Friday, February 28, 2014

Come to the Party!

Kindle Blitz for Laughing with Lily! Only $4.99.

Please help me spread the word about this story and prayerfully, touch lives for the Kingdom!

A long-buried secret. An unexpected encounter. A quest for answers.

Celeste Tatem, a special-education teacher at The Brighton Center in Schreiber, Indiana, couldn’t be more in love with her husband, Joe. But the memory of one day in the past haunts her, threatening their relationship. When Joe dies in a factory explosion, she sinks into depression.

It will take the arrival of a new student, Lily, and her delightful honesty, laughter, and joy at life’s little things to awaken Celeste to hope. When Don, an old flame from college, reenters Celeste’s world, the flickers of love stir once again, and startling questions arise. Questions that threaten to rip the veneer off of her carefully guarded secret. Then the most unexpected thing of all happens….

A story of love and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.

“Reaches into the deepest recesses of women’s hearts, encouraging them to hold tight to those they hold dear.”-Jennifer Slattery, Novel Reviews.

“Sweet, suspenseful, and heartwarming. I couldn’t put it down.”-Diane Dean White, Seeds of Encouragement blog.

“A top-notch, no-holds-barred, excellent story full of twists and turns, dilemmas, inspiration, and romance.”-Kathleen Freeman, Beauty in Simplicity, Hope in Hard Times. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In the Works!

It's been a long time since I updated you on my kids' quip book, Wit & Wisdom from the Wee Ones. After two major surgeries for my editor and several exciting events at OakTara, including restructuring our contract with Amazon to offer our Kindle books at lower prices, my editor tells me Wit & Wisdom will release some time in April. This fun compilation book would make a great gift for Mother's Day. 

Now that my grandson, Gabriel (3), is living with us while his family prepares for full-time ministry in Thailand, the cute quips flow frequently.

Here are a few one-liners Gabe's delivered lately to wet your appetite for Wit & Wisdom. Oh, and one from granddaughter, Kylie, too. :)

Gabriel (3) playing hide-n-seek sticks his head out of the tent: "Look, Grandma, I found Gabriel!"

Mama to Gabe: "Tell us your verse this week."
Gabe: "ACTS 9:36. A certain disciple name Betty-lou, was full of spaGHETTI and CHOCOLATE BALLS!

A black dog ran up to Gabe (3) and me. I rubbed the dog's head and said, "Well, what's your name, big fella?" Gabe looked at me and replied: "Grandma, he can't talk."

Gabriel (3) holding a golf club: "Grandma, sit on the floor and pretend you're a golf ball." 

Gabriel, with a glint in his eye: "Time for your honey whack, Grandma."

While playing in the snow the other day, granddaughter Kylie (7) said, "Grandma, let's draw pictures in the snow." We did and then Kylie said she wanted to make a face picture. I thought she was going to draw an image, but instead, she promptly stuck her face into the snow, leaving a nose, mouth, and eye sockets print. 

 A devotional in the works . . .

Breathe Deeply God's Grace traces God's grace from Genesis to Revelation in short vignettes that include a scripture, helpful insights, and closing prayer with challenge to practice the concept. 

Stay tuned for more on this project. Below is a video excerpt.


A contemporary romance in the works!

Seasons of Hope coauthored with Jennifer Slattery!

A blind woman seeks refuge at Camp Hope only to encounter the man who took her sight. 

On the verge of college graduation, Loni Parker seeks employment as a music teacher, but no one will hire her since she’s blind. Or so she thinks that’s the reason. To take her mind off her troubles, her roommate invites her to spring retreat at Camp Hope in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains. Unbeknown to Loni, Michael Ackerman, the director, is an ex-con responsible for the accident that caused her blindness. When Loni warms up to camp and wants to return as a summer counselor, Michael opposes the idea, which only makes Loni want to prove herself all the more. Though she doesn’t expect to fall for the guy. Still, her need for independence and dream of teaching win out, taking her far away from her beloved Camp Hope . . . and a certain director.

From the moment Loni Parker steps onto the camp ground, Michael knows who she is, and he doesn’t want anything to do with her. Yet, in spite of his guilt that drives him to push Loni away, he can’t deny his growing attraction to the determined woman. After all, she reminds him of himself. Beyond that, she seems to see more with her heart than the average person does with his eyes. But her presence also dredges up a long-buried anger toward his alcoholic father that he’d just as soon keep hidden. When circumstances spin out of control, Michael is forced to face a past that may destroy his present. 

December Sunrise, a novella

A little girl’s Christmas wish comes at a high cost.

Emma’s Christmas list isn’t like other kids’. Instead of toys, she wants her mama’s cancer to go away, the town to stop arguing over the Ten Commandments, and nice Mr. Whitmire to reunite with his estranged daughter. Grandma Doreen holds the key to a family secret that just might fulfill some of Emma’s desires, but not before tragedy strikes.

A young girl’s heart for helping takes her to a dark place only the Light of Christmas can illuminate


Please pray that the Lord will use these works to bring glory to Himself and share his grace and truth with others! Thanks so much!


To check out my other books, visit my author page:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Taking it to the Next Level with Cheri Swalwell

Have you heard the words Christian, Christ follower, or “personal relationship with Christ” and wonder what they mean? Are you a new believer but aren’t sure what’s next after praying the sinner’s prayer?

Life can sometimes be hard.  There are no guarantees that the path you walk will be free from trouble, heartache, or problems. What if I told you that despite the tragedies that arise from time to time, there was One who wants to guide you, to walk ahead of you, to help you overcome while protecting and comforting you along the way? There is Someone waiting to do just that. Not only does He want to be there for the “tough stuff,” but He wants to be your Friend every day. He longs for a personal relationship with you. He wants to show you just how much He loves you.

Previously titled, A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking It to the Next Level, now part of the Spoken from the Heart series, Taking It to the Next Level allows me to share with you the journey I took as I grew closer to my Father. As you will soon discover, I love to say, “God doesn’t play favorites. What He’s willing to do for me, He’s waiting to do for you. He just wants you to ask.” So whether you are looking for answers about the God of the Universe, have just recently discovered a relationship with Him for yourself, or have been His child for years, my prayer is that these words will encourage, challenge, and comfort you through life’s difficult and sometimes amazing journeys. What are you waiting for?  God is ready to help you take it to the next level in your own life. There’s no better time to start then right now.

What inspired you to write this book, Cheri?

This book was published briefly in November 2012 with the title, A 40-Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level. It is being re-released as Spoken from the Heart: Taking it to the Next Level.

The idea for this book came about when I started blogging regularly in October 2011.  I received such a positive response from readers who could identify with the things God was teaching me in my life, I decided to make a book out of some of the blog posts.  As a result, the series Spoken from the Heart was created, with Journey from Fear to Faith being published first in December 2013.  The goal by the end of 2014 is to be able to offer approximately six to seven books in the Spoken from the Heart series.  These books offer words of encouragement in your everyday relationships with others, challenges to continue to grow in your relationship with God, and inspiration to reach out and bless others.  

What is one fun thing my readers might not know about you but would like to?

My husband is quite handy creating things with his hands and making repairs.  I, on the other hand, am not.  You can read in the book about a time when I attempted to help my “at the time future husband” redo his bathroom in Day 20: What’s More Important - Feelings or Fighting? I knew I was truly blessed when I went home at the end of the day and he still loved me.  

When faced with difficulties in life or exciting new adventures, we each have a choice. Will you step out in faith or cower in fear?
Life can be scary.  Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we’re forced to deal with unemployment, a devastating health diagnosis, broken relationships, financial difficulties, or…sometimes we feel God leading us in a new direction.  It can be exciting, but also scary when we think about the uncertainties and whether or not we heard God’s voice correctly.

Whatever you or someone you love is facing right now, know you have a choice. You can either walk forward with faith in your Heavenly Father and His promise to protect His children, or you can hold back in fear. Join me on my personal journey from living in fear to walking in faith. My journey isn’t over, but I offer encouragement to those who are struggling to take the first step, those who have been walking for a while, or those who are ready to give up. The God I serve is a personal God who lovingly takes care of His children even in the midst of the struggles they are walking through. Think of me as your walking partner on your path as you receive encouragement from my journey.

Journey from Fear to Faith is another book in the Spoken from the Heart series. What inspired you to write this book, Cheri? 

I have been on a faith journey for most of my life.  God has gently been leading me out of living a life of fear into a life of faith.  In June 2013, He began the next phase of that journey and it was quite challenging.  However, the blessings that have resulted from it have been amazing.  While walking the journey, God placed on my heart to use our experience to give hope and encouragement to others who are walking difficult paths in their own lives.  We can offer that hope because the process for a faith journey has similarities despite the differences in the circumstances we each face.  God has shown me so much throughout this process about His promises and the way He takes care of His children.  I may not necessarily be grateful for what we’ve had to go through, but I can definitely say I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this chance to grow closer to God for anything.  

Could you share another interesting, but perhaps little know tidbit about your life, Cheri? 

I love having garage sales.  However, God has shown me it’s more fun to do them non-traditionally and be a blessing to others.  You can read more about how our family had a garage sale last summer in Day 11: No Calculator Needed.  As a result, we were blessed more through the way God led us to approach our sale than we had been in any other previous sale we’d had. 

You can purchase Taking It to the Next Level and Journey from Fear to Faith at the following locations:

Available for sale at Deeper Shopping and Amazon (paperback and eBook formats):
Deeper Shopping:  Cheri Swalwell                                                                  
Amazon:  Cheri Swalwell                                                                                         

Thanks for sharing with my readers today, Cheri! I'm confident your books will be a blessing to many!


The End of One Story, the Beginning of Another

I flip through the calendar, a gift from my missionary daughter. Family face after family face jump off the pages. Grandkids roasting mar...