RACHEL’S SON


Rachel's Son Book Cover (2)An Easter story of redemption

Rachel’s only son, two-year-old Micah, is slaughtered by Roman soldiers searching for the prophesied Messiah, sending her life on a trajectory of angry bitterness and further devastation.

Titus, a Roman soldier, harbors a terrible secret and would do anything to rid himself of the guilt he carries. But when circumstances force him to revisit the place of his treacherous deed he can’t reveal the truth.

Unexpectedly thrown together, Rachel and Titus both seek peace, but finding it with each other isn’t enough. Only an encounter with Jesus can force them to face the trauma of their past.

Will Titus release the burden he’s concealed? And what will it take for Rachel to forgive the Forgiver and find life again?

Need Divine Intervention?


We can all run to God on our own.

But sometimes we need the help and prayers of a friend. There’s something about another person joining us in asking God to be with us that makes it real, encouraging and relieving.

Mary DeMuth’s new release, Jesus Every Day, offers us that friendly hand on our shoulder with a heartfelt prayer for our day. Mary shares prayers she’s spoken to God with real, struggling, grateful words that touch our souls and make us feel as if we have someone who can relate to our cries for help.

And now Mary is taking her encouragement a step further.

Each day, you can listen to her new Pray Every Day podcast during which she shares a verse and talk to the Lord as he puts words on her heart. You will be encouraged and uplifted as you hear this woman of faith pour out prayers on your behalf.

Join her here.

And don’t forget to get a copy of Jesus Every Day as well.

Are You Worn Out?


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As the year winds down and winter winds blow us toward giving thanks and a white Christmas (unless you’re in Florida like I am), do you feel worn out?

I do.

This year has been one of the toughest of my life and though the calendar may say it will be over soon, the trials continue to drag on. I believe many all over the nation and the world share my heartache.

Our world is a broken, dangerous place these days.

That’s why I really appreciate a new book one of my favorite authors, Mary DeMuth, Image result for mary demuthhas written. Jesus Every Day releases in less than two weeks, on DECEMBER 1 and already has impacted the lives of those of us who have been privileged to read an advance sample copy.

Mary reaches deep into our soul with heartfelt prayers based on her own life joys and struggles. Her vulnerable, lyrical prose grabs my heart and leaves me whispering through tears “Yes. Me too..”

Today, these words captured my heart:

“Help me know that it is not failure on my part when I can’t carry a burden–it’s simply a signal that it’s time again to surrender.”

Loss, heartache, illness, crisis load us down with burdens of sorrow, grief, fear and worry. But God doesn’t ask us to carry those. He asks us to surrender them to him. When I’m weary and worn it’s a reminder that I’m weighed down by things he never intended for me to bear.

I’m not a failure when I can’t stand under the weight.

That thought alone lifts my heart and gives me feet to move forward in life. How can I take my life forward when I’m dragging bowling balls of burdens behind me? I can’t. But isn’t it good to know that God doesn’t count that as a failure but rather an opportunity to surrender the burden to him?

Jesus promises he will exchange our heavy load for his light one.

He doesn’t insist we carry it, or ignore it but offers to carry it for us and let him replace our weariness and sorrow with his strength, peace and joy.

All it takes is letting it go.

Picture the commercial for letgo in which the man is hanging by one arm clinging to a truck on the side of a cliff while holding a bowling ball in the other hand. Funny, yes. But also life and death stuff here, folks.

When I take time to surrender to Jesus and let him take the burden from me, I find peace that is beyond my comprehension.

And you don’t even need an app for that.

I encourage you to embrace the idea that you have not failed and let God take over for you. And I highly recommend Mary’s new book. You can pre-order it here to enter a drawing for a chance to win a free Bible. Or get it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

I’d love to pray for you and the burdens you’ve been carrying. Let me know how I can help in the comments below or email me at laurabennet14@gmail.com

 

Are You in Need of a Game Winning Touchdown?


Homecoming High School Football

This week, I’m featuring my friend Ken Garber who is a registered addiction specialist. I appreciated how his most recent post uses this great football analogy for taking our life forward for a win…

Image result for ken Garber

Maybe you’re like me and not watching football this year. But my guess is that I am probably in the minority!

For those of you who were paying attention to the games on Sunday, did you find yourself saying something like, “Come on, we need a touchdown right now!” Or perhaps your team was scoring touchdowns, but came up one touchdown short for the win.

I decided to go to the internet and type in a team that typically doesn’t do very well and I chose the Cleveland Browns. (Sorry to my Cleveland friends!) I discovered that although they have been scoring touchdowns this season, they’re still not getting the victory — most of their games they have been one touchdown short. Just one key player or superstar missing in the lineup can make all the difference.

Last week I was praying the Lord’s Prayer and found myself saying,

“Father, let Your Kingdom come and Your will “touch down” upon this earth and in our city. Touch down, Father, in my life, in my marriage. Touch down in my ministry, come Lord Jesus with Your Kingdom and touch down in my health and in Janie’s health, and in our finances. Come, Lord Jesus, and let Your Kingdom come and touch down upon my dreams and passions so I can be obedient to the purposes of you, God, in my life just as it is in heaven.”

We need a touchdown and when God’s Kingdom comes and touches down in every area of our lives as it is in heaven, we will have the victory every time because Jesus is the Undefeated One!

Are you in need of a game-winning touchdown right now? Where do you need the Undefeated One to touch down in your life?

I believe God put that within my heart to say those words — “touch down” — because God is on the move and His Kingdom is coming with power to touch down in our lives so that we will know that we are special and distinct from all other people on the earth.

I love this post.

When God’s Kingdom touches down it is an amazing thing.

I like this analogy too. Since my son (on the red and black team above) is playing football right now I can relate to yelling for a touchdown. As I read Ken’s post, I prayed for a game winning touchdown in many areas of my life too. But I was also reminded that sometimes a touchdown comes only after a lot of first downs.

Last week, one of our young men ran a ball back nearly 80 yards for a touch down. It was spectacular, amazing and so unexpected. I love when God does that kind of touch down, don’t you? The hail Mary pass or the 80 yard run back has us cheering with high fives all around. We’re blown away and ecstatic.

Especially when it wins the game.

But that isn’t always how touch downs are scored or how God brings those wins either, right? I realized that much of the time, the game winning touchdown comes with small wins of first downs along the way.

Watching players plow through a wall of opposition to gain a few yards, lose some, gain a dozen more, get sacked and finally inch past the 10 yard marker is more the way my life looks right now.

Of course, each first down is a celebration, but most of the time it takes a lot of those to get down the field to finally score. Hard work, perseverance, blood, sweat and tears is often the precursor to that big win.

Just as Ken pointed out, it begins by asking God to bring his kingdom to touch down in our lives on earth as he has planned in heaven.

I appreciate Ken’s great analogy and prayer for God to touch down in our lives. Whether by incremental first downs or the miraculous catch or run, we can count on God to move us forward with wins in our life.

I’ll echo Ken’s words from above:

Where do you need the Undefeated One to touch down in your life?

I’d love to hear about the ways God has touched down in your life. Tell me in the comments below or email me at laurabennet14@gmail.com or Ken at ken@liferecoverycoach.org

Get my FREE guide on Taking Your Life Forward by signing up HERE.

Feel Like Your Life is in the Gutter?


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Ever question the choices you make?

Do you wonder why you act the way you do? Or react in certain ways? Do you find yourself in the middle of a road rage moment, a fight with your spouse or yelling at your best friend and question how you got there?

Like, what just happened?

I’m discovering that most of us have. And while it’s bewildering to experience those situations, it’s even more surprising to learn what causes them. Not just that we’re sinful creatures or lacking self-control, although those certainly explain a lot.

The underlying secret is imprints.

So, what’s an imprint you say? I’m glad you asked. An imprint is an impression or a groove in your soul created by prolonged or traumatic experiences in childhood. Especially during those “formative” years.

Imagine pushing your hand into wet cement.

After it dries, the cement hardens with your hand print forever imprinted in it. Or think about cars (or wagons in the old days) driving through mud on the the same road. Eventually the traffic forms a rut.

Our impressionable young lives take on imprints.

All parents do the best they can with what they have. Some do better or worse than others. But let’s say you had a parent who showed great affection and enthusiasm only when you did well in sports or brought home good grades. You subconsciously become a performer for love and attention.

Or suppose you suffered some kind of abuse, lost a parent or sibling, survived cancer or saw your father beat your mother. Perhaps your parents were addicted to drugs, sex or alcohol. To survive trauma and constantly stressful situations, children adapt the way they relate to compensate for something they can’t handle.

Imprints.

The rough part is that if we don’t know this (few people do) and never deal with whatever issues caused these impressions on us, we will act and react in the same unhealthy ways as adults without even being aware of it. And we’ll hurt ourselves and others including our children in the process.

This is why I’m so thankful for  a book I mentioned a few months ago called How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan & Kay Yerkovich. They set out to figure out why, when they both loved each other, they couldn’t seem to make their marriage work.

But this book isn’t only for married couples.

Everyone can benefit. I read a lot of various books, but no book has helped me like this one in dealing with the bottom line issues of my soul. (Okay, besides the Bible.) I’ve been to counseling over the years. I talk a lot about my feelings and questions, and I thought I’d figured most of it out.

Now I understand the depth of the even the little things.

Why I react the way I do in certain situations. How I think about other people and why. The way I use anger as a defense, and an explanation for why I can suddenly explode in rage at times when I’m a generally optimistic, happy person. Why I’m afraid to speak truthfully to some people, and why saying “no” used to be so difficult.

I can’t tell you all of it here.

Go to www.howwelove.com and take the quiz. Find out your “love style.” Order the book on their website. Read it alone, with a spouse, a friend or in a group and work through the workbook in the back. Take your time. Cry, pray and keep pressing through it. God will use it to reveal your pain and bring you healing and freedom.

You will not be sorry.

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything for this. I don’t get paid anything for promoting or if you buy the book. The authors have never heard of me. These opinions are based on my own gratitude and excitement. I wish I could offer a money back guarantee.

What’s your style…if you feel courageous enough to share?

 

Why Getting Help is So Important


DSC_0024I wish everyone would stop hiding and seek help for their issues.

There. I’ve said it.

I’m not as hardhearted as that may sound. It’s voiced from a place of compassionate frustration because I know the freedom available. I’m living it. The women in the small groups I lead experience it. My heart breaks in pain to watch people continue to struggle because of denial, minimizing and fear.

I get it.

It’s painful and scary and hard work. I’ve been there. It feels like you’re going to fall apart and lose yourself. There’s a gap between the broken place you are at and the healed place you’re going to so it takes a leap of faith to let go of one to grab the other, and that leap feels as if you will plummet to your emotional death.

BUT if we can take one little step at a time, like Indiana Jones walking over the precipice with invisible steps (you know the scene I’m talking about?), God will put a step right out in front of us to keep going. A lamp to our feet and light to our path deal.

A blogger friend, Sarah, who I met a few years ago has struggled big time with some debilitating issues in her life. But I’m so happy to offer a post of hers (with permission of course) here today from her new blog. One that is dedicated to helping others learn to care for themselves.

Because she has taken leaps of faith to persevere and allow God to heal, grow and deliver her, she is now able to share what she’s learned. I’m so proud of her.

She addresses this situation very well in the following post:

REAL TALK

Alright, I’m just going to dive right in with the blunt honesty part.  Here we go.

You can’t help yourself unless you accept that you need help.

It’s that simple.

If you aren’t able to acknowledge that something needs addressing then you can forget about making any progress in that area.  Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away, and usually, it only perpetuates the situation.  There’s nothing weak about admitting you need help.  And there’s nothing out there saying that if you do need help with something that you need to broadcast it to the whole world. But that being said, it’s so integral to talk someone about what you’re going through, be it a counselor, friend or family member.

People need people.

There is absolutely no reason to be going through anything alone. I have discovered that the more I talk about my story, and my struggles with depression and anxiety and a host of other things, that I connect with people more. Chances are, whoever you’re sharing with can relate to you in one way or another. I live for the “me too!’s”. The more you share and choose to be vulnerable with others, the more courage it gives others to share and be vulnerable too. And suddenly the work you’re doing on yourself transcends you and sets off a wave of healing that engulfs those around you. How’s that for motivation? Sharing your story openly could be what it takes to give someone else that final push to seek help for whatever is going on in their life that they never felt they could talk about before.

I can’t stress it enough how much my friends and community have helped me with my mental health and processing trauma. If I didn’t have them I don’t know if I’d be here right now, to be honest. I’ll probably write an entire post on my community later, they are phenomenal.

There is no shame in acknowledging something is off or not working for you in your life and saying it out loud.  Start with admitting it to yourself.  When you’re ready, talk to a close person you trust like a friend or counselor, and if you think you need a psychiatrist then ask your family doctor to refer you to one.  It can’t hurt, and in Canada it’s free.

If you are waiting for permission to put your mental health first and foremost above everything else, then wait no longer, here it is:

PERMISSION!

It’s your responsibility to take care of your mental health.
There’s nothing selfish about it and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
And you’re worth it.  You deserve to be healthy.

Remember that.

You are not alone!

Catch more of Sarah’s blog here : Sarah’s Guide to Self Care

And if you haven’t seen or don’t remember Indy. Here you go:

Are You in a Season of Hope?


seasons of hope 1

This week’s post is featuring author, Sara Jane Jacobs, and her new book, Season of Hope.

The Bible has a lot to say about hope.

Our hope is in Jesus. When we hope in him, we won’t be disappointed. God gives us hope and has a future hope for us. When our character is built through trials, we develop hope. Our endurance is inspired by hope. All good, right?

But sometimes what we hope for takes longer than we expect.

As is the situation with Amanda and Tyler, the main characters in Season of Hope.  An answer to prayer begins their season of hope.

season of hope 2

Sara Jane Jacobs, has given us a sneak peak into her life as an author, the premise for this book and a little about her upcoming projects…

  1. Do you work with an outline or just write?

I just write! I’m definitely a panster. When I first start a project, random scenes will pop into my head and I have no idea where they will end up in the story.

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The next book in the series, Season of Deception, starts at the very moment book one ends. A new character is introduced in book two, and Amanda moves to Paris. We get to check in on Tyler, too. There are a couple of BIG surprises, a visit back to Nathan’s mountain, and the people that annoy you and creep you out come back stronger than ever. That’s pretty much all I can tell without giving anything away! I’ll be sharing a synopsis on my website soon and start revealing a little more about the story as it gets closer to launch.

  1. Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

There are flashes of memories from my childhood laced throughout chapter one. Ha-ha, there is a conversation that Amanda has with Tyler about a cow, in the upcoming book that was based on an experience.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

The “season” part of the title originated in what is now book two, which started out as the original manuscript. Amanda writes a note to Tyler, making a slight reference to a verse in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes and saying they will only be apart for a “season.” Obviously, she wasn’t counting on the “deception” part. When I had to come up with a title for book one, I felt Season of Hope was fitting, as the move Tyler and his mother make to Nathan’s mountain gives them opportunities for a better life.

  1. What project are you working on now?

Book three which follows the story a couple of the characters from book two.

ABOUT THE BOOK:season of hope 3

When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn’t upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda’s not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda’s family over the next ten years.

As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he’s crushing on his best friend. And for the first time in his life he’s hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college.

When Amanda’s summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler’s impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she’s falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she’s hiding a secret, too.

Phoebe Garrison, Amanda’s controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda’s manager is just what she’s been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe’s obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

Amazon: http://a.co/aDtFaUz

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-season-of-hope-sara-jane-jacobs/1125877392?ean=2940157214357

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/708666

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY BELOW TO WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK

season of hope 4

Enter to win the SEASON OF HOPE giveaway! One person will win the following items…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

season of hope authorI began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My first story, Season of Hope, was inspired by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with family. I love most any activity that involves being outdoors, especially camping, hiking and spontaneous excursions to splash in the ocean. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of Florida with my cat Selah and her delightful offspring, Colby, Jack and Tuesday.

AUTHOR CONTACT LINKS:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarajanej

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarajanejacobs

Website: http://www.sarajanejacobs.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jacobsjanesara

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/50289360-sara-jane-jacobs

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacobsjanesara

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSpH25j4GdaoKDMXkOVNlxA

season of hope 6

June 26 – Truth to Shine

June 27 – ASC Book Reviews

June 28 – Meagan Davenport

June 29 – Linda Shenton Matchett

June 30 – Barbara Brutt

July 3 – Ink From an Earthen Vessel

July 4 – Faithfully Bookish

July 5 – A Real Writer’s Life

July 6 – Smiling Book Reviews

July 7 – Bookworm Mama

July 10 – Tell the World

July 11 – 2014 and Beyond

July 12 – Tammy Karasek

July 13 – Rebecca DeMarino

July 14 –  Julie Arduini

July 17 – Laura Bennet

July 18 – All Betts Are Off

July 19 – Rachel Scott McDaniel

July 20 – Rebecca Van Daniker

July 21 – Leslie L. Mckee

season of hope 7This blog tour was coordinated by A Latte of Literature Blog Tour Services. Find out more:

http://christiswrite.blogspot.com/p/life-literature-blog-tour-services-for.html

 

What’s Holding You Down?


My featured author this month is Rivera Douthit, who has recently released a new book, Zero Gravity, that lifts us into the heights of the kingdom of God. I encourage you to check it out and order your copy now!

IMG_3320We were designed to ride on the heightsZero Gravity. 

In a world pressured by a search for security, author Rivera Douthit, calls you to soar higher, above the force of gravity, beyond what you see with your natural eyes. Zero Gravity is an invitation into the realm of the supernatural. We are on the precipice of the greatest move of God in history! We must know how to live from heavenly places!

With the message of identity, authority, and unity this book will encourage you to:

  •  Rise above the resistance of the enemy (to reign with Christ {on earth}).
  •  Embrace the healing power of The Miracle-Working God.
  •  Recognize the power of a unified body sustained by the Holy Spirit.
  • Realize your dreams and find the courage to step into them.

Being held down by the weight of this world is opposite of the design God has for us. Be awakened as a son/daughter to the limitless, abundant life! May your soul recalibrate as your spirit learns to live from the weightless atmosphere of heaven!

https://www.zerogravitybook.com/

 

Rivera Douthit is a clear and effective communicator of truth who longs to see people healed and set free. With a beautifully straightforward style, she inspires people to know their identity and authority in Christ. She stands on the Bible as the final Word. With a passion for revival, evangelism, and unity in the Body, her greatest desire is to always point to the only One who matters, Jesus.

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Remember The Miracles of the Past


On Thursday, a fellow author featured my book on her blog. DSC_0020

Thank you to Toni Shiloh! I appreciate how she promotes new authors. I hope you’ll check out her blog and books too. You can read the post here. If you comment, you’ll be entered to win a free copy of the book!

What I love about Toni’s Throw Back Thursday blog is that it reminds me to think about the miracles God has done in the past. My book she promoted, The Miracle of Us: Confessions on an Online Dater, was released nearly three years ago which was a miracle in itself! It took four years of writing, editing, changing it and rewriting before I landed with something I felt people would find enjoyable, entertaining and encouraging.

But that story began nearly nine years ago.

Here’s the thing. Every time we retell the miracles God has done for us, our faith grows. We remember how big God is. We encourage others. And the best part? God says in Revelation (12:11) that our testimony helps defeat or overcome our enemy, the devil.

Amazing what sharing a story can do.

So thank you, Toni. I hope my story will encourage someone. And remember, friends, to share your stories! Tell people about the wins in your lives. Remember those miracles from the hand of a big God and look forward to what is to come.

What story can you share? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Do You Have Hope?


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Tamera Lynn Kraft

This week’s post is written by my featured author, Tamera Lynn Kraft.
She’s given us an encouraging piece about hope and a brief excerpt from her novella, Resurrection of Hope.

Often, when life feels stuck or circumstances seem to press in on us, we can lose hope. But Tamara points out that our true hope is in Jesus. With God nothing is impossible.

We all hope for things.

If our flowers need watering, we hope it will rain. If we have a picnic scheduled, we hope it will be sunny. We all hope life will be easy. Hope in the Bible is different than this kind of hope of wishing something would happen or wanting something.

In the New Testament, the word hope is translated from the word elpizo. Elpizo means confidently trusting in and waiting for something or someone.

Hebrews 16:19 calls hope an anchor for our souls.

When our hope is in Christ instead of in our circumstances, that kind of confident expectation brings us a peace the world can’t understand and a joy that doesn’t depend on everything happening exactly right. We can rely upon Christ to work things out for our good.

That relieves us of the pressure to fix things we can’t fix.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.     Romans 15:13 (ESV)

My Easter novella, Resurrection of Hope, is about two broken people, Vivian and Henry, who find hope together that only Christ gives. At one point, Vivian visits a friend named Hope who has just lost a child. Hope was told she couldn’t have children.

Here’s a short excerpt from that scene….

Vivian swallowed. “I… I don’t know what to say. I expected to find you distraught after what happened, but you seem to be… almost cheerful.”

Hope’s eyes closed and her head tilted back into the pillow. “I have my moments. Trust me.” She opened her eyes and smiled. “I keep my hope in Jesus Christ, and He gives me the peace I need to get through this.”

Vivian held back a snort. “How can you of all people talk of hope knowing you’ll never have any children?”

Hope pressed her lips together as she propped herself up on her pillow. “If my hope rested on having children, then you’re right. There would be no reason, but my hope is the kind they talk about in Psalms. ‘But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.'”

Resurrection of Hope

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?
After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.
Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

Get this book.

 

Available April 11, 2017

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. In April, her new novel, Alice’s Notions will be released. She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. You can contact Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net