Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Welcome to the Forged in Love Celebration Tour! #historicalromance #giveaway!!


About the Book

Book: Forged in Love

Author: Mary Connealy

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: February 28, 2023

When sparks begin to fly, can a friendship cast in iron be shaped into something more?

Mariah Stover is left for dead and with no memory when the Deadeye Gang robs the stagecoach she’s riding in, killing both her father and brother. As she takes over her father’s blacksmith shop and tries to move forward, she soon finds herself in jeopardy and wondering–does someone know she witnessed the robbery and is still alive?

Handsome and polished Clint Roberts escaped to western Wyoming, leaving his painful memories behind. Hoping for a fresh start, he opens a diner where he creates fine dishes, but is met with harsh resistance from the townsfolk, who prefer to stick to their old ways.

Clint and Mariah are drawn together by the trials they face in town, and Clint is determined to protect Mariah at all costs when danger descends upon her home. As threats pursue them from every side, will they survive to build a life forged in love?

 Marilyn's thoughts:   Forged in Love is an appropriate title with the heroine being a blacksmith. Mariah was strong willed and determined to keep her family’s blacksmith shop going, despite knowing her life was being sought. The tale is engaging throughout with Nell, Becky and Clint protectiveness of Mariah with tense and tender moments. The unexpected happened at amusing times with some rhetoric expressions to follow by close friends. There’s plenty of action and conversations that made this an enjoyable historical read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Bethany House without any obligation to write a positive review. I have expressed my own opinion.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Mary Connealy ( writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than one and a half million books. She is the author of the popular series Brothers in Arms, Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, The Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.


More from Mary

The Inspiration

I started plotting this novel when I found out that Wyoming was the first state (then a territory) in the Union to grant women the right to vote. Then I discovered it wasn’t just the right to vote; all sorts of other rights were given to women as well, like the right to run for elected office or be appointed to office. In fact, the first woman justice of the peace in the U.S. was from Wyoming. This inspired me to have one of my heroines be the second justice of the peace in the country.

As I continued my research, reading about all that went on in Wyoming was fascinating. They became a territory in 1868—with women voting—and yet they weren’t allowed statehood for another thirty years. With other states being granted statehood in only a few years, why was this? Because the U.S. government refused to let Wyoming in unless they took the vote away from women.

Because Wyoming adamantly refused to strip the vote from women, year after year they were denied statehood. When they finally did get it, the state’s women maintained their right to vote because Wyoming would not budge on the issue. The whole history of this was great reading.

So I wrote a three-book series called Wyoming Sunrise in which all my heroines play against the normal, conventional female roles of the day.

Now, what job could I possibly think of that wasn’t traditionally for women? How about Mariah who happens to be a blacksmith? And while I’m writing against stereotypes, I created a man named Clint who runs a diner. That wasn’t too unusual, for lots of diners were run by men back in the day. Yet not many of them were talented chefs trained in high-class restaurants in New York City. Clint is an excellent chef. Of course, an excellent chef in a small Wyoming town is kind of wasted on folks who prefer fried chicken and beef stew.

Clint makes chicken and beef, but he calls his dishes weird names and makes them unusually delicious. Meanwhile, Mariah is working over a hot forge for long hours every day. When her father and brother are killed in a stagecoach holdup, she becomes the only blacksmith in town.

There’s some resistance to her doing such a masculine job, but even among those who disapprove, well, they’ve got a broken wagon wheel or a hole in their kettle and it’s either let Mariah fix it or go without. Mariah is allowed to be a blacksmith out of pure necessity.

My second book, The Laws of Attraction, has a female justice of the peace, while the third, Marshaling Her Heart, features a tough lady rancher. I write westerns, and honestly, writing about tough, feisty lady ranchers like Becky the Rancher comes naturally to me. Writing about a blacksmith and a judge, however, presents more of a challenge.

Mariah, who survived the stagecoach holdup, learns that the robbers believe she might know something that will reveal their identity, and she needs to be silenced. Clint tries to protect her and finds himself stepping between her and a murderous gang of outlaws.

Through it all, love finds them, and they begin to forge a life together.

Blog Stops

Bigreadersite, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Texas Book-aholic, March 19

Through the Fire Blogs, March 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 19

Stories By Gina, March 20 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 20

Books You Can Feel Good About, March 20

Connie’s History Classroom, March 21

For Him and My Family, March 21

Labor Not in Vain, March 21

Cover Lover Book Review, March 22

Lighthouse Academy, March 22 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Remembrancy, March 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 23

Betti Mace, March 24

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 24

She Lives to Read, March 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 25

Pause for Tales, March 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 26

Holly’s Book Corner, March 26

Book Looks by Lisa, March 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 27

SodbusterLiving, March 28

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 28

Splashes of Joy, March 29

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, March 29

Wishful Endings, March 30

HookMeInABook, March 30

lakesidelivingsite, March 31

EmpowerMoms, March 31

Mary Hake, March 31


To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of a $15 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book Forged in Love!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Made of Steele: (Steele Guardians - Book 4)


Made of Steele: 

(Steele Guardians - Book 4) 

October 27, 2022

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Do You Do Well To Be Angry? By Sharon Musgrove #Devotional #Sundaythoughts



“Do you do well to be angry?”


This was the question God posed to His prophet, as Jonah sat sulking.  Jonah was angry with the Lord’s mercy shown to people he believed undeserving.  (Jonah 4:4 ESV)


This same question was posed to me as I sat sulking over the difficulties of my life.  I’d like to justify that my bad attitude wasn’t over God giving grace to others.  But the truth is, I pout because I don’t feel God’s blessings are fair. 


Why God, do I suffer from physical pain while others do not?


Why is my child disabled while others run free?


Why don’t I get the same graces as others do in their lives?


When I focus on what the Lord is not doing in my life, I forget the good things He is doing.  I don’t see beauty, only blemishes.  Likewise, when I am fixated on the favors the Lord bestows on others, I neglect gratitude and grow grumpier.


God’s pointed question was meant to reveal problems in Jonah’s thought process and open dialogue.  He offers that same opportunity to us, to talk about His mercy and grace, if we are willing to admit we are not doing well when we are angry. 


And maybe wellness isn’t measured by whether we are physically healthy or pain free, but by how true our beliefs are on the God who is blessing everyone.


Do you need to check the condition of your heart today?  Are you sulking too?  The remedy God uses to heal is not shame, but a gentle redirection of our eyes by questioning our anger.  Are you ready to talk with Him?


 Author Bio:


Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.    


She has had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.


Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young women.


Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.


Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children. 


Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry. 



Connect with Sharon:










Thursday, March 16, 2023

An #Interview with Rush Witt, Author of I Want to Escape

An Interview with Rush Witt,
Author of I Want to Escape

When life overwhelms, it’s natural to try to get away. Escape holds a powerful allure amid hard times. In every season, a myriad of pressures, challenges, regrets, and disappointments plague our lives. These trials and tribulations often provoke us to cry, “I’ve got to get outta here!”

Even though we have many good reasons for trying to escape, as Christians, we have even better reasons to depend courageously on our Savior in the ups and downs of life. In I Want to Escape: Reaching for Hope When Life Is Too Much, pastor and counselor Rush Witt helps readers learn to bravely run to Christ instead of running away.

Q: At one time or another, every one of us has wanted to get away from a situation, but escape isn’t always physically running away. What are some of the most common activities we do to escape when we’re overwhelmed, even if we don’t realize that’s what we are doing?

When we feel overwhelmed by a situation, it’s common for us to engage in activities that help us escape from it. These activities can take various forms, ranging from physical actions to heart responses. It’s important to recognize that we may not even realize we are using these escape methods, as they often become habitual and automatic responses to stress.

Sometimes we just ignore a situation and pretend it doesn’t exist. Other times we may turn to activities that distract us temporarily such as watching TV, scrolling through social media, playing video games, or engaging in other forms of entertainment. Those activities can seem rather harmless but can escalate from there. Some people may engage in destructive behaviors such as self-harm or believe that suicide is the only way of escape.

It’s important to recognize that while these escape methods may provide temporary relief from overwhelming situations, they are not healthy or sustainable solutions to our problems. Instead, we need to develop more effective and God-centered ways to address the root cause of our escape desires.

Q: What are the four common ways we seek to escape rather than trust God?

The four common ways that we seek to escape rather than to trust God can be broken down into denial, distraction, deflect/destroy, and death are the four common ways that we seek to escape rather than trust God.

Denial ignoring the trouble or temptation that we are facing, hoping that it will go away on its own or pretending that it is not really a problem. We may try blocking out or rejecting reality. Examples of denial include denying that a problem exists, downplaying its significance, or ignoring the situation altogether.

Distraction is another common method of escape, and it is easy to do because we have so many options available to us in our modern world. Distraction involves turning to activities that help us forget about the problem temporarily.  We can distract ourselves with entertainment, work, or other activities to avoid dealing with the underlying issues. This may include watching TV, scrolling through social media, playing video games, or engaging in other forms of entertainment.

Deflect/destroy is a more destructive method of escape, where the anxieties in our hearts can boil over and burn others. It involves taking actions that alleviate the problem by addressing it in a more indirect way. We lash out at those around us, seeking to deflect attention away from our own problems or to destroy those who we perceive as being responsible for our troubles. This may also include venting our frustration to others, blaming someone else for the issue, or engaging in destructive behaviors like self-harm.

Death represents the most extreme form of escape which is unfortunately becoming increasingly common today as pressures rise and hope is lost. This includes thoughts or actions related to both self-harm or suicide. While this is a serious concern, it’s essential to remember that there is help available for anyone who is struggling with these types of feelings.

Q: Why do not we not consider how much of an internal problem escapism truly is?

Escapism is often viewed as a desirable solution to the problems we face in life. We seek ways to avoid the stresses and difficulties that come our way, and escapism seems to promise a way out. However, what we fail to realize is that escapism is an internal problem that can lead to more significant issues down the line.

There are two main reasons why we don’t consider how much of a problem escapism truly is. First, we tend to view it as a desirable solution that promises relief and hope. We want to escape from the problems that cause us pain and discomfort, and the idea of being able to do so is very appealing. However, this approach is often short-sighted, as it does not address the underlying issues that are causing the problem.

Secondly, we need to be more in tune with the dynamics of our hearts. As Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life.” We need to pay more attention to what is going on in our hearts and minds and take steps to address the root causes of our stress and anxiety. Escapism may provide temporary relief, but it does not address the underlying issues that are causing the problem.

Escapism may seem like an appealing solution to the problems we face, but it is an internal problem that can lead to more significant issues down the line. We need to be more in tune with our hearts and minds and take steps to address the root causes of our stress and anxiety. By doing so, we can develop more effective coping mechanisms that address the underlying issues and help us respond in healthy ways.

Q: What are some of the signs of escapism? If we see that a loved one is struggling and shows some of these signs, how should we approach them as to not scare them away?

Escapism is a common problem, but it can be difficult to spot in ourselves and our loved ones. If we see signs of escapism in a loved one, it’s essential to approach them with care and sensitivity.

Let’s go back to the four methods of escape that we talked about and the signs that point to each. Denial can manifest as refusing to acknowledge or take responsibility for one’s problems. Distraction can be seen in excessive screen time, social media use, and other activities that provide a temporary escape from reality. Deflection/destroy involves lashing out at others or engaging in self-destructive behaviors to avoid dealing with one’s problems. Lastly, thoughts of death or suicide can be a sign of using escapism to cope with overwhelming emotions, but the signs here can be incredibly difficult to spot.

If we see these signs in a loved one, it’s crucial to approach them with empathy and understanding. We can use the “Enter, Understand, Bring” method found in Matthew 9:35-37. This involves entering their world, seeking to understand their struggles and needs, and bringing the love and compassion of Christ to their situation.

When approaching a loved one who may be struggling with escapism, it’s important to avoid being confrontational or judgmental. Instead, we can offer a listening ear and a compassionate heart. We can encourage them to seek biblical help or support groups and offer to accompany them if needed. Above all, we can pray for them and trust that God’s love and grace can bring healing and restoration to their lives.

Q: What are the three goals you have for readers of I Want to Escape?

The first goal is to help readers understand why escapism may appeal to them personally. By exploring the various ways in which we use escapism to avoid reality, the book aims to help readers identify their own tendencies and patterns of behavior.

The second goal is to help readers draw near to Jesus as the present person of help and hope. The book explores how our desire for escape can actually be a signal of our need for deeper connection with God. By offering practical tips and insights, the book aims to help readers cultivate a more vibrant and meaningful relationship with Jesus.

The third goal is to help readers develop a practical plan to shape their response to these escapist instincts. I give readers practical tools and strategies to help readers resist the urge to escape and instead face reality with God-dependent courage and grace. The book emphasizes the importance of prayer, gospel hope, and courageous dependence on God in our efforts to overcome the temptation to escape.

Overall, I Want to Escape aims to offer readers a short, practical guide to understanding and overcoming the temptation to escape. By exploring the root causes of escapism and providing practical tools and strategies for change, the book seeks to empower readers to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life in Christ.

Q: What does courageous dependence on Jesus look like? What are the three steps to cultivating that dependence?

Courageous dependence on Jesus is an essential aspect of the Christian life. It means placing our trust in God and relying on His strength, wisdom, and guidance in all aspects of our lives.

1. Pray with Humility: This means recognizing our own limitations and weaknesses and acknowledging our need for God’s help. When we pray with humility, we approach God with a spirit of surrender and trust, knowing that He alone can provide the help and support we need.

2. Believe with Gospel Hope: This means holding fast to the promises of God’s Word and trusting in His faithfulness, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. When we believe with gospel hope, we anchor our hearts in the truth of God’s love and provision, and we are empowered to face life’s challenges with confidence and courage.

3. Act with Courageous Dependence: The final step to cultivating courageous dependence on Jesus is to act with courageous dependence. This means taking bold steps of faith and obedience, even when it’s hard. When we act with courageous dependence, we step out of our comfort zones and into the realm of the place of God’s loving care for us. We trust in His goodness and faithfulness, and we are willing to take risks and make sacrifices for His sake.

Overall, cultivating courageous dependence on Jesus is a lifelong journey that requires humility, faith, and action. By praying with humility, believing with gospel hope, and acting with courageous dependence, we can experience the abundant life that God has for us and make a lasting impact on the world around us.
Q: Is it always bad to have an activity that distracts us from what’s going on in our lives? When does a distraction become a crippling escape route?
When we use distractions to avoid facing reality and neglect our responsibilities, it becomes a crippling escape route. Distractions such as watching TV, playing video games, or scrolling through social media are not inherently bad, but when we use them to avoid dealing with our issues, they become a problem.
If we use distractions to numb our pain or avoid facing our problems, we are not addressing the root issues that need to be resolved. In such cases, distractions become a way to escape from reality instead of helping us deal with it. We must be aware of the potential danger of using distractions as a way to cope and strive to replace them with a renewed focus on trusting in God to help us navigate the challenges of life.

Q: Why is deflecting and destroying the most difficult escapist strategy to combat? Why do we think destroying is a good game plan in the first place?

Deflecting and destroying is a difficult escapist strategy to combat because it involves taking our anxieties and frustrations out on others rather than dealing with them ourselves. When we deflect and destroy, we refuse to take responsibility for our emotions and instead blame others for our problems. This can manifest in various ways, such as lashing out in anger, criticizing others unfairly, or using sarcasm to mask our true feelings.

The reason we think destroying is a good game plan in the first place is that it gives us a sense of control over our situation. We feel powerful when we can tear down others and make them feel inferior. It’s a way of asserting our dominance and protecting our ego. However, this type of behavior is ultimately destructive, both to ourselves and to those around us.

Q: Death is the fourth escape plan you address. Could you share some of the sobering statistics that shed light on how many people wrestle with thoughts of suicide?

According to the World Health Organization, suicide is a significant public health issue and a leading cause of death worldwide. In fact, approximately 750,000 people die by suicide every year, which is equivalent to one person every 40 seconds.

Suicide rates vary significantly by age, gender, and region. For example, in high-income countries, suicide is more common among men, while in low- and middle-income countries, women are more likely to die by suicide. Additionally, suicide rates tend to be highest among older adults, particularly men over the age of 70, and young adults aged 15-29.

It’s also important to note that many more people think about death as an escape at some point in their lives, even if they don’t act on those thoughts. In fact, studies have shown that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are relatively common, with approximately 10-15% of adults reporting having thoughts of suicide at some point in their lives.

Q: If someone listening to (or reading) this interview right now that may be considering suicide, what would you like them to hear? What are some of the resources available to them?

There are also several crisis hotlines and resources available to those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as their loved ones. The Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) is also available 24/7 for people in crisis to connect with trained crisis counselors. Other resources include online support groups and forums, as well as local mental health clinics and hospitals, and biblical counselors in your local church. It’s important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and there is always hope for a better tomorrow.

Q: Could you share a little bit about your story and what led you to a passion for counseling?

My passion for counseling was born out of personal experience, watching my wife struggle with depression and anxiety. I saw her go through hospitalizations and different forms of therapy, including talk therapy and Electro-convulsive Therapy. Despite trying different approaches, we didn’t see much improvement until we were introduced to a biblical counselor in 2002, while I was in graduate school.

This experience opened my eyes to the power of biblical counseling and the hope that it can bring to those who are struggling. I began to see how it offered a holistic approach to mental health that addressed the root of the issues rather than simply treating symptoms. Through my studies and my work as a counselor, I’ve seen time and time again how God’s Word has the power to bring healing and restoration to people’s lives.

I also have a deep conviction that counseling is a vital ministry of the church. The Bible calls us to bear one another’s burdens and to restore each other in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:2). Counseling provides a space where people can come alongside one another in a compassionate, Christ-centered way to help each other grow and heal.

Q: How do you close out each chapter of the book?

Each chapter closes with questions for reflection and personal application. The components are intended to help the reader bring their struggles and insights to God, and to ask for His help in addressing their patterns of escape. These are written in a way that reflects the themes and concepts discussed in the chapter and provide a guide for readers to connect with God in a meaningful way.

I believe that prayer is an essential component of the Christian life and that it can be a powerful tool for those struggling with the urge to escape. By directing our thoughts and emotions towards God, we can find comfort, hope, and strength to face the challenges of life with courage and faith.

Overall, my goal in closing out each chapter with these elements is to help the reader engage with the material in a deeper way, and to provide practical tools for them to apply what they’ve learned in their own lives. I hope that by doing so, readers will be able to find freedom from the patterns of escape that have held them back, and to experience the abundant life that God has in store for them.

I Want to Escape: Reaching for Hope When Life Is Too Much
Ask the Christian Counselor Series
By Rush Witt
September 26, 2022 / Retail Price: $11.99
Print ISBN: 978-1-64507-275-1
RELIGION/Christian Ministry/Counseling & Recovery

The Ask the Christian Counselor Series

Anxious about Decisions is part of the new Ask the Christian Counselor series. This series walks readers through their deepest and most profound questions. Each question is unpacked by an experienced counselor who gives readers the tools to understand their struggle and how the gospel brings hope and healing to the problem they are facing. The books are compact, offering accessible and insightful help in a concise format that won’t overwhelm the reader but go deeper than New Growth Press’s popular minibooks.

Image of Angry with God: An Honest Journey through Suffering and Betrayal
Image of Anxious about Decisions: Finding Freedom in the Peace of God
Image of Build a Stronger Marriage: The Path to Oneness
Image of I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis: What Does the Bible Say?
About the Author

Rush Witt, MDiv, DMin, is Lead Pastor of Paramount Church in Bexley, Ohio and a certified biblical counselor. He is also the acquisitions editor and manager for New Growth Press and author of Diehard Sins and I Want to Escape.

Witt’s love for counseling and soul care began 15 years ago while attending seminary with his wife, Kathryn. During an especially lengthy and difficult season of life, a biblical counselor helped them embrace afresh the sufficiency of Christ and His Word. He holds a D.Min. in biblical counseling and is a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).

Rush and Kathryn have three daughters and two sons.

Learn more at and follow Rush Witt on Facebook (Rush Witt), Twitter (@mynameisrush), and Instagram: @mynameisrush.


Welcome to the Forged in Love Celebration Tour! #historicalromance #giveaway!!

  About the Book Book:  Forged in Love Author:  Mary Connealy Genre:  Historical Romance Release date:  February 28, 2023 When sparks begin ...