Infinite Suspense with Lynette Eason!

Today, I’m
jumping and down! Why? Lynette Eason, one of my all time favorite authors, is in the
house! If you’ve never read anything by Lynette Eason, stop right now. Go out
and buy ANY of her books (you’ll like them all)! I could gush the rest of the
day, but I won’t.
Lynette Eason
has written/contracted thirty-one books since 2007. She has fourteen Love
Inspired Suspense books on the shelf with more due to release soon. Lynette
also writes for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her current
release, WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS hit #8 on the CBA bestsellers list this year.
The sequel, WHEN A HEART STOPS will release October 2012. Currently, she is
working on her third series for Revell and just signed and eight book contract
for Love Inspired Suspense. She has been teaching for more than ten years and
is very happy to make the transition from teaching school to teaching writing
whenever the opportunity presents. She is married, has two children, and lives
in Simpsonville, SC.

JP: Impressive! God has blessed you with
such a gift and ministry. That makes me smile! Your tagline is Infinite
Suspense. Tell us why you chose to write this genre?
LE: Because it’s what I love to read.

JP: Well that makes sense! Your newest
novel (the first in this series), When
the Smoke Clears
, is about a Smoke Jumper who goes back to her hometown
after several years. Where did you get the idea for this book and how much
research did you have to do before writing it?
LE: I watched a
movie about Smoke Jumping on Lifetime Television. It sparked (pun intended) and
idea for a story. I did A LOT of research on this. I read tons and talked to
several firefighters, including a retired fire chief.
JP: It paid off!
I felt like I was really there with them—through everything! Can you share with
us your favorite line or snippet of dialogue from this novel?

Conversation at
the lab between Rick and Hunter
  “It’s a
fast-acting drug that’s usually used for the treatment of seizures,” Rick
explained. “Sometimes it’s used for inducing sedation before medical
            “So, it’s a
knockout drug?”
            Rick rolled
his eyes. “In layman’s terms, sure, a knockout drug.”
nothing that would kill her?”
shrugged. “Depends on how many darts hit her.”
none did.”
            “Then no,
they won’t kill her,” Rick deadpanned.
rolled his eyes. “Wise guy.”
JP: Folks, you can obviously see besides suspense
and romance, there’s humor! Okay, now a couple of fun questions before you have
to go!
If you could be a character in any book
you’ve read, who would you choose and why?
LE: Oh my.
That’s a tough one.  Maybe Serena because
it would be cool to be able to do an autopsy without wanting to puke.
JP: Ha! For
Fill in the
blank: A perfect day for me would be a trip to the mountains with
my family to eat at a great restaurant
, followed by an
evening sitting on the front porch of a lodge working on my novel.

JP: That sounds fabulous! Thanks so much
for spending some time with us. Before you go, do you have a question you would
like to ask readers? They love to comment!

What kind of characters do you like to
read about? Do you have any good ideas for a next series?
You can connect
with Lynette on facebook, twitter, and her website! Now go buy her books! 
a peek at her latest, When the Smoke
As a member of
the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the
equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to
equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while
the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate
at her mother’s home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to
be following her, and within hours of arriving home she’s involved with murder,
arson–and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared
to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family
history, she must also decide if the secret she’s been guarding for the last
ten years must finally come to light.
Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect
from Lynette Eason, “When the Smoke Clears” is the explosive first
book in the Deadly Reunions series.

*I’ll be taking Monday off to celebrate the holiday with friends and family! See you Wednesday, with a guest devotion from Lindsay Harrel

I Learned to Hate: Guest post by Jaime Wright

I’m thrilled to have the talented and coffee-crazed (and not ashamed to admit that) Jaime Wright with me today! Mostly you see the silly and sarcastic side of Jaime and it’s a beautiful thing, but Jaime’s deep spiritual insight always messes with my mind and leaves me wanting more. (Is that stalker-ish?) She inspires me and encourages me and today, I hope you’ll feel the same! Take it away, Jaime.
I have learned to hate.
Hate is a driving force that spurs
me to action, opinion, and determination. Weirded out yet? Yeah. I guess that’s
not your typical opening statement for a devotional. .But hate — in the correct
context — can make a lot of sense.

the Apostle stated it best when he said: “For I do not
understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing
I hate.” (Romans 7:15 ESV)
I do the very thing that I hate. There is
so much of my sinful self that I have come to despise. My impatience is one of
them. When I have projects to complete, I become driven — focused — and my two
year old suffers. The other night she was following me close on my heels, like
a needy little puppy dog. I turned and snapped “go watch Bubbleguppies!”
Like really — what kid doesn’t want their
mother to tell them to watch TV? The look in her big baby blues just about
killed me. Sadness. Mommy didn’t want her help, or her prancing on tiptoes
singing, “I may never march in the infary, toot in the tootery”. Mommy was too
busy. She hung her head and without question returned to her banishment on the
couch and the cheerful cartoons went over her head as she buried her face in
her Blanky.

I have
come to hate the darkness inside of me.

“For I
know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the
desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18
As humanity, we have formed a culture that
fights for the right to act on our fleshly impulses. But as Paul defines, those
impulses are “nothing good”. Strangely enough, in our fight for human rights,
we have also fought for the right to damage, wound, impale, break, and scar
those around us. For sin does not only affect ourselves. It does not only
affect our relationship to God. It touches others in a rippling effect of pain.

“I have
the desire to do what is right…” — I do. I really do. “…but not the ability to
carry it out.”
Failure. Morbid utter

man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ
our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a ESV)
I stared at my daughter while I was
consumed with hatred for the sin inside of me that caused me to selfishly snap
at my child, wounding her spirit of joy and creating even a smidgeon of doubt
that I wanted her presence in my life.
“Are you mad at Mommy, honey?”
She nodded.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered it. She turned and
her cheeks stretched into a smile. Sitting up, she patted my knee with all the
motherly love she could muster.
“It’s o-tay, Mommy.”
She understood. Why? Because she’s already
been there too. In her own tiny sinful self, she knows what it’s like to wound.
She knows what it’s like to ask forgiveness.
Thanks be to God … to Jesus Christ our Lord
… for in and of myself, I will continue to wound, to scar, to walk in darkness.
But in Jesus, I find life, healing,
strength, and the ability to claim His victory over my sinful self.
I have learned to love. I have learned to
love life — and the righteousness found therein.
What have you learned to hate about your old nature and/or what new character has God recently taught you?

Come by to chat and encourage others today! I’m
hosting at Living By Grace on facebook

Stalking St. Louis

It all started on a dark and stormy night…

Needle rips across record.
Okay, it all started on a balmy morning. And that is true. Finally, after polishing other manuscripts I’d written, I was going to research for a brand new plot simmering, well boiling over, in my mind. 
I grew up about an hour away from St. Louis, but I’d never looked at it through the lens of a writer…or an adult. I’d done some homework online and thought I knew where I wanted to go. Since my heroine’s an interior decorator, I thought it’d be fun to give the job of remodeling old warehouses into urban lofts. Doesn’t that sound fun? Yes it does.
St. Louis Loft district!
My sister and I decided to enlist our husbands. One, neither of us drive well in big cities and two, her husband, Rob, knows St. Louis like the back of his hand. I thank him so much since it helped put a lid on my husband’s irritation had we drove aimlessly for hours!
I wanted to visit Lafayette Square and the park! So that’s where we went first. To say it was hot is an understatement, but my big sis brought her professional camera and I was so high on excitement, I didn’t care…the guys may have.
Lafayette Park was even more beautiful than the photos I researched online! Definitely a place for romance!
My  husband calls the fleur de lis, “Fleur de la fleur” to get
under my skin. It works.
They use this building for weddings! And there’s my
family traipsing into the park. My sister’s husband Rob said, “
The things we do for Jess.” My husband replied with,
“You don’t know the half of it.”
So true! hee hee
I love the walks lined with lush foliage. 
Who doesn’t love ducks? (when they’re on the other
side of the fence that is) Oh wait, that’s a swan! ha!
And sense this new ms is romantic suspense, I hit pay dirt at this park, ya hear me! Pay dirt! 
This is like a little cubby hole under the bridge. One on each side. Tell me that’s not the A) perfect place to put a squatter, or B) stash a body. After the park, we drove around the neighborhoods. I was looking for homes for my heroine and my hero–he inherited a historical home from his grandma.
The chatter in the van cracked me up. My husband would pull over to the shoulder and I’d click away. “You got what you want?” 
“Yep. We’re good.”
Several natives honked and flipped us the bird. At one point my hubby stuck his head out and yelled, “Hey, we’re researching a book!” Pretty sure the driver cared not.
I was so engrossed with my characters and their lives and where they lived, I think I slipped over the edge a minute. 
“Hey, that house looks grandmaly-like,” my brother in law said.
“That one would work!” my sister said. 
I clicked and clicked and then….
I saw it!
A vacant home. A little run down. In definite need of some interior (and exterior) decorating! 
“Stop the van!”
Bathed in light, I heard the angels sing soprano, “Aaaaaaaaaaah!”
Rob said, “Grandma-like for sure. Definite work to be done. Ooooh, foundation issues, look.” He and my sister flip houses. He would know.
My heart slipped right out my rib cage. “Oh,” I whined. “I don’t wanna deal with foundational issues! I can’t have a house with foundation problems!”
My husband slid his sunglasses down on his nose. “Really? Jess, the house in your book doesn’t have to have it! It’s fiction.”
“Oh yeah.” Everyone laughed and I admit, I pouted. “No. I’m not having a house with those issues that you can clearly see. Drive on.”
I settled on a different house. We laughed and horsed around, then turned the corner as I hung out the window clicking away, only to see the owner of the house on his deck, shirtless, frowning at us. But I got that last shot and remembered my manners. “Thank you! I love your house!”
“Your going to get us arrested…again!” my sister growled. 
“It’s been fifteen years, we’re due.”
I don’t think she was convinced! (My big sis!) Then we went into a classier  neighborhood for my heroine’s parents and a murder victim. 
Isn’t this house gorgeous! Sigh!

I needed a good place for my heroine, so here’s a few of my choices. I have a billion more!
We had a blast and ate at the Cheese Cake Factory. You know they have a “skinny” menu. At. the. Cheesecake. Factory. Yeah…I know. No one felt like being skinny. Not in the whole place!

If you’re a writer, have you ever done research out of town for a story? Readers, do you like to see real places in the stories you read? 
*Wednesday Jaime Wright will be sharing a devotion, so come back for that and on Friday, Lynette Eason is in the house chatting about her books and suspense!

Tea Time with Keli Gwyn!

Today, I am honored to have a Victorian tea with author,
Keli Gwyn! I even broke out my new tea set! If you’re around Keli for about two
seconds, you’ll fall in love with her sweet and gentle spirit. Keli is an
encourager and romantic! You can read about her real-life romance with Gwynly
on her blog! Always insightful and inspiring.

Keli, what kind of tea are you sipping? How do you take it?
KG: My favorite tea is Bigelow’s Mint Medley. I add a
healthy dollop of honey.

like mint tea as well, but I’m having Irish Breakfast tea with a splash of real
cream and Splenda! We’re also having an assortment of Keli’s favorite pastries:
shortbread and vanilla scones. You know, Elenora—your heroine in your debut
novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, wasn’t much of a cook. How
about you?
KG: This is one trait Ellie and I share. I don’t like to
cook and am not much good at it, although I’ve managed to keep Gwynly satisfied
nearly twenty-five years. Of course, he’s very easy to please. In my defense, I
do make yummy enchiladas smothered in green sauce.

Enchiladas sound divine, but I’ll suffice with this delicious vanilla scone!
You know, I was telling my mom about your book and I believe my exact words
were, “Keli writes all things Victorian.” What do you find most fascinating
about the Victorian Era and why did you choose to write about it?
I’m having so much fun
using my new tea set today!
 KG: What a great
question, Jess. Even before I began writing, I gravitated to stories set in the
Victorian Era. Why? I’m not sure. I find the fact that the Victorians labored
under such rigid rules and societal restrictions intriguing. Being a
Californian, I enjoy the Westward Expansion aspect of stories set in that period.
And I do love the clothing of the time—all but the corset, that is.

was shocked to learn how dangerous corsets were to women back then! I feel
suffocated just thinking about it!  Being
a woman has its setbacks for your female lead character, who wants a business
partnership with Miles Rutledge, but her tenacity is inspiring. What do you
think was the hardest thing for a woman during this time? Why?
KG: Aside from wearing corsets and wilting in the summer
beneath the many layers of clothing Victorian women wore, I think the
repression they experienced must have been hard on them. Thanks to the
suffragists, women were becoming more self-aware and eager to explore new
avenues, but they had a tough battle to convince men—and many traditionally
minded women—that they deserved the right to vote, own property, etc., rather than being considered property.
This isn’t to say that I’m a feminist, because I’m not. I’m happily
married, and I understand and accept the Biblical teaching that Gwynly is the
head of our family. But I like being able to voice my opinions. And I do like
the fact that I have a book out with my
name on it, a privilege that women writers in the past were often denied.
JP:  I agree with you, Keli, and I think you did a
wonderful job making Elenora strong minded, yet able to follow Miles’ lead when
needed. Well done! Since we’re having tea and chatting about A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California,
can you share a few fun facts about a Victorian tea? Did women wear gloves? Was
there a proper way to “have” tea? Am I doing this all wrong today?
A Victorian love letter!
photocredit: freedigitalphotos
KG: Trust the Victorians to have rules for just about
everything. One of my etiquette books from the time devotes eighteen pages to
the Tea Party, and yet the chapter begins by saying this about the Afternoon
Tea: “Gone are the anxieties, the formality, and the etiquette of the dinner
Afternoon Tea took place between four and six p.m., with a
recommended maximum of six guests. The hostess could choose whether or not she
wanted her guests to bring their own teacups. A lady would wear a tea dress,
which could be worn without a corset. (Ah. Sweet relief.) She must, however,
wear gloves, which is why the food had to be prepared in such a way that
butter, fillings, etc. were not on the outside of the sandwiches and biscuits.
She would also wear her hat during the entire visit.

The Victorians were known for having lists of “do not’s.” With regard to Tea
Parties, three I find entertaining are: do not request more than one or two
spoonfuls of sugar, because that “is ill-bred and appears greedy;” do not quite
drain a cup or glass; and do not extend your ring and small fingers upward, for
that “bespeaks arrogance, not refinement.”

chuckled on the “gone are the anxieties, the formality” part! Wow, that’s so
interesting. And pardon me for sticking out my pinky! Really, I’m not arrogant,
just uneducated! LOL Okay, tell us one thing you truly hope readers will take
away and forever remember about your debut novel?
KG: Oh. This is easy. I hope they remember how much fun they
had reading it. There are messages and themes in the story, of course, but to
me, those are secondary. As I see it, my job as an author of fiction is to
entertain, and that’s what I endeavor to do first and foremost.
JP: Well, you nailed it then! I was thoroughly entertained
and engrossed! I loved your book, Keli, and I anticipate reading your sophomore
novel. When can we expect to see that one on shelves?
photo credit: freedigitalphotos
KG: I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Jess. Hearing that warms
this debut novelist’s heart.
As to when readers can expect my next book… Soon, I hope. My
agent and I are working on that now. And you can be assured it will be a historical
romance set in the Victorian Era, since I’m smitten with it.

JP: I’d
expect nothing less! Well, whatever and whenever, I know I’ll be ready for it!
I hope you’ll pick up Keli’s debut novel and read it, if  you haven’t already. You won’t be

for sitting a spell and having tea with me today, Keli! It’s been a treasure.
KG: Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Jess. What a
pleasure to spend time with you and your blog’s visitors. I have a question for
all of you: What is one thing you’ve
heard about the Victorians that you find particularly interesting or unusual?
To learn more about Keli, you can visit her Victorian-style
cyber home at, where
you’ll find her parlor, study, carriage house, and more, along with her blog
and her social media links.
Purchase this book! (kindle)
Purchase this book! (nook)
And all book stores! 
Here’s a peek at A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California:
An ever-resourceful
widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with
Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the
street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick
his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with
Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business?
Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law
while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How
far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?

From the Ground Up

I can’t explain the
strange phenomenon going on outside of our subdivision. It’s enough to raise my
eyebrows though.
As you pull onto the
main road once you weave your way through my neighborhood, you’ll find a Dollar
Tree to our right and to the left a Dollar General, but what made it even
stranger is the brand new building that’s been going up next door to the Dollar
A Family Dollar.
How many dollar
stores can one person have on the corner?
Apparently three in
my case.
I zip through to
take my kids to school, run errands, or head to church and pay little
attention. Just another building in an ever growing community.
But my 8 year old
son finds it enthralling.
When the bulldozer
came out and dug up the ground, he pressed his nose to the glass and studied
it. “What are they doing?”
“Breaking up
the ground to pour a foundation.”
“What’s a
“It’s the base
of the building that gives them what they need to create the rest of the
“I guess.”
And off we’d go.
Each day was like
warp speed. It amazed Myles how much they accomplished. “Are they working
at night?”
“No, just
during the day, but they’re working together and they know their job.”
“Cool. They
look sweaty and tired.”
I glanced at the
dozen or so workers. “Yeah, they do.” It was 100+ temps.
The beams went up,
the bricking, and then the parking lot. “What are they doing
“Making a place
for people to come. It’s a parking lot.”
Then trucks
“What’s all
I explained they
were filling the shelves in the store so people would have something to buy.
“Can we go
today?” He asked me that for the 4 solid days it took to stock shelves.
“They’re not
ready yet. They’re preparing and probably training their workers.”
“Oh…” You
guessed it. “Cool…Well do you think if our whole family goes we’ll get
some kind of discount? It is the Family Dollar.”
That cracked me up.
“I doubt it.”
“Then that kind
of makes the name dumb.”
Finally the store
was up and running. Yesterday I took him in there. As if he’d leave me alone
until I did. We walked on the polished tile, admired the merchandise that
wasn’t falling off shelves, but in proper order. I guess we spent thirty
minutes perusing. Walked out with Cheese-Its, cookies, dividers for a binder
and a card.
“Dude, mom,
that place–“
“I know,
“Yeah. Can we
go back?”
“I’m sure we
This morning
(Tuesday) I was thinking about that building and the awe of my son as he
watched its progression and I think that’s the kind of enthrallment God takes
with us as he breaks the ground in our life, preparing to lay His foundation of
Jesus Christ in our lives.
As He works in unity
with the Son and the Holy Spirit to place the right beams in our lives to hold
us up, provide support and strength so we can hold up under pressure and tough
weather. The process takes time, but they move quickly when we allow them to do
their job.
As we read our Word,
our shelves are stocked and put in order, making us a place people can come and
receive things they need i.e. ministered to.
But I also think
it’s like the church. If we work together we can build anything. And we can
accomplish things quickly when we’re unified. Just remember the tower of Babel!
Our church body
should be a place people can come and receive. Feel special. After all we’ve
built a place just for them! We should show them customer service with a
friendly smile, a warm welcome and make sure we see to their needs. Especially
if we catch them floundering down the aisles, unsure of what they came in for
in the first place.
Family Dollar.
“According to the grace of God which was given to
me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on
it. ” 1 Corinthians 3:10
 Tell me, how good are you at welcoming people into the
church body? Or being the church outside the actual building? Are you a place
people feel comfortable hanging out?

Coffee with Lisa Jordan and a Giveaway!

Good Monday
everyone! Today, I’m hanging out with the ridiculously talented author, Lisa
Jordan! Married 23 years to her real life hero, Lisa  knows a thing or two about romance. She
and her husband have two college-aged sons and will be facing an empty nest
soon. By day, Lisa is an early childhood educator, and by night, she is a
contemporary romance novelist with Love Inspired. Lakeside Reunion, her debut
novel, is a 2012 Carol Award Finalist. Lakeside Family, her second novel,
releases in August 2012. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books &
Such Agency. In her free time (ha!), Lisa enjoys good books, chick flicks,
crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. To learn more about Lisa,
visit her website at

Now, guess where we
Can’t you smell the
cinnamon tangoing with the sugar while banana nut bread turns golden in the
oven! Spiced teas and rich dark roasted coffee tease us to give in to the
caffeine rush, while the herbal teas challenge us to be healthier!
This is Cuppa
Josie’s and it can only be found in Shelby Lake, the setting of Lisa’s second
novel in the Lakeside series, Lakeside Family.
Lisa, tell us a little bit about Cuppa Josie’s so readers will know where they
are today! And what’s on the menu?!
LJ: Cuppa Josie’s is
a coffee café that invites guests to sit on the comfy couch to sip their
coffee, eat their lunch at the window bar and watch people pass by, or pull up
one of the chairs at the round tables to chat with friends or do work.
Josie opened a
coffee café because coffee and food bring people together. Inspired by her
Italian grandmother, Josie bakes all of the desserts in her bakery case from
photo credit: freedigitalphotos
As I read the scenes with Josie in the kitchen, my mouth watered. Chocolate
chip muffins, lemon poppy seed muffins, apple crisp and delicious flavored
coffees! How many sweet delicacies did you eat while writing this?
LJ: Hehe, funny
thing is I didn’t eat any of them! When I’m in the mood, I love to bake—usually
in the winter when the temps dip, but I haven’t had a lot of baking time. I’ve
found inspiration in my cookbooks, online recipe sites and the tasty treats offered
at our local coffee shop that sort of inspired Cuppa Josie’s.
Josie had an allergy to caffeine. Which broke my heart, poor thing. But what a
neat trait to give her. I’ve never read of anyone having this particular
allergy. I’m on my second cup of Butter toffee and chocolate coffee, by the
way. What are you sipping on?
LJ: Josie loves
people more than she loves coffee, but she knows how many people enjoy a fresh
I love the smell of
coffee, but hate the taste. Drinking coffee makes me sick…literally, but I
loved hanging out with my friends at our favorite coffee spot. In fact, several
colleagues and I kept meeting at our local coffee shop, and that started our friendship.
We now call ourselves the Coffee Girls.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos
I love tea. Chai tea
is a favorite, as well as Good Hope Vanilla. I drink a lot of green tea, both
hot and cold. In the summertime, I drink a cup of hot tea in the morning, then
switch to iced green tea. In the winter, I will drink caffeine-free tea throughout
the day. I have enough tea to drink 2 or 3 cups a day and not run out for over
a year.
I love the Chai tea latte, but I can’t seem to enjoy Green tea. I love Shelby
Lake it’s truly a special place, too bad it’s fictitious because I’d definitely
put it on my vacation list. Or live list. You made it fun, friendly, full of
community. Did you base it off any particular place? If so, how much of Shelby
Lake is fictional?
LJ: Shelby Lake is
fictional. It’s set in the northwestern part of Pennsylvania, which is where I
live. Our area is simply breathtaking with mountains, rivers, multicolored
leaves in the fall. I live in a national forest with one of the great lakes
within a 90 minute drive. When I created Shelby Lake, I wanted a lakefront
community similar to what I’m familiar with. And the experts tell us to write
what we know. Friends and family will mention certain parts of my book and
compare it to an area in our town. I’ll simply smile and say something like,
“Imagine that.”
photo credit: freedigitalphotos
I need to come visit you then! Lisa, my favorite recipe is the zeppole. Tell
readers what that is and how they can get the recipe for this wonderful pastry!
LJ: Zeppole is an
Italian doughnut-like pastry. It reminds me a little of a cream puff. They can
be baked or deep fried like doughnuts. In Lakeside Family, Josie bakes hers and
it’s a treat saved only for family and special friends. She doesn’t offer it to
her customers at Cuppa Josie’s. Readers can Google the recipe and find
variations. I will be including the recipe in my September newsletter, so if
you want Josie’s secret recipe, you need to subscribe to my newsletter on my
site. Go to
and click on the envelope icon on the right side of the navigation bar or
scroll to the bottom of the home page and fill in your email address in the
“Stay in Touch” box.
If I’m not signed up, I will be! Since Lisa is so awesome, she said she’d share
another recipe here today!
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos
LJ: I’m sharing
Josie’s Glazed Lemon Poppyseed Strawberry Crumb Muffins
1½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking
1 teaspoon ground
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup plain nonfat
1 stick melted
1 egg
1 cup chopped fresh
1 teaspoon lemon
Crumb topping:
¼ cup chopped
¼ cup packed brown
2 Tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon lemon
1 Tablespoon melted
Mix together with
Combine 2/3 cup
powdered sugar with 1 ¼ Tablespoon fresh lemon juice in a small bowl until
Preheat oven to 350˚
F. Grease or line with papers 12 muffin cups. Mix crumb topping and set aside.
Mix glaze and set aside.
In a large bowl,
combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, mix
milk, butter and egg until well blended. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture
until just moistened. Don’t worry about lumps. Avoid overmixing. Fold in
strawberries and lemon zest. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle
crumb mixture evenly over tops of muffins. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or
until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan and
cool on a wire rack. Drizzle the glaze over warm muffin tops. Serve with
favorite beverage.
Yum! I should bake these for book club! One last thing before you go. One of
the most fun things about Cuppa Josie’s is her word wall. Lisa, after you snag
another muffin, tell readers what that is and then leave us with our very own
virtual word wall today!
LJ: Each month Josie
puts up miscellaneous words on a community word wall and challenges her
customers to write something unique. At the end of the month, they’re voted on
and the winner receives a free drink.
photocredit: freedigitalphotos
word wall challenge—use these words in a paragraph… trust, lake, kite, muffin,
umbrella, elephant, Thursday.
Since Lisa is so awesome, she’s giving away a copy of her novel, Lakeside Family! All you have to do is leave
your email address if you want to be entered to win! Sharing on facebook and
tweeting gets you added entries. (but tag me so I count them as added entries)
And that’s not all! (Wow, for a second I
thought I was about to give away the shamwow! Can you say infomercial voice!?)
If you take the word wall challenge, Lisa will choose the
person with the best paragraph and they’ll get a
$10.00 Starbucks card! (US residents only for both contests.)
Lisa is celebrating
the release of Lakeside Family with a month-long party of
giveaways, including Coffee Lovers and Tea Lovers baskets. For more details and
to enter the gift basket giveaways, leave a comment here.  
book released at the beginning of the month, so readers can find it in their
favorite bookstore or online retailer.
again, Lisa, for letting me and everyone else hang out with you at Cuppa
Josie’s! It’s been worth the calories! You can hang out with Lisa in other places too, like FACEBOOK and TWITTER and her BLOG
Here’s a peek at
Lakeside Family:
The one man she never wanted to see again is the
only who can save her daughter’s life.
In the
space of a minute, Nick Brennan learns he has a nine-year-old daughter— and
that she desperately needs his help. All this time, his high school sweetheart,
single mother Josie Peretti, thought he knew about their child. And that he
just didn’t care. About the ill little girl—or Josie, the woman he’s never
forgotten. But Nick made a long-ago promise never to forsake his family the way
his father did. A promise he vows to make good on now… if only Josie will bless
him with a second chance.
*The winner for the God of All Comfort goodie basket, including Donna Pyle’s study and a Kindle touch is…. Loree Huebner!

It’s not too late for those of you who didn’t win! Hop over to Gabrielle Meyer’s blog; Donna’s over there sharing about her study and giving away:

  • A signed copy of The God of All Comfort
  • $50 Amazon card
  • $15 iTunes card
  • Coffee mug w/ the study’s logo
  • And a DVD set of Your Strong Suit (fab study by Donna)

Talking Medical Drama with Author Candace Calvert!

Last month our book club read a medical drama. Out of the five choices, we picked Code Triage–the 3rd book in the Mercy Hospital series! You can read our review HERE! I emailed Candace to tell her how much I personally enjoyed the book and she offered to not only skype with us, but to send us bookmarks and host a drawing on the night of our meeting! She’s lovely, witty, charming and a fabulous author! So I’m honored to have her here today! 
Candace is a former ER nurse who believes love,
laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical
series offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency
medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and
very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California.
JP: How
long were you in the medical field before you decided to write medical dramas?
CC: As Cha Cha (the parrot) in Code Triage likes to say: “Forever.”  I was an ER nurse for more than three
decades, and began writing seriously (for publication) in around the year 2000.  I caught an agent’s eye (Natasha Kern) and
signed with her in 2002—but didn’t begin to write medical drama until a few
years later. We contracted with Tyndale House (for the Mercy series) in 2008.
JP: Do
you use real-life ER experiences you’ve had in your novels?
CC: Oh, absolutely. 
Many of the dramatic (and humorous) scenes in my stories had beginnings
in my “scrubs” days.  I’m sure that’s
what makes readers say they feel like they are “dropped into the middle of the
ER.”  But my depictions of medical cases,
patients, and staff are fictional composites in order to protect privacy, of
course.  Though my husband is quite
certain that every hero is purely based on him.
LOL! My husband seems to think the same thing. Your novels have been compared
to Grey’s Anatomy, but with faith elements. That show is super popular. Have
you seen a spike in sales since the comparison? I watched ER, but I’ve never
seen Grey’s.
CC: When we pitched the idea for my medical fiction to the
publishing house, we did indeed describe it as “Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul.”
 It was something fairly new to the
inspirational market. And after three encouraging years, I think we’d all agree
that the popularity of TV medical programs really does carry over into
print.  I have quite a few readers who
first picked up my books because they were sad to see the series “ER” end—or
because they are now fans of “Grey’s Anatomy,” or “House.”  In addition, many of my readers are employed
in the medical, fire, rescue and law enforcement fields.  I’m honored by their enthusiasm.  I love being able to infuse faith into
medical drama; in real life, it’s always been there. But mostly, I’m delighted
when folks call me the author of “medical hope opera.”  That’s as close as it gets. 
JP: I’ve
always been a fan of medical dramas and books. I’m a huge fan of yours now,
Candace! If you could put one of your books on the big screen which one would
it be and why?
CC: Interesting question. Probably my current release, Trauma Plan. It’s set in San Antonio
during Fiesta, with colorful scenes down on River Walk, at the Alamo, in the
charming Texas hill country towns of Boerne, Fredricksburg . . . and on the
famous dance floor at Luckenbach.  Cinematographically,
it would be a feast for the senses: 
especially the breath-catching skydiving moments!  But the characters are richly drawn as well:
a “maverick” doctor, a beautiful and determined nurse-chaplain . . . along with
a big-hearted rodeo clown and his crippled doggy sidekick, “Hobo.”  The plot has a lot of action, warm romance,
and tear or two— elements perfect with buttered popcorn.

Ooooh that does sound wonderful!  And
lucky me I have it sitting on my desk to read! Okay, now a few fun questions!
What do you like to do for entertainment?
CC: Hubby and I love to hike, birdwatch, and are in love
with travel: simple day trips to glorious nearby destinations like Lake Tahoe,
San Francisco, Napa wine country, or the Pacific coast (all settings for the
Mercy Hospital series). Our grander journeys have found me swimming with
stingrays in the Caribbean, hiking an Alaskan rainforest, atop a camel at the
pyramids, kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland . . . and gazing in awe at the
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  We’ve
worn out some luggage.
That all sounds so perfect! Would you fit me in your suitcase?
J Fill in the blanks: If I had a weekend
with no obligations and I could go anywhere in the world, it would be:

CC: …a
spiritual place with complete solitude, a few days of peace and reflection because our everyday world is noisy and
far too hectic. And I think it’s easier to hear God’s voice when we step away
from all of that. “Be still and know . . .” Amen.
That’s perfect, Candace! Thanks so much for taking time to come and visit with
us today.
CC: Thank you, Jessica for hosting me here. I’ve SO enjoyed
having this chance to connect with your readers. I’d be honored to have them “scrub
in” with my stories of hope.
You can connect with Candace through her website, facebook,
and twitter!
Question for you? Have you ever had to go to the ER? And did you watch ER or Grey’s Anatomy?
Here’s a peek at her newest novel: 

by injuries from a vicious assault, nurse chaplain Riley Hale is determined to
return to ER duties. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital
won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? To prove herself, Riley
volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the
maverick doctor in charge.

Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo.
He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use
Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.

Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his
compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough
exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and
questions surface about his past,
goes into battle mode, and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with
her heart.

*You still have time to enter the contest for the Kindle Touch along with Donna Pyle’s new Bible Study, The God of All Comfort (and other goodies)! Contest closes Sunday, August 19th! Check out the awesome prizes HERE and ENTER to WIN! 

Launch Party with Donna Pyle!

Purchase this study:
Barnes & Noble
Any bookstore! 

I stood in line waiting for my appointment with editors at the WFTS conference. I turned around to see this gorgeous smiling face. “I’m Donna Pyle.” 
“I’m Jessica Patch. What do you write?”
Donna shared a little of her testimony with me and in that very second, I knew we were knit together. Friends for life. Donna is full of passion for Jesus and a hunger to see women grow closer to Him. She’s bubbly, funny, full of godly wisdom and above all she’s a woman of integrity! I can gush all day, but I won’t!
JP: Donna, let readers know more about you and
your passion for Bible Study.
DP: Jessica,
thank you so much for hosting the exciting launch day festivities!
Hi, y’all!
I’m a life-long Texan who loves Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, traveling, and kitty
cats. Well, I didn’t grow up going to church regularly. I remember hearing
about God the Father, but didn’t recall that God was married. I know, right? When I became a Christian
21 years ago, God gave me an insatiable desire to understand His Word. Out of
that quest, God revealed such über cool truths that I thought others might like
to know it, too, so I started writing Bible studies. Now, 19 in-depth studies
later, I know without a doubt this is God’s calling in my life. I launched
Artesian Ministries in 2007 and have the privilege of traveling all over the US
and internationally teaching God’s Word. There’s nothing I love more than
digging into Scripture. There are so many women who don’t know how much God
loves them. He’s given me incredible opportunities to let them know.

JP: You had me till cats! Just kidding speaking of cats, check out Donna’s cozy little critters. 
I thought cats always landed on their feet?
Um, Donna, she’s giving me the
stank eye! 
JP: Ok, now back to the real cat’s meow–the study! I’m more than excited to be a part of
helping you launch your newest Bible study, The God of All Comfort! When women
dig into this 8 lesson study what will they discover? What makes this study unique?
DP: Many
people know several Bible passages about comfort. But when life blindsides us,
we struggle to recognize HOW God comforts us in real time. That’s what this
study does. I interviewed several faithful Christians who went through
heartbreaking life situations. They reveal exactly how God comforted them and
how that experience affected their lives and strengthened their faith. Although
we dig into lots of verses about God’s grace, love and comfort, it also demonstrates
how God comforts us when we need it most. It shows us how to recognize it,
embrace it, and cling to Him when life turns upside down.
JP: I think we all love comfort, and there’s
nothing wrong with that—to be comfortable. Sipping hot tea while reading a good
book or dipping in a steaming bubble bath is comforting, but it doesn’t bring
the Greatest Comfort! Will women explore the difference between earthly comfort
and heavenly comfort?
DP: That’s
a GREAT question, Jess! Absolutely, there’s a difference and this study explores
it in depth. Earthly comfort expires. Chocolate gets consumed. Flowers die.
Friends move away. Loved ones disappoint. But our God of all comfort lives
inside of us. He is with us every second of every day to offer everlasting
comfort! This study hits hard issues such as childhood sexual abuse, loss,
cancer, addiction, divorce, spiritually mismatched marriages, the stress of a
child serving in the military, and more. These amazing story-sharers reveal
exactly how God comforted and restored them. The Scripture passages to look up
along the way and small group questions at the end of each chapter urges us to
dig deep and experience this study in a community of believers. If you have
suffered, needed comfort, or craved compassion, this study is for you.
JP: Speaking of earthly comfort for a minute,
answer the following questions:
Flannel or cotton? Cotton! I live in the deep
South. Flannel in this heat causes spontaneous combustion.
shoes or bare feet?
bare feet. Otherwise I’d miss the lovely feeling of stepping in cat urp first
thing in the morning every now and then. TMI?
or “whacha see is whacha get” ?
Make-up! I’m blonde, so I have no eyebrows,
eyelashes or color without make-up. Nobody survives seeing that. 🙂
or coffee?
oh yes, coffee! With a side of chocolate.
or showers?
There’s nothing like soaking in a hot bath to relax while reading.
or silence?
is my soul’s language. I love music – especially worship music.
or city?
a country girl at heart, but a city girl by amenities. If that’s wrong, I don’t
want to be right.
or sunshine?
I really love rain. The life it brings and cozy time if offers.
JP: Yes, yes TMI! lol When would you say you feel the most
DP: It’s truly the little things. A handwritten note
in the mail letting me know someone’s thinking about me during a hard time does
wonders. And did I mention chocolate?
JP: You did! I think I have your Christmas gift picked out! Let’s chat about spiritual comfort for a
moment. Share one of your most memorable moments when the greatest source of
Comfort—Jesus  Christ—comforted you!
DP: The
day I signed my divorce papers two and a half years ago was the hardest day of
my life. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, do anything, or get off of the sofa
when I got back home from court. At one point, I was in a heap on the floor
just sobbing. In that moment Jesus’ comforting presence was so powerful and
tangible that it startled me. He was right there with me on the floor, catching
each tear, and reminding me how much I’m loved and cherished.  
JP: I love that He bottles our tears and never mishandles our heart even when others do. Donna, I’ve had a blast hanging out with you
today. I know I’m going to jump in quick on this study and I hope the readers
out there will too!
Tell everyone about the comfy goodies you have
for them today!
DP: I’m so excited about
this launch drawing! We have:
Touch (Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display)
copy of The God of All Comfort
ground coffee
coffee mug with The God of All Comfort
cover on it
iTunes gift cards (worship is essential to comfort!)
set of my DVD Bible study series, Your
Strong Suit
Here’s how
to enter the contest:
Donna’s question: “When was the last time you experienced God’s
comforting presence? How?”
  • Follow the
  • For extra
    entries: Tweet this (add @jessicarpatch to tag me so I can count it a 2nd entry), share on facebook (tag me so I can count it as an entry), and follow @DonnaPyleTX on twitter!
  • The
    contest ends on Sunday, August 19th
    and the winner will be announced
    on Monday, August 20th! 

You can connect with Donna on facebook, her amazing and uplifting blog-Hydrated Living, her website–Artesian Ministries, twitter, and goodreads

Here’s a another peek at The God of All Comfort:
Lessons about Hope in Christ.

Life is hard. Really hard for some of us. We suffer, we grow discouraged, we
struggle with sin. But when we view our sufferings from the balcony of faith,
we rest in the assurance that God never leaves us unloved or uncared for. His
hope is a beacon of comfort.

Over these eight lessons, our journey will take us through a section of
Scripture titled ”The God of All Comfort,” in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. The
apostle Paul, the author of that letter and an expert when it came to suffering,
lends insight and encouragement that God is not blind to our troubles. Along
the way, we will meet faith-filled Christians who relied on faith despite their
heartache. Through their stories and God’s Word, we will experience the
unmistakable handprint of a loving, merciful Savior.

For individuals and small groups, this Bible study offers hope provided by a
God who relentlessly pursues us with His ultimate comfort.

Faith Readers Group Review: Code Triage

Avgolemono soup in the crock pot!
Today’s another
Faith Readers Book Club review of Code Triage by @CandaceCalvert, but before I
dish the goods I’m pleased to announce the winner of the $5 Starbuck/Amazon
(winner choice)! Urban Fun Word Contest.
Erynn! Congratulations!
They were all really good and hard to choose from! 
Find my email
address on the “Connect” page and send me your address! I’ll make
sure to get it in the mail ASAP!
The night started
out with pre-excitement when our very own Jan Kerley aka Rockstar decided to be
brave and make the famous Greek soup, Avgolemono, that our hero cooked. Here’s
the link: Avgolemono soup! As a former chef with a Greek heritage obviously his specialty was the
Greek lemon soup that he made for the heroine before they were ever married. It
was a lovely way to meet and the soup itself was  yummy! Definitely a summer soup with the
lemon flavor, making it light! Jan also brought huge yeast rolls and since the
hero (former chef) is now a cop–we had doughnuts in honor of the stereotype!
Here are some of the
things we chatted about over dinner and before we talked with Candace through
could identify with all the characters in one way or another. I didn’t like
what Sam was doing, but with her background, I could see it.”
wanted to smack Sam and Nick at times!”
loved the symbolism in the story through the lemon tree, the dining room table
and even the horse.”
medical facts intrigued me. Made it feel very real.”
favorite scene was the luau they put on for the neighbors’ anniversary. I could
see it in my head like a movie. It made me laugh.”
like to read about Riley and her story.”
Our overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
Candace Calvert
We had so much fun
skyping with Candace. It felt like she’d been one of our friends forever! She
was chatty, personable and interested in what everyone had to say. She talked
about a few of her favorite scenes to write!
At the end, she did
a drawing and gave her current book, Trauma Plan (Riley’s story) to the lucky
winner! She also sent us book marks which was really cool. Especially for this
chick who loves them (even if I normally read from my Kindle)!
Here’s a peek at the
3rd book in her Grace Medical Series, Code Triage.
*We hadn’t read the
first two book when we chose Code Triage, but we had no trouble at all jumping
into the story and understanding everything until the short epilogue to give
the reader a glimpse into the other characters from the first two books!
Dr. Leigh Stathos
likes her ER shifts fast, furious, and adrenaline-infused—“Treat ’em and street
’em”—with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson:
nothing lasts forever, including marriage. And the clock is ticking toward the
end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a
whole new set of lessons. 
San Francisco police
officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol
neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days
is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence
slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events
that will change lives forever. 
Do you read medical dramas, suspense or thrillers? And do you ever make recipes from novels? 

Tips for the ACFW Conference

Okay, here they are: My extremely helpful tips for writers going to the ACFW conference (or any writer’s conference really).

But first…

Monday I’ll be posting the Faith Readers Group review of Code Triage, a novel by the lovely Candace Calvert! I’ll also announce the winner for the $5 Starbucks or Amazon card. You still have time to play the Urban Fun Words Game and get a shot at winning! You can enter HERE

Wednesday, I’m uber-stoked to host the launch of Donna Pyle’s new Bible Study, The God of All Comfort! She’s got an AMAZING giveaway (besides the study itself) so make sure you come and tweet and share about it on facebook! 

And Friday, that lovely author, Candace Calvert, I was talking about will be here with us chatting about her medical series. Think Grey’s Anatomy meets faith! It’s going to be a blast!

Now, tips you can’t pass up!
Have a great weekend!