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A Tech-Challenged Author in a 21st Century World {Guest Barbara M. Britton}

Jerusalem Rising

I’m so pleased to have author Barbara M. Britton as my guest today! Barbara writes Christian fiction, and her new book Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey releases December 1! More information is below. 🙂

How a Tech-Challenged Author Navigates a 21st Century Marketing World

I’ll be honest. Technology scares me. I grew up with carbon paper and copy machines. My typing skills are hunting and pecking on steroids. Woe to the registrar who put me in freshman biology instead of typing class. Who knew I would someday be an author in the world of social media. How do I get the word out about my books? I work within my comfort zone and rely on friends to help me with the rest.

Remember the world I grew up in? We had phones, but we didn’t have texting or instant messaging. I love to talk on the phone. I use that to my advantage. I call reference librarians in my area and tell them about my books. If the library is nearby, I show up—in person. A local author in the flesh. As a youngster, I went door-to-door selling Campfire Girl mints. If I could talk to strangers when I was ten, I can do it now.

With my limited graphic design skills, I create a simple information sheet about my book. This sheet includes my cover art, blurb, ISBN, distribution channels, publisher information, and a short bio about me.  This sheet is something I can e-mail to a librarian or book store. I also carry them into places of interest. My sheet isn’t the fanciest, but it relays the necessary information about my book.

When I need swag (bookmarks, postcards) or advertisements, I hire my friends to create the designs. Some even do the printing. Does this take money? Yes, it does. I tell aspiring authors who have limited tech skills like me, to save those tax refund checks, or scrimp away funds for the day you will need some help. I wish I had the ability to change advertisement dimensions or place graphics and text on small bookmarks, but I don’t. The money I spend for awesome-looking graphics, saves me a technology meltdown.

Remember those Campfire mints I sold? My mom would wrap boxes for Valentine’s Day and take me to the BART station. We would sell chocolate to forgetful husbands. Did this increase sales? You bet. Today, I show up where booksellers and readers are waiting to hear about books. I find out about local book festivals or library conferences and reach out to see if I can show up and teach a workshop or talk about the publishing industry. We can call this skin-on marketing. Building relationships with people who love books is setting a foundation for future interactions—and possibly future sales.

I still engage in social media marketing, but I do the ones that I enjoy, and the ones that I have time to manage. After all, writing my next book is a priority. Staring at a computer screen, no matter how full of pretty pictures it is, eats away at my writing time.

Use the strengths God has given you to promote your stories. May you enjoy your writing journey and make new friends as you launch your books into this high-tech world.

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Barbara M. Britton

 

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and Mainstream markets. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her stories. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.

 

Jerusalem Rising

 

Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

Purchase Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey  now! Click HERE

Check out the trailer for The Tribes of Israel series–wow!

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Do you consider yourself tech-challenged? What is your best marketing tip?

Have a terrific weekend!!

Reminder: I’ll Be Home for Christmas, the bestselling, four-novella collection of inspirational romance I contributed to, is only 99 cents! Click HERE to buy it!

Top 10 Reasons to Love NaNoWriMo by Michelle Lim

Idea Sparking For NaNoWriMo

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I’m excited to have a special guest, Michelle Lim! For all you writers out there, November is national novel writing month! NaNoWriMo is where writers sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I’m passing this year but cheering all my friends on! Look for information below about Michelle’s new book, Idea Sparking: 30 Idea Sparks to Write a Novel in a Monthonly $0.99!!

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Top 10 Reasons To Love NaNoWriMo

 

  1. Gives you an excuse to gorge on chocolate. What better reason can there be for eating too much chocolate than the need to get an obscene number of words on the page.
  2. Pushes you to finish a whole novel in a tenth of the time you might normally spend to accomplish the same thing. It may be slightly certifiable, but there is absolutely no reason not to achieve a goal that could let a novelist take a longer vacation later in the year.
  3. Forces you to turn off your inner editor. For those of you who struggle with writing a plot draft, the time frame makes you keep moving forward to the end of the novel instead of obsessing over edits in one scene.
  4. Helps to grow your support system. Often we take too much on ourselves and leave others out of the joy of journeying with us. The thirty-day novel requires us to glean support from those around us. It gives them a chance to share in the journey.
  5. Makes you empathize with your character’s black moment. Right about the time in week four when you are working on your character’s black moment, you are experiencing one of your own. It can make this scene more powerful.
  6. Gives you an excuse to wear pajamas all day. There is the whole fun of wearing pajamas all day every now and then. During NaNoMonth you have 30 reasons to wear pajamas. . . Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. . .
  7. Freedom from kitchen duty. If you don’t love to cook or clean, this month may be your solution to it all. The one time a year when you can look to your spouse with puppy-dog eyes without even feeling guilty.
  8. Guilt free caffeine consumption. If you love caffeine, this is the month for you. Staying up late to write a novel gives you plenty of reasons to enjoy your favorite blend.
  9. A thirty day edit free existence. Not a big fan of editing? Than join NaNoWriMo and turn off your inner editor for a whole month at a time.
  10. The perfect excuse not to have your mother-in-law over for dinner. Plead out of this age old tradition during the month of November and blame it all on your career.

Looking for some NaNoWriMo Tips To Write Your Novel In A Month?

 

Idea Sparking

 

My newest release: Idea Sparking: 30 Idea Sparks to Write a Novel in a Month is a great way to help you spark your novel.  It is Selling for $0.99 on Amazon!

Join the Idea Sparking Adventure:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Michelle LimAuthor Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s Genesis winning romantic suspense is represented with Books & Such Literary Agency. Michelle’s New Release – Idea Sparking: 30 Idea Sparks to Write a Novel in a Month releases October 27th. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories. Connect with Michelle as www.thoughtsonplot.wordpress.com , @MichelleLim24 on Twitter, and Facebook.

 

What are some other reasons to love NaNoWriMo?

Thanks so much for being my guest today, Michelle!

Hero Inspiration! From the Start by Melissa Tagg

From The Start By Melissa Tagg

Inspiration for from a hero: Colton Greene in From the Start

by Melissa Tagg

So when Jill and I decided to do a little blog swap and talk about the inspiration for our heroes, it sounded like a fab idea. Yeah, I thought, I can talk about Colton Greene…the main guy in my new book, From the Start.

Then I sat down to write the post. And gulped.

Because I have no idea where Colton came from.

For one thing, the guy’s a football player. A former NFL quarterback. And I…am not a football girl. The most fun I’ve ever had watching football was during this Super Bowl party when I was a teenager. I spent the whole game boasting to these guys about how awesome I was at ping-pong. Seriously, I was so busy flirting bragging, I probably saw all of three minutes of the actual game.

And then after the game, I lost at ping-pong. Big-time. Score one for humble pie.

Too, Colton has been through tragedy—the likes of which I honestly can’t imagine. (Except I guess I can because I imagined this story into being. But still.)

Plus, he doesn’t really look like any famous actor in my head. Although when it came time to give my publisher cover ideas, I might’ve thought, hmm, this might be a great excuse to Google Chris Hemsworth…but really, it wasn’t until I saw my actual cover that I had a solid picture of him in my brain.

All that said, I don’t know if I can pinpoint any one thing that inspired Colton.

BUT.

I may not know what originally inspired him, but I do know what it is about him I can most relate to. And that’s this: Deep down, Colton knows there’s more. He’s had dreams stripped away, his vision of the future is murky at best. At the start of the story, he’s fumbling to find his place and catch any hope for the future.

But as his story continues, he starts to sense there’s more…that the boundaries he’s drawn around his life are too small. His turf is bigger than he realized before.

And I get that. I get that whisper in my spirit. “Melissa, there’s more.” That feeling that my journey has only just begun and it may not end up looking anything like what I’d planned…and that God’s imagination is world’s larger than mine.

I’m not sure I know what inspired Colton, but I know how he ended up inspiring me. 🙂

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Melissa, you make me giggle (not about the God part–that was inspiring)! I never liked football much until high school, and it wasn’t until I was almost thirty that I actually enjoyed watching it on television. I’m a big University of Michigan fan, and I’m a Detroit Lions fan, but it’s hard being a Lions fan. I’m guessing you could beat my buns at ping-pong. You still got it, girl! Congratulations on your new book! I can’t wait to read it!!

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From the Start by Melissa Tagg

From the Start ~

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays…until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it’s like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of the plan, but it just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

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Melissa Tagg

About Melissa Tagg ~

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total girl. She writes romantic comedy for Bethany House, and is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Her newest book, From the Start, is out now! Get a preview with her free enovella, Three Little Words. She blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at  http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Do you enjoy football? If yes, what team do you root for? If no, what’s your favorite sport?

Pop on over to Melissa’s blog today to find out my inspiration for Reed Hamilton in Small-Town Bachelor!

Have a terrific day!

Good Enough: Guest Sharyn Kopf

Good Enough

by Sharyn Kopf

“Am I good enough?” How often do you ask yourself that question? We wonder if our husbands are happy, if our children are satisfied, if our employer will hang onto us through yet another round of budget cuts.

Over the last few years, I’ve been feeling oh so inadequate. In 2010 I lost a job to cutbacks — for the second time in less than a decade. My desire to be a novelist has been full of near-constant self-doubt and disappointment. Last, but certainly not least, as a still-single woman over 50, how could I not feel rejected by men?

And every time I’m hit by another failure, I hear the voices. No one wants you. You can’t do it. You’re not good enough. I know these words are from the enemy, yet they ring so true and hurt so much. As Vivian said in Pretty Woman: “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”

So, for our peace of mind—and sheer sanity, for heaven’s sake—we need to reject the negative and not only find our way back to good enough, but to who we truly are in Christ.

You Are Chosen

I love that moment in the best romantic movies when the man lets the woman know she’s the one, the only one for him. Still better, when he risks all, even his life, to rescue her from her mortal enemy. Like Kevin Costner’s Robin in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—beating down doors, smashing through windows, and going sword to sword to save Maid Marion from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

“You came for me. You’re alive,” she cries, rushing into his arms after the final battle.

He replies, “I would die for you.”

Remind you of anyone in particular? Someone who died for you but is alive and will always come for you, no matter what? No wonder women love scenes like this in movies. They speak to the soul of our relationship with God. “You are the one,” He says. “I choose you.”

More specifically, Scripture tells us, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9–10).

So we are chosen, but for a purpose: to proclaim the Good News to those who are still in darkness. In our despair He came to us, held out a hand and said, “I have so much more for you.” And, being the cynical, flawed creatures we are, we ask, “Why me?”

You Are Delightful

Of course, before he risks life and limb, the Hero falls for the girl. Do you think Robin would have gone to such extremes for just anyone? His friend asks, “Is she worth it?” and Robin nods.

“Worth dying for.”

How we long to be that girl. But so many things in this world crush our spirits, making us feel inadequate, unwanted and stupid. And how do we react? We let ourselves fall into the role of supportive friend or trusted servant, instead of stepping forward as the leading lady. The world tells us we’re not special and, sadly, we start to believe it.

That is not how God sees us. In fact, He considers each of us worth dying for. I think King David said it best in Psalm 18:19 – “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” God broke down the walls, slew the enemy, and offered up His life to set you free. Take that, Robin of the Hood!

Still, I know how hard it is to see our own delightfulness when our issues take up so much room. They do seem to be compelling proof we’re not that great. But isn’t that the point? Doesn’t God have a knack for accomplishing great things despite—sometimes even through—our inadequacies and failures?

As a matter of fact, yes . . .

You Are Flawed

Lest we get too carried away, let’s also remember just how much we don’t deserve the grace and beauty He bestows on us. You are not perfect. No, that’s a good thing. Sit back, leave the dishes in the sink, and take that in. Relax into it. You are not perfect . . . but He adores you and chose you anyway.

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:26–27).

Not wise, not mighty, not noble, but foolish and weak. Not very flattering but that’s all right too. This reminds us it’s not about you or me. It’s about Him. Our failures and imperfections flash a neon marquee announcing God’s greatness. You know how a mother sees the beauty of her child even when others cannot? And how she’s the only one allowed to say anything about her child’s shortcomings? I think it’s like that. God as our Creator can see and acknowledge our imperfections, but heaven help those who dare impugn His beloved. Weak, ugly and fragile, we find shelter under His wings.

You Are Not Trusting

I know your doubts because you, like me, are sitting there mumbling, “Well, sure that all sounds nice and sweet and very Disney-like . . . for everyone else. But things haven’t been that way for me.” We can all fall into pity party mode. Still, haven’t years of canceled dreams and disappointed hopes made our negative attitude not only reasonable but logical?

Absolutely. Everything that seemed so possible twenty, thirty, forty years ago while gazing ideologically through the sunshine-colored glasses of a youthful heart looks a bit murky and gray and kind of pathetic now. Why? Because we’ve moved from trusting in dreams of a bright future to not trusting in anything. Including God. It’s all a tactic of the enemy, castrating us at the very essence of who we are in Christ and moving us back into that mindset of believing the worst.

And that’s when we go back to our King, our Prince, crashing through stained glass to rescue us against all odds, defeating our doubts and fears and insecurities, and pulling us into His perfect freedom. Which brings us full-circle back to being chosen and loved.

The world will continue to tell you you’re not good enough, pointing out your flaws and ignoring all the wonderful attributes that make you unique. God sees all those things and, despite your faults and shortcomings, says you are more than good enough.

You are His.

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Click on picture below to purchase Spinstered from Amazon!

 

Spinstered-Good Enough

Spinstered ~

Three friends. Three stories. Three women trying to figure out how they ended up over 40 and still single.

Committed to her job and pushing fifty, Catie Delaney has almost given up on her dream of love and marriage. Maybe, she tells herself, she’d be happier just embracing her singleness. Maybe that’s been God’s will all along.

For social worker Jolene Woods, on the other hand, being on her own gives her time to pursue her passion—running a halfway house for women just out of prison. The only problem is her best friend, Trevor, who has silly ideas about them being more than friends.

Then there’s Uli Odell, a graphic designer who’s about to turn 40. If only she can convince her boyfriend, Cole, to commit already. Desperate not to be a spinster, she guilt-steps her way from one dumb choice to another.

Into this mix of feminine angst walks Brian Kemper—the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) to join their church’s singles group. But just as something seems about to happen between him and Catie, her world falls apart.

While Catie deals with her unexpected pain, Jolene and Uli face their own struggles.

Three friends. Three stories. Three women looking for hope.

 

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 Sharyn Kopf

About Sharyn ~

 

Sharyn Kopf always knew she wanted to be an author but it wasn’t until she noticed boys that she felt the nudge to write romances. And it only took her fifty years to finish one! Just don’t ask her how that boy thing turned out.

Cold Read, however, isn’t her first book. Sharyn published her debut novel, Spinstered, in September 2014. Her other work has included co-authoring a book about traumatic brain injury, penning scripts for stage, and writing for Focus on the Family radio.

Every Friday, Sharyn ponders the over-40 single life at www.girlsnightin40.com, the blog she shares with two other authors. For her day job—because most writers need to have at least one!—she works as a high school English teacher and is training to be a literary publicist.

She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world — her family.

 

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Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Sharyn! I think we can all relate to not feeling good enough. What a precious reminder that we are MORE than enough in Christ!

What helps when you struggle with self-doubt?

Remember, I’m giving away a Small-Town Bachelor Gift Package! Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options! Thank you!!

Have a terrific day!

This Is Love: Guest Kariss Lynch and a Giveaway!

Shadowed By Kariss Lynch

Today we have a special guest blogger, Kariss Lynch, and she’s sharing her thoughts on love. Please join me in welcoming Kariss!

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We are closing out the month of love, but for me I think it has been a month of recognition and discovery. Recently I was asked to read and review several mainstream romance novels, so this month I’ve spent my nights giving them due diligence to provide an honest opinion.

I could tell you how well the authors painted scenes and used strong verbiage. I could tell you the characters were intriguing and attractive (every guy had washboard abs because that’s realistic). Or I could tell you how I felt when I closed the final page.

In one word: broken.

While everything about these novels met a good standard of writing technique, the romances fell short. Why? Because each author made romance about physicality rather than about relationship.

Somewhere along the way, our culture twisted romance into something superficial. So this month, I have been searching the scriptures to counter what I saw portrayed about culture in these novels. As we wrap up a month of hearts and flowers and an explosion of pink, I want to take it back to the basics.

This is love…

It protects rather than demands.

It seeks to meet a need rather than an expectation.

It is more concerned with the person than their performance.

It is lasting rather than passing.

It expands past feelings.

It trusts rather than responds defensively.

It fights rather than flees in difficulty.

It celebrates wins rather than responding in jealousy.

It asks what I can do for someone else rather than what they can do for me.

It begins and end with Christ.

I remember distinctly the moment last month when I wrote about Kaylan Richards and her boyfriend, Navy SEAL Nick Carmichael as I finished up my third novel, Surrendered, and prepared for the release of Shadowed on March 3. Kaylan realizes that she loves a warrior called to something greater than himself, and he is asking her to join him on that journey. She wrestles with fear that he won’t come home, fear of being alone, lack of trust in his ability and training, and lack of trust in the men around him as he leaves her to fight for his country.

But then she pauses for a moment and begins to think of all the times when Nick pursued her when she was unlovable, when she was struggling, when she was trapped in fear. She realizes that even when she can’t trust circumstances, she can trust him because he has faithfully loved her in spite of herself. It hit me. This is love. It pursues. It sacrifices. It seeks to be like Christ.

I don’t know how Valentine’s went for you, but I can tell you that there is a love deeper than you have ever experienced and the One offering it desires a relationship with you. It is a love that will transform all your other relationships. And like Nick, this One willingly sacrificed for you. Not because He had to, but because He wanted to know you.

This is love. This is the gospel.

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Thank you, Kariss, for this beautiful message. I started out writing sweet, mainstream romances, but I felt something was missing–my faith. Your post really strikes home with me.

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Shadowed by Kariss Lynch

 

Click HERE to purchase Shadowed!

About Shadowed ~

Nick Carmichael faces the demons of his past on a Navy SEAL mission to catch arms dealer Janus. Meanwhile his girlfriend, Kaylan Richards, must come to terms with loving a man who is often gone and in harm’s way. She is adjusting to life in a new city with new friends, new neighbors, and an internship. But she still wonders if she will ever find her place and wrestles to develop the strength for the future she wants to have with Nick.

As Nick and the SEAL team chase Janus, she turns the tables, attacking their families, which places Kaylan in harm’s way. When Kaylan begins receiving threatening notes and items begin to disappear from her home, Nick must learn to trust God with her life as he and his team fight for justice and answers to his past. Will light shine in the darkness, or will Kaylan and Nick’s love forever be stalked by shadows?

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Want to win a copy of Shadowed?

Visit karisslynch.com/contact and sign up for my newsletter. I will choose one person to receive a free, signed copy of my new release, Shadowed, coming March 3!

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Kariss Lynch

About Kariss ~

Kariss Lynch writes contemporary fiction about characters with big dreams, hearts for adventure, and enduring hope. Shaken, her first book in the Heart of a Warrior series, released in 2014. Her second book, Shadowed, releases March 3, 2015. A former freelance writer, she now works as the writer for a communications ministry in Dallas.

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How do you describe love?

Have a wonderful day!

The Love Behind Valentine’s Day: Guest Jessica Snell

Let Us Keep The Feast

The story behind Valentine’s Day, like many good old stories, is shrouded in the fogs of myth and legend. Some sources say that St. Valentine was a rogue priest who performed Christian marriage ceremonies for young soldiers and their sweethearts, breaking ancient Roman law. There are other hagiographies that say that he healed the blind and defied the emperor.

Even though there are many stories about Valentine (and even many stories about many different Valentines!), the oldest and most reliable account is clear about the important details: there once was a man named Valentine, and he loved the Lord Jesus, and he died for that love.

It’s a strange story to focus on in the midst of all the chocolates and roses and hearts that decorate our stores and our schools and our news sources during February.

Or is it?

At first glance, the sweet little crayon’d Valentines that my kids give me and the bloody story of the first Valentine feel like they don’t exist in the same world. The first belongs to my clean, easy, first-world life and the second to a life more primal, more real.

But the stories of our saints and martyrs aren’t disconnected from our day-to-day life.

The truth is that Valentine loved the same Lord Jesus that I do.

And the truth is that it is that great love, the Lord Jesus’ own love (because we only love him because he first loved us), that is behind all lesser loves – yes, even my love for my own children, for my own husband, and their love for me.

And so, when we look back through the mists of time at that first Valentine, the man who died for the Lord he loved, we shouldn’t dismiss the little, lovely trappings of his holiday, like declaring our love with cards and flowers and chocolates. Loving one another, after all, is what the Lord who Valentine served commanded us to do: Love one another. As I have loved you, so ought you to love one another.

Romantic love, in all its delight, is the good gift of God. So is the warmth of maternal love and so is the joy of true friendship. And love cannot keep quiet. It overflows in our actions and speeches and our smiles – and sometimes it also overflows in crayon-marked construction paper hearts made by seven-year-olds.

So the true story of St. Valentine doesn’t mean our paper hearts and pretty flowers are inappropriate. Instead, the story of St. Valentine can just remind us that those little signs of love have a far deeper source: in the love of God himself.

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Jessica Snell

Jessica Snell is the General Editor of Kalos Press and she blogs about books, faith, and family at Homemaking Through the Church Year.  She and her husband live in sunny Southern California with their four children.

Her book, “Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home”, takes the reader through all the seasons of the Christian calendar, from Advent to Ordinary Time. Broken down into specific sections like History, Traditions, In the Kitchen, Ideas, and Resources, “Let Us Keep the Feast” is an easy, interesting read full of simple traditions and the rich meanings behind them.

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Thank you so much for being my guest today, Jessica! I tend to live in a clean, happy, hearts & paper world, so this was a good reminder of how much people sacrificed over the centuries for their faith. Thank you!

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What makes it meaningful for you?

You may have noticed I have a new blog home. Please take a minute to subscribe. You can enter your email in the form at the top of the sidebar or type jillkemerer.com in your preferred reader to never miss a post! Thank you!

 

Valentine's Giveaway

 

 

 

 

Have a fantastic day!

Chatting with the Jills: Coffee Commercials

I’m SO excited to have Jill Lynn on the blog today! I met Jill at an ACFW conference two years ago. Someone referred to us as “the Jills,” and I loved it! Jill Lynn is hilarious, super cute, nice AND a fantastic writer. Her debut novel, Falling for Texas, is available now! It’s delightful! Jill is giving away a copy to one blessed reader, so be sure to enter the contest below!

Instead of a guest post or interview, Jill and I are imagining what it would be like if we were the stars in the International Coffee commercials from the eighties. If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing these masterpieces, I’ve embedded a few below. You’re welcome!

Chatting with the Jills:

 

Jill K: Thanks for coming over and chatting with me today, Jill. Let’s go out to my jungle of a backyard. Go ahead and have a seat on my wicker loveseat. I just love these oversize shirts! My orange sweatshirt is approximately four sizes too large for me, but it still looks good. My husband said so.

Jill L: (Insert fake laughter) Oh, Jill, I do love the feel of wicker. They just don’t make a more comfortable seat, do they? And your orange sweatshirt is stunning, though I’m partial to my… (am I wearing a one piece outfit under this blue monstrosity? I think I am.) It doesn’t compare to my flowered full-body ensemble and blue tent sweater. I really prefer my clothing in one large piece so that it doesn’t complement my body whatsoever.

Jill K: Good tip! Whew, it’s muggy out here. Why am I wearing so many layers? *fanning myself* What does the coffee remind you of?

Jill L: Gas station cappuccino. You?

Jill K: Watered down instant coffee. Hey, scooch over! I always sit two inches away from my friends. Hope you don’t mind me leaning in and giggling. Do you ever wonder what Jean Luc is doing now?

Jill L: I don’t mind you leaning in and giggling! Let’s sit as close as possible! And as for Jean Luc… we still keep in touch. What? You don’t?

Jill K: *bites lower lip” No. He got mad when I called sixty-three times in one day. He didn’t need to threaten me with a restraining order. But I’m sure he’s over his tiff by now. Men! Hey, Jill, since we’re reminiscing and I’m having a midlife crisis, why don’t we go to your house and find your old prom dresses?

Jill L: *Squeal* Yes, let’s! Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will smell like it’s been stuffed in a trunk all of these years!

 

 

Jill K: Like my new wig? I Googled “Mrs. Garrett’s hairstyle on The Facts of Life.” She’s my style icon! Anyhow, I found your hot pink prom dress! Pour me a cup of that Suisse Mocha and try that bad boy on!

Jill L: I’m sorry my voice sounds so much like a man. Before I try to squeeze into that old dress, let’s consume some fake sugar together that our body has no idea how to process!

Jill K: Yes! Although the last time I drank fake sugar, let’s just say I was in the bathroom A LOT. Remember Steve? Didn’t he wear a white tuxedo with matching hot pink vest and tie? And the hair…how did he wear his hair?

Jill L: I think it was similar to mine. In fact, we might have the same haircut! Maybe I can get some pointers from him on handling these curls.

Jill K: Just spray a can of Aqua Net on it. It’s like glue. Look, your dress still fits! I’m calling Steve! I’m sure he still has that sky blue Chevette he picked you up in!

Jill L: Call him! I can’t right now because I’m too busy twirling in circles while you smile, laugh, and break into dance with me. Oops! Sorry about that invasion of your personal space! I’ve seriously got to learn to keep my distance from people!

Jill K: I love twirling and dancing and twirling…

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Falling for Texas

Chatting with Jills
Buy Falling for Texas NOW!

 

Educating the Cowboy

Raising his orphaned teenage sister isn’t easy for Texas rancher Cash Maddox. The girl tests his parenting—and patience—at every turn! But when he asks new teacher Olivia Grayson for help with his sister’s grades and attitude, Cash realizes he’s facing the toughest trial of all. He made a promise that he wouldn’t date and get distracted from his mission of being a good father figure. Yet Olivia’s quick wit is drawing him unexpectedly closer to the caring beauty every day. Could it be time to make a new vow…one that’ll last a lifetime?

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 About Jill ~

Jill Lynn

Jill Lynn lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children who make her laugh on a daily basis. She writes the kind of stories she likes to read—ones filled with humor, grace, and happily ever after. Jill does far more dancing in the kitchen with her family than she does cooking, and she has a thing for coffee, books, boots, and thrift stores. Connect with her at Jill-Lynn.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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My Review ~ 5 Stars!!

Falling for Texas had me falling for Texas. Cash’s morals, work ethic and the dedication he shows to his sister had me swooning, and did I mention he’s a cowboy? And Olivia was so relatable. She truly cared about her students and friends, and I found her inner dilemma to be compelling. This is such a fun read, but it will have you reaching for the tissues too. A wonderful debut! I’m adding Jill Lynn to my must-read list!

**I received an advanced reader’s copy with no obligation to review it. All opinions are my own.**

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Enter to win a copy of Falling for Texas!

 

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Thank you so much, Jill, for being a great sport and for making me laugh until I cried!! And congratulations on your terrific debut!!

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You may have noticed a new look to my blog. Yes, my blog moved! It’s now part of my brand new website. Please take a moment to subscribe (via email or in a reader such as Feedly.com: the sidebar has these options) so you  won’t miss a post! I’ll be cross-posting to this blog and my old blog all of February, but starting in March, my old blog will no longer be active. Thank you!!

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