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Archive for the category “Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour”

These Authors a Unique Approach to a Story and They Love Christmas

Xmas, Nativity Scene, 7

Twenty-two talented authors are participating in the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, sponsored by the Grace Awards. These writers have a great love for Christmas and would like to share with the public their thoughts about what inspires them and their Christmas memories.

Xmas, Bow Border

KARIN KAUFMAN (SPARROW HOUSE, a cozy mystery about ancestry and family trees)

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?

Karin:  My favorite Christmas carol is “O Holy Night.” Like most carols, it has a beautiful melody, but unlike a lot of carols, its lyrics are also beautiful. And bold. Is there another Christmas carol that unabashedly mentions sin? Even the original French version does.

And then there are those two stirring lines, where melody and words meet perfectly—“Fall on your knees” and “Christ is the Lord.” No matter how many times I hear this carol, those two lines still touch something deep inside me.

I think the best versions are by Martina McBride and Celine Dion.

Grace Awards:  Are your Christmas decorations traditional, or do they have a more modern flare? Do you have a particular theme to your decorating? Or does each and every ornament and decoration have a personal meaning to you?

I tend toward the traditional when I decorate, but only slightly. I also like a more modern look. I like it all. Honestly, I’m a Christmas decoration fanatic. I like simple wreaths tied with juniper and holly berries, but I also like wreaths made of bright, shiny, multicolored ball ornaments. I love trees decorated with simple wooden ornaments, or my bird ornaments, but I also love trees like the one I saw on TV the other day—heavily flocked and decorated with turquoise-colored ornaments.

Sometimes I go with a theme when I decorate, like birds and pinecones, but more often I go with a color or colors. This year it’s copper, browns, and greens in the living room and red in the kitchen. Of course, great thought went into this simple color theme—starting last June. And I already have ideas for next Christmas. I’m hopeless!Xmas, Colorful Tree

Karin Kaufman

Karin writes cozy mysteries with a bit of an edge. The first two books in her Anna Denning series, The Witch Tree and Sparrow House, are now out, and a third book is planned for this fall. Karin lives near the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with Sophie and Cooper, her crazy but lovable shelter dogs.
http://www.karinkaufman.com

Link to Karin’s show case on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Check out a novel with twists and turns galore. http://tiny.cc/hpkppw

Xmas, Berries

KATIE GANSHERT (WILDFLOWERS FROM WINTER, romance, secrets, a few laughs)

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?

Katie:  Oh man, that’s tough. It’s probably a tie between Little Drummer Boy and O Holy Night. Both of those really tug at my heart strings and lead me to worship. I feel so much kinship with that little drummer boy, when he has nothing fit to give the King. So he plays his drum for Him. He plays his best for Him. It inspires me to do the same. And then the lyrics of O Holy Night. They capture the magic and the anticipation of this amazing holiday. Long lay the world, in sin and error pining….a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices….And then when our voices rise together as we sing Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angel voices…It gets me every single time.

Grace Awards:  Are you a Christmas fanatic, a real crazy? Or is your approach to the holidays more down to earth and relaxed?

Katie:  I’m usually pretty laid back, but this year, I’m trying to be more of a fanatic. Our son is four years old and I feel like this is the first Christmas he might remember. I don’t want him to buy into this idea that Christmas is about toys and presents and getting. I want us to marvel at the manger. I want us to delight in the angels, and that star in the sky, and this amazing gift from God. I want him to celebrate the birth of Jesus—the light of the world who came in the dead of night. So this year, thanks to this book called The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Welchel, we’ve been doing something special each day of Advent to build the sense of anticipation.

Xmas, StarKatie Ganshert

Katie was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes  stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy  plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband,  playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of  adopting from the Congo. Her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, released this past May and her second novel, Wishing on Willows, will follow this March. http://katieganshert.co

Link to Katie’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Find romance and faith at the same time. http://tiny.cc/zplppw

Winter, Snow Covered Railing

MIKAYLA KAYNE (THE ANGEL CREST DECEPTION, an unusual twist to the end times)

Grace Awards:  Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory?

Mikayla:  A few years ago we created our own Norman Rockwell Christmas experience and coordinated four family’s schedules from three states to surprise my in-laws. I’m a stickler about Christmas morning being pajama time in our own house, so we had a massive family sleepover on Christmas Eve, enjoyed gifts and brunch at home, then caravanned almost two hours to Grandmother’s house. By the time they knew anyone was there, we had sixteen people wearing elf hats and reindeer antlers lined up singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” outside my in-law’s family room window. My mother-in-law had been recovering from a major surgery and couldn’t travel, so seeing all of her kids and grandkids, even the ones from half-way across the country, standing there in the snow singing just floored her. It was a precious afternoon. We topped our road trip day off by visiting extended family, more quality cousin time, and the kind of snowball fight that teen girls will only have if they are from Atlanta.

Grace Awards:  What does Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (KJV) mean to you?

Mikayla:  We live in a time when peace is on everyone’s mind, rather, the lack of it. At Christmas, we call to mind Scriptures that refer to Jesus as the Prince of Peace, and this expectation that when He came it was to bring peace to the entire earth. The story of His birth is filled with that hope, but fast forward a bit, and Jesus Himself tells us that He didn’t yet come to bring peace, but a sword [Matthew 10:24]. Jesus does offer us peace, individually, but the idea of peace on the entire earth is still a future hope. Until the Millennial Reign of Christ, we won’t see peace on earth. When Jesus came as a baby, He had one purpose – to become the savior of the world through his death and resurrection, paying the price for the sins of all who choose to follow Him. That selfless act of love has caused more conflict than any one event since, because so many are willful and stubborn, offended by His sacrifice, unable to face their grave need for salvation. Peace happens one heart at a time, as we surrender ourselves to Jesus and accept His ultimate gift.Xmas, Cross

Mikayla Kayne

Mikayla moved this year from the Chicago area to Rochester, NY with her husband and co-writer, Gregory, and their three sons. Yes, she is aware that it’s just as cold and snowy there. Some people are crazy like that.http://www.facebook.com/mikaylakayne

Link to Milayla’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Go on an extraordinary journey to the end times. http://miksreliablelibrary.wordpress.com/

Xmas, Bow Border

This concludes the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour and it sure has been merry, joyous, and fun.

Oh, by the way, in case you were wondering…voting for the 2012 Grace Awards will begin on December 31st. There will be instruction on the Grace Awards blog on how to vote for you favorite books of this past year.

Xmas, Santa

Have A Very Merry, Blessed Christmas Filled with Good Reading and Good Cheer!!!

And A Healthy, Happy, Prosperous New Year!!! Shalom!!!

Xmas, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Authors Writing Historicals, Contemporary Novels and Fantasy Speak of Their Love of Christmas

Xmas, Nativity Scene 8Twenty-two talented authors are participating in the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, sponsored by the Grace Awards. These writers have a great love for Christmas and would like to share with the public their thoughts about what inspires them and their Christmas memories.Xmas, Bow BorderSHARON LEAF (LADY AND THE SEA, Russian Jews voyage to Israel, taken from real life)

Grace Awards:  Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory.

Sharon:  Raised in Southern California, we picked our Christmas trees from local tree lots; that’s when Mom would remind us of her Christmases in South Carolina.  “Mommy would bundle us up, then Daddy would take my sister, Jackie Jo, and me out in the woods to chop down a special Christmas tree.”  What fun that must have been, traipsing through the snow, I thought.  So when I was eleven and Mom and Dad announced that we were going to drive to South Carolina for Christmas, I was beside myself. Several nights after our arrival, I spotted Aunt Jackie Jo and my Dad gathering their coats.   “Where are you going?” I asked. “It’s time to get a Christmas tree,” Aunt Jackie Jo replied. “I’m coming too!” I yelled as I ran for my jacket, gloves, hat, and boots.  But once in the car, I wondered why we were the only three going on this magical Christmas event. When Dad pulled up in front of the Piggly Wiggly Market and Aunt Jackie Jo scurried inside, I figured she had to buy some rope and a saw, but when she walked out, a store clerk carrying a Christmas tree followed close behind.  As he tied the tree to the top of Dad’s 1954 Chrysler, I asked,  “Aren’t we going to the forest for your tree?” My father joined my aunt in bellows of laughter.  “Darlin’, that was many years ago.  We do it the modern way now. I still smile when I recall my memory of going with Aunt Jackie Jo to chop down the family Christmas tree California style.

Grace Awards: What does keeping the true meaning of Christmas alive mean to you?

Sharon:  When I was a child I loved helping Mom decorate our small table tree (all we could afford), then placing the ho-ho-ho Santa Klaus decorations throughout our humble home.  At sixty-six, I’m still a child at Christmas.  I enjoy decking my halls with boughs of holly more than opening presents.  Sounds silly, but I can’t help myself.  My Christmas themes often change.  The past six years I’ve been collecting ice skates for my ice skate tree and for each room my home.  Why, you ask?  Ice skates remind me of years gone by when my Daddy bought me my first pair of ice skates and took me ice-skating on Saturdays.  Ahh, I can still smell the frozen aroma of that local ice rink.  Yes, themes come and go, but for forty-plus years, I have placed the same lovely nativity in our living rooms, reminding those who gaze upon the peaceful scene that Jesus is the reason for the season.  And that, my friends, is a theme that keeps the true meaning of Christmas alive in our home.Winter, pine trees

Sharon Leaf

Since turning forty, Sharon has traveled to over fifteen countries, including living in Sweden while attending Bible college, traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and volunteering on a World War II ship in 1994, whose sole purpose was to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel.  Lady and the Sea is Sharon’s debut novel.  She lives in South Carolina with her husband. www.sharonleaf.com

Link to Sharon’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Check out this thrilling read. http://tiny.cc/0i4wowXmas, door sprayWILLIAM D. BURT (THE KING OF THE TREES, TORSILS IN TIME, THE GOLDEN WOOD, an allegorical Christian alternative to secular fantasy books )

Grace Awards:  Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory.

William:  I most fondly recall our family Christmas tree and singing Christmas carols. My mother taught piano, and she would accompany us as we sang our favorite carols. Only recently did I learn that my parents could not afford to buy a Christmas tree every year. Some years, my father would wait until the junior high school where he taught math closed for the holiday. Then he would retrieve one of the school Christmas trees from the dumpster and haul it home for free, decorations and all. Christmas lights back then were not the petite energy-misers that we use nowadays. Instead, we had bold, hot-burning, thumb-sized bulbs that scorched our fingers when we touched them. Our bulbs were painted a sky blue—the only color we used on the tree. They lent a mystical quality to the evergreen (usually a Douglas fir). I loved to turn off the overhead lights and sit in the darkened living room gazing at the tree’s splendor and listening to vinyl records of German Christmas carols. To this day, those carols take me back to the simple joys of a childhood Christmas.
Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?
William:  Probably my favorite Christmas carol (in English, at least) is “Good King Wenceslas.” I love the simple message in this carol as it dramatically recounts King Wenceslas’s selfless act of charity in personally delivering a Christmas feast to a poor man during winter’s bitter weather. This carol has defied the modern tendency to water carols down or syncopate them, which is probably why most musical artists avoid it. Symbolically speaking, King Wenceslas represents Christ, Who humbly left His heavenly kingdom in order to bring a “feast” of salvation and comfort to the poor lost souls of planet earth. Xmas, tree blue lights

William D BurtHaving spent most of his teenage years adventuring in Middle Earth, Burt is an avid fantasy fan. His first allegorical fantasy title, The King of the Trees, came out in 1998 (WinePress). He has expanded the series to include a total of seven titles to date, with more to follow. While still in high school, he began his writing career editing his father’s popular identification guides, Edible and Poisonous Plants of the Western/Eastern States. As an Assistant Professor in the Special Education Department at Western Oregon University, he served as a successful grant-writer and program coordinator. Burt holds a B.S. in English from Lewis and Clark College and an M.S. from Western Oregon University in Deaf Education. In addition to writing books, he works as an RID-certified American Sign Language interpreter with over thirty years’ experience. His interests include reading, foreign languages and mycology. He is married with two grown children. http://www.greencloaks.com/

Link to Burt’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Take a look-see and find out what a Torsil is. http://kotbooks.blogspot.com/

Xmas, Nutcracker 2

TAMMY DOHERTY (CELTIC KNOT, CLADDAUGH, CELTIC CROSS, historical western suspense with a Celtic flare)

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?

Tammy:  I have to answer this one, but true to me, the answer isn’t exactly what you’re expecting. Christmas carols hold a special place in my memories. As a teen, I was a horse-loving girl. My parents had to drag me from the barn some nights. So when hunting season came around each fall, you can bet a little thing like maybe getting shot wasn’t going stop me from going riding. My best friend and I loved going on long trail rides, mostly along roads not wooded trails. Still, they were back roads. So to let hunters know we weren’t deer, we sang Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. It’s a wonder no one shot us just to shut us up! We sang the ones we knew all words to:  “Hark The Herald”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Silent Night”, “The Little Drummer Boy”, and “The First Noel”. I also know “Jingle Bells” in French, so we’d sing that, too. As an adult, I love all the traditional carols but some of the new ones, though beautiful, make me too sad. The one that gets to me the most, now that I’m a mother, is “Mary Did You Know” – I cry every time I hear it.

Grace Awards:  Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that movie thrills you…makes you tear up?

Tammy:  Everyone loves “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” – me too. But how about the Christmas specials you waited for all year to see just that one time of year? When I was little, my favorite was The Night the Animals Talked. I can’t even remember the story now, but oh how I loved it then. Of course, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman were also favorites. My family loves A Charlie Brown Christmas so much we bought it on DVD. There were two that I loved as a kid; they both made me teary-eyed then and now. The first is Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. When Nestor’s mom sacrifices herself for him…I’m crying now just writing about it! It’s a beautiful story about Christmas told from the perspective of the little donkey that Mary rode to Bethlehem. The second is The Little Drummer Boy. As a kid, I just loved the idea of another kid doing something great for God. As an adult, I’m moved by a God who would give His son as a gift to all mankind while at the same time wanting nothing more than our love in return.Xmas, Horse

Tammy Doherty

Tammy Doherty writes Inspirational Romance. Her Western romance series is now available in print and eBook: Celtic Cross, Claddaugh, and Celtic Knot. She grew up in the family greenhouse business but decided to go into an animal related career and became a veterinary technician. Her husband is “The Perennial Guy”, so she’s back to being immersed in the plant business. Currently, she works for a veterinary distribution company, selling pharmaceuticals and supplies in the Northeast. Tammy shares a blog, Faith, Fiction and Friends, with critique partner Nike Chillemi. There you can find information about the world of writing along with personal interest articles. Yes, writers have lives too. They just need to be reminded of that sometimes! https://www.facebook.com/TammyDohertyAuthor

Link to Tammy’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Check out these rip-roarin’ romances set in 19th century Colorado. http://tiny.cc/edcxowXmas, Poinsettia

CHRISTINA FREEBURN (LOST THEN FOUND, LED ASTRAY, SAFE AND SOUND)

Grace Awards:  What does keeping the true spirit of Christmas alive mean to you?

Christina:  Hope and love. The world can seem dark and complicated much of the times, and to me the Christmas spirit is about embracing hope. It’s believing love and goodwill are out there in the world, that there is more good than bad. Evil might be more ‘well-known’–infamous–as the news and even our minds at times focus on the hard and painful times, but evil is not in control. Happiness, hope and love are out there. Those feelings do exist and are more prevalent in the world. People are more loving than we give them credit for. Christmas has people acting ‘softer’, more loving, and patience not only toward others …but also themselves. We remember more about the good and even adults make more time to just enjoy life.

Grace Awards:  Are your Christmas decorations traditional, or do they have a more modern flare? Do you have a particular theme to your decorating? Or does each and every ornament and decoration have a personal meaning to you?

Christina:  I have an eclectic style of holiday decorating, a mix of traditional and modern, of ‘don’t touch’ and ‘you can play with it’. Currently, we have five Christmas trees of varying heights. A one foot wooden tree was made by one of my daughters in VBS (Vacation Bible School) and has small mini ornaments. My office tree has some Santa and also a couple of my favorites so I can see them while I work. Our largest and ‘main tree’ is upstairs in our living room. It has a mix of ornaments made by our children, ones we pick up on vacation, religious ones, and ornaments that represent our interests. The two trees downstairs are themed. The one in our family room has nutcracker and snowmen ornaments. My newest tree is the white 4 foot tree in the craft room. I have started enjoying using my Cricuit die cut machine and made a whole collection of Finding Nemo characters from cardstock. I turned those into ornaments and put them on the white tree. Next year, I hope to add some of our favorite Nemo sayings to it. Xmas, white tree

Christina Freeburn

Christina Freeburn writes The New Beginnings, published by Desert Breeze, featuring a skip-tracing business that specializes in relocating abused and stalked women. The first three books in the inspirational romantic suspense series are out, Lost Then Found, Led Astray, and Safe and Sound. Two more are scheduled for release in 2013. Cropped to Death, the first in her cozy scrapbooking mystery published by Henery Press, was released November 20, 2012. Christina has been a judge for the Edgar award for the Best Novel category and the ACFW Carol Awards, and previously chaired MWA:Reads, the youth literacy committee of MWA. www.theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com

Link to Christina’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Find out what a firebrand skiptracer’s life if all about. http://tiny.cc/4mazowXmas, Red Candles

Xmas, Bow Border

There will be more author interviews to follow. The authors on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour want to share their Christmas hopes, dreams, memories, decorating trips, perhaps even a recipe or two. Stay turned as these terrific and very interesting authors share about what Christmas means to them.

Link to access the Calendar of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour: https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

Xmas, Merry Christmas, Very Red

They write about Christmas Angels, Learning to Trust, and Amish Vampires! Wow!

Twenty-two talented authors are participating in the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, sponsored by the Grace Awards. These writers have a great love for Christmas and would like to share with the public their thoughts about what inspires them and their Christmas memories.

Xmas, Bow Border

SUZANNE WILLIAMS (CHRISTMAS ANGEL, MISSING, FOUND, Christmas hope, soldiers missing in action)

Grace Awards:  What foods do you prepared for the holidays?

Suzanne:  Our family Christmas is untraditional. We don’t have a big sit-down meal, but instead fix an array of hors d’oeuvres. It’s a chance to try out recipes you’ve held onto all year and display your culinary skills. I always tend to lean toward making desserts (which all my friends and family will know about me). But the favorite of everyone are always the Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts my aunt makes. We fight over these and consume every one. There’s something about bacon soaked in BBQ sauce that appeals to the senses and the crunch of the water chestnuts is added bliss.

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song

Suzanne:  I have always loved Silent Night. I sometimes sing it during other times of the year when I need to find peace. I prefer Josh Groban’s version of the song. I also love The Prayer as sung by Celine Dion and Andreas Bocelli. I have an eclectic taste in music, from pop to rock to classical. But there is something at Christmas-time about hearing the angelic voices of Groban and Bocelli that really makes me happy.

Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.  http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/

Link to Suzanne’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. http://tiny.cc/1uckow

AMANDA STEPHAN (THE PRICE OF TRUST, LONELY HEARTS, beaten, betrayed, and on the run, love the second time around)

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?

Amanda:  Ooh, hands down, I’d have to say my favorite Christmas song is Mary Did You Know? I love how Mark Lowry sings it, but to tell you the truth, I think I’d probably love the song no matter who sang it ~ as long as it wasn’t rap. I’m not sure I could handle a rap version. Huh. Perhaps I’ll have my kids give it a try…that could be interesting! The meaning and how Mary could have been feeling or thinking ~ that just sends chills up my spine.

Grace Awards:  Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that movie thrills you…makes you tear up?

Amanda:  My absolute, hands-down, without-a-doubt favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I realize it’s an oldie, but it resonates deep within me. No matter how bleak life looks or seems to be at a certain time, it’s still worth the living.

Mary and Jesus

Amanda StephanAmanda is your normal, everyday country girl. Residing in Middle, TN with her husband and children who closely resemble several of the seven dwarfs, (Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy/Happy), three cats, one dog, and multiple roosters that love to roost under their bedroom windows. She loves to laugh and have a good time, and loves to read a good book. She finds writing to be an opportunity to share God’s love for others in a fun and entertaining way. Her first novel, The Price of Trust, was published in May of 2010, her second novel, Lonely Hearts was released at the end of October, 2011, and she is currently working on a short Christian paranormal novella as well as a three book Christian romantic suspense series. http://www.booksbyamanda.com

Link to Amanda’s showcase on the Grace Filled Blog Tour. Check out her touching romantic novels. http://www.booksbyamanda.com/blog.html

Xmas, Angel Ornament, Purple

BARBARA E. BRINK (CHOSEN, SHUNNED, RECKONING, the Amish Bloodsucker Trilogy, YA that’s lots of fun)

Grace Awards:  Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that movie thrills you…makes you tear up?

Barbara:  I love Christmas movies but my favorites tend to be comedies. One that makes me tear up with hysterical laughter would have to be Elf. Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human raised by elves who leaves the North Pole to find his real father. Buddy is a naïve and innocent child-like man. He thinks the food pyramid consists of candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. He also likes to talk a lot, which really annoys his dad, a book publisher played by grumpy James Caan. One of the funniest scenes is when Buddy sees a children’s author talking to his dad in a board meeting. The author just happens to be a midget, so of course Buddy assumes he’s an elf. To make a funny story short…he’s a very angry elf.

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?

Barbara:  I love Christmas carols but I’m always looking for something different to add to my holiday collection. I’m a country music fan and Brad Paisley and Sara Evans are two of my favorite artists, so when I heard them sing this song from the movie, Passion of the Christ, it became one of my favorites. I can hardly listen to it without tearing up. It’s one of the songs on Sara Evan’s “I’ll be home for Christmas” album, called New Again. It’s not really a carol but sort of a dialogue between Jesus and his mother, Mary. She’s broken hearted seeing her son, the tiny baby she gave birth to in that manger, now hanging on the cross. “God, how can this be your will, to have your son and my son killed?” And Jesus says “Mother… Whatever happens, whatever you see, whatever your eyes tell you has become of me. This is not the end. I am making all things new again.” It’s what Christmas is really all about.

Barbara is a multi-published author of mystery, suspense, and now a young adult series. She resides in the great state of Minnesota with her husband and their two lovable mutts. Her children, now grown, seldom return to the nest except for holiday meals or birthday celebrations, but they live close enough that they still get blamed if something turns up broken or is missing from the garage. Barbara enjoys white water rafting, cliff diving, and underwater exploration. Not really. Actually, she can’t swim, but as a fiction author she’s gotten rather accustomed to making stuff up. But she really does like black licorice. http://barbaraellenbrink.com/

Link to Barbara’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. http://barbaraellenbrink.com/?page_id=12

There will be more author interviews to follow. The authors on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour want to share their Christmas hopes, dreams, memories, decorating trips, perhaps even a recipe or two. Stay turned as these terrific and very interesting authors share about what Christmas means to them.

Link to access the Calendar of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour: https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

Xmas, Merry Christmas Santa w

Romance, Suspense, Women’s Fic, These Authors Can Write It All ~ Here They Share Christmas Thoughts

 Twenty-two talented authors are participating in the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, sponsored by the Grace Awards. These writers have a great love for Christmas and would like to share with the public their thoughts about what inspires them and their Christmas memories.

Xmas, Bow Border

 

MEG MOSELEY (WHEN SPARROWS FALL, romance, women’s fiction, new beginnings)

Grace Awards: What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?

Meg: Since I was a little girl, I have loved “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” It’s really an Advent hymn, not a Christmas carol.  The song probably originated as a responsive chant in the Catholic Church many centuries ago, so generations of Christians all over the world have sung it.  I think it’s especially moving when it’s sung by a good choir, a capella. The hymn reminds me that there’s another side to the joy of Christmas: From depths of Hell, Thy people save, and give them victory o’er the grave… Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight. All is not right with the world, and it won’t be set right until Jesus returns.  As Christmas comes and goes each year, we’re still in the larger Advent season, anticipating His return. “God with us” is the cry of our hearts.

Grace Awards: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that movie thrills you…makes you tear up?

Grace: When you interviewed Elaine Marie Cooper earlier, I loved her answer to this question because mine is the same. “While You Were Sleeping” is a modern classic and my all-time favorite.  It’s just a goofy romantic comedy, but it’s all about grace, forgiveness, and love—not just romantic love, but also the love of a family that embraces a lonely stranger. But of course they would, when they mistakenly believe she’s engaged to one of their sons!  Lucy (Sandra Bullock) fails to correct the misunderstanding, and she’s finally trapped in lies with no way out. One of the scenes that tugs at my heart is on Christmas morning when Lucy wistfully watches the Gallagher family as they open their gifts.  The gift she longs for is to be truly part of the family instead of pretending to be. There are also many funny and romantic moments as she falls for cynical, adorable Jack (Bill Pullman) who’s supposedly her future brother-in-law.  Their interactions are hilarious.

 

Although Meg Moseley lives near Atlanta, she’s still a California girl at heart.  Wife, mom, grandma, and novelist, she loves cats, motorcycles, easy gardening, and all kinds of good fiction. She’s published with Multnomah Books. www.megmoseley.com

Link to Meg’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Check out her inspiring romance novel. http://is.gd/DHepUh

TRACY KRAUSS  (WIND OVER MARSHDALE, PLAY IT AGAIN, MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, humor)

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Tracy:  I was thinking about all the ‘spiritual’ answers I should give for this question, but in all honesty, our favorite tradition is playing games during the holidays. All four of my children are quite competitive (okay, they are ridiculously competitive – just like their father, of course) and can’t wait to beat one another at canasta, cribbage, or one of the many board games that come out during the holidays. Now that my two eldest are married, their spouses have had to ‘get tough or die’. There is no mercy, even for love! I must admit, my husband and children have more stamina for this than I do. I often end up taking the side of my sons-in-law and we go off to watch a movie while the other five fight it out.

Grace Awards:  What foods do you prepare for the holidays?

Tracy:  We go for the traditional turkey with stuffing and all the trimmings. I insist on turnips as well since this is what my mother always made, even though I am often the only one eating them. We like pumpkin pie for Christmas, although I’ve started cheating and I usually buy a ready-made crust. I do not like cooking or baking, so last year I decided not to bake anything. No cookies, no squares… nothing. I always end up with a ton of it in the freezer which then sits for months until I pawn it off on somebody. (Or end up eating it all myself, which I do not need.) Anyway, my announcement was met with shock and disbelief when my daughters arrived for the holidays. In fact, I had a downright rebellion on my hands. They got busy and made pies, cookies and squares… Guess what? For Thanksgiving this year everyone loved the pie. When I told them it was left over from last Christmas they were shocked. I don’t know why. It was perfectly good and wasn’t even freezer burnt. I just won’t tell them that this year’s Christmas cookies are left over from last year, too.

Tracy is a high school teacher by profession, and aprolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all the things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests. She has several romantic suspense novels and stage plays in print. http://www.tracykrauss.com

Tracy’s link to her showcase on the Grace Filled Blog Tour. Check out her zany romantic suspense novels. http://is.gd/YgNgy5

There will be more author interviews to follow. The authors on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour want to share their Christmas hopes, dreams, memories, decorating trips, perhaps even a recipe or two. Stay turned as these terrific and very interesting authors share about what Christmas means to them.

Link to access the Calendar of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour: https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

Two Authors With a Love of Wilderness Settings Talk About Christmas

Winter, snowy pine trees

Twenty-two talented authors are participating in the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, sponsored by the Grace Awards. Get to know these writers and their great love for Christmas as they share with the public their thoughts about what inspires them and their Christmas memories.Xmas, Bow Border

NAOMI MUSCH (THE BLACK ROSE, THE RED FURY, THE GREEN VEIL, romance series set in the forests of Wisconsin as the good guys struggle to survive in the rough and tumble logging industry).

Grace Awards:  Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that movie thrills you…makes you tear up?

Naomi:  My husband and I first watched It’s a Wonderful Life about 27 years ago when we were expecting our second of five children. We loved the movie so much — the warmth, the spiritual depth, the “every man” connection — we began a tradition of watching it with our kids every year after we put up the tree. We love to break out the eggnog and homemade cocoa fudge and quote lines as fast as the actors. So that movie is our favorite. We have an old “Granville” fixer-upper like George and Mary. I understand George’s frustration with his “drafty ol’ house”. During rough spots in life, the kind that hit everybody now and then or find us stuck where we are, I jokingly say that we’re still fighting the battle of Bedford Falls. In the past few years, we’ve sometimes broken up the tradition with another Jimmy Stewart classic, The Shop Around the Corner, or another favorite, The Muppet Christmas Carol. We watch other Christmas movies during the holidays, but you can’t beat those three.

Grace Awards:  Are you a Christmas fanatic, a real crazy? Or is your approach to the holidays more down to earth and relaxed?

Naomi:  One thing you’ll likely never find me doing is shopping on Black Friday. No, no, no. I gear up rather slowly for the holidays, and usually start finally getting in the spirit about a week before Thanksgiving or Christmas. I’m one of those folks who if I put any lights outdoors, will be trudging through a foot of snow to do so. Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays. The family, food, and fun — all of it. But I have a hard time keeping up with the fast pace of holiday enthusiasm in our modern world. I’m pretty old fashioned, all the way around. I like singing carols at our church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service. I like eggnog and fudge while decorating the tree, and I love just lying around gazing at the twinkling lights after all the gifts are unwrapped and the kids have gone to their homes ( and maybe getting catching a midnight smootch with my honey under the mistletoe). Finally, I like snowstorms that keep us close to home between Christmas and New Years.

Naomi and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows on a ramshackle farm in Wisconsin’s north woods near their five young adults and three grand-children. Amidst it, she writes stories about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles. Her entire Empire in Pine series, available now in eBook from Desert Breeze Publishing, will also go to print in 2013. She invites new friends and old to say hello and join her for updates on Facebook at Naomi Musch – Author

Link to Naomi’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Check out her exciting romance novels. http://is.gd/iAk9B1

ELAINE MARIE COOPER (THE ROAD TO DEER RUN, THE PROMISE OF DEER RUN, THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN, touching romance series set in colonial Massachusetts at the birth of America).

Grace Awards: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?

Elaine:  Well I have SO many well-loved Christmas movies but the wear and tear on my DVD’s will tell you the truth: “While You Were Sleeping” is definitely one of my favorites! I still howl with laughter over the hilarious neighbor, Joe Jr with the plumber’s crack; snicker over the narcissism of the coma-man, Peter; and see the craziness of my own family with the interactions of Peter’s family both in the hospital and at church. Sandra Bullock is perfect in her role as the lonely subway worker whose only living family member is her cat. I love that Sandra is not afraid to look frumpy when appropriate but of course, she is so beautiful! She makes me tear up when she’s talking to the man in the coma, trying to explain her life and how alone she is. And of course when she gets engaged at the end is romance at its finest. LOVE this movie! Other favorite Christmas movies: “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” “A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott, and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” with Henry Winkler and Warren Christie.

Grace Awards: Have you ever had to handle a significant loss during the holidays? How did you cope?

Elaine:  In late October of 2003, my only daughter Bethany, who was 24-years-old at the time, passed away from a brain tumor. Her birthday was also in December so that month was horrible to say the least. In the midst of our numbed and grief-stricken state, my husband and I decided that her life still needed significance. We came up with two family traditions that we still keep to this day. On December 12, her birthday, I deliver a gift bag with a gift card to a local maternity unit. I find one of the nurses and ask her to deliver the gift to the first baby girl born on that day. I don’t sign my name or say who I am but I explain why I am there. I always pray ahead of time that the recipient will be someone in need. The second tradition we keep is every Christmas Eve we deliver huge sacks overflowing with stuffed animals. We deliver them to the adult cancer unit where our daughter was a patient. Bethany always held a favorite stuffed animal when she was feeling sick and we realized that adults need the comfort as well. We ask the staff to deliver a “Bethany Blessing” to each patient and we pray that her legacy of caring for others can continue through this simple act.

Elaine is a writer of historical fiction (THE ROAD TO DEER RUN, THE PROMISE OF DEER RUN, THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN) as well as devotions and freelance stories for magazines. You can read one of her devotions in Edie Melson’s FIGHTING FEAR, WINNING THE WAR AT HOME. Look for Elaine’s upcoming romance story, “The Tea Set,” in the Christmas anthology I CHOOSE YOU, releasing December 2012 through Oak Tara Publishers. http://deerrunbooks.com/

Link to Elaine’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. Check out her heart warming romance novels. http://is.gd/4d6Qpf

There will be more author interviews to follow. The authors on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour want to share their Christmas hopes, dreams, memories, decorating trips, perhaps even a recipe or two. Stay turned as these terrific and very interesting authors share about what Christmas means to them.

Link to access the Calendar of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour: https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

Interviews with Two Authors on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour

 Twenty-two talented authors are participating in the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, sponsored by the Grace Awards. These writers have a great love for Christmas and would like to share with the public their thoughts about what inspires them and their Christmas memories.

NIKE CHILLEMI (BURNING HEARTS, GOODBYE NOEL, PERILOUS SHADOWS, classic historical murder mystery series with romance and action)

Grace Awards:  Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory?

Nike:  I missed my paternal grandmother terribly when I was a little girl when she moved across the country. Coupled with that I wished I could have a fancy party dress, which we could not afford. We spent Christmas at my maternal grandmother’s house. My mother, father, and all my aunts and uncles shooed me off to bed. By the excitement in their eyes, I knew something was up. When I got up on Christmas morning there was a huge box wrapped in plain paper with postage marking on it and it was for me. When I opened the box, there were two velvet dresses with lace collars and cuffs inside in my size. One in Christmas red and one in Christmas green. My grandmother and aunt who lived across the country had sewn them for me. I still tear up thinking about it.

Grace Awards:   Are your Christmas decorations traditional, or do they have a more modern flare? Do you have a particular theme to your decorating? Or does each and every ornament and decoration have a personal meaning to you?

Nike:  I subscribe to the belief that more is more in Christmas decorations. Every inch of my Christmas tree is covered and I have decorations in every room of the house including bathrooms. The overall theme is traditional and my colors are strictly red, green, white, and gold. I have two ornaments from my maternal grandmother’s tree that date to the 1940s. I have ornaments from my parents’ tree from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. My mother collected bird ornaments and I have several of those. Over the 26 years I’ve been married a new tradition has emerged. Anytime we go away or on a vacation we try to find a Christmas ornament to bring home in the hues that go with our traditional Christmas color scheme. We’re animal lovers and have been pet rescuers. We also pick up ornaments that resemble our pets. As you can tell, our house is stuffed to the rafters with decorations.

Like so many other writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, the third in the series released in July, 2012. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Link to Nike’s showcase on the Grace Filled Blog Tour. Check out classic whodunits for Christmas. http://is.gd/NgwOzs

SHAUNNA GONZOLES (DARK DAYS OF PROMISE, romance, women’s fiction, self-discovery, loss, healing, redemption)

Grace Awards:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who sings that song?

Shaunna: I have two that are a tie, Handel’s Halleluiah Chorus and Oh Holy Night. Performing artist? Well, I don’t think most have heard of the high school I attended but I still remember, with chills running up and down my spine the Christmas that we (a choir of 200+) performed the Halleluiah Chorus, from memory–even our pianist! Yeah we got a standing ovation for that. And Oh Holy Night? That was a solo performance for me as a special request at a church function. I was dressed in my best, white slacks and glittery holiday blouse. I didn’t realize the impact on the gathering until later when someone told me how much the video recording they had made that night meant to them as a family. Special reminiscing for me, especially since I haven’t done much singing through the holidays for years now.

Grace Awards:  Have you ever had to handle a significant loss during the holidays? How did you cope?

Shaunna:  I was nine years-old when my father died early in December. I didn’t cry then, I like to think it was because of my childlike faith rather than shock or any of the stages of mourning. Now I experience the twinge of tears burn behind my eyes as well as that tight thirst at the back of my throat (I reach for my constant bottle of water to wash it away.) We had little time to grieve as a family. My sister was getting married a week later. Wow, photographs don’t lie, the smiles were strained, even the bride’s. How to cope…probably not as well as one should. Even just one day at a time. I think for some years I was numb. But Christmas took on a very different meaning for me. I don’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping or the crowds. Christmas for me, is a time of reflection. Reflection on the year coming to its close, reflection on the distant past, reflection on my connection with Jesus Christ, His birth, His example, His life, and His sacrifice for me personally.

Shaunna Gonzales has toyed with writing since her teenage years but has only written in earnest since 2005. In an effort to give Dark Days of Promise an authentic feel she endeavored to include some experiences of veterans she knows and could often be found discussing the realities of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in their lives and how it could honestly be shared in this project. On the evening of this books first promotion, she realized that the scope of PTSD reaches deep into the core of our society and includes infants, children, housewives, the working and unemployed as well as veterans; in short, all of us. In an effort to treat this subject fairly, Ms. Gonzales has altered her writing course from “romance with a twist” to helping our society, sufferers and innocents alike to becoming aware. It is more than those who experience the violence, more than the victims who experience this debilitating disease that are affected. It is their families, the bystander of violent crime and all of us who dare to care for and love them. Shaunna currently resides in the Seattle, Washington area, with her husband, and their younger children. http://shaunnagonzales.blogspot.com/

Link to Shaunna’s showcase on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour. http://is.gd/ltDqwx

There will be more author interviews to follow. The authors on the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour want to share their Christmas hopes, dreams, memories, decorating trips, perhaps even a recipe or two. Stay turned as these terrific and very interesting authors share about what Christmas means to them.

Link to access the Calendar of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour: https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

The Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour Is Here!!!

The Grace Awards is thrilled to announce the first annual Grace Filled Blog Tour!!! Twenty-two talented Christian authors share about their novels and why these wonderful stories would make excellent Christmas holiday reading…and into the New Year.

Join us on this tour as we explore the depths of Christian fiction writing. Why not visit every author on the tour to select your personal Christmas reading and to select reading gifts for your loved ones.

Below is the link for the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour:

https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

From the Grace Awards To Your House ~~ Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!!!

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