Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas With The Rogers ~ By Martha Rogers

Christmas at the Rogers’ Home
By Martha Rogers

Hosting a holiday party can be fun or a dreaded chore. We may cringe and immediately worry that we can’t pull it all together and be a gracious hostess.  The secret is a loving heart and hands.

Whether hosting a luncheon, family dinner, or an open house, have a plan. Three things must be considered. First consider the date and number of guests, then plan the menu and third the decorations. 

After deciding these three things, work out your schedule so as much as possible can be done before the day of the event. Most of us have our homes decorated for Christmas, so we don’t have to go to extra trouble for that. The Dollar Store can be your best friend for paper goods and table decorations, or use your best China and silver for a more festive time if you have the time for the extra clean-up. 

A home doesn’t have to elaborate, expensive, or professionally decorated to be warm and inviting for guests. Let the things you enjoy express the warmth of your heart. Leave family photos on display as well as your favorite accessories. Your friends will be relaxed and in good spirits in a home that expresses the personality of its owner. Here’s an example of one of my tables at a Christmas at my annual Christmas luncheon for friends from church.

Here are a few pictures of our home at Christmas. 

The dinner table is always festive

 I have a Nutcracker collection that began when 
I bought one in Germany about twenty years ago. 

 The music box collection began when my husband gave me one for Christmas when we were first married. Our tree is an eclectic collection of ornaments from all the years we’ve been married and include many from our grandchildren.

The music box on the far left end with the little Christmas tree is the first one my husband bought me on our first Christmas after the birth of our son.

I enjoy giving food such as Cranberry Nut Bread, Pralines, and Chocolate Pecan Clusters as gifts each year. I’ve included the recipes for the Pralines and Pecan Clusters. (Martha tells me these aren't recipes she normally shares, but has decided she wants to see the tradition of these live on through others - I personally can hardly wait to try them tomorrow - Monday - as I bake for our own Christmas celebrations.)

Hope you find time to try them out and enjoy them.

Creamy Pecan Pralines
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 ½ cups pecans

Combine sugars and milk in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and heat to 232’ on a candy thermometer or until a small amount forms a soft ball in ice water.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Beat until smooth slightly cooled and thickened. Be careful not to let it get too thick. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. If mixture does begin to get thick, add a bit of HOT water and stir into mixture then continue dropping onto
waxed paper. If it doesn’t thicken, return to heat and cook a few more minutes, checking temperature carefully. (I’ve never had to do this, but I’ve had to add hot water lots of times.)

Chocolate Pecan Clusters
1 12 oz bag dark chocolate chips
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
1 ½ to 2 cups pecan halves

Melt chocolate chips in microwave or in top of double boiler. Stir in the Eagle Brand milk until mixture smooth and creamy. Stir in pecans.
Drop by spoonfuls into mini-muffin liners and refrigerate to harden. Makes 75 or so candies.

Thank you for joining Martha and me this week for her Book Review and Author Feature.


 Leave a comment about your favorite Christmas memory - with your email address. . .Drawing is MONDAY NIGHT!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Homeward Jouney ~ Martha Rogers

Martha Rogers has done it AGAIN! A story that with the strength of history fueling her stories and that creative spark that brings this series to live and makes the reader keep turning pages until the third story is finished. Excellent novels with more than believable heroes and heroines.     
Book One ~ LOVE STAYS TRUE ~ Opens in  Woodville, Mississippi ~ April 4, 1865

The day following  the surrender at Appomattox, Manfred McDaniel Whteman and his brother Edward are released in an exchange of prisoners. They are given a few provisions, and they begin a long journey to their home in Bayou Sara, Louisiana.

At home, Sallie Dyer is awaiting word of her beloved Manfred.Though just a young girl when Manfred left, Sallie has grown into a caring young woman who is determined to wait for her love-despite her father's worries that she is wasting her life on someone who may never come home.

On their journey Manfred and his brother encounter storms and thieves and are even thrown in jail. Will he make the journey home before someone else claims Sallie's hand?

 Book Two ~ LOVE FINDS FAITH ~ opens in Stoney Creek, Texas ~ June 1977 (12 years later)

Hannah Dyer has just moved to Texas to help her bother-in-law in his medical practice. Despite having one leg much shorter than the other, she is a great nurse whose skills help make the practice the most successful in the area.

When Micah Gordon returns home after some shady escapades, his father hopes he will settle down to ranch life. Hannah is smitten by his good looks and roguish ways, but because of her leg, she has no hopes of attacking his attention.

After Micah suffers a tragic loss, he loses his faith and almost loses his ranch. Can Hannah's care and staunch faith help him recover and find new hope, new faith, and new love?

Book Three ~ LOVE NEVER FAILS ~ Opens in Stoney Creek, Texas ~ June 1888 (13 years later)

Molly has finished school and returns home to teach. When old friends of parents visit with their son, Stefan Elliot, Molly is quickly attracted to him. Stefan talks about his position in the army and his furlough, but keeps his attraction to Molly at bay because of her obvious disdain toward his views on war and weapons.

When Stefan leaves to rejoin his regiment, Molly is both relieved and saddened. Yet when Stefan returns home from war because of a disfiguring injury, it is up to Molly to bring him back from depression. Will they depend on God and find love that knows no limitations?
Here is your chance to win a copy of LOVE NEVER FAILS.
Enter the drawing by leaving a comment for Martha about your favorite Christmas memory. . .Drawing for LOVE NEVER FAILS will take place on Monday night ~ Dec 22, 2014. 
Winner will be announced HERE at Journeys To Joy and via email if COMMENTS INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Join Journeys To Joy later this week for CHRISTMAS WITH THE ROGERS ~ Martha is going to be sharing gorgeous pictures of decorating with some amazing collectibles and color.
Martha is also sharing TWO BEST KEPT SECRET RECIPES with my followers!

Monday, November 17, 2014

DAY 7 ~ STRANDED ~ Interviews With The Authors' Helpers

If you've not seen the beginning of this week's post ~ check out DAY ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, and SIX first and come back to this.  Worth your time, I promise.

Don and Stephanie Prichard

A Marine Corps reservist sets sail on an anniversary cruise with his wife but ends up shipwrecked and bereaved on an uninhabited jungle island where he must protect the lives of three other survivors, unaware that one of them is responsible for his wife’s death.

 DAY Seven ~ November 17 ~ Interviews With The Helpers:

Dr. Betty Ray

AUTHOR: Dr. Ray, you supplied valuable medical advice for the book. What kinds of medical challenges did the castaways face on the island?

DR. RAY: Dehydration, diarrhea, sunburn, immersion foot, snake bites, wounds from animal attacks, knife and pistol wounds, land mine explosions, infections, shock—that pretty well covers it. Survival was an intense struggle for them.

AUTHOR: I guess so! What did you like about Stranded?

DR. RAY: Initially I read short isolated passages in the book relating to medical issues and wasn’t that impressed. Then you gave me the privilege of reading the entire book and it sprang to life. I was enthralled. I didn’t want to put it down. Catastrophe followed catastrophe but in a very believable way. It was so exciting I hurried through to find out what would happen next. Then I read the book a second time but much more slowly. What a wealth of detail I had missed in my eagerness to see what would happen next! This is an extraordinary adventure story with many thoughtful treasures waiting to be discovered and pondered along the way. 

AUTHOR: The book would have had a few gaping wounds without your medical intervention, Dr. Ray. Thank you for all your advice, both on the medical front and with other insights as well. Your enthusiasm for the book has us walking on clouds!

Brenda Bryant Anderson

AUTHOR: We met Brenda at Don’s and my very first writers’ conference and were fortunate to form a critiquing partnership with her a few years later. In fact, Brenda taught me more about writing than any class or workshop or person. Big hug to you, Brenda!

This year you published your debut novel and a prequel to it. What are their titles and what else is coming up?

BRENDA: Chain of Mercy came out in September. That's book 1 of the Coming Home series. The prequel, Pieces of Granite, released on November 11. Two additional books in the series, Memory Box Secrets and Finding Home will come out in 2015.

AUTHOR: Brenda, you’ve been very patient and flexible working with my sporadic schedule over the years. What did you particularly like about Stranded?

BRENDA: There are a number of things I love about Stranded, but one of my favorite

elements is the true-to-life detailing. The book is obviously written by someone with military and post-Vietnam era knowledge. And it's those little details that give the story depth and believability.

Besides that, I love the characters. Since the book is written by a husband-wife team, the reader gets a more authentic feel for the female and male protagonists than books written solely by a man or woman. Another plus of having you two as co-authors is that the story appeals across gender.

And then there's the story that you don't want to put down, which made critiquing difficult. I always wanted more!

AUTHOR: Thank you. All I can say is that your critiquing was an amazing help, and Don and I can’t thank you enough! Readers, be sure to check Brenda out at

Natalie Hanemann

AUTHOR: Natalie is a former fiction acquisition editor for Thomas Nelson Publishers, who "retired" to face the full-time challenge of raising four lively children. She now does freelance editing, so we hired her to do two edits for our finished manuscript: a developmental edit and a line edit. Natalie, please explain the difference between the two edits.

NATALIE: A developmental edit looks at the story from a more broad perspective, examining the overall plot (does the story hold together, does it resonate, is there enough tension to hold our attention, do we care about what's happening), characters (do we relate to them, do they grow, are they dimensional, are there too many, too few), themes (spiritual growth, shown in multiple ways). 

A line edit happens once the story is intact and we're done slashing and adding. This is a much closer examination of the story. At this stage, I cut extraneous sentences, trim redundant words, clarify murky sentences, fix grammar, align the text to match CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) standards . . . along with a thousand other little things.  

AUTHOR: Natalie's advice on the developmental edit helped us make several significant changes, while her eagle-eye on the line edit saved us from--oh my!--many embarrassing errors. Pats on the back weren't lacking either. With her permission, here's a taste of the encouraging comments she wrote in her editorial letter to us:

"Your level of research and detail really makes this story sing. I enjoyed experiencing island life in all its glory (or gore!). The four characters of Jake, Eve, Betty, and Crystal were unique, relatable, and easy to visualize. No one will ever say, after reading this book, that you have cardboard characters! You have a true talent for developing characters.

Another obvious talent that was evident was your ability to maintain tension in the manuscript. You would raise us up to a moment of extreme stress and then let us recover, just like the characters did."

AUTHOR: Natalie, your edits were a blessing to us--sort of like the cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae that brought it to completion--and we thank you for your excellent help! Writers, you can check Natalie's website at or email her at


CHECK DAY ONE'S POST to find out how to win this e-book or get an exchange for another on Amazon. . .DRAWING TO BE HELD TONIGHT ~ After 10PM

Last opportunity to enter drawing ~ SEE BELOW DIVIDER ~ POST A COMMENT  ~

~ Thank you coming to Journeys To Joy for this special week with this great couple ~