Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I want to personally thank all who've gone before, and those who are now serving to insure a safety zone around us as Americans.

I have two brothers who served, one in Germany and one in Viet Nam. They came home, scarred by other than mortar fire or bullets but scarred none-the-less. My eldest brother's son, my nephew, served in Germany, was scheduled to come home but volunteered to go to serve longer in Desert Storm. He worked as Military Police, a less than pleasant job but came home without having been injured. We praise God for His blessing in that.

There is no draft and yet, there are more and more volunteers signing up, knowing they will most likely be drawn into one of the conflicts our country is involved in at this time.

It is so refreshing for me to see the numbers of young, talented, intelligent and dedicated young people studying and working to become the best and brightest to keep our country from succumbing to terrorism and those who would infiltrate our borders to harm and destroy those freedoms we enjoy and most often take for granted.

We have so much to be thankful for. First of all, to our GOD who provides and protects the country once founded on His principles. And second, to those who've enlisted, without compunction, gone to countries so unlike the United States to be considered polar opposite.

If we value this country, these privileges we often, much too often, see as rights and all God has allowed us to experience and enjoy, we'd better be dropping to our knees in gratitude for having been shown His mercy for so long.

It's time for each of us who values the liberty we were born into and who would love to see our grandchildren and their children live with the same freedoms we were raised with to bow, before our most Holy Lord Jesus Christ and humble ourselves.

STOP! Think, what freedoms have you seen taken away say, in the last ten years, twenty, thirty years? When do they stop being taken away?

Let's project just a bit . . . if the same process continues what will another twenty years be for America? This land of the free and home of the brave.

"If my people, who are called by name will humble themselves and"  . . . when will it end? Will God be merciful to America and the fewer and fewer who see WHO is really in control be allowed to prevail?  Will God see fit to destroy America or at the very least allow one of our enemies over power the 'super-power'?

During this Memorial Day week, let's REMEMBER just how many very special freedoms we've seen taken away and bow before the ONE who can restore those as well as make America what HE really wants it to be.


There is something even more important to remember:
             There is none so free as the one who knows how to accept eternal life.

 There is only ONE way: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life - No one cometh to the Father but by me."
                      -John 14:6
Where true FREEDOM lives!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


oOOPS, I guess that's not the way that song really goes?

Okay - So it's not June 14, 2011 ~ So things change
Well, hey, I'm a woman - and - Isn't it a woman's prerogative to change her mind?

Bear with me, dearest followers, I'm about to reintroduce you to those Authors who made several publisher's lists this Spring - Ready? Set? GO!

Do you remember who my first guest was back in April? 

April 05, 2011

 Ann Shorey

The Dawn of A Dream

April 12, 2011

Eddie Snipes

I Called Him Dancer


April 19, 2011

Penny Zeller



April 26, 2011

Trish Perry

Tea For Two

May 03, 2011

Karen Witemeyer

To Win Her Heart


May 10. 2011

Mary Connealy and Deep Trouble

May 17, 2011
Andrea Boeshaar and Undaunted Faith


IF you leave a comment AND your email address & If you become or are already a follower - You get entered in the drawing - (See below for one most important item!)

A.) Become a follower (unless you already are, of course)
B.) Leave a comment - INCLUDE a statement about which book is entered in THIS drawing and . . .
C.) Leave your email address so I can let the winner know when they've won the book.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Andrea Boeshaar - UNDAUNTED FAITH - from SEASONS of REDEMPTION - wonderful new release!

Joy's Joy~Ful Journal owes Andrea a huge apology. Yes, I have to begin a perfectly wonderful blog post with an apology - every English teacher will tell you to NEVER, EVER write an apology at the beginning of a letter - Hmmm - good thing this isn't a letter, then?

Andrea was very generous to me. She asked if I would feature her and her latest release - Undaunted Faith  
I was so honored and so blessed to have been considered by this tremendous author. To be honest - she's the first historical genre author I'd read and my love for her grew as her books began to multiply on my personal book shelves.

Here's the apology> After her most generous request for me to feature her I told her how excited I was and how she would fit right into the Spring~Blog~Fest here on Joy's Joy~Ful Journal in the middle of May - the last month of the Fest. She agreed - sending me the information I requested of her almost immediately. THEN, I went back to her and asked if I could move her week due to the scheduling problem with another author. She, in her sweet way, told me whatever would work for my blog was fine.

I am not sure who was being tested, Andrea's graciousness or my willingness to change MY plans for God's.
Yes, I had to go back to Andrea this last weekend and ask her to change back to the original week due to a glitch with the other poor author's deadline.
Andrea has earned my undying devotion and if it wasn't there before, well, it certainly is now.

My hat is off to you, Andrea Boeshaar. You are one very classey lady author.

Let me introduce you to this wonderful writer who's giving us the fourth in her series: SEASONS OF REDEMPTION

Tell us a little something about your personal life. Everyone loves to read about an author's 'personal' things. ;)
 I'm married and have three grown sons, one daughter-in-law, four grandchildren. I also have a fine church family.

What outside interests do you have, Andrea?
I love to take walks. I recently underwent a total knee replacement and I"m healing up just great. I can't wait to take regular walks out side later this Spring. My husband and I also enjoy seeing our grandchildren. We make that a regular practice.

What new lessons do you believe the Lord is teaching you right now?
God has shown Himself faithful in so many ways. He takes good care of me. One of the lessons I'm learning is that because my Heavenly Father is the King of Kings and I am His child, then that makes me . . . a princess! So, I ought to act like royalty, not in a snotty manner, but a manner in which I treat myself with respect and take care of myself. The Bible says that we should love others as ourselves, But if we don't love and respect ourselves, we cannot love our neighbors.

That said, I have to ask - hasn't God been really moving in your writing life? What do you see on your horizon?
I just handed in the manuscript to my editors for a book called - Threads of Hope. It's book 1 in my new series called - Fabric of Time

What are you working on since doing that?
I'm writing a short contemporary Christian Romance novel and I'm hoping to get a proposal for it to my agent Steve Laube soon so he can shop it around.

Andrea, what is the one thing you wish you'd known before you started writing novels?   
I wish I would have learned more about self-editing. Sometimes I'm embarrassed to read my older works, even if they're published. I suppose that means I'm growing as a writer - and that's good!    :D

 Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I'm afraid I don't read as often as I'd like. With researching my historical novels and all he time spent writing them, I barely have time to clean my house and see the grandkids, let alone read. Still, I try to read a book every couple of months and I love to read my friend's books. Right now I'm reading Louise Gouge's - At The Captain's Command. And then I'll begin Karen Witemeyer's To Win Her Heart.

I'm curious as to how you choose your settings for your books, Andrea.
Somehow certain areas just grab me, like the Arizona Territory in 1867. You'll read about it in Undaunted Faith, Book 4 in my Seasons of Redemption series.
I'm also interested in local history. Book 2 in my series takes place here in Milwaukee. Book 3 is set in Chicago and hen in Milwaukee again. I love to research my hometown and my State. 

My next series, -Fabric of Time, - will take place in Wisconsin.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
1.) Don't give up!
2.) Learn all you can about writing and hone your skills!
3.) Trust God to open the doors to your success. Then don't be afraid to walk through them.

I really needed to hear/read that, Andrea. Your timing couldn't have been better.

Andrea - please tell us about your book: The featured release for this month>

The McCabe brothers have their hands full. Trouble on the range and trouble in town. But they never expected their sweet school teacher, Bethany Stafford, to j join their mix of woe. 
When her reputation is unfairly tarnished, Pastor Luke McCabe is quick to propose marriage. But Bethany wants better than a marriage of necessity to save her good name. Could Luke ever come to love a plain "little field mouse" like her?

Dr. Annetta Cavanaugh has her own questions about men and their intentions. While Pastor Jake  McCabe seems sincere, she still has her doubts about him. But after he accompanies her on a medical call, she sees a whole new side of him and can't help but admit her attraction to the handsome pastor.

However, there's evil brewing in town - a lawlessness that even the sheriff cannot tamp down.
Finally, it comes face-to-face with both Luke and Jake and it threatens the lives of the women they love. Are the McCabe brothers ready for the fight of their lives?

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I invite readers to my website:  www.andreaboeshaar.com
Once there, readers can find my blog and a lot of other information.
They can also find me on                                                          Facebook.
Andrea, I'm going to share portions from your book that I found to be very telling as to the kind of author you are:


Hours later, Bethany awoke. Instead of darkness, shafts of sunlight streamed in through the crevices of the barn's roof and walls. Many times on the farm where I grew up I saw this exact scene - the light streaming in through the cracks.

Alerted by the gunshot Luke rose from the breakfast table and strode to the door. Even squinting into the bright sunshine, Luke recognized Dirk Crawford in the distance. He rode fast toward the ranch with two other men in tow.

She wrapped her skinny arms around his midsection, and together they followed Jake into the barn. I had no problem picturing this character - a child.

A host of emotions gripped Luke, but righteous anger won out. What a guy!

This is just a small taste of the writing expertise of  Andrea Boeshaar. Her words evoke a sense of being in the presence of the characters she writes about.

Thank you, Andrea, for being such a gracious guest. For allowing me to move you back and forth across the Tuesdays in the month of May.
You've been very generous in your patience with me.

   Please be sure to visit Andrea Boeshaar at her website and find her on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011



Aimless, Wyoming rancher wandering from a less than desireable situation, 


Determined, searching but stranded on a mountain top, 


Quite a combination, two head-strong young people thrown together in a treasure hunt leading them into the Grand Canyon in another of Mary Connealy's uniquely woven novels of humorous, action-laden incidences that will tickle your funny bone as well as keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation.

With trouble on their back trail from villains who want Shannon's map, the map she's using to prove her father's research isn't the work of a madman, that he really did find a treasure in the wild west.

And with the dream of gold coloring every decision Shannon makes, and Gabe's surprising need to protect her, they set out to find a city of gold.

Gabe finds Shannon stranded in a mountain top cave, left to die.

Along the way they find that true treasure is rooted in love

I've asked Mary to share some answers with readers ~ hers and mine ~ she has kindly consented to do so. Read on to get to know more about this gifted author and her latest release ~ DEEP TROUBLE ~

Mary, What made you want to write?
I don't really think of writing as something I do, more like what I AM. I have always written. My school assignments were too long. My letters home to Grandma were LONG. My children's baby books are covered with writing rather than pictures. It's not something I became.

What do you use as inspiration for your books?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. People-watching, playing 'what if' games. Movies, books, TV. Funny things the kids say. It's startling when it hits you, wow, that would make a great book if only. . .

Do you know ahead of time how your books are going to end or what you are going to write about next with the book in a series?
Or, do you just go with the flow and hope it all comes together in the end?
I sort of know because to end the book well, you need to bring it full circle and usually have the hero or heroine or both face up to their deepest fears or greatest failures. And that is often rooted in how you begin your book. So, the beginning creates the ending. And in between the beginning and ending, I just shoot people and have run away stage coaches, and the occasional passionate kiss.

What do you do to keep yourself in the right frame of mind when writing your books?
I enjoy writing so much, I think I'm really low maintenance when it comes to writing. I can get distracted, deal with the distraction, then go right back to the book and pick it up. No frame of mind is required.

What is the ultimate dream you want to conquer with your writing?
My prayer when I am writing is that God will make my words say more than I'm capable of having them say. That I will respect this precious gift I've been given of having my books published and do work worthy of the blessing.

You often write about country girls and historical romance. 
Have you ever considered writing a different genre?
Or ever had ideas for a book of a different genre? 

I have ideas all the time that jump around different genres. Always romance, but not always historical westerns. But I do dearly love them, and that's what's selling now, so I'm going with it. I have a great idea fro a time travel book and a suspense concerning a messed up chat room situation, and another with a cell phone kicking off the trouble. I can't do those in historical westerns. Although the time travel does go back to western times.

How did you come up with the story ~ DEEP TROUBLE ~?
Barbour Publishing was focusing on setting books in fascinating places and I wondered about several cool locations. I set one near Mount Rushmore and that seemed to work well. Researching different ideas, I found a really wonderful book written by a man who hiked the length of the Grand Canyon. I realized how little I knew about that famous place and decided to explore it through my book ~ Deep Trouble ~.

 If you didn't make it as a writer what would you be doing right now?
I'd still be writing. I can't seem to stop. I seriously suspect I'll keep writing until I die whether anyone wants my books or not.

Do any of your characters have a little piece of you in them?
I write really tough, plain spoken frontier women who never get pushed around. That is the exact opposite of me. I think I create characters who are like I WISH I was rather than who I am. I have a pretty good sense of humor but I mostly keep it to myself . . . to the relief of all who know me.

Do any of your characters have resemblance to characters you have crossed paths with in real life?
For the most part, real people are too sane. Sometimes I find someone who gives me a jumping off spot, but I usually have to exaggerate that character until they lose all resemblance to real people.

If you got to be a character in a novel, movie or on television or if you got to write yourself into one of your books; what type of character would you want to be?
What genre would it be in?
Well, since this is fiction, I'd be young and slender and maybe I'd know karate. And I'd like to drive a snazzy car too. And eat all I want without getting fat. Who would that be? Maybe Mrs. Peel on the old Avengers TV show, (not the movie). I really love Belle Tanner in my book - THE HUSBAND TREE. But I know how badly I'd miss air conditioning, so I wouldn't want to be her.

Mary, this has been an amazingly fast interview. I wish you could stick around for longer. I'm also going to be sure to get those other books that are just perking under the surface - sure to come out one of these upcoming months. Thank you, Mary!
Mary Connealy writes fun and lively romantic comedy with cowboys for the Inspirational market.

She is the author of the successful series'


Mary is a Rita Award and Christy Award finalist.
She lives on a ranch in Nebraska with her husband
and has four grown daughters and two spectacular grandchildren (yes, she has pictures available upon request).

Mary can be found at the following sites ~ Doing what else?   Writing, of course!                  



           DRAWING TO BE HELD  MONDAY ~ MAY 16, 2011

Thank you for stopping by! Be sure to check back here and watch your email inbox for winner notification of ~ DEEP TROUBLE ~

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Joy's Heart Was Won ~ by ~ TO WIN HER HEART

I have been privileged to read all three of Karen Witemeyer's books and I've got to tell you the following: THEY GET BETTER AND BETTER AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM

Karen has a way with words that tend to draw me emotionally, intellectually and most of all Spiritually to the characters and I forget I'm reading FICTION.

I am amazed by the depth of her writing, characterizations,

plot and structure

- so wonderfully, easy and yet
a challenging to read.

Karen's work is the style and type that would be appropriate for Young Adults as well as the seasoned or matured adults - notice, I managed to stay away from that dreaded S.C. term.

This is the stuff romance is made of, the story that could easily depict that of one of your own ancestors.

JUNE 14, 2011






Now, I have to let you in on something else that's rather special ~ Karen has agreed to be interviewed by me. Please keep reading and find the author behind this stupendous novel ~

Hello, Karen,

I'm so happy to welcome you to Joy's Joy~Ful Journaling

I'm going to begin by giving my readers a brief biographical sketch;
Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.
Her debut novel, A TAILOR MADE BRIDE, published in 2010 is a 2011 RITA Finalist for BEST FIRST BOOK.
Karen makes her home in Abiliene, TX with her husband and three children.
Karen's second book, HEAD IN THE CLOUDS - published in 2010 soon followed the debut novel and this year Karen's new release, TO WIN HER HEART published in 2011 is another winner in this writer's book.

What inspired you to write TO WIN HER HEART?
Have you ever wished there was an epilogue to Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son? I have. When I decided to write TO WIN HER HEART, one question prompted the plot development: What happens AFTER the father welcomes the prodigal son home? So often we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received, but have you ever asked what life was like for him after the celebration was over? How did he relate to his bitter older brother or the servants and townspeople who were only too aware of his past arrogance and wild living? My story plays on those very questions.

How did this inspiration lead to the development of our characters?
First, I needed a prodigal. Enter my hero, Levi Grant. Raised by godly parents he turns his back on his faith and the blacksmithing trade of his father to prove his manhood and earn easy money through the wild life of a bare-knuckle brawler -- until one day something goes terribly wrong and he ends up in Huntsville state prison serving a two-year sentence. Through the traumatic abuse he suffers in the labor in the labor camps combined with the compassion he receives from the prison chaplain, Levi comes to a place of repentance and rededicates his life to the Lord.

Our heroine, Eden Spencer, fulfills the role of the parable's older brother character. She has been disappointed by men in the past and has little tolerance of those who don't meet her high standards. She cannot abide violence of any kind and believes that elevating young minds through education and exposure to literature will help create a more civilized society. To this purpose, she opens a lending library in her home.

In an effort to make a clean start, Levi hides his past and Eden believes she has finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of the love her battered heart so wants to give. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, our tarnished hero must fight to win back the librarian's affections.

In your research, did you uncover any historical events or information that helped shape your story?
In researching stone quarries, I ran across a tidbit that played a key role in determining time period and setting for my book. In 1881, the Texas state capitol building was destroyed by fire, and the Texas Legislature decided that when they rebuilt, they would use only materials native to the state. They initially chose limestone, as there was a quarry near Austin, but when iron particles in the rock led to discoloration, they elected red granite instead. The granite was obtained from Granite Mountain in 1885, and to cut costs, the state contracted convict labor for breaking the stone. The use of free--or almost free-- convict labor in the quarry, however, was seen as an attempt by the state to undermine the unions and was opposed by virtually every organized labor group in Austin. Hence, word spread throughout the region about the controversial labor force.

This historical event allowed me to supply my hero with quarry experience during his incarceration, but with a project that was so well known for using convict labor, that it could easily expose his past should anyone learn of his involvement. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect scenario.

Are there elements of your own personality that influenced your characters?
I incorporated my love of fiction into both my main characters. Levi accidentally develops a love of literature when he takes a teacher's advice to expand his vocabulary through reading in order to mask his tendency to lisp. Eden, on the other hand, grows to love books because of her relationship with her father. The two of them would often pass and evening discussing plots, themes, and social ramifications of the books they read. It was a tradition she treasured.

I've loved to read my entire life, and part of the appeal was the pleasure I found in imagining myself to be someone else--someone daring, outspoken, and beautiful-- instead of the shy, nerdy girl who would rather eat spinach than talk to someone she didn't know. And like Eden's time with her father, I experienced a similar sharing with my dad, although it was with music instead of books. Dad and I would sit and sing hymns together on the Sunday mornings he was scheduled to lead singing at our church. I loved those mornings. They helped shape who I grew to be. And since I married a man who loves music and leads singing, I followed Eden's pattern by falling love with a man who can share the same things with me that I shared with my dad.

What is the take-away message you want readers to receive after reading your book?
The underlying theme of this book is one of forgiveness and of learning to view others through God's lens instead of our own. Just as Jesus encouraged the Pharisees to only cast a stone if they were without sin, we must learn to set aside our self-righteousness pride in favor of mercy and forgiveness. It is human nature to keep records of wrongs and to view others through our won hurts and prejudices. And while our God is certainly concerned with justice, when one of his children repents, his mercy and forgiveness knows no bounds. We must learn to exhibit the same grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ, extending them the mercy we ourselves would wish to receive. After all, love keeps no record of wrongs.
'Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.'
(1 Peter 4:8)

In a different vein - related to all your writing and not just this particular book:
Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?
I do a little of both. I am a detail-oriented person, so I need to have a clear direction in mind before I set out to write a story. This usually means several weeks of research and brainstorming as I plot. I need to know the inciting incident, the climactic conflict at the end, and a handful of pivotal events along the way. I write out a detailed synopsis that can be anywhere from 5-10 pages, containing not only the main plot points, but key aspects of characterization for my hero and heroine. I do not make extensive outlines, however, or plan out individual chapters. Once I have that general synopsis in place, I type CHAPTER ONE and let the story evolve from there.

Tell us what new projects you're working on.
I'm currently working on my fourth historical romance for Bethany House. The working title is SHORT-STRAW BRIDE. Four brothers draw straws to see who will marry the heroine in this twist on a marriage of convenience story. All Travis Archer cared about was his brothers and his land, but when a good deed goes awry, he's stuck with a bride who endangers both.

One tidbit about the brothers in this story -- they are all named for heroes from the Alamo. Travis is the main character, the next oldest is Crockett, the kid brother is Neill (for the Alamo's commander who missed being at the fight because of a family illness that called him away), and the third brother's given name is Bowie, but he refuses to answer to anything except Jim. I don't blame him. Poor guy. What we authors do to torture our characters.

this has been an eye-opening experience -- meeting you and your characters up close and personal. It's also been enlightening in seeing how your stories come about and are developed. Thank you so much for your kindness and for your forthcoming information about your memories with your own father and how you were able to incorporate that into this wonderful book.

Where can readers find you on the WEB, Karen?
I'd love to have you visit me at my website: www.karenwitemeyer.com I host a monthly giveaway of historical Christian novels from a variety of well-known authors as well as post interesting tidbits about my characters and the research behind their stories.

You can also find me on Facebook. Send me a message sometime. I'd be honored to chat with you.

I'd be honored to be an influencer & reviewer for your next book if I might be so privileged. I have read each of your books and I can honestly tell my readers that each has been such an enjoyment and yet a learning experience that I refuse to give them away -- instead they have a place on my - KEEPER SHELVES - in my own personal library.

Like the character, Eden, in your TO WIN HER HEART, I developed a real love of books and reading through my dad. He would read aloud to my mother after all seven of his children went to bed, and living in a huge old farmhouse the upper story had register gratings open from the lower floor to the upper in order for heat to rise and warm our rooms. It enabled us to hear the westerns and love stories that my parents would read to each other before retiring each night. Something I've never forgotten and have always cherished.

Thank you so very much for coming. I am going to be bringing you and TO WIN HER HEART back the second week in June and will be giving away a copy I purchased for that purpose. I'm keeping mine!

Be sure to get TO WIN HER HEART, and if you want to get one for a gift, come back the second week of June and comment on the SPRING~BLOG~FEST and be entered in the drawing to WIN a copy of TO WIN HER HEART!

Be sure to tell your family and friends about Joy's Joy~Ful Journaling and her