Legend of the Candy Cane + Giveaway!

I doubt I have as many children’s Christmas books as Kav Rees, but I certainly have my share. It’s been a while since I’ve gone through my box (sorry, no room on the shelves) of books–it’s like walking through a candy store but without the calories!

I don’t remember if my kids had a favorite, but one book stood out to me: The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, illustrated by James Bernardin. I love how this book takes a simple Christmas symbol and gives a spiritual meaning to it.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Legend of the Candy CaneOne dark November night a stranger rides into a small prairie town. Who is he? Why has he come? The townspeople wish he were a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. But the children have the greatest wish of all, a deep, quiet, secret wish. Then a young girl named Lucy befriends the newcomer. When he reveals his identity and shares with her the legend of the candy cane, she discovers fulfillment of her wishes and the answer to her town’s dreams. Now will she share what she has learned?

Warm, lavish illustrations by James Bernardin bring to life a timeless tale by Lori Walburg, a story that will help families celebrate the mystery and miracle of Christmas—for many Christmases to come.

Actually, the candy cane was created around 1670 when a church choirmaster bent white sugar sticks into cane form to represent a shepherd’s staff. He used those candies to keep the attention of children during long services.

The red stripe was added around the turn of the century. Some sources say that an Indiana candy maker added the red stripe as a witness of Christ’s love, but it’s not confirmed.

Question: Do you like candy canes?


3D Chain of Mercy - new (254 x 300)~~~ Book Giveaway Details ~~~

To enter, in the comments below, say whether you like candy canes or not. Contest runs through midnight CST on 12/18/2015. One autographed copy of Chain of Mercy (Coming Home series, book #1) by Brenda S. Anderson will be given away to one commenter on today’s Inkspirational Messages blog. The winner will be announced on December 19, 2015.  This contest is only open to US residents only.

Ch… Ch… Ch … Changes

It’s been a crazy year at the Anderson household, a year with a lot of changes, some good, some bad, and some that you just shake your head at. You know how that goes.

Starting the year, we had two presidents in our household. I’m the President of the Minnesota chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and my husband was the President for his professional group. His term came to an end in September, while mine continues until the end of 2014. Then, there’s a good chance I’ll be re-elected.

That was the easy stuff. Real change began happening in spring, and it happened in torrents.

My debut novel, CHAIN OF MERCY, released on April 22

Our daughter’s senior recital was on April 25

Her final college concert was on April 27

GraduationShe graduated college on May 3

Our youngest had his last-ever high school band concert on May 13

Book launch for Chain of Mercy was on May 15

Honors ceremony for high school seniors was held May 28

Scholarship night was June 4

Our youngest graduated high school on June 8

His party was on June 14

Then we hurried off to Branson, MO for a too-brief respite!

MP900321075[1]Life was actually quiet for a month, until July 22 when our middle child had jaw surgery. He had a drastic overbite that needed to be corrected. For six weeks post-surgery he subsisted on smoothies, and I become the queen of smoothie making. He even gave liquefied hamburger a try. Once. After six weeks he graduated to noodles, then finally non-smoothified hamburger. He hasn’t had a smoothie since.

In August, we brought our *baby* up to college. <sniff>

And finally, in September, my next release, Pieces of Granite, was supposed to come out. That changed to October, which changed to November. And then I was given the option to stick with the struggling publisher or go indie.

I chose indie.

So now I’ve established my own press, Vivant Press (Vivant means living), and I’m studying up on the process. Yikes!

To top this fall off, this past weekend our youngest tore some muscles by his ankle during a marching band event. So now he walks around campus with that fun black boot and crutches. Needless to say, he’s not doing a lot of marching with his band right now.

Ah, yes. What would life be without changes?! After this year, I’d sort of like to find out!

One of Our Own

Summer is on the downhill swing and I must admit that I’ve had little time for reading. (I’m so ashamed.) Now that the majority of my garden is tucked away in the freezer, hopefully I can find a little more time to get back to reading. My latest read is by our very own Inksper Brenda Anderson. I’m in the middle of Chain of Mercy and loving every minute of it. Brenda does a phenomenal job of portraying real life people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

“They forgave him for the accident that killed their son, but he will never forgive himself.

Manhattan businessman Richard Brooks was at the top of the world, drunk with success, wealth, and women. Until one disastrous evening, when his world came crashing down.

Richard flees to Minneapolis where he repairs ancient boilers instead of solving corporate problems, and he’s determined to live the solitary life he now deserves.

But Executive Sheila Peterson has other plans for the handsome custodian. Richard appears to be the perfect match for the no-strings-attached romance she’s after, but she soon discovers that he’s hiding more than the designer suits in his closet.”

Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson Tell us what you’re reading this summer.

Spine Poetry

(Last Day for the Giveaway!!!
See below for more info)

You ask what I’m reading? Well, let me tell you! My bed stand to-read pile happens to be overflowing right now; all I need is a little bit more time to tackle that pile.

So, what’s on that bed stand? Glad you asked! But rather than tell you about it, I thought it would be fun show you in the form of Spine Poetry.

SPRING INKspiration!

(Spring releases by our very own Inkspirational Messages contributors)

Spring Inkspiration

Library Love!

(Note: Every book I read, I order from the library, BUT I also purchase many of those books. I hope that by checking them out at the library too, that’ll help them stay on the shelves. Maybe a library expert could weigh in on whether this is beneficial or not …)

Library Love

And I can’t forget that we have a GIVEAWAY going on yet! One copy of Chain of Mercy, one small box of Fannie May candies, and the Phillips, Craig and Dean Breathe In CD will be given away.

To enter, in the comments section below, tell us what you’re reading now, and if you’re feeling creative, write it out in spine poetry form.

Contest ends tonight (Friday, May 9, 2014) at midnight, CST! Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced here on Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Never Enough Time to Read

I got Brenda’s book in the mail last Wednesday and took it to the dentist with me. While my son got his teeth cleaned, I got the first two chapters read. Even though I’ve read the book 30 pages at a time while critiquing for Brenda, I want to read the edited version in book form all at one time. Alas, I haven’t had time.

The day I got it, we had church that night. On Thursday, I worked on my final revisions before turning my book into my editor next month. That night, my son had basketball practice and since he asks me if I saw him do this or that, I can’t read at practice. Friday, I worked again and that night we ran errands. Saturday, we had basketball games – three of them.

Sunday, our son got up with a fever. He has horrible seasonal allergies and is very prone to sinus infections. Yes, he’s twelve now. But he’s the kind of child who has to be entertained when he’s sick or he’s up jumping at the ceiling in the living room to see if he can palm it yet instead of resting. So yesterday and today, we watched movies, played board games, and Uno.

Tomorrow, we have a doctor appointment. So no work or reading for tomorrow either. I’ve decided to save Brenda’s book until May 16th. The deadline for my book will have passed and my son will be back in school. Then I’ll have time to give Chain of Mercy the time it warrants. I wish it had come sooner.

A month ago, I had lots of reading time. I always take at least two weeks off from writing after I finish my first draft and before I start revising. Of course, I read Denise Hunter’s new release. I’d read the first book in the series, Barefoot Summer, last year. I’d guessed the next book would be about Jade and eagerly been anticipating it.

Denise didn’t let me down. A sweet, tender love story with great kissing scenes. I crown Denise the contemporary romance queen of kissing scenes.

Dancing with Fireflies by Denise HunterJade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

I also discovered a new author I really enjoy – Melissa Tagg. I loved Made to Last. Loved the heroine, all the men complicating her life, and the webs she kept spinning herself into.

Miranda Woodruff, star of the homebuilding show From the Ground Up, will do anything to keepMade to Last by Melissa Tagg the job she loves. Due to a painful broken engagement and a faith she’s mostly forgotten, she’s let her entire identity become wrapped up in the Miranda everyone sees onscreen.

So when she receives news that the network might cancel her program, she must do the very thing she fears most: let the spotlight shine on her closely guarded personal life.

The only problem? She’s been living a lie–letting viewers believe she’s married–and now she’s called upon to play wife to a sweet, if a bit goofy, pretend husband to boost ratings.

Desperate to help his family and prove he’s not a total failure, reporter Matthew Knox is looking for a breakout story. When he’s offered the opportunity to do an online serial feature on Miranda Woodruff, he jumps at the chance, even if celebrity reporting isn’t really his thing. But as soon as he meets Miranda, he knows she’s keeping secrets.

I loved the character of Blaze, so of course I had to get the next book in the series, Here to Stay. I haven’t read it yet. But it’s next on my list after Chain of Mercy.

Here to Stay by Melissa TaggAfter playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he’ll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he’s stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events…

If there’s one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it’s Whisper Shore. For years, she’s been stuck running her family’s inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.

The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn’s the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade–she’ll help with the Festival and he’ll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who’s done running away joins forces with the girl who can’t wait to leave.

Sadly, at the moment, I’m not reading anything. But I have big plans starting May 16.

We’re celebrating Brenda’s release over the next two weeks. Every time you leave a comment, your name will be entered in a special giveaway for an autographed copy of Chain of Mercy, a box of Fannie May chocolates, and Phillips Craig & Dean’s “Breathe In” CD.

Chain giveaway

They forgave him for the accident that killed their son, but he will never forgive himself.

Manhattan businessman Richard Brooks was at the top of the world, drunk with

Success … Wealth … Women …

And he proudly lived that prodigal lifestyle.

Until one disastrous evening, when that world came crashing down.

Richard flees to Minneapolis where he repairs ancient boilers instead of solving corporate problems, and he’s determined to live the solitary life he now deserves …

Chained to his guilt. Blending in with the gray. No luxuries in sight. But Executive Sheila Peterson has other plans for the handsome custodian. She’s had it with serious relationships, and Richard appears to be the perfect match for the no-strings-attached romance she desires. Instead, she finds a man who is complex, brilliant, and shrouding a tormented past.

In her quest to uncover the secrets holding Richard captive, will her own secrets remain buried?

RUN, don’t walk to your favorite bookstore or online retailer to get this book or buy it here.

Question of the day: Who is your favorite kissing scene author in the Christian market?

Disclaimer: Giveaway open to continental U.S. addresses only. Giveaway ends on Friday, May 9 at midnight, central time zone. Winner chosen by Random. org.

Celebrate with us!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate the release of our own Brenda Anderson’s debut novel, Chain of Mercy. So as we share what we’re reading during this next couple of weeks, we will also be having a party with a great prize and with calorie-free food. Can it get better than that?

Let’s start things off with the heroine’s favorite treat:

Fig Newtons

 

 

Now, what else do we need to do this party up good?

balloons

 

Wait. We need one more thing. PRIZES!!!!!

Every time you leave a comment, your name will be entered in a special giveaway for an autographed copy of Chain of Mercy, a box of Fannie May chocolates, and Phillips Craig & Dean’s “Breathe In” CD. 

Chain giveaway

What am I reading? Why Brenda’s Chain of Mercy of course.

Here’s the back cover copy:

They forgave him for the accident that killed their son, but he will never forgive himself.

Manhattan businessman Richard Brooks was at the top of the world, drunk with

Success … Wealth … Women …

And he proudly lived that prodigal lifestyle.

Until one disastrous evening, when that world came crashing down.

Richard flees to Minneapolis where he repairs ancient boilers instead of solving corporate problems, and he’s determined to live the solitary life he now deserves …

Chained to his guilt. Blending in with the gray. No luxuries in sight. But Executive Sheila Peterson has other plans for the handsome custodian. She’s had it with serious relationships, and Richard appears to be the perfect match for the no-strings-attached romance she desires. Instead, she finds a man who is complex, brilliant, and shrouding a tormented past.

In her quest to uncover the secrets holding Richard captive, will her own secrets remain buried?

RUN, don’t walk to your favorite bookstore or online retailer to get this book or buy it here.

And before start reading it, make sure to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. Tell us if you’re a Fig Newton lover. If not, what’s your favorite cookie.

Personally, I don’t think a F.N. would make my top ten, but I enjoy one on a special occasion, which this certainly is.

Disclaimer: Giveaway open to continental U.S. addresses only. Giveaway ends on Friday, May 9 at midnight, central time zone. Winner chosen by Random. org.

Overwhelmed!!!

See that guy to your right? That’s precisely how I was feeling earlier this week. I had a ton of blog interviews to fill out, three blog posts to write, one non-blog interview to fill out, ACFW MN NICE President stuff to attend to, a Book Launch celebration to plan (pssst… The launch is May 15 at Northgate Church just in case any of you happen to be around the Minneapolis area then) …

And that’s just in my writing life!

This spring is rather nuts in the Anderson household with (4) major lifetime events occurring within a span of 7 weeks:

April 22 – my debut novel, Chain of Mercy, releases (pre-order <here>)

April 25 – my daughter has her senior recital. It’s just her in concert for over an hour!

May 3 – my daughter graduates from college

June 8 – my son graduates from high school

Along with each of these exciting events comes a wagon load of preparation, and it seemed that I wasn’t doing any of it 100%. On top of that, I’ve been neglecting the family. They’re lucky if they get a warm meal three days a week. The house hasn’t been well-cleaned since … well, I don’t know when. You’re welcome to come visit, just ignore my new pets, those dust bunnies partying in the corners.

Writing RetreatSo, what’s a girl to do?

Arrange a vacation, that’s what! Well, not exactly a vacation, more of a retreat. I packed up my laptop & netbook and my to-do list and made the three-plus hour trek to Wisconsin Dells for two days of uninterrupted quiet. (And yes, Stacy, that is a Fannie May bag on the table. Chocolate is a requirement for retreats, don’tchya know!)

The first thing I did after checking in was head to the local outlet mall to find a new outfit for my book launch. Thanks to Lori at Dress Barn for helping me find the perfect outfit. Actually, she helped me a bit too much because I came home with more than one outfit.

After picking up groceries, I returned to my villa (about 10:30 pm) to tackle that to-do list.

By the end of the next day I had crossed off all but one blog interview. Yeah! I rewarded myself with a little TV–had to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Can you say plot twist?!!! And then I enjoyed Face Off on the SyFy channel. Yeah, I’m a bit of a geek.

The following day I tackled blog posts, the non-blog interview, the MN NICE stuff, and I started this post.

And then I returned home to my messy house.

Hmm, I booked a vacation to get my writing tasks done, I wonder if that’ll work for housework too…

~~~~~~~

*** BOOK GIVEAWAY***

In honor of our blog re-launch, the Inkspers are giving away copies of their books. You can enter to win all five of the books below by leaving a comment. Every time you comment, you’ll be entered, so make sure you stop back every day. This contest is open to U.S. residents only, due to shipping costs. Contests ends Friday, April 11, 2014 at midnight (CST) (That’s today!!!) and the winner will be posted here on Saturday, April 12, 2014. 

Prize Package includes these fabulous books:

We're Back! Book GiveawayRodeo Song by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson (novel releases April 22)

The Widow’s Suitor by Rose Ross Zediker

The Prodigal Daughter by Linda Fulkerson

When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad