20 October 2014

Patty Smith Hall Interview - Coping with Pain

Author Patty Smith Hall

Patty, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 
Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to overcome in my life is my battle with chronic pain. At twenty-three, I was attacked by a psychotic patient and told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was forty, that having children would be an impossibility, that the career I had worked toward for years was over before it had even begun. That’s a lot to handle in your twenties, especially when you feel that God had led you down that path. At first, I fought the experts—I continued to work in nursing and even managed to have two daughters, though both were born extremely early. As I grew older and my back condition grew worse, my anger at God grew. How could He allow this to happen to me when I had always tried to follow His will? I couldn’t see it then that though He hated seeing me hurt, God had a bigger, more wonderful plan for me.

CFP: Patty, I'm so sorry you've had to cope with chronic pain. All of us on the OWG do the same and we'll lift you up in prayer.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
The verse that I recite to myself when the pain gets tough is Romans 8:28—And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to the will of God. Whether life is good or bad, God works things together for GOOD. So my pain, as hard as it is, refines me and is working toward good according to the will of God.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  
My last two books with Love Inspired Historical, Hearts in Hiding and Hearts Rekindled were both released in large print. 
Christmas Lessons Book 5 in Christmas Traditions Series 

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? 
The hero and heroine in Christmas Lessons, my latest release, deal with physical disabilities, mainly the effects of polio. My last LIH, Hearts Rekindled, is set in a home for physically and mentally disabled children in 1945 Georgia. 

Question you’d like to ask readers:
What kind of Christmas traditions do you have in your family? In Christmas Lessons, Claire is in charge of the school’s annual Christmas project, supplying food and Christmas presents for families in need—something my mother and I did for many years when my girls were young. 

Author bio: Patty Smith Hall has been making up stories to keep herself occupied since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. Now she’s thrilled to share her love of history and storytelling with everyone, including her husband of thirty one years, Danny; her beautiful and talented daughters, Jennifer and Carly, and her future son-in-law, Dan.

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away 3 copies of Patty's new Christmas Traditions ebook novella this week and a set of Books 1-5 by Cynthia Hickey, Niki Turner, CarrieFancett Pagels, and Darlene Franklin. Leave a comment on this interview and on reviews to enter.

18 October 2014

"Christmas Bounty" by MaryLu Tyndall - Review

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection (Barbour Books, 2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels 

Five out of Five Stars! *****

Christmas Bounty
by MaryLu Tyndall

Set in Santa Barbara, California, in 1855, this is an engaging story that is pure MaryLu! Of course we had to have a handsome pirate with a heart of gold.  Widowed Caroline Moreau is attempting to fulfill her late husband's wish of producing wine that will rival that made in Europe. With her two young children, Phillippe and Abilene, she faces danger in this task. Someone is trying to sabotage her efforts.  When captured pirate, Dante, is about to hang from the gallows, Caroline rescues him. He in turn, in the story, saves her and her children. But the relationship is fraught with difficulties. Neither one wants to accept their relationship as more than a business arrangement--but their hearts say otherwise.

This story is unique and you won't want to put it down until you are through reading it.  MaryLu Tyndall fans know that she creates swoon-worthy heroes and she doesn't disappoint in this novella. The ending has a bit of "Gift of the Magi" feel to it, with the sacrifices made. I loved that story by O. Henry, another great Christmas read and a classic.

Giveaway: OWG is giving away a paperback or ebook copy of this book this week. Susan Page Davis, who has a new novel out set in Maine, is also giving away a copy of The Westward Christmas Brides plus a copy of her new novel Mainely Mysteries!

16 October 2014

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection - Review of Vickie McDonough's Novella

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

Forging a Family by Vickie McDonough
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection (Barbour Books, 2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels 

In Forging a Family, Vickie McDonough has crafted a beautiful Christmas novella. Beth Ruskin is accompanying her father, a physician, west and is bringing one last (of ten) orphan on the train, hopeful to find little Lizzie a home. Meanwhile burly blacksmith Cade Maddox, a widower, is trying to figure out how he can possibly take care of his daughter, Annie, three, by himself.

The bridge washed out and the train passengers all must find places in a tiny town to stay.  When little Annie is injured, Beth and Dr. Ruskin must help.

Sparks fly when Beth meets Cade. He's the first man she can really imagine herself falling in love with. But her father would never approve of a smithy. And Cade thinks the same thing. He has tried unsuccessfully to find a caregiver for Annie, in his small town.

As Beth helps Cade and Annie, bringing little Lizzie along with her, you can see they were meant to be a family. But when Cade goes through some difficult struggles and is seriously injured, all bets are off. But of course there is a satisfying happy-ever-after or I wouldn't give it five stars~

This story was a real page-turner yet the author managed to make sure you were grounded in the setting in each scene.

Five out of Five Stars *****

Bibliotherapy elements: Loss of spouse, adoption, injuries, making difficult life choices.

Giveaway: We're giving away an ebook or paperback copy of The Westward Brides Collection this week. Have you read any other stories about orphan trains?

14 October 2014

Bibliotherapy at Christmas! A Review

Another Christmas Story by Susan Page Davis
Novella in The Westward Christmas Brides Collection by Barbour (2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

SPOILER ALERTS: I have a couple of spoilers in my review so if you don't read reviews with spoilers stop right now and just leave a comment to enter for the giveaway!

Bibliotherapy Galore!
For a short novella, Susan Page Davis's story packs a punch! The story starts right out with a bang as the heroine, Beryl, and her young brother, Sam. learn that their father has been seriously injured on their wagon train ride west. They are forced to take refuge in a nearby town and with the unlikely assistance of the store owners and their handsome son, James. Although Beryl has heard that Clara, the proprietor's wife, drives a hard bargain, the family is extremely generous to them, putting the little family of three (other family members died before the trip) up in a cabin they own. So far then, in the story, we had previous loss of family (grieving), relocating elsewhere, now severe life-threatening injury, and plans derailed.

Which makes one pause and ask--is this really a Christmas story? I think Susan Page Davis tagged it appropriately, almost tongue-in-cheek by calling it Another Christmas Story. This is a story about all the awful stuff that can still happen near the holidays. (The story does not terminate at Christmas, like most seasonal stories but continues on, again, a surprise in a novella of this length.)

Beryl's and James' romance is sweet and unfolds slowly. When her father dies and a difficult winter strikes, Beryl and Sam move in with James and Clara. This has a great boon for her brother because Sam benefits from instruction he receives with the Lassen family. Meanwhile, Mr. Lassen heads off to resupply their store.

There is a creepy episode that takes place at the store, with unwanted intruders. Again, not Christmas-like. And another tragedy in store. Again, not what one expects in a Christmas novella. BUT, Christmas doesn't come and go without there being many difficulties for many people. I think readers who are going through a hard time at Christmas might be able to relate to this story very well and draw comfort from the fact that it is so different.

This is NOT just Another Christmas Story. It is a story full of bibliotherapy elements. It's one of those stories where a friend might point out that particular novella to a friend who is suffering losses. And lest you fret--there is a happy ever after for the young couple.

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of either ebook or paperback copy of The Westward Christmas Brides collection this week.
Question: Have you ever had an awful Christmas season? Did you read anything during that time that helped?

12 October 2014

Interview with Susan Page Davis - Stroke Overcomer

Author Susan Page Davis

CFP: Susan, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 

I had a major stroke when I was 42 years old, and the doctors could not find a cause for it. I now have no residual effects physically. I feel my recovery was a direct answer to the prayers of many people.

(CFP: My sister suffered a major stroke last year and my father had one, also. Their recovery also a miraculous intervention from God. PTL for your healing, Susan!)

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
In the most difficult times, I remember Psalm 48:14, which tells me that even if I change, God never changes. “For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.”

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
I have several books in large print, including the Mainely Mysteries series, Ladies’ Shooting Club series, the Alaska Weddings series, Almost Arizona, Hearts in the Crosshairs, The Crimson Cipher, and Finding Marie.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  

My novella in Westward Christmas Brides, “Another Christmas Story,” deals with grief, loss of a parent, raising a precocious child, and lack of security. It is set in the 1850s.

(CFP: This novella will be reviewed this week on the OWG blog by me and has strong bibliotherapy elements as you have mentioned, Susan.)

Westward Christmas Brides (novella collection) 
Author: Susan Page Davis, “Another Christmas Story.”

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty published novels. A history major, she’s always interested in the unusual happenings of the past. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and also a winner of the Carol Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and a finalist in the WILLA Awards and the More Than Magic Contest. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com .
  • Links for Westward Christmas Brides
Buy from Amazon 
Buy from Barnes & Noble  
Buy from Christian Book

Question you’d like to ask readers:
When you’ve faced a difficult decision, did God show you an alternative you hadn’t thought of?

Giveaways: Susan will give one copy of Westward Christmas Brides (paper) and one Mainely Mysteries (e-book). (We're also giving away a second paperback copy of Westward Christmas Brides this week.)

The Fruitcake Challenge Reviewed by Tina Rice

The Fruitcake Challenge, book 3, A Christmas Traditions Novella, Book 3
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

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 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!

Review by Tina Rice

Our hero/heroine live and work near Mackinaw City in Northern Michigan's logging camp in 1890. Josephine-Jo Christy, daughter of the camp's owner, is the camps cook and longs to leave and find another life for herself. She has vowed to leave once this camp site moves on to the next camp site where the white pines they harvest are plentiful. Jo longs to marry and have a family but does not want to marry a lumberjack. Tom Jeffries is a teacher but teaching jobs are scarce and pay little, so he finds a job with the Christy logging camp as a lumberjack to support himself and his widowed mother.

Both Jo and Tom have prayed for God's leading in their lives and question His direction at times. Tom challenges Jo to bake a fruitcake like his mothers', if she does he will marry her. Jo takes up the challenge, not to marry him but to take him down a notch or two—he is way too cocky, and besides he is a lumberjack. But over the months as they get to know each other and Jo bakes one fruitcake after another that doesn't meet Tom's specifications, Jo begins to rethink baking yet one more fruitcake. Tom now has second thoughts on his challenge to Jo, he wants to marry her but not because of her baking a fruitcake. Things don't go smoothly as the deadline gets closer. Even though Jo's fruitcakes are not like Tom's mothers', each fruitcake she bakes spark romance in other unlikely couples.

I loved the sparks between Jo and Tom, each trying not to admit to themselves that there is an attraction. I like the way the author includes Jo and Tom's thoughts showing their uncertainty and how vulnerable they really are. The description of how remote the logging camp really is from the nearest town and the difficulty traveling back and forth gives us a glimpse of their way of life. Those in the camp are more like family than co-workers and rely on each other daily. No story would be complete without surprises, and this one includes some surprises along the way keeping the reader engrossed in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would like to see more of the characters in a follow-up story.

Available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Giveaway: A copy of Carrie's ebook. Question: Have you ever read a lumberjack Christmas story?

11 October 2014

Reviews by Guest Tina Rice - Christmas Traditions Novellas Books 2 & 4

AN APPLE FOR CHRISTMAS (Christmas Traditions Series Book 4) 
Ruby Nelson trades her job in the laboratory for teaching in a small girls’ school in Vermont. Twin sisters challenge her position—and their father captivates her imagination. Will the orchard grower graft Ruby onto his heart?

Ruby Nelson is the new teacher at an all girls school in 1895 Vermont. She enjoys teaching these young girls, even the challenging ones. There are twin girls, Pippin and Margil, in her class that have captured Ruby's heart. The twins father, Mac Cortland, owns an apple orchard he and his deceased wife started years earlier. Ruby is very interested in the apple orchard as she has worked with apples before moving from New York. She also finds her heart drawn to Mac.

I enjoyed this novella very much. Loved the way Ruby and Mac interacted and the twins were delightful.


Sadie's Gift (Christmas Traditions Novella, Book 2)
by Niki Turner

Colorado Springs, 1921 — Nurse Sadie Hubbard wants to give the children at the preventorium a wonderful Christmas. Heartbroken Nathan Wells hopes to return to Chicago and mourn his brother's death alone. When an accident brings them together, their plans for the holiday collide. Will they find a way to work together in the spirit of Christmas?

Review By 

Sadie Hubbard is a nurse working in the local Preventorium in the early 1920's. She cares for children who have or have been exposed to Tuberculosis (TB). Her heart goes out to them and their families and wants to make each Christmas a very special one even if she has to sacrifice to do it.

Nathan Wells is a man on a mission, to return his recently deceased brother's car to his parents and then be left alone with his grief. As Sadie is walking across the icy street he swerves to avoid hitting her. Angry, he informs Sadie that she has to pay for repairs to the car.

Later when Sadie arrives at the boarding house in which she lives she runs into Nathan again as he is now staying there too until his car is repaired. Will they be able to get past their first meeting and work together for the children? Can Sadie's actions reveal the true Spirit of Christmas to Nathan? Can Nathan release his anger and grief?

This is a very touching Christmas novella in many ways, a bit of suspense, range of emotions, humor, romance, redemption and Spirituality. I love the way God's love is revealed through Sadie's heart and how she shares the true Spirit of Christmas.


GIVEAWAY: Books 1-4 in the Christmas Traditions Series!  Question: What do you like to find in a Christmas novella, when you sit down to read a new book?

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