, I picture him expressing the same deep passion in his relationship with the woman he loves. He’s someone who is “all-in”, whatever he does.

As for weaknesses, Stephen’s harsh words for the elders indicate his tendency to act as judge and jury when he sees injustice. In And Their Numbers Grew, Stephen must acknowledge his judgmental reactions toward the other followers, the Pharisees, and even at times toward God, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform his heart to one of love.

Q: How long did it take to write these novellas?

NAOMI: Much longer than Donna! She writes so fast and clean. My first draft looks like a thesaurus and an encyclopedia had a collision and are in the intensive care unit. 😂

DONNA: It took me about 3 months to write my two sections, but it took longer to pull everything together, coordinate the four stories, and finish the final edits.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

NAOMI: I love when my books impact readers and their faith is strengthened by the story I told. So many times I get feedback that my story has helped the reader understand a portion of the Bible better and that’s the best!

DONNA: I love the process of allowing a story to unfold like a movie in my mind. My favorite element is deep-diving into the characters, using my experience as a Christian counselor to help shape realistic, three-dimensional characters with strengths and flaws, and exploring real-life difficulties without sugar-coating those experiences

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

NAOMI: I know the words to the song Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart in Mongolian. I went on a mission trip to Mongolia with Teen Missions International when I was 14. The locals taught us that song. Years later when I was touring China with Covenant Players Theater Company, my team sat next to a Mongolian man on a train. If I remember correctly, he was a believer, but had gotten off track. When we prayed with him, the Lord put it on my heart to sing Give Thanks. I felt the Spirit say to me “This was why you were in Mongolia, all those years ago, for this moment.”

Most people don’t know that I was a professional singer from age 16 until 20 and was once offered a contract to “go to Nashville” (as the saying goes), but I chose to go to college instead. I used the money I made to help pay for college.

Q: Do you prefer to read ebooks or physical copies?

NAOMI: I prefer paperbacks, but have grown so accustomed to using the kindle app on my phone.

DONNA: Several years ago, I would’ve answered I love the feel of a physical book in my hand, but I’ve learned to enjoy the ease of a Kindle reader since we travel quite a bit. So, my answer now would be I prefer ebooks.

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

NAOMI: I actually only have one. I don’t often re-read books, so I guess storage space is another point for ebooks. My daughter, on the other hand…. Books in cubbies, books on shelves, books everywhere. I’m so proud!

DONNA: We have eighteen bookcases in our home, all in the room we call the Joe Library. Let me explain. At one point, the bookcases were filled with hard cover books, but we ran out of storage space. When we started reading ebooks, we cleaned out and sold all but one bookcase of books. Now, most of the shelves are filled with my husband’s collectibles, mainly vintage GI Joes and action figures—thus the name. One of the short walls houses my Fontanini Bethlehem collection. The room is quite a conversation piece.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Reading, spending time with my family, serving in church. I founded Biblical Fiction Aficionados over on Facebook. I like talking with people about Biblical and Early Church era fiction. I also co-host Behind the Story on Youtube, where we interview Christian and sweet & clean authors about their latest books.

DONNA: Most of my nonwriting time is spent seeing clients, but in my free time, I love hiking in the mountains, painting, watching movies with my husband, and singing.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a paperback copy of And Their Numbers Grew and a $25 amazon gift card!

And Their Numbers Grew JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 4, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 11, 2023. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours