Keep Your Focus

by Carole Brown

In one of my recent devotionals I read recently, the topic was on endurance, and the way to endure was to focus. 

A runner must focus on the goal. He wants to finish his race which means he must tone his body and build his strength to endure to the end. If/when he finishes, he will have the satisfaction of gaining an earthly reward: greenery wreaths, plaques, money or ribbons.

But a Christian, to finish his race, must focus on Christ/God. Keeping our attention on him will make the hindrances seem less frightening. Focusing on God keeps our perspectives in line and correct. We want to finish our race knowing our reward will be the words: Well done, my good and faithful servant.  We know it is a never-ending, permanent, and glorious reward well sought after and certainly well worth striving for. 

Let us remember:

  • Know ye that they who run in an earthly race runs to receive a prize, but only one obtains it? But every man that strives for mastery in this heavenly race must be temperate in all things so that we all might obtain an incorruptible crown.  (paraphrased from KJV: I Corinthians 9:24-25)

racer run free

Run! Focus! Win!

How do you keep your focus on God?

 

Want Some Reviews?

by Carole Brownbook reviews free

Do you long for more reviews? Here are a few steps that may help you land a few more professional reviews. Remember that this is a professional business and when approaching reviewers and book review sites, act professional.

 

  • Try for a personal note by greeting the reviewer by name. If you’re looking on a site or blog for requirements, etc., then search until you find that name. Address them as “Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Brown.” rather than the generic one of “Dear Madam” or “Dear Sir.” Not only does this show some diligence on your part in knowing the reviewer’s name, but is a sign of respect.
  • Don’t overdo the familiarity. Keep it simple in the first sentence by stating your name and the title of your book. When you end your letter, sign it simply as 
    “Sincerely.”
  • In your letter, include a word count for an e-copy of your book. If you’re sending a print book, a page count is fine. This will clue in the reviewer on
  • book notes lists etc the time frame.
  • Also, you’ll need to mention the genre of your book. Be specific. If it’s a “who-done-it” then make sure you state that its a mystery. Thriller? Then the reviewer will be expecting a fast-paced read. By not following through correctly with this, can give the reviewer cause to mention it negatively in your review. Be diligent!
  • If you have a time frame when the book will be published or promoted, then by all means include this. If, as many authors have, no time frame demand, then ignore it. This will help the reviewer decide if he has the time to read and review it.
  • Include a short synopsis and book blurb. Make it interesting and one that captures the reviewer’s attention. You’ll want him/her panting to read your book! email-us free
  • If you’re emailing your request, on the subject line, keep it simple and short. Book review request should do the job. 

Be polite and respectful, keep it simple, and provide the details the reviewer needs to decide if he has the time and if she’s interested. 

He Killed a Chicken

by Carole Brown

dog i'm sorry free

  • He didn’t mean to.
  • He’s only a dog.
  • He won’t do it again.
  • It couldn’t be him; he’s too nice.

dog-shepherd running free

Our grandson’s adopted dog from the pound IS a great dog. Friendly, playful, patient when Jonathan gets a little too rough, he seems the perfect dog for a child. But he has one flaw. Anytime he gets lose, he takes off. He knows you’re calling him, can offer treats, and knows his best friend (as Jonathan tells him) is calling, but looks at you and moves on to explore some more. It’s only when he’s tired of his “exploits” that he returns home.

chicken hen free

The problem with his last escapade–which wasn’t only in exploring the local area–he killed a neighbor’s chicken.

Now I could say “He didn’t mean to,” or “He’s just a dog.” I could even deceive myself into believing “He won’t do it again.” And lying to myself in thinking he’ll never do such a thing again won’t work, because I’m pretty sure he will–if he gets the chance.

Are we any better than the disobedient, wanting-to-be-free pet dog that has a mind of its own?

How often do we push the boundaries in our personal lives? Especially knowing that God’s Word instructs us to “flee” from evil, to avoid the appearance of it. How often are we tempted to do what everyone else is doing when we know God doesn’t want us to do it?

evil smiley face free

  • Is gossiping okay when the other person is in the wrong?
  • Is it okay to cheat a little, specially when it’s an important test we need to pass for that advance we’ve been seeking?
  • Is it okay to “give that rude person who crowded the checkout lane, a piece of our mind? After all, they need to learn, that’s NOT the right way to act.
  • Is it okay to lie to when put on the spot?

Or should we “hoe the line,” be the example, set the stage–for goodness and right and God’s way?

Given, none of us are above mistakes. Given that the Bible encourages us to strive for the right, the just, the good, to be obedient and choose holiness, then shouldn’t we avoid the excuses that are conveniently there for us?

  • I didn’t mean to
  • I’m just human
  • I won’t do it again
  • I really didn’t want to; but it was necessarysmiley happy free

 

 

Don’t get caught in the easy way. Be strong for the right, for God and for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

The Hated Reviews

by Carole Brownbooks on shelf free

 

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories,

just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl, WD

 

Reviews:

  • Eh. It was alright. At the low low price of free I can’t complain but it was just interesting enough that I had to finish but I certainly won’t recommend it to anyone.

Lol. Free. Interesting. Had to finish. ‘Nuff said. 

  • I just really wish I’d known this was a “Christian” book before purchasing it – I’ll be more attentive to descriptions in the future.

What? You bought it and didn’t read the description?                                                        At least she read it, and just maybe learned her lesson! 

  • This book was very well written. Kept me in suspense the whole time. Felt compassion, anger, disbelief, relief, so many emotions. Felt like I was reading about real life.

Very well written, huh? Great review. I’ll take it, even though, whoever, gave it a “3-star.”

How do “bad” reviews make YOU feel? How should “we” feel when receiving them? Angry? Hurt? Disappointed? Discouraged?

We can let it hurt us to the place where we’re ready to give up writing, or…

We can buckle down, take what good (if any) we can get from the review and improve our ability, determined to grow instead of withering. Ignoring the negative, unprofitable only benefits us. 

 

We can only grow as writers, if we learn…and that means realizing that this business is not all roses and acceptance. We must:   forest path free

  • Find our path. By that I mean, what are we called/what have we chosen as our writing call? 
  • Be true to that path. Don’t waver. If you’re called to write nonfiction, then stick to that. If you know Sci-fi is your thing, then plow straight ahead. I KNOW rocky hillside path freeI’m called to write suspense/mystery. I might toss in a little humor and romance, but suspense/mystery is my core calling.

 

(This is not to say people can’t write in more than one genre. Not at all. Many writers spread their writing wings to cover more than one, and that’s okay. That’s their calling, their ability, their interest.)

  • Accept that not everyone is going to like your writing. I was heartbroken at my first “bad” review of three stars, but as I expanded my writing, gained more experience, published more books, I’ve accepted that I can NOT please everyone. 
  • Grow. Use the negative to your advantage, by turning it around and helping you to gain insight into improving your craft.
  • Finally, relax and be at peace. If you’ve found your path, staying true, accepting the dislikes and growing, then you’re doing what you should. Know that God is leading you on the path you should be on, the one that is the best for you, and proceed straight ahead with peace in your heart that you’re doing

    hand freeall you can do. 

Be glad that another person has read your book. Who knows what may stick in their mind down the road and lead them to pick up another book of yours. And if not, then it’s their problem/decision. Leave it in God’s hands.

Rebel in My House by Sandra M. Hart: Welcome!

by Carole Brown

It’s with real pleasure that I welcome Author Sandy Hart to the blog today. First, here’s her YouTube video for a taste of her book:

 

Enjoy reading her interview!

Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?

SandraMervilleHart_Headshot2

I wanted to become a writer as a little girl, but I received no encouragement. The dream died. I remained silent about it even as friends dreamed of writing for a career. I simply encouraged them.

My church choir director invited members to share devotional thoughts about weekly songs. I finally gathered my courage, wrote a devotion, and shared it. Among the many encouraging comments I received was one from a dear lady who has since died from cancer. She asked me to submit it for publication. I only knew of one place who published devotions. I didn’t hear back from them, but the writing dream blossomed again.

I was a bit like Moses. I argued with God that someone else could do a better job. He asked for my obedience. Conversations with friends, life events, and sermons solidified my belief that God called me to write.

However, the road has been difficult, winding, and narrow. Each obstacle and struggle usually strengthened my resolve to keep going.

And I’m so glad you obeyed that call! What is the message(s) in the book you’re promoting today? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? Can you give us a very brief scene (paragraph) as an example?

There are definite spiritual themes in this story, including a character’s reliance on God through prayer. Here’s a short paragraph from the novel:

The battle unfolded before her eyes. Five men in gray fell but didn’t rise. She’d just witnessed multiple deaths. She wrung her hands in agony and implored God to save their souls. The cost of Southern lives in the horrible war had been something she shielded her heart from. Now the truth unfolded in terrible clarity right before her.

Very touching! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

Oh, yes, please read it! 😊

This novel revolves around the Battle of Gettysburg. It shows not only how the soldiers suffered, but also the townspeople. Most of the men fled Gettysburg when the Confederated Army crossed into Pennsylvania. This left the women and children to deal with the horror of the Confederates seizing the town and the battle surrounding them. Many called on strength they didn’t know they possessed and rose to the challenge.

Like Sarah, a Gettysburg seamstress who meets Jesse, a Confederate soldier caught behind enemy lines, on the first day. She makes a compassionate decision that leads to more hardships than she ever imagined.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg in particular. I traveled to Gettysburg to find this story.

Writing this novel changed me. I’m not the same person who began the journey.

As I’ve read a tidbit of this book, I’m hoping to acquire it soon! Share a fun or weird habit.

Most folks drink coffee in the morning. I drink chocolate milk. I know—most of us outgrow this stage by the teen years. Not me!

Lol. I love people who do interesting and different things. Lastly, share an incident when you’ve been very happy/excited or very disappointed/depressed because of your writing career? How were you able to get past the bad and move on to the good?

This writing journey is a difficult one. Instead of a tree-lined road, it is a rejection-lined road. I remember a period of 4-5 months when rejections came with brutal regularity. Three came in one week. I was devastated and ready to quit.

I had planned to attend a writers’ conference. It seemed pointless now, but I had already paid. I drove there, planning a final goodbye to writer friends who meant so much to me.

The second evening found me alone in the lobby with another writer. I told him that I had done a terrible thing—I quit my job to write full-time. He had a different spin on that. He believed that trusting God this way was a courageous act.

Somehow, that conversation renewed my spirit. I set to work again. If not for that chance meeting, this novel would have remained unwritten.

That would be encouraging: talking with the person you were meant to talk with and having him give you such encouragement. Thanks for joining us today, Sandy!

A Rebel in My House Book Blurb

ARebelinMyHouse 500x750When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

Amazon buy link:   https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-House-Sandra-Merville-Hart/dp/1941103383/

Connect with Sandy here:

Website: https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j3JI-wECyY&feature=youtu.be

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

Life is Like a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

by Carole Brownpb n jelly sand free

One of my favorite memories is the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I devoured and that were a part of our growing-up dietary food.

Today, I don’t devour them as much, but truly they are a healthy combination, especially for active children and grownups. Even though the jelly has sugar, they are still nutritious. Here’s a hint of their benefits:

  • the combination of peanut butter and bread provides protein,
  • B vitamins,
  • iron and
  • zinc.
  • Peanut butter is also a good choice for healthy unsaturated fats.

Nice, huh?

They are:

  • a simple food to prepare
  • delicious
  • healthy

Just like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I contend that simple pleasures in life are still the best.

  • As a child, I climbed the trees, stared into their lofty branches and wondered at the world. Today, I refrain from climbing the trees, but still stroll beneath them and enjoy staring into the tree tops.
  • As a child, I flung myself full bodied into a pile of fallen Autumn leaves. Today, I kick at them and crunch them beneath my feet, enjoying the sights and sounds of October.forest moose fog free
  • Then and now, I allow my imagination full rein as I gave at the fields and valleys soaked with mist and rays of early morning sunshine, and wonder what is and what can be.
  • Then I wondered what was ahead, but mostly enjoyed life as it came. Today, I marvel at what all life holds, the privileges I have, the pleasures that come my way, and the blessing of another day.

With simple pleasures, you don’t have to strain or put forth extraordinary power or strength or ability to create them. They are there for your enjoyment. God created most of them for humans in our world, and to take advantage of them both shows our appreciation of life and earth and all that God has given us and also gives us a few moments of rest, relaxation and peace of mind.

Today, I’m sitting on one of my porches, rocking, enjoying the cool air and reading a devotion. How will you remember this day?

What is the most enjoyable and/or memorable simple pleasure you can remember?

  • Time alone at a secluded cabin?
  • a special vacation with a friend or family?
  • A dinner out that was the highlight of your life?
  • A walk in the woods?

watch- free

 

Today, while there is still time, take a few minutes and enjoy one–or two–simple pleasures in your life.

Introducing…Jerry & Josephine Patterson

by Carole Brown

willow2 free

Coming soon will be the cover reveal of “A Flute in the Willows” the second book in the WWII Spies series. I’ll share a few pictures in this post, too, that remind me of things found in the  book.

I’m really excited over this book, as this series holds a special place in my heart.

Through my years at home I learned so much about the WWII era from my mother: the jobs she held, the clothes worn, the hardships, and much more. It piqued an interest in me that’s still intense and strong.

 

flute dark free

 

Two words in the title give you a hint of what will be mentioned or used as part of the story:

  • * Flute
  • * Willows (trees)

 

How do you think they will play a part in the story?

Here’s the blurb for the story:

Serving as a spy in the middle of Germany, Jerry’s prepared for the risks involved until the sister of a high ranking official falls in love with him. That would be fine except he has a lovely young wife back home that he adores. Besides all he really wants is to find the list of names he came for and if using Vanda to get it is what’s required then he’s willing to pay the price.

Back at home, seeing his wife’s desire to succeed as the world’s greatest female ice skater, Jerry shoves away Josie’s concern and love determined to give her a chance to leave him, a damaged husband. But when her life is threatened by who’s determined to make him pay for his spying activities in Germany, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Once again, Jerry has to risk all—only this time it’s for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

Josie Rayner Patterson has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Was he tortured? Has she lost his love? She knows he was injured—the crippled leg proves it, but he refuses to sleep with her, to talk with her, to share with her. He’s a stranger in their home.

Only her skating helps her keep her sanity even though she has her own demons to fight. Always rebellious at the restricted life she’d grown up in, she develops a greater taste for the liquor that dulls her troubled soul and climbs higher and higher to the peak of success she craves–until the night she makes a fatal mistake. Josie is wild with grief and angry at life itself. How could the God her family serves do this to her? She’s lost her two loves and has nothing left to live for.

When she joins her husband in finding and bringing down the person trying to wreck what little they have of life, she’s determined to do all she can. 

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness. 

A Flute in the Willows is scheduled for release this fall! 

WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

 

 

No buying link YET for this one, but in the meantime, feel free to check out the first book: With Music in Their Heart:   https://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1492661357&sr=1-1