Friday, December 12, 2014

Silver Bells by Deborah Raney

Deborah Raney’s wholesome Summerside Press novel takes the reader back to winter in the early 1970s.  A young woman, Michelle Penn, has decided to take a job and an apartment to become independent. She has moved on from a past heartbreak or has she?
Robert Merrick III was a popular student when he and Michelle attended high school together. Their paths had never really crossed…before now. Will Rob find the courage to pursue his deepest desires?
Deborah Raney has authored more than twenty-five books! She has won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Reader’s Choice Award, Silver Angel, and has twice been a Christy award finalist. She also wrote a book, which became a movie called A Vow to Cherish.  I’ve not had the pleasure to see it yet, but I’ve heard that it is a must-see!

Hush now…don’t tell a soul, but I’m sort of a child from the ‘70s. A little later in the ‘70s of course, but I remember the songs and the small town coziness that most of us may long for and which Deb has captured in this novel. I loved the diverse characters and the roles they play in this sweet novel. I enjoyed this read so much that I laughed aloud several times! Silver Bells is a fun, enjoyable read that touches on some very serious issues. If you are old enough to have lived through the ‘70s this is a nice stroll down memory lane. I suggest that Silver Bells rings with promise and would make a wonderful Christmas present for someone on your gift list.

1.     Deb, how did you come up with this story?

Parts of it are MY story. Simply because, as you mentioned, it’s set in the ‘70s when I grew up. But also, I share some of Michelle’s history: I grew up on a farm, attended Kansas State University, worked in a small-town newspaper office, and in more recent years, have worked with homeless or struggling young moms and their families through volunteering in a homeless shelter.

2.    These characters are very different from one another making their interactions fun. Did you model them from any people that you know?

In my first two or three books, most of my characters looked the same—they were ME! But I quickly realized that if I was going to be writing for more than a few books, I would need to learn how to create unique characters for each book. So for the last eighteen years or so, my characters are created “from scratch.” I can’t really explain how that happens. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, and my characters seem to just develop as I write the story.

3.    Do you use Briggs and Meyers for your character’s development?

I have played with those kind of character development tools in the past, along with filling out character trait sheets, or using real people I know. But my seat-of-the-pants tendencies make it more natural for my characters to simply form and grow as the story does.

4.    Is Bristol, Kansas a real place or did you make it up?
I rarely write about real towns, simply because if I have my characters eating at the Hitchin’ Post Cafe, by the time my book releases, the Hitchin’ Post may have closed down. Also, in small towns like those I set my  novels in, there is only one mayor, one principal, one postmaster, one bank president, so writing about those characters in your novel, could get you in trouble with the real life counterparts. I do usually set my fictional small towns near a real larger city. My characters might travel to Wichita or Salina, or Cape Girardeau, etc. to give readers some context, but my small towns are always fictional.

5.    I could imagine another romance coming from this Christian Romance story and these characters…but the readers will have to read your novel to see if they can figure out whom I mean! Do you have a sequel in mind?

Ha! I almost always have MORE to the story than the reader will ever see. I have several novels I’d love to write sequels to, but a sequel is largely determined by my other contracts (ie., by the time I fulfill my contracts, it might be too late for a sequel), by who owns the rights to the book and whether they are willing to publish a sequel, and of course, by how well the first book sold. In the case of Silver Bells, the publisher, Summerside Press, was bought by Guideposts shortly after my book came out.

6.    What ways do you wish for your readers to contact you?

I very much enjoyed learning about Deb’s involvement with struggling young mothers  and volunteering in a homeless shelter. Her struggling character rang true as I read about this lady and her situation. Deb is offering a give away! You only have to leave an email in a post so that you may be considered. I will not sell your email or address information to marketing agencies. This offer only applies to United States addresses.Thank you Deb for a very positive interview and for a lovely and entertaining story…one that matters. 

The winner will be announced on Monday, December 29! Let the posting begin! 

The Christmas Story in 40 Days - Author interview and book give away!

Devotions by Chris Loehmer Kincaid

Greetings all,
I have in my hand Chris Loehmer Kincaid’s—Life Sentence Publishing LLC devotional, The Christmas Story in 40 Days. This devotional provides some unique qualities for the reader. First off, have you ever considered the early life of Jesus before—especially in devotion style? Well Chris has in an enjoyable, easy to read fashion. The Bible quotes are from the The Message:The Bible in Contemporary Language by NavPress.
In addition to Chris’s down to earth—sitting across from you with a cup of coffee approach—she provides a place for the reader to share their thoughts, If they want to! The lines of space after the devotion are roomy and easy to write in, so that the reader can capture their first reaction to the scripture and Chris’s comments. Yes, this is a delightful addition to the usual devotional set-up.

The Christmas Story in 40 Days would make a nice gift for Christmas or birthdays. It definitely shares a warmth and glow that can only come from someone who truly and devoutly loves the Lord with her whole heart. Thank you, Chris, for sharing these wonderful thoughts and kingdom building glimpses. 

1. Chris when did you start working on this devotion? 
 I love answering this question! Back in the fall of 2008 both of my children were away at college and I wanted to send them something to help them prepare for the Christmas season. I started looking for a book that would tell the Christmas story in language that they would understand and learn from. I thought, there must be a devotional out there that would fit the bill. When I found no such book, I decided, why don't I write a daily devotion and email it to them. I counted the days on the calendar; 41 days until Christmas. Perfect! I would write a Bible verse and add my thoughts to it each day and then email it to my children and a few friends. That was the start of The Christmas Story in 40 Days. It went through many revisions since then and many of the passages are not recognizable from those first ones I emailed out years ago. Even though it is a short book, I have not been able to pull off writing a book in 40 days since then. But when I am really stumped as to what to write, God guides my fingers across the keyboard until I have written what he intends me to.

2. Your blogs(The Dino Chronicles and writing what i can when i can ) are so refreshing and I see you maintain that friendly conversational expression in this devotion collection.  Where do you come up with the time to work on all of these?
 I listen to my co-workers talk about what happened on The Bachelor the night before or who they think should win Dancing with Stars or how bad the Monday night football game was, and I ask myself, is that all you have to do with your evenings? There are so many other things to do with one's time. And I spend my spare time in my home office, writing, blogging, researching and quite often just plain surfing the internet. In addition to my writing and working full-time in a medical clinic, I mentor a local kinship girl, sponsor a Compassion child, write to my church's college students, and am the vice chairman for my daughter's nonprofit organization, Tumaini Volunteers. Earlier this fall I wrote my church's children's Christmas program and for the month of December am working on pulling that all together. I don't share all this to brag, I share it so that others will realize that, yes, there are enough hours in the day, you just need to prioritize. And for me, that is doing what helps others the most. 

3. Do you have plans for more devotions in the future?
  I'm glad you asked. My publisher, Life Sentence Publishing, released the e-book version of my second devotional on December 9 and the paperback version should be available after December 15. "The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days" is the second book in the 40 day devotional series. This new book shares the life of Jesus from just after he is born until he is a 12-year-old. You may have guessed that more books are the horizon. I have the verses chosen for the third book; I hope to start writing on it in earnest after the first of the year. 

4. What are your other publications and plans for publications?
My first book, "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven", is a memoir of my first trip to Africa in 2006. It was also published by Life Sentence Publishing. This fall I finished writing a novel which was inspired by experiences in Kenya and the love I have for the people there. 

5. How can your readers connect with you?  Or purchase your books?
You can purchase my books through, Barnes and Noble or Life Sentence Publishing. You can also send me a personal email and I can mail you a signed copy. My email address is You can also connect with me via my Facebook page, ; my website,, ; or my blog,

The good news is that this is also a book give away! 
What we need is for the readers to post their contact info (email) so that Chris or I can inform them that they have won a book and get their address so that it can be sent to them. The winner's email and address will not be sold to marketing agencies. Now Chris, which book do you wish to give away to the person who is fortunate enough to win one?

I will offer a copy of either book, "The Christmas Story in 40 Days" or the newest book, "The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days", which ever the lucky winner would like.

Excellent! Now you all have the information you need. I always look forward to finding out who the lucky winner will be! Monday December 29th we will announce the winner! Let the comments begin!