Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nan's Journey by Elaine Littau - A Review and an Interview

I LOVE reading novels (and writing them - more news on this later); always have and always will.

When I received the chance to read and review Elaine Littau's historical fiction novel, Nan's Journey, I, of course, jumped at the opportunity. There is nothing I love more than a good Christian historical fiction novel and a lazy summer afternoon.

I've read a lot of Christian historical fiction as I'm sure you might have guessed. While there were many elements of this book that were similar to the tradition of the genre, what makes Nan's Journey stand out is Elaine's willingness to tackle difficult issues. And through these horrible circumstances, Elaine keeps pointing us back to the promises of God, His love and salvation. 

NOTE (and a minor spoiler): When I say this book tackles difficult issues, I must alert you to the fact that the main character, Nan, endures beatings and rape (no specific details). In light of this, the book is for more mature audiences, 15 and up.

The book follows the story of a young girl, Nan, who deals with several horrible experiences on her way to faith in Christ. So, as you can imagine, it was difficult for her to trust others and, in turn, God. Hers is journey of healing and learning about God's unwavering love, trust and mercy even through extremely painful circumstances. 

In addition to Nan's Journey, Elaine has written a whole series following Nan's family and heritage. I am looking forward to reading the rest of series and learning about how God works in the lives of her family members. You can read a review of the whole series HERE

I would also like to share an interview with Elaine. It's always fun when we can get a glimpse into the thoughts and ideas behind a book.


How did you become a writer?
As soon as I learned how to read, I devoured books. As a child I loved reading historical fiction and stories about horses. In Junior High I found “Gone with the Wind”, “The Good Earth”, and “That Jones Girl”. I couldn’t get enough. I wondered how the authors put those stories together.
My parents were born in 1909 and 1913. They told me stories about their parents and grandparents. My imagination went wild. Mom explained to me many times about the struggles of making a life on the prairie and the challenges of cooking and cleaning while living in virtual poverty. I realized that most people of my generation had never heard these things. I wanted to write, but didn’t think I was good enough.
As a young mother I read while my children were in bed. I found a lot of books to be predictable and lacking…something. I began thinking about how I would change those books up to be more satisfying to me. When I heard the statement that every person has a book inside them, I decided to write my book.

What inspired you to write the Nan’s Heritage Series?
I liked the Western era and chose it to be the setting of “the book I had in me”. I had no idea of writing a series until after Nan’s Journey was going through the publishing hoops and I realized it was really going to be a book and not just a stack of papers my sons would find in a drawer after I die.

Where did you get some of your ideas for a Christian Historical Fiction?
For “Nan’s Journey” the idea came while I was doing dishes one day. I remembered a scene from the television series, Gunsmoke. A teenaged girl had been severely beaten. Her back was bleeding. As a little child, I had never seen anything like that. My mind whirled. Who hurt the girl? How did she get to the doctor? What happened to her after she was treated?
I couldn’t remember how the episode ended so I sat with a legal pad and began to write Nan’s story. I spent a couple of hours writing and my sons got home from school. It was time to be a mom again. I put that legal pad up and dug it out several times in the seven years it took to write it.
For “Elk’s Resolve” I decided to write a sequel for “Nan’s Journey” while I still had some courage. My husband helped me brainstorm with ideas about how and when some of the characters would find one another. Many times, just before awakening, ideas of the next scene would go through my mind.
“Luke’s Legacy” was the book that left me in tears most of the days I wrote it. I think it is an emotional book. I find it interesting that this one is my husband’s favorite. I love the character called ‘Purdy’. She says what a lot of us would like to say but have been taught not to say.
“The Eyes of a Stranger” came to me as I was thinking about mail-order brides. My first thought was, “If someone ordered me, I’d be sent back for a refund.” The story went on from there.
Some of the chapters from “Timothy’s Home” came from something that happened when I was three or four years old. My nephew and I were playing with my teenaged brother’s twenty mule team model. Somehow it was broken. Fifty years later I found a model and began putting it together. The kit had a history and interesting facts about the mule team. I researched online and had to use this hard fought knowledge in a book. I don’t like to waste a bit of research if possible.
The Series was completed with those five books. I sort of thought I was through writing but…

What is the most challenging part of writing for you?
The most challenging part for me is to actually sit down and begin writing. I can easily get bogged down with research because I find discovery so interesting. Also, developing a good title can be challenging. As far as writing the book, my approach is thinking about a movie I would be interested in watching and then I write down what I see in my head.

Who is your favorite author? What books have influenced you most?
Living authors: Janette Oak and Francine Rivers. Those from the past: Grace Livingston Hill and Hilda Stahl.
Janette Oak’s “Love Comes Softly” series influenced me a lot because it begins with the start of a family and continues through the generations. I like that format. Hilda Stahl’s “White Pine Chronicles” had such unexpected twists and turns, I want to write like that.

How have you found time to write eleven books? When and where do you usually write?
I am an empty-nester and have quite a bit of time on my hands. I also have suffered with some pretty awful pain. Keeping my mind busy has made dealing with it easier. Now, I am feeling better and have the desire to keep writing. Eleven books is a testimony of the grace of God that got me through some pretty bad days. I am humbled that the Lord held my hand through it all and caused the pain to bear some fruit for Him.
I have a big double-wide chair with an ottoman in my living room. I sit there with my laptop and write. I tried sitting in my home office and it just doesn’t work for me. I write here and there all the time. I asked for a Dragon speech recognition set up one year for Christmas and got it. I thought I could do double-duty while writing a book. Armed with my sewing machine and quilt pieces, I began dictating. I proceeded with this for probably three hours and then closed the computer and turned off the sewing machine.
The next day I looked at my manuscript and couldn’t figure out what on earth I had said. The dragon had tried to understand my Texas accent, but it had gotten so much of it wrong, I had to start that part over. I still use the dragon, but I watch it as it types and fix the mistakes as I go. (I still have a pronounced Texas accent.)

How does your family feel about your career?
They are very proud of me. I think it has given them inspiration to write their own books. My grandkids are also in the process of writing. None of them have finished a manuscript, but they will. I guess they think that if their mom can do it, they can, too.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Each book has an overlying theme, but the main thing each book carries is that God loves you. He has provided a way for you to overcome your struggles and He will never leave you in your mess when you ask Him for help.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Learn all you can about the writing process and how to write a strong story. Write the kind of story you would like to read. Don’t let trying to get published hold you back. God will help you find the right publisher at the right time. Do not be afraid to self-publish.

What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
Currently, I am writing a serial novel. It is Episode five of Restored. Restored is the third book in The Nashville Series. When I finish writing the episodes I will join them all together into one novel called, “Restored”.
After that, I want to write another Western in the Rescued series and then a devotional book as well as the book my family really wants me to write- a book about the humorous things that have happened in our family. I also want to write some books that are not a part of a series. My goal is to write one hundred books before I die. At this rate…I don’t know about that!

Thank you so much for doing this interview and caring about the story behind the books I write.


Elaine Littau is the best-selling author of eleven published books and many magazine and newspaper articles. She is a mentor/coach for other authors and enjoys teaching book marketing techniques as well as public speaking for groups. Even the simplest activity takes on a life of its own when Elaine is involved in the telling of it. Some of her favorite events have been speaking to young people about pursuing their dreams. She has been a church secretary, led women’s groups, taught pre-school and Sunday school, and was a mentor for the M.O.P. S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community. Elaine and Terry, her husband, reside on a small acreage near Perryton, Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends. They raised three sons and now enjoy three daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Need a Little Summer Reading? Awesome Kindle Fire and Book Giveaway!!

I have the distinct pleasure of being part of a book launch for Elaine Littau. She is the author of eleven published books and many magazine and newspaper articles. She is a mentor/coach for other authors and enjoys public speaking for groups. Many enjoy listening to her humorous take on life. Even the simplest activity takes on a life of its own when Elaine is involved in the telling of it.

And as a part of the book launch, I have the opportunity to share this awesome giveaway with you!


We live in the Heartland. It's not unusual at all to see someone walking down the street (or into our home) with spurs jingling on their dirty boots and a gun on their hip. A handkerchief isn't just western decor, it's necessary for keeping the dirt out of your nose during dust storms. Our family loves the song, "Jesus was a Country Boy" by Clay Walker. The idea of walking down a dusty road with Y'shua of Nazareth is stirring. What do you 'reckon visit with Him about? While the children are playing Cowboys, Mom needs a little entertainment too right? Let me suggest this great opportunity for a nice bundle of goodies. There are books in this bundle that the whole family is going to LOVE!

The Nan's Heritage Series by Elaine LittauThe harsh consequences of other people's sin leaves Nan bitter and broken, but God's amazing Love prevails in her life and overflows into the lives of those around her. And the story doesn't end there . . . follow along with Nan's family on their journeys to God's grace and love. 

Stella's Plea by R.A. Giggie“Trust me,” she heard a voice say to her. When her deaf daughter, 3-year-old Alexis, goes missing, Stella Brigg faces an incredible struggle. Alone, while her husband serves in the armed forces overseas, Stella must depend on Someone greater than anyone she’s ever known. Someone who loves her even more than Don ever did. Only that kind of love can carry her through in her search for Alexis. R.A. Giggie

A Mighty Fortress first in the Hymns of the West series by Faith BlumJoshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who's hunting them.Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom's gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss's right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what's one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?Can Joshua lean on God's strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town? Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running--the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet? Faith Blum

Alyce (The Valley Stories #1) by Sarah Scheele

Alyce Lomlossa has never dreamed of visiting King Timson. To a member of a minority group that opposes his rule, his brooding, glum palace is associated only with imprisonment and death. Though it's been a long time since any Sherban was arrested, Alyce feels little in common with her ruler and is quite content to stay unnoticed. Until a mandatory summons to the King's court dance leaves her no choice. A 20,000 word novella that enlarges the story of Cinderella. Sarah Scheele

God's Daughter by Heather Day GilbertOne Viking woman. One God. One legendary journey to North America. In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. Clinging to her faith, she joins her husband, Finn, on a journey to North America. But even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself--and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart. Almost five centuries before Columbus, Viking women sailed to North America with their husbands. God's Daughter, Book One in the Vikings of the New World Saga, offers an expansive yet intimate look into the world of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir--daughter-in-law of Eirik the Red, and the first documented European woman to have a child in North America. Heather Day Gilbert  

Tales of the Wolven The Dragons SonAfter the brutal massacre in his village, a broken, grieving boy chooses to live with a golden dragon in the wild rather than go to the mountains to be with his own people. If only he had known then what that simple choice meant… Thirteen years later, Keegan, no longer a boy, learns that his younger sister survived the massacre and so sets off to be reunited with her. When Keegan accidentally interrupts a plot against a princess, what should have been a fairly simple trip turns into a complicated struggle for survival. A mysterious elder appears, full of wit and riddle. Mythical monsters shed their fictional skin and hungrily pursue Keegan and his dragon. Haunting nightmares begin to tear at his mind. As he continues on his quest to be reunited with his sister, Keegan is only just beginning to understand what it means to be The Dragons Son. Kathryn Fogleman

Fern Valley Adventures by Aileen StewartFern Valley is home to a group of wonderful animals who have fun and face some of the same problems children everywhere do. Roberta and Mildred Cornstalk are creative chickens dealing with the loss of their beloved granny, and they’re looking for something to do to cheer them up. Want to know what adventures they find? Want to know what happens to Roberta and Mildred’s brother, Edward, when he goes fishing, what birthday surprise is in store for Betsy Woolrich, or what lesson Kimmy Curlytail learns when she keeps something that isn’t hers? Then follow this endearing cast of characters as they enjoy their time together and learn important lessons. A perfect addition for any child’s personal library and a joy for families to share, Fern Valley is a collection to be treasured for many years to come. Aileen Stewart  

Legends of the Swamps: Uncle Frank and the Search for the Alligator King by Kimberly ThompsonIt’s almost the end of summer, and seventeen-year-old Julien is seated around the campfire with his sister and six cousins, waiting for Uncle Frank to begin his story. He’s the best storyteller in Louisiana, and tonight he’s got something really good—the story of the Alligator King. But first, he has to go back even further and tell another story—that of Eagle Hawk, who became a man and set off to follow his vision, where soon he meets a beautiful Irish girl and falls in love. “But what does this have to do with the Alligator King?” they all want to know. And Uncle Frank just puffs on his pipe and grins. The Alligator King is the first novel in the Legends of the Swamps series by Kimberly Thompson. The old (although no one knows exactly) Uncle Frank weaves fact with flair to create a tale worthy of a late-night campfire. Get caught up in the mystery as the boys and girls lean forward in their seats, ready to hear what happens next, begging to interrupt Uncle Frank and ask the question: did this really happen? You can decide for yourself, because this is where Uncle Frank’s epic tale begins… Kimberly Thompson 

Chloe May: Daughter of the Dust Bowl by Grace LundmarkChloe May's father found his wife's tactics incredulous as she dealt with their impoverished life and her own restlessness. Then came the Depression and the droughts of the Dust Bowl. It took more than their losses, near starvation, and apparent defeat to put a tear in her father's eye. In fact, even the women in the Whitehurst family were seldom reduced to tears-conniving and rash behavior, perhaps, but not to tears! The family knew laughter and fun, balancing heartaches and poverty. Chloe May: Daughter of the Dust Bowl is based on the true story of the author's mother, Chloe May, and her family's frequent moves in, around, and out of the Oklahoma Panhandle of the '20s and '30s. Laced with historical facts of the time, Chloe May: Daughter of the Dust Bowl is a must read for younger readers wishing for a glimpse into one of America's most difficult eras, and older readers who will identify with one family's modes of survival. Grace Lundmark  

Laura Eckroat Children's Books

The Life of Bud is the story of life and how important we all are and how hard it is to let go in the end. The story follows Bud, who starts out in life as a tiny bud—he feels insignificant. But Bud grows into a beautiful, vibrant leaf on the Mighty Oak Tree and becomes a very important part of the tree. Those who have looked for a children's book that explains gently about the topic of life and death, look no further. The Life of Bud explains to children and reminds adults that death is an important part of life. A Simpler Time - Oversaturated with the latest video games and iPhone apps, does anyone slow down to remember A Simpler Time? Join A.J. as she discovers a summer of fun with her mom, finding animals in the clouds, and a trek to find the perfect four-leaf clover! What's in the Corner? Sing along to this musical mystery “tail” as Muffin the rescue dog discovers what's in the corner of her suburban backyard, while protecting her owner! What’s in the Corner? A Muffin "Tail" is Muffin's second adventure and is sure to spark the imagination of children of all ages. Went Out To Get a Donut - Came Home With a Muffin - At first, Muffin was scared and hid under her mommy's chair. Muffin found out that training class was fun and interesting, and her mommy gave her treats and affection for doing her lessons correctly—what we call 'positive reinforcement'. Muffin became our 'star student!' Muffin graduated from her first level of classes-Beginner Education and is starting her second level of training soon. Laura W. Eckroat

Lynn Babor's Christian Horse TrainingChristian writer Lynn Baber retired as a National and World Champion horse breeder/ trainer after careers as a business and equine pro. From horses to "contending for the faith" every message is based on God's Word. Lynn shares simple truth even when it's not the popular path. Lynn teaches worthy leadership, methods for achieving success, and the process of building faith under the brand Christian Horse Training for Amazing Grays Ministry, a 501.c.3 non-profit. Life is simple when you follow a worthy leader. Peace, joy, contentment, and security are found with proper focus and commitment. Lynn shares messages in print and in person to help folks find blessed simplicity as Christians, horse lovers, and citizens, in a world where complexity and confusion presently reign. Highly credentialed in matters of leadership, relationship, and most things equine, Lynn offers a unique mix of experience and perspective that is open, conversational, and personal. For folks who love Jesus Christ, horses - or both!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, July 7, 2014

An Opportunity to Make a Difference - Help Orphans Learn Their Vision is Valuable

You may not be called to adopt but we are all called to action. Caring for the widows and orphans is a calling given to us by our Heavenly Father. It may seem overwhelming when you think of all the orphans that needs our help, but instead, we can pray and be open to God's plan to use us, one child at a time. 

I would like to share a special opportunity with you to make a difference in the lives of some precious children in China. I work closely with The Sparrow Fund as a co-administrator on their blog and am excited to share their work in China with you and a way you can effect change. 

In March, The Sparrow Fund led their first team to serve at an orphanage in China. A team of 13 people from all over the United States held babies, taught preschoolers how to play London Bridge and blow bubbles, and built relationships with the staff who serve the 300 orphans in their care day in and day out. It was a foundational trip for ongoing work. In fact their next trip is planned for October and they are looking forward to being able to do more for the children and staff now that trust has been built. Among their team of 14, they have a neonatal nurse and several occupational therapists who will be able to assess children and gently encourage their caregivers to better care for them. 

As a part of The Sparrow Fund's next trip, they have a super exciting new opportunity to bring to the children, but they need help to make this project happen! 

Ben Leaman, who generously volunteered to be part of their team in March, has agreed to join them again and bring something incredible to the older children—a photography workshop for 10 young adults (aged 10-14). Using a custom designed 5-day curriculum, they have the opportunity to teach these children photography basics. More than that, this is an opportunity for the team members to speak into the hearts of these children and show them that they are beauty makers and creators and that their vision is valuable. 

In order to offer this program, The Sparrow Fund is seeking Valuable Vision sponsors so they can purchase the necessary equipment and offer the program. 

Through a tax-deductible donation of $200 to The Sparrow Fund designated for this opportunity, you have the opportunity to sponsor one orphan to join the class. Your $200 will pay for the camera, camera case, and memory card that he or she will use for the class (they have procured a discount for the materials!). Your donation will also cover the in-country printing of some of the child’s shots for him or her to keep as well as the printing of a portrait for the child to keep (which is an amazing blessings for these kids). This picture will also be placed in the child's orphanage file—a photo that could potentially be used for advocating for that child as well if he or she becomes available for adoption. Once the team members return home, sponsors will receive a professionally printed artwork of one of your child’s prints (an 8×12 freestanding Standout) as well as the child’s portrait and a small surprise thank you gift purchased specifically for you during the trip. So as you continue to pray for your sponsored child, you will can put a face with a name. 

If the $200 sponsorship is beyond your means but you want to support this program and make sure it happens, consider giving a lesser amount of perhaps $100 or $50. A donation of any amount will ensure that the Sparrow Fund can offer and continue this program so that orphans are mentored in a skill and can know that their vision is valuable.

Consider helping these kids and sponsor a child and then SHARE the link until all 10 sponsorships are full—go to this link to learn more or become a sponsor


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Making Up for Missed Memories


So many Memories. . . 

Kids and most parents everywhere long for the lazy hazy days of summer.

I remember waking up with great anticipation on that Monday that was the first day of Vacation Bible School (VBS) each summer. Excitement filled the house and the car as we drove to church. To this day, when I step outside on a warm summer morning, those memories of VBS fill my mind.

I remember the joy of heading to swim with friends and whiling away the hot summer afternoons like fish.

I remember spending warm summer evenings playing with friends in the yard, making up all sorts of stories that took us on crazy adventures.

We missed many summer memories with Anthony; I don't want to miss any more!

Grace will say, "Remember, Mommy, when . . . " and Anthony will get a sad distant look on his face. I know he is thinking about how he wasn't there to take part in that particular memory. In those moments, I always quickly remind him that God's plan and timing for us becoming a family was perfect. He usually smiles and nods, but I know the pain is still there. 

This is one of the faces of adoption. But you can't dwell in the what ifs and missed moments. Instead, we forge ahead making new and amazing memories and filling their heads with the joy, laughter and peace that comes only from our Father above.

Here is a glance at some of the summer memories we have made thus far. 

Just some summer cuteness!

Excelling at his first swimming lesson!

Summer Bubble Tea!

Father's Day! 

Matching T-shirt day!

Ready for their next spy mission!

Sunglasses always create a great disguise for a spy. 

Headed out for a fun evening with friends!

Grace's first swimming lesson!

Summer Fun Blessings to all!

Monday, June 23, 2014

I Love You All the Same . . . Book Giveaway!

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861

 How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Love . . .

First, there was my husband. Tomorrow is our 14th wedding anniversary. 19 years together, 14 years married and my love has only grown with each passing day. Then, when God lead us down the path to adoption, there were moments when I wondered how my love would grow for our adopted children. Well, it's as simple as this precious little book. Love grows with bonding, and it is an amazing journey to watch the love between us and our adoptive children unfold.  We love them all the same and know that we will love any future children God has for us all the same. It's how love works! 

This month I have a copy of a precious book called "I Love You All the Same" to giveaway. This sweet book assures three little bears who are all different colors and from different backgrounds that their Mama and Papa Bear love all three of them the same, differences and all! What a sweet message to share with all your children, adopted or biological. 

by Donna Keith, illustrated by Allison Edgson

Features and Benefits:

  • A perfect way for parents to tell their children how much they love each of them.
  • Great purchase for parents and grandparents looking for ways to show siblings how they are each special and unique.
  • Good resource to prepare big brothers and sisters for new members (and personalities!) coming into the family.
  • Adorable art from Alison Edgson makes this a great purchase for a baby shower, a gift for a new mom, or anytime.
  • A great resource for adoptive families.

Padded Board Book a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 20, 2014

Will you answer His call?

"Kings and Queens" by the Audio Adrenaline started playing on the radio today. I haven't heard the song in months.  As I listened, my mind was flooded with memories. 

It reminded of when we first brought Anthony home and were struggling with language barriers and frustration that comes form miscommunication. This was one of the first songs that he truly understood, and it was so amazing to watch the joy in his eyes when he heard this song, a song that the beauty of adoption and caring for the least of these. 

Listening to it today inspired the following thoughts:



All over the world 


Waiting for someone to love them.

Looking for hope

Looking for family

Will we answer their lonely desperate cries?

Some of us are called to adopt

Some of us are called to pray

Some of us are called to serve

All of us are called to action.


How beautiful is the parallel

Of human adoption

And spiritual adoption.



All over the world


Waiting to learn about the Hope

The Hope that is within us.

Will we share

Without meekness and fear?

Will we proclaim the name of our God

Who adopts us as sons

Making us co-heirs with Christ, our Savior?


Will we answer His call?

Will we care for the widows and orphans?

Will we share His good news without reservation?

What will you do?


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Superkids China Trip 2014!

I am so excited that my dear friends, Erin and Pat, are headed to China again for the Gladney Center for Adoption to love on precious kids at seven orphanages in three provinces! They will be providing therapeutic play activities and developmental screenings as well as taking lots of photos of the children so we can advocate for them! I can't wait to see all the sweet faces in need of families!

This trip holds a special place in my heart because it was on one of these very trips that Pat met Anthony and was able to share many wonderful pictures of him while we waited to travel and bring our boy home!
Before Adoption . . . waiting for us!

After Adoption . . . home for one year!

Check out this amazing video Erin put together that shows the before and after photos of children adopted from the Shanghai Children's Home!

Keep your eyes out on my Facebook page for updates from the Asia Waiting Child blog and the Superkids blog!

Please keep the workers and kiddos in your prayers.




Surpassing Greatness | Template By Rockaboo Designs | 2012