Enter for a chance to win a prize pack inspired by my novella, Bookishly Ever After, in the Timeless Love Collection!
-Jesus and Coffee mug
-$10 Starbucks giftcard
-framed inspirational graphic
-Paperback copies of The Esther Paradigm, Finders Keepers, and All of You
Welcome to the “Kiss or Miss” Scavenger Hunt.
Journey through all eight stops, following the order in the schedule. Each stop will include two or three clue words in red. Collect them all and enter to win our grand prize at the final stop on February 17th on Crystal's site.
Along each stop, you’ll get to meet an awesome author friend, read a super fun excerpt from one of their favorite kiss-or-miss scenes, and enter some sweet giveaways.
Here Are the Deets: Scavenger Hunt Schedule: February 13th through the 17th.
Once you have all the words, arrange them in order to complete the mystery quote and enter it at the final stop of the event on Crystal’s site, 2/17.
Grand Prize: A paperback from each participating author, as shown in the image below.
Ready to Dive in? Follow the blog hop order below:
Stop 1 - 2/13/17: Crystal’s blog, featuring Pepper Basham
Stop 2 - 2/13/17: Pepper’s blog, featuring Stacy Claflin
Stop 3 - 2/14/17: Stacy’s blog, featuring Juliette Duncan
Stop 4 - 2/14/17: Juliette's blog, featuring Sarah Monzon
Stop 5 - 2/15/17: Sarah’s blog, featuring Jessica Patch
Stop 6 - 2/15/17: Jessica’s blog, featuring Melanie Snitker
Stop 7 - 2/16/17: Melanie’s blog, featuring Melissa Tagg
Stop 8 - 2/16/17: Melissa’s blog, featuring Crystal Walton
Stop 9 - 2/17/17: Crystal's blog, final entry
Stop #5 Featuring Jessica Patch
Today's guest is the wonderful Jessica Patch!
Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. Her passion to see women’s faith grow into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ compels her to draw out biblical truths through flawed but redeemable characters in fiction. She’s the author of the Seasons of Hope series, several Love Inspired Suspense novels, including Fatal Reunion, Protective Duty, and Concealed Identity, and a contributing author on Everyday with Jesus, a devotional releasing in April 2017 from Guideposts. She enjoys laughing with her husband, bingeing on Netflix with her teenage daughter, and winning at UNO with her son. You can connect with Jessica at her website:www.jessicarpatch.com
Thank you so much, Sarah, for hosting me today. I’m super excited to be sharing Seasons of Hope with y’all! This book is the full series, so you’re actually getting four stories not just one!
If you’re a fan of Hallmark movies, including Christmas movies, then you’ll enjoy reading this series.
Rather than give you cookie-cutter characters, I’ve chosen a cast that face real-to-life situations and have relatable flaws. Here’s a peek!
Welcome to the small town of Mistletoe, where hope blooms in every season. Sometimes love is discovered with the most unexpected person. Grace is lavished upon the least deserving. Forgiveness is granted to the flawed. And mercy is poured out on the heartbroken.
**For those on mobile that can't see the red words they are "than" and "face".
Ready for Stop #6? Did you collect your clue words in red above? Jot them down and hop over to Jessica’s blog for the next set of clues, goodies, and more.
Before You Go
For a chance to win an ebook of Just the Way You Are, let me know whether you think this excerpt from Just the Way You Are (book 2) ends in a kiss or a miss.
Gabe turned Audrey toward him and framed her face. “He made the choice to leave. You didn’t do that. Don’t you dare blame yourself for breaking up your family. He couldn’t handle his grief. He left. You did this.” He pointed to the flowers. “You did this. Audrey,” he whispered and cradled her against him. “Can I pray for you?”
She nodded and he prayed—his words like a garden of sweetness and beauty; it moved her to fresh tears even through the wave of comfort that covered her like a glorious summer day.
“Amen,” he murmured. “Tell me you’ll come back to church Sunday. Tell me you’ll sit in the front row again. I liked it.”
“You did?” She swiped under her eyes. “I admit I did, too, until Dotty’s butt dial.” She sighed. If every day could feel this peaceful. At this moment she had a confidence that most days she lacked. Not necessarily because of Gabe—though he was definitely a big part. But God had really poured out the peace until she felt content. Able. Ready to face something new. “You’ve been so good for this church…for…the community.” For her. “I just wanted to show you an extra measure of support, and I was going to bake cookies but Eden reminded me I can’t, so…”
“You wanted to bake me cookies?” His voice caught, and he ran his thumb across her cheek bone.
“Chocolate chip,” she murmured. She licked her lips as a delightful shiver raced through her veins in anticipation. Could pastors even kiss? Like did they even know how? She inched closer. “Do you like chocolate chip cookies?”
“My favorite,” he whispered…
Okay, tell me what you think? Enter either “Kiss” or “Miss” and your email address in the comments below to enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of Just the Way You Are.
Second Chances. If we're honest, they're not only something we want. They're something we need . . . most every day. A fresh start. A do-over. A chance to learn from our mistakes and seize the opportunities we missed in the past. There's something intrinsically beautiful and redemptive about seeing that theme come to life on the pages of a compelling romance, isn't there? With the start of a brand new year, we can't think of a better time to celebrate that theme than a sale and giveaway of some of our favorite second chance romances. Sales, Gift Cards, and Giveaways! Each day, Jan 16-20th, one author will be highlighting a clean romance we've put on sale for you this week. Be sure to visit each author's website and Facebook page to catch every deal, see what each author's giving away, and enter the grand giveaway of five signed paperbacks! Day 1: Melanie Snitker - Join her at https://facebook.com/melaniedsnitker Day 2: Stacy Clafin - Join her at https://facebook.com/stacy.claflin.author Day 3: Crystal Walton - Join her at https://facebook.com/crystalwaltonwrites Day 4: Kris Noorman - Join her at https://facebook.com/bykristanoorman Day 5: Sarah Monzon - Join her at https://facebook.com/sarahmonzonwrites Don't miss out on the giveaways each author will be offering. And enter the grand giveaway below for your chance to take home five signed paperbacks!
Today's Feature – The Isaac Project
Buy e-book here for only $0.99!
Becky Sawyer’s life unravels in a single day. Not only does she catch her boyfriend, the man she hoped to marry, lip-locked with another woman, she also receives the gut-wrenching news that her grandfather, the man who raised her, is dying. His last wish? To see her happily married. Heartbroken, Becky seeks inspiration in the pages of the Holy Scriptures. And finds it in the story of Isaac and Rebekah. If love couldn't keep his parents together, Luke Masterson wonders what will make a marriage last. He decides to steer clear of all women—especially crazy ones like Becky Sawyer, who employs a friend to find her a husband. But when he feels the dogged promptings of the Holy Spirit to move across the country and marry a complete stranger, it seems love has little to do with it anyway. With commitment their only foundation, and love constantly thwarted, can an arranged marriage find happiness in the twenty-first century?
I'm so excited to have you visit my little corner of the web and enter this amazing giveaway! The Issac Project is a contemporary story inspired by the Biblical account of Rebekah and Isaac. This, my debut book, was loads of fun to write and I have been blown away by the response it has gotten. My mind has been perculating on writing more books like this--contemporary Biblical retellings. What Biblical story would YOU be interested in reading an "inspired by" account of? Answer in the comments for your chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Five-Paperback Giveaway Love clean romances? For a chance to win five paperbacks from authors: Stacy Clafin, Sarah Monzon, Krista Noorman, Melanie Snitker, and Crystal Walton, join their author email lists below and be the first to hear about the latest inside scoops, giveaways, and behind the scenes looks at the sweet romances you love. Earn extra entries for sharing!
Confession time. I'm a book cover snob. You know that saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover"? Well, I do. I know I shouldn't, but I just can't help myself. If it's a new-to-me author and the cover doesn't grab me right away, then I won't even turn it over to read the blurb. I'm sure I've passed over some really great books that way, but that's my punishment for my snobbery.
With all confessions, I'm sure I'm not the only one suffering from this specific character flaw. That being said, I don't want anyone passing over my books because the cover didn't reel them in right away.
That's where you come in. Instead of doing a cover reveal, we're going to do a cover vote. Below are two options for my upcoming release in early summer.
Here's a little info on the book.
The same evil that stole her mother’s demise stalks Isabella Castellano. Afraid for her safety and with no one to help her, Isabella disguises herself as a cabin boy and hires on to one of His Majesty’s treasure fleet vessels. But has her flight from a known threat only led her to be ensnared in a sea of dangers?
Present Day, Florida
Summer Arnet will go anywhere to capture the perfect shot that will get her marine photography noticed by the prestigious natural magazine, Our World—even diving in waters haunted by Great White sharks. When a treasure hunter with a ladies’ man reputation approaches her about a sunken ship at one of her past dive locations, it might be the chance she’s been looking for to launch her career…if his charming smile doesn’t derail her first.
A past tragedy has left a hole in Trent Carrington’s life—a hole he’s tried to fill with women, money, and adventure. Could the feisty marine photographer be the missing piece or will Trent finally accept that the treasure he seeks can’t be found where rust and moths destroy?
So to recap:
Setting -- Florida in the summer and on board a treasure fleet vessel
Time period -- both present day and the 17th century
Genre -- dual timeline so both contemporary and historical romance
Can't wait to hear your opinions. Oh! And bonus points if you can guess which cover I made myself. =)
Have you ever wondered what authors do on the day their book launches? It may not be quite the party you had imagined. Here's a little peek into what my launch day looked like today.
The first thing on the agenda for the day was a weekly bible study I attend with some other young women. Most of these ladies have small children of their own, so while the mommy's get some grown up time and share in God's Word and encouragement in prayer, the littles have fun on the playground. Bible study lasts about two hours then it's time to head home and put my 15 month old daughter down for her nap and prepare lunch. Today we had a gourmet meal of Top Ramen and grilled cheese prepared by my lovely husband while I rocked the baby to sleep.
The kids and I headed off to Petco after my daughter woke up from her nap to pick up a pet fish for my son. It is was going to be a birthday present from grandma but the store was out of the tank mommy wants (I have a history of killing fish so I want to get him this EZ care tank to lessen the chances of mortality).
**Has anyone's eyes glazed over yet?**
And to end the totally exciting launch day festivities, grocery shopping.
What about you guys? Is this how you imagined an author's launch day would look like?
On June 21, I will put all the names of those commenting in a hat and draw a winner. The winner will receive an advanced ebook copy of The Isaac Project the beginning of July (at which time I hope to have the formatting complete!).
Without further ado, here are the contestants.
I was a certified teacher—high school civics and geography were my specialty, and I loved teaching. However, I’m now a SAHM, and wouldn't trade that for anything. Now I satisfy the teacher in me by teaching junior high Bible class and am active in AWANA leadership.
On my blog, www.thefreeslavesdevotion.com, I looked at the twists in my ordinary life—many of which I didn't plan—and asked the question “who am I?” It was a fun journey that I took with my partner in blogging, Susan Roach, and was very revealing to me. At every turn in my life, God has shown me over and over again that He knows my heart, His plans for me are good, and He will ever draw me nearer as I live day to day.
Now that we know a little more about you let's jump in with some fun and silly questions to start with.
If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?
Stuck behind a cage with people staring at me.
Oh…that wasn't what you were looking for, was it? Hmm…well, I asked my Superman what he thought. He said maybe an armadillo. What? Not sure how I feel about that. He said they have a tough outer shell protecting a soft underside, and they were interesting. Like me.
Huh. Still not sure how I feel about that. Armadillos are NOT cute. Oh well…😉
I know we both have kids and so that means Disney movies. What Disney character would play you in real life?
According to the FB Disney poll, I’m most like Pocahontas. Strong, brave…and stubborn. Me stubborn? No. That can't be right! Just because I don't give in doesn't mean I'm stubborn. Does it?
Okay, so they nailed me. I can live with that.
I'm grinning at the armadillo suggestion. A very thought out answer but you're right, not exactly the most cute and cuddly animal.
If you could have any accent in the world, what would you choose?
Can you mix a Texas drawl with an Australian bite? Is that possible? Love the slang in those dialects, and have adopted many of them, though I get a few twisted, “what are you saying?” looks from my Nebraskan relatives. I do it anyway. Because they're fun. And I can. And like that armadillo, I'm unique. And stubborn. So there.
Now I'm trying to imagine a Texas/ Australian accent. Nope. Just can't hear it. Lol. Okay, those were great responses. How about some more serious questions?
Shoot. I'll put on my serious face.
When did you decide to become a writer?
When the people in my head kept telling me to write down the stories they were telling me. Is that weird?
I used to write as an emotional release. Some people journal. I wrote stories, even as a kid. I gave it up for a while for a couple of reasons. First, I had a bunch of small children and my husband had a job that demanded way more than the standard forty hour work week. Spare time was none-existent in that stage of life. Writing wasn't an option. Reading really wasn't even an option. We kind of went into survival mode. And we did—survive, that is.
And second, because I was told by a well-meaning Christian woman that fiction was not an honorable use of time—especially women's Christian fiction (read romance there). I wanted so much to be a godly woman, so I left that dream in the dark.
My husband addressed that second issue for me. He pointed out that Jesus very often taught through fiction. We call them parables. And God revealed himself in stories like Ruth (I know, that's not fiction, but it is my favorite romance from the Old Testament). Story is powerful, and beautiful when used appropriately.
At some point, when my baby (number four) finally started sleeping through the night (he was one…that was the longest year of my life!), the characters in my head called to me, and I began writing again.
Second, I rediscovered a fundamental truth that I would have been eager to voice at that point in time, but was not really gripping in my heart. That is this: Jesus saves. Only Jesus saves. Not me. Not my husband, or my preacher, or anyone else involved. Salvation is Christ’s work, not mine. He graciously allows me to be used of Him—of His choosing, in His timing, and through my obedience—but I am a tool in His hands. He is the redeemer.
So why this book? God was teaching me. I don’t really have a better explanation than that.
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
Honestly, and I say this with a little trepidation because I don’t want to rumple feathers too much, but the hardest thing was taking in the amount of negative (very STRONG negative) reactions to Andrew, the main character who is a pretty big mess in Blue Columbine. After a contest, one comment in particular really grieved me. The person was so adamantly opposed to any type of character that was so greatly flawed as Andrew that I actually teared up, wondering if this was how the church really responds to people with hard issues. The comment went something along the lines of him being an “unredeemable character.” That broke my heart. Really broke it.
But you know what? It also clarified to me one of the reasons God put this story in my heart—because I needed to know that nobody is unredeemable for our Almighty God. Nobody. That doesn’t mean that every story works out the way that Andrew and Jamie’s did in Blue Columbine, but it does mean that I don’t get to leap off the hook of prayer and compassion and love when someone dives into the muck deeper than I ever imagined they would.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Hmm…everyone is always ready with advice, and I’m no exception…but let me think through this carefully. The one thing I would say is to listen closely to the voice of God. Discern what is His will, His calling, and then follow it. Even if it’s not what you planned. Not the path you’d dreamed of, or the dream that you’d sheltered and nurtured.
I say that remembering the moment I finally decided to go Indie with Blue Columbine. I’d sensed that direction for ten months before I lifted my hopes and dreams of landing a contract with a Trad Pub to God and said, “Your way. Whatever you want.” That moment His inaudible voice said, “Finally. This is the direction I have for you.” And then I argued…(I mentioned I’m stubborn, right?). I said, “but I’m scared. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I don’t know how. You have to take my hand and hold me through this.”
You know, I’m pretty sure my Heavenly Father smiled—I could feel it in his answer. “That’s exactly where I want you.”
His hand holding mine. Right where I need to be.
For any other writer, or anyone else, I think that’s true. Your hand in His—no matter what that looks like in everyday life—that is exactly where you need to be.
What are you working on now?
Oh boy. So many irons in the fire! Right now I’m finishing the rough draft for my third Contemporary Fiction, The Carpenter’s Daughter. I hope to release it the beginning of next year, but that may prove to be an overly-ambitious goal. We’ll see.
Next month my second novel, Reclaimed, will begin the process of final edits so that it’ll be shiny and clean for it’s reveal in September. And in between all that, I’ll be working on my Young Adult trilogy called The Uncloaked. I’m anxious to get that out into the world as teenagers are special to my heart, and that story was another story like Blue Columbine. It unfolded before me and was simply a story I could not ignore. It is also something I’d never pictured myself writing—a YA dystopian? That’s a massive leap from where I began! But I’m pleased with the way the first book has turned out, and am happy with the way the second is unfolding. I feel like there is an important message in it, and I’m eager to bring it to whomever God leads to read it.
Thank you so much for stopping by and answering some questions.
Thank you, Sarah! It’s been fun to dive into these things, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to “explain” myself!
Did you read that title and picture this guy here?
Flash fiction is a little different. It's a complete story in under 1,000 words. A few months ago, I just couldn't find any time to sit down and work on my current manuscript. So instead of putting away writing altogether, I wrote short flash fiction pieces on my phone while rocking my daughter during her nap (she'd wake up the moment I laid her down so I ended up having to hold her while she slept).
I thought it would be fun to share one of these flash pieces with you. Have fun reading!
Do Not Enter
It was just a white metal square with black letters. It shouldn't be giving me heart palpitations. But as I stared at the Do Not Enter sign, I felt like I was going to be sick.
"You're too good, Grace." Tiffany's words from the night before rang in my head. "You've never once even toed the line, much less crossed it."
Why did following the rules sound so disgraceful coming from the lips of my free-spirited friend?
The sign in front of me morphed into another square. This time black with white letters—the kind you hold up at the police station right before they take your mugshot.
I groaned as Tiffany came up beside me and winked. Why had I agreed to this again?
Tiffany intertwined her fingers with the chain-link fence and gave it a good shake. I cringed as it rattled. Might as well have pulled out a megaphone and announced to the world we were about the break the law.
"Come on, I'll give you a boost." Tiffany bent at the knees, her daisy dukes riding up even higher on her tanned thighs. She cupped her hands together and looked at me expectantly.
I bit my bottom lip, but put my Toms-clad foot in her palm anyway. With an umph I was up and straddling the fence. One leg a criminal, the other a goody-two-shoes preacher’s kid. I closed my eyes against my father's booming voice in my head about God spewing out double-minded fence riders as I swung my leg over the side and landed with a soft thud on the dirt. Tiffany jumped down beside me, grinning as she brushed off her hands.
Huh. Nothing happened. No sound of sirens ripped through the air, no blinding searchlight. Not even lightning from heaven. Had the world not taken notice that Grace McPhearson had not only broken the rules but had done something illegal?
"This way." Tiffany hurried over to the beige stucco building, rising on tiptoes to peer through the window. She waved me over, put a finger to her lips, and then pointed to the glass.
My legs wobbled as I rose up to look inside, the two years of toe dance finally coming in handy. My breath caught in my throat. How could they? Those poor, defenseless creatures.
Four rows of fluffy white bunnies, their heads shackled in what looked like stocks from the 16th century. Their ears red and charred. Burns? Flesh eating disease? My eyes stung, and I blinked back tears. There were monkeys with open sores and cages of rats with tumors larger than their own bodies. And that was just in the part of the room I could see.
Anger coursed through my body. I had worried about trespassing? This was the real crime. No one could treat God's creatures this way and get away with it.
Tiffany unzipped her backpack and withdrew a camcorder.
No way I could stay silent, not now. Wasn’t Dad always telling me God gave Adam dominion over the animals? Somehow I doubted God meant for us to treat them with such cruelty. Steel edged my voice as I spoke. "I'm doing it."
Her hand stilled. "You sure?"
I nodded and squeezed my eyes against the negative consequences my actions would have. We could still play it safe. A video on YouTube would get hits. But a video of a famous televangelist’s daughter would go viral.
An hour later, recording in hand, I marched up the police station steps. The door swung open and a young woman stepped out. I smiled at her but continued into the building and up to the Plexiglas window.
"Can I help you?" the uniformed officer asked.
It was now or never. "I'd like to confess." I held up the disk. “And I brought the evidence.” Repercussions were sure to come…for more than just myself.
Sarah Monzon is a pastor's wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn't enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn't in the world of make believe, she can be found in a small desert town in central Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.