Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Are You A Star? By Staci Stallings ~ With a SPECIAL announcement

Welcome to Journeys To Joy, Staci.

Are You a Star?
Our world today is obsessed with stars–celebrities who make a lot of money, gain a lot of fame, or otherwise dominate the chitter-chatter of masses.  Many of us wish, even if fleetingly, that we could be a star, but most will never attain that “level” of “success.”
I found, however, a different and probably more important way to be a star this weekend.  So if you’re interested or have ever thought it would be nice to be a star, here’s your chance!
Not sure where this thought came from other than “up there,” but I was thinking about how a year or so ago, my sister compared me to the Magi.  I believe I wrote about that at the time–how she said I was a Magi because I was always looking for signs that would point me to God.  I thought that was really cool at the time.  This weekend, I had cause while thinking about that, to look just a little higher into the story.
I happened to be at my hometown church, which is always good for a few hundred incredible insights into life, and at my hometown, they have this HUGE creche inside the church.  The trees are as tall as live trees, decked out in white lights with this star above it.  Of course, Mary and Joseph have the Baby Jesus lying in a manger underneath.  This year I had cause to think about that star.  The one so long ago.  The one that was there, shining in the night, guiding the Wisemen to the place where Jesus was.
You may have heard the saying, “Wisemen still search for Him.”  Wise men still look for stars, just as I was those years ago when my sister dubbed me a Magi.  But what about that star?  Maybe it had a story too.
Now, I know, stars don’t have feelings and thoughts.  They are put in the sky for a time by God, and for their time, they shine, then they burn out and disappear.  (A bit like us, don’t you think?) But consider what if… what if… that little star so long ago DID have feelings and thoughts.  What would they have been, since that little star was SO far away from the action and burned for much longer than most of us celebrate Christmas (at least a year by most accounts)?
It might have gone something like this, “This is pointless.  I mean, when I first got here, it was fun, dancing around and everything.  But now, all I do is shine and shine and shine in the middle of all of this darkness, and what has it gotten me?  Burned fingertips that’s all.  I’m not even making a difference.  Look at all this darkness.  It’s still here.  I look out there, and there are other stars.  Sure most aren’t as bright as me, but they aren’t doing much good either.  I mean, look at ALL of this darkness.  We can never hope to overcome it.  What’s the point?  Maybe I should just tell God I’m a failure and go home.  I mean, how long can He expect me to keep this shining thing up?  I’ve been out here night after night after night, and nothing.  Sure, I heard the choirs of angels singing a couple times at first, but they haven’t done that in months.  Now I’m just out here, all alone, shining for no one to even see.  In fact, I bet those people down there on the earth don’t even know I’m here anymore…”
That’s the way we get, isn’t it?
Discouraged.  Tired.  Thinking whatever we’re doing is so meaningless as to be pointless.
We don’t often see and understand the real difference we are making… or could be making in the lives of others.
We don’t see those three Kings looking at our light and following our light to the Presence of Jesus in the world.  So sometimes we’re tempted to give up, to go home, to tell God it’s too hard.  But maybe we should take a few lessons from that little star about how to be a real star in this world.
First, the star recognized the Presence of Jesus, and the Presence of Jesus lit up the star’s life.  Do we recognize the Presence of Jesus in our lives, or do we slog through the day with our head down and our bodies on auto-pilot, trying to just get to the end of the day or the end of the week?  There is a better way.  FIND the Presence of Jesus all around you and inside of you.  Be a Magi.  Look for it.  The star found it and wanted to tell the world.
Second, let His light shine through you.  That little star had the first burst of excitement, but after that, it needed God’s power to stay lit.  Let God’s power light your life as well.
Next, remember that you never know who your light is leading.  I guarantee you, no matter who you are or where you are, someone is paying attention to your light and your life.  They are watching how you live and taking their cue from that.  It may be someone you don’t even know.  When people walk into your office, do you smile and greet them happily?  Or do you grumble and wish they would go away and let you get some work done?  There are wisemen and women out there, looking for someone to point them the right direction.  Is that person you?
Are you a star?
You can be, but you have to recognize the possibility and then act on it.  And when you get discouraged, always remember, just like that little star, God put you here for a reason.  You may not know what that reason is, but I challenge you to shine as best you can and let God work out the details you can’t even see.  The star did, and because of that, we still sing about that little star today.  To me, that’s worth remembering!
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2009


  ~ COWBOY ~ 


Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only...
December 4 & 5:
 "One of the most gripping contemporary romances I've read in the past three years."  
--Michelle Sutton, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope until one night, he walks away from everything...
Available today as a free download from Amazon!

I've read this - it is very good and you don't want to miss getting it for free!  Joy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stepping Stones by Karlene Jacobsen

I want to welcome Karlene Jacobsen to my blog this week.
Karlene and I had a prayer partnership going for the 21 days leading to our state ACFW Fall Conference. She had a book to pitch as did I and we encouraged each other each day as we had also committed to praying at noon for one another. GOD IS SO SO GOOD - we were both asked for our work for further examination by agents and editors - PRAISE THE LORD.

She gave this to me at our state conference and at the time we discussed me publishing it on my blog she had no idea of another critical STEP to yet another STONE she'd be taking in her life.
The day after our state conference Karlene got news her mother had just been diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer - PLEASE BE IN PRAYER FOR KARLENE AND HER MOTHER! 
Thank you - 

I've asked Karlene's permission to post her "letter to me" on this blog - it may be a source of encouragement to others as it has been to me.

 Allow me to present ~

 Stepping Stones by~

Karlene Jacobsen~       


 ACFW Great Lakes Chapter (Michigan)  


       As I’ve prayed for the conference, you, (Joy)  and each member of the GLC, I thought about the opposition everyone faces. I find it as no coincidence that many are facing health, family, or financial trials. AND this week it seems to be at its worst with you given that pain you’ve been in. 

     While considering these struggles, two words came up: Stepping Stones. I’ve pondered those words. Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone. The Israelite leaders were to choose 12 stones from the Jordan and carry them out of the river when they crossed into Canaan. Stones were either used as a memorial to what God had done, or to punish sin.  

Here’s what my take is: the Jordan represents opposition. It was at flood stage when the Israelites crossed. The priests were directed to step into the river, AND THEN God pushed the waters back for the nation to cross. For me, this means we are to (at times) take a step into that thing we think will overwhelm us and send us sputtering for air—and perhaps drown us—before we see God’s provision. BUT AS WE DO, He’ll make a way for our crossing into the promise. We are to take those stones to be memorials concerning God’s faithfulness. Those stones might (to me) look like certain devastation financially√† but God provided; health disaster√†but God came through; discouragement√†but God sent His word …  
See where I’m going?  
We should NEVER forget the struggle (those are the stones). Those stones are (if put in proper perspective) to remind us of God’s faithfulness. They’re set in our lives so we can tell those who come after us of God’s wondrous love, mercy, and steadfast provision in our lives. That when the enemy comes to destroy us, we called unto God and He came to our rescue. Whatever that rescue looks like to each of us is God-designed, specifically for our personality and purpose.  
These stones might not bleed into our stories, BUT THEY ARE PART of our story—who we are, how compassion, passion, and love seep into every letter, every word, every chapter, between every cover of our stories. 
These stones then become stepping stones, aiding our climb up into God’s arms, so we can rest our cheek against His chest and listen to His heartbeat. 

Don't think this hasn't been running through my mind many times since the conference, Karls. For every time God has used it to remind me of HIS FAITHFULNESS - I should be sending you thank you notes. ')

I appreciate the time it took for you to write this to me!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

What's In A Name?

One of my favorite parts to writing a novel is to choose the characters. Giving them names and especially the main characters. The meanings behind the names are important to me as well.

I have an upcoming novel - 
book 3 in my Contemporary Women's Fiction Trilogy -
and among the characters are two little ones.




 The three year-old is a girl.

 The unborn child is of unknown gender at this point.

Mom's name is Melanie Marie Taylor          Dad's name is David Lee Taylor


1) You need to give me a girl's full name  (F, M, L) without using any of the parent's name or derivatives of their names with the exception of the last name. ':)

2) You may choose the gender of the unborn child and give me a full name (F, M, L) without using any of the parent's name or derivatives of their names with the exception of the last name. ':D

3) Leave a comment with the your contact info (username(at)server(dot)com or net
and you'll be entered one time in the drawing for a book

4) Become a Follower and leave a comment as above in no. 3 and you'll be entered TWICE in the drawing for a book.


Thank you for participating and let the NAMES BEGIN!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

A Horse With No Name ~ Make That Three~


This is for a HISTORICAL ROMANCE NOVEL - Keep that in mind when you choose a name.


 Kalamazoo County ~ Michigan

A) Hero's horse ~ Young Stallion
B) Heroine's horse~ Young gelding

C) Heroine's Father's horse ~ Gelding

The name ~ CHARGER~ is taken by a different character not allowed again.

IF you already are a follower of my blog ~
    Leave a comment ~ Name one horse
    I will enter your name/the horse's name ONCE
IF you are NOT a follower of my blog ~
     Become one ~
     Leave a comment  ~ Name one horse
     I will enter your name/the horse's name TWICE 

WINNERS (3) receive a historical romance novel 
Be sure to leave your name with the name of the horse or loose eligibility 
DRAWING - Monday evening - Sept. 17, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Pooch Needing A Name

Hello, Readers/Followers;
This is a post of a different type.

A dog in need of a name ~

My story takes place in the 1860's - my story family and their dog have traveled from the Philadelphia, area to a farmstead in southwest lower Michigan.

Leave a comment with the name you think I should use and I'll enter your name in the drawing for Monday ~ 
September 03, 2012 ~ LABOR DAY evening.

Become a follower, leave a comment with the name you think I should use and I'll enter your name TWICE in the drawing for Monday ~ September 03, 2012 ~ LABOR DAY evening.

Winners receive one of two Historical Romance Novel - of my choosing. Two opportunities to win. I will be choosing from TWO names that get drawn.

The dog you'll be trying to name is a Border Collie ~
Companion to my main character ~ Merribeth
Herder of cattle
Thinks he/she's a hunter of small game
Keeps the property secure

~ Have fun ~ 
Can't wait to see what you come up with ~ and who wins!


thereby - also choosing the gender

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Surprise Posting ~ Two-book-give-away~

Front Cover BOOK ONE: Mary Connealy's IN TOO DEEP ~ book 2 of her The Kincaid Brides Series ~  

 Another success for Mary. What a writer.

Ethan - one of three brothers - has agreed to a marriage of convenience - are those EVER really convenient? Find out if this one works the way they THINK it should.
Another GOOD opportunity to be entertained and challenged as a reader.
You'll also want to get her first book in this series. OUT OF CONTROL and she's since seen her third book in the series released, OVER THE EDGE~all three are very very good books.


BOOK TWO:   Karen Witemeyer's SHORT STRAW BRIDE ~

     What a great read. The heroine finds herself in a very precarious position.
http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/images/cover_straw.jpg          ~ HUMOR ~ TENSION ~ CONFLICT ~ GREAT CHARACTERS ~ SUPER SPIRITUAL CONTENT~
     What more does a reader need to be entertained and/or challenged.



1) IF you are a follower ~ leave a comment and get your name in the drawing for one of these books.

2) IF you are NOT a current follower ~ JOIN the group of followers AND leave a comment and get your name placed in the drawing TWICE for one of these books.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is There Such A Thing As ALMOST AMISH?

READ this delightful book recently released by Kathryn Cushman ~ ALMOST AMISH ~ and find out whether or not there IS such a thing!

Kathryn (Katie) Cushman has written a tale that will give those who love Amish Fiction something to THINK  about.

I don't want to give the story away but let's just say - modern meets simple and sparks fly upward!

If that doesn't whet your appetite - suffice it to say - more than one person learns something about REAL LIFE and TRUE LVIING in this terrific story.

Kathryn has written scenes that trigger the senses - HOT summer nights - NO running water - NO indoor plumbing - oh yes - Woodburning cookstoves - INSIDE in this heat and humidity - try washing your clothes with a HAND wringer washer (I have- have you?)

If you're living in a drought-stricken area as I am this summer - this book will have you believing YOU ARE LIVING ALMOST AMISH!

Thanks, Katie, for writing such a good story and for allowing me to promote it here at Journeys To Joy

Let us know when the next one is out - I'll be sure to tell all about it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

~ Joy Takes Flight ~

Join me in welcoming BONNIE LEON to Journeys To Joy

Bonnie Leon is the author of nineteen novels, including the recently released Joy Takes Flight, book three in the Alaskan Skies series, the popular Sydney Cover series and the bestselling Journey of Eleven Moons. 
She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Congratulations on your new book release, Joy Takes Flight. This is the third book in your Alaskan Skies series. It tells the story of Kate Evans, a woman works as a bush pilot in Alaska during the 1930’s and Paul Anderson a mystery man who lives in the bush and works alongside Kate as a doctor who travels from village to village in the Alaskan bush.

1.       Can you tell us a little about yourself--where you live, what your day to day
 life is like, and what you enjoy most about your life?

It’s a pleasure to be included in this week’s blog.  Thank you for your invitation.

Thirty-two years ago, when my husband and I were young, we decided to leave the Seattle area to raise our family in the foothills of the southern Cascade Mountains in Southern Oregon. We bought five acres in the forest, built our own home and settled in. The house grew, along with our family. These days, my husband and I live in a home attached to the original house. Our youngest daughter and her family live right next door.  I love that! Our small farm includes two dogs, twenty chickens, a small orchard and a big garden. This fall, we hope to add a couple of calves.

I love country living. When I write I leave my office window open so I can hear the breeze rustling through the trees, birds singing, and the music of my wind chimes. Often, when I take a break I discover deer grazing in the fields around my home. This time of year there are a lot of fawns. I’ve never gotten over how adorable they are.

Nearly every day I’m working on a writing project, creating new scenes or doing research. Also, it’s important to connect with readers and friends so I visit facebook and twitter often as well as blog three times a week.  I do my best to keep up, but sometimes I find myself working into the wee hours of the morning.
It’s baseball season here, and two of my grandchildren play, so I’m at the baseball field several times a week. I love to watch the kids play. And if it isn’t baseball it’s something else—motorcycles, football, wrestling and school programs. And  I think we may be adding ballet soon. One of my favorite things in life is spending time with my grandchildren. They bring me so much joy.  God has blessed me with a wonderful husband (married 42 years), three children and seven grandchildren.

2.       Your latest book, Joy Takes Flight, just released. Can you tell us a little about it?
Joy Takes Flight is the third and final book in the Alaskan Skies series. In book one, Kate is haunted by the death of her best friend and is driven by a desire to prove herself to be a first rate pilot, so she chooses a career over marriage. She moves to Alaska where she fights to build a reputation as one of the best bush pilots in the Alaskan wilderness, not an easy accomplishment for a woman, especially in the 1930’s.

Kate thinks she has everything figured out until she falls in love with a mysterious man who lives in the bush. Her plans for a career are in jeopardy--how can she be a wife and mother and still fly the Alaskan wilderness?

3.       How did you come up with the idea for a book about a woman bush pilot?

My mother grew up in Alaska. Many of those years, she lived on a remote homestead. She had many tales to tell and often they included the bush pilots who made sure her family received their mail and supplies and even transportation on a rare occasion.  She always spoke highly of the pilots. To this day, she remembers them with admiration and fondness. They were oftentimes her family’s only connection with the outside world.

One day, while reading one of several books my mother had given me about Alaskan bush pilots, I got to thinking about their stories. They were courageous. Many of them died. And being a woman, my mind went to the special challenges a female pilot would face.  It was a natural for my type of book—adventure, conflict and romance. The next thing I knew, I was imagining Kate’s story.

4.       In book one of this series, Kate walked away from marriage in search of a career as a bush pilot.  When she falls in love she questions her choice. How can she marry, have a family and work as a pilot?  Many women in our culture are living this balancing act. How about you? How did you resolve it?
When my husband and I chose to have children we decided the best fit for our family would be for me to stay home and be a full time mother. It wasn’t a difficult decision for me. I loved the idea, and to this day the years I spent raising my children were the best years of my life. 
I realize the decision I made is not for everyone and there are many women who would love to stay home to care for their families, but aren’t able to do so. I do believe families benefit when there’s a full time homemaker. Life runs more smoothly and parents are not so worn out by working away from home and then working at home.  Some husband/wife teams manage to do both well, but it’s not easy.
No matter what decision is made, raising a family requires planning, sharing responsibilities and lots of love.

5.       With the Alaskan Skies series wrapped up, what are you working on now?

I’ve stepped into a new genre, for now. I’m working on two books simultaneously. One is a true story that I’m writing as a memoir, though it’s not my personal story. After reading some of my books, a native woman who grew up in Alaska asked me to write her story. We sat down together and she shared her story with me. I knew it was a story I wanted to write. It’s powerful.

My other project is a contemporary novel made up of characters who face unique challenges.  They set off together to challenge themselves, but they receive more than they ever hoped or dreamed of. 

I haven’t given up on historical romance. I’ll be back. I’ve got lots of stories in my head waiting to be told.

 Thank you, Bonnie, for coming by and introducing  ~JOY TAKES FLIGHT~

I can honestly recommend this book to my readers/followers. A good read ~ well written ~ strong characters ~ and wonderful series of three.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chameleon By Jillian Kent - Book Review

CHAMELEON by Jillian Kent

                        I looked forward to reading CHAMELEON after having the privilege of reading Jillian Kent’s first book, SECRETS OF THE HEART.
                        Ms. Kent has written a story worth the read but I warn you, it’s going be the book you won’t be able to put down long enough to fix meals or go to bed.
                        CHAMELEON can be read as a stand-alone novel BUT I firmly recommend you read SECRETS OF THE HEART first. You won’t regret reading either one.
                        Jillian Kent has the ability to immerse one in the atmosphere of the day. Her knowledge of the era lends realism to the fiction of the story. She’s mastered techniques that put you into the characters heads and hearts.
                        The mystery of CHAMELEON surprised me. Foreshadowing is an art, Jilian Kent writes with expertise.
                        Reward yourself with CHAMELEON a real prize for your “keeper” shelves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Shadows Fall ~ Tina Pinson

RELEASED May 1, 2012


The Civil War rages, and Rebekah fights to keep her world intact. Loss and sorrow seeps into her heart. Her sights on Oregon, she prays New Eden will be a place of peace for her and her son.  A refuge. She travels to Missouri to start her journey and is denied the
opportunity to join the train. (A wagon train)

Matthew battles his way through the war thinking of Rebekah, planning to help her west.
He fears his biggest battle lies ahead.
Will Rebekah open up her heart and allow him to be the one to hold her when The Shadows Fall?

I've taken the liberty of placing the following excerpt from something author, Tina Pinson has in the very beginning of her book. This is an exceptional premise to the story, WHEN SHADOWS FALL;

"Life is a mixture of joys and sorrows,
Where darkness and light mingle to cast shadows upon  your soul.
These shadows, often fleeting, touch us far deeper than their hazy essence ever deemed possible. . ."
 ~ Rebekah Cavanaugh ~ April 1864

There is more to that but I want YOU to read it with the book. 
This book is a MUST read! BUT be prepared because you won't be satisfied until you have the second book, Shadowed Dreams in your library when it's released in November 2012 as well.

Tina Pinson has done an amazing job entwining historical facts and fiction without sacrificing either the story or the realistic.

I have to admit, I tend to skirt Civil War stories due to the horrific pain of war those of the North and South both suffered, often with brothers actually fighting brothers over a cause that left scars on slaves and free alike.
This story gripped me and had me turning pages without a sense of time, I was so caught up in Rebekah's plight and her courageous strength I didn't pay attention to the fact I was at the end of book one until it was there.

I really didn't want the story to end. I was ready to continue on into Shadowed Dreams but Tina tells me I have to wait until November.

To purchase Tina Pinson's  BOOK ONE - WHEN SHADOWS FALL Go to:

http://www.stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-289/Shadows-Book-One-cin- -When/Detail.bok

You will NOT be disappointed with the purchase of this book - just remember, I've warned you ~ You WILL want to read Books Two and Three as well ~ SHADOWED DREAMS ~ TO CATCH A SHADOW~

Let me tell you a bit about author ~  TINA PINSON
Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, AZ with her husband of thirty+ years, Danny.

She started her first novel in elementary school. Loves other creative outlets like writing poetry, songs, or stories and drawing. She had four years of journalism, a half year of college, including a Creative Writing class. She also took  a fourteen-month correspondence course through The Writer's Institute. For the last few years, Tina has been involved with American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW.

Tina has several other books, two of which were published through Desert Breeze Publishers and many book retailers like: Amazon.com, Christianbooks, and Barnes and Noble.

Shadowed Dreams and To Catch a Shadow, the next installments of the Shadow Series, the continuing story of Matthew and Rebekah, will be available through Desert Breeze in November 2010 and May 2013.

Tina is working on; Tamed by Mercy, a sequel to Touched by Mercy, (published through Desert Breeze Publishers) among others.

This author's walk with the Lord and writing are cohesive. Some of her stories deal with hard issues of life. She is not afraid to take people through the issues and lead them to the Lord. She feels that is what God has called her to do.

Be sure to check in at Tina's website: http://www.tinapinson.com

You won't regret reading the work of this excellent writer!