Friday, January 31, 2020

Interview with Maria Henriksen about her new book Not Again

Tell us about the book – can you share the blurb?

Christina De Rosa holds a potentially deadly secret that threatens to get out. As an innocent young teenager, Christina survives a terrifying detailed sexual assault that destroys her self-worth and trust.

In her daily struggle, Christina searches for ways to keep her torment at bay, so she can function as a "normal" teenager. Meanwhile, Christina's spiritual journey leads her down a path causing conflict within, as she's riddled with guilt and shame.

A chance encounter with her longtime, hot crush, Avery Evans, sparks a fire in Christina that she can't extinguish. As the sweet, loving, knight in shining armor he readily portrays, Avery offers the safety and security that Christina craves.

In her quest for internal peace, Christina must make a decision. Will she give her heart, body and soul to the super popular, Avery Evans?

Will Christina's nightmares become all-consuming or will her discoveries lead her to a renewed way of life?

Find out if true love triumphs in this edgy, faith-based young adult page-tuner, set in the 1980s.

*Not Again is NOT your typical Christian coming of age story. Fierce faith doesn't come without a fight. Prepare for heartache, self-harm, traumatic events, real romance, and actual scripture in these pages.


Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I use actual experiences as a springboard for my creativity in developing a unique and entertaining story line. After recalling how those memories made me feel, I try to evoke similar, perhaps even deeper feelings for the reader to experience. From there, ideas pop in my head and onto the computer screen.

What's your key environment that helps you get to writing? Do you have a writer’s nook, corner, getaway? Where do you do your most productive writing?

I write all over the place. When I started writing my debut novel about a decade ago, I had a desktop computer down in my finished basement. I carved out a nook for myself using a beautiful cherry desk as my anchor. I didn’t write anywhere else because my computer wasn’t portable and I never wrote by hand. Now, I take my laptop all over the house, in my living room, bedroom, basement, and outdoors. I even take it with me on vacation as I am able to get quite a bit of work done down the shore.

 What are you saying in your book(s) that will encourage Christians today?

Not Again offers practical and spiritual ways to reduce stress and help combat the negative affects of traumatic events. One of the messages teaches how to rely on Christ by using scripture like, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phillippians 4:13 KJV). Not only will Not Again encourage Christians, it has the potential to bring about salvation to the unsaved. My greatest gift would be knowing that Not Again had such an impact on someone’s life that they became a believer as a result of reading it. Changing lives and healing hearts one page at a time is the motivation behind my writing.

How do you pick names for your characters?

I tend to pick names that I like for characters that I like, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. For the most part, I choose names that come to mind right away. Then I go back and change most of the names. I have to think hard when referring to characters because so many names have been changed.

How important are reviews to you?

Reviews are important to me, but I haven’t been as proactive in getting reviews as I should be. I heard it takes at least 50 reviews to be recognized in Amazon. At present, I have only 16 reviews and I know more are to come. I don’t want to be known as that author who pesters their readers for reviews. My wish is that more readers would reach out to me. As an extravert, I crave the interaction, so don’t be shy in contacting me. I’m more than happy to get to know my readers better.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What genre is your favorite? What books have you enjoyed lately?

I really don’t have a favorite author. As far as genres go, I enjoy murder mysteries, romantic suspense, young adult, sweet romance and pretty much anything Christian. I also enjoy reading memoirs, biographies and inspirational books. The last book I finished was Knit 2, Purl 2, Kill 2 by Erina Ring. I also enjoy getting to know fellow authors and writing reviews.


    Maria T. Henriksen is a wife to a sweet and doting husband and proud mother to exceptional boy/girl teenage twins. She considers herself fortunate to be working with children as a substitute teacher of all grades and disciplines. In her spare time, Maria reads, writes and runs.

          Giving back to the community has always been a part of Maria’s life as demonstrated by her mother throughout her life. In high school, Maria volunteered at the local town library and raised money for the local hospital. As a single young woman, Maria, along with her mother and aunt, was part of a nonprofit ministry called CityTeam in Chester, Pennsylvania. Although knowing that this was a dangerous area infested with violent crimes, Maria and the other volunteers nonetheless selflessly gave of their time to feed the hungry. Even after hearing gunshots outside of the building, they continued to serve the less fortunate. It was Maria’s hope that someday she could volunteer side-by-side with her children as she did with her mother. That desire came true when her children were in elementary school and they all served together at the local soup kitchen.

Publishing Not Again is another dream that has become realized and was inspired by God. Maria considers her novel to be part of her ministry and she is blessed to have the love and support of her family. In fact, Maria had the distinct pleasure of filming her daughter as featured in Not Again’s book trailer which can be seen on Maria’s website:

As with any ministry, it takes vision and a passion to spread the gospel. Maria would be honored for others to unite with her in her quest to reach teens by sharing Not Again to make the world a better place one reader at a time. Join Maria in changing lives and healing hearts one page at a time.

Links – social media and to buy

You can join the Facebook group called Maria’s Muses: Inspirational, Christian and Close-to-The-Heart Readers to be a part of an interactive, uplifting and caring community.   


New subscribers to my blog/newsletter receive a FREE relaxation audio download. Go to the bottom sections of the website to sign up for a free subscription.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Psalms Hymns and #giveaway!!!

About the Book

Book: Psalm Hymns, Volume Five, Psalms 107-150
Author: L.L. Larkins
Genre: Non-Fiction
Release Date: July 10, 2019

You’ve landed on the final book of Biblical Psalms in the Psalm Hymns series, Volume Five, Psalms 107-150 contains singable, recitable psalms in full form, adapted from the Biblical Psalms.
In this last volume of the Psalm Hymns series, you are offered a method for singing book V of the Biblical Psalms. Maybe your favorite psalm is included.
There are some sticky psalms, like Psalm 119- King David’s love poem to God’s law. You can ask yourself while singing it, why the law is important to a King. Psalm 137 is full of bile and bitterness, written by the remnant captives after the desolation of Jerusalem. But there are also the most lyrical and beautiful of praises for the eternal rule of God found in the Psalms of Ascent and in Psalm 107 and Psalm 136.
Psalm 139 is the lyrical ode and articulate description of God knitting our bodies together in secret, and how He watches over and cares for us no matter where we go.
The Celebration Psalms finish out the entire book of Psalms and Psalm Hymns series as a grand finale.
 Marilyn's thoughts:  Psalms are a favorite to read and often quoted during difficult times, as King David poured out his heart holding nothing back. L. L. Larkins created this series where each Psalm in different versions of the Bible was paired with a well known hymn, as well as some not as well known in the Christian world, so they could be sung. Some of the classic hymns like How Great Thou Art, Down at the Cross Where My Savior Died, Count Your Many Blessings, Love Lifted Me are included in this volume of Psalm Hymns. Readers and Singers could struggle with a Psalm if they had it memorized in a particular version of the Bible. But overall this is a beautiful collection of Hymns set to Psalms that speak of God’s greatness, love and how we are to worship the Lord with praise and song.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit and was under no obligation to write a positive review.  

Click here for your copy!

About the Author

L. L. Larkins graduated with a double major in Bible and Music from Colorado Christian University. Larkins is not a public speaker and in fact, enjoys being slightly incognito. This keeps the focus on the experience of singing the Psalms in each one’s own fashion or group.  It also keeps any hero-worship or dart-throwing contests about the author at bay.
The Psalms provide a different experience of praise and worship than what is currently experienced in western Christian music. Both are valuable.
Larkins wrote each of the Psalm Hymns books (a series) in the given biblical context of chapter and verse.  They are meant for teaching and experiential learning in Bible studies, as introductions to pastoral messages in the Psalms, for devotions during tours of the Holy Land, and for religious education for homeschoolers.  But, they are also meant for anyone who loves the Psalms and enjoys a good puzzle.  Some Psalms are so long that singing them can feel like chanting unless there is a creative musician in the group who knows about key changes, soloists, style changes, and other musical effects.
Larkins has wrestled with the puzzles of the psalms and has been thrilled with the spiritual enlightenment that adapting the Psalms to music has provided.

More from L. L. Larkins

Hi, and welcome to everyone wanting to go deep and wide, welcome to this singing book tour of the Psalms!
It’s my feeling that no other kind of Bible study can be quite as fun as a singing Bible study! You look at each other and can get a little anxious, but then someone starts singing the tune with the words of the Psalm and then everyone joins in or takes a turn. Nervous people start singing harmonies, then they get stronger.  People start laughing at themselves or at the wonder of the words they’ve never really heard before.  Afterward, people start commenting and asking questions. It’s just a blast!
The Psalms were written as prayers and soulful examinations about life, and as secret cover letters in times of war, and as testimonies about God’s miracles. But the Psalms were always meant to be sung rather than recited. Did you know? Singing excites the imagination and connects a variety of brain synapsis so that they create spiritual buzzes, new understanding, and alarms ring with new opportunities for faith and belief.
Our church uses the Psalm Hymns books as hymnals.  We sing a psalm before each message.
If you are going on a tour of the Holy Land or are an educator or lay leader or pastor, I hope that you contact my publisher, Capture Books, about getting some copies of the Psalm Hymns in bulk for groups.  I think there is special group pricing available.
Thanks so much for this opportunity to show off Biblical Literature adapted for today’s Church experience.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 2
janicesbookreviews, February 5
Artistic Nobody, February 7 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, February 7
Mamma Loves Books, February 10
Simple Harvest Reads, February 11


To celebrate her tour, L.L. is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of the Psalm Hymns books (1-5)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Trespasser (Amish Country Brides)

The Trespasser

(Amish Country Brides) 

Paperback – ebook

January 11, 2020

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cowboy's Belated Discovery (Saddle Springs Romance)

Cowboy's Belated Discovery

(Saddle Springs Romance #5)

  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Publisher: GreenWords Media 
  • Publication Date: November 19, 2019

In this epiphany romance, all she asks is one shot at winning his heart, but he can't take one more chance on love.

Tori Carmichael has been in a holding pattern since her dad’s debilitating accident. Now that the family’s ranch resort is on stable footing again, she’s ready for her future, but her plan to become a teacher dims in the glow of her dreams about the newest cowboy in Saddle Springs. Too bad there seems little sign Garret will ever return her interest.

Garret Morrison had planned to resume his music career after taking time to regroup from a shattered relationship, but his aging parents need his help with their riding stable. He pours himself into worship ministry at the local church, avoiding starry-eyed Tori for her own good. Every woman he’s loved has left him, one way or another, and he can’t face the possibility one more time.

What will it take for Garret to discover that love is worth the risk? And will that realization come too late to save what might have been?

My thoughts (LVH):  Tori wears her heart on her sleeve and has a look in her eyes that says "please, please, please" but Garret is so not interested.  He loved and lost and "Hello, my name is regret..."  But what's a guy to do when she is determined and doesn't even take a plain, flat-out no for an answer?

I liked that Tori had a back-up plan whereas Garret seemed content to just whatever.  I hoped he'd come to peace with parts of his past, but in real life they will always haunt him.

There is a  strong faith message that bordered on preachy and a  strong hero waiting to take to the arena for the next book in the series.  

Don't miss this book or the series, or any story written by a favorite romance writer, Valerie Comer.

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.

About the Saddle Springs Romance series

Welcome to Saddle Springs, the fictional western town that’s home to Montana Ranches Christian Romances! Revel in the lush mountain scenery with rocky peaks, tumbling rivers, and peaceful lakes. Meet the cowboys who ride the ranges, mend fences, and are lassoed by romance in this new Christian cowboy romance series.

1. The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion
2. The Cowboy’s Mixed-Up Matchmaker
3. The Cowboy's Romantic Dreamer
4. The Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage
5. The Cowboy’s Belated Discovery
6. The Cowboy's Reluctant Bride

More Christian Romance to buy or borrow from USA Today bestselling author Valerie Comer!

1. Urban Farm Fresh Romances, ongoing series, starting with Secrets of Sunbeams
2. Garden Grown Romances, complete 4-book series, starting with Sown in Love
3. Farm Fresh Romances, complete 6-book series, starting with Raspberries and Vinegar
4. Christmas in Montana Romances, complete 3-book series, starting with More Than a Tiara
5. Riverbend Romances, complete 5-novella series, starting with Secretly Yours

If you love Christian contemporary romance series that focus on engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith — clean, wholesome, sweet, and inspirational romances — you’ve come to the right place! This is farm and foodie fiction at its finest.

That’s for later. Right now?

Why not buy or borrow THE COWBOY’S BELATED DISCOVERY today and fall in love with a cowboy? 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Underestimating Miss Cecilia (Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley)

Underestimating Miss Cecilia 

(Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley #2) 

Paperback – ebook

July 23, 2019

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: KREGEL
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825445903

Will a shrinking violet and a prodigal son come together to better their world?

Cecilia Hatherleigh has many secrets in her shy, sweet heart--but none bigger than her unrequited love for Edward Amherst, the earl's son next door. Her love has persevered over many years, even when he grows to be a bit of a rake. Yet despite his fondness for females, he never seems to see her as anything more than the quiet younger sister, and nothing Cecy does has changed that. Rather than pining after his perhaps unworthy love, she decides to turn her focus toward living out her newfound faith. Now she's determined to follow God's leading to make a better world for the poor and dispossessed around her.

A London riot awakens Edward to the responsibilities due his family name. It's time to turn his life around to please his noble father--and that means restoring his abandoned legal career and making a marriage of convenience. Neither will be easy, given his past and the prejudices of the upper echelons of society to which he belongs.

When misadventure strikes at a house party, these two are thrown together even as their lives are upended. If Cecy can't trust God, overcome her shyness, and find her inner strength, the good work they've both done may be for naught-and neither will ever find true love . . .

My thoughts (LVH):  Underestimating Miss Cecilia holds a good premise, and even though the characters didn’t capture me in the beginning, they eventually grew on me. Especially Edward. He is flawed, yet redeemable, and his actions felt authentic. Cecilia’s younger sister, Verity, also adds to the story. I enjoyed the struggles and the faith message.

My fondness of Regency stories has diminished over the past few years, so this one didn’t pull me in as much as I’d hoped. The wording and sentence structure were a bit difficult to read at times.   HOWEVER, fans off this genre might love it more than I did, so don't take my word for it.

This is a good story, but not a Regency favorite. I wasn't wowed. I’ll read the next book in the series (hopefully Verity’s story) and hope I’ll be more captivated.
I received a free copy from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a positive review.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

A No Good, Very Bad Day by B J Bassett


On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won’t take anything for granted. Ecclesiastes 7:14

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a popular children’s book by Judith Viorst.


Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in his hair. And it got worse . . .

Recently I had that kind of day. It began with a phone call to my son. He’d been fired from a job he loved two months prior. I encourage him to trust God. His frustration broke my heart and after I hung up the phone, I was in tears as I poured out my heart to God.

Later, I paid a bill with my last check. For the rest of the day I looked for the box of checks I knew I had, and I prayed for God to help me find it. I searched everywhere. My shredder also stopped working. I was frustrated. I took a break and sat for a while.

By the end of the day, I ordered new checks only to find the box of checks. I also discovered the shredder wasn’t broken, but only overheated.

Have you ever had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?'

God gives us both good and bad days. How do we plan to handle them?

Father, You’ve blessed me with so many very good days, and I am grateful. Help me live for You and be grateful during the few bad days as well. 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, January 25, 2020

The Story Behind the Story by Colleen Hall

When I finished writing Her Traitor’s Heart I knew that I wanted to continue Clint and Coral’s story. I wanted to remove them from the Reconstruction setting and take them someplace new and fresh that would give their story a whole new twist. And since their love story had already been told, I needed to add new characters whose story I could share with my readers.

After the Reconstruction, the Indian wars in the West heated up. Since in Her Traitor’sHeart Clint had expressed a desire to go west, it seemed natural to take my next story there. The West would give a lot of scope and adventure to my story.

I needed new characters to flesh out my tale and to fall in love. Della was easy—she was Clint Logan’s orphaned niece who would travel west with his family. Della is ill-suited for life in the West. Having grown up as a pampered Boston socialite, she has no idea of the challenges she will face on the trip to her uncle’s ranch in the Colorado territory. All she knows for sure is that living beneath the restrictive rules governing her life in Boston is smothering her. She wants more from life than attending teas and soirees and marrying an acceptable gentleman. The freedom represented by the West dazzles her, even if the risks are enormous. Della must decide what kind of life she’ll live, whether to accept the hardships and dangers of the western territory or the security of a life familiar to her.

When my husband and I took a research trip west before I wrote Wounded Heart, I still hadn’t decided what kind of character Shane would be. Della’s love interest had to be a man worthy of her, a strong man to match her spirit and who embodied the code of the old West. I toyed with several possibilities for Shane’s character, but it wasn’t until we visited the Buffalo Bill Cody museum that I found my inspiration. One of Buffalo Bill’s many exploits was to scout for the army during the Indian wars. When I learned that, it seemed the right thing for Shane.Making Shane an army scout fitted his character perfectly. Shane must also deal with a secret from his past that makes him feel unfit to love, yet he must grow enough so that he can admit that love is worth risking everything to gain.

Captain Quentin Asher is the recently-graduated West Point officer who heads the cavalry detail assigned to protect Clint Logan’s wagon train and the horses he’s taking west to the army. Captain Asher resents the authority that Shane wields over the group. He feels that his status as an officer should supersede that of Shane Hunter, a civilian. His resentment festers during the trip. His political ambitions make him think that Della, with her genteel upbringing and Boston contacts, would make him the perfect wife to launch him in society and politics.

Wild Wind is Shane Hunter’s half-Cheyenne brother. He is the leader of a band of Dog Soldiers, warriors devoted to eradicating the whites from the western territory and reclaiming the land for the tribes. When Della’s life intersects with his, neither of them will be the same.

I love creating my characters, and I fall in love with them while I tell their stories. They become real people to me, people who live and breathe, who have hopes and dreams, fears and struggles. They live, suffer, and love. I hope my readers love my characters as much as I do.

Wounded Heart Blurb:

Rustlers, Indians, and rattlesnakes add danger to the trek. A persistent cavalry captain who believes Della would make him the perfect wife and a Cheyenne chieftain’s son who tells her she’s brought sunshine to his heart complicate her life. And the handsome army scout who ramrods their wagon train guards a secret from his past that makes him believe he’s not worthy of loving Della. She must meet the challenges of the West and convince the man of her heart that love is worth risking everything to gain.

Colleen Hall is a displaced New Englander who came South to attend college. There she met and married her husband, who is a Southerner. She never returned to New England and has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina ever since.

In her historical books she combined her love of writing with her love of history. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband, horseback riding, reading, and browsing antique stores. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and family, two horses and two spoiled cats.

Links for Colleen Hall:
Twitter: @ColleenGHall

FB: @ColleenHallRomance

An Interview with Curtis Solomon, Author of I Have PTSD

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