Sunday, February 16, 2020

It’s Very Sparkly by B J Bassett

The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. Revelation 21:19

I recently watched an interview with Taya Kyle, the widow of Chris Kyle, the US Navy SEAL whose story was portrayed in the film American Sniper. During the interview, Taya shared how Chris talks to her from heaven.As a widow myself, I could relate to her experience.

The morning after my husband Ed entered heaven, I felt his presence in our bedroom, so I asked, “Ed, is that you?” The answer came. “Who else would it be?” Later, I relayed my experience to my children. “Would Dad say that?”

All four of our children looked at me with smiles. “Of course he would,” they agreed.

Another time, I said, “Ed, you haven’t talked to me lately.” The answer came. “I’ve been very busy.”

When I shared his comment with a friend, she replied, “Isn’t it nice that after all those months of being idle, he’s now busy.”

Her statement blessed my heart. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease Ed’s activities had eroded away. He no longer could work in the garden, take walks, prepare yummy meals, and play board games, shop, shave, even bath himself. His career had been in management, so I visualized him carrying a clipboard around in heaven as God’s right-hand man.

What I savor most is when he told me that heaven is sparkly. Then he added, “You’re going to love it.”

Being married for over 60 years to my best friend, Ed knew me better than anyone. He said I’m going to love heaven, and his words bring me peace and comfort until I get to heaven, that sparkly place that I’m going to love.

Father, thank You for a glimpse of heaven through Your Word and the description from one of Your saints. Amen.

B. J. Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher and speaker. Her books include a contemporary novel, Gillian’s Heart; a historical novel Lily; Sweet Charity; A Touch of Grace—The G.R.A.C.E. Ministries Story; and coauthor of a children’s devotional My Time with God, Focus on the Family, Heritage Builders, with over 55,000 copies sold.

As a contributing writer, publications consist of Writer’s Handbook 2000, The Writer, and The Focus on the Family Guide to Growing a Healthy Home, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc.—consistently on Bookstore Journal’s Best-selling Christian Books List from November 1990 - February 1991, and voted the 10 Best Books for 1990 by Today’s Christian Woman.

Magazines, devotional booklets, curriculum and newspaper publishers include Focus on the Family, Woman’s World, The Quiet Hour, Pathways to God, Devotions, Harcourt Brace, WordAction, Gospel Publishing and Times Standard (newspaper).

She teaches writing workshops at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR and at writer’s conferences. As a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she tells her story of rejection and acceptance, not only in life, but as a writer as well. She also offers book talks, including discussion questions and shares the journey -- from the seed of an idea to a published book.

Memberships: ACFW and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW).

She enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, knitting, munching warm scones oozing with butter and strawberry jam and sipping earl grey tea.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

A Recipe from My New Release, Taming Julia By Jodie Wolfe

In my new book, Taming Julia, my heroine has a hard time adjusting to life as a mail-order bride. Most of her life has been lived along the trail with her big brother, so when it comes to coming up with a meal on a cook stove, she's way out of her depths. There are many things she hasn't experienced, so when she has to cook a meal, things often go horribly wrong. Here's what happened when she tried to make beef soup:

Taming the wild out of Jules is going to take longer than I’d anticipated. Drew seized his glass and guzzled the water, ignoring the dribbles down his chin. Tears streaked his cheeks.
"It's terrible!" Jules wouldn’t look him in the eye.
What had she put into the stew to make it burn his mouth and throat all the way to his stomach? He couldn’t lie and tell her he liked the atrocious meal she’d prepared. After three weeks of cooking inside the house, she’d shown no improvement. If anything, she’d gotten worse. The townspeople had finally stopped talking about his wife preparing meals outdoors. It marked one area of improvement. If only her indoor food was palatable.
"I’m a lousy cook." Jules’s eyes blinked rapidly.
Oh, no. Not tears. "I didn’t—" Drew wiped his sweating forehead.
"You would’ve been better off…" Jules turned her head away.
"If what?
The unfinished sentence hung between them.
Jules shoved her chair from the table and made a dash for the outhouse. When she returned, her pale face concerned him. He pulled her into his arms and held her while she sobbed.
"I don’t understand." Her body shook.
In one swooping motion Drew lifted and carried her to the sofa. He sat with her snuggled on his lap, rubbing his fingers along her backbone. A waft of the outdoors tinged her clothes, tickling his nostrils.
"What ingredients did you add?"
Her lip quivered. "It was ‘sposed to be beef soup. The recipe in the book from yer ma said to add pepper, salt, cloves, and mace. I weren’t sure what mace was, and we didn’t have no cloves."
"So what did you add instead?"
He put his finger under her chin and tilted her head so he could see her beautiful, tear-filled eyes.
"I figured since we didn’t have the cloves and mace I’d use somethin’ called cayenne instead. I can’t rightly recall the rest of its name."
"Cayenne pepper?"
"Yes, that’s it. I put in two heapin’ spoonfuls. Do you think it’s how I ruined it?"
Drew coughed. No wonder his eyes hadn’t stopped watering since the first bite. "Haven’t you ever had cayenne pepper? I hear they use it often in Texas dishes. It’s very spicy."
"No, we didn’t usually have spices along the trail. Salt, if anything. Is that why it tastes so awful?"
"It probably has a lot to do with it." He smiled and tucked a tendril of hair behind her ear, surprised by its softness. When he encircled his arms about her waist, something hard poked him in the ribs. His ran his fingers over the outline of the object.
"Jules Montgomery!" He shoved her from his lap. "How many times have I talked to you about wearing a gun belt? When are you going to listen to me and realize you don’t need it anymore?"

The actual recipe that I used in my story is from The Improved Housewife or Book of Recipts with Engravings for Marketing and Carving by Mrs. A. L. Webster and it was published in 1851.

Black, or Beef Soup
For soup the shank of beef is the best joint. Cold beef steak, and cold roast beef bones, make good soup. Boil the shank, in sufficient water to cover it, about five hours. Thirty minutes before putting the soup on the table, take out the meat, thicken the broth with scorched flour mixed with cold water; season it with pepper, salt, mace, and cloves; a little walnut or tomato catsup improves it. Add sweet herbs, or herb spirit, if liked. Some boil onions in the soup; but as they are offensive to many people, it is best to boil and serve them up by themselves. Make force meat balls of part of the beef and a little fat salt pork, chopped very fine, seasoned with salt, pepper, mace, and cloves, and boil them fifteen minutes in the soup.

Do you have any old recipes that have been passed down through your family? How far back do they go?

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at

Back Cover Blurb for Taming Julia
In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery's sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation's ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew's life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle--more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she's not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.


Purchase Links for Taming Julia:

A gun-toting, breeches-wearing wife wasn't what the minister ordered.

Matrimony News, February 6, 1875 edition

Minister bachelor aged 27, height 5 feet 10 inches seeks genteel, honest and first-rate homemaker with a desire to serve God. Must be willing to marry by proxy and arrive in Burrton Springs, Kansas by May 1.

Burrton Springs, Kansas, Saturday, May 1, 1875

            Dear Lord, please don’t let that creature be my new wife. Drew Montgomery swiped the sweat trickling a path down his neck and shoved the new hat back on his head. He squinted, taking in the lone passenger stepping from the stagecoach. At least, he thought it was a woman. He shielded his eyes from the sun, taking in the britches.

            Britches? A gun belt strapped to a slim waist. He gulped. A rifle rested on her shoulder, and she wore a Stetson situated low on her brow. The figure shifted sideways, and Drew groaned, fearing his proxy mail-order bride had arrived by the look of all the curves. He squared his shoulders and crossed the street.

            "Are you Montgomery?" Her coffee-brown gaze seared through him.

            He snapped his gaping mouth shut and nodded. "Y-yes."

            "Name’s Jules Walker." She shoved her hand into his and shook it so hard his teeth clattered. "I reckon, Jules Montgomery since we’re hitched." She waved a slip of paper in his face. "Got the paper here to prove it. So are you my husband or not?"

            Drew caught a whiff of dirt. He coughed and cleared his throat.

            She peered at him as if he were a chicken with one leg.

            "I’m Drew." He managed to choke the words out. "Isn’t your name Julia?"

            She scrunched her face, pushed her Stetson from her head, and allowed it to dangle from the string around her neck. Her brown hair scattered in disarray, slipping from a shoulder-length braid. "I can’t remember the last time I’ve been called Julia. Like I said, name’s Jules."

            "But..." Drew let the word hang between them. No matter. "Where’re your things?"

            "Got my knapsack and that there." She pointed to the top of the stagecoach. He expected to see a trunk, but a saddle rested there instead. What kind of woman brought a saddle into a marriage? What kind of woman showed up dressed like a man? No. No. Something was terribly wrong.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Strands of Truth

Strands of Truth

Thursday, February 13, 2020

An Unlikely Amish Match (Indiana Amish Brides)

An Unlikely Amish Match 

(Indiana Amish Brides) 

Mass Market Paperback – ebook

January 21, 2020

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Midnight Strike (Cyber Division Book 2)

Midnight Strike 

(Cyber Division Book 2) 


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Interview with Melony Teague

ABOUT THE BOOK – A Promise to Keep

Research librarian Savannah Sanderson wants nothing more than to escape into her happily-ever-after novels with their larger-than-life fictional heroes. But a promise to her late husband has her attending her dreaded twenty-year high school reunion, drinking ghastly punch, and taking desperate measures just to keep her vow, even if she has to hide behind the d├ęcor to do it.

Once a reckless troublemaker, Michael McCann fled town after graduation. Now a professional technical rescuer, he’s back for the reunion, but on his trip down memory lane, he soon comes face to face with unresolved issues, namely Savannah.

Before the night is over, a pact between these two old friends will lead them on an adventure into uncharted emotional territory where Michael must confront his past regrets and find the courage to reveal the truth. But can Savannah fly from her sheltered nest and risk her heart on a real-life hero?


Melony Teague writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words, and she believes everyone has a story to tell. Melony is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the co-author of As the Ink Flows, a devotional for authors. Her fiction debut, A Promise to Keep releases, Jan 21, 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her handsome husband, their two teenagers, and does the bidding of her two adorable cats.

Where did you grow up and attend school? 

I was born in South Africa and grew up there, attended school in Klerksdorp, Pretoria before moving to Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal where I attended High School. I now live in Toronto Canada and have been here over 20 years.

Are there any other authors in your family?  

Good question! I don’t actually know of any other published authors in my family. Although my family are really good story tellers.

How did you get started writing? How old were you? What made you want to start? 

I actually wrote a gossip column under a pen name in high school in the local newspaper. However I didn’t take writing as a career seriously. Now that I look back, it really was inevitable, it just took me way too long to figure it out. I was in my late thirties before I figured out I wanted to be a writer and journalist. I’ve been writing for the last decade as a journalist, biographer, non-fiction ghostwriter and freelancer. About three years ago I decided to shift my focus and work on my fiction work. I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else. It is such a part of who I am.

What did you enjoy reading as a child?  

Interestingly enough, I did not start reading early like my own children did. It was only when I was around the age of ten or eleven when someone gave me a Nancy Drew book for Christmas did I really start to read. I then discovered the Secret Seven, Famous Five and Three investigators books and I was hooked. I had a lot of catching up to do. My love for Shakespeare, Chaucer and the classics came later in high school thanks to my wonderful and inspiring high school English Literature teacher, Mrs. Prinsloo. To this day I’m not a really fast reader, but I do love to read.

How and when did you and your husband meet? Was it love at first sight? What does he think about your being an author?  

My husband and I met at church, and we attended the same young adults group. We were friends and I really respected him. The funny thing is, he thought I was this loud outgoing girl (and I sort of was) and I thought he was a snob. Turned out he was just shy and I was covering my insecurities with my extrovert nature. We had been friends for a few years when I suddenly noticed him in a different way at a BBQ. And I was like, “hey, why do I all of a sudden see him differently?” Anyway, we both felt the same way and within months we were engaged and within six months of getting engaged we were married. In reality we are opposites when it comes to personalities but we complement each other. He really is my best friend. We have been married 26 years in Jan 2020. As to your last question, he has always been supportive of whatever I do, but since you asked, I asked him what he thought exactly. He said he was proud of me and is thrilled my book is being published. He wishes me all the best of success.

How old are your children? Do they read your books? Have any of them got the writing bug, as well? 

My children are teenagers and my eldest is months away from officially being an adult. I still can’t believe how fast time has flown. They are both avid readers. We’ve read to them since they were infants and when they got old enough to read, they read for themselves. My daughter is actually an excellent editor and proofreader and plans to go into editing in that capacity one day. My son is a voracious reader and he inspired me to write one of my manuscripts which is a work in progress. He kept on saying, “Mom, have you written another chapter yet?” It was hard for me to keep up.  

How do you research the communities and people you write about? Do you find yourself having to do a lot of research?  

Since the town of Point where A Promise to Keep begins is fictional, it was such fun to create a small town. The other settings in the book, such as Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-the-Lake were fun to write about because I’ve been there and enjoyed walking around and sightseeing. The other settings I had to rely on Google Earth and online research. Savannah Sanderson was born in South Africa, just like me, but she immigrated to the US as a youngster, however I used my own experience as an immigrant in her scenes. I don’t think I do as much research as I would find myself doing in a historical fiction novel, but I still have to do my research. I was blessed to have a physician and professional firefighter as consultants for some of the scenes as well as someone from the rock-climbing community for some other scenes. For the most part, real life is my inspiration. The photo is of us journeying behind the falls in 2018 while I was writing A Promise to Keep.

Which is your favorite book? 

Oh my goodness, a favorite book, that is such a hard one. Before I became a published author I was a book reviewer and blogger, and still do that to some extent. There are so many I love but three that I read in one sitting and devoured are: Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano, Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix and The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischoff. For pure entertainment and laugh-out-loud giggles, I chose any Jen Turano book. There are many, many more, I could go on for days. I also love Romantic Suspense and YA reads. So asking me for one favorite book is torture.

Do you have a character in your book you identify with the most?

I can’t say I identify with one character more than the other in A Promise to Keep. There are some things in Savannah that I can relate to, but then others in Michael McCann that I can relate to as well. I think as an author, I can relate to something in each of my characters. Well, except maybe Mrs. Delaney. However, we all know a lady like her. At least, I hope we all do. She is quite something.

Thank you Laura for having me on your blog. What interesting questions!

BUY LINKS: To follow

Add book to “want to read” on Goodreads link to follow




 Praise for A Promise to Keep

“A delightful romance sure to please anyone looking for a story about second chances, grace and hope. This one has all the right ingredients!” 
Catherine West, award-winning author of Where Hope Begins

“With beautiful tenderness, Melony Teague has given us a window into the joy, sorrow, humor, and soaring love of characters that come alive. Be ready to have your heart stolen in this must-read fiction debut.”
Mikal Dawn, author of the EMERALD CITY ROMANCE series

“A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague is a welcome addition to the contemporary romance genre. Layers of laughter, chemistry, and unexpected intensity make Michael and Savannah’s story a wonderful surprise! A Promise to Keep shows the skill of a talented author who can sensitively tackle subjects like cancer and grief while still producing a laugh-out-loud story! I can’t wait to read whatever Melony Teague writes next!
V. Joy Palmer, Author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and WeddingsWillows, and Revised Expectations

“With charm, wit, and romance, Teague's debut novel takes readers on a journey of second chances, grace... and a trusty fern. Hope and humor blend throughout the story, balancing deep emotions with lighter moments and a sweet romance besides. A bright new voice in Christian fiction!” 
Carrie Schmidt,

Monday, February 10, 2020

Hidden in Amish Country (Amish Country Justice)

Hidden in Amish Country 

(Amish Country Justice) 

Mass Market Paperback – ebook

October 1, 2019

It’s Very Sparkly by B J Bassett

The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. Revelation 21:19 I recently watched an in...