You could be a winner!

You could be the winner of this ebook, Second Opinion by Hannah Alexander.

To enter: just comment on this Book Blast in the comment boxes below or send a comment to this address: DebBrammer@gmail.com.

I will choose a winner to receive this ebook at random from all my Book Blast readers who comment in the next three days (before August 10, 2022.)

In my May Book Blast, I gave away Private Justice by Terri Blackstock. The winner was Anna K.  You can see who this month’s winner is in my next Book Blast and read more about Second Opinion at the end of this Book Blast.

Coming September 22, 2022!

This is an exciting time for me! I’ve just finished writing Give It a Go, Book 2 in my New Beginnings series. I should get it back from the proofreader in about a week. Then pre-launch readers will take a look at it after that. I’ll make final changes. On September 22, 2022, I’ll launch it and it will be available to buy as an ebook. Though I’m done with the basic writing, I have many tasks to complete before September 22.

All three books in this series feature Americans partnering with New Zealanders in church planting ministries. I really enjoyed writing this book because the situation really made me think. What would it be like for a non-missionary widow, about fifty, to date a missionary pastor who had lost his wife? What kind of changes would she have to make if the relationship ended in marriage?

 

Pastor Greg needs a new wife, but how can he begin to date when he lives in the goldfish bowl of a mission church, ten thousand miles away from his home in America?

Two years after the death of his beloved wife, Greg finds being a single pastor creates a lot of problems. When a married woman misreads his intentions, Greg feels the Lord leading him to look for a new wife.

Jennifer is happy with her life and job in America and glad to live close to her children and grandchildren. When MacKenzie suggests Jennifer take a puppet team to New Zealand, Jennifer suspects a matchmaking scheme and responds with a definite “uh uh.” No way is she going to fly to New Zealand to throw herself at a missionary pastor she respects him too highly to consider dating. Or is dating even possible in their situation?

When the compelling nature of the mission trip calls to Jennifer, however, she agrees to go, to pass new skills on to mission churches—and nothing else! When Greg asks the unthinkable, will she be willing to give the idea a go, trusting God to lead her down a different path, not knowing where it will lead?

Pre-launch Readers Wanted!

Do you love reading Christian contemporary fiction? Would you enjoy taking part in the publishing process? If your answer is “Yes!” you might want to become one of my pre-launch readers.

Pre-launch readers read a book before it is released so that they can help the author in several ways. Right now, I’m looking for three kinds of pre-launch readers.

  • Review builder (AKA ARC reader): They prepare reviews of my book ahead of publication to post a few days before launch day.
  • Feedback reader (AKA beta reader): They give feedback to me to improve my writing.
  • Buzz group (AKA street team): They share posts and memes during my book launch with social media.

You choose what level of involvement you have in my launch. If it all looks like fun, you can do all three.

Review builders agree to read my book by September 15. (They should receive it by August 16.) They are encouraged, but not required, to post a review of the book at an online bookstore (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, or Rakuten Kobo) in the week prior to launch day (September 15 to 22.) A review can be as simple as a couple sentences stating what you liked or didn’t like about the book. As an independent author, I greatly appreciate every honest review. If a person really doesn’t enjoy the book and can’t think of anything good to say about it, she is free to bow out, but a review builder shouldn’t feel pressured to give a certain star rating or feel she can only give positive remarks. If you choose to be a review builder, I will guide you to the information you need.

Feedback readers agree to read my book by September 6. (They should receive it by August 16.) They give me feedback about various aspects of the book. A feedback reader is not a proof reader or an editor or even a writer. A feedback reader is someone who reads a book like an average reader and helps the author know what works and what doesn’t. The author considers the comments of her beta readers, considering what changes can be made to make the book stronger before submitting the final form for publication.

 After you read the ebook, you would share your viewpoint as a reader. I’d give you some questions you might want to answer and you could comment on anything in the book that you like or don’t like. When I receive your comments, I would gather comments from all my feedback readers and consider making changes to make the book stronger. I promise to consider the suggestions you make, but I may not make all the changes you suggest or explain my reasoning. If several feedback readers mention the same concerns, I’ll know I need to make changes in those areas.

Buzz group members would agree to share at least some of the posts I share at launch time. This would include memes and posts that show what my book is about and give buy links. I never pressure people to buy my books and buzz group members get to choose which posts they share. At present, I primarily post on Facebook.

 If you choose to be my pre-launch reader, you would receive these benefits:

  • You’d get the first peek at my new book
  • You’d be able to take part in the writing process
  • I would acknowledge you in the book
  • I would gift you the published ebook when it comes out
  • I would send you a small gift to thank you for your participation

If you are interested in becoming one of my Pre-launch readers, please email me at this address: artdebbrammer@gmail.com . I will send you a letter that will give you more details.

Special offer in my next Book Blast:

I will offer Short Poppies, Book 1 in New Beginnings, at one quarter of the regular price! That gives you a chance to read Book 1 before Book 2 comes out.

 Now for the free drawing of Second Opinion by Hannah Alexander.

And the winner is …  It could be you! All you have to do to enter the draw is to leave a comment in one of the comment boxes below or write to me at this address: DebBrammer@gmail.com .

Here’s my review of Second Opinion, #1 in Healing Touch series:

Archer Pierce is the single pastor of Dogwood Springs Baptist Church and also serves as chaplain to the ER department of the local hospital. Lauren McCaffrey is a caring nurse in the ER. Grant Sheldon, a father of twin teenagers, has recently lost his wife, and is struggling to come to terms with her death. This small-town series brings caring church members and caring hospital staff into contact with a hurting community. It deals realistically with church and medical issues and explores the path from romance to marriage with Christian singles who want to please the Lord. I’ve just read this series for the third time and enjoyed this distinctively Christian novel just as much as ever.

I highly recommend this book and this series.

Celebrating Matariki (Maori New Year) as a Christian

Now that Matariki (the Maori New Year) has become a public holiday in New Zealand, Christians need to be discerning about how they celebrate it. Matariki emphasizes stargazing and family, good things, but as this article points out, the roots of this holiday point to Maori gods. Though many Kiwis find meaning in life from these Maori legends, Christians need to recognize these beings as false gods, an affront to the true God in heaven.  We need to find life’s meaning in the God of the Bible.

If you wish to celebrate Matariki, here are some good ways to do it.

  • Study the stars which God made.
  • Remember that these stars, the Pleiades, were in place when Job 9:9 and Job 38:31were written some 4000 years ago. Thank God for the accuracy of Scripture.
  • Consider Isaiah 40:26 and rejoice in the way God sustains nature, calling out the stars each night.
  • Celebrate the family God has given you and recognize God’s goodness in establishing the family from the beginning of creation.

For more about Maori creation stories see my blog about a parent or teacher’s response to them.

Instant winner!

I will choose a winner at random from the first five readers to comment on this Book Blast in the comment boxes below. You can see who the winner is and read more about Private Justice at the end of this Book Blast.

In Private Justice, firefighters and police take risks every day just by showing up for work. These risks bleed into their personal lives when their wives are targeted for murder. Terri Blackstock writes a very suspenseful novel dealing with characters in these occupations just doing their job.

 Real Life Suspense

 Suspense novels usually deal with situations where life and death are at stake. In real life, most people take other kinds of risk. For the Christian, risks are part of the life of faith.

Since my husband and I are missionaries, we’re often invited home to dinner with the pastor of a supporting church. One particular time we were meeting a pastor for the first time. He seemed to be in his early sixties but when we arrived, he and his wife seemed to be unsure about how to serve the dinner. They kept asking each other questions that most couples their age don’t have to ask. They had hardly any pictures hanging on their walls, which seemed a bit odd as well. Then we found out they had only been married two weeks and we were the first guests to be served in their home!

That got me thinking. Sometimes a missionary wife dies and her husband finds he really needs to remarry. How would a missionary in his fifties go about dating someone in his home country which he only visited during short furloughs? And what would it be like for a woman who had never been in fulltime ministry to consider a relationship with a veteran missionary?

These days, while I experience the ups and downs of ministry during Covid and approach retirement age in our ministry, I’m making my fictional characters take risks as well. Since Christmas I’ve been working on the second draft of Give It a Go and pushing my fictional character, Jennifer Titus, into a bungy jump of faith. She has to ask God if he is leading her away from her comfortable life into a new direction. She learns God sometimes leads us away from the well-worn paths that keep us comfortable, into new paths that stretch our faith.

At present I’m about 75% of the way through my second draft. After that comes a final polish and edit, sending it to my proofreader and beta readers, making final changes, and then publication. While I hope to publish it later in the year, Covid continues to change the plans we make. At this point we’re hoping to take a furlough that’s overdue by about two years. I’ve learned I have to be flexible, sometimes changing my life to fit Plan B or C or D.

How about you?

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could see even five years ahead in your future? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make plans and decisions, to get some certainty in your life?

 I often feel this way. Lately I’ve been challenged by this quote from Elisabeth Elliot: “There is no grace for your imagination.” My friend, Donna Hart, who lives with ALS every day, continues this quote with her words: “God never promises grace for my desperate peering into the future, when He has told me to concentrate only on today. But God does promise sufficient, overflowing, abundant grace for every real moment of my life, for every trial He leads me through.”

May God give you peace in the struggle you may be facing today, when you want to walk by sight but God asks you to walk by faith.

Here are five inspirational true stories of Christian woman who learned to walk by faith. They had to overcome hardship by trusting God in difficult circumstances. Their stories can encourage us when we face obstacles in our own faith journeys.

Now for the free drawing.

And the winner is … Anna K.

Here’s my review of Private Justice by Terri Blackwell #1 in Newpointe 911 series:

When someone seems intent on murdering the wives of firefighters, Mark Branning has to figure out how to keep his wife alive while his marriage is slowly dying. This book was well written and suspenseful. I especially appreciated the Christian emphasis in this book: the importance of a personal relationship with Christ and regular worship at a local church, daily feeding on God’s word, the dangers of alcohol, and the importance of building your marriage.

This series presents a community of firefighters and police in the town of Newpointe, Louisiana. Many of these characters are also connected to a church whose pastor is a firefighter. I love the community spirit these portray and have given 5*’s to most of them. I highly recommend this series.

 

 

Have you ever:

  • planned a lesson for kids only to see it fall apart when you actually presented it?
  • lost a co-worker when you needed them the most?
  • struggled to back a trailer into a tight space?
  • felt the magic of a sudden open door to sharing an important spiritual truth with someone?
  • struggled to work under someone else’s leadership?
  • had a close friend who encouraged you in ministry?
  • watched a promising new convert break your heart with an unwise decision?
  • served as a cook or dishwasher for camp?
  • wondered if your ministry was a failure?
  • severely embarrassed yourself while preaching a sermon or giving a lesson?

These are very common occurrences when you are involved in small church ministry. My husband and I have been in mission ministries for more than 40 years. We know what it’s like to keep putting one foot ahead of the other even when we weren’t always sure what the Lord was doing through our ministry.

I am just releasing a new novel about young single adults facing some of these same things in ministry. Short Poppies is first in this series about Americans partnering with New Zealanders in church planting ministry. If you’re in ministry I believe you’ll find that some part of this book will resonate with you. This book has light-hearted moments but also deals with serious issues in ministry. And the ebook is just in time for Christmas!

Buy it on Kindle.

Buy it at other online stores.

Though we all struggle from time to time, we need to remember that it’s a privilege to be in ministry. When we are working hard, doing our best at what we feel God is leading us to do, we can know that God is working through us whether or not we can see results. 1 Corinthians 15:58 gives us this precious promise: My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Wherever you are today, may you have a blessed Christmas as you minister to others and celebrate on your own.

Instant winner!

Being a subscriber to Deb’s Book Blast automatically qualifies you to be in the draw to win the Kindle version of Looking into You by Chris Fabry. I’ll announce the winner at the end of this Book Blast.

Our international trip during Covid

 Recently my husband and I left Invercargill, New Zealand, where we live and minister, to go to the States for his mother’s memorial service. All of his mom’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren attended the service. It was not only the celebration of the spiritual heritage she left behind, but also a great family reunion. During those four weeks in the States I was also able to visit all my siblings. It was great to see family who had come from all across the States for these two reunions and God did extra things for us during that time.

God helped us overcome many obstacles to make this travel possible. New Zealand, a country of about 5 million people who live on land about the same size as Colorado, has exercised strict Covid restrictions with the pandemic since the beginning. These restrictions have been very effective. Since March 2020, we’ve only had about four thousand confirmed and probable cases of Covid. Most of these came from a recent spike in numbers. Most New Zealanders live on two islands, which also helps keep Covid under control. But these results are partly due to very strict border control. As a result, at this time travel is expensive and complicated. God helped us get through many challenging obstacles to allow us to travel during Covid. Here are some of the obstacles:

  • We couldn’t bring a pastoral couple to fill in for us outside New Zealand borders.
  • We had to find a flight from the US back to NZ that linked to a MIQ voucher. (A reserved spot in special facilities to remain isolated in for two weeks.) This obstacle is huge all by itself.
  • Though Covid jabs weren’t mandatory, we felt we needed them for travel and the schedule for them in our town was filled up until after we needed to leave.
  • Covid added thousands of dollars of expenses to our trip.
  • When we got out of MIQ there were no flights to Invercargill for eight days.

One by one God helped us past these obstacles. We are so thankful.

During managed isolation we were only allowed out of our rooms for a bit of exercise several times a day. The rest of the time we were in our motel room. Meals were dropped in front of our door three times daily. Some found this isolation very trying, but Art and I enjoyed our time together. We had plenty of time to read. I read Looking into You during our travels or isolation. I also spent much of these two weeks working on my book, Short Poppies, which I hope to publish by the end of the year.

How are you doing?

During our recent visit, it seemed like many Americans had largely forgotten about Covid and were living pretty much as normal. Others, of course, have lost jobs or loved ones. Some churches have special struggles. Covid means people around us may be scared, angry, confused, worried, or resentful. As friends and neighbors experience pandemic fatigue, we can be the kind faces (even if masked) and cheery voices that make their day a bit brighter.

Here is a meme to remind us of this. Feel free to copy it and post it in the social network you like to use. I’ve posted two versions which can be used in a portrait or landscape orientation. Or you can pin it to a Pinterest Board.

A Song about God’s goodness during dark days

You may have heard of Ron and Shelly Hamilton. Ron has written hundreds of songs and hymns and cantatas. Shelly wrote the music for many of these songs. They are probably the foremost couple in composing, performing and publishing conservative Christian songs.

As a boy, Jonathan, their son, was the voice of Pee Wee Pirate on the Patch the Pirate audio tapes. During college a medication for acne triggered a clinical depression Jonathan never came out of. He was an outspoken Christian and wrote beautiful music, but on Mother’s Day in 2013 he took his life. During the dark days following his death, his family commissioned a songwriter to write lyrics to a tune Jonathan had written. It is a powerful testimony of God’s goodness in difficult times. I’m hoping this song, “You Are Always Good,” will encourage you as it has me.

Now for the free drawing.

I have randomly picked several winners from my subscribers list to receive the Kindle version of Looking into You by Chris Fabry.

And the winner could be … you! This time I’ve picked several winners from my list, but none of them were able to get back to me. As a result, I will chose the first person to get back to me as the winner of this drawing. The second to get back to me will be the winner of the next drawing. All you have to do is send these words to this address: artdebbrammer@gmail.com. The words are: I have read your Book Blast and want to go into the drawing for a free book. The winners will be announced as soon as they reply.

My review of Looking into You:

Paige Redwine is haunted by a choice she made when she was only seventeen. Now a well-respected English teacher, she finds the baby she gave up for adoption is a student in one of her classes. She must choose between keeping silent about the past or revealing herself to her daughter and risking her reputation as a teacher. Fabry gives a personal and intimate look into the lives of the birth mom and her daughter and the choices they must make. Though several things seemed a bit unrealistic I did enjoy this book for the personal look it gave into giving up a baby to adoption. I don’t give 5 stars to many books, but I did for this one.