25 June 2017

Interview with Debut Author Natalie Monk

Author Natalie Monk

Natalie, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. Hi, Carrie! Thank you! It’s an honor to be here. I look forward to meeting your readers.

Would you tell us about the one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?  
Answer: A few times over the years, I’ve had people I love cut off communication with me and spread untrue things, simply because my family and I try to live by principles taught in the Bible. People who once considered me as close as their own relatives, people I sacrificed for and poured my life into. This is never an easy thing to take. We humans set so much value upon the approval and acceptance of others, especially when we let someone close. As Christians, we tend to anticipate others will behave in the same way which we hope we would in a given situation. When this doesn’t happen, we feel pain, or at the very least confusion. And when someone decides to exit our life instead of lovingly working through disagreements, the feelings of rejection become reality. The easy path for me was to wonder if my investment was a waste of time. Even greater was the danger of letting the hurt turn to bitterness. It takes time and effort, but God can help us overcome, even after events like these.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times? I Peter 2:19-20 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:44b Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

What helped you get through or helped you cope with this difficulty? First, I had to remember that Jesus also suffered for good and truth. Knowing that he endured far more than I gave me comfort and brought a deeper fellowship with Him. Secondly, I had to acknowledge that we’re all fallibly human. Even as Christians, we’re at different places in our walk with Christ. This can cause conflict when some hold to their own traditions or opinions more than God’s word. Instead of becoming bitter, I had to learn to pray for these people out of a heart of love and ask God to continue His work in them while simultaneously asking Him to help me be where I needed to be in my thoughts, feelings, and words about them. Thirdly, God encouraged me through quality time with my family and other friends, and we grew closer by working through the struggle using God’s truths. And finally, thankfulness. This has been vital for me. Specifically, thanking God for this opportunity to show His love, for the blessing of those friendships while they lasted, for my deepened relationships with God, family, and other friends, and for the chance to eventually encourage people in similar situations. The Bible commands thankfulness and praise (Ephesians 5:19-20; I Thessalonians 5:18; Colossians 3:15) and for good reason. Getting our minds into the thankfulness pattern improves our feelings and interactions with others. An easy way to practice gratefulness is to keep a small journal beside your bed (many writers do this anyway) and, first thing in the morning, write ten things you’re grateful for. Doesn’t take long. Some days I just thank God for sunshine and breath and the ability to walk and speak. Coffee and giggles and chicken salad. Writing my ten things never fails to make me smile.

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 don’t believe Barbour has this collection in audio or large print. This is my debut work, but in the future, I hope to have books on audio and with large print.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? In my novella, For Richer or Poorer, the hero works to rebuild his failed relationships and reputation after he let bitterness produce unwise decisions in his past. He learns the value of faithfulness, perseverance, and starting now to build his future testimony. He also learns that those who hurt him are often driven by their own pain. The heroine learns to lean into thankfulness during a time of testing.

Question you’d like to ask readers: Was there a time in your life when thankfulness helped cheer you and keep you going? What are some practical ways you remember to be thankful?

BIO:
Natalie Monk is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. A preacher’s daughter from North Mississippi, Natalie loves porch swings, old movies, and meeting readers through her website: www.nataliemonk.com.

Natalie’s Links:
Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection from Barbour

Book Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christian Book Distributors
(Coming soon to a Walmart shelf near YOU!!!)

Book blurb for For Richer or Poorer novella:
In order to bring her starving family to New Jersey, Polish immigrant and housemaid Marcella Lipski must marry wealth…so she dons her employer's discarded ball gowns and goes husband hunting at Newark's tourist spots. There's just one problem. Ella can't speak a speck of English. She considers herself blessed to secure free English lessons from a poor-but-mysterious cart driver—until she loses her heart in the process.

Book blurb for Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection:
Journey along in nine historical romances with those whose lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America’s Gilded Age. Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more. Watch as these romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed.

CFP: NATALIE, MAY GOD BLESS YOU ON YOUR DEBUT AND WITH YOUR WRITING!!!



Giveaway: Natalie is giving away a paperback copy of the Of Rags and Riches Collection. U.S. entrants only, please.

22 June 2017

Endorsement from Tamera Alexander for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island!


"An enchanting love story, My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island is sprinkled with warmth and humor, grace and faith. A highly enjoyable read!" 
~ Tamera Alexander, USA Today Bestselling Author of A Note Yet Unsung and To Win Her Favor


Links to purchase:
Links to purchase My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring (Barbour Publishing, July 2017)
CBD 

Thank you, Tamera Alexander for your lovely endorsement!!! 
To have such an amazing author endorse Maude and Ben's story is a true blessing!



Giveaway: An autographed paperback or a kindle copy -- reader's choice. (International winners -- direct ship from BD unsigned or Ebook copy.) Leave a comment about this endorsement to enter! Already own this new novel? Select one of Tamera Alexander's novels instead! 

20 June 2017

Sword of the Matchmaker Reviewed by Teresa S. Mathews

Sword Of The Matchmaker 
by Debbie Lynne Costello
Forget Me Not Romances,  A division of Winged Publications
  
5 Stars*****
Once again Debbie Lynne Costello takes us back to the enchanting times of Ladies in Waiting and Knights in Shining Armor, but this particular tale has a slight twist. The beautiful heroine in this story is not some timid young Lady awaiting a handsome Knight to ask for her hand in marriage, she is protector of her clan! 

Penelope Beatty, hated that she, a brave warrior of her Scottish Clan had to set foot on English soil to seek help from a man she didn't know but since her father's death she had nowhere else to go. She had come a long ways and would not give up until she finds Hamon Godfrey. Instead Penelope finds herself surrounded by a group of soldiers led by one very arrogant Knight by the name of Sir Thomas.  

Thomas Godfrey was usually a man that was straight to point when confronted but there was something about this tall Scottish beauty that made him smile. Perhaps it was the men's garb she wore or the fact that she thought herself a warrior, perhaps even his equal. When Penelope asks to speak to his father, Hamon, he can't resist having a little fun at her expense.  

Taking Penelope to his father's grave and seeing her reaction makes Thomas realize he needs to hear her story. Afterward Thomas vows that as the eldest son he would be willing to help her. Thomas then takes Penelope back to meet Lord Royce and Lady Brithwin at Hawkwood and something inside tells him things will never be the same again.  

Debbie Lynne Costello is a very talented writer of stories that flow beautifully through out. I loved Penelope and Thomas' story, and it was good to see Royce and Brithwin from Debbie Lynne's Sword of Forgiveness, book one of this series. I have read both books, and I think you won't have a problem reading this as a stand alone but I promise you will also enjoy Sword of Forgiveness. There is also a third one in the wings and I can't wait to read that one, too! Thank you Ms. Costello for this truly enjoyable read!



Blurb:

Penelope Beatty made up her mind long ago she would live and die a Scottish warrior not a wife. But when nearly all her clan is killed and she is betrayed, she loathes doing the unthinkable, but must seek the help of an Englishman who owed her father his life.

Thomas Godfrey never married, but when a Scottish warrior lass shows up needing his aid, he finds her both annoying and irresistible. But the last thing he wants is to marry a woman who fights alongside him. If he was going to marry—which he isn’t—it would be to a soft, submissive woman. But when the Lady Brithwin meets the Scottish lass, she’s sure she’s found the perfect match for Thomas and nothing is going to stop her from seeing a summer wedding.

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Sword of the Matchmaker (if you have purchased the book you can choose one of Debbie Lynne's other books). Leave a comment to be entered.
  
Purchase link:


18 June 2017

Happy Father's Day to Joe Costello -- Mantle Cell Lymphoma Survivor


It's great to be back on OWG blog, Carrie, and I want to thank you for inviting me back. The Last time I was here, I shared about my husband, Joe's, battle with Mantle Cell, a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Today I’d like to share what it is like after the chemo and the words remission. When we first heard those magical words a weight lifted off our shoulders and each day was like a new lease on life. But every four months we have to return to MD Anderson for PET/CT scans and that reminds us that the doctors aren’t so sure this cancer will never return.

God healed Joe—he just used MD Anderson to do it. So when we return every 4 months for those rechecks Satan wants us to live in fear that the mantle cell has returned. He wants to rob us of the joy and assurance the Lord has given us. It’s hard sometimes not to look over your shoulder to see what is there, but God wants us to look up rather than back.

So how does one go on after beating a cancer like MCL? Joe and I have found that keeping our eyes focused ahead of us and on God keeps us putting one foot in front of the other.  It’s been a year this month that Joe was declared cancer free.  When we walk out of MDA with the new results it is always a positive feeling. And the next three or so months we continue on with our normal life which is always busy.

But as the weeks creep by to the next four month checkup, there is Satan whispering fear and negativity into our ears. I am the one who sees a glass half-full and Joe is the realist. LOL! His words. Mine are more like pessimist. We agree to disagree on that title. So I expect him to worry but not me! No, I am the positive one. I’m not supposed to have these doubts.  However, try as I may to keep my faith and not let fear get a foothold, many times it does.

Like countless other things on this journey, God had already put things in place, this time a scripture to cling to when my faith waivered.  Several years ago our pastor chose Mark 9:24 for our verse that year. Many of the sermons throughout the following months tied in to that verse. Mark 9:24 is a short verse and reads, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”


It’s a reminder to me that though God wants us to have faith and trust Him, He recognizes that we are human and at times our faith is going to waiver. For those times He has given us a verse to cling to. It’s a verse that shouts out to us that God wants to help us when we face hard situations where our faith wanes.

Bio:
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.

Debbie Lynne's latest book:

Media links For Debbie Lynne:

Amazon Author page

GIVEAWAY: We're so glad Debbie Lynne's husband, Joe Costello, is overcoming Mantle Cell Lymphoma! Happy Father's Day to Joe! We're giving away a copy of Debbie Lynne's latest book which is also available in this collection! Leave a prayer for Joe to enter!


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