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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015


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Nov 26, 2013
Country Faith
compiled by Deborah Evans Price

Five big stars to this one!  I didn't expect to be so blown away by the photography in this book.  Wow.  Stunning layout and design all the way through.

The book contains photos of country music stars on one page and on the opposite page, a Bible verse and why it is important to them.  Plenty of big names including Lee Greenwood, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, and even Ray Stevens. 

An impressive coffee table book with meaning.  Great Christmas gift idea for the country music fan in your life!
Nov 21, 2013

I'm excited today to interview Candice Patterson, author of the Christmas novella, Bright Copper Kettles.

Here's a bit about Candice:
Candice Sue Patterson studied at The Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in southern Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood or baking bread, she’s at her computer working on a new story. Candice writes contemporary romance with threads of nostalgia set in the east coast.

Here's a bit about Bright Copper Kettles:

Christmastown, Vermont: where it’s Christmas 365 days a year…

To Darcy Carr the holiday is depressing enough without reliving it every day. Her thriving wreath business and faithful cat are no longer enough to distract her from the pain of her past memories or her current loneliness. Is her frosty neighbor, the only man in town with no Christmas decorations, just another Scrooge, or could he be the one she’s been looking for?

Coppersmith Dean Whitfield hasn’t celebrated Christmas—or anything else—since the death of his wife and unborn child. And he certainly has no desire to carry on the family tradition of crafting a star for the town’s Christmas tree, even if it will benefit a charity. Can Darcy and the joy of the season thaw his frozen heart and help him love again?

And now the interview!  I love the title Bright Copper Kettles.   A line from one of my favorite songs.  Which came first, the title or the story?

The title came first, as it does with all of my stories. It all started with an article I read about the D. Picking Company in Ohio who still makes copper kettles by hand after over 140 years in business. I love all things nostalgic and knew I wanted to include that in my story. The picture that accompanied the article showed a gleaming copper kettle that reflected images of the room. That sparked the faith message of the story. And the title is part of a very famous song, so with that I figured I couldn’t go wrong. 

What is Darcy’s biggest fear? 

Darcy’s biggest fear is never finding Mr. Right, growing old in a big house with no one but her cat for company.   

What do you like most about Dean?

I love his heart. He’s a warm, giving person who let grief bury him so deep he forgot who he was. I love his transformation back to the man God created him to be.

Why is the setting important to this story?

Many of us love Christmas so much that we want it to be Christmas every day. In Christmastown, Vermont, it is. In a snowy village full of bed and breakfasts, candy stores, and craft shops, there’s no better place for two business owners to fall in love.

Which Bible verse would you most ascribe this story and why? 

Jeremiah 18: 6—O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (KJV)

Even though the story is about copper kettles and not clay, the same principle applies. It takes work, patience, molding, and sometimes fire to make a usable earthly vessel, the same as it does for our lives as Christians to become usable vessels for Christ that reflect Him.

What do you hope readers will take with them from Bright Copper Kettles?

Sometimes in the midst of tragedy, it feels like God isn’t there, even though He is. The book’s theme is: The God on the mountain (good times) is still God in the valley (hard times). The thing I want readers to take away most is that even when we’re hurting or angry, we can tell God. He already knows what we’re going through. If we tell Him how we feel, it keeps the door of communication with Him open so he can speak to us. If we clam up and don’t pray, even when it’s hard to, we close that door and can allow our emotions control us. Then we become unusable vessels for Him.

What are you working on now?

Very soon, I will begin a new Christmas story (book #2 of My Favorite Things series). I’m currently putting the final touches on a novel that I’ve been working on all year.

Where can people connect with you?

I love meeting people through my blog and Facebook page. 

Candice is a member of the Quid Pro Quills, the American Christian Fiction Writers critique group I belong to.  We've known each other for over a year now.  Candice keeps me in line and helps my characters become "real."  Her characters are very real and fresh.  You'll enjoy Bright Copper Kettles.

Nov 18, 2013

I'm excited today to interview Robin Patchen, author of the new Christmas novella, Faith House.  

Here's a bit about Robin:

If time and money were no object, Robin Patchen would travel constantly. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world--twice. Because, as you know, the first time, you don't know exactly what you want to see. So you flit from one tourist attraction to another and enjoy every minute of it. But it's always on the last day that you find the best thing, and you don't have enough time to explore it properly, and you wished you'd discovered it first (but even if you had, you wouldn't know it was the best thing, because you hadn't seen everything else yet). So you have to go back a second time. It's just logical.

Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and Robin's family doesn't want to follow her all around the world, so she does the next best thing: she writes. In the worlds she creates, she can go back to the best places time and again. And when they're not perfect, that's all right--she just edits until they are.

In the real world, Robin is married to the man of her dreams, Edward, and together they have three children, Nicholas, Lexi, and Jacob. Her family is a close second on her list of priorities after her relationship with Christ.

So that's Robin's life: God, husband, children, and made-up worlds where she has complete control. Who could ask for more?

Here's a bit about Faith House 

When Hurricane Sandy destroys Sadie’s home, she’s determined to restore it. She promised her dying grandmother she’d never abandon the house that is the only link to Sadie’s schizophrenic father—a man who disappeared twenty years ago.

Max has loved Sadie since grade school, but their mutual friend died when they were teens. A decade has passed, and he’s finally found her. This time, he won’t lose her—not to a flooded house hundreds of miles from home, or to her false hope as she awaits her father’s unlikely return.

When Sadie discovers her house is underinsured, she faces an impossible decision. Can she trust God enough to let go of her only connection to her dad? Can she trust Max enough to let go of her heart?

And now the interview!  You live in Oklahoma, Robin, so how did Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast, touch you so deeply?

Living in Oklahoma, I’ve had ample opportunity to witness natural disasters. We have tornadoes every year, some that leave total devastation in their wakes. I’ve known families who’ve lost their homes in the storms, even families who’ve lost loved ones. And each time, like everyone else, I pray and I cry and I try to help.

But even the most destructive tornadoes, like the one that hit Moore this past spring, don’t do nearly the damage Hurricane Sandy did. Perhaps it was the length of the storm, seeing the pictures on the TV for a couple of days, that affected me. Perhaps it was the thought of all those hundreds of thousands of people trying to survive it. When there’s a storm in Oklahoma, it’s confined to one or two relatively small areas. But I thought about the people living in the places worst hit, and I thought, their neighbors can’t help. They were hit, too. Their churches are flooded. Their schools are damaged. The grocery stores have no electricity, the gas stations have no fuel. So where do you turn for help? When your insurance company can’t handle the calls because thousands of others are clogging the phone lines, when your bank isn’t answering because their phones are down, too—what do you do?

And then I saw the photographs in the days following the storm, home after home after home, flooded, moved off its foundation, or broken to bits. Each one of those houses represents a person, a family, a story. I don’t know why it impacted me like it did, but I couldn’t get the images of those homes out of my mind.

What is Sadie’s biggest fear?  

Sadie fears she will develop schizophrenia like her father and grandfather did. She is terrified of losing her grip on reality, of losing her ability to control her life. So she tries to control everything, gripping the things that matter to her life a child with a security blanket. She’s terrified of letting go of any thread, afraid perhaps that will be that thread that leads to her own madness. She desperately wants to find her father, because she believes if she can only be with him again, she will feel secure, like she did when she was a child, long before her father left and she discovers his mental illness.

What do you like most about Max?  

Max is that geeky guy from high school, the one none of the girls wanted to date and most of the guys either teased or ignored. Super smart, incredibly kind, and always overlooked. But now, a decade after high school, Max is handsome and successful—a great catch for any girl. But he’s never quit loving Sadie, the girl he fell for when he was twelve years old. What I like best about him is that he would do almost anything for, but when she asks him to do something he knows will be bad for her, something he knows God is not behind, he refuses. He risks losing Sadie to obey God and, ultimately, to take care of the girl he loves.

A portion of each sale is going to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  

How will this happen? There are so many great organizations still working to help clean up and rebuild the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, it’s been difficult to decide where exactly to donate the money. But because my book focuses specifically on homes destroyed, I’m going to donate to Habitat for Humanity’s Hurricane Sandy fund. See their website here:

Which Bible verse would you most ascribe this story and why? 

In Faith House, Sadie needs to learn to trust God and surrender to his plans for us. There are a lot of scriptures that address that, but that one that comes to mind is Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” In light of the fact that God surrendered his only son out of his great love for us, how can we doubt that he will take care of everything else in our lives? This is an issue I struggle with, especially lately as I watch my teenage kids dealing with some serious issues. I want to rescue them, to shield them from everything bad in the world, but knowing how much God loves me, and how much he loves my kids, I have to daily remind myself to trust him. He knows what he’s doing.

What do you hope readers will take with them from Faith House? 

Greater faith. Every time we decide to trust God, not ourselves, we build our faith. My hope is that this book will encourage readers to take one step of faith, that will lead to another, and then another, that we would all be more faithful believers.

What are you working on now?  

The one I’m writing now takes place in Oklahoma and begins, oddly enough, with a tornado scene. I guess I’m drawn to the natural disaster thing.
Where can people connect with you?

Robin is a member of the Quid Pro Quills, the American Christian Fiction Writers critique group I belong to.  We've known each other for a couple of years now and believe me - she can write!  She also keeps me in line as our group's queen of punctuation.   

Nov 15, 2013
For Love or Loyalty (The MacGregor Legacy, #1)For Love or Loyalty by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really want to give this one a 4.5 - but of course that's not allowed. 

Jennifer Hudson Taylor has crafted yet another wonderful story with a Scottish burr.  Malcolm MacGregor and Lauren Campbell come from warring clans.  When Malcolm's mother and sister are stolen away by Lauren's father and sold as indentured servants in the colonies, Malcolm takes Lauren and follows after them.  On the journey, he struggles between his hatred of the father and his growing respect for the daughter. 

My favorite part of this story is that Malcolm's growth from clannish thug to hero, happens in the first half of the story. The second half is working through the consequences of his actions.  Working through those are where these characters really shine.

There is some more adult content - tastefully done - but enough to say this story is more suitable for older teens on up.  I highly recommend it!

Nov 2, 2013
When Mockingbirds SingWhen Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strange. This book was way out of my normal genre reading. In fact, I'm not really sure what genre it is! A little supernatural, a little mystery, a little... creepy?! But whatever it is, it was hard to put down. It's not my favorite type of read because I really like that feel-good, wrap-up ending. This story doesn't have that. It's stark. It's real. It's a bit on the gritty side.

Nine-year-old Leah Norcross is painfully shy and stutters, badly. Recently moved to a new town, she pulls into herself. Her parents try to draw her out by inviting the whole town to her birthday party. Things spiral out of control from there. Leah sees and hears the Rainbow Man. By obeying him, she alienates the citizens of the town. Nobody understands, including her parents, but she doesn't need them to understand. She needs them to believe.

Not a comfortable read, but one that will challenge your thinking on matters of the spirit.