Monday, February 29, 2016

FRIENDSHIP SNIPPET #2

I said I’d be back with more about friendship, this time: Biblical. The Bible reveals we were created to be relational beings. So what does that mean? Easy (sort of). It is not emotionally or spiritually healthy for us to be isolated—we need others. What follows are some of the most beautiful and encouraging examples of friendship found in the Bible:

Naomi and Ruth—Following the death of Naomi’s husband and sons, her widowed daughter-in-law determined to leave behind her family to accompany Naomi back to her homeland. Though Naomi urged Ruth to return to her own people, with these words, the younger woman refused: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” Out of her commitment to Naomi, Ruth met and married Boaz, they had a son, and thereby sealed the lineage of Jesus.

Mary and Elizabeth—After discovering she carried the Messiah, Mary traveled to Elizabeth’s home  and remained there for three months. Doubtless, Elizabeth served as a mentor, offering faith and reassurance for the daunting path ahead of Mary.

David and Jonathan—There were plenty of opportunities for these men to be jealous of each other—Jonathan being the king’s son, yet David appointed as heir to the throne—but their relationship was one of love, kindness, and support.

Jesus and His Disciples—Jesus spent time in prayer before he selected the twelve disciples who became his closest friends. He traveled and ministered with them, setting the example for us to pray together, eat together, and experience the good and bad of life together. It was Peter, James, and John he specifically asked to stay close to him when they were in the Garden of Gethsemane, anticipating his death. Jesus asked them to remain awake and to pray, his plea revealing his full humanity and need for companionship in his darkest hour.

Barnabas and Saul (Paul)—When the Christians in Jerusalem rejected the newly converted Saul of Tarsus, Barnabas acted as his advocate, bringing Saul into the Christian movement with the apparent assurance he would be responsible for him.

Paul and Timothy—As the older, wiser mentor in Timothy’s life, Paul prepared the young leader to handle the church at Ephesus and provided encouragement and strength for the journey. Doubtless, Timothy was a blessing to Paul as well, allowing the older man the joy of passing along life lessons and seeing them realized.

Nice snippet, hmm? Next time: Healthy Friendships 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Promise and Provision by Cheryl Wyatt




Hello all! Sorry this is a little late going up today. It's been a busy (but fun!) weekend with kids and sports tournaments. I love watching them play! 

This morning, I was scrolling through Facebook, as I often do in the morning, to see if there were any prayer needs I could bring to God. I kept running into memes with the above verse. I heard it 4 or 5 times this morning, and several times last week. 

Any time I hear or see a verse more than once in a short amount of time, I know God is speaking that verse to me as a promise. Sometimes the promises apply to something I've just been through. Sometimes the promise speaks to a current situation or struggle in my life or faith. 

But often, God gives me a promise from scripture to prepare me for something in the future. 

I made this meme today, for me, as well as for you. There was a point in my Christian walk when I'd hear a verse like this and freak out and immediately become fearful of whatever was coming down the pike to warrant this promise. Today, by the grace of God, as I received this promise of God, I felt peace and joy, and even a giddy anticipation, over this promise. 

I'm not worried about the days to come. I'll be with God. I'm safe! 

I. Will. Be. With. You. 

WOW! The living God-the Everlasting King, The Creator of all creation, the Ruler of Nations-will be with me. 

Guys, my heart leaps because NOTHING trumps that. Nothing! The nearness of God is my good and, even if aspects of the future are terrifying or unpleasant or whatever negative connotation my prone-to-worrying mind can conceive, nothing that happens to me can diminish the joy of the promise of God's presence. That he wants to be with us is amazing. That he longs to be with us is amazing. That he pursues to be with us is amazing. That he died to be with us-amazing. 

I thank the Lord that He has helped me not to fear what is ahead. If you knew me and my propensity toward worry/anxiety/fear, you'd know what a miracle that is. My heart and my mind are focused on the fact that HE WILL BE WITH ME. The Living God-with me! Whatever it is-he will take care of it. He knows my future. He is in control. He is GOOD. He's a good God who delights in drawing near to his people, his beloved children. 

I don't have to go looking for him. He promises to BE RIGHT THERE WITH ME. Not on the sidelines looking on or cheering me on. He will literally be with me. Literally. My mind can scarcely fathom that. Knowing and being close to God-there is nothing better, nothing I'd want more-and I thank God for that. 

And, whatever it is, whatever I'm facing, this promise is proof that he will protect me. I'm safe no matter what. How wonderful that God himself will see to my (your!) wellbeing. What a wonderful God we have! There is no one greater,  no one kinder, no one more powerful or compassionate or loving. He deals with us in mercy-and grace-and lovingkindness or minds can't comprehend. 

So glad! Thank you, Lord! I'm so eternally grateful that he is a God of provision and promise. 

He never breaks his promises. We can be sure. 

What verse have you been hearing or seeing a lot lately? Hold on to the promise. He's faithful! 

Love you all! 

Thanks for stopping by...and for bearing with my lateness in getting this post up. 

Blessings,
Cheryl Wyatt

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dream Big. Start Small.

by Elizabeth Goddard


Back in November I wrote a post about creativity and my new hobby, knitting. I wanted to be creative even when I wasn't writing. I envisioned myself watching movies with the fam and creating gorgeous afghans. I like to be productive every moment of the day.


Call me crazy. 



I finally took a basic knitting class in early November and by Christmas I had knitted almost a dozen scarves for family members, which I gave as gifts, of course! Never mind the temperature was in the seventies in Texas where we celebrated Christmas. I was in Minnesota and I was making everyone scarves!


Then I set my heart on making a blanket for my mother for her birthday. I had less than a month to do so, but using size 17 needles and thick yarn got me there. 







That, and listening to audiobooks. Knitting blankets requires a lot of time so then I was concerned that I wasn't spending enough time reading. I read for pleasure and as a way to keep me growing as a writer.  I tried a few audiobooks from the library but they never seemed to have the next book in the series so I finally signed up for Audible. 


Not only am I knitting like crazy, I'm still "reading" books by listening to them. One blanket took me one and a half James Rollins audiobooks, which amounts to about 20 hours of listening and knitting.



Now my daily schedule includes writing to my word count for four books a year and other writing related activities. Then in the evening, I pop in the earbuds and settle into my latest audiobook and my current knitting project. (Oh and somewhere in between I'm administrating my home school, i.e. helping someone with geometry. Please, no more Pythagorean Theorem. Ugh!)


I'm always thinking ahead to the next books I will write, looking for ideas and thinking about characters. Well, I do the same thing for knitting projects now. I have an idea Pinterest board as well as a knitting Pinterest board where I pin beautiful things I might try one day like this gorgeous blanket pinned from Ravelry.com.



Oh, let me back up. I'm a beginning knitter, in case you were wondering, and right now I'm only using the simple garter or "knit" stitch, but I got Knitting for Dummies as a Christmas gift. I'm going to work my way through.




Why am I telling you this? Because friend, you might not think you're a creative person, but everyone has creative genes in them.


I want to encourage you that whatever you dream about, whatever you think about, whatever you want to do, get out there and do it . . .



With a passion! 


Several years ago I dreamed of becoming a novelist. Now I have twenty-five novels published and counting. But I started small and kept building. I'm doing the same thing with knitting. I have dreams of becoming a fiber artist, as well, but that is years down the road. Still, I've started on the path, and you can too.

Remember.

Dream big but start small. 







Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Construction Disarray by Cheryl Wyatt



So, this week my husband and I had birthdays. His was on February 15th and mine February 14th-Valentines Day :-) ).


We'd been planning to get rid of our carpet since we have a plethora of allergy and asthma sufferers in our house. What better time than our birthdays to rip the carpet out and put vinyl flooring down? LOL!

As my husband and our helpers were cutting, sawing, ripping, dragging old layers out, my house fell into construction chaos and all kinds of disarray. We had to misplace all of the furniture to get to the floor, and of course with construction comes tons of tools and gadgets and pieces and parts.

So the living room looked like this:




And this:


And this: 



And this: 




It occurred to me as I stepped around various scattered piles of disarray that with construction it seems like things have to get really messy before they get really glossy. I wondered why I, being slightly OCD that I am, wasn't getting more upset about the disorder littering my home.

This is when it hit me: the mess usually comes before the masterpiece and deconstruction sometimes precedes construction. This is true in home construction and renovation, and it's true in the building of our character.

Sometimes when we look our messiest, God is at work on the most important parts of us. Perfection came at a cost, and the cross, smudged with His blood, is a beautiful messy reminder that even when it looks and feels like we're finished, he's not finished with us, and yet he proclaimed, "It is finished."

Jesus spoke both in retrospect and in the future and those words will manifest in all believers one day. He won the victory for us on a dirty road where his aching feet walked and his abraded shoulders bore the mess and shame of our sin.

There, in the mess, I see images of what the floor will look like when finished. In the meantime it isn't so beautiful, until I learned to look past the mess and see it as the process to perfection instead. We'd do well to offer ourselves and one another the same courtesy of grace as we grow.

I hope you are encouraged today that God is capable of changing us. If you feel stripped or laid bare or rearranged or broken to pieces, surrender. Let him do his magnificent work. You are the masterpiece that Jesus died for. You are worth it, for it was at our messiest that Love came in.

Often things look worse before they get better, but God is always working behind the scenes. For everyone who feels broken or in pieces or torn apart or alone, I pray that you feel his loving, renovating, restoring presence in such a profound way that it overpowers your pain.

Blessings,
Cheryl Wyatt

Keep in touch! I'd love to hear from you.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Book Recommendation: Shelter From the Storm by Kristen Ethridge

Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here, and I'm sharing a book recommendation today. And I'll admit, I kind of struggled with that one because I've been reading like a fiend lately, but nothing that fits into "clean romance reads." I'm judging a few contests, and even though I know I could review the book and just not say it was a book I'm judging, that felt a little weird. And then, there's all the research reading I've been doing lately. Crazy! Books I find fascinating, but you all might find a little boring. Can I just admit right now that I'm a nerd of the highest degree?

So I scrolled through my Kindle to see what I've read lately and what I could say was pure pleasure. I'm not a big Kindle reader, except that I have the app on my phone and when I'm playing chauffeur to my kids, it is the best thing ever for keeping me occupied while I wait for them. After scrolling through a few research books, I found it! The last book I read purely for pleasure. Which made me realize that I actually ended up reading the whole series. I was waiting for my kiddo to get out of her robotics club meeting (which ran late, as usual), so I scrolled through the gazillion books on my Kindle app on my phone, and decided to read SHELTER FROM THE STORM by Kristen Ethridge. And then I kept reading. I got home and devoured the entire series. My name is Danica Favorite, and I am a binge reader. If you hook me on one book, I will not stop until I have read ALL of your books.



About the book:
SOMETIMES THE PERSON STANDING IN YOUR WAY IS YOUR ONLY HOPE

As the director of the Port Provident Animal Shelter, Becca Collins had devoted her life to helping the furriest residents of Port Provident. When a special Labrador retriever, Polly, needs her help on the eve of Hurricane Hope, Becca can’t say no—even if it means she’ll have to ride out the hurricane on Provident Island. When she shows up on the doorstep of local veterinarian and Army veteran Dr. Ross Reeder, Becca throws a wrench into Ross’ plans to evacuate himself and his combat-weary former service dog, Cookie.

Ross and Becca are used to disagreeing with one another, but they soon realize the only way they’re going to survive the wrath of Hurricane Hope is to put their differences aside and work for the good of the animals who depend totally on them. As they discover they have more in common than they thought and work to rebuild the Texas beach town where they’ve both put down roots, Becca learns secrets about her past that threaten to change the whole direction of her life.

As Becca struggles with love, faith, and lies, will she still need the shelter she’s found in Ross’ arms or will the aftermath of the storm take away everything they’ve worked to build?

HURRICANE HOPE: ONE STORM CHANGES PORT PROVIDENT FOREVER…AND FOR GOOD. 

My review:
I very much loved the sense of community and belonging conveyed in the story. The characters drew me in and I really cared about them, and how things turned out. It's rare for me to be so engrossed in a story that I feel like I'm reading about real people, but SHELTER FROM THE STORM did that for me. I think that's why I had to read the rest of the series right away.

If you love stories with a strong sense of community, then you're going to love this series. SHELTER FROM THE STORM is the first book, but be sure to get them all. You're going to want to read them when you're done. They all stand alone, but each book had me never wanting to leave that wonderful community.

Your turn:
What do you think makes a strong community?
Bonus question:  Are you interested in hearing about the books I read for research?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Charity's Cross Release Party - Day 3!

Pretty cool trailer, eh? I thought they did a good job!  What do you think?

Spousal Abuse


In Charity's Cross, I touch on the subject of spousal abuse. There are some flashback scenes and dream scenes which were quite difficult for me to write. You see, I've never been abused.  Honestly, I'm not the type of woman to put up with it. Yet, even as I say that, it sounds rather arrogant.  How do I know what I would do and what circumstances would prevail to keep me trapped in a horrible situation?  Some women stay for the children's sake, others because they have nowhere else to go, still others because they cling to the hope their husbands will change. Charity had her own reasons, which you'll discover in the book.  One thing I learned while researching this topic is that we should never judge a woman for staying. All we can do is extend a hand of friendship, offer them a way out, and most of all, pray. Do you know anyone who's lived with abuse?  Thoughts?

Buy Charity's Cross from Amazon

My release party is still going on with lots of giveaways. Come join our Time to Fall in Love Party. !!!


.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Charity's Cross by MaryLu Tyndall

Portsmouth, England, September, 1718

Charity killed her husband. She knew it the minute the pistol fired. She knew it the minute he froze and his eyes widened in horror. His grip on the barrel of the gun remained strong as he stared at her, the life spilling from those eyes like water from a glass tipped over. She trembled and sought her breath, but only gun smoke filled her lungs. She couldn’t cough … couldn’t move. And still he stood there, frozen in time, as if unwilling to accept his fate.

Jerking the pistol from his grip, she nudged him back before he used his remaining energy to strike her again. Her mind spun as she rubbed the bruise forming on her cheek. The gun clattered to the floor, though she barely heard it…or her husband’s moan as he stumbled backward, clutching his chest. He toppled to the Persian rug he loved so much and breathed out his last words, “I’ll see you in hell.”

’Twas the only truthful thing the man had said in their two years of marriage.

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Those are the first three paragraphs of my new novel, Charity's Cross.  Intrigued?  I hope so.  It isn't often an inspirational novel starts off with the heroine killing her husband. But, hey. I like to be different.  Redeeming the situation, however, was not so easy. Isn't murder one of the cardinal sins?  How can we root for a murderous?  These are all questions you must discover in the reading of the book. If you dare...

I thought you'd like to see pictures I chose that best represented the hero and heroine of the story.  The hero, by the way, is a preacher. A preacher and a murderess... how is that going to work?

Charity Westcott

Elias Dutton

As you can see, Charity is one determined lady. Desperate to avoid the noose, she must make it safely to Carolina where her family has moved.  There are two things she hates most in the world: men and preachers. And of course it is both, embodied in the hunk you see above, who is the only one who can help her.

Purchase from Amazon




Haven't visited my release party yet?   Head on over and join the Time to Fall in Love Party!
Tons of Giveaways!!

Tune in tomorrow for an exciting book video trailer and more information on Charity's Cross!



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Charity's Cross - a new release by MaryLu Tyndall

Hi everyone!

Please celebrate with me the release of my new novel, Charity's Cross!  For the next three days I'll be posting a little something about my book here and inviting you to join the release party over on my blog.  There, you'll see that I've joined forces with two other authors who also have new releases.  We are giving away a ton of prizes, so I hope you'll come and join us.  But first, a little about Charity's Cross.  (Awesome, cover, eh?)



Suspected of killing her husband, Charity Westcott flees on the first ship out of Portsmouth, England heading for the colonies. Loathing all men after her abusive marriage, she hopes to reunite with her family in Charles Towne, but she ends up in Nassau. When she spots her husband’s brother, who is intent on seeing her hang, boarding her ship, she jumps overboard. 

Pirate turned preacher, Elias Dutton, must get to Barbados as soon as possible. His sister is in danger, and his parents have charged him with her safety. He cannot let them down—again.  But after rescuing a madcap woman from the bay, he now finds himself tricked into masquerading as her husband so they both can procure passage to Barbados. 

Pirates, storms, shipwreck and betrayal threaten to delay the couple in their journey even as sparks fly between them. With her brother-in-law in fast pursuit, the last thing Charity wants is help from a man, especially a religious one, but she has no choice. After Elias’ heart was broken by a sordid woman who nearly ruined his life, he seeks a woman pure as the virgin sands of the Caribbean. He believes he has found such a woman in Charity. Until he discovers she is a murderer and is now faced with two choices: letting her go or turning her in to the authorities.

So far Charity's Cross has received 34 FIVE-star reviews in just a week and has made a home on the Amazon Bestseller list!   Buy from Amazon  

Excellent? Outstanding? Captivating? I simply can’t find one word to describe what I felt when I finished reading MaryLu Tyndall’s latest book, Charity’s Cross.  Lynne's reviews

Pirates. Intrigue. Romance. Danger. Hooked yet? Because if you’re not, just read the first chapter of CHARITY’S CROSS and you will be. Author MaryLu Tyndall weaves a tale of high adventure and deep spiritual truths that stick with you long after you’ve closed the book. Michelle Griep, Best-selling author

Now, if  you're interested, head on over to the Time to Fall in Love party HERE 

Don't forget to come back tomorrow! 


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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

From the shelves of MaryLu Tyndall - Book Recommendation!

Hi everyone,  MaryLu here!  Love to read, love to write!  Love to tell others about good books. So, here we go.

Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman


She stole his heart.
He stole her peace.
Can hope steal their pain?

At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack O'Bryen, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?


My Review:

Romance, Redemption and Reconciliation!  These three themes run wild through Julie Lessman’s latest book, Isle of Hope.  Known for her daring historical romances, Ms Lessman has more than proven that she can be a master of the contemporary romance genre as well!  What can I say? I’ve loved Julie’s books since she first started writing.  Her books are the type of stories that require a fire place, hot cocoa, and a comfy chair. Why? Because once you start, you won’t be able to pull yourself away from the characters. You’ll think about them after you close the book each day, longing to get back into their lives to see what happens. Then when you close that final page, you’ll miss them like good friends.

Lacy Carmichael was the wild girl in town. When she left Isle of Hope, she left behind a trail of broken hearts, lives and families. Now she’s back  Only this time Lacy has found God and is a new person, dead set on making amends. However, the boy whose heart she broke, the young man who used to love God and who intended to be a pastor, has now become the wild one in town!  All because of her!  
And as if that weren’t enough conflict, the man’s father (who was a pastor at the time) ran away with the girl’s mother!  So, it’s not like their families are exactly talking anymore. In fact Lacy’s father threw her out of the house years before. There are many relationships to mend. Many bitter hearts to heal.
Ms. Lessman is truly a master of character. She creates families that you grow to love and real people with flaws who makes mistakes, who are hurt, and in need of help and forgiveness and love. You will cry and scream and laugh as you follow the lives of two major families as they struggle along the path of forgiveness.  God’s redemptive and unconditional love is a theme throughout and one that resonated with me in my own life. 

I encourage you to pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Hero's Sweetheart Release Party-Day 3 Cheryl Wyatt


Welcome back to my release party for The Hero's Sweetheart. 

I'm grateful you've joined us! 

For today's post, I thought it would be fun to share how God encouraged me through the writing of this book. I'll be honest, last year was HARD. One of the toughest for me in terms of being a writer. In fact, I tried to quit. I truly did. 

Then about four weeks into what I thought was my permanent exodus from writing, I felt God asking me not to grow weary of doing good. 

That hit me right in the feels guys. I mean, I had been hit SO hard with writing-related discouragements the months prior--I mean a full out unrelenting assault, that I believed with everything in me that I had nothing to offer readers. So I quit. 

Until the day God called me back. I wish I could describe to you the tug on my heart by His spirit. The flood of hope that washed over me when my bruised and aching heart soaked in the meaning of what he'd said. That He found merit and worth in my words even if no one else did. Despite opinions of many people around me, many of whom I'd looked up to and trusted my writing to...guys, I was WRECKED. 

Both in the discouragement and tearing down of my gift and both in God's breathing life back into my will to continue.

So, with more fear, insecurity, unworthiness and doubt than I'd ever had in my life, I said, "Yes, Lord, with your help and if this is your will, I will, even though I feel inept and completely frustrated and discouraged...I will write." 

I felt like God promised to encourage me that he had gifted me with writing and that if I would just continue to offer up my words as worship, he would rebuild my courage to write. 

A few weeks ago a friend emailed me that she'd seen my book featured in a national secular magazine (First for Women-February Edition) as one of 6 or 7 recommended reads and it was reviewed in a positive light. A week later I got news that my book received a Top Pick from Romantic Times. These were important affirmations, that I believe God granted me, because the book had no revisions and very light editing. This dispelled the lie I'd bought into that my writing is too weak to market and that I don't have anything of worth of value to offer readers or publishers. 

The thing is, it's true that I may not be the strongest writer out there. In fact, many have called my writing weak despite that I truly put my best effort forward and yet my best wasn't good enough for some who had control over my contracts and future books. Here's the miracle of it all: God chooses to use me anyway. He uses imperfect people to accomplish his work. 

Does that mean I'm going to stop striving to grow as a writer? No way. As long as I have breath, I will strive to learn and grow and to make each book better than the last. In the meantime, God still chooses to use me, though I struggle.

Now, in retrospect, I realize God allowed those doors to slam in my face...and I do mean slam to the point of some of the most intense emotional pain and confusion I've experienced to date, in order to move me in a direction I never would have gone on my own-hybrid publishing. 

More about that direction in a future post but suffice it to say that I'm following God's lead and I'm trusting in his opinion above all others. 

This post is hard for me to share. I don't want to be vulnerable or make anyone wonder who hurt me. The truth is that it doesn't matter, because those events were sifted through God's hands for the purpose of redirecting me. I believe I'd gotten out of God's will, and in his great mercy, he used difficult circumstances to steer me back into the center of his will. 

Anytime we obey God, there will be opposition, so I appreciate your prayers as I move forward with my new direction in writing. The good news is I'll be able to put out books more often and on a more regular schedule. 

Have you gone through something confusing and hard that you learned later was used for your good? 

Guys, seriously, all I want is for people to know Jesus. If my books can teach people how to pray, or make them wonder if God can love them like he loves my characters...all the hard stuff is worth it! Everything I do, every word, is for Him and for the sake of others knowing him. 

God knows when we need encouragement doesn't he? I'm so grateful! I'm thankful too that his timing is perfect. I believe he brings good news when our hearts need a boost. 

I hope you'll share ways that Christian fiction has buoyed your faith and encouraged your walk with God, or helped you get closer to Jesus. It definitely doesn't have to be my work mentioned...in fact I'd love to hear which authors' writing (other than mine) touches your heart and mends your spirit. 

How has God encouraged you lately? 

Thanks for coming by! 

Staying in touch is important to me. So I hope you will consider joining my newsletter for new release news, freebies and other goodies exclusive to subscribers at: http://bit.ly/CherylWyattNewsletterSignup

Cheryl Wyatt

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Hero's Sweetheart (Cheryl Wyatt) Release Party-Day 2



Welcome back all! Today, I'm sharing a bit of inspiration for The Hero's Sweetheart.

This man right here...is Cute Rocker Dude, aka my hubby when he was a young boy (pictured left).


He is the inspiration behind the heroine's courage to overcome her learning disability and be successful at her dreams. Olivia wants to be an EMT, but my husband always dreamt of working for himself. He is the owner of 7 or so successful businesses-and like my heroine, he has pretty severe dyslexia. He overcame his disability and figured out how to help others support their families as well. 

Cute Rocker Dude as a teen: 


Cute Rocker Dude now: 



In what ways does your husband inspire you or others?
If you're not married, feel free to share about another important man in your life such as a dad, stepdad, uncle, brother, cousin, etc. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing! We appreciate you.

Blessings,
Cheryl Wyatt

P.S. I hope you'll join my newsletter for new release news, freebies and other goodies exclusive to subscribers at: http://bit.ly/CherylWyattNewsletterSignup





Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Hero's Sweetheart Release Party-Day 1




Hello all! I'm excited to tell you about a new release. The Hero's Sweetheart is part of a medical miniseries (Inspirational romance) called Eagle Point Emergency from Love Inspired books. Though this is book four in the series, each book stands on its own and can be read in any order. 

The Hero's Sweetheart should be on store shelves now, and is also available online at most of your favorite retailers.

For today, I'll provide an excerpt. Hope you enjoy!

ALSO, there's an opportunity to have your own recipe/favorite dish added to Sully's menu. If you're familiar with Eagle Point, you've likely heard of Sully's Diner as it's been a favorite eatery among each of my characters for the series.

Tune back in tomorrow, where I share some inspiration about the book.

Blessings!

Cheryl Wyatt

Excerpt

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Please don't let this be what I think it is…

"Sully, can you speak?" Even as Olivia Abbott asked her boss the question, his drooping mouth confirmed what her gut already knew. Thankfully she'd learned stroke symptoms this week in EMT class.

"Call 9-1-1!" she directed Patrice, her roommate and a fellow server at Sully's Diner.

"What's wrong with him?" Sully's assistant cook, Darin, carefully helped Olivia lower Sully to the floor beside the food prep counter.

Naem, pulling double duty as server and dishwasher since Perry hadn't shown for his shift again, skidded around the corner. Naem, normally a perpetual grin-ner, gasped when he saw Sully on the floor. Due to the diner's open floor plan, customers began to notice the activity in the kitchen.

"I think he's having a stroke," Olivia whispered low enough that Sully couldn't hear.

Darin leaped up and, upon entering the adjacent seating area, yelled for help clearing space. After calling 9-1-1 Patrice calmed customers, many of whom jumped in to help Darin move tables and chairs for the first responders. Sizzling sounded as Naem scraped burning food off hot grills.

Please help the ambulance hurry, Olivia prayed as Sully's breathing grew more labored. An EMT student working her way through school by waitressing at the Eagle Point eatery part-time, she suddenly realized that knowing too much automatically gave fear an advantage over her faith.

Sully had an epic reputation for being grumpy but he was the only decent father figure she'd had in her life. He couldn't die on her. Just couldn't.

"Help will be here soon, Sully. I promise."

With his head in her lap, Olivia could see frustration and confusion on his face, and white whiskers he'd missed while shaving. He was meticulous about employees' hair being groomed—he'd obviously not been feeling well this morning. Come to think of it, he'd looked pale and fatigued at the employee Valentine's Day party this past weekend. He'd probably been too stubborn to say something.

Sirens whined in the distance, coming closer. Olivia murmured soothing words to Sully. She was thankful that he'd finally given in to her pestering about having a relationship with God. He had not only started attending her church two months ago, but he'd given his life to the Lord. She hoped he wouldn't need that Heavenly ticket yet.

Patrice, teary-eyed, her lips trembling, knelt next to Olivia and rested her hands over Sully's and Olivia's. "We need to notify his son, Jack. The contact information is probably in Sully's cell phone. I'll take care of calling if you want."

"Yes, please." Olivia knew about Sully's only offspring, Jack Sullenberger, a career Air Force man in Afghanistan whom she'd seen pictures of and heard stories about but never met. She knew Sully missed his boy.

Please, Sully. Hold on and you'll get to see the son you 're so proud of.

Patrice retrieved Sully's phone from his office and made the promised call. No answer. She texted. Many moments later Patrice hurried back from Sully's office, phone in hand. "Jack texted back. Said they're going to try to get him on the first flight home."

Tears of relief pricked Olivia's eyes and joy welled as she recalled Sully's mile-wide smiles as he told story after story of Jack—it had assured them of Sully's soft side. Jack the bubbly baby. Jack the toddler, into everything. Jack the mischievous lad. Jack the thoughtful teen. Jack the lady-killer young man. Jack the accomplished military leader.

"Jack should be on his way home soon," Olivia reassured Sully, hoping to help him hold on. She saw a glimmer in Sully's eyes with that. So she scrambled for something else to say about Jack. "You think he's as handsome in person as he is in Sully's pictures, Patrice?"

Patrice caught on to what Olivia was doing. "I know he is. I grew up across the street from him. The girls on my cheerleading squad used to fight over who got to come push-mow our lawn just to glimpse him shooting hoops shirtless. By all accounts he's even better looking now. He had looks and personality. Sweet as could be. Stayed out of trouble and tried to keep the rest of us out of it, too. A true hero, even back then."

Sully's breathing settled, so their chatter about Jack soothed him. Having seen Sully's photos of the striking man, Olivia knew Patrice wasn't exaggerating.

Sully's unsteady gaze traveled urgently to the kitchen, where Naem was keeping everything going on his own, then back to Olivia and Patrice. Olivia knew he was fretting about customers, business and keeping it all afloat.

"Don't worry about anything except getting better, Sully. We got this," Olivia assured.

"Yeah," Patrice added. "Jack worked this place in high school. He'll help us out again."

The look on Sully's face would have been comical if he weren't in the throes of a life-threatening emergency. "We're sure you're gonna be fine, Sully, but someone's gotta help run this kitchen while you're holed up in that hospital. Besides, I hear Jack can flip a mean burger."

Sully relaxed and became less agitated. The EMTs arrived and administered oxygen and meds. Olivia soaked in every nuance of everything they said and did for future reference. She had always been drawn to the excitement of emergencies and trauma care. But it was a whole different experience when the victim was someone she knew.

She needed to find someone to cover the rest of her shift so she could go with Sully to the hospital. Without her, they'd have to close the diner, and that would mean vital revenue lost. She'd be able to sit with Sully tomorrow before her clinical EMT intern shift at Eagle Point Trauma Center, but she needed to be with Sully now, too.

Once on the sidewalk in February's blistering cold wind, the EMTs closed the ambulance doors just as it began to rain. Olivia's silver stud bracelet jangled as Patrice squeezed Olivia's hand. "I know how close you two are, Olivia. Go with Sully. Me, Darin and Naem will keep things running here."

Olivia's tears joined the rain splatters on the sidewalk soaking her rock-and-roll-style boots, but she didn't care. "Are you sure?" Olivia asked.

"Positive. I'll get Jack your number so you can keep him updated, if that's all right?"

"That would be fine. Thank you." She hugged her friend, grabbed her bag from inside the diner and bolted to her clunker. She flipped her wipers on high but the blades barely sluiced the rain off her windows. She pulled out after the ambulance and found the thwip-thwap of her wipers calming. Until the ambulance sped up. She did her best to safely keep up until they switched to full lights and sirens one block later. Her chest tightened, making Olivia wish she had her asthma inhaler.

As tears spilled down her cheeks, she knew that Sully's life was in grave danger, and that she might never see the light of life in his eyes again.

Dear Jesus, please have mercy on those of us who still need him here.

He didn't need this.

Jack Sullenberger searched the trauma center corridors for room 127. He'd just gotten the latest text from one of Dad's employees—a lady named Olivia—who'd graciously kept him informed over the past thirty hours of traveling.

Thankfully he'd been able to leave Afghanistan the day he'd learned of Dad's stroke. Despite that, it had still taken more than a day to get home. Thirty sleepless, agonizing hours filled with more worry and fear than he'd ever felt in his life, despite serving four back-to-back tours as a Security Forces officer and combat medic in some of the most dangerous war zones in the world.

Whoever this Olivia lady was, he was going to hug her when he saw her, to thank her for staying by Dad's side, talking Jack through medical updates and relaying his decisions to doctors. Eagle Point had no hospital, but the new Eagle Point Trauma Center had an extended-stay wing for situations such as Dad's where the patient was over the initial danger but not stable enough yet to transfer.

Jack rounded a corner and almost plowed into a nurse who stepped aside and motioned him into room 127. The mysterious phone woman—Olivia—had already prepared him for the fact that his dad was still unable to speak. As an Air Force medic, he'd known what the symptoms meant.

Jack parted the curtain and stepped into the room to find a short, pixie-haired waif staring at his dad as if he'd shatter if she blinked. She looked more like she belonged on the cover of a punk-rock magazine than beside a hospital bedside. The scene shocked him so much he froze in place and frowned while his mind tried to work out who she was and why she was here. His jet-lagged brain struggled to process the incongruity between her edgy appearance and her deeply empathetic eyes.

And then she looked up.

Jack's breath hitched. Pretty would be an understatement. Stunning? Close, but still not strong enough. Shim-mery sapphire eyes shone starkly against alabaster skin, spiky-cropped raven hair and—Jack leaned in to get a better look under subdued light—purple lipstick? What kind of person walked into an emergency hospital with intentionally cyanotic-looking lips?

This could not be the soft-spoken Olivia.

Then again, her presence at his father's side suggested otherwise.

Okay, so maybe he wouldn't hug her after all. She looked not so approachable with her nose and ears riddled with piercings, bold makeup, chains for a necklace and a tattoo snaking up the side of her neck. Not to mention her off-limits body language and untrusting eyes as they zeroed in on him approaching the bed. Her rocker-chick look sat at serious odds with the sweet voice that had literally kept him sane and calm on the phone during the last thirty hours.

Her slight smile slid into a frown, prompting Jack to shake off his dismay and find his manners.

"Olivia?" Maybe this wasn't her.

The tiny smile swept one side of her mouth up as she nodded briefly before gazing back at the bed. Distress entered her eyes. He knew the feeling and dreaded facing the hard sight cradled within her eyes.

He'd put the inevitable off long enough. Resisting reality never made it go away. Reluctantly, he forced his gaze off the floor and brought it slowly to the bed.

Dad.

Jack swallowed hard as he approached the frail-looking man engulfed by a huge, flimsy hospital gown. Jack reached through the side rail, took his dad's hand and squeezed. Emotion clogged his throat and an invisible grenade detonated inside his chest. He swallowed but the lump in his throat refused to move. "Dad, I'm—" was all he could manage before his throat clogged again. He was what? Sorry he hadn't been here? Sorry he might be too late? Sorry for deploying for another tour? His father looked so weak, so frail, so close to death.

"Sully, Jack's here," Olivia finished for him. Maybe she picked up on Jack's fear because her face softened measurably, then her tense mouth molded into a smile. Wary of giving trust, Jack felt his muscles tighten with the typical guardedness he'd had to develop while working in a war zone amid enemies who sometimes posed as friends. Not wanting to be rude, Jack forced a mannerly smile but it felt thin and strained.

Nonetheless, the chill in her eyes thawed by several degrees as she said, "The doctor says since he got here so fast he'll likely make a full recovery with help from physical, speech and occupational therapy."

The tank sitting on Jack's chest eased off a bit, allowing his voice to come back. "That's good." Relief was an understatement for the way her words made him feel, delivered in the same velvet voice that had kept him calm from one continent to another all the way here.

"Dad, all the guys in my unit said to hurry and get well soon or they're gonna come kick your caboose." He rubbed his dad's hand, longing with all his heart to feel a squeeze back.

He knew that even though Sully slept under medical sedation and stroke aftereffects, he'd likely still be able to hear, since hearing was the last sense to go. Olivia seemed to know that, too. Actually, based on their phone conversations, Jack assumed she'd had medical training of some sort.

He caught and held her gaze. "Thank you, miss, for everything. Most of all, for recognizing what was happening, relaying it to doctors and for getting him help so fast."

She blushed. "Thanks, but it was a team effort." Her shy motions and soft demeanor juxtaposed with her spiky sense of fashion. Upon deeper observation, her intelligent eyes projected a strong will and an expression daring anyone to try and cross it.

She wore a black T-shirt overlaid with a gothic cross in gray graphics. White low-rise jeans sported a black patent leather belt with silver studs. Big triangle earrings and combat-style boots completed her ensemble. Somehow, it worked for her.

And surprised him with its appeal.

She must've noticed his assessment of her because her eyebrows drew down in a scowl. Not the usual female reaction, for sure.

He found her response refreshing, but he was irritated by his own intrigue, especially since he didn't know or therefore trust her true motives for being here. He courteously moved his perusal from the mysterious and mesmerizing creature and shifted his gaze to the drip rate of his dad's intravenous solution and scanned numbers on the machines, glad to see stable vital signs despite Dad's horrible pale color.

"They think he had an undiagnosed heartbeat irregularity." Her brows knit. "I'm not far enough into EMT school to know which kind, but they seemed to think it would be easy to treat."

Jack nodded, deeply appreciative of the information. He'd explain heart rhythms to her in a less intense moment. For now, he needed time with his dad, preferably alone. He needed to say some things and didn't want an audience. His apology was going to be hard enough without a stranger hearing him acknowledge his mistakes in not being here and for being a medic yet not realizing Dad was ill. They video chatted almost nightly. He should've noticed something was wrong. He peered at Olivia but she hadn't budged. In fact she didn't seem the slightest bit inclined to leave.

"I'm sure you have things to do, Miss… I didn't catch your last name?"

"Abbott, and I have nothing more important to do."

Jack shifted to capture her gaze but she seemed even more determined to avoid his eyes. "Thanks, ma'am, but I've got this. You may go now."

Her dark eyebrows slid into a sharp V and her lips pursed. "I'm fine right here, thanks."

Jack had never felt more territorial and annoyed in his life. He was a longtime military leader accustomed to people following his orders without hesitation.

How could this waif of a waitress not get that he wanted her to leave?

She wasn't family. She had no right to be here. Why'd she think she did? It irritated Jack to no end.

As if sensing Jack's thoughts, Olivia narrowed her eyes in a challenge that said if he wanted her gone, he was going to have to physically carry her out.

He was tempted.

Releasing Dad's hand, he marched around the bed. "It wasn't a suggestion, Miss Abbott. I'd like time with my dad. Alone."

She scowled at first, but slowly the tenseness left her shoulders as she studied his face. Then she nodded. She grabbed her gunmetal-gray purse, studded down the sides, leaned over, brushed a gentle hand along his dad's face and said, "Sully, I'll be back tomorrow. Jack will hold vigil until then." Then she slipped out of the room avoiding Jack's gaze.

"I'm walking Miss Abbott out, Dad. Be right back," Jack said, following her.

------
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Thank you SO much for stopping by. What's a favorite diner in your town? If you could visit Sully's Diner, would you go for his chili-cheeseburger, or his dark rye patty melt? What about a hefty chef salad and homemade chicken noodle soup? It's mostly comfort food at my fictional diner. :-) That means fictional calories too. In that case, what kind of pie would you like? :-) 

What's your favorite soup recipe? Share below for a chance to have it added to Sully's menu! 

Blessings,
Cheryl Wyatt