21 September 2014

Where is Carrie Fancett Pagels This Week?

Author Carrie Fancett Pagels

Besides being here on the OWG blog this week, I'm also visiting on Debbie Lynne Costello's blog Sword and the Spirit on Monday and on Friday I have a guest post at Heroes, Heroines and History (HHH blog).  There will be giveaways on both blogs.
The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Book 3Christmas Traditions Series

Last week, I guest posted on the ACFW blog and my novella, The Fruitcake Challenge, was reviewed on two blogs: Diana Montgomery's Teatime Reviews and Robin Wilson's Books You Can Feel Good About.

Giveaway: Copy of Carrie's new novella and a set of A Cup of Christmas Cheer (Guidepost Books, 2013) hardcover books (which includes Carrie's short story in book one, Tales of Faith and Family for the Holidays:  "Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas") will be given away to someone who comments on this post and on the other two posts this week. Answer this question: In Carrie's short story last year in the Guidepost Books' collection, the heroine Eliza (renamed Elsie by the editor) had something in common with Josephine Christy, the heroine in The Fruitcake Challenge.  What was it?

18 September 2014

A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears -- Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears
A Bride In Store
Bethany House Publishers (August, 2014)

5 Stars *****

Sweet Story with Rich Layers!

Eliza Cantrell, the daughter of a Eastern businessman, arrives in Kansas only to be robbed on the train enroute. She has come as a mail-order bride, bringing funds to assist the mercantile owner of what is primarily a men's shop. But her intended isn't even in town when she arrives. Instead Eliza begins helping William Stanton, her husband-to-be's business partner at the store. Except William doesn't seem to know much about business at all. He wants to be a doctor. Not only that but he is generous to a fault, failing to charge for services and goods. Will Eliza marry the man who sent for her? Will William find a way to attend medical school? Their sweet romance affects everything!

Bibliotherapy elements: Robbery and attack with injury so there is some PTSD, abandonment by her family, self concept issues, sexism against a woman being a business owner, honesty in relationships, and more! This novel has lots of lovely layers of meaningfulness. Not a light fluffy mail order bride story!  

Available for purchase at AmazonCBDBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryBAM, etc.

GIVEAWAYWe're giving away a copy of either of Melissa's novels this week, choice of format (international winners, ebook only unless available through the Book Depository. Leave a comment to enter.

*Check back in the Winners column on the top right hand side of the blog after Saturday.

16 September 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews A BRIDE IN STORE by Melissa Jagears

A Bride In Store
A Bride In Store
Bethany House Publishers (August 26, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Surprises in Store

An enterprising and engaging historical romance set in 1881; ‘A Bride in Store’ delivers with interest! Author Melissa Jagears pens a story with a generous supply of intrigue and romance guaranteed to satisfy every customer. Betwixt the pages, you’ll encounter appealing, realistically-flawed characters, searching for approval from others as well as themselves and God. Come join these endearing personalities on their journey in discovering truths that will eventually free them to find love, contentment, and God’s will.

The business-savvy Eliza Cantrell leaves Pennsylvania a week early feeling excited and eager to start a whole new life in Kansas as a mail-order bride to a general-store owner. She didn't count on getting viciously robbed on the train trip there, nor finding Axel, her groom-to-be, out of town when she arrived. Keeping herself busy until her fiancĂ© returns, she works on improving the store’s sales alongside Axel's not-so-business-savvy partner, William Stanton. Eliza is frustrated at William, herself, and her treacherous feelings. Yet she stubbornly refuses to give up her dreams, because she knows they don’t include a man like William - whose aspirations differ so vastly from her own.

Any wonder William doesn't run the store at huge profit; he’s way too kind-hearted and generous!  Obviously his passion is not in business, but it IS in doctoring, and William longs to save enough to afford medical school. That’s not working out too good for him though. It doesn't help that he’s finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate and work beside Eliza, but his errant thoughts refuse to stay off the straight-talking, smart, and pretty lady working in his store. Unfortunately Eliza is promised to another, and that fact is driving him crazy!

Life is never straightforward, and this is true for this surprisingly unpredictable story also. How can Eliza’s and William’s paths ever connect when they are going in two completely different directions? ‘A Bride in Store’ is a pilgrimage of seeking God’s will, of self-discovery, and of sacrifice and love. Beautifully penned, it is a heart-warming treat for the romantic soul that enjoys seeing God work all things together to give us new dreams and directions when ours go astray! 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Available for purchase at Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, BAM, etc

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a copy of either of Melissa's novels this week, choice of format (international winners, ebook only unless available through the Book Depository. Leave a comment to enter!

*Leave your email or check back in the Winners column at the top right hand side.

14 September 2014

Melissa Jagears on Parenting: Introverted Mom Coping with Extroverted Children

Author Melissa Jagears

I always wanted a lot of children, the idea of molding people to be the best they can be was quite the lovely dream. Except I forgot to take into account how much of an extreme introvert I am....do you know how much alone time babies give their introverted mommas? Zippo.

And of course, God gave me what seems to be three extroverts to raise. (I’m still hoping the one year old will suddenly turn shy...but I’m thinking he’s acting too much like the other ones for that to come true.)

So the kids often cause me to struggle with feeling like a bad mom because I’m not meeting all of their extroverted needs for constant entertainment and play dates with PEOPLE! All I have to do is say, “Get dressed” and they say in chorus: “Yay! Where are we going!!!???” (Literally. Every day. They think getting dressed means we’re going to a party.)

So how to cope? First, I don’t let myself be swayed by the people who think parents should be their child’s best friend. To be my children’s best friend, I’d have to be someone I most definitely am not, and when you cause introverts to pretend to be extroverts...they generally turn into not-so-nice people.

I also don’t let my childrens’ disappointments push me to gratify their every need. My daughter has been forced to find something to do alone because Mommy just can’t be engaged all the time. So she’s discovered the love of reading. If I’d kept her busy with play dates and board games, she’d never have had to spend an hour alone and realize that a book was a good way to fill that time.

I’m not the best mommy, as my daughter says, “You’re the best mommy because you’re my only mommy.” Which is true, she’s stuck with me and that’s about as good as she’ll get. Though I will strive to become the best mommy I can be, I will never win the best mommy in the world award. And that’s okay—God made me their mother for a reason, and He wouldn’t want me to ignore who He made me to be to fulfill that role.
A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears


Melissa Jagears is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance after everyone is asleep. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides Series with Bethany House. The prequel ebook novella, Love by the Letter is free to try. A Bride for Keeps and A Bride in Store should be available wherever books are sold. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com 

Link to her new release, A Bride in Store, on Amazon.

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of either of Melissa's novels this week, choice of format (international winners, ebook only unless available through the Book Depository.)  Answer the question - Are any of your kids extroverted and you're an introvert, or vice versa?

11 September 2014

Launch Party for Carrie Fancett Pagels' "The Fruitcake Challenge"

The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Celebrating the book launch of Carrie Fancett Pagels' new release, a novella in the Christmas Traditions series with eight other authors.  This is the 3rd book in the series.

The Fruitcake Challenge blurb

When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, “as good as better than the one my mother makes,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp—and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on! All the shanty boys and Jo’s cooking helpers chip in with their recipes but Jo finds she’ll have to enlist more help—and begins corresponding with Tom’s mother.

Step back in time to 1890, in beautiful Northern Michigan, near the sapphire straits of Mackinac, when the white pines were “white gold” and lumber camps were a way of life. Jo is ready to find another life outside of the camps and plans that don’t include any shanty boys. But will a lumberjack keep her in the very place she’s sworn to leave?

Here's my first review by one of our OWG angels!
Review by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Christmas fun, cake, and romance!

A well-educated and cocky lumberjack, a pretty camp cook who wants to leave, a spicy romance, and a nourishing spiritual message are just a handful of the ingredients making up this mouth-watering and engaging novella. Yum!

In the towering Northwoods of Michigan near Mackinaw city in the year 1890, former teacher Tom Jeffries takes up a position as the new axeman of the logging camp, in an effort to earn more money for his widowed mother. Smitten with the beautiful auburn-haired Jo Christy who is the boss’s daughter and the camp cook, Tom carelessly proposes to marry her if she can bake a fruitcake as good as his mother’s. But the spunky Jo only accepts the handsome lumberjack’s challenge, because she plans to take him down a few pegs by declining his offer when she produces the cake of his memories. During the cake-baking trials, couples left and right of them are becoming engaged, but will this stubborn pair find their way towards a future together when their paths are heading in opposite directions?

Set amongst the imposing and breathtaking evergreen woods of Michigan that echo with the songs of bountiful birds, while aromatic fruitcakes are baking in the camp oven, the descriptive imagery throughout ‘The Fruitcake Challenge’ tantalizes the senses and might I say, gives you a craving for fruit cake! You’ll find the rich historical insights permeating this story, fascinating and well-researched, bringing the yesteryear setting alive. And enriching this cozy Christmas tale that’s full of surprises is a reassuring message that reminds us to never give up, because God has a plan for us all.

Thanks so much, Noela!  What a wonderful review!!! I've really been so blessed by the reviews that have been posted on Amazon so far, too! Big hugs!

The Christmas Traditions Series
We're celebrating the launch and release of my latest publication, The Fruitcake Challenge, which is part of the Christmas Traditions series with eight other authors.

Cynthia Hickey's Handcarved Christmas and Niki Turner's Sadie's Gift have also released and have been reviewed on the OWG blog.
Handcarved Christmas by Cynthia Hickey

Sadie's Gift by Niki Turner

Link to purchase: The Fruitcake Challenge on Kindle.  The paperback copy should be available within two weeks as will the Nook copy.
A Cup of Christmas Cheer 
Giveaways: An ebook copy of The Fruitcake Challenge, an autographed copy of the paperback when it releases OR a copy of Return to Shirley Plantation (if preferred), and a boxed set of the hugely popular hardcover A Cup of Christmas Cheer collection from Guidepost Books that I contributed to with an autograph card. Ebook copies of the first two Christmas Traditions novellas: Cynthia Hickey's Handcarved Christmas and Niki Turner's Sadie's Gift.

09 September 2014

Caryl McAdoo's Hearts Stolen - Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Hearts Stolen by Caryl McAdoo

Spunky 15-year-old newlywed, "Sassy" Nightengale,  finds herself stolen by Comanche Indians and forced to become the wife of the chief. But her friend's brother, a Texas Ranger, has never given up looking for the young woman. When the US government makes a treaty, five years later, returning captives to their homes, she and her young son are taken back, facing immense dangers as they journey home.

Levi Baylor has won himself a reputation bigger than life and is a wonderful hero in this story. Very nice secondary romance between his sidekick and another young woman who'd been adducted.

Although it is problematic to think of a married woman falling in love with another man, Caryl does a great job of addressing the reasons why and provides a satisfying resolution to the problem. I knew she would, wondered how she did it, and she delivered a great HEA (happily ever after!) for the couple.

We're reintroduced to some stellar characters from the first book in this series, published by Howard Books in 2014.

SPOILER ALERT!!!  Stop here if you don't like spoilers!

I was disappointed by the death of a very special character. My advice: When you are finished reading about the nice ending for the hero and heroine, stop reading. Then before you read Caryl's next book, read that section! However, I'm pretty much a big wimp when it comes to things like this because I get so attached to special characters.

Caryl McAdoo's first book "A Vow Unbroken" in the series is on my Best of 2014 list! If you haven't already read it, I suggest you pick this novel up first before you read book two because it will help you understand the previous storyline. I do think this could be read as a standalone but it would be best to read them in order.

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of either of the books in this series this week! Leave a comment.

07 September 2014

Fear Not by Caryl McAdoo

Author Caryl McAdoo

Fear Not
       by Caryl McAdoo  

“Fear not, YOUR NAME, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward!" Genesis 15:1
Iniquity of the fathers are visited upon their children up to the fourth generation. I’d suppose that works for mothers, too. I came by being abnormally afraid legally according to scripture. Mama lived in so much fear, so I grew up thinking—being taught by example—that being scared was perfectly normal.

            As a teen, some man in our neighborhood came to our house at night. My bedroom was on the front, and I’d awake to our dog growling and see him silhouetted against my curtained windows. As a young wife, my fireman husband worked twenty-four shifts at the station, I woke up alone one night to someone at my window again. I called my neighbor who came and checked, but no one was there. However, tracks were the next morning.

            In that same house, when Ron went to the firehouse, I would get my firstborn, a pillow, blanket, and butcher knife and sleep the night in the little space under our big desk where your knees go. Though my experiences might explain why, and people lean toward giving me a by for being afraid, fear is still a sin.

            Fear is the opposite of faith. When fear operates in our life, it usually comes in the form of a lie. We run with all the lies flooding our brains and making our hearts beat faster. It’s a slap in the face to God. Fear says, “You aren’t big enough, Lord.” It says, “Nothing can save you.” And “You’re going to die.” Or “Your child doesn’t love you.”
But God’s Word says He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)

So, the world’s biggest scaredy cat got delivered from fear when God revealed that I could trust Him. Completely, totally, and without reservation. He caused me to know that He constantly watches over me, and that nothing touches me without His permission. His love for me is so great! He has good plans for me! He’ll never leave me or forsake me—all His promises in His Living Word are mine! He put them there for me, for my benefit.

I can live in peace without fear.

Life changed for me that day, and I really didn’t have any fear issues for a long while—other than in a ladies’ Bible study where I semi got into it with the teacher who was saying ‘some’ fear is healthy. I contended, “No. All fear is of the devil. It insults God, and we should not accept any of it. We should deny it and fully reject it.”

In my prayer group, I said one day when fear came up, “I’m not afraid of anything.” I wasn’t trying to be a braggart, only put forth Truth, make a good confession (God creates the fruit of your lips. Isaiah 57:19 and Hebrews 13:15) One lady said, “You have to be afraid of something.” I answered, “No ma’am. I do not, and I will not. God did not give me a Spirit of fear but power, love and a strong mind.”

CFP: Thank you Caryl for this encouraging guest post!
Hearts Stolen by Caryl McAdoo

BIO: With eleven titles released by five publishers, Caryl McAdoo now enjoys being a ‘Simon & Schuster’ author with her historical Christian romance VOW UNBROKEN set in 1832 Texas. Now she’s thrilled to offer book two debuting THIS month HEARTS STOLEN set in 1844 and featuring Levi (the teen in VOW) as its hero Texas Ranger. The novelist also edits, paints, and writes new songs. In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the Dallas / Ft. Worth Metroplex to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and fourteen grandchildren life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. She hopes that her books will minister His love, mercy, and grace to all their readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State.



Giveaway: A copy of Caryl’s new novel, Hearts Stolen, to one of our commenters.



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