Friday, February 29, 2008

FIRST presents "The Restorer's Journey" by Sharon Hinck

It is March FIRST, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature is:

Sharon Hinck

and her book:

The Restorer's Journey

Navpress Publishing Group (February 7, 2008)


Sharon Hinck holds a BA in education, and she earned an MA in communication from Regent University in 1986. She spent ten years as the artistic director of a Christian performing arts group, CrossCurrent. That ministry included three short-term mission trips to Hong Kong. She has been a church youth worker, a choreographer and ballet teacher, a homeschool mom, a church organist, and a bookstore clerk. One day she'll figure out what to be when she grows up, but in the meantime, she's pouring her imagination into writing. Her stories focus on characters who confront the challenges of a life of faith. She's published dozens of articles in magazines and book compilations, and released her first novel, The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House), in 2006. In April 2007, she was named "Writer of the Year" at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. When she isn't wrestling with words, Sharon enjoys speaking at conferences and retreats. She and her family make their home in Minnesota. She loves to hear from readers, so send a message through the portal into her writing attic on the "Contact Sharon" page of her website, She is also an avid blogger...visit Stories for the Hero in All of Us.

The first and second books in The Sword of Lyric series are The Restorer and The Restorer's Son. The FIRST chapter shown here is from the third book, The Restorer's Journey. Enjoy!


Chapter One - JAKE

My mom was freaking out.

She stared out the dining room window as if major-league monsters were hiding in the darkness beyond the glass. Give me a break. Our neighborhood was as boring as they came. Ridgeview Drive's square lawns and generic houses held nothing more menacing than basketball hoops and tire swings. Still, Mom's back was tight, and in the shadowed reflection on the pane, I could see her biting her lip. I didn't know what to say to make her feel better.

I ducked back into the kitchen and used a wet rag to wipe off the counters. Clumps of flour turned to paste and smeared in gunky white arcs across the surface. I shook the rag over the garbage can, the mess raining down on the other debris we'd swept up. Broken jars of pasta and rice filled the bag. I stomped it down, twist-tied the bag and jogged it out to the trashcan by the garage. Usually, I hated the chore of taking out the trash. Not tonight. Maybe if I erased the signs of our intruders, Mom would relax a little.

So Cameron and Medea dropped a few things when they were looking for supplies. No biggie. Why did my folks have such a problem with those two anyway? They'd been great to me. I trudged back into the house, rubbing my forehead. Wait. That wasn't right. A shiver snaked through my spine. Never mind. They were probably long gone by now.

"Kitchen's done." I carried the broom into the dining room, hoping Mom had finished in there. But she was still hugging her arms and staring out the window.

She turned and looked at the china cabinet, then squeezed her eyes shut as if they were hurting. "Why?" she whispered.

Glass shards jutted from one cabinet door, and the other hung crooked with wood splinters poking out. Broken china covered the floor. Mom and Dad had been collecting those goofy teacups ever since they got married.

I pushed the broom against the edge of the fragments, but the chinking sound made her wince, so I stopped.

Dad strode past with an empty garbage bag from the hall closet and stopped to give my mom a squeeze. He nodded toward me. "Honey, Jake's alive. Nothing else matters. We all got back safe." He leaned his head against hers, and I edged toward the kitchen in case they started kissing. For an old married couple, they were a little too free with their public displays of affection. No guy wants to watch his parents act mushy.

But my mom didn't look like she was in a kissing mood. She pressed her lips together. I had a sneaking suspicion that she was more freaked out about what had happened to my hand than our house. Like when I had cancer as a kid. She'd gotten really stressed about the details of a church fundraiser and cranky about everything that went wrong, stuff that wasn't even important. It gave her a place to be angry when she was trying to be brave about a bigger problem.

"It's only a piece of furniture." Dad was doing his soothing voice. When would he catch on that only made things worse?

"Only a piece of furniture we bought as a wedding gift to each other." She swiped at some wet spots on her face. "Only twenty years' worth of poking around garage sales and thrift stores together. Don't tell me what it's only! Okay?"

"Okay." Dad backed away from her prickles.

I made another ineffectual push with the broom. My folks didn't argue much, but when they did, it grated like a clutch struggling to find third gear. Typical over-responsible firstborn, I wanted to fix it but didn't know how.

Mom picked up a Delft saucer, smashed beyond repair, and laid the pieces gently into the garbage bag. Dad folded his arms and leaned against the high back of one of the chairs. "I can fix the cabinet. That splintered door will need to be replaced, but the other one just needs new hinges. I can put in new glass." His eyes always lit up when he talked about a woodworking project. The man loved his tools.

Mom smiled at him. Her tension faded, and she got all moony-eyed, so I ducked into the kitchen just as the doorbell rang. Thank heaven. "Pizza's here!" I yelled.

Dad paid the delivery guy, and I carried the cartons into the living room. Flopping onto one end of the couch, I pried open the lid. "Hey, who ordered green peppers? Mom, you've gotta quit ruining good pizza with veggies."

That made her laugh. "We'd better save a few pieces for the other kids." She cleared the Legos off the coffee table and handed me a napkin.

I gladly surrendered the top pizza box, along with its green pepper, and dove into the pepperoni below. "Where is everyone?"

"Karen's spending the night at Amanda's, trying out her new driver's license. Jon and Anne are at Grandma's. But if they see the pizza boxes when they get home tomorrow . . . "

I nodded. "Yep. Pure outrage. I can hear it now. "It's not fair. Jake always gets to have extra fun." I did a pretty good impression of the rug rats. What would the kids think if they found out what else they had missed? This had been the strangest Saturday the Mitchell family had ever seen.

I popped open a can of Dr. Pepper. My third. Hey, I'd earned some extra caffeine. "So, what do we tell the kids?"

Mom smiled and looked me up and down, probably thinking I was one of the kids. When would it sink in that I was an adult now? I guzzled a third of my pop and set it down with a thump. "We could tell them there was a burglar, but then they'd want to help the police solve the case, and they'd never stop asking questions."

"Good point." Mom licked sauce from her finger. "Jon and Anne would break out the detective kit you gave them for Christmas."

Dad tore a piece of crust from his slice of pepperoni. "If we finish cleaning everything, I don't think they'll pay much attention. The cabinet is the only obvious damage. If they ask, we'll just say it got bumped and fell."

Dad wanted us to lie? So not like him. Then again, when Kieran told me Dad wasn't originally from our world, I realized there were a lot of things he'd never been honest about. Now I was part of the family secret, too.

He rested his piece of pizza on the cardboard box and looked at Mom. "Do we need to warn them?"

"Warn them?" She mumbled around a mouth full of melted cheese.

"In case Cameron and Medea come back." His voice was calm, but I suddenly had a hard time swallowing. Something cold twisted in me when he said their names. The same cold that had numbed my bones when I'd woken up in the attic. Why? They'd taken care of me. No, they'd threatened me. Confusing images warred inside my brain.

"You think they'll come back?" My baritone went up in pitch, and I quickly took another sip of pop.

Dad didn't answer for a moment. "It depends on why they came. If they plan to stay in our world, we need to find them, stop them. But my guess is that Cameron wants to return to Lyric with something from our world that he can use there. That means they'll be back to go through the portal."

Mom sank deeper into the couch and looked out the living room windows. At the curb, our family van shimmered beneath a streetlight.

They might be out there, too. They could be watching us right this second.

"Maybe we should call the police." Mom's voice sounded thin. I'd suggested that earlier. After all, someone had broken in, well, broken out.

Dad snorted. "And tell them what?"

He had a point, but it's not like there was a rulebook for dealing with visitors from other universes. Unless you attended Star Trek conventions. "So what's your plan?" I asked.

"I'll get extra locks tomorrow. Maybe look into an alarm system." Dad believed every problem could be solved with his Home Depot credit card. He turned to me. "Can you remember more about your conversations with Cameron? What did he ask you about? What did he seem interested in?"

A shudder moved through me, and pain began pulsing behind my eyes.

Mom gave Dad a worried glance, then rested a hand on my arm. "It's okay, honey. We don't have to talk about it right now." She smoothed my hair back from my face.

"No problem." I brushed her hand away, sprawled back on the couch, and studied the ceiling. "It just seems like it was all a dream."

"What's the last thing you remember clearly?" Dad pulled his chair closer and watched me.

"Braide Wood." I closed my eyes and smiled. "It reminded me of summer camp. And I was so tired of running and hiding in caves. I finally felt safe. Tara fussed over me, and I taught Dustin and Aubrey how to play soccer. It felt like home."

I struggled to remember the rest. For some reason my memories were tangled up, like the time I had a major fever and took too much Nyquil. Mom and Dad waited.

"I went to see Morsal Plains with Tara. Brutal. The grain was all black and it smelled weird. Tara told me about the attack. How Hazor poisoned it on purpose and how Susan the Restorer led the army to protect Braide Wood." I squinted my eyes open and looked sideways at my mom. They'd told me she had ridden into battle with a sword. "Unbelievable."

Even though she was watching me with a worried pinch to her eyes, she smiled. "I know. I lived it, and it's hard for me to believe."

"Anyway, I hiked back to Tara's house, and some guys came to take me to Cameron. He made a big fuss over me. Said it was his job to welcome guests to the clans. Said I'd run into bad company but he'd make it up to me. He gave me something to drink, and there was this lady. She was amazing.î"No matter how fuzzy my memories were, Medea was easy to remember. The long curly hair, the sparkling eyes, the dress that clung to all the right places. My cheeks heated. "I can't remember everything we talked about. She made me feel important, like I wasn't just some teenage kid. It was . . . " I sat taller and angled away from my parents, my jaw tightening. "She helped me realize that no one else had ever really understood me. I wanted to become a guardian. I had an important job to do."

"Jake." Dad's voice was sharp, and I flinched. "The woman you met was a Rhusican. They poison minds. Don't trust everything you're feeling right now."

A pulsing ache grabbed the base of my neck. I pressed the heels of my hands against my eyes. Mom's hand settled on my shoulder, and I stiffened. Weird static was messing with my head.

"Jake, they used you to find the portal. She doesn't really understand you." Mom's voice was quiet and sounded far away. I felt like I was falling away inside myself. She squeezed my shoulder. "Remember my favorite psalm?"

I managed a tight smile. "How could I forget? You made us learn the whole thing one summer. 'O Lord, you have searched me and you know me' blah, blah, blah."

Despite my smart aleck tone, the words took hold and some of the static in my brain quieted.

"Whatís the rest?" Dad pressed me.

What was he trying to prove? That I couldn't think straight? I could have told him that. I struggled to form the words.

"'You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.'" Once I got started, I rattled off the verses by rote. In some strange way, the words actually stopped the sensation of falling away inside myself.

"Sounds like there's someone who understands you a lot better than Cameron and Medea. Remember that." Dad stood up and tousled my hair. Then he yawned. "Let's get some sleep."

Mom didn't move. She was still watching me. "How's the hand?"

I rubbed my palm. "Still fine. Weird, huh?" I held it out.

A scar, faint as a white thread, marked the skin where broken glass had cut a deep gash an hour earlier. My lungs tightened. What did it mean?

Dad shook his head. "Come on. Bedtime."

Mom hesitated, but then stood and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead. "Good night, Jake. We'll talk more tomorrow."

Oh, great. She sure loved talking. I looked at Dad. His mouth twitched. "I'll get us signed up for some practice space at the fencing club."

Good. He hadn't forgotten his promise. I couldn't make sense of my trip through the portal, or the sudden-healing thing, but I knew I wanted to learn to use a sword.

My parents gathered up the pizza stuff and carried it to the kitchen, out of sight, but not out of earshot.

"If we hide the portal stones Cameron and Medea won't be able to go back," Dad said over the crinkling of a sheet of aluminum foil.

Someone slammed the fridge door shut hard enough to make the salad dressing bottles rattle. "We don't want them running around our world. They don't belong here." Mom sounded tense.

"I know. We have to send them back. But on our terms. Without anything that would hurt the People of the Verses. And what about Jake?"

Silence crackled, and I leaned forward from my spot on the couch.

When Mom refused to answer, Dad spoke again, so quiet I almost couldn't hear. "We need to keep the portal available in case he's needed there. But how will we know?"

Needed there? Did he really think . . .?

I waited for them to head back to their bedroom, then slipped down the steps from the kitchen to the basement. Most of the basement was still unfinished - except for my corner bedroom and Dad's workbench.

I hurried into my room and shut out the world behind me. Tonight everything looked different. The movie posters, the bookshelves, the soccer team trophy. Smaller, foreign, unfamiliar.

I pulled a thumbtack from my bulletin board and scratched it across my thumb. A line of blood appeared, but in a microsecond the tiny scrape healed completely. I had assumed the healing power was some heebie-jeebie thing that Medea had given me, or that had transferred over from my interactions with Kieran.

But now that my head had stopped throbbing, I could put the pieces together. Excitement stronger than caffeine zipped around my nerve endings. My folks thought this was more than a weird effect left over from my travels through the portal. They thought I might be the next Restorer. -you can purchase The Restorer's Journey here!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Winner of "Rattled" is...

The winner of "Rattled" is... Sarah (HunnyLump) - congrats!

I'll send it out as soon as I have your mailing info.

More book giveaways coming soon...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

History Quiz - How will you do?

As a general rule I hate mass forwarded e-mails, but I got one today with a fun quiz I enjoyed and thought I'd share with all of you. After you finish, post a comment with your score (and the year you were born if you're brave enough, just to see if we really do have to be as old as they say in order to do well :-)

Everyone over 40 should have a pretty easy time
at this exam. If you are under 40 you can claim a handicap.

This is a History Exam for those who don't mind seeing how much they really remember about what went on in their life.

*** Get paper & pencil & number from 1 to 20.
****Write the letter of each answer & score at the end.

1. In the 1940s, where were automobile headlight dimmer switches located?
a. On the floor shift knob.
b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch.
c. Next to the horn.

2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was it used?
a. Capture lightning bugs.
b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing.
c. Large salt shaker.

3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters?
a. Cows got cold and wouldn't produce milk.
b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled.
c. Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors
and milk would freeze, expanding and pushing
up the cardboard bottle top.

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?
a. Blackjack
b. Gin
c. Craps

5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available due to rationing during WW II.
a. Suntan
b. Leg painting
c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn't tell whether it was coming or going?
a. Studebaker
b. Nash Metro
c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid?

a. Strips of dried peanut butter.
b. Chocolate licorice bars.
c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.

8. How was Butch wax used?
a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up.
b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing.
c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust

9. Before inline skates, how did you keep your
roller skates attached to your shoes?

a. With clamps, tightened by a skate key.
b. Woven straps that crossed the foot.
c. Long pieces of twine.

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision?
a. Consider all the facts.
b. Ask Mom.
c. Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940s and 1950s?
a. Smallpox
c. Polio

12. 'I'll be d own to get you in a ________, Honey'
a. SUV
b. Taxi
c. Streetcar

13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pony?
a. Old Blue
b. Paint
c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill?

a. Part of the game of hide and seek.
b. What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores
c. Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show?
a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring
b. Princess Sacajawea
c Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all the really savvy students do when dittoed tests were handed out in school?
a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was believed to get you high.
b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window.
c. Wrote another pupil's name on the top, to avoid their failure.

17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps with purchases?
a. To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum.
b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items.
c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos.

18. Praise the Lord, and pass the _________?
a. Meatballs
b. Dames
c. Amm unition

19. What was the name of the singing group that made the song 'Cabdriver' a hit?
a. The Ink Spots
b. The Supremes
c. The Esquires

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco ?
a. Tony Bennett
b. Xavier Cugat
c. George Gershwin


1. (b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in Europe , took till the late '60's to catch on.

2. (b) To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?

3. (c) Cold weather cause d the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle top.

4 . (a) Blackjack Gum.

5. (b) Special makeup was applied, followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.

6. (a) 1946 Studebaker.

7. (c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water.

8 (a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.

9. (a) With clamps , tightened by a skate key,
which you wore on a shoestring around your

10. (c) Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

11. (c) Polio. In beginning of August, swimming pools were closed , movies and other public gathering places were closed to try to prevent spread of the disease.

12. (b) Taxi Better be ready by half-past eight!

13. (c) Macaroni.

14. (c) Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. (a) Princess Summerfallwinterspri ng. She was another puppet.

16. (a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink to get a high.

17. (b) Put in a special stamp book, they could be traded for household items at the Green Stamp store

18. (c) Ammunition, and we'll all be free.

19. (a) The widely famous 50's group: The Inkspots.

20. (a) Tony Bennett, and he sounds just as good today.


17- 20 correct
: You are older than dirt, and obviously gifted with mental abilities Now if you could only find your glasses. Definitely someone who should share your wisdom!

12 -16 correct : Not quite dirt yet, but you're getting there.

0 -11 correct : You are not old enough to share the wisdom of your experiences.

Have fun with this and leave a comment with your score - see if you can beat me - by the way, I was born in 1975.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Passion Most Pure Winner!

The winner of "A Passion Most Pure" is ...


She has already claimed her book - so congratulations Doreen!

For everyone else, don't forget to get signed up for "Rattled" (even if you don't need it - you probably know someone that does!) And watch for more book giveaways soon!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Murder, Mayhem & A Fine Man" Book Review

I can not stop smiling! I just finished Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man and told my husband that I have never read a book that I just couldn't stop grinning through! Not only is this book, clever, fun, intriguing with a great story line and underlying mystery to solve - but the dialogue... it is unbelievable! I kept finding myself reading conversations from the book to my husband because the writing is just ingenious. Amanda Bell Brown is one of my new heroes and Jazz Brown is the ultimate in romantic leads, you will fall in love with them and their unavailability from the first chapter. Feeling blue? Do yourself and your long lost smile a favor and have a visit with Amanda and Jazz!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Book Giveaways!

Readers -

You have until Sunday (17th) night to enter to win "A Passion Most Pure"

You have until Sunday (24th) night to enter to win "Rattled"

Stay tuned for more book giveaways coming up soon!!!

"Rattled" by Trish Berg and Book Giveaway!

DEAR READERS, I wanted to start off this interview by giving you my review of "Rattled". As I am not a new mom (pregnant with #6), but it has been awhile since I've been through that 1st year (youngest turns 4 next month!) I was very interested to see how Trish approached this subject. I am pleased to say that I love what I have read so far! It is a fun, easy to read, well laid out book that starts with pregnancy but swiftly moves into what is often referred to as "the 4th trimester". This is obviously where most of the book takes place.

In the first few chapters there were many things that made me go - "Oh yeah, I forgot about that" or made me smile and say "You got that right!" and some other really great tips and tidbits along the way that I had never heard. Trish keeps things fun with real life stories of her own experiences and foibles. I am savoring this book as I go through this pregnancy and am looking forward to utilizing it lots once I begin my 4th trimester in May.

I would like to point out an amazing section in the back of the book called Additional Resources. The first one is a chapter called "Discovering the Footprints of Heaven". This is a section devoted to Trish's 2 miscarriages and helping anyone that has suffered a miscarriage of their own to deal with it and grieve through it. My sister pointed this section out to me as she went through a miscarriage a year ago and is still dealing with it daily. She said, "This is the best section on miscarriage I have read yet, and I've read a lot." I read through it and have to say (though I have not dealt with that tragedy personally, I see more and more women around me all the time that have) I was truly touched to tears by it. So if you have, or know someone that has suffered a miscarriage, I would recommend this book just for that chapter.

As far as the rest of the book goes, I am so captivated by this book that I really think I'm going to start giving it as a baby gift at baby showers (and God knows we'll be having a slew of them at our church starting shortly!).

So post a comment at the bottom of the interview to enter to win a copy of this great book!!! Now on to the blog tour....

BLAST OUT Blog Tour for Trish Berg’s Latest Release… Rattled Surviving Your Baby’s First Year without Losing Your Cool!

Can you change a diaper faster than a rodeo cowboy ropes a calf? Need more sleep,
more laughter, and ten minutes in the bathroom – alone?

You must be a mom….Don’t let the clutter, chaos, exhaustion and Cheerio-dust get you Rattled.

With practical advice and scriptural reminders, author Trish Berg can help you not only survive the chaos and clutter of motherhood, but get back to the simple joy of being a mom.

I am excited to welcome Trish Berg, joining us today to talk about her new mom book, Rattled, Surviving Your Baby’s First Year without Losing Your Cool!

Trish is a national speaker for Hearts at Home, author of The Great American Supper Swap and Rattled. She has been published in Today’s Christian Woman, MOMSense,, P31 WOMAN, and numerous regional and national publications.

Trish earned her MBA before leaving the workforce for motherhood, then earned her Doctorate in Diaper Changing in Ohio where she and her husband, Mike, keep busy raising their four children on their family cattle farm.

Trish, welcome. Thanks for taking time to be with us today.
Thanks for having me.

So why is it so easy for moms to get rattled during their baby’s first year?

Motherhood is simply draining and exhausting. Hands down the toughest job I have ever had.

But moms are not alone, and I want moms to know that God walks with them through these exhausting years.

What stresses moms out the most?

I think moms put a lot of pressure on themselves to do it all by themselves, and to do it all the right way. They need to simplify, let go of many details, and ask for help, from their husbands, and from neighbors and friends.

Rattled actually begins by looking at the months of pregnancy. How can moms use this time to prepare to survive baby’s first year?

Nine months is not nearly enough time to fully prepare for motherhood. I am not sure there is enough time to fully prepare.

I remember when our first child, Hannah, was born, I felt that my world had been turned upside down. Hannah did not like to sleep, and so we spent many nights walking the floor, bouncing her up and down, trying desperately to settle her down. My husband, Mike, and I took turns walking laps around the house, like the Indy 500 with a lot more bouncing.

I am not sure I could have prepared for that.

But during your pregnancy, you can prepare in other ways. Like arranging for help. Ask your mom or mother-in-law if they can spend one day with you each week during the first few months. Just knowing someone is coming in the morning to help with the baby can make the being up all night not seem so terrible.

You talk about surviving motherhood. How do you help moms do that?

In Rattled, I talk about a mom’s survival kit. If you were thrown out into the wilderness, you would need FOOD, SHELTER, FIRE and WATER to survive.

Well, moms have been thrown out into the wilderness of motherhood, and to survive, they will need:

Water from the word (2 Samuel 22:3a) –To be in God’s Word.

A fire like desire for prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – Moms can pray their way through their day.

Nourishment body, mind and spirit (1 Corinthians 13:13) – Love on all levels nourishes us.

Shelter from life’s storms (Proverbs 17:17)-Friends to lean on, trust, and support us.

In Rattled, I spend some time talking about how moms can use that survival kit to get back to the joy of mothering.

You spent a lot of time listening to what other mothers had to say. Share with us your best advice for new moms.

I would tell moms to relax. No one does it right all the time. Let the laundry pile up. Leave the dishes in the sink, and just enjoy holding your baby today.

Don’t worry about doing “it” right, just enjoy the moments you have.

That is sound advice...

But what aboud dads? Give us a few tips into what dad is going through during the first year.

Dads are just as insecure as moms are about parenthood. Even more so in many cases.

Moms do much of the baby feeding, diaper changing, and baby care. So dads can sometimes feel left out, and incapable of caring for their own baby.

One thing moms can do is encourage dad to be involved. But in doing so, moms must let go of “their way” of doing things, and let dad discover his own way.

For example. When Hannah was a baby, every time Mike would change her diaper, I would criticize the way he changed it. I tried to teach him how to put his fingers under the leg elastic and make sure it wasn’t bunched up, preventing a future leak.

But every time I criticized him, he stepped back and became less involved. And you know what? Even when I did the diapers the “right way” they still sometimes leaked.

So I had to learn to let Mike change her diaper his own way. I let him put her to bed his way, bathe her his way, and be the dad God wanted him to be.

That can be difficult for moms who can tend to be slight control freaks when it comes to baby care.

But let me just encourage you that the help you will get from dad if you can let go of those details will bless you in more ways than you can imagine!

In Rattled you’re very open about the loss of your own pregnancy in 2002. How has that loss changed your outlook on motherhood?

I in the 2nd trimester of my fourth pregnancy when I went in for a regular check up. I was not having any problems at all, and went in alone.

My OB/GYN performed an ultrasound just to check for twins, and suddenly my world turned upside down when he could not find a heart beat.

I was completely devastated. Mike and I had two weeks of further testing before we had assurance that our baby had died. And through it all, I prayed for a miracle, my miracle, that my baby would be alive again.

But in the end, God’s miracle was not that my baby survived. God’s miracle was the reassurance that He used me as a vessel to bring a tiny soul to Heaven.

A year later, I lost another child to miscarriage.

Today, I have a greater sense of love and appreciation for my four children here on earth whom I hug with my arms, and a closer tie to Heaven where my two babies are waiting for me, whom I can only hug with my heart for now.

Today you’re the mom of 4 happy and healthy children. What do you see as the greatest blessing about being a mom?

I would say learning patience, but my husband would laugh out loud at that…since I am probably one of the most impatient people there is.

So I guess I would have to say enjoying the journey. I live Psalm 118:24 every day of my life.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Life is messy. Things break. Kids get sick. But moms need to remember to enjoy the journey no matter where the journey leads.

Today at the Berg house, our washing machine is broken. Our mini van needs new tires. We are hanging onto Mike’s 1986 Jeep on a wing and a prayer, hoping it makes it another year or so.

There is mud on my kitchen floor, crumbs on my carpet, and I can honestly say that I love my life. Just as it is.

Now, I certainly have moments where I get stressed and discouraged, and can even lose my temper (just ask my kids), but I am also learning to enjoy each moment of every day as a gift from God.

And thorough it all, my simple hope and prayer is that I can be the mom that God wants me to be.

Where can readers learn more about you,
Rattled, your other books, and your ministry to moms?

My website at offers tons of FREE resources, links and downloads for moms, as well as mor information on my books and ministry.

Moms can also purchase their own copy of
Rattled by clicking here.

And I will be speaking at all 3 Hearts at Home Conferences in 2008, I would LOVE for you to join me there. The National conference is in March in Illinois, and in the fall there is a conference in Michigan and Minnesota. You can get more information and register at

Thanks, Trish, for joining us today. What a joy to meet you and learn more about your new mom book

Thanks for having me. Blessings to you.

You can catch up with Trish all week long on her BLAST OUT BLOG TOUR by going to the following sites. There will be FREE book prizes, and great moms to connect with at each blog.











Friday, February 8, 2008

"A Passion Most Pure" Interview and Book Giveaway!

"A Passion Most Pure" Interview with Julie Lessman and
Autographed Book Giveaway!

Readers - let me preface this interview by saying that my personal opinion of this book is that it is an absolute classic and we will be reading about the O'Conner family for many years and these are the kind of books that you will save on your shelf and pass on to your daughters and granddaughters. Legacy books this classic do not come along very often - at all... so don't pass up the opportunity to get to know the O'Conners and of course - Julie Lessman...

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

Grin. Well, Camy Tang asked me this question, only she phrased it as “what dessert would you be,” and my answer would be the same to both of you—peach cobbler! Why, you ask? Because it’s moan good and because although I was a bit of a “tart” before I came to Christ, He’s turned me into a real peach who sometimes is a bit fuzzy and a little too juicy.

2) I was blown away by "A Passion Most Pure" and I don't say that lightly. I would seriously put this book on the same level with "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and I believe it has the same staying power. Did you have any idea when you wrote it that 100 years from now young ladies could still be reading and enjoying it (though they'll be purchasing it in the "classics section" in the year 2108)?

Yeah, well now it’s my turn to be blown away, Janna! Are you kidding? Louis May Alcott??? I still think you may be swilling strong cold medication, but I am THRILLED that you think so! And, NO, when I was writing it, the thought never even crossed my mind that anybody would be reading it – EVER!! Oh, sure, I hoped they would, but I honestly had no idea if I was a good writer or not. I mean I think I used to be back in high school (I was yearbook editor, newspaper editor, published in National Anthology of High School Poetry,etc.), but come on, that was a long, LONG time ago, so I just wasn’t sure anymore. But a “classic”? Uh, only in the age department, I think!

3) I have an older sister (like Faith) and I'm not much younger (like Charity) though I don't think we ever had a thing for the same guy (except maybe Pierce Brosnan on Remington Steele) but rivalry nonetheless. To write as realistically as you did - you must have experienced some of that yourself - tell us a little about growing up as Julie...

Sibling rivalry? With three brothers and NINE sisters??? Uh, yeah, you might say that. When I was little, my brothers and sisters used to call me “Walking Nervous Breakdown.” Okay, so I’m a bit wired … there’s no harm in that, is there? I mean I do everything fast (except interviews!). I walk fast, I talk fast and I eat fast—a natural byproduct of being # 12 in a family of 13. Imagine 15 people at a Last Supper-style Formica table with long red vinyl benches on either side. Like a school of sharks waiting for meat to hit the water. If you didn’t grab for the grub, chances are there wouldn’t be anything left. Can you say “plague of locusts”? To this day, buffets put a twitch in my eye because I feel like the food will run out.

But the sister with whom I had the most rivalry is my sister, Ellie, who was two years older than me. And yes, Charity is loosely based on Ellie because like Faith and Charity, Ellie and I often butted heads because she was … ahem … quite voluptuous and very attractive to boys while I was … well, basically not! I mean, this is the sister with whom I had hair-pulling fights while growing up, and even one or two as adults (imagine me in a suit and heels, rolling around the floor in a fight with her during our twenties)! I spent over thirty years praying for her and trying to reach out until five years ago when she became a born-again Christian. Now she is a beautiful sister in the Lord as well as in blood, and truly one of my most ardent intercessors and supporters. I love her more than I can say.

4) Half of this book is set in Boston and the other half is set in Ireland. My husband is Irish and we have always wanted to go to Ireland - your settings and descriptions are fantastic - have you been to Ireland... you know, purely for research of course!

Oh, how I wish!! Nope, I just have always had a fascination with Ireland ever since I read Gone With the Wind (the O’Hara’s fascinated me, especially Scarlett!). And, oh, your husband is Irish? Mmm … well, you already know from the book how I feel about Irish men! But back to settings and descriptions—thank you for your comment! Unfortunately my image of Ireland is all from research, but I would dearly love to visit there some day.

5) Now my sister and I (rivalry remember) read A Passion Most Pure within days of each other and discussed it at Christmas. We had a disagreement over who book #2 would be about and low and behold my sister was right. So Charity will be the heroine of book #2 which is actually a relief to me because as much as I didn't like Charity in book #1, I identified with her the most (sad isn't it!). So tell me, in book #2 will I end up liking my alter ego?

Omigosh, YES!! Hard to believe, isn’t it? I hate to admit this, but Book 2, A Passion Redeemed, is my VERY favorite of all three books of the series, even though everyone who has read Book 3, A Passion Denied, seems to like it the best. I guess I hate to admit it because the heroine is such a Scarlett O’Hara-type character, which is not appealing to most people. But Charity O’Connor is such a wonderfully flawed heroine, that it was sooo much fun to bring her to God and follow her through all of her antics before she gets there. Also, A Passion Redeemed reminds me a lot of the old-fashioned romance movies where the utterly male hero butts heads with the feisty heroine (think The Quiet Man or It Happened One Night), when deep down underneath, there’s an attraction so charged, the two light up whenever they connect.

6) I know this is a trilogy, but I'm a little sad because I'd like to know more about Faith's older brother, Sean... will we have a chance to get to really know him better in the future?

Well, as a matter of fact, I am in the process of putting together a proposal for another 3-book series about the O’Connors, and yes, I do hope to write a book on both Sean and Steven (The Brothers of Boston series … original, eh?). The plan is to write Katie’s story first (Book 4: Katie coming of age in the Roaring Twenties … can you say FUN?) and develop both of Sean and Steven’s characters in Katie’s story. Then, Sean’s story will be Book 5, and Steven’s will be Book 6. Several of my writer friends at work (who have already read all three books and are aware of a very charged sub-story between Marcy and Patrick in Book 3) think I need to also write a prequel about Marcy and Patrick, which I may well do. Time will tell.

7) I love that Faith has an unexpected spiritual mentor in Mrs. Gerson, something that is important to spiritual development in all of us. Did you have a spiritual mentor in your own life that you drew aspects of Mrs. Gerson from?

Uh, yeah, I think she’s up for canonization next month! Honestly, I was such a brat to the woman who brought me to the Lord, that it’s a wonder she had anything to do with me at all. I was a 23-year-old hardnosed agnostic from a devout but dysfunctional Catholic family of 13 kids and so angry at God that I actually used to say I wanted to burn Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms. As a wild child of the 60s and 70s, I tried everything to be happy—from astrology and tarot cards … to transcendental meditation and witchcraft—you name it. My vocabulary would have made a sailor blush.

Enter MY Mrs. Gerson—this annoying gal at work who had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid and no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was utterly miserable. And then it happened—one life-altering moment when she and I were alone—I looked up from my typewriter and said, “Just what in the heck (except my language was a bit saltier back then) makes you so happy all the time?” She said, “I’ve been praying you would ask.”

Oh, no, a Jesus freak, I thought to myself, but I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. I don’t remember now if it was weeks or months, but either way, I met Jesus Christ through the remarkable patience of a God-sent angel by the name of Joy—pretty appropriate name, eh? That woman spent two years of her life ministering to me on a one-to-one basis, sometimes two to three nights a week, praying with me, introducing me to God’s Word and teaching me about His remarkable inner healing. I owe her my life.

8) Now that we have hopefully whet everyone's appetites for A Passion Most Pure, fill us in on what is upcoming on your schedule that we have to look forward to...

Well, I hope to begin Katie’s story in the next few months and create a newsletter which will keep readers updated on The Daughters of Boston series, plus all the fun things that go on such as title selection, promotion and cover design (YOWZA, wait till you get a glimpse of the male cover model for Book 2—guaranteed to make this book sprout wings and fly off the shelves! J). (And just a side note—I will be having a contest for an autographed hardback copy of A Passion Most Pure for anyone who signs up for my newsletter (or has signed up) on my Web site at Then, of course, Charity’s story (Book 2, A Passion Redeemed) and Beth’s story (Book 3, working title A Passion Denied) will be out in September 2008 and February 2009. Whew! Lots to do!

Thank you so much for visiting with us about your debut novel today, Julie - I know you've been extremely busy on making the interview rounds lately! How can readers find you online? Where is the best place for them to go buy your book - in other words do you know of any websites that aren't currently sold out?

No, thank you, Janna, for hosting me on your blog! It was a lot of fun. And, yeah, I was pretty shocked when somebody e-mailed me that has had A Passion Most Pure on backorder for weeks! What a great problem to have, eh? I think may still have some, or you can check with your local Christian bookstore, Barnes & Nobles, Borders, etc. to make sure they have a copy before you make the trip. I was shocked to learn that even selective Wal-marts are carrying it too. Wow! And, of course, readers can always find me online (along with a schedule of book giveaways/interviews) at

And fair readers, do not despair - Julie has agreed to give away an autographed copy of A Passion Most Pure to one of you blessed readers. So leave a comment telling us why this sounds like a book you would like to read and be sure to leave some kind of contact information as well (I will not put your name in the drawing if I don't have a way to get a hold of you) and I will pull a winner! ***For North Platte readers - I was at Waldenbooks tonight and they had 3 copies on the shelves so I know it is available here :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Winner of Teaching True Love is...

The winner of Teaching True Love to a Sex-At-13 Generation is....


Congrats Cindy!

To everyone else, check back on Friday to enter to win an autographed copy of "A Passion Most Pure" by Julie Lessman - her interview should be up by then and you don't want to miss that :-)

"27 Dresses" - What fun!

27 Dresses!

I splurged this last weekend and did something that is a real rarity for me - I went to the movies! My sister-in-law, Sarah, joined me for the chick flick "27 Dresses" and we both really enjoyed it. One of my reasons for wanting to see it is the lovely Katherine Heigl. I love her, but let me clarify, I don't watch Grey's Anatomy and I didn't see her last movie, the raunchy looking "Knocked Up". I remember Katharine as Isabel from my all time favorite tv show "Roswell", boy did I cry when that show went off the air (my poor husband and what he has to put up with - of course chances are high that I was pregnant when it went off the air and I am always more emotional when I'm pregnant - just ask Matt :-)

So "27 Dresses" is about Jane who has a closet full of bridesmaid dresses because she is a true romantic that really wants to make every bride's special day - perfect. In her heart of hearts she is in love with her boss (she's his personal assistant) and does everything for him. Then one day her perfect, sexy, younger sister comes back to town and in one fell swoop - gets her boss to fall in love with her. Now Jane is stuck planning her sister's wedding to the man she loves. Introduce the popular newspaper writer who does an article about Jane and her eternal bridesmaid status and the fact that her sister has basically changed who she is so the boss will love her and you end up with a funny, charming, sad and endearing story. I loved it and would actually consider buying this movie when it comes out (and that is saying a lot). One caution for those that monitor this kind of thing - there is one quick scene where Jane and the writer are making out in her car and then (though it is not shown) they wake up in the morning still in the car. Sadly, the movie could have easily done without that scene, but then it wouldn't have earned its PG-13 rating and nobody would have gone to see it (right...)

So if you need a fun girl's moment - go see 27 Dresses!

Friday, February 1, 2008

"A Passion Most Pure" by Julie Lessman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Passion Most Pure

(Revell January 1, 2008)


Julie Lessman


Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.


She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.

Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. Collin is trying to win her sister Charity's hand, and Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure is Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.

Look, next week for my review and interview!!!! And you can purchase this book here:

"Sisters, Ink" by Rebeca Seitz

It is February FIRST, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature is:

Rebeca Seitz

and her book:


B&H Books (February 1, 2008)


Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, PRINTS CHARMING being her first novel.

Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview.

Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.


Tandy's purple stiletto heel tapped in perfect rhythm to the pulse that threatened to leap out of her neck. She stared at the phone, willing it to ring and someone on the other end to declare this a joke. Her boss did not just call her into his office. Now.

The smooth tones from her CD player of Ole Blue Eyes crooning I Did it My Way mocked rather than soothed. She had to calm down, but Meg's idea of music soothing the savage soul was not working. Fingers shaking, Tandy snatched up the receiver and dialed her sister. Calm, stoic Meg always knew what to do in a crisis. From falling off the swing set to supplying Oreos and caffeine the night before Tandy's bar exam, Meg was a pro at handling crises and keeping her three sisters' lives humming.

A busy signal sounded, and Tandy slammed the phone back down. Of course Meg would be on the phone right now. Why on earth couldn't that woman understand the helpfulness of call-waiting? Tandy could hear Meg's soft, persuasive response now: Why would I stop talking to one person before our conversation ended, T? It's rude and I just won't have it in my house.

Grabbing the receiver again, Tandy punched in Kendra's numbers, jumping when yet another hawk flew into her window. Why did Orlando have to have a courthouse with the perfect nooks and crannies to build a nest? Ever since the completion of this new structure, hawks circled attorneys in the Bellsouth building across the on a daily basis.

Kendra's melodic voice floated over the line, its harmonious tones the same as in childhood: "You have reached the voicemail of Kendra Sinclair"

Tandy slammed the receiver down again and glared at the circling hawks. Of course Mr. Beasley was angry. He had every right to be, really. That fat deposit in her checking account every other week meant the continuation of her dedication to keeping their clients out of jail. Certainly it meant she wouldn't hand the prosecution the very evidence they needed to obtain a conviction. She fiddled with the purple and black silk scarf tied around her neck.

Would Joy be any help at all in this situation? Joy might be the baby sister, but her quiet strength could come in handy right now. Except that Joy loved to talk and Christopher Beasley was waiting. The thought of him in his office high above the hawks, tapping his long fingers on the glass top of a heavy mahogany desk, didn't allow for long phone conversations.

Tandy's office phone rang and she jumped. "Tandy Sinclair."

"Tandy, it's Anna." Tandy smiled, thinking of the gentle lady seated a few floors above her. "Mr. Beasley's on his third cup of coffee."

Her smile vanished. "Oh, no, Anna. Couldn't you have dawdled a bit? You know how he gets with caffeine overload."

"And you know how he gets when I dawdle. You've got maybe three minutes before he asks me to get cup number four."

"I'm on my way." Tandy pushed back from her desk and stood up. "Thanks, Anna."

"No problem, sweetie."

Tandy dropped the phone in its cradle, her gaze darting around the room for something, anything that would prevent the next ten minutes.

If that idiot Harry Simons had been one iota less smarmy, this predicament could have been avoided. His outright ogling of her figure had been bad enough, but certainly not the first time Tandy had been forced to ignore a man's unwanted attentions. They all seemed to believe her red, wavy hair was a sign she'd fulfill their wildest dreams. Heck, Mr. Beasley had probably even made that assumption at some point, as evidenced by his swift promotions landing her in a cushy corner office of Meyers, Briggs, and Stratton.

Tandy swigged caffeine and paced the office. It wasn't even Harry's condescension. His superiority, rooted in maleness, made no effort to hide the belief that a brain resting between the pierced ears of a thirty-year-old female graduate of Yale School of Law somehow negated its existence. That idiocy didn't even raise her blood pressure. She fingered her pearl earrings and grimaced as a hawk glided to rest on the ledge outside.

No, she would have been fine, and Christopher Beasley would not at this very moment be preparing to fire her, except for one innocent little lunch with small-minded Harry. Why, oh why, had she agreed to go to lunch with the lizard? (Honestly, his head rivaled the shape of geckos that ran in and out of every flower bed in Central Florida.) Come to think of it, his eyes were shifty like a gecko, too. Was the single life getting to her so much that she'd date a lizard? She stopped and tapped the window ledge. Meg and Kendra were on her case to date more. But who had time to meet people after spending sixty-five hours a week at the office? She sighed. The sisters just didn't understand life in the city.

"You guys have got it easy," she said to the hawks. "Circle, eat, rest, repeat. With the occasional head bang into a window to keep us lawyers on our toes." She shook her head.

Well, it didn't matter now. Mr. Beasley awaited her presence and it would only get worse the longer she stood here. Her heels sank into the plush pearl-colored carpet as she crossed the office, ignoring the latest sacrifice to her black thumb nearly dead African violet. She opened her office door and cast one last glance at what, in about ten minutes, probably would not be her office. Oh well. Maybe she could take the plant to Anna.

She picked up the violet. At least the charade of defending a slimeball, who made fun of an old homeless man to make himself seem big, would come to an end. And the day was still young; she could hit the beach before the lunch rush hit I-4.

Shoulders thrown back, chin up, Tandy made her way down the hallway and entered an elevator lined in the obligatory mahogany, brass, and mirrors, testimony to Christopher's desire to never rock a boat even in the decoration of his law firm's offices. She eyed her reflection and saw steel in the brown eyes staring back. Cutting Harry off at the knees in public wasn't the best financial move to make. How would she buy food for Cooper? Pay his vet bills? Keeping an old basset hound with arthritic knees and hips in comfort was a pricey endeavor. Still, it had been worth it to see the shock on Harry's face when she announced in her loud voice the impending completion of his career. From a 9x9 prison cell, that cardboard box would look like heaven.

She checked her chignon, tucking in a stray curl and smoothing the rest down. Picturing Harry's smug, pudgy face behind bars did way more to calm her pulse rate than Sinatra's croon. The elevator dinged, announcing her arrival to Christopher Beasley's penthouse lair.

Tandy took a deep breath, tightened her grip on the sagging violet, sent up a prayer of thanks that she'd picked the Ann Taylor suit today, must look sharp when being fired--and stepped across the threshold.

"He's waiting for you." Sympathy shimmered in Anna's blue eyes. The Orlando sun shining through the window made Anna's hair glow like a fresh pearl.

Tandy set the violet down on Anna's desk. "Thanks, Anna. It's been good knowing you. I wonder if you might coax this little guy back to life?"

Anna raised her eyebrows. "Tandy, how many times do I have to tell you? You're a danger to plants." She smiled and wagged her finger. "You taking them in isn't an act of kindness. You leave the greenery to us old chicks."

Tandy laughed. "Yes ma'am." She took another breath. "I guess I should go in now."

Anna sobered. "Guess so."

"Still on cup number three?"

"I just took in cup four. I doubt he's taken a sip yet, though. He's slowing down."

"Thanks for everything, Anna."

"You're welcome, honey. Take care of yourself. And you call me if you need anything, hear?"

Tandy nodded, only now realizing that losing her job also meant losing Anna's kind wisdom. She blinked hard. Crying at work would not do. She stepped to Christopher's door and knocked.

This is a great book and you can finish reading the first chapter at :
or click on the FIRST button at the top of this post to check out the rest of the first chapter and then go get the book here: