Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blended Family--or Pureed? Read the true story of Diana Brandmeyer's experiences in the blender, as well as her latest novel, A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tenn.

Diana Brandmeyer interview

Christian author, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, writes historical and contemporary romances. Her historical, A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee is now available. She’s also written We’re Not Blended-We’re Pureed, A Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families. Once widowed and now remarried she writes with humor and experience on the difficulty of joining two families be it fictional or real life.
See the book summary for Pureed and the interview now. The summary for A Bride's Dilemma is at the end of this interview, as well as links to where both books may be purchased. Don't miss her blog and Facebook address!
We’re not Blended We’re Pureed: a Survivor’s Guide
Can two families learn to cohabitate? In peace? Ever?
Are you terrified that you’ve turned into a version of the fairy-tale wicked stepparent?

Do you paste on a smile and pretend your family is a vision of 1950s Main Street America while at home the battle lines are etched in the driveway and signed with the kid’s initials?

Don’t dismay. God is with you. Discover how others have dealt with the difficult issues of blending two families. Find real-world advice to help you when your own words fail.

This engaging readable book is held together with humor, liberally peppered with information, commentary, and includes clinically sound information and proven communication tools.

Q. What is your all-time favorite book? Why?
A. That’s not a fair question, it’s like who is your favorite child? The books I have on my shelf that I can’t part with are The Yearling, Little Women, Gone with the Wind and Harriet the Spy.

Q. What are your favorite first lines of a story?
A. Oh my that makes me laugh! I can’t remember where I left my shoes much less the first line of a story. Make a note: never invite Diana Lesire Brandmeyer to play on your trivia team.

Q. Give us the first paragraph of one of your books. Well, how about the first from Pureed and another from one of your novels?
A. From Pureed: chapter 1 Are the Wedding Bell Blues Becoming Your Song?
I was getting married-again! This time would be different. Now there were children involved. My boys were getting a new father; Ed’s son would be getting a new mom, me. We tried to include the children in the wedding preparations, but there wasn't much about weddings that intrigued small boys.

  1. From chapter 1 A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee
Travis Logan leaned over the deck railing and watched the River swirl and froth as the steamboat shoved its way through the muddy Mississippi. An older gentleman stood next to him. Travis hadn't seen them on board before. "Nice out here on the water."
"Better than down below." The man swayed.

Q. Every book starts with the first word. We’ve heard about “famous last words.” Do you have trouble coming up with the appropriate “first words?”
A. Yes, I probably rewrite those first words 20 times.

Q. What is your favorite genre to write? Why?
A. Right now I'm really enjoying writing historical because of the research. I didn't think I would enjoy digging through history but I do. It's fascinating to see how women lived in the 1800s especially the ones that made their way out West. I found a picture of a schoolteacher that wasn't very old and yet she had 80 students in a one room schoolhouse. Can you imagine that?

Q.  How has knowing God helped you in living and writing Pureed and other books?
A. Without God. I don't think my family would be intact. So many times I've been on my knees asking him for help, begging him for help to make it through one more day. When I was writing Pureed it was an emotional journey and I would go to bed at night, exhausted. I would ask God, “Please give me the words for the next chapter because I don't know what to say or how to say it.” That worked out so well that when it was time to write the next book, I did the same thing. I wish I could remember to do that asking for everything in my life, but I tend to want to take charge of it myself. I have a feeling life might be easier if I would do it His way, first.

Q. What was your first reaction to your stepchildren? Was there concern for your own family when you made the decision to puree your families?
A. To be fair, I knew Andy since he was born. When I saw him the first time as a child without a mother I wanted to gather him up in my arms and hug him. There was a lot of concern. Then we decided to blend our families. There are discussions about where to live, what bedroom for which child, who would be in charge of discipline and money. So many questions to answer, and I don't think we did a good job of it in the beginning. Which is why this book is so good for others blending families, because my co-author, Marty Lintvedt is a certified family counselor. She wrote sections at the end of the chapters offering ideas and suggestions about how to improve the things I had done or maybe things I could have done to make our family a happier one.

 Q. How did your romance with your new husband fit into the book? Pureed’s story is a true romance, not fiction, and I imagine it was more difficult to create romantic scenes as you would in a novel. Or was it easier?
A. Writing a novel is much easier than creating any kind of a romantic scene when you have three boys living with you. We did our best. We proclaimed Friday night as date night, which meant we usually went out to eat, came home and crashed because we were so tired.

Q. In Pureed do you bring the reader into how you came to fall in love a second time—and then not only with a man, but his children?
A. Yes. It's all clear by the end of the book how we fell in love and how we came to love each other's children.

Q. Tell us about your other books.
A. I've written six books 3 of them are e-books but only one of those are available. I started out writing for children before children had e-readers. Hearts on the Road is a contemporary book about a truck driver and a pastor she is forced to drive with. Right now it is available under the title, Wyoming Weddings because there are two other stories that go along with it written by other authors. My last book A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee came out in May. It's a historical romance taking place just at the end of the Civil War. That was a fun book to write.

Q. Do we see murder and mayhem in your fiction, or more simple avenues of Christian conflict and romance?
A. I don't like murder and mayhem. It keeps me up at night. I prefer to write a small bit of suspense or mystery within my romance books.

Twitter @dianabrandmeyer

Buy We’re not Blended We’re pureed at:
Barnes and Noble
Christian Book
A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee
Heaven’s Stolen His Heart
 After witnessing the ravages of the Civil War, Travis Logan vowed to give up doctoring. But when fellow steamboat passenger Caleb Wharton collapses at his feet, Travis knows he must lend his aid. As the old man lies dying, he makes Travis promise to take care of his land and find Heaven. Travis can’t help but wonder what Heaven has to do with a real place, so he heads to Caleb’s farm to fulfill his promise.
Weeks of facing marauders and caring for her father’s home have finally taken their toll on Heaven Wharton. When an unknown young man charges the house, Heaven attempts to fire a warning shot but ends up shooting the man instead. Shocked, she and her sister, Angel, drag a semi-conscious Travis into the house and nurse him back to health.
 As Travis and Heaven both struggle to control their destinies, will they learn that only a heart that follows God can ever find peace on earth?
After the Civil War, Travis Logan vowed to give up doctoring. But when fellow steamboat passenger Caleb Wharton collapses at his feet, Travis lends his aid. As the old man lies dying, he makes Travis promise to take care of his land and find Heaven. Travis can’t help but wonder what Heaven has to do with a real place.
When an unknown young man charges the house, Heaven Wharton attempts to fire a warning shot but ends up shooting the man. Shocked, she and her sister, Angel, drag a semi-conscious Travis into the house and nurse him back to health.
 As Travis and Heaven both struggle to control their destinies, will they learn that only a heart that follows God can ever find peace on earth?

 Buy A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee at:
Christian Book

Saturday, June 23, 2012


An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writers: Jason Keller (screenplay), Marc Klein (screenplay),and 3 more credits »
Stars: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer

I haven’t seen the PG-13 movie yet, but I’d been thinking of writing a blog on beauty and this caught my attention. In the adventure/ comedy/drama released in March, 2012, “the Snow White Legend comes alive.”

So now I remember the wicked queen from the Disney version standing in front of the magic mirror pleading for a compliment, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall. Who is the fairest of us all?”

How do you define beauty?

Well, I learned something about beauty one day traveling on a tour bus with quite a few folks I didn’t know. I watched faces as I waited in my seat for others to come and go after we’d stopped.

Our average age probably was 65, but an awareness struck me that every woman on the bus was beautiful! How could that be so, in this era when perpetual youth and sexiness seem to be the criteria for beauty?

Their faces showed something beyond the flattering fashions most wore, a quality greater than their makeup and coiffures. Wrinkles etched most faces where smiles left tracks. Some ladies might have been overweight.

One woman stood out from the rest. As far as I could tell, she wore no makeup. Threads of white highlighted her undyed dark brown hair, pulled back into an old-fashioned bun. But her skin literally glowed. Her smile showed a healthy cared-for set of teeth.

Not quite the person we’d expect to be beautiful, but she was. The more I got acquainted with her, I could see evidence of the gentle, loving spirit within her.
It was a long trip. If remember right, that was the tour where the air conditioning went out on the bus. Or, perhaps it was the one where one couple was attacked by bedbugs in the “nice” motel where we stayed. Whatever the case, this woman was a steady person in control of her life and emotions. You didn’t hear complaining from her.

Nope. I overheard her talking to various members of her large family who contacted her periodically on her cell phone to see how she was doing. Laughter, love and contentment marked her end of the conversation.
I asked her what she used on her skin. She looked so healthy, I asked if she had a special diet.

“I don’t use anything special on my face,” she said with a smile, obviously stunned at my comment about her beauty. “We eat regular food like anybody else, except we have lots of fruits and vegetables from the garden.”

“It must be from serving the Lord,” I said. “I’ve noticed before that most Christians don’t age as fast as others. Sin has a way of showing up on people’s faces.”
She agreed. She also agreed the senior citizen ladies on the bus were, indeed, beautiful—including me.

I’ve never felt like a beauty queen or wanted to be one. A freckled-faced redhead usually doesn’t qualify. But when I was about 50, I compared different home decorating styles. We saw many of them one year during the tour of homes. Each decorating style was unique—with some on the edge of strange, like the rustic one with an old horse collar as a wall decoration—but yet each was attractive. I’ve always said if you keep your house clean and use dramatic color in your accents, you can have a beautiful home, no matter what your style or your income.

The same thing is true with beauty. We don’t all have to be long-haired blondes with flawless skin. It matters how we not only take care of our bodies, but how we mold our spirits.

Who is the fairest of us all?

I imagine it’s the women who have the peace of God abiding in their hearts; who have the joy unspeakable and full of glory the Bible talks about, compassion for others, and contentment because they know God loves them, adopted them, and died so they could live forever.

No rebellious attitude on those faces.

It’s been said beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone. One of the amazing things about Hollywood’s beautiful women is that few can keep a husband for life. If outward beauty matters that much, you’d think Hollywood’s marriages would last forever.

Truth is, beauty goes to the heart of who we are. Sometimes fame and fortune only bring heartbreak.

Who is he fairest of us all? The Bible is our mirror. We’re told, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 2:22-23).

Solomon wrote, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but the woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30-31).

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Falcon, A Lady, and A Killer


Product Details    

I’d read about two-thirds of the way through Chameleon when I decided I didn’t like the book. It didn’t appear to be the genre I read. Characters drank liquor, which I don’t usually see in Christian fiction, and this predator hawk flying about symbolized danger.

Yet, I was hooked. Lady Victoria and her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore, are determined to change the cruel or neglectful treatment of patients at the asylum for the insane.

Then there is the handsome former spy, Lord Witt, looking into a human attack by a hawk where the victim is near death. Witt allows Lady Victoria, whom he calls “little snoop,”to help investigate sometimes because he has an affection for her and she likes to solve mysteries.

 I hated the character who trained hawks, that I deducted was the vicious Talon, the object of their search. But no one knows who Talon is.

A mental health institute was on my beat as a newspaper reporter and I was astonished at the diagnoses thought to be linked to insanity in the late 1800s: Paralysis, syphilis, Down’s Syndrome, epilepsy, deafness, and a whole lot of physical problems that later experts learned had nothing to do with insanity. This book is set in 1818.

So it wasn’t Lady Victoria’s visits to the asylum and reading to patients that bothered me most, but the dreaded mammoth hawks who attempts to kill Ravensmoore and Witt.

I don’t know if the author intended this book to be an adult allegory using imagery to reflect a spiritual message such as C.S. Lewis used in the The Chronicles of Narnia, but a message came through loud and clear to me as the mammoth birds circled their prey.
First, Jesus warned that when the seeds of the gospel are sown in our hearts, some falls on the wayside and birds come in and devour it. In his explanation of the parable, Jesus said the birds symbolize Satan (Matthew 13 KJ).

Then we’re told in John 10:10 the “thief,” Satan, comes to kill, steal and destroy, so I see the hawk, as Satan, pecking spiritual eyes out, ripping away faith’s flesh, as well as destroying the eggs, chicks and squabs.

Yet, hawks are majestic beautiful birds with characteristics of the eagle. The Word reminds us the devil takes on many forms and could disguise himself even as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

In Chameleon, the characters fight against the killer falcons, but according to scripture all we have to do against Satan is to resist him and he’ll flee from us (James 4:7) — for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

Jillian Kent, the author of Chameleon, has written a unique novel that satisfies the reader because there is victory, as well as romance.

The novel didn’t follow through quite as far as I expected with the imagery, but it’s still a great read if you like suspense and allegories. As I said, I don’t know if the author meant for it to be an allegory, but it seems so to me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tip: Way to keep cool in the heat

If you are outdoors in hot temperatures or you don't have air conditioning, spray yourself with cool water. No spray bottle? Empty a harmless household cleaner bottle with a sprayer--like window cleaner--and wash thoroughly. Fill with cool water and periodically spray your legs, arms, neck even your hair, if necessary. (I'd avoid the face, in case all the cleaner isn't out. Use a cool wash cloth for the face). A breeze or a fan will hit the wetness and help cool you. This technique has saved lives of those susceptible to heat stroke, such as the ill or elderly.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From Ada: Author Karen Baney is my guest today. She is author of Historical Books: A Dream Unfolding, A Heart Renewed, A Life Restored, A Hope Revealed; and Contemporary: Nickels
Be sure and looked at the links for her books and blog.  Her blog/website pages are a diamond mine for writers!

Karen Baney, in addition to writing Christian historical and contemporary fiction novels, works as a Software Engineer.  Spending over twenty years as an avid fan of the genre, Karen loves writing about territorial Arizona.
Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing.  She is active in various Bible studies throughout the year.  Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs.  She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.

Book Summary
Pain.  Disappointment.  Fear.
Life turned out differently than Mary Colter expected.  With her abusive husband either missing or dead, and the ranch gone, she is left to raise her two children on her own.  When a neighbor takes compassion on her, she finds her hope ignited—perhaps she can start over on her brother-in-law’s ranch in Arizona. 
Warren Cahill is confronted with one problem after another in his new role as foreman of Colter Ranch.  Missing cattle and hot-headed cowhands take most of his attention.  When Mary arrives at the ranch, tensions rise and he finds himself in the middle of it.
Will Mary’s hope for a life free from abuse finally be realized?  Can Warren move beyond his past to embrace a new hope?

1.      How many published books do you have?
I have 5 novels published.  Four are part of the Prescott Pioneers Series set in the Arizona Territory in the mid-1860s:  A Dream Unfolding, A Heart Renewed, A Life Restored, and the latest release, A Hope Revealed.  The series follows the Andersons, Colters, and Larsons as they move westward to a new life.  Each book introduces new characters and their trials while continuing the story of favorites from the first book.
I also have one contemporary romance novel called Nickels.  It’s about Niki Turner who works as a software engineer (computer programmer).  Fiercely ambitious and independent, she comes face to face with the reality that she needs others in her life.

2.      Tell me about how you work to inspire readers in their faith journey.
I believe everyone has hidden heartache—it just looks different for different people.  Some struggle with recovering from abuse.  Others have lost someone dear.  For others, it may be a case of dreams lost.  Regardless, God is there to pick us up and carry us through those times.  I strive to make my characters mirror this truth in a way that is relatable.  The best emails I receive are ones from fans that say they learned something about themselves or God from reading one of my novels.

3.      Years ago when I first studied fiction writing I learned trouble and hardship show a person’s true character; and fiction can’t be stranger than real life. Give me an example of how one of your characters was shaped by his or her experiences.
I think the character who undergoes the most extreme transformation in the Prescott Pioneers Series, is Thomas Anderson.  As a young man, he was rebellious and got into a lot of trouble – to the point of robbing a bank.  When he finally arrives in Arizona, he is confronted with the ugliness of who he is and he wants to be someone better.  That desire to be a better man came from learning a few lessons from his rebelliousness and from experiencing a few twists of fate (Providence).

4.      Who is one of your characters you can’t forget? Why does he or she stick in your memory?
It’s really hard to pick just one favorite.  I love so many of them.  I think Mary Colter is one of the top favorites though.  After having a great childhood, she married Reuben.  He turned out so differently than she expected and she suffered a great deal under his harshness.  Fear defined her in the brief glimpses we see of her in A Dream Unfolding and A Heart Renewed.  Yet, in A Hope Revealed, we learn that she is a strong woman who loves her children very much.  She puts their safety above any other.  It leads her to make a mistake that could cost Will Colter’s family everything.  My heart breaks for her.  By the second chapter, I’m rooting for her to break free and experience happiness and joy.

5.      I understand a portion of the proceeds from your books goes to the Homes of Hope in Fiji. I have missionary friends who helped establish a Project Rescue Home of Hope in Delhi, India. If I remember right, rescued women help run the place for orphaned children and adolescents who were forced to be sexual slaves in the human trafficking market. Have you seen these rescue homes you support? Do they work with women or the kidnapped children?
Homes of Hope in Fiji is dedicated to rescuing women from the sex slave industry.  They also educate young men and women about the value of a woman.  I have never had the opportunity to travel to their village, but I have met a few of the women who have made the journey to our hometown to share about how their lives have been transformed.  Their stories are amazing.  One of the things I love the most about Homes of Hope Fiji is that they don’t just rescue women by providing a safe home, but they also teach them new skills and help restore their emotional and spiritual well-being.  You can learn more about their organization on their website:

6.      You not only are a prolific writer, but you also have some great helps on your blog/website for writers who are marketing their work. What is the most important thing you believe a writer should do to get the word out about a book?
Marketing, marketing, marketing.  Don’t worry, I cringe over the word too.  The key is to break down different marketing activities in to smaller, less time consuming chunks.  Something like twitter or facebook can be done in short chunks of time.  I also send out a newsletter on an irregular schedule – mostly to announce new releases.  One of the most often overlooked areas of marketing is face-to-face contact.  When people ask what I do, I tend to talk more about my career as an author rather than my other career.  If they show interest, then I’ll tell them more about my books and give them a business card with my website, twitter, etc.  Word of mouth is huge.

7.      When you talk about writing a novel and making it true to the era in which the story occurs, you speak of a characters “mindset,” language, but also about the necessary research to learn the technology available for that time in history. Even a water pump in the kitchen was a great advance when it was invented, but when you bring up the “meat-juice press,” I was totally yucked out. Was the meat cooked before juicing? What other piece of early kitchen equipment fascinated you?
I love the meat juice press!  I think it’s because I actually got to see one in person.  (Yes, they did cook the meat first, most of the time).  When I travel around the state of Arizona and visit museums, I like to take my camera with me so I can take pictures of the unusual things I find.  If I can’t figure out what the item was used for while at the museum, then I try to find out from other sources (internet, books).  I think the meat juice press is the coolest thing I’ve found to date.  It’s so foreign from something we’d use today.

8.       Are the majority of your books historical? Do you have a favorite genre or era?
All of them, except Nickels, are historical.  The next series I’m planning will continue in Prescott, Arizona a few years after the end of the Prescott Pioneers Series.
So, I’m a history geek.  I like pretty much anything historical from 1860’s through WWII.  When I first started researching about Prescott, I was so excited the political aspect of how the town was formed.  I also love the modern town of Prescott, even though I only get to visit periodically.  I hadn’t intended to write westerns, but that era and location fits the western mold – so I’m really enjoying writing westerns!

9.      How do you entwine the spiritual element of your novels? How do you introduce scripture? What is your favorite scripture?
Each novel is different.  I always try to introduce spiritual elements that fit the character.  For example, Betty Lancaster is in her early 50’s and very devout.  So, it would make sense that she would wake up in the middle of the night prompted to pray for someone.  For other characters, just sitting and listening to a sermon is a challenge, so they may be more influenced by a friend instead of directly by scripture.  I think when we keep the character and their point of view in mind, the spiritual aspects can flow naturally.
As far as my favorite scripture, I don’t have one, though I’ve found that I end up with different theme verses in different seasons of my life—ones that stand out so much that I either memorize them or the Holy Spirit reminds me of them over and over again.

10.  How often do you write and how do you conclude each writing session?
Because I have to balance writing with another full time career outside of the home, I tend to write in the evenings and on the weekends.  Typically, I won’t write for more than an hour or two in the evening.  My biggest writing sessions tend to be on Saturday mornings when my hubby is hanging out with his friends.  Since I’m squeezing writing in where I can, I don’t always have the luxury of ending a session at the end of a scene or a chapter.  In a typical week (after the bulk of my research is finished), I tend to write between 10 – 15 hours a week and market between 1 – 2 hours a week.

11.  What is your ultimate goal?
I just want to keep writing.  Whether it means working around another job or not, I want to write.  I have so many stories in mind and can never seem to get them from my brain to the computer fast enough.
For more information about my books, please visit my website:  I’m also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@karen_baney).  Authors can find helpful articles and tips on the Writing and Articles pages on my website.  I also have more articles for authors on  For fans – check out each of the book pages.  They include the book synopsis, links to purchase books, links to reviews, and more.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Note from Ada Brownell: Today I feature K. Dawn Byrd. You might remember her book, Lessons From the Open Road that revolved around motorcycles.  We featured it here.

The mystery  novel we tell you about today, A Case of Fatal Attraction, surrounds blood bank thieves. People who give blood to others is an amazing gift, because it gives life. I interviewed a man one time who received an award for the large number of gallons he donated over the years.

Blood is even more important to obtain eternal life. In the Old Testament and also the new we’re told,  “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). “But Jesus suffered and died outside the [city’s] gate in order that He might purify and consecrate the people through [the shedding of] His own blood and set them apart as holy [for God]” (Hebrews 13:12 Amplied Version).

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense with seven books published so far. Recently, she tried her hand at young adult fiction and found that she really enjoyed writing it, which led to a contract for four young adult books for 2012.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group at!/group.php?gid=128209963444.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Twitter: kdawnbyrd

Cover Blurb:
Short version:
Zoe Mack faints at the sight of blood. When her detective agency takes a case involving the disappearance of blood from a local blood bank, can Zoe determine if a creepy vampire-like guy is stealing it to use in some weird cult ritual?

Long version:
Zoe is thrilled when she lands her first paying case until she learns she'll be going undercover at a local blood bank. The fact that she faints at the sight of blood makes working there more than difficult. Who would steal blood and what would they do with it? Is her creepy vampire-like coworker using it in a cult ritual?                                

When Zoe learns that Nate will be working undercover with her, she's overjoyed. She soon finds that the gorgeous Rikki's attraction to Nate is too distracting and considers throwing him off the case. Zoe questions his loyalty even as Nate proclaims that she's the only girl for him.

Nothing is as it seems and Zoe has no clue who can be trusted. Who's stealing the blood? Is it the director? The vampire-like guy with the fangs who wears all black? Or, her gorgeous co-worker who has a thing for Nate?

1)      How did this story come to you?
Sometimes I get the strangest ideas! I love a good mystery and I love romance, but you don't find the two together very often. Also, there are very few books available with college-age characters. I pitched the idea of combining all of the above to Desert Breeze and the rest is history.
2)      Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had already published several books with Desert Breeze when they opened a young adult line. I'm excited that they liked the idea for this new series.
3)      Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1)      I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.
2)      I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.
3)      I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)
4) What is your favorite writing tip?
Write something every day. All of my books are written in 30-day marathons. I decide how many words I want to write in 30 days and map them out on a calendar, so I can keep track of where I am and where I need to be.
5) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I'm working on my December release, which is the third book in the "Identity Series." It's called Double Identity and is about two seventeen-year-old identical twins who never knew about each other. One, raised by her mom, is a Christian, the other, raised by her father is a wild child. When the two meet up and the wild one falls for the Christian one's boyfriend, sparks of the worst kind begin to fly.
6 )Parting comments? Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books.

Interview with Zoe Mack (a character in A Case of Fatal Attraction, one of the books in K Dawn Byrd’s Zoe Mack Mystery Series).
1)      Tell us about your latest mystery.
My grandfather owns a detective agency and needed my help, but he was afraid to give me this case. It involved going undercover in a blood bank and finding out why blood is disappearing. My grandfather knows that I faint at the sight of blood. It wasn't easy and I had my moments when I became really sick, but I'm no quitter.
2)      What was the greatest obstacle to solving this case.
My boyfriend, Nate, went undercover at the blood bank too. He worked as a janitor and once, when I puked after an accident with the blood, he got to clean it up. I thought I'd die of embarrassment. Back to your question, the greatest obstacle in some ways was just having Nate hanging around. You see, I had this gorgeous coworker named Rikki and she had a crush on Nate. We couldn’t tell her that we knew each other because that would blow our cover. Do you know how hard it is watching another girl go after your boyfriend, especially a gorgeous girl?
3)      What did you learn from working on this case?
I learned that I can do things I never thought possible. I never overcame becoming queasy at the sight of blood, but I did learn to live with it. I also learned that I hate snakes and that sometimes creepy vampire-looking guys who wear black aren't all bad. I also learned to trust my instincts even when Nate says I'm wrong.
4)       So, how is your relationship with Nate after solving two mysteries together?
We had some rocky times, mainly because of Rikki, but I've learned that sometimes, things aren't as they seem and you have to learn to trust people. Nate is a great guy and I love him more than ever. I've learned to accept the fact that my mother will never be crazy about him, but that's another story.
5)      Will there be another case any time soon?
College is getting ready to start up and I’m taking a little time off to concentrate on school. Of course, if Gramps needs me, I'm always up for a good mystery!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Jennifer Slattery, my author friend from American Christian Fiction Writers, is my guest today. Notice a contest and the opportunity to win a free makeover, and other interesting tidbits at the end. 

 One note from me, Ada Brownell: Jesus said, "Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." He added, "Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:31).


When most of us think of Sodom and Gomorrah, our minds jump to sexual sin. Isn’t that how we treat most sins? It’s easy to think of the “big ones” like sexual immorality and murder, overlooking those “minor” offenses like selfishness, slander, and greed. But does God follow a similar classification?

 Consider His words spoken to Sodom through the prophet Isaiah:

 10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; 
listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the LORD. 
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; 
I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 
12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, 
this trampling of my courts? 
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. 
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. (Isaiah 1:10-13 NIV).
Those are some harsh words! What were these people doing to make God so upset?

(verse 17) Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. 
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
God wanted them to be actively involved. He told them to seek justice. To defend the oppressed. To take up the cause—become an advocate for—the orphan and the widow.

 At our local pharmacy, a sign is posted behind the cash register. It reads, “I wondered why somebody didn’t do anything. Then I realized, I am somebody.”

 We know we are to care for the needy. Most of us long to make a difference, but when we look at all the needs in the world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We don’t know how to help. We feel as if our small efforts are insignificant, and so, we get discouraged. Before long, our discouragement leads to paralysis, and if unchecked, paralysis leads to apathy.

 But God never called us to change the world. He has called us to allow Him to love others through us, whether the “others” occupy a neighborhood or a single home. And we’re not alone. He has countless other believers sprinkled throughout the world, each one reaching out to someone else. On our own, our efforts feel insignificant, but if we could but step back and see the world through God’s eyes, we’d realize much is indeed being done. Millions are being fed, educated, helped, comforted.

Today, I invite you to join the love-campaign. You don’t even have to leave the house to do it.

 Simply pop by the Mary Kay website ( ) and voting for Jennifer Slattery’s not-so-lovely mug shot. If her photo wins, Mary Kay will donate a total of $5,500 GoThreads ( and the Raining Season ( As an added incentive, Mary Kay consultant Sharyline Cochrane ( is giving away $10 gift certificates and free make-overs (in person or via Skype) to everyone who votes then lets us know they did so in the comments of this post. You can vote up to five times per day, so start clicking! J


Jennifer Slattery lives in the Midwest with her husband and daughter. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the ACFW Journal, Internet Café Devotions, and Jewels of Encouragement. You can connect with her online at her devotional blog at or via Facebook at

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The dead raised? Professor Otto Kaiser reports miracles among Muslims


This is not an appeal for money, but a report on the signs and wonders God is doing around the world that Otto wrote to his supporters. He and his wife, Edith, gave me permission to share the good news with you. Read on to hear about God's marvelous works.

Here's Otto!

We are extremely thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for all your faithful prayers and financial missionary support for our ministry through Global University. Apart from your faithfulness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we could not achieve what we are doing. We give all the glory and honor to God that he has given us the privilege of being part of His great move in these days. Every morning, I habitually pray that God will use my wife and I to have the greatest possible influence on as many as possible for eternity. Let me share some of God’s answers to these prayers.


Edith and I recently met a young man at an Assemblies of God Muslim conference. For sensitive
reason, I will not give his name. As a Shi-ite Muslim, he immigrated to the United States. Through a Global University evangelism course, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. God called him to become a missionary to Shi-ite Muslims. He is now enrolled in our Berean ministerial program. He had a burden for his Muslim parents and arranged for his mother to come and visit him here in America. Through prayer and anointed Holy Spirit witnessing, he won his mother to Jesus. When she returned to Iran, she was afraid the Iranian border guards would take away her Farsi Bible, so she sewed it to her underclothes.

 Her Muslim husband, the father of our student, discovered the Bible and exploded in anger. But prompted by the Holy Spirit and in answer to his wife and son’s prayers, he wanted to know what was drawing them away from Islam and into Christianity. He read the Gospels and the Book of Acts in the Farsi Bible. Convicted by the Holy Spirit, through reading the Word of God, the husband likewise accepted Jesus as his Savior. Two days after he prayed the sinner’s prayer, his employment supervisor was killed in an accident. As a pedestrian the supervisor was hit by a high speed vehicle. Standing over the dead body of his supervisor at the funeral, the husband remembered the miracles he read in the Gospels and Acts. He prayed for his supervisor and God restored the dead man back to life and healed him from all his accident injuries.


In 1971, the Islamic Shi-ite Republic of Iran was formed with a Muslim theocratic form of government. At that point in time, the Assemblies of God had an adherence of about 3,000. In the Iranian theocracy, an assembly of Shi-ite Muslim experts selects an ultimate supreme leader. All are Shi-ite Muslim clerics. Under the supreme leader, a lay president is elected by the people for a maximum length of two consecutive four year terms. Prior to the election, the president is approved as a nominee by the assembly of Muslim experts. As I write this letter, both the supreme leader and the president are ill. The government of Iran has recently passed two new laws which decree the death penalty to (1) any Shi-ite Muslim who leaves Islam for another religion and (2) any person who converts a Shi-ite Muslim to another religion.


As Iranian Christians face severe persecution, they are prevailing in prayer before God; and in answer to their prayers, the Holy Spirit is mightily moving across Iran. Muslims are having supernatural dreams and visions of Jesus. Similar to the miracle I shared; powerful healings and miracles are taking place. Through these supernatural experiences in the last 20 years, more Iranians have come to Christ than in the last 14 centuries before. Some Pentecostal leaders inside Iran now claim that there are today over a million Spirit-filled Christians in Iran.

Nominal Christian churches have existed in Iran, but they are associated with ethnic groups. The 67 million population of Iran includes 70 ethnic groups who speak 69 languages. However, the national language is Farsi. The Assemblies of God have two Christian satellite outreaches into Iran broadcasting 24 hours a day in Farsi, Arabic and Turkish. Local phone numbers on the programs receive 15 to 20 calls per day. Just recently 50, 000 have put their trust in Jesus.

In a secret Middle East location, the Assemblies of God operate the Iran Bible College using undergraduate Global University college courses. Some 24 Iranian pastors and evangelists are studying to prepare themselves for greater service for the Lord Jesus. Some 50 churches have been started by students. Some 12 new students have been approved for enrollment this coming semester. Students at the Iranian Bible College have distributed over 100 000 Farsi New Testaments in Iran. Their goal was to distribute 400,000. A graduate school will soon be started with 10 to 20 potential students.

You are helping to make all these miracles possible through your prayers and faithful support. Please pray for the persecuted Christians in Iran and the growth of the Church in that nation. Please join me in especially praying for the spiritual salvation of the assembly of experts, the president of Iran, and the supreme leader that they will come under Divine conviction through supernatural power encounters of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you again for your prayers that are helping to change the world for Christ. May the Lord richly bless you.

 Yours in Christ
 Otto and Edith Kaiser

Friday, June 1, 2012

Beauty tips

Vinegar hair rinse

Believe it or not, my mom used to wash my hair with homemade lye soap. We were poor and that's all we had. But Mama also kept plenty of vinegar on hand for canning and making delicious fresh cucumber slices and onions from the garden. So she used a vinegar rinse. She worked about a tablespoon or so of vinegar into my hair and then rinsed with water. The shine was incredible on my red coil curls.

I heard of a vinegar rinse recipe where you mix up a bunch of it at once, mixing it with water and a few drops of essential oils, but for me, the way Mama did it worked just fine.

Emergency Shampoo

When I've run out of shampoo or in the days when we were newlyweds and committed to too many payments, I used dish-washing liquid for shampoo. It takes only a few drops--much less than conditioning shampoo, and gives a beautiful shine. If you have it, use conditioner afterward.


                  Do they wish they were aborted? Do they consider suicide?
      If you’ve entertained the thought of taking your life, let me introduce you to some special people.
Nancy weighed only 49 pounds when I met her and she never walked. Her husband of 25 years was her feet. She was his eyes.
A spunky little woman, usually filled with joy, one day her anger perked to the top. A young man  crippled in a recent accident petitioned the courts for his nursing home attendants to help him take his life.
Nancy’s brilliant eyes blazed as she waved a tiny finger. “That is wrong! Some people think I don’t have much of a life. But it’s the only life I have and I enjoy every minute of it!”
Because of her debilitating congenital muscle condition, she could barely brush her own teeth, but on her wall a beautiful embroidered needlepoint of “The Lord’s Prayer” testified of her gumption.  First-place Colorado State Fair ribbons still attached testified to the expert embroidery work.
Nancy worked in her church and several local organizations. She and her husband bowled. He placed her ball, and she pushed it off.  She helped him aim his ball so he could hit the pins.
                                  NOT DEAD YET
In my work as a newspaper reporter I met many incredible handicapped people. Among them were members of “Not Dead Yet,” a disability rights group formed to oppose the movement to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Those in the group affected by cerebral palsy and other debilitating diseases were difficult for me to understand, but their friends  could understand and interpreted for me. They had spunk beyond what I could imagine, and most spoke about how they enjoyed living, although they weren’t like everyone else.
 As with the Apostle Paul, they  decided to say, “Whatever state I am, I will be content.”[1]
I used to go through the coroner’s copies of death certificates and saw many suicides among them.  I frequently reported health statistics, which included suicides for our city.
                      SUICIDES AMONG THE ELDERLY
 As tragic as it is for even one young person to kill himself, you might be surprised to learn that teens don’t have the highest suicide rate. Almost three times more elderly white men  end their lives with their own actions than the overall rate.
 Suicide begins increasing after age 65. Researchers point to the elderly men’s lack of resilience or coping abilities, or they choose more lethal means of suicide.
My dad became deeply depressed after he was admitted to a nursing home.
“I’m no good to anybody,” he complained.
Redhead that I am I said, “Don’t be funny. You haven’t even finished raising your family yet.”
He looked at me as if I’d lost my senses. All eight of his children and his two step-children were out on their own, taking care of themselves.
“You’re showing us how to grow old,” I told Dad. I could see a light glisten in his eyes. He knew what I was talking about.
 For the first time he realized he was modeling the truths of our faith as well as how to make the difficult choices when our health fails. I didn’t tell him, but I knew a family history of suicide puts others at risk for the same behavior.[2]
                           A HAPPY OLD LADY
Besides the handicapped, I remember a frail elderly lady who spent hours every day on the phone calling people to deliver a little sunshine into their lives. She had a list of phone numbers and hundreds of birthdays, anniversaries, but she called, sang little songs, or read encouraging verses on Christmas and other holidays. When she met me, she put me on the list.  Sometimes she found a name where someone was hospitalized or ill, and she’d call with encouragement.
                     EXAMPLES OF GREATNESS
In my work as a reporter, I interviewed movie stars, politicians, even a member of the Supreme Court, covered presidents’ and first ladies’ speeches, National Football League players and coaches, but the people I remember most are the ordinary folks whose lives reflect their faith in God and love—especially the incredible people who chose to be content despite uncomfortable circumstances, health problems, disabilities or age.
In my eyes, these folks lived examples of greatness.
Have you thought of suicide because of your physical condition or limitations? Even if you haven’t, you are at risk, especially if you lose your health, become handicapped or experience other heartache or emotional trauma in your life.
In The Ten Commandments God told us not to kill, and that includes killing ourselves. But He did not leave us comfortless. When Jesus went away, He sent the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, guide, and to give us power over the enemy of our souls (Acts 1 and John 14). Furthermore, He promised never to leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6 and He doesn’t.

©Ada Brownell 2012

[1] See Philippians 4:11
[2] Centers for Disease Control