Sunday, December 10, 2017

"You Are Beautiful" by Ashley Reitz

My review...

Have you ever felt you weren’t enough or were overlooked? Unfortunately, it’s a feeling that’s all too common in today’s society, with standards that are often impossible to live up to in many cases.

Reitz is a model, but her book shows that she didn’t live a perfect, problem-free life. She lets the reader see the struggles she faced for years, including weight issues and deep-seated insecurities. In this book, she wants the reader to walk away knowing one thing: You are beautiful!

Reitz addresses a number of topics, including confidence, beauty, a positive body image, and the impossible pursuit of perfection. She wants the reader to listen to what God is saying to them instead of focusing on society’s message.

This book is geared a bit more for teens or young adults, but it contains truths which are relevant for women of any age. Reitz explains biblical confidence, which can only be found in God, and she encourages the reader to put their self-worth in the hands of God vs. other people.

Each chapter ends with a section called “Beauty Box,” which is a summary of the chapter, as well as a time for reflection. The book contains lots of personal stories woven throughout, along with Bible verses and is a quick read, overall. Reitz presents her story in an easy-to-absorb way, and it is full of encouragement, as though listening to a good friend share advice.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the FirstWords Blogger Program. I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

Friday, December 8, 2017

"All Things Now Living" by Rondi Bauer Olson (LitFuse Blog Tour) ... and KINDLE GIVEAWAY!

All Things Now Living Rondi Bauer Olson

While on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle in Rondi Bauer Olson's All Things Now Living. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are. Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer. Time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.

Stay up all night reading this thrilling new book from Rondi and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of All Things Now Living
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 14. The winner will be announced December 15 on the Litfuse blog.

Amy believes that the aegis (an electromagnetic dome) must fall and that anyone living inside is someone who is “less than human” due to gene modification (with pig genes) done in hopes of gaining immunity to the swine flu. After her father disappears, she is left to face dangerous conditions alone. That is, until she meets Daniel, who is a genetically modified elder. He goes against everything she believes, but she must rely on him if she wants to survive and escape the authorities, inside and outside the dome.

The story takes place in a futuristic setting after a plague has hit. There are two different groups of people, and both have very different survival methods, which are based on their religious principles. One group believes their best option is to stay under the dome where they can be protected from disease through experimentation with animal genes. The other group feels it is best to live in the wild.

Let me start by saying that this is the author’s debut novel, and it is the first book in the series. Some parts seem a bit over the top or cliché, and there were some inconsistencies. The romance angle developed way too quickly, and the story, overall, was confusing for me to follow at times. The book starts out a bit slow, but the pace does pick up as the story unfolds. A bit more backstory would have been helpful in some instances. Perhaps some of these issues will be addressed and fixed in the second installment.

As a fan of shows such as Under the Dome, I looked forward to reading this book. The premise seemed interesting and different from what I normally read. I was also intrigued by the fact that this was a Christian YA dystopian. However, it did not quite live up to my expectations.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the LitFuse blogger program. I was not required to leave a positive review.

About the author:

Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Kurt. She has four grown children, works as a nurse, and also owns a gift shop within view of beautiful Lake Superior.
Find out more about Rondi at

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"The Gift of Christmas Past" by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall (LitFuse Blog Tour)

My review...

Hadley had a rough life, including foster care, juvenile lockup, and losing her boyfriend. She is now a speech therapist, doing all she can to help her clients, including Chloe, a young child who was rescued from an apartment fire. Hadley never expected to encounter Monroe, her high school sweetheart.

Monroe has never forgotten what happened between him and Hadley ten years ago. He had listened to his parents and did what they thought was best for everyone. He’s not sure his heart ever agreed, though.

Will Hadley and Monroe be able to work together to reach a breakthrough with Chloe and help her find her voice again? Can he find the closure he has been seeking? Is forgiveness possible when Hadley learns the truth about what really happened all these years ago?

This book is a bit different from most, as the authors are a mother/daughter-in-law duo. Despite having two authors, the storyline flows quite smoothly. The characters are well drawn, and the imagery created is beautiful and, at times, heartbreaking. Love and sacrifice are demonstrated throughout story, making this a wonderful addition to your holiday-reading list. There are some wonderful recipes included at the end, as well.

Disclaimer: I received a compliment recopy as part of the fuse blogger program, but I was not required to leave a positive review.

About the author:
Cindy Woodsmall is the "New York Times" and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She's been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's "Nightline" and the "Wall Street Journal." Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA. 

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book. 

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's something different to try today:

Write about the sights and sounds you might see and hear while Christmas shopping at the mall.

Happy writing!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

"Unshakeable" by Christine Caine

My review...

In today's society, it's easy to feel shaken. This devotional contains Bible verses that remind the reader God is always in control, so there's no need to fear, even in an ever-changing world.

There are 365 devotions. Each one contains a title, verse, message, and prayer, and they are short and to the point, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. Messages seem a bit more geared toward women, and the book is set up for the calendar year. The devotions are relatable motivational, and a great way to begin or end the day.

The book contains an intro section, but no verse index is included. The cover is partially foiled, and the pages are detailed on the edges to coordinate with the cover. There is also a ribbon bookmark. The book is a bit larger than some devotionals I have, but it is still easy to hold and small enough to take with you, if desired. This would make a nice addition to a daily Bible reading plan.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the BookLook Bloggers program, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

"Christy" Giveaway, Blog Tour, and Facebook Live Party (LitFuse)

Christy Catherine Marshall

Some stories are evergreen, their themes and lessons standing the test of time and connecting with readers generation after generation. Reconnect with Catherine Marshall's beloved Christy as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new edition! As nineteen-year-old teacher Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home of Cutter Gap, some see her-and her one-room school-as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove. Yearning to make a difference, will Christy's determination and devotion be enough?

Celebrate the new 50th anniversary edition of Christy by entering to win one of TWO $50 Visa cash cards (details below) and by attending a Facebook Live party on December 5!

TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • One copy of Christy
  • One $50 Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5. The winner will be announced at the Christy Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with authors who've been impacted by Christy and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!

My review...

I watched the show featuring Kellie Martin, but until this time, I’ve never read the book. I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so. This version of the book is in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

This is certainly not a light read, but it is a heartfelt journey the reader will likely find worthwhile (and one they may want to experience on more than one occasion, as well). This book is a tribute to the author’s mother and her journey to Cutter Gap Smoky Mountains (TN) to teach children in a one-room schoolhouse. The author also showcases the challenges her mother faced as a teacher and in life after leaving the comforts of her home is Ashville, NC for poverty-stricken Appalachia. Through it all, Christy’s determination and strong faith shine through.

There is a little bit of everything in this coming-of-age book, including romance and adventure. Historical elements are woven throughout, and they help provide the reader with an inside look at the poverty and struggles faced in Appalachia in the early 1900s. Some scenes are a bit intense and cover some pretty heavy themes, such as rape, abuse, and neglect. For that reason, this book may best be suited for readers 16 and older.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the LitFuse Blogger Program, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

About the author:

Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), The New York Times best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel Christy. Based on the life of her mother, Christy captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in A Man Called Peter. A decade after Dr. Marshall's untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of Guideposts, forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine's enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.
Find out more about Catherine at

Monday Motivation

"Believe you can and you're halfway there."
— Theodore Roosevelt

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Takeover Thursday with Katherine Nelson

I want to extend a warm welcome to Katherine Nelson. She's giving away a hard copy of her book, Escape the Pain to Survive (the first book in her trilogy, The New Waiver). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends December 7, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) Now, here's Katherine...

In preparation for the upcoming release of Between Two Worlds, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about The New Waiver trilogy and re-highlight Book One, Escape the Pain to Survive.

My first literary work, The New Waiver trilogy, is a Christian action/suspense trilogy with a hint of sci-fi and romance. Though the ages of characters portrayed in this story represent a work of YA or NA fiction, the issues they are confronting are applicable to all ages from teen through adult.
I was inspired to write The New Waiver out of my passion to advocate for at-risk youth and military veterans. Far too often, society labels these two classes as hopeless or unable to succeed based upon their circumstances or traumatic events they’ve endured. Through fictional writing, I sought to dispel that myth by presenting the truth, that Christ offers a free chance of Salvation and a purposeful life to everyone, equally. Though the characters are fictional, there is reality behind each. The heroes and heroines of this story are not straight-A students that came from wealthy homes and promising backgrounds. They are young adults who have experienced horrific trauma and challenging pasts.
Whether the reader has personally experienced hurt or trauma or knows someone who has, this story offers far more than just a captivating, suspenseful read. It provides encouragement and hope, leaving the reader with a clear message that no human being should ever be seen as a throwaway or of lesser value. God created us all equal, and no trauma or life circumstance can ever define the unique individuals we were so miraculously designed to be. By Him alone can we find the true depth and measure of our worth and calling in life.

Book One - Escape the Pain to Survive:

Available in paperback and e-book:

Amazon  Paperback:

Amazon Kindle:


Five years ago, The New Waiver Program was founded, offering teens of ages 15 to 17 the opportunity to sign up for a secret military based training project without parental consent. The program provides the perfect opportunity for troubled youth to leave their pasts behind and discover a promising future serving their country . . . or does it?

Seventeen-year-old Sam Jones of Denver, Colorado, escapes an abusive home to join the cause. Already lost and confused, seeking to find her way, she believes nothing could ever compare to the past she left behind. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that with one simple signature, she signed her life and soul away to a living nightmare designed to transform her into a “human killing machine.” Worse, as more dark secrets and mysteries are revealed, it appears clearer than ever that there’s no way out. Haunted by her violent past, the only answers may lie with the one she fears the most . . . a mysterious, faceless tyrant. Will she take a leap of faith and trust before it’s too late? Could that same leap of faith cost her everything?

About Escape the Pain to Survive:

This first book in The New Waiver trilogy provides a captivating story while presenting a number of real world issues. Though free of graphic violence, profanity, and other questionable content, some portions are still a bit violent and/or disturbing. It uniquely clashes the reality of a sin-fallen world with the hope found in salvation through Christ. Written in first person narrative, this story captures the heart and mindset of Sam Jones, a seventeen-year-old girl who endured traumatic violence and abuse throughout her childhood. It's a story of determination, hope, and redemption.

Book Two – Between Two Worlds:


Sam and her accomplices continue their quest to uncover more of the dark secrets within the New Waiver Program. Hiding from the government and fleeing from assassins, their only hope rests in the unlikeliest team of characters: a Pastor, a missionary family, and a mysterious agent in hiding from the world.

Will they find the factual evidence needed to convince a society blinded by deception of the truth that lies behind thirty-three facilities across the country? Will they falter when faced with the more daunting challenge of becoming a team while trusting their leader . . . a scarred young man harboring his own vault of secrets within his mind? 

About Between Two Worlds:

To briefly summarize, Between Two Worlds is the romance of the trilogy with a strong Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) theme. It is a story of faith, forgiveness, and unconditional love in the midst of dangerous and seemingly hopeless circumstances. I am hoping for a release date sometime early next year. For updates on The New Waiver and other projects, check out my website or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: @katherinenelsonauthor
Twitter: @knelsonwriting

About the Author:

Katherine Nelson grew up a curious, homeschooled, preacher’s daughter, always questioning everything about life and wanting more than just scripted answers to the hard questions. She graduated with a B.A. in Mathematical Sciences at age 20 and an M.S. in Applied Mathematics at age 24. Meanwhile, she switched career paths, earning an A.A. in Criminal Justice while pursuing a career in law enforcement. She now is an adjunct instructor for The University of Delaware and a part-time Natural Resources Police Officer for the State of Delaware.

Her real passion in life, far beyond career and education, is ministry. She is member of Cokesbury Church and serves on the missions’ team and praise and worship team. Her husband, a four-year USMC combat veteran, is in the process of becoming a military resilience counselor for the Delaware Army National Guard. Together with their daughter, they are hosting an orphan from Latvia this Christmas and hope to adopt or become foster parents in the near future.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Another Backwards Christmas" by Brooke Williams

Another Backwards Christmas
Author: Brooke Williams

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Rob Joleigh has been burned by Christmas too many times. He takes his freelance writing career seriously and his claim to fame happens to be de-bunking Christmas festivities in towns across America. When he lands in South Pole, Alaska, he has one plan in get to the bottom of the whole 'Backwards Christmas' idea and spoil the holiday for as many people as possible.

Holly Howard knows there's more to life than leading Backwards Christmas tours in South Pole, but she's happy with her job, town, and friends. The only thing missing is someone to share it all with, but in a small town, it's hard to meet new people. When a handsome writer comes into town, she's intrigued, and hopeful that he could be that person. But she has no idea he's the famous "Jolly Robber."

It's not just any Backwards Christmas in South Pole, Alaska as the backwards celebrations rage and the town comes together to show their spirit in full force!

About Brooke...

Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of articles as well as many novels, including Someone Always Loved You and romantic comedies Wrong Place Right Time, Accept this Dandelion, Dandelions on the Road, After the Final Dandelion, Mamarazzi, Backwards Christmas, and The Leftover. She also has two children’s books entitled Shower in the Rain and Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut. Brooke has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morningside College, with a double major in Mass Communications and Religious Studies. She has twelve years of experience in radio broadcasting, both behind the scenes and on-air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a brief time. Brooke and her husband Sean married in 2002 and have two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.

Get details on all of Brooke's releases on her website:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Being and Been

Been is the past participle of the verb to be. It is used with the auxiliary verbs has, have, and had to form the perfect tense. For instance:

  • How long has it been since you had a haircut?
  • She had been studying for a test when the electric went out.
  • How long have you been waiting?

Being is the present participle form of the verb to be. It is used with the auxiliary verbs is, are, was, and were to form the continuous tense. Such as:
  • The dog is being groomed.
  • The song is being sung.

Being is used as a verbal, which is a word that partakes of both a verb and a noun. An example would be:
  • Being alone is sometimes better than being part of a crowd.

Being can also mean "creature" or "existence.

Friday, November 24, 2017

"Secret Christmas Twins" by Lee Tobin McClain ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Lee Tobin McClian has graciously offered to give away a paperback copy of this new release. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends December 2, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) 

A word from Lee...

When I was given the assignment to write a book with the title “Secret Christmas Twins,” I’ll admit, I was concerned. Secret baby stories are very common in romance fiction, and they usually involve a single mom returning to her hometown with a baby or young child who turns out to be the hero’s. But that storyline doesn’t work so well in Christian romance, where the characters usually stay chaste until marriage.

So I had to get a little more creative with my secret baby story. The secret Christmas twins actually belong to the hero’s sister, who’s made many mistakes she’s ashamed of. She doesn’t want her family back at home to know that she had twins out of wedlock, and she fears that if they find out about her boys, they’ll attempt to take custody… especially her brother Jason, who’s just a little bit, shall we say, rigid. For a variety of reasons, she gives her babies to her friend to raise at the family farm she’s part owner of, swearing her friend to secrecy about the babies’ parentage.

You can imagine the tension when the hero turns out to be staying for Christmas at that very family farm where the heroine has taken the babies…

So there’s a serious secret underlying this story. But there are also sleigh rides and Christmas decorations and a dog named Mistletoe! I loved writing this book, and I hope you’ll love reading it.

My review...

Erica Lindholm and twin boys Mikey and Teddy are headed to Holly Creek Farm. Things seem to be going well until she encounters the one person she had hoped not to see, the twins’ uncle, Jason Stephanidis. Jason knows that there is something Erica is not telling him and his family, and as a detective, he is determined to find out what that is. If he learns the truth, it could change everything for everybody. Will Erica receive a holiday miracle or a holiday disaster?

If you’re looking for a quick read to get you in the holiday spirit, this book fits the bill, starting with the adorable cover. There is a solid cast of supporting characters, and they are realistic in their struggles with trust and forgiveness. The storyline makes it easy to see God’s work at hand. The author’s writing style is smooth, and plot points blend together nicely to create a satisfying ending.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

About Lee...

Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author Lee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. When she’s not writing emotional love stories, she's probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University's MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's something different to try today:

The very mystery of him caused her to...

Happy writing!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Motivation

"If I waited for perfection, I'd never write a word."
— Margaret Atwood

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Verb Tense

Verb tense is a detail that should be considered before starting your story, as it determines the level of intimacy between the reader and the characters in your book. When verb tense is inconsistent, it jars the reader out of the story. Here are the two most common verb tenses used in fiction:

  1.  Present tense: This includes verbs such as "I want," "she goes," and "we meet." When combined with first-person POV, a greater intimacy is created. This is commonly used in young adult and contemporary adult novels. Some readers feel that using the present tense is a bit too much, but it can be very effective if done correctly.
  2. Past tense: These words are formatted to show that the action took place in the past, such as "I went," "he knew," and "we danced." The story could still take place in the present. Only the verbs are different. By using past tense, there is a bit more space between the characters and the readers, and many readers find this preferable. It is the default choice for many authors.

Monday, November 13, 2017

"A Moment to Breathe" devotional

My review...

I love devotionals, so I was excited to have the chance to review this one. The topic immediately caught my eye: 365 devotions that meet you in your everyday mess.

This book would be a wonderful addition to daily Bible study for women of all ages who looking for a moment to breathe. (In fact, the devotions provide you with that moment to just take a breath and listen to what God has to say.) The devotions are written by numerous women. The format is: title, Bible verse, message, and prayer/reflection question. Many of the women are familiar names in the Christian industry, such as Renee Swope, Emily P. Freeman, Kristen Strong, Ann Swindell, and Lisa-Jo Baker. The personal stories will likely be relatable for many women.

One thing that makes this book a bit different from other devotionals is that it does not specify a calendar day for each devotion. Therefore, the reader can easily start at any time of the year instead of feeling the need to wait until January 1st. It also contains a ribbon bookmark. Each message is short, no more than a page, so it only takes a few minutes to read and get encouraged. It is a small book, so it would be easy to travel with, as well. The one thing that did surprise me was that all of the devotions did not necessarily center around what I believed to be the topic of the book, taking a moment to breathe. However, I still found them useful and relevant, for the most part.
At the end of the book is a list of the contributing authors/bios/devotions written, as well as a Scripture index.

A few of my favorite quotes include:

·       “Store up grace — for yourself and others — by treasuring the truth and beauty that’s found in God’s Word.”

·       “Do you ever wish for a billboard sign to point you in the right direction? Open His Word and seek Him there. Because He promises you’ll find Him when you seek Him with all of your heart.”

·       “Can you look over your life and see a closed door that eventually led to something more beautiful than you imagined? Tell Him how grateful you are for the way He moves in ways, often unseen, on your behalf.”

·       “Whatever unforeseen delay you may encounter today or this week, see it as a gift, a chance to listen, to lean in and hear Him calling you to Himself.”

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the B&H/Lifeway blogger program. I was not required to leave a positive review.

Friday, November 10, 2017

"God Bless the Broken Road" by Jennifer Dornbush ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Jennifer Dornbush has graciously offered to give away a paperback copy of this new release. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends November 17, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) 

God Bless the Broken Road is a heartwarming story about a grieving army widow who finds her way back to her daughter, her faith, and a new love. Amber Hill never imagined she would find herself a war widow and single mom. She feels robbed and is angry at God, and she doesn’t know how to help her nine-year-old daughter Bree through her grief. Where, Amber wonders, are the Sunday dinners, the picnics, the bike rides, the time together they should be enjoying as a family? Instead, Amber is left with a folded flag and an empty heart.

Cody Jackson has a death wish. Or at least that is what his manager thinks, as Cody pushes his race car and his luck in every race. Is he hiding something, or just daring God and other racers to end the path of destruction he finds himself on as he rounds the last turn? When Cody encourages Bree to join in a Derby car race for local youth, she finds a way to channel her grief into something good—and she likes that her mom and Cody are starting to become friends—or maybe something more.

Cody invites Amber and Bree to see him race, but as they watch Cody narrowly escape a devastating crash, she realizes she can’t lose another person in her life. It’s better to be alone than feel that type of grief again. But when Amber hits rock-bottom, she cries out to God and asks for help. With her faith, her life, her family, and her heart hanging in the balance, Amber is forced to decide between the broken road she knows so well and trusting that God will provide a new path.  Based on the Rascal Flatts song, God Bless the Broken Road is a moving, heart-stirring story about the power of faith to change a life. 

The movie version is coming 2018.

What inspired this novel?
God Bless the Broken Road (GBBR) actually began as a feature film script three years ago. My friend and director, Harold Cronk, who is best known for the God’s Not Dead movies, called me one fine summer evening. He pitched me the seed of the idea and asked what I thought. I said I thought it sounded like a solid story. And then he asked if I wanted to write it with him. Of course, I said yes.

We finished the first draft of the script on Christmas Eve, 2014. Over the course of the next year we refined it while the producers rallied the funds. In the spring of 2016 Harold shot God Bless the Broken Road.

A few months earlier, as we finished the script version, I talked with the producers about penning a novel version. They thought it would be a great idea. So my agent, Julie Gwinn, put a pitch together, and while we were filming, I quickly wrote the first three chapters. Within two weeks Julie had procured a couple contracts. We happily chose Simon & Schuster. I spent last summer scribing the novel, and here it is a year later.  The film version is also “in the can” as we say and will be releasing in 2018.

What do you hope your readers take away from this novel?
 When we were writing the script, the top two takeaways we kept in mind were first, that God is always with us, even if we don’t feel like He is or aren’t seeking Him actively. He is always there, and He is always providing us with amazing blessings, even when/if we don’t acknowledge them. One of the keys to healing and hope on our broken roads is to turn our gaze to Him so that we can start to recognize Him along the path. When we turn to Him and humble ourselves, He can start to guide us and shape our brokenness into blessing.

The second takeaway that was important to us as we wrote this story is community. My signature hash tag is #ConnectContributeBelong. I’m huge on the importance of building actual, physical community (not just having virtual community). We don’t have to travel our broken roads alone. God has given us friends and family to lean on for support and encouragement. This can make a huge difference when we are going through trying times. I think so many people suffer from depression and suicide because they think they are alone. Mother Theresa said the greatest poverty we have today is the feeling of loneliness because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

So many people feel like this. They feel alone. They feel that no one understands or cares what they are going through. What a travesty. It’s so simple to be there for someone. You don’t have to be a professional counselor or therapist to help someone heal from a wounding. Sometimes the very best thing is to just to take a moment from your day to pause, listen, and lend a hug or word of encouragement.

On the flip side, if you are traveling a broken road it can be difficult to let people in to your pain. We see this in GBBR in the character of Amber, who lost her husband in Afghanistan. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and ask for help. But here’s the secret … people love you and want to help you and be there for you. Amber eventually hits bottom in order to find this out and finally surrenders. It’s at that moment when her life starts to really find hope and redemption. 

Needing to be loved and cared for is not a sign of weakness. It’s the way we humans need to relate to one another to build real and lasting communities.  By the way, building community this deep requires that you get off social media, look up from your phone, and have actual human contact! Just sayin’….

GBBR Audiobook link:

GBBR Movie Trailer link:

Where you can find Jennifer online:

Author Website:

Facebook: Jennifer Graeser Dornbush

Instagram: Jennifer Dornbush

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