31 May 2014

Interview with Lorna Seilstad by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Author Lorna Seilstad

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
Like most people, I’ve had a few periods of my life that I’d call difficult. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home, so I’ve always sought God’s comfort and direction when those times have occurred.
Three weeks ago, my father went to his heavenly home. I’m sure he and my mom are having a wonderful reunion, but this time in my life has been especially difficult.
My mother died of colon cancer in 1996. I was 31, a young wife and mother, and the loss left a huge hole in my life. I remember very little of the six months following her death. I went through the actions, but it’s sort of a blur. A lot of prayers and a lot of tears. I’d cry in the bathtub, so if my five-year-old asked what was wrong, I could say I got soap in my eyes.
Although my father had been an insulin dependent diabetic for nearly 45 years, he died of chronic heart failure. He needed a new aortic valve, but wasn’t strong enough for open-heart surgery, and they don’t make a valve big enough for him to have TAVR (a new valve replacement procedure where they go in through your groin).
Since January, he’d been in the hospital four times, and my husband had been in once. Hospitals are not the most conducive places for writing, I can assure you, so with a book due June 1, I felt a lot of pressure.  I’ve clung to the verse, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on until it is completed.” (Phil. 1:6)

The doctor had given my dad two to six months, but he died only two weeks after hospice had been set up. Watching a loved one struggle to breathe is heart breaking, but I can’t even put into words how precious those moments were for me to say “I love you” one more time. It was also the last thing he said to me. I think the hardest part of both of their deaths was telling them it was time to go when everything inside of me wanted to scream Don’t leave me.
My grief is fresh right now. There’s a special ache knowing both of your parents are gone. I know from my mother’s death that eventually the painful moments will come at great intervals like when you drop a pebble into the water, and the rings get farther and farther apart.
As I press on toward my writing goal, I continue to cling to that verse.  My stories come from God, they’ve always been His, and He will carry them on to completion. When your heart is hurting and your mind spinning, that’s great news with a looming deadline.

While Love Stirs
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 e-books are audio capable. I wish I had them available in large print and in audio format, but I don’t yet. I get a lot of requests for large print, though, and I always suggest using a Kindle or Nook where you can make the print larger.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? 
I’d like to think so. Anyone with control issues would relate to Charlotte and Joel’s struggles. Their healing comes through faith and trust in God. Charlotte also lost her parents when she was only 17. This is key to the choices she makes today.
The hero, Joel, has mild OCD. I don’t know if reading about him would be therapeutic or not.  I modeled him after a friend who I’ve always admired for the way he laughs at himself. We used to go in his office and turn his ships around. He’d fix them within minutes of entering the room and just laugh.

Joel grew up with a father who had a debilitating injury which caused chronic pain. His father self-medicated. This all happened during a time period where people didn’t understand those kinds of injuries. Joel heard their hurtful comments and it affected him greatly.

Giveaway: Choice of any of Lorna's books, choice of format, to one commenter.

29 May 2014

Diana's Three Year Anniversary on OWG Blog! Garden Party

This is our gorgeous Diana's third anniversary on the OWG blog! We've changed our name since she joined us and added three more "Angels" to the blog.

Carrie and Diana on Day One
When she joined the blog!
Since she's been contributing, Diana has done too many reviews for me to count them all!!!

Diana is our official "Senior Reviewer" on the OWG blog, meaning she has the status of being the senior or lead reviewer. Diana is also a Beta reader for published authors.  And since she's been reviewing on OWG she has also been quoted by Christian media publications and publishers for promotional purposes! So when Diana talks, people listen.

One of my favorite things about Diana is when we both get the same Bible verse at the same time!!!  Love when that happens.  It is like the Holy Spirit is speaking to us both about the same things.

Let's celebrate and raise our glasses to a toast to Diana! Come out into the yard and enjoy some lemonade or tea and some delicious cupcakes! Of course they are pink--you are in Carrie's garden!  Gluten free, too, and baked by my sweet daughter. Her puppy has gone home so you don't need to worry about having your crop pants or capris nipped at.

Here is Diana's 26 layer Chocolate Cake
which we may have already sampled! YUM!

Australian Pink Bottlebrushes
Congratulations Blondie on your OWG 3 year Anniversary!! You, and your reviews, my dear SC sister, have always been a massive inspiration to me! Thank you for all your encouragement, help, and advice since I've joined the team. Enjoy the beautiful garden party, and the Australian pink Bottlebrushes. They attract Lorikeets so you may have some feathery friends fly by to say G’day!

One of those Sunday's we showed
up at church dressed alike.

Diana what a precious friend you have been to me since we met years ago. It's always been so much fun comparing our similar tastes especially when we show up at Church dressed alike! I want you to know what a blessing your beautiful reviews are along with your sweet words of encouragement you share with everyone. Congrats BFF on the three years and the many more to come!

Windmill with Dutch flag.

Did you know that Diana's mother was full Dutch? So that means Diana is half Dutch. And that makes her extra special to this Dutchy (Marian).
I will spin a windmill for you today, Diana. Love you!!

Diana with her Kindle Fire;
a device that brings her much joy! 

Whether it's an ebook on her Kindle or a brand new paperback. Diana LOVES books!

Giveaway: We're giving away any three books that Diana has reviewed in the past three years, winners choice of format. (US Residents Only)

Feel free to wish Diana a Happy OWG Anniversary and you might be one of our blessed winners!!

27 May 2014

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad, Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

While Love Stirs

Lorna Seilstad Cooks up a Great Read!!!
I received this book from Net Galley as a download and I'll be purchasing a copy, also. This would make a GREAT summer read! I did not read the first Gregory sisters book but did after I read this book.  I would recommend reading them in order. The first book was wonderful, too!

Charlotte is a Fanny Farmer Cooking School graduate who was previously in a relationship with an extremely controlling young man. She wants nothing to do with someone remotely like him.  Enter Dr. Joel, who is an alpha male all the way, with a dose of OCD thrown in. Reading this book was like enjoying a perfectly prepared banquet!

I am guessing younger sister, Tessa, might be getting her own book because she had a storyline in this one doing clerical work/actress/detective!

This is a turn of the century Christian historical romance set in Minnesota. There is not a huge spiritual arc for either of the main characters but I liked that their faith was strong and got them through their difficulties.

Bibliotherapy elements: Jealousy (by two competitors), danger from natural disasters and from manmade ones, not letting the past rule the future, some OCD elements with the doctor, nutrition, and I think in one of the jealous situations the heroine was using her head and not the Holy Spirit to guide her but I also think that antagonist had to stay in as a plot element, and that was used as a spiritual element to show just because you "think" something is the Christian thing to do it isn't always so.  Another bibliotherapy element well done was the heroine having two suitors, one who would have been "settling" for less than God's best for her.

Highly recommend! Don't plan on getting anything else done while you are reading this book--it is a real page turner!!!

Here's the link to purchase Volumes 1 and 2 of the Gregory Sisters on CBD.

Here's a link to my 5 star review of book 1 in this series on goodreads.

Giveaway: A Copy of While Love Stirs, Leave a comment.

25 May 2014

You Will Never Be Forgotten by Teresa S. Mathews

You Will Never be Forgotten

You forgot about your fears and quickly grabbed your gun,                                 
and into the thick of the battle you did bravely run.

Never once did you stop to think about all of the dangers,                                   
you were there to protect us, whether family, friends or strangers.

Fighting for your country to remain proud and free                                       
wanting each and every one of us to keep our liberty.

Fighting with bold courage never thinking of the cost;                                      
never giving up even if it meant your life would be lost.

Thank you for your bravery and dying for this great land,                                   
you will forever be remembered as a selfless woman or man.

May your families be forever proud of the sacrifice you made;                         
may you live long in their hearts and your memories never fade.

"You will not be forgotten" are the words we humbly say;                   
remembering the sacrifice you made for us that day.

Because of your valor Old Glory is free to proudly wave                                  
o'er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!

© Teresa S. Mathews 2014

May Their Bravery Always Be Remembered

Thanks to for use of this picture.

22 May 2014

Diana Flowers Reviews First Impressions by Sarah Price

First Impressions

Realms, 2014

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 stars *****

A Fascinating Tale of Pride and Prejudice

In her own eloquent, exquisite style, author Sarah Price has penned a delightful Amish tale — reminiscent of the timeless classic by the memorable Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

Lizzie Blank lives a contented life on a modest farm with her parents and four sisters, in a close knit Amish community in Pennsylvania. The Blank household – especially Lizzie's mother – is abuzz with excitement upon learning that the rental farm next door would soon be occupied with three marriageable young Amish men from Ohio! The matriarch of the Blank family had spent many a sleepless night wondering who might take over the farm someday; having five daughters, no sons, and not many single men in the community.

When Charles Beachey arrives with his cousin, George Wickey, and a friend, Frederick Detweiler, it is not long before the sparks begin to fly. Handsome, godly Charles Beachey is immediately drawn to Lizzie's older sister, Jane, who is as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. His cousin, George Wickey, is dashing, mysterious, and full of charm, and Lizzie's first impressions of Frederick are not favorable at all. She finds him puffed up with pride, prejudice, and arrogance — and overhears him telling Charles that she is just "tolerable." When Charles returns to Ohio leaving Jane heartbroken, Lizzie deems the insufferable Frederick responsible, and neither does she understand the distasteful attitude he takes towards the charming, handsome George Wickey. As Lizzie seeks to draw closer to God, will she realize that first impressions aren't always as they seem…but are they destined to be lasting impressions?

Although this novel is an Amish contemporary, I just loved the old fashioned Jane Austen-ish feel to it! I could actually envision the characters from the movie, Pride and Prejudice, in my mind's eye (especially Mr. Darcy, er, uh, Frederick that is)…so accurately were they portrayed by the author…and I fell in love with every one of them! Except for…well, I best not say! Sarah Price is extremely talented, and I highly applaud her for this wonderful book that made me laugh, smile, cry, and think about how easily we prejudge people based on appearances or what someone else has told us about them. This is easily one of the best novels I have read this year, and one of my fave Amish books ever!


This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, and BAM.

GIVEAWAY: Sarah is generously giving away a paperback copy of First Impressions to one blessed commenter! US residents only. Please leave email address using (at) and (dot) to prevent spam.

20 May 2014

Free Short Stories on Family Fiction Site -- Vote for Carrie Fancett Pagels's entry!

Did you know you can read 200 FREE short stories online?  Salem publishing and Family Fiction ezine are having a contest called "The Story, 2014" and those who have made it past the first readers have now been listed online, including my story! And I'm super excited about it!!! 50 of these stories will be published in a compendium.

Here is the link to vote for Carrie Fancett Pagels's short story "The Quilting Contest" on the Family Fiction site!

My story is a Christian historical romance set in Michigan in 1895! I named a lot of the characters after family and friends. The core message of my story is that while we human might not be fair, God has things under control. Maude (named her after my Grandmother!) tries to do her best friend a favor but is thwarted by the conservative ladies who are running the local quilt show in her township. Although her friend's quilt was runner-up in the state quilting show, the provincial ladies reject the submission based on old-fashioned rules. But God has the situation under control (this is a romance so of course He has sent a handsome hero to assist her!)  I'd like to think David would have brought Maude a lovely bouquet, like the one from my garden, when he went to take her out on their first date! Well, maybe his wouldn't have had ants in it!

Here is the main link to start reading all of the stories:

Giveaway: $10 Barnes and Noble gift card to one of our commenters who checks out the website.  IF you have read and liked my story, come back and let me know!  It is always an encouragement to an author to know what resonated with a reader! How about you--have you had a situation where you were treated unfairly but God blessed you even more than the earthly reward would have been?

17 May 2014

Regina Jennings's "Caught in the Middle" Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Caught in the Middle

Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings
Book 3 of the Ladies of Caldwell County

My OWG blog angels introduced me to Regina Jennings books two years ago, but I didn't get a chance to read her work until recently.  I began with the novel that the Angels raved about: Sixty Acres and a Bride.

In the month of March, while recovering from foot surgery, I made up for lost time and read all three of her books on my Kindle!

Anne Tillerton is the abused wife from Sixty Acres and a Bride. SPOILER: She had ended up killing her husband when he tried to assault Rosa. The story starts out with a literal bang when Anne rescues a train being robbed and she shoots the toe off one of the bandits! She'd intervened when Hero Nicholas Lovelace (the antagonist's brother from book one) was trying to protect one of the young ladies. He would have been attacked if Anne had not acted. 

In Regina's latest book we finally get to understand what had happened to Anne. She'd been brought up by an unloving father and then been lured into intimate relations with her teacher, who becomes her husband.  After marriage this pedophile also becomes physically abusive. Is it any wonder that Anne has no desire to remarry? She's been hanging out with a bunch of buffalo hunters and is still a crack shot.  Nick is now living where Anne has ventured off to while searching for her old friend to bring back to a nearby town to serve as a cook. But her "friend," who has had an illegitimate child, is living is what we soon discover is a bawdy house. And the woman departs with a new consort leaving behind her infant son!

Anne takes the child to  Nick's office, since he offered his assistance, if she needed it, after the train robbery   Nick meanwhile is running for a political office and Anne wants to return to her group of buffalo hunters. But the baby grows on both of them as they begin to love the little boy and grow in their relationship with each other.

You will find yourself rooting for this unlikely couple all the way through! Strong story and character arcs.  Well done, Regina!

Bibliotherapy elements: Abandonment, abuse, adoption, trust, and learning to love again!

You can purchase this and other books by Regina at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and CBD and other bookstores.

Giveaway: We're giving away two books this week. One is an autographed copy of Caught in the Middle and the other is winner's choice of any of Regina's books, choice of format.

15 May 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE by Regina Jennings

Caught in the Middle
Caught in the Middle
by Regina Jennings
Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Our life’s journey is rarely ever what we expect. Nicholas (Nick) Lovelace and Anne Tillerton both discover this truth in this fabulous historical romance. These two endearing characters suddenly find their lives propelled in completely different directions to the paths they were navigating their lives along. The unpredictability throughout this heartily entertaining novel will keep you guessing as you revel in watching this couple find each other, God, and their life’s purpose.

Anne, wrapped in her pistol-hiding loose green duster and wearing a floppy slouch hat, finishes off the ensemble with men’s britches and donning her smelly boots. She’d do whatever it takes to be invisible and cause people to keep their distance. With a harrowing past that has caused Anne to be untrusting of everybody and in particular men, her experiences have overshadowed every aspect of her life creating in it a lack of peace, relationships, and an often isolated, uneasy existence.
Anne was on the train to Garber, Texas, to hunt down the woman that was the cook for her buffalo-hunting friends back in Pushmatha, when an alarming incident happened that was the prelude to a life-changing series of events. I loved the character of Anne who was an exceptionally well-rounded character, hardened and feisty, yet with a vulnerability and innocence about her.

Nick, the hero of the story was a refreshing and charming character. He’s someone you’d love to know – being a man that listens and is forever patient whilst possessing a fantastic sense of humor as well! He’s also ambitious and driven but open to God’s leading. When he meets up with Anne on the train, he’s intrigued by her, finding other ladies of his acquaintance extremely dull in comparison. But when Nick steps onto the political trail, will this scruffily-dressed woman looking more like a man than a woman, hinder his chances of success? Nick is facing pressures from his employers and the corruption that raises its ugly head in the political arena. Suddenly his life isn’t so clear cut and Nick and Anne find themselves caught in the middle of their dreams, growing feelings, and a baby thrown in the mix! When Nick’s perfectly-orchestrated life gets messed up, will he still be willing to trust God? And will Anne ever come to the place where she can trust anyone, let alone God?

‘Caught in the Middle’ is immensely enjoyable and gratifying, with heart-rending moments that’ll have you in tears. It also delivers a timeless message of how easy it is to believe when things are going well, with the real test of our faith and trust in God unfolding when we go through difficult times. Highly recommended!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores!

GIVEAWAY: This week we have two giveaways.  Regina is giving away a signed paperback (thank you, Regina!) and we are giving away winner's choice of any of Regina's books, choice of format. (USA only.)

QUESTION: Has your life ever taken a direction that was a surprise to you?

13 May 2014

Teresa Mathews Reviews Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings
Book 3 of the Ladies of Caldwell County

Reviewed by Teresa S. Mathews
5 Stars*****

When I was introduced to Regina Jennings books two years ago I knew her characters and I were going to become dear friends. So imagine my delight when I discovered this book would tell the story of a brave young woman we met in Sixty Acres and a Bride; Anne Tillerton.

Anne thought she could put the past behind her when she took up the harsh life of a buffalo hunter. Never again would Anne trust a man with her heart after being mistreated by her father as a child and abused as a young woman by her now deceased husband. Until that fateful day she ran into Nicholas Lovelace from back home. Anne doesn't need this, all she wants to do is find that silly cook Tessa and bring her back so she doesn't have to cook at the train depot at Pushmataha.

While waiting for the train to Garber, Texas Nicholas Lovelace, spies a woman dressed in the garb of a buffalo hunter and he knows there is only one beautiful woman that dresses that way; Anne Tillerton.  On the way back home the train is stopped by a group of robbers. When Nick tries to come to the rescue of a young lady that is being accosted by the robbers, he would have been shot had not the brave Ms. Tillerton intervened and shot the toe out of the said robber's boot. Nick happily realizes Anne still has dead aim!

When Anne finds Tessa she can't get the errant cook to agree to come with her. Instead Tessa flees and leaves behind a surprise for Anne; her sweet baby boy! What is a buffalo hunter supposed to do with a baby? Remembering that after she saved Nick's life he told her if she ever needed anything all she had to do was ask; Anne sets out to find Nick's office, surely he'll know what to do! Anne shows up at with the baby in tow and what follows is a story that had me going back and forth between laughing and gasping. Nick just wants to have a life in politics; Anne just wants to go back to her buffalo hunting. Well we all know you don't always get what you want but when God is in charge of the plans you always get just what you need!

This book is Regina Jennings at her finest; it is packed with excitement and romance and it truly blessed my heart to see how Anne came to terms with her past and learned to trust her heavenly Father. If you haven't read one of Regina's books then let this be your first and I promise you will want to rush out and grab the other two in this fun series. Thanks Regina for this truly satisfying read! 

***Thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for providing me a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion.***

You can purchase this and other books by Regina at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and CBD and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: This week we have two giveaways.  Regina is giving away a signed paperback (thank you, Regina!) and we are giving away winner's choice of any of Regina's books, choice of format. (USA only.)

11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Mom's Love Letter

Finding out I was going to have you filled my heart with joy,
At that moment I didn't care if you were a girl or a boy.

I just knew that you were a precious gift from God above,
and that you were someone with whom I had fallen in love.

My love for you began to grow at that very moment in time, 
From then on you were the thoughts that filled my mind.

Thoughts of how glad I would be to hold you in my arms; 
To see your beautiful face and be awestruck by your charms.

Thoughts of the wonderful things you would say and do. 
From that day on all my thoughts revolved around you.

It's been many years now since that wonderful day; 
The day that you were born and you stole my heart away.

I have cherished every moment I have watched you grow 
Every year I've loved you more than you will ever know.

You've always been the love of my life and the apple of my eye
and my heart will always follow after you until the day I die.

        Love, Mom  

        Teresa S. Mathews(c) 2013

  For our sweet viewers that no longer have their moms with them I want to share another poem that I wrote for Carrie and Diana last year. 

A Message from Mom

My sweet child I wanted you to know 
even though I'm not with you anymore I still love you so.

I know that you miss me and would love to have me near, 
but Heaven is such a beautiful place and I just love it here.

I have forgotten all my worries, and I don't have a care. 
Everything has been joyful and I haven't shed a tear.

Honey I must tell you I'm now feeling right as rain,
there's no more sickness here and no more pain.

Since I got here I have seen so many wonderful, marvelous things, 
I've seen beautiful flowers bloom and heard the heavenly choir sing.

I've worshiped at the throne of the Almighty and seen Jesus too;
I've walked the golden streets and had angels in view.

I've rested by the river of life, and chatted with old friends,
I've even been at the gate to welcome new ones in.

My sweet daughter I love you and I'm waiting for the day,
when you will be up here with me forever to stay.

Until that time comes please keep holding on to Jesus' hand,
and He will see you safely through and bring you to this glorious land.

Hugs and Kisses,

© Teresa Mathews 2013

08 May 2014

Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

A Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo
Howard Books (2014)

Loved this story!  Fresh strong voice from Caryl McAdoo, who, herself has personality aplenty like her heroine Susannah "Sue" Baylor.  The feisty widow, mother of a nine year old girl, and custodial aunt to a teen boy, is one of the most memorable characters I've encountered in some time! Sparks fly as soon as she meets with "supposed" ne'er do well Henry Buckmeyer, who turns out to be a perfect match for her strong-willed character.

I especially loved Blue Dog, who was a true hero. Our own labrador retriever was named Blue Dog because his fur was so black it looked blue. Sue's daughter, Rebecca, is personality plus, too.  And Levi, her nephew, is also a well-developed character.  Caryl had the dialogue down pat. This entire crew perfectly fits the well plotted and nicely paced story.

Bibliotherapy elements: Widowhood, single parenting, serving as a parent to a child who isn't your own, dealing with teenagers, learning to trust again, hard-headedness (in this case Sue Baylor had no idea what she was getting into and Caryl does a great job of showing how Henry saves her from herself!)

The writing has a sparse feel to it. I don't mind that, in fact I sometimes write similarly. There's a Louis L'Amour and All-American feel to Caryl's writing. It's hard to find stories that are for women yet have this clean feel to them, and are rustic.  Beautiful romance, one of the nicest I've seen in a while. I'm expecting this book to make it onto my best of 2014 list.

***Thanks To Howard Books and NetGalley for providing me a copy 
of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.***

You may purchase this wonderful book at AmazonBarnes and Noble and BAM.

Giveaway: We're giving away two copies of this stellar book this week!

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