Welcome back to another day at The Mustard Seed. Author Mackenzie Crowne is a guest today and being interviewed. She also has a contest she'd like to tell you about. I hope you can hang around to visit with Mackenzie because all commenters will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an e-copy of her book, Gift of the Realm

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Now for the fun part...let's chat! Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

Writing has been a compulsion for as long as I can remember. I penned my first short story at the age of ten (and no, I don’t know where it is. I’m not even sure where my cell phone is at the moment.) I went on to write many stories for my own entertainment, and even submitted one or two to publishers-and received my first rejections, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I became serious about my passion. I figured if I was going to make the effort to beat breast cancer, subjecting myself to physical disfigurement and debilitating treatments, I owed it to myself to do what it took to bring my dream of publication to fruition. Happily, I’ve succeeded in both.  

I admire your courage and perseverance. What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?

My husband and I were driving in the mountains one night and a vehicle off in the distance must have crested a hill. Suddenly, a beam of headlights shot up into the night sky like a door of light. I know most people would think aliens (it really did look like the stuff of science fiction) but with my writer’s imagination, I thought, how fun would it be for a character to step through that door, and into another time and place? Just don’t ask me how I went from a door of light to fairies and ancient curses. The pathways of my imagination are impossible to explain.
    
I can relate to finding inspiration in interesting places and circumstances. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

People I know often ask if I’ll be putting them in one of my stories. My response: I write fiction. My characters all come from my imagination, but then again, imagination lives next door to experience in my head. I’m sure the characteristics of those around me seep into my writing from time to time.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

I’m always working on something-remember that compulsion thing? My current WIP throws together an infamous NFL playboy and a popular female sports blogger. Another WIP is the product of nanowrimo this past November. The resulting manuscript continues to be a thorn in my side. I’m considering introducing an antagonist who did NANO for the first, and last time. She’ll never be convicted for killing off the entire cast of characters. Not guilty, by reason of insanity.

Who is your favorite contemporary author?  Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

My favorite author depends on my mood, and I’m always on the lookout for a new name to add to the list, though not necessarily a brand new title. Backlists often hold treasures I’ve yet to discover. Linda Howard rocks, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips always makes me laugh. And there is Nora, of course, to name a few. I’m also a re-reader. When I’m caught up in the editing process, as I am now, I like to end my day with an old favorite. It Had to be You, by SEP, is on my nightstand.

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

For the most part, I do most of my writing early in the morning when my mind is fresh. I’m an early riser and the world is quiet at 5 am.  With a cup of coffee in hand, I normally settle on my patio, writing until life intrudes and reality sends me packing.

I don't think even coffee could wake me up at 5 in the morning. I'm more of a night owl. How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

I have a short attention span. My family and friends just shake their heads as I rush from one new interest to another with dizzying frequency. But they also know the one interest that never fades for me is my writing, and consequently, I have my own personal cheering squad. I couldn’t ask for better support.

Support from family and friends is a wonderful thing. What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?

Can I choose all of the above? I’ve struggled with each at one time or another. The one piece of advice I would share with would-be authors, came to me from many successful authors; Keep on writing, and continue to find ways to improve your craft. There are so many resources available online these days. And thank God for critique partners and editors. 


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Can you tell us about your recent release, Gift of the Realm?

Beneath the fairie mound of Dunhaven's Door, two dreamers meet their destiny…

After a decade of trying to outrun her debilitating dreams, Keely returns to Ireland to face the ancient ring of stones and the man haunting them. Within the stones, she embraces her fairie heritage and her mystical gifts. But can she trust the handsome Halfling who shares her dreams and holds her heart?

When Keely reappears in his life, Colin’s fairie blood threatens to gain the upper hand. Compelled to assist the lovely Halfling, he agrees to help her break the three-hundred-year-old curse on their families, but he'll do it on his terms—as a black wolf.

Together, two Halflings can stand against any power, but only love can break the bonds of bitterness. Will Colin’s arrogant plan to outwit the King of the Fairies doom Keely for eternity? Or is their love enough to break the curse?

And coming this fall, That Dating Thing:

The daughter of Wall Street’s most notorious stock swindler, dog trainer, Rylee Pierce, has perfected the art of flying beneath society’s radar.  Prosecutor, Cooper Reed is a threat to her carefully hidden truths, but how is a woman supposed to resist a man capable of handling a psychotic Great Dane, while charming her out of her panties before she has the chance to blink?

Thank you for sharing. I love the cover art! Where can readers find your book online? 

Purchase Link for Gift of the Realm


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Mackenzie, can you tell us about yourself? 
I'm a wife, mother, and grandmother. My husband and I were blessed with two rambunctious little boys who we managed to raise into wonderful men without any disfiguring mishaps. Dirt bikes and ESPN are the order around our house, and life at the 'Testosterone Ranch' more closely resembles one of today’s wacky reality shows, than yesterday’s Leave It To Beaver. 

My love of books, specifically the romance genre, has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened my resolve to see my stories shared with others. As of today, I am a four-year survivor, living my dream. 

Mackenzie, thank you so much for sharing with us today and stopping by for an interview. I enjoyed chatting with you and you've been very inspiring to me. Where can readers connect with you online?

Mackenzie's Website
Mackenzie's Blog

Connect with Mackenzie on Facebook
Connect with Mackenzie on Twitter

Can you tell us about the contest during your blog tour?

As part of my blog tour, including my visit here with you, I am running a contest in the form of a virtual scavenger hunt. I’ll be posting a question on my website to coincide with each of my hops, then directing my followers to the blog I’m visiting that day where they will find the next clue in my interview answers. At the end of my tour, the visitor with the most right answers on my website will win a free e-copy of Gift of the Realm and a $25 Amazon gift card.

Readers, hope you take part in Mackenzie's virtual scavenger hunt. Don't forget to also comment on this blog post and you'll also be entered to win an e-copy of her book, Gift of the Realm. Thank you all for stopping by The Mustard Seed. I hope you stay to chat.

 
 
Cynthia L. Simmons is a guest at The Mustard Seed today, sharing how she and her family celebrate Easter. I hope you all can hang out to visit with Cynthia today.

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My husband and I believe Easter is the most significant holiday we celebrate. In Romans the apostle Paul wrote Jesus “…was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead…” When the Jews pressured Jesus to give them a sign that he was of God, he promised to "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19). The religious leaders of the day thought he referred to the place where they worshipped, but he meant he would rise from the dead. Praise God Jesus kept his promise and we have reason to celebrate.

We searched for a way to commemorate the resurrection in a way that reflected its importance. So in the spring of 1989 we started a new family tradition, celebrating Passover on Easter Sunday. It’s full of imagery from the Old Testament, and it fits because Jesus served the Passover to his disciples right before the crucifixion. My fourth child, Daniel, was six weeks old that first year. My husband announced that we needed a cloth bag. He gave me a careful description of what it should look like. Since I had just delivered, I wasn’t out often. So I took apart a pillow case to make what we needed. He also spent hours preparing. The Jewish people read from a Haggadah during Passover. My husband went through making changes to reflect our hope in the risen Christ.

During Passover, everyone drinks four cups of juice after a blessing. The only bread eaten is unleavened, the Matzo. Just like Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, it contains lines and holes. The bag which holds it, the Matzatash, has three compartments. During the Passover, the leader removes the matzo in the middle section.  It’s called the Afikomen. This is the only Greek word in the ceremony and it means ‘he came.’ Jewish people who don’t accept Messiah have no explanation for this word. The father wraps the Afikomen in cloth and hides it. After the meal, the children search for it. Once it’s found, the leader purchases or redeems it.  When the cup of redemption is drunk, everyone shares the Afikomen amongst themselves. This is the place where Jesus said, “Take eat, this is my, body which is broken for you.” The cup of redemption is the one where Jesus said, “…this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

My husband always comments that we don’t serve lamb for Passover because we don’t need one. God provided the lamb—Jesus. His death paid for our sins. The angel of death passed over us, and we have eternal life because our savior lives. Celebrating Passover blesses us every year with its beautiful symbols. We all love it.

What a wonderful idea to start such a tradition with your family! Cynthia, thank you so much for sharing with us how you and your family celebrate Easter.


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Can you tell us about your book, Struggles and Triumphs?

What’s wrong with our world? Shouldn’t a God who claims to be all powerful and flawless prevent suffering? How can we continue to believe when storms rage on in our lives? If you’ve ever had tough questions like these Struggles and Triumphs Study Guide is the book for you. You will be guided toward answers with a unique and enlightening approach. This twelve-week Bible study for ladies comes from stories of real women as told in Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame. As you study, you’ll come to understand God’s perspective on timeless issues that impact your life. The carefully chosen Scriptures combined with interesting historical information will challenge and encourage you.  

Sounds like a book definitely going into my library. Where can readers find it online?


Purchase Link for Struggles and Triumphs Study Guide

Cynthia, thank you so much for guesting today. I enjoyed learning more about you and Easter traditions with your family. 

Don't forget to check out Cynthia's book trailer below and we hope you can stay and chat for a bit. Thanks again for stopping by.


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Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over twenty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), she conducts writing workshops and has served as chaplain, vice president, and president. She also directs Catch the Wave Writing Conference. In December 2009 the membership granted her Life Time Membership for her numerous contributions to writers.  “Cindy” is fond of history and writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. Her writing appeared in CAG publications, NATHHAN NEWS, Chattanooga Regional Historical Magazine, Georgia Right to Life Newsletter, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Catholic Exchange, and Christian Devotions.us. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, came out in 2008. While promoting her book, she had interviews on radio and TV across the nation and was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year. She conducts monthly podcasts called CAG Spotlight and she does quarterly podcast for Clash of the Titles.  For more information visit: 

Cynthia's Website

Cynthia's Blog

Connect with Cynthia on Facebook


 
 
So glad to welcome Chynna Laird to The Mustard Seed today. She's here to chat and she's also doing a book giveaway. 

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My favorite spring flower is a lily.  My love for them came from a story my mom told me about my grandfather planting three different kinds in his garden.  Tiger Lilies which were his gift of love for my grandmother. The meaning of the flower is ‘flame, I burn for you.’ The second were purple ones he planted after my grandparents adopted my mom. The meaning of those flowers is ‘majesty, wealth, pride, innocence, purity’ (if only my mom had known that…). The third were Lilies of the Valley, my birth flower. They’re small and delicate—that’s how he saw me. He wanted to have beautiful but strong eternal flowers in his garden to represent the women in his life whom he held most dear.

Once he and my grandmother passed away, my mom planted lily bulbs in her small garden as a way to remember them both. I’m not sure if she planted the same ones but they were there, year after year.

Shortly after my mom passed away I really struggled with what I could to in her memory.  You see, my mother and I didn’t exactly have the greatest mother/daughter relationship. Years of untreated mental illness and alcoholism interfered with the kind of mother she had the potential to be. Despite anything, she chose to give me life and I credit her for giving me the creative gifts I’m blessed with. She wasn’t strong enough to turn to her gifts in her darkest times but I make sure I always turn to mine.

So, in memory of my grandparents and my mom, as well as to remind me to keep moving forward to positive things, I have also planted lilies in my garden. Each spring when I see their brightly colored heads poke out from the dirt, it gives me a new sense of hope for good things to come. 


Thank you for sharing your inspirational story. 


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So, Chynna, let's chat. What are the top five random facts about yourself?

1. I’m allergic to chocolate.
2. I make my own wine.
3. I’m a strict vegetarian.
4. I started playing piano when I was two.
5. I’m a huge Beatles fan (okay…that’s not a huge secret but still…)

My husband's family makes their own wine, too. Do you have a fond memory of interaction with a reader?

I think the most inspirational reader experience I’ve had, the one that reminded me why I do what I do, is when I read to my oldest daughter’s classroom for ‘Read-In Week’ at her school and one of her friends came up to me later and said, “I love your books.  They make me feel all kinds of stuff and it’s great. I hope I can be a writer like you someday.” How awesome is that? I told her not to be a writer like me but a writer like her.  She’ll ‘get’ that one day. ;)

What was the happiest moment in your childhood?

Curling up in my grandfather’s lap with my brother and listening to him tell us a story. And my grandmother’s bear hugs.

Chynna, please tell us about your book and I understand you have a contest and blog tour. 

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My latest book is an adult suspense/thriller called Out Of Sync. Here’s a short cover blurb of the story:

Cheyenne McCarthy has two fears: Our sensory rich world and the man who killed her husband. Cheyenne's gift helps her catch serial killers. But will it save her when the man comes for her and her unborn child? And will the secret he knows about her past be what finally breaks her?

We have a contest going on over at Goodreads where you could win one of two copies of the book. You have until April 30th to enter so hurry on over!

I’m also participating in a book blog tour for my memoir, White Elephants and would like to invite your readers to join me. If you live or know someone living with untreated bipolar disorder or other mental health issues, this is a must-see tour. Here’s the link to the main page with all my blog stops

Thank you! 


Chynna, thanks so much for guesting today. I love your book cover! I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your books. 

If you'd like to enter for a chance to win a signed print copy of Out of Sync, please comment on this blog post. 


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CHYNNA LAIRD – is a freelance writer and multi award-winning author. Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs. She’s authored a children’s book, two memoirs, a Young Adult novella, a YA paranormal suspense novel and an adult Suspense/Thriller. 

You can connect with Chynna online here:


Chynna's Website 
Chynna's Blog: See the White Elephants
Chynna's Blog: The Gift

Connect with Chynna on Facebook
Connect with Chynna on Twitter


 
 
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and welcome back to another day at The Mustard Seed. Aspiring Christian author, Kendra LaLonde, is here to chat with me. Hope you can hang out with us. 

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So, Kendra, before we start chatting, can you tell everyone about yourself? 

I am a 27-year-old aspiring Christian writer who has felt the call to write since the age of 16.  But when I was 18, I had a TBI (Trauma Brain Injury).  It’s sort of like an aneurysm or a stroke.  I was “out of it” for over 2.5 years, but when I came to – and after a while in a state of “don’t bother me; leave me alone”, I “woke up” completely, still wanting to write.  In fact, nowadays, I have more time to give my writing because I cannot do many, many things that I could before.  I never have driven a car – not for real.

How do you and your family, celebrate Easter…what does Easter mean to you? 

To me, Easter is a time to celebrate our Lord, and the Salvation He gives us.  If it weren’t for what happened so long ago – we say at Easter – than we wouldn’t have the opportunity to be saved.

I wholeheartedly agree. Did you go on an Easter egg hunt as a child…what was your favorite Easter memory? 

Uhh.  Yes, I have been on an Easter-egg hunt.  I thought it was interesting, but I don’t really remember much about it.  My favorite Easter memory would have to be the year after I was saved.  I finally understood what it meant.

We're in the middle of Spring...is this one of your favorite seasons?


Well, that would be hard to say, because it’s not.  But I like Spring second only to Autumn because it means that things come back from being “dead” during the Winter months; new life is “born”.

What’s your favorite spring flower and why? 


Oh my.  That’s a hard question to answer!  I love most flowers, but I’d have to say that my “favorites” would be the tulip and the daffodil.  I’m not sure why….because they smell nice?

My favorite flower is the lilac and tulips are second on my list. Do you think Easter (like Christmas) is too commercialized?


Definitely!!  People think too much about money!  It’s so sad to see the seasons of Christmas and Easter destroyed by such hopes for more cash.

Can you share the top five random facts about yourself?

1. I am often mistaken for a teenager, though I am 27 years old
2. I have loved to read since I was 5 or 6 years old; to write since the age of 16
3. I love breakfast food – of almost any kind – at any time in a day
4. I used to hate coffee, but after my TBI, I started drinking it (far too much) and haven’t stopped
5. I have 2 younger brothers, and both of my parents are still living.  The oldest of my 2 brothers lives in New Hampshire

Why do you like being an author?

I enjoy stretching my imagination, and writing is a way for me to keep that imagination “strong”.  The over-activeness of my imagination started when I was still quite young

Who’s your favorite author of classic literature? 


I prefer more contemporary/up-to-date fiction

What’s your favorite novel? 


Can I only pick one?  I have far too many!!

What was the happiest moment in your childhood? 

When I……sorry, I don’t remember my childhood very much.


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Can you share with us an excerpt from your current WIP? 

Prologue

The birthday party had been a total surprise to Darla Marie Cooke. She’d only been gone from the house for about 30 minutes, but people had still been able to come together. Chattering and laughing until she at last pulled the car into the driveway after her errands, they managed to fill the free time before them.

That’s when the talking and visiting people silenced abruptly. Darla's brother, Samuel, had quickly shushed them all from his position of vigil at the large curtained front window in the packed living room.

Upon hearing Sam’s insistent tone urging them all to conceal themselves, they all began scrambling about. Darla had a few grocery bags to retrieve from the trunk, therefore giving them all the necessary time to hide.

When Darla walked into the kitchen – noticing no one was around, and it was eerily silent – she plunked the bags on the counter. Turning, she plodded into the living room. Dropping heavily onto the sofa – and noticing how neat and clean the room appeared – she let out a long and loud sigh.

Darla's exhaustion – causing her to yawn – caught her in the middle of that action when several dozen people popped up from behind the furniture. The yelling and cheering suddenly taking place around the young woman caused her to freeze, eyes wide. Her hand halted a mere inch away from her gaping mouth, making her look as if she was about to put some food into the dark and gaping hole.

But having caught her looking like this did nothing to dissuade them from their actions. The shouts and cheers of congratulations continued, almost deafening Darla.

Her mouth now firmly closed, she looked around at all of the grinning faces surrounding her. The resulting smile quirking at her lips grew larger still as she realized who was there.

Jim and Cindy Willings, her pastor and his wife; Mrs. Marissa Scout, their elderly neighbor; Patrick and Jessica Daley, along with their 3 children – whom Darla often babysat.

And the most remarkable presence of all: Thomas Jackson Hall. Darla's wide eyes became even larger upon catching sight of him. His being there – smiling at her hugely, and calling out a loud and boisterous “Happy Birthday” along with the others present – made her both nervous and excited.

Searching the crowded family room, her eyes fell on her dearest and closest friend. Cindy Patricia Parker stood near the back of the room, nearest the stairwell leading up to their bedrooms and Mr. Cooke’s office. Darla assumed she was situated there for a quicker “escape”, should she need to lie down.

Their eyes meeting, Cindy Patricia, “Cindy” for short, grinned, calling out along with everyone else. Darla observed her best friend’s shining eyes, eventually lowering her gaze to her friend’s swollen stomach.

Not having seen Cindy in several months, the sight of her – here, and large with child – came as something of a surprise to Darla. A sadness at having missed out on so much of her close chum’s pregnancy – drawing to an end, if Darla was any judge of size – caused Darla's lips to droop for a moment.

The merriment and good wishes coming her way quickly drowned out her sadness and feelings of loathing. Since there was no going back and regaining the time she’d lost, she decided to ignore her wandering heart.

Focusing instead on the gathering of folks, Darla pushed the raging thoughts of self-pity from her mind. Her mouth revealing her delight over the swarming people – and camouflaging her displeasure – Darla managed another smile at those assembled.

The calling and exuberance soon died down, so that Darla could finally be heard. Her words – coming out in a squeaky voice – were barely audible.

Clearing her throat, she tried a second time to be heard. It wasn’t much easier to catch what she said. The quiet in the room – almost deafening Darla with the tension – was broken only by a few people clearing their throats uncertainly.

“Um … thank you … everyone.” Her words, she noticed, were barely audible. Unsure what to do next, Darla's eyes darted about, as if searching for a particular face. Her hazel eyes at last landed on both of her grinning parents, her sister, Marissa Jane standing beside them – practically screaming in her excitement. Obviously, all of the surprise company had been as much of a surprise for her as for Darla.

Seeing her special needs sister there with of all the others – being louder and even livelier than anyone else – Darla's expression brightened still more; if that was even possible.

Marissa’s curly locks – usually hanging down her back in a short pony tail of shining waves – was now coiled in a knot on the top of her round head. Absently wondering why her sister was all dressed up – wearing a pretty blue dress that brought out her fair complexion quite well – Darla sent her sister a confused little smile, silently thanking the youngest Cooke.

Marissa – even despising getting all dressed up – for any occasion – had donned a beautiful gown. The azure of the blouse brought out the deep indigo of her eyes. Also, the lovely color – too dark to be a shade of royal blue – gave her a pretty pink color in her cheeks.

Seeing Marissa’s joy-filled expression, Darla's trepidation over the crowd of people being gathered into such a small space vanished. The dread making her tremble at all of the boisterous attention soon evaporated completely away; the immense pleasure replacing it nearly overflowed Darla's heart.

A sense of giddiness replaced the unease that once filled once filling her chest. Darla shrugged out of her light-jacket – meant for warding off the chill of September. Hoping the quiet now settling over the room would vanish – too much stillness made her nervous – Darla strode forward, going deeper into the room.

Ignoring the fear trying to take root in her heart once again, Darla marched right up to her sister. Seeing Darla approaching, Marissa’s bouncing motion increased. The grin stretching across her face was so large that Darla feared her sister’s cute face would break.

“Hap-py Birth-day, Dar-la!” Her sister’s exuberant yell set off a second chorus of yelling voices. This time, however, they wished the young woman a joy-filled birthday. Added to that were the cat-calls and more enthusiastic cheering. Unable to stop her face from reddening – and feeling it happen – Darla kept her coffee-colored eyes trained on her celebrating – and laughing – sister.

Darla – peering out at her front lawn – felt another smile creasing her face. It had been 2 days since the surprise party, and she was still remembering those who had gathered to celebrate.

Not only the pastor and his wife, their dear old neighbor, the Dailee family, and – a flush covered Darla's cheeks at the next thought – Thomas Jackson Hall – but countless others, as well. Darla had never expected to see him there, celebrating and congratulating her along with all the others. The sheer number of people attending was astounding.

Now, staring out the window, Darla could imagine his strong jaw line, and the way his hair fell down and curled into his eyes. She’d wanted very badly to reach out, touching those glossy locks of dark hair.

Only the cheering crowd around them kept Darla from doing just that. Sensing that the time and place were indeed inappropriate, Darla drew in a deep breath, hoping to calm her jangled nerves.  She would need to ignore the butterflies flying around in her stomach for the moment.  The mere prospect caused her to begin perspiring.

At that moment, Marissa had come dancing over, squealing excitedly.  Despite the fact that it looked as if all present knew about Marissa’s mental disability, Darla still felt her gut tighten with … .was it embarrassment?  The humiliation caused her cheeks to redden, the color staying prominently on her face.

That had been two days ago, and Darla still felt the pitying stares being directed at her.  Unable to stand being looked at in that manner, she’d opted for concentrating on the pile of birthday gifts stacked near her.

Boxes of all shapes and sizes had been collected, along with a few gift bags.  All of them were rather colorful, creating a decorative center in the otherwise drab, yet serviceable room.  The brown and dark green were lit up by the oranges, reds, pinks, purples, and blues in the packages.

Excitedly, Darla began tearing at the wrapping paper, not even bothering to read the tags.  It was her mother – Deborah Cooke – who put a stop to her eager actions.  Urging Darla to slow down and read the cards that accompanied the gifts, Deborah Cooke mostly stayed out of the way.

Darla opened gift after gift, her surprise at receiving so many growing with each passing minute.  And when she reached one clumsily-wrapped parcel – it was rather a small one – she paused.  The name on the little white sticker was barely legible, but she could just make out the confusing scrawl.

Darla stopped squinting after she realized what the name read.  Thomas Jackson ‘TJ’ Hill was lettered across the colorless sticker. Her movements after that were slower, almost as if she was uncertain about seeing with what he had presented to her.

As the paper fell away – revealing a small box that looked an awful lot like it contained golf balls – Darla became perplexed.  She’d tried playing golf many years ago, but it held little interest for her.  Her father, Richard Cooke, loved the sport – both playing and watching it on TV – but it held no real appeal for Darla.

So now, in front of all of these people – her family and many friends – she had to hide her displeasure.  And she came very close to revealing her discontentment instead of keeping it hidden and at bay.

She was immensely relieved that she had done so, for upon opening the rectangular cardboard container, she stopped cold.  Normally, golf balls come in pack of three, making some noise as they move back and forth within the confines of the box.  But seeing the newspaper – yesterday’s- all bunched up on the end, she froze.  That was not normal.

With slower movements, she pulled the weekly from the box.  Something rattled inside, causing her fingers to still momentarily.  And then she moved with lightning speed.

She couldn’t believe her eyes when the crystal – or was it only glass – figurine fell into my open palm.  It was very delicate-looking, with an umbrella-type piece sticking out from it near the top.  Curiously, I dropped the stuffing on the floor, barely noticing when my mom stopped to pick it up.  The little statuette interested me far more than the paper.

Fingering the long, snake-like strings of fake jewels trail through my fingers, all else seemed to fade from view.  I could finally clearly make out what had been given to me, and it was too adorable for words.

Kendra, thank you so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you and getting a chance to read this excerpt from your current WIP. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your book. 

Hope you all can stay and chat with Kendra. If you'd like to connect with her online, please visit: Kendra's Blog

 
 
I'm happy to welcome author Cara Cooper to The Mustard Seed today. So grab a cup of tea or coffee and let's chat with Cara. By the way, I'm so jealous that she got to visit Jane Austen's house...yes, I am a big fan of Austen's work. 

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SPRING IN LONDON AND ANCIENT GREECE

This is Persephone, Greek goddess of spring growth. Legend has it that when walking through a flower meadow, the beautiful Persephone was cruelly abducted by Hades and carried off to the underworld as his bride. Her distraught mother Demeter scoured the world in search of her and refused to let the earth fruit until her daughter was returned. Although Zeus, king of the gods allowed Persephone to return to her mother, he ordered that because she had tasted the fruits of the underworld – seven pomegranate seeds – she must spend a portion of the year back in the underworld with her husband. The green shoots of spring mark the elation her mother felt on her coming back to the earth whereas her return each year to the underworld was the Greek’s explanation for the winter with its dying plants and darkness.

Spring is incredibly eagerly awaited in England and the favorite season of many Londoners. After the cold, rain-soaked winter, all the London parks go to town on plantings of jewel-coloured polyanthus, nodding headed daffodils and upstanding tulips which bravely resist the wind and April showers. Only the other day, I wandered past the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly, to St James’s. That is the park which spreads out like the huge front garden of Buckingham Palace and was where Catherine Middleton and Prince William drove past wellwishers in their open topped carriage after their wedding.

On any Spring day, the world and his wife (and their children) can be found in St James’s Park enjoying the greenery and the lake. A great favourite are the dozens of different varieties of ducks and Canada geese which are so tame you can feed them out of your hand. I have never written a Regency novel, but I plan to. The London parks saw many Regency dandys promenade, waiting for the ladies to stroll up and down in their finery, each trying to outdo the other.

Spring gets us all out and about in England after the post-Christmas hibernation and I recently visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, Hampshire and have blogged about it at My Blog: On Writing, Reading & Living in London . The spring garden there is superb – very small but full of forget me nots and herbs, mint, rue and chamomile which Jane, and her sister Cassandra would use in the kitchen. Although they lived in a pleasant little house it was nothing like the huge estates of Pride and Prejudice. For being the daughter of a clergyman she was not chosen to take over the living of a great house in the way that her lucky brother was who was picked by a wealthy relative to be master of a big estate. Jane’s brother however provided for his sisters by allowing them to live in the charming cottage in Chawton village rent free. Spring in an English village is delightful, with newborn lambs in surrounding fields and pure azure bluebells carpeting the beech woodlands. I love America and have been on numerous occasions – San Francisco is vibrant, the Grand Canyon spectacular and New York as exciting as London town. But there is a soft, gentleness to England in the spring, like the welcoming back of a young and vibrant friend who’s been away. It touches all our hearts with new hope that Summer is finally knocking on the door and waiting to be let in.

My Spring this year has been particularly exciting as I have just signed my first contract with Astraea press for my soon to be released book, ‘The Sanctuary’. Set by the sea on an island off the English coast. It involves a legacy, a teenager with a troubled past and an animal sanctuary. I’m so looking forward to seeing the cover work and to chatting with readers. I’ve been published for many years in England and am delighted to now be ‘over the pond’! My website is under construction so it’s a busy Spring for me this year. Thanks so much Joanne for welcoming me to your blog.


Cara, I'm glad you guested today and shared with us about Spring and gave us a glimpse into Ancient Greece and your neck of the woods in London! :)

Hope you all can stay for a bit to chat with Cara and you can connect with her online here:

Cara’s Website


 
 
Author, Stephen L. Brayton is a guest at The Mustard Seed today sharing his thoughts on the seasons. 

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Spring Into Life

I know many people whose favorite season is fall. They enjoy the cooler temperatures and the leaves changing color. Now, I will admit some of the trees in my town are very interesting to gaze at, with the leaves a bright yellow or deep orange or red. Although I enjoy the turning leaves, it only means something is dying. Somehow, death bringing beauty seems a bit morbid. Also, cooling temperatures in the fall mean winter’s cold ice and snow are looming ahead. Every year I vow to leave the frigid land of Iowa and travel anywhere south.

Summer I enjoy even when the temperatures reach the triple digit mark and for me, summer doesn’t last nearly as long as it should. August arrives, the kids are back at school, people are bellowing for football and I’m crying, “Wait! Hold onto this a little longer, shall we?”

Spring, though. Ah, lovely spring. My favorite season for many reasons beyond leaving behind the cold temperatures.

What’s the line from the Tennyson poem? “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Or some such malarkey that doesn’t pertain to me because I don’t have a girlfriend. Okay, that’s another story for another time, so let’s move on.

I enjoy the time before the first crops come up and start restricting the view.

I enjoy the time before the pesky insects emerge from hibernation or wherever they’ve been during winter.

The cool mornings promising warm afternoons.

The ever lengthening time when the sun is still above the horizon.

Pretty women wearing clothing that shows off their beauty.

The first firing up of the grill and the initial sizzle of meat.

Various breeds of dogs happily exploring the newness of the land while out for a walk with their owners.

When the brown grass turns green and I wonder how long my landlord will wait this year before mowing the lawn for the first time.

The too short time period when the corner lilac bush blooms dusty purple and offers its subtly intoxicating scent.

The chance to sweat outside during a workout.

The glorious light and sound show of a thunderstorm.

Sitting out on the balcony with a book while counting how many people run the stop sign at the intersection and wondering how many accidents will occur this year.

Bike riding.

Fishing.

Golf.

Hoping the Cubs don’t blow it again this year.

Hoping the Cardinals do.

Nights off spent at the river with a campfire and an audio book or just enjoying the sounds of the river and the crackling wood.

Exploring the countryside without the risk of the car sliding off into the ditch because of black ice.

This year I think I might volunteer to drive senior citizens around the bike and walking path in a tram.

Listening to children laugh and play in the park.

Another reason I enjoy spring so much is there are so many places to write. All winter long I’m cooped up at work, messing with the thermostat to reach the most comfortable temperature for me. I spend hours in quiet solitude (because I work the graveyard shift) and so I have plenty of time to read and write. When the warmer weather allows me more hours outdoors, I can drive to the park or down to the riverside, take a beverage and either my laptop or a notepad and pen, sit at a picnic table, and ‘spring’ into the writing zone. Fresh air means fresh ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for putting down those ideas on paper…to later edit and fret about and read to a critique group and edit some more…you get the idea.

Spring means winter’s chill is over and looking forward to a few months of warm sunshine.

Now if I can just do something about bringing that Tennyson poem to fruition…


Stephen, thank you for guesting today and sharing your thoughts on Spring, also my favorite season. 

Hope you all can stay for a bit to chat with Stephen. You can connect with Stephen online here:

Stephen's Website
Stephen's Blog
Stephen's Bookbuzz Blog


 
 
Lisa Orchard is guesting at The Mustard Seed blog today and she's doing a book giveaway. Hope you can hang around to chat with Lisa.

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My favorite Spring Flower

I would have to say the Tulip is my favorite Spring flower. It comes in a variety of vibrant colors and it’s a very hardy plant. It’s so nice to see the bright colors after a long hard winter. When I see them, it’s a sure sign that the winter season is over. These beautiful flowers thrive in climates that have long cool springs and dry summers. That’s why they’re perfect for the state of Michigan.

According to Wikipedia, the Tulip first flowered in the Netherlands about 1594. They spread rapidly throughout Europe and became so popular, that the period between the years 1634 and 1637 has been coined “Tulip Mania.” During this time tulips were so expensive that they were considered a form of currency.

It’s believed that the first Tulip bloomed in the United States on the Fey Estate in Massachusetts between the years 1847 and 1865.  As you can see tulips have been thriving for a long time. That makes me happy!


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So, Lisa, can you tell us the top five random facts about yourself?

1. I have two beautiful boys, Kyle and Ethan and they are my inspiration for everything I do.

2. I had both my boys in my forties, and I’m glad. I feel that I’m a better mother now than I would’ve been in my twenties and thirties. I did a lot of growing in those years. However, they have a lot more energy than I do, so that is a challenge at times. 

3. I run to stay in shape. I also walk when I don’t feel like running, any type of movement is good.

4. I want to use my blog as a way to help young teens deal with the issues that they face today.

5. I’m hoping that my writing will reach out and touch young people in a good way.

Thank you for sharing those facts. Why do I like being an author?

I love being an author, because the idea of creating a whole new world is very appealing to me. It allows me to teach life lessons that the young teen can learn right along with my characters.

I agree with loving the feeling of creating a "whole new world." What is your favorite novel?

My favorite novel is “To Kill a Mocking Bird.”  I loved that story when I was young and I still do today. I identified with Scout when I was younger and feel that I had that same pluckiness that Scout did. I really like pluckiness in my characters. 


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Can you tell us about your new book, The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer?

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer. 

Love it! Sounds like a great story. Where can readers find your book online?

Purchase Link for The Super Spies and the Cat lady Killer


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What would you like to tell your readers about yourself?

I enjoyed writing my book because it took me back to my own teen years and brought back many happy memories.  

In my younger years I too, wanted to be a detective just like the lead character Sarah. In fact, my friends and I formed our own detective squad! I must say thinking back on those days bring back some of my best memories. While reminiscing , I came up with the idea of the Super Spies series and the first book, "The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer" was born.

I've just finished writing the second book in this series and I'm now going through the editing process. I'm really excited about the second one and it stars the same quirky teens. Keep me on your radar because there's more to come! 

You can connect with Lisa online here:

Lisa's Website
Lisa's Blog   


Lisa, thanks so much for guesting today and chatting with me. I enjoyed learning more about you and your new book. 

If you'd like to enter for a chance to win a PDF copy of Lisa's new book, please join the chat and comment on this blog post. Thanks again everyone for stopping by today! 


 
 
Naomi Musch is here at The Mustard Seed today. So glad you all could stop by to visit with her. Hope everyone had a great weekend and let's grab our cup of coffee or tea and meet Naomi as she's going to share her Easter story...

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My Easter Romance

Easter is my favorite holiday and always has been. Even as a child, Easter settled in my heart even more strongly than Christmas as a favorite day. A season of anticipation and delight is heralded with pussywillow buds and promise, resurrection rolls and joyous hymns of faith. Reminders all around pronounce that God kept his promise to send a Savior who truly did rise from the dead.

So, in such a season of Spiritual and earthly renewal, you may ask yourself what romance has to do with it. Here's the story.

In 1980, when I was a senior in high school, I was under a great deal of conviction. God was using that time in my life to stretch my faith and remind me I wasn't my own, I was bought with a price. A few weeks before Easter, I'd gotten into a heated debate with my best friend as we stood in the high school journalism room about faith and the existence of God. Though I was unable to persuade her to my views, the Holy Spirit was able to persuade mine. He very clearly reminded me I'd been living for myself, and needed to live for my Lord if my faith was to be evident to others. When my friend left the room, I walked up to a calendar hanging on the wall and sketched a cross on the square of April 6th, Easter. Christ had risen in my wayward heart.

That was the best Easter ever. My boyfriend at the time was under his own conviction. He was just beginning to lay hold of faith and understand something of a relationship with God. A rebel in his own right, he'd recently told me, "I want to be happy all my life, and if I can know God, then I will be happy." It was simplistic, and the road ahead would come with many bumps and sorrows, but he had truly realized the path to true joy, even when temporal happiness wouldn't always be part of the equation. We'd started attending my church together, and listening to tapes about faith.

But, I digress....

He was nineteen, I was eighteen. We both lived at home with our families, and both of us had parents who still hid Easter baskets for us. His was always an easy find -- like behind the living room chair or someplace like that. My parents, on the other hand, really liked to make me work to find the goods. We lived on two woody acres surrounded by many more acres of woods. One year my basket was way up in a random treetop, the chocolate melted into a lump by the time I found it. It could take me hours to hunt it down.

My senior year, my boyfriend and I decided to hunt baskets as a team. He'd come to my house to help me find my basket and eat dinner, then I'd go to his house and help him pluck his up from some obvious place, where we'd eat dinner again.

Right after church, we headed to my house. We arrived well ahead of my family and began the hunt. Divide and conquer -- that was the plan. We searched for quite a while. Finally, after a reconnoiter he headed off to the garage while I looked elsewhere. Five minutes later I heard the victory call. My basket was discovered in the rafters of the garage among winter sleds and other storage.

He brought it to the kitchen and handed it to me.

The first thing I noticed amidst the colored grass and goodies was a tiny box. My mom always put some kind of small gift in my Easter basket, and I rummaged for it. A few weeks earlier she'd asked if there was anything I wanted, and I told her I didn't own any rings. A pretty ring would be awesome. And there it was! I couldn't wait to see it. I flipped open the box and gaped.

What a beautiful ring! It had a thin, gold band, with black antiquing surrounding a stone that looked like a diamond.

I gasped and held it out to my boyfriend. "Look at the pretty ring my mom got me!"

His jaw dropped. I mean, it really hung there. He didn't say a word. He stared at me, perplexity and disappointment filling his hazel eyes.

My heartbeat skidded to a halt, then kicked. My words came haltingly."Mom didn't get me this, did she?"

He shook his head.

We stared at each other a moment longer as total understanding dawned on me. That stone didn't look like a diamond. It was a diamond! He'd found my basket ahead of me and slipped an engagement ring inside! I felt like an idiot. Finally I threw my arms around him. I'm not sure which of us was more stunned. Me, at becoming engaged, or him at my bizarre misunderstanding.

But, we figured things out. Eight months later, on New Year's Eve, we were married, and the romance (and sometimes confusion) has continued for over thirty-one years. Together, during all those years, we've continued our faith-walk together. We've wrestled with conviction, reveled in the joy of the Lord, struggled at times, and grown. Easter dwells in our hearts.

In 1980, God gave me two romances to last a lifetime. The first with his Son, who has loved me beyond measure, and the second with Jeff Musch, who loves me beyond my understanding. 


What a wonderful memory for the beginning of your lives together. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us again of the real reason for Easter...God's ultimate grace in the gift of His Son's life ransomed for ours! 


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I love the cover for your book, The Red Fury. Can you tell us about this book?

Spurned twice since the death of her betrothed in a logging accident, Lainey Kade has become the object of talk. "That Lainey, she's a shrew all right. Not ever going to marry, likely." Fleeing heartache and flaunting convention, Lainey seeks solace instead in seeking adventure and breaking the rules.

On a journey where she hopes to put the past behind, Lainey crosses paths with Zane and Kelly Beaumont and pretends to be married. But she soon forges an adventurous companionship with these brothers whose nightmares since the Civil War have never let them return home. Following the lead of the next thrill, the ties of their friendship tighten, and Lainey denies love's rekindled spark. However, as fires rage across the Wisconsin wilderness, it may tear them each apart, and Lainey may be consumed by the fury burning inside her.


Sounds like a very intriguing story! Where can we find your book online?

Find The Red Fury on Amazon
Find The Red Fury at B & N
Find The Red Fury at CBD
Find The Red Fury at Desert Breeze (or for other formats)



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The Red Fury is book two in Naomi's historical romance series Empire in Pine from Desert Breeze Publishing (book one: The Green Veil; book three: The Black Rose - coming July 2012). Her aim through both historical and contemporary fiction, as well as in writing articles of faith and encouragement, is to surprise and entertain readers while telling stories about imperfect people finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles. She invites you to investigate her website, visit her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

Naomi's Website      Naomi's Blog
Connect with Naomi on Facebook
Connect with Naomi on Twitter  


Naomi, thanks so much for guesting today. I enjoyed hearing your Easter romance story and learning more about you and your books. 

I hope you all can stay and chat for a bit with Naomi. Hope everyone has a great day!

 
 
Author, Joselyn Vaughn is guesting today at The Mustard Seed, answering the question whether or not Spring is her favorite season. She's also doing a book giveaway. 

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When I first saw this question, I thought it wasn’t for me. I love the changing seasons of the Midwest and Michigan in particular, but I wouldn’t list Spring as my favorite season. It would probably rank somewhere in the middle to bottom, depending on the year and what that summer looks like. If the summer is too hot or too cold, spring might move up a notch.

Spring has never been my favorite season because everything looks dirty and dingy as the snow melts. The trees are bare. The ground is brown. And our back yard is full of presents left by our dogs over the winter.

But I’m discovering more reasons to like spring. I’ve always been interested in storms and have recently discovered a blog about the local weather where I can learn more about the conditions that produce them. Spring is the time when storms are more prevalent and so it gives me something to look forward to.

It is also the time when tulips bloom. My husband and I have a love/hate relationship with the traditional Dutch blooms. The Dutch tradition is one of the reasons I like them. My husband, while he won’t admit it, sabotages them almost every year. Wherever I plant them, he will stack a pile of brush. One year I didn’t get them planted until February and they actually came up. One week before they were to bloom, my husband decided to put in underground sprinkling. You can guess exactly where the underground pipes needed to go. This year there are no such plans and I’ve finally convinced him to allow the stems to die down rather than whack them off as soon as the petals droop; I may actually get some tulips.

The final reason I am starting to like Spring is that my kids can go outside to play. Sure, they can go out in the winter, but that requires boots and snowpants and hats and coats and mittens and frequent reminders that you can’t put everything else on, if you put your mittens on first. As it gets warmer, we only have to argue which coat and shoes are appropriate. Sweatshirt and tennis – yes. Church shoes and brand new coat for puddle jumping – no. (Answers to this question vary depending on which parent you ask. :-/) And as the kids get older, they will be able to take care of the presents left by the dogs.

The prospects of Spring are looking brighter and brighter.


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So let's chat. What are the top five random facts about yourself?

1. My favorite food is chocolate ice cream.
2. I’m lactose intolerant. Sigh. 

3. I love to watch the weather and would someday like to take a weather spotter class.
4. I am currently addicted to the show House.
5. I wish there was a way to attach my Kindle to my arm.

Chocolate ice cream is one of my favs too and I agree about # 5! Why do you like being an author? 


My favorite thing about being an author is creating characters and a world that jumps off the page and exists. The people live, and breathe, and act all on their own. They share their joys and heartaches with me. It’s like having my own secret group of friends.

I agree with your sentiments exactly. Who’s your favorite author of classic literature? 


Jane Austen.

I'm a big Austen fan, too.


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Can you share with us about your book, Hauntings of the Heart? 

When lost love shows up on your doorstep, what do you do?  Minnie Schultz slams the door in his face. She and Gordon Anderson have a history—close to ancient history, given the fifty years since their last encounter. After all that time, it might seem like water under the bridge. But the water pours from the plumbing in Minnie’s bed and breakfast, the Lilac Bower, uncovering all the secrets and heartache between them. With the help of some paranormal investigators, an Elvis impersonator and a couple of nosey friends, can Minnie and Gordon find the future they were meant to have?

Sounds like a very intriguing story. Definitely going on my TBR list! Where can readers find your book online?

Purchase Link for Hauntings of the Heart at Astraea Press
Purchase Link for Hauntings of the Heart on Amazon
Purchase Link for Hauntings of the Heart on B & N


Joselyn, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I live in the Great Lakes state with my husband, three rambunctious children and two barking Beagles (I suppose that is redundant.) When not suffering the woes of potty training three toddler/preschoolers, I enjoy reading, running (sometimes it's fleeing the craziness at home), reconstructing clothing, thrift store shopping and surfing Pinterest.com. (I spend way too much time there and am getting all kinds of exciting ideas for projects for my husband to do. He is less than thrilled by this.) 

I love writing romance because I enjoy stories where everything works out all right in the end and the main characters have a happily ever after. My stories are set in small towns with quirky characters that take on a life of their own. 

Readers, you can connect with Joselyn online here:

Joselyn's Website
Joselyn's Blog
Find Joselyn on Facebook  
Find Joselyn on Twitter

Joselyn, thanks so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about your book. 

If you'd like to enter for a chance an ecopy of Hauntings of the Heart, please join the chat and comment on this blog post. Also, don't forget to check out Joselyn's book trailer below. Thanks, everyone for stopping by!


 
 
Hope everyone had a blessed Easter and welcome back to The Mustard Seed. Denise Patrick is here to discuss Easter and whether or not she thinks it is too commercialized. 

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Yes, of course. In a society where people are judged by money, how could Easter, or any other holiday, not be too commercialized? In a society where you are constantly told you are not a "good" mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent, etc. unless you buy your family gifts at the drop of the hat, it takes vigilance not to get sucked in by the message of "buy, buy, buy". It is, unfortunately, drummed into us from the time we are old enough to look around us that if we don't have the latest of everything we are missing out. Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy the things that will make us happy. There are a lot of things wrong with this mindset, but I don't want to turn this blog post into a tirade about the ills of society.

When I was a child we got new clothes for Easter, a basket (in my case, usually a bucket with a shovel that was later used all summer at the beach) with hard-boiled eggs that we dyed ourselves, some candy, and maybe something small--a jump rope, jacks, squirt gun, etc. That was it. Easter was not a "gift giving" holiday. It was a religious holiday. We went to church, which was more crowded than usual, had a more elaborate service than usual, and went home to a larger Sunday dinner than usual--often with more relatives than usual.

Even that Easter was commercialized in its own way. After all, there were new dresses, shoes, hats, coats, and gloves to buy; extra eggs and candy, as well as the ham or leg of lamb roast with all the trimmings; more than usual because of all the family that was expected. If it was a warm, Spring day, the children would all be outside either at the park or playing in the yard--all the happier because we'd been off school for the past week.

As I grew older and deepened my faith, Easter took on a more spiritual celebration for me. The days leading up to it took on a special role, but I still went shopping for that special dress. When I had my own kids, my childhood Easters came back to me. Although I didn't give specific gifts for Easter, I developed my own rules for what we would do.

Many years ago, when my daughter was still a baby, I found a darling little woven basket that I thought would make the perfect Easter basket. I bought two. I was glad of that foresight when I had my son two years later. Each year, I decorated those two baskets and put eggs, candy, and small gifts in them. My one rule - no "gifts" that didn't fit inside the basket. My children grew up knowing that our family's version of Easter meant they would not be getting many new toys and gifts. Easter was not just a special day at church; it was the most important day in the church year. And that could not be bought in a store.


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Can you tell us about your book, The Scarred Heart? I love the cover. 

Sometimes, the greatest casualty of war is trust.

Lionel Cantrell has all but given up hope of finding his missing wife and child. He left them in the care of his parents and older brother while he went abroad to fight the French, only to return to a marriage in shambles, a daughter who cannot possibly be his, and his wife and son fled to parts unknown. Until now. At a former comrade’s house party, Lion comes face to face with the object of his five-year search.

Emma, whose cold reception is keenly edged with barely concealed panic. When Emma’s perfect marriage to her childhood sweetheart crumbled into an unendurable year of humiliation and torment, she had no choice but to take their son—and her sanity—to build a new life under an assumed name. Her

chance meeting with Lion threatens to expose long-buried emotional scars. And physical ones, the origins of which he must never know.

Emma’s stubborn refusal to explain why she won’t return home only fuels Lion’s relentless curiosity. So does their undeniable passion. Time is on his side, and his well of patience is deep. But Emma’s trauma runs far deeper …perhaps too deep for love to reach.


Sounds like a great book! Where can readers find your book online?

Purchase Link for The Scarred Heart

Where can readers connect with you online?

Denise's Website
Denise's Blog

Denise, thank you so much for guesting today and sharing about Easter and your book. 

Hope you all can stick around for a bit to chat with Denise. 


 
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    DISCLAIMER: Book Reviews

    In accordance with FTC Guidelines for blogging & endorsements, I want to post this disclaimer. From time to time, I do purchase and review some novels. However, most of the novels I review are given to me as a complimentary review copy by the author or publisher. I do not receive  monetary compensation for the reviews I complete.

    It only takes a mustard seed to make a dream grow