“The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it.
She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its
beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed
almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few
books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had
read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to
sleep in them for a hundred years, which she had thought must be rather
stupid. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she was
becoming wider awake every day which passed at Misselthwaite.”
My best friend told me recently that she was listening to the beloved classic TheSecret Garden. I loved reading this book when I was younger, and I loved seeing the film, which debuted in the 90's, that accompanied this amazing story. It is such a lovely tale of friendship that shows how each character must find their own way to belong to a world they never thought they would enter.
Raise your hand if you wanted your own secret garden as a child. :) If you have not had the opportunity to read this incredible story, I urge you to pick up a copy today, and if you are an ebook reader...this copy is on Kindle for $0.99.
renovates old houses. Can he restore her heart? Deidre McIntyre didn’t exactly
purchase the gorgeous old home in the ShenandoahMountains
on a whim. The building had seen better days, but she had the skills—and the
time—to fix it up. And maybe it would provide the fresh start she was looking
for. Local handyman Jeremiah Crawford has a soft spot for Peacock Hill. When
someone from out of town purchases it, he swings by to offer to help fix it
up…and investigate the new owner’s plans for the property. The pixie-like
Deidre isn’t at all what he expects, but he’s happy to hang around and enjoy
the view. When Deidre’s ex-boyfriend, a popular TV house flipper, shows up
demanding a piece of the action, Jeremiah must decide if Deidre—and Peacock
Hill—are worth fighting for. Falling in love wasn’t on the blueprints, but it
might just be worth the change in plans.
Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who
lives in the suburbs of WashingtonD.C. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious
consumer of books. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their
lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace on their way to their own
romantic happily ever after.
It’s probably a
combination of loving to read (I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life) and
having an active imagination. When you throw those two things together, you end
up sort of inevitably (I think) writing down stories of your own.
2.Who are some of your favorite authors?
Do these authors inspire your own writing?
I have so many favorites it’s hard to narrow it down. I’ll stick
with Christian authors this go-round and …it’s still hard. Um. Stephen Lawhead
is a huge favorite. Chuck Black is another. More recent favorites include
Valerie Comer and Heather Gray. And I’ll stop there or we’ll be here all day.
3.What did you want to be when you grew
up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
When I started seriously thinking about a future career (vs. the
younger President/Princess/Pediatrician/Astronaut phase), I wanted to teach
programming at the college level. And I did that for many years. I would say,
yes, being an author crossed my mind, but I didn’t really take publication
seriously until I was a stay-at-home mom.
4.What does your writing process look
I’m not a plotter – so the process is kind of “sit down and
write.” Then, when it’s finished, I do several read throughs before it goes to
my beta readers and then editors.
5.What inspired the idea for A
My sister and I took a road trip with my boys on a sunny summer
afternoon and ended up touring SwannanoaPalace in the south western part of Virginia. It’s so
pretty—and yet also in need of some TLC. So while I was imagining what I’d do
if it was mine, Deidre started to take shape as well.
6.What do you want readers to take away
from reading A Heart Restored?
Ultimately, in addition to having spent some enjoyable time
relaxing, I guess it would be that second chances and grace are a good thing to
have in our lives.
Deidre slipped her phone into the pocket of her jeans before
backing up to view the front of her new…well, it wasn’t a home yet. The house
sat on fifty acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge.
Mountains rose in the distance to the west. Though she couldn’t see it, the
tiny town of Butler’s
End sat at the bottom of the hill the house perched on, and civilization wasn’t
too much farther down the road in either direction. But from here, she could’ve
been in the middle of nowhere. This place was going to be something amazing. It
had been, once, and it could be again, with a little bit of love and a whole
lot of know-how. She happened to have both.
The front of the house needed to be cleaned. And several
sections of the stone blocks that made up the facade repaired or replaced. She
might have to hire that out. She dug out her phone and opened her note-taking
app. She circled the house, tapping away as she saw things that needed
attention. The landscaping, such as it was, would have to wait. The house was
her first priority.
She rounded the corner, returning to the front of the house, and
scowled at the dinged red pickup parked in the circular drive. She snapped a
photo of the sign on the truck’s door that featured an enormous cartoon frog
wearing a straw hat and chewing on a piece of grass. There had to be someone
who belonged to that heap.
“Aha.” A man in jeans and a cream Henley
that stretched over broad shoulders and well-defined arms jogged down her front
steps and avoided the missing tread with ease that spoke of practice. “I heard
someone bought the old girl. That you?”
Deidre kept her phone in her left hand, her finger hovering over
the emergency number speed dial, and nodded.
“Pleasure to meet you, ma’am. I’m Jeremiah Crawford.” He
gestured to the truck and extended his hand. “I own Bullfrog Home Services.”
Deidre took his hand, remembering her father’s advice to have a
firm grip and make eye contact. “Deidre McIntyre.”
“Ms. McIntyre, I was just wondering what you planned to do with
the place. She’s been a fixture ‘round here. A lot of the locals would be torn
up if she got knocked down and turned into condos or something.” He flashed a
bright, toothy smile.
If the locals loved the place so much, why hadn’t anyone taken
better care of it? Sure, the previous owner was old and in a nursing facility
now, but she had family. Family who’d seemed well pleased to be rid of the
thing. “I have no plans to tear it down.”
He cocked his head to the side. “Then what will you do?”
She crossed her arms. “I’m sorry, why do you care?”
“Well now, ma’am. If you plan to fix her up, I thought I’d offer
my services.” He dug in his pocket and produced a business card.
Deidre took the card and offered a tight smile. “I think I’ll be
fine. But thanks.”
He nodded. “All right then. I’ll leave you with that, in case
you change your mind.”
Deidre tucked the card into her pocket. She wasn’t going to be
able to do everything herself, but she’d planned to bring down some of her
contractors from D.C. “I don’t suppose you do stone work, Mr. Crawford?”
“Jeremiah. And, as it happens, I do.”
“Have any references?”
“In the truck. Hang on a second.” He crossed quickly to the
vehicle and pulled open the door. Deidre caught a glimpse of a passenger
foot-well littered with food wrappers. He took a binder off the seat and
brought it back. “Here you go.”
Lips pursed, she flipped through the pages. The photos were
good. But you could edit images. “Any way I could visit some of these sites?
Check them out?”
“Course. Why don’t you give me a call in the morning and I can
take you around?”
She opened her mouth to protest then shrugged. She’d find them
faster if she was with him. And even if he was there glad-handing the client,
she could see the work. It would speak for itself. “I’ll do that.”
I know November has just begun, but now it's time to start reading Christmas books! :) This news is super exciting for me; however, I always feel bad for Thanksgiving. It seems that this particular important holiday always gets skipped over. We focus on pumpkins and candy, and then we move our attention to Christmas trees and holiday coffee at Starbucks. Does anyone else feel this way?
I do love Thanksgiving though, and for those who love the Snoopy specials, don't forget to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving:
So for this week, I'm going to highlight a Christmas book that I have been reading. I would love to hear your Christmas book recommendations too. Have a lovely day and happy reading!
Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!
Today I am going to post a line from: Christmas at Grey Sage by Phyllis Clark Nichols
And the first line is...
"When Maude opened the door to the Christmas closet in early December that year, she had no reason to think there would only be nine more Christmases celebrated at Grey Sage."
Happy Friday and happy reading!
Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over toHoarding Books to see who else is participating!
Not all of war’s destruction takes place on the battlefield.
heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it
beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry.
America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain
she won’t ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of
war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty
and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as
she knows it, crumbles.
Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a
woman’s struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves,
and childhood illness weakened her heart—perhaps beyond repair. While
guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more
writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get
lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History
continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human
condition deepens her character’s experiences and propels them on their
journey. Ms. Williams’ favourite tales, speak to the reader’s heart,
making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.
reaching goals in writing, as well as in life, requires the implementation of
several key steps. I recently returned from a writer's conference where we were
immersed in the process of how to reach our writing goals. Workshops on
dialogue, world building, and more were the focus over an intense three day
ants preparing for a long winter, we bustled from one conference room to
another in hopes of finding the golden key to our success. As humans we have an
innate desire to seek out the pinnacle of our own personal goals. Whether it is
running a marathon, winning the local pie baking contest, or writing a
bestseller, our individual goals motivate us to keep moving forward. Why then
does it seem that achieving our goals is only for the lucky, the gifted, or the
It was at
the conference, in a chilly room filled with writers at varying stages of their
respective careers, that one brave soul asked the question. In a voice cracking
with anxiety and a tear in her eye, she asked, "how do we move past the
fear to reach our goals?"
went silent. All eyes landed on the already trembling speaker of the question.
The three presenters, all professionals with seasoned careers in the writing
community, looked like deer caught in the headlights. The words finally came
out from one of the presenters, stuttering a bit as she said, "you just
occurred to me in that moment, that we can be taught the process of attaining
our goals. Step one, choose a worthy goal. Step two, create an action plan.
Step three, proceed by following the action plan to reach your goal. Seems
simple enough, right? Unfortunately this is not the case. I am confident that
we have all written a goal down and taken the action steps to work towards that
goal. Often times though, we falter along the way. We lose interest. We lose
hope. We begin to question our goal as to whether it has merit or is truly
worthy of attaining. What was once a goal that excited us, is now tossed to the
junk pile of things we thought we could do, but didn't.
assured, it is not our goal that is unworthy. It is the belief we have in
ourselves that is at fault. In order to achieve any goal, we first need to have
a solid foundation of belief in our own abilities. Goal reaching is like
building a house. If you build the house on a solid foundation of concrete,
your house will rise toward the sky, straight and tall. If you build your house
on sand, the result will be an unstable, crooked, slanting structure that a
good gust of wind could topple.
to keep in mind is that no matter who you are, goals are meant to be a
challenge. You most certainly are supposed to be tested along the way. The goal
will make you weary at times, but that is when you grow the most and gain the
most. It is easy to look at the superstars of the world and think how lucky
they are to have it so easy. That is merely an illusion of fame. We have only
seen the rise to success, we have not been witness to the struggle or
challenges faced by each individual, famous or otherwise.
difference between those who succeed in reaching their goals and those that do
not, is the belief they have in their own self. The key element to reaching a
successful outcome is to believe in yourself when nobody else does. Belief in
oneself does not happen overnight. It is a constant, steady, thought changing
dialogue we have in our own mind each and every day. It is the moment that you
tell yourself, "I am enough". It is in finding the joy within the
journey of attaining the goal. It is the moments that you push through the
discomfort of being the only one in your own corner. Believing in yourself is
the crucial element to attaining all of your goals.
goal deserves a worthy goal chaser. Be the best version of yourself that you
can be, nobody can ask for more than that. Trust that you were created to offer
the best of yourself to the world and hold onto that belief as it will see you
through the rough bits of the goal seeking journey. If you are looking for a
little more inspiration on this particular topic, I highly recommend reading
Marianne Williamson's work on, Our Deepest Fear, from her book
titled, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In
Miracles. Her words will not only give you comfort, but also the gusto you may
need to love and believe in yourself whether you have a particular goal in mind
intriguing component to reaching your goal is that though, you will be
satisfied and pleased with your journey and its outcome, those emotions will be
somewhat surreal in nature. Once you arrive at the pinnacle of your goal, those
around you will gather and congratulate you. You or your work will be
celebrated and enjoyed. You, however, have already celebrated each and every
moment along the way where you believed in yourself. In the end, it almost
feels like the rest of the world is coming to your party a little late. That is
precisely when you know you've not only reached your goal, but you've also
changed how you live and how you love yourself.
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of Becoming Mrs. Smith! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be
honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon
by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.