Chirp and Chatter Pages

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Guest Post: Amanda Cabot

A Hero’s Motivation
Why would a man with a successful career as the town’s only attorney decide to run for sheriff? That’s the question I asked myself when I created Travis Whitfield, the hero of A Stolen Heart. The answer wasn’t difficult to find. All I had to do was consider what was happening in Texas while Travis was growing up. T.R. Fehrenbach’s Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans provided some fascinating details.
Though Travis was too young to have served in the War Between the States, there’s no doubt that its aftermath shaped him. It wasn’t only his father’s bitterness at having lost the war…and a leg at Gettysburg. Even more importantly, Travis saw the excesses of the Carpetbagger regime and the problems that occurred during E.J. Davis’s term as governor of the Lone Star State.
Image courtesy of the Texas State
Library and Archives Commission
If you’re not a Texan, you may not have heard of Edmund J. Davis, so I’d like to share a bit of history with you. When Davis set his sights on being elected governor in 1869, he and his cronies were so determined that he would be victorious that they did everything they could—legal and not so legal—to ensure it. Some voting registrars summarily rejected not only men who’d fought for the Confederacy but also Unionists who didn’t agree with the Carpetbaggers. By keeping so many men from voting, Davis had a better chance of winning.
But he didn’t stop there. The Army, which was controlled by the Carpetbaggers, supervised the polling and was quick to shut down any polling place where someone protested. As if that weren’t enough, in one county the registrar fled, taking the list of voters with him so that no one could vote. In another, the votes were counted by only one man— a Davis supporter, naturally. After all that, it was hardly a surprise that he won.
As soon as he took office, Davis began to exercise his power through the passage of the Militia Bill, which gave the government the power to declare martial law at any time. The Enabling Act allowed the governor to appoint almost every official in the state, leading—as you might expect—to corruption. The Printing Bill established a state press, which helped control the spread of information. And then there was the creation of the State Police. Not only were a number of former criminals appointed to the police force, but the State Police were authorized to act as secret agents, which was not a common practice at the time. Contrary to prior law, the State Police were also allowed to take prisoners from one county to another to stand trial, presumably so they could control the outcome of the trial.
As you can imagine, all this led to abuses of power, something an intelligent and impressionable young man would abhor. Having seen what could happen when the wrong people controlled the police, Travis was determined that that would not happen in his town. And so he ran for sheriff.

As for E.J. Davis, he was defeated in the election of 1873 but tried to have the results overthrown. When that attempt was unsuccessful, he refused to leave the governor’s office and petitioned President Grant for troops to support him. That request was denied. Ultimately, Davis left the building but kept the key, forcing the new governor to have the door to his new office broken down. Davis’s reign was over but not forgotten, at least not by my hero.

About A Stolen Heart:
The future she dreamed of is gone. But perhaps a better one awaits . . .
From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé.
But when she discovers he has disappeared—and that he left behind a pregnant wife—Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you into Texas’s storied past to experience adventure, mystery—and love.
Purchase Links:

About Amanda:
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroad trilogy, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming. 
Social Media Links:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

COTT: Vote for your favorite springtime read!

Clash of the Titles presents
four new springtime reads! 

Peruse the images, read the blurbs, then vote on your favorite in the survey. I know which one is my favorite.

Enjoy, dear readers!


He's a nature photographer returning to make amends, and she's a camera-shy naturalist seeking privacy. Their love for a boy brings them together, but the camera could drive them apart.

~ ~ ~

Lifestyle magazine editor Heather McAlister was in the wrong place at the wrong time, witnessing a crime that shakes the roots of the town’s power brokers and sends her life into a tailspin. Previously burned by love, Detective Kyle Taylor has spent his entire adult life protecting his hometown, but now he’s protecting a woman he’ll risk everything to save.

~ ~ ~

She’s ready to fly free of a life-long cocoon; he’s looking for anything but Raine. Can Paradise Pines find a miracle for two unwilling hearts?

~ ~ ~

When a homeless man rescues Glorilyn Neilson from violent assault, he's not the man he seems. What powerful secret keeps him on the streets?


If you have trouble viewing the entire survey Click Here to load a dedicated page to the survey. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Guest Post: Lillian Duncan

Lillian Duncan

Broken Trust

My latest book, BROKEN TRUST, uses a butterfly to symbolize the spiritual aspect of the story. When we see a beautiful butterfly most of us don’t think about the caterpillar and what it went through to become that butterfly.

As it was hidden in the cocoon, it might have been thinking it was the end of the world, but it wasn't. It was actually being protected so it could become what God created it to be. We often have those same “cocoon” times in our life—a time to learn and grow so that we can become all that God created us to be.

Certainly childhood and young adulthood would be examples of that. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be other cocoon times in our life. A time when we need to step back and let God protect us as we change into yet another butterfly.

For the past five years I’ve been dealing with brain tumors and their aftermath of which some are still evolving and are permanent—such as a significant hearing loss and balance issues. It’s certainly been a cocoon time for me but I’m more than ready to transform into that butterfly.

One of the changes is that my writing is also in the process of transforming. Even though my books have always had a spiritual message, the message has deepened as my health issues have changed me.

BROKEN TRUST is an example of that change. The main character is Chrysalis better known as Chryssie. A chrysalis is another name for a cocoon and a cocoon is one of the necessary steps for a caterpillar to become a butterfly.

Chryssie wants to soar like a butterfly but because of a lifetime of bad choices she seems to be stuck in the caterpillar stage. She knows good choices can propel her forward but it’s not always easy to make the good choices.

Chryssie is only days away from graduating when she witnesses a murder. Common sense would tell her to call the police, but she’s so focused on taking her final exam for nursing school, she decides to take the easy way out—again.

Chryssie makes a bad choice—and even worse consequences follow! Her easy way out not only puts everything she’s worked so hard for in jeopardy but her very life!

Each day we make hundreds of choices—they may not be life and death choices like Chryssie faces in BROKEN TRUST, but they will either move us toward our goals or away from our goals. It’s not easy to break patterns and bad habits but it can be done—one choice at a time and with God guiding us in our choices.

Giveaway Information

To celebrate the release of BROKEN TRUST, I’m giving away Amazon Gift Cards. All you have to do is hop over to my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at and leave a comment under one of the Broken Trust posts and you’re entered. Easy Peasy!

Life is all about choices…and consequences. Chryssie Mason longs to soar like a butterfly, but a lifetime of bad choices has kept her in the caterpillar stage. After years of struggling, her dreams are finally within her grasp. Her only goal is to graduate from nursing school so she can have a better life—so she can morph into a butterfly. With her final exam only days away, she witnesses a murder. A butterfly would call the police, but she decides to take the easy way out…once again. Life has taught her to never trust anyone, especially herself. With her freedom and her very life at risk, it’s time to trust. And that choice changes everything.

About the Author
Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at or She also has a devotional blog at

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Guest Post: Nathan D. Maki

Nathan D. Maki is a new-to-me author whose books sound absolutely amazing! I'm honored to host him on Chirp 'N Chatter. Help me extend a warm welcome to this author of biblical fiction.

The Milk and the Scalpel

Nathan D. Maki

My son Alexander was only two months old when he started throwing up everything we fed him. Rachel and I would give him a bottle, and an hour later he’d give it right back. A couple days passed like this; he wasn’t gaining any weight, and finally we took him to the doctor.

“It could be one of two things,” she told us. “Usually this is a result of acid reflux, which isn’t too serious. But it could also be something called pyloric stenosis, or a tightening of the muscle ‘doorway’ between the stomach and the intestine. That is serious. It would require surgery.”

Usually here in Canada there would be a long waiting list to be checked out for this, but our doctor had a friend who was a doctor at the local children’s hospital and specialized in these kind of cases. Our doctor got us in that very day for an ultrasound.

Even now I can’t think about the hours we spent waiting for results without my stomach clenching afresh. We cradled our little baby boy and prayed over him.

The results came back. It was pyloric stenosis. He needed surgery. They would have to make an incision in his stomach and slice the too-tight muscle to make it relax enough for him to process food. The thought of our baby being cut open left us grim-faced, but we gave it over to God.

Again we were blessed when the hospital was able to take Xander right in. It was a quick surgery, but the hours felt like days. We prayed and paced and held each other. Finally they brought him back to us and told us the surgery was a success.

The incision, which was supposed to be a centimeter long, was more like an inch and a half, and Xander still bears that scar. Once it caused pain, but now it symbolizes healing. From that point on and to this day he’s grown as if making up for lost time. Now, at seven, he’s eating us out of house and home and growing like a weed. God has been good to us.

The Bible says, “The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” We know the Word is the sword of the Spirit. But this says it is sharper than a sword. Sometimes the Word is a scalpel. Sometimes it has to pierce us in order to heal us. But if we’ll let the Great Physician wield it with skill and precision He can heal us and make us grow again.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby.” How often do we allow bitterness, anger, unbelief, or other things to grip us within so tightly that we can no longer take in the Word and grow? How amazingly multi-faceted God’s Word is! It’s both the milk that makes us grow, and the scalpel that skillfully removes those impediments within.

It’s so amazing to know that we can trust Him to heal us no matter the need, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. He is our Healer!

About A War Within: The Healer

Suzanna is a slave in the palace of the Parthian king. Theudas, her son, is bodyguard to the Emperor of Rome. As the two empires collide at the Parthian fortress city of Hatra can mother and son reunite? Can they survive? Can Theudas’s new-fledged faith endure the fires of war? And after all they’ve endured can Christ still heal their war-torn hearts?
The Healer is available in both paperback and Kindle versions at
Or order an autographed copy from Nathan’s website.

About the Author:

Nathan D. Maki is a follower of Christ, a husband to Rachel, father to Xander, 'master' of two pugs (they'd argue that point), pastor of a wonderful church, and author of The War Within series set in Ancient Rome. (He’s wrapping up a fifth novel, The Keeper's Crown for publication.) His passion is bringing the ancient world to life in a way that entertains, challenges, and encourages Christians today.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Author Interview: Pamela S. Meyers

I'm pleased to welcome Author Pamela S. Meyers to Chirp 'N Chatter...and you'll be pleased to know she'll be giving away a Kindle copy of her new release, Second Chance Love! Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

Pamela S. Meyers
Your book and you:
What inspired you to write Second Chance Love?
I’ve always loved cowboys since I was a kid and dreamed of even owning my own horse, but my parents put a kibosh on that because there wasn’t room in the budge. I eventually grew into my teens and became interested in other pursuits. About twelve years ago I met a former bull rider who has become one of my best friends and he took me to my first rodeo. I was hooked. Over all those years we’ve attended a Labor Day rodeo festival in Palestine, IL. It’s set in a unique little town that seemed to beg me to write a story set there during the rodeo. Of course, it had to be about a bull rider, and what better conflict than to have him fall in love with a Chicago-born-and-bred woman who couldn’t imagine digging up roots and settling down on a Texas ranch. Or could she?
What spiritual theme does this book include? How did it come to be a part of this story line?
My character Sydney Knight is scared to death to take a risk and trust God. She’d been abandoned in an emotional way by her dad when he died while she was in high school, by her brother whose debilitating accident had left him disabled for life, and by her fiancé on their wedding day. She’d done well avoiding anymore romantic entanglements until she met Jace McGowan. They’d met two years before the start of my story when his uncle (her boss) asked her to take him around Chicago for a day. In the course of one day, their chemistry was so strong, it left her head spinning, not to mention the one and only kiss they shared when they said good bye. Sydney has to learn to trust God and let go of her fears.

About you:
What household task do you most dislike?
Can we make it an office task? I am retired from my day job and writing is now my full-time work. I love writing and all things related to writing, but hate the behind the scenes work of keeping up with the business end of it. It seems papers keep coming in that need to be filed (despite we are in a digital age) and that means filing. I hated filing with I worked in an office and I still hate it today.
Which do you most enjoy?
Can’t think of any that I really enjoy, but what I do enjoy is when the tasks are done and my condo is dusted, vacuumed and disinfected. It’s such a great feeling for at least a day or two.
What smell do you love most, and why?
I love the smell of lilacs when they bloom in the spring. They aren’t around very long and perhaps that’s why I love the scent as much as I do. In part, too, because it takes me back to grade school when the classroom windows would be open on warmer days and the scent would ride the breezes into the room. On some of those days students would bring the teacher bouquets of lilacs and she’d place them around the room. I loved that heady scent so much.

God and you:
Where do you hide away when you want to pray, meditate, read, or just cuddle up with God?
Since I live alone, except for my two rescue cats, I don’t feel a need to find a place to hide so I can be alone with God. The place where I spend my morning devotions, one end of my couch. I put a Christian online music station on softly in the background (right now my favorite is, but Pandora also has some great stations for that as well) and begin by reading entries from a couple devotionals, then go to the Bible and read and meditate on scripture. I keep a daily journal and use that to write prayers to God after I’ve spent time in the Bible.
Please share your conversion experience, if you’re comfortable doing so.
I grew up in Wisconsin and attended Sunday school, but never heard much about a personal relationship with Jesus during those years. As I grew into adulthood, not having a solid biblical foundation, it was easy to drift away from church attendance. From age 25 until age 33, I lived in Southern California for seven years. Toward the end of those years, I began to sense there was more to life than partying and yearned to move back to the Midwest.
I transferred to the Chicago area with my employer and settled into the northwest burbs. A couple months later, my mom became seriously ill, and I promised God I’d start attending church again if she got better. She did, and I went to the church closest to my apartment. I knew little about what made up a good church and attended one that put an emphasis on earning your way to heaven, rather than by faith alone.
God made sure I would eventually hear the truth by having some Christian women move into my apartment building. One of the women shared the gospel with me. I politely listened, but thought I was already a Christian. I continued attending the church I first went to, and one Good Friday afternoon, while the biblical account of Jesus’ crucifixion was read out loud, the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart and all that my neighbor had been telling me made sense. That Jesus went to the cross for me because without His sacrifice that covered my sin, I could never spend eternity with Him.
After the service, with tear-filled eyes, I told the pastor what had happened and he simply sent me on my way with a “God bless you.” Regardless of his dismissive response, I walked home feeling as if I was floating. My neighbor made sure I would be discipled properly by getting me into a Bible study and before long, I moved on to a church that preached the gospel. Since then, over these many years, I’ve grown in the Word and serve Him through leading Bible studies, my writing ministry and being on a calling team for my church’s radio ministry. I never cease to be amazed at how much Jesus had to suffer for the sake of all of us, and that by believing in Him we are seen as righteous by God. What a comfort to know I’m going to spend eternity with the Lord.

About Second Chance Love:
Chicago lawyer Sydney Knight and Texas bull rider Jace McGowan have nothing in common but everything to lose when they are thrust together during a weekend rodeo in rural Illinois. Neither one of them would have imagined two years ago that the deep attraction they sensed during a day-long outing would resurface when Sydney’s boss assigns her to Jace’s legal case.

Sydney has been through a world of hurt since losing her dad when she was sixteen, then being dumped the morning of her wedding. She’s sworn off romance and instead devotes her time toward a partnership in her father’s law office.
Jace has found faith in God and wants out of his sponsor contract with a risqué restaurant chain that requires him to pose with scantily-clad women. He’s about to bail on the contract and pay steep penalties—something he can ill afford, given that his deceased father left the family with unpaid taxes.
Sydney is determined she’ll get Jace out of his contract and return to Chicago with her heart intact, but Jace is just as determined to help her see they are meant to be together. Can a city girl with roots deep in Chicago and a bull-riding rancher with roots deep in Texas give themselves a second-chance love?

About the author:
A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love and her historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Her novella, What Lies Ahead, is part of a novella collection, The Bucket List Dare, which is now available at Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. Second Chance Love from Bling!, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, released in January 2017. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas. Here’s the link to her Amazon author page where you can purchase Second Chance Love and any other of her books:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Guest post: April W Gardner

I am thrilled and delighted to welcome this wonderful author to Chirp 'N Chatter! I consider April W. Gardner a dear friend, and I'm honored to showcase her latest novel. Her thoughtful post gave me plenty to think about...and I'm sure many others will be pondering her message for a while.

Mercy and Justice, a True Balancing Act

April W. Gardner

Have you ever taken one of those spiritual gifts tests? They’re quite revealing, but I’ve never needed one to know I score a big, fat zero in the mercy department. Justice though... I’m all about justice. Poor choices deserve the burn of consequences.
A kid lies? Bam! Restriction.
A driver speeds? Caught ya, sucker! Ticket for you.
Employees steal? They’re fired. Boom!
It all sounds peachy to me!
My poor children. When they step outside the lines, it is an active effort on my part to show compassion and be understanding toward their weaker natures. My knee-jerk reaction is to pull out the whip of the law.
Justice! One of my favorite words.
When God impressed on me the themes of my most recent novel—mercy and justice—I figured I was the least qualified person to broach the topic. However, in His perfect way, He knew exactly where I needed to be stretched, and over the seven months He used me to craft the story, He poked and prodded at my flaws, making them large in my mind, and reminding me that no one deserves any quantity of mercy, grace, or forgiveness, and that He alone is righteous enough to wield the gavel of justice.
My character, Marcus Buck, learns the same lesson. Because of wrongs committed against him, he drives through life seeking justice against those who hurt him—all in accordance with the law, of course, but swift, fierce justice nonetheless. The same story’s female lead, Lillian McGirth, knows beyond a doubt she deserves the most righteous justice there is—an eternity apart from God. Mercy is only for the deserving, she says. There will be none for her, an unwed mother with the label “traitor” hovering over her head.
What neither of these characters at first realizes is that God doles out mercy and justice as a packaged unit and in bountiful, equal measure. In our finite human minds, we tend to separate these two qualities, but God cannot give one without the other. More than that, He cannot be one without the other. He is all mercy and all justice in one perfect being.
Thomas Aquinas said, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.” I don’t know about you, but I scratched my head at the word “dissolution.” Come to find out, it’s a form of the verb “to dissolve” and an old way of saying “falling apart.”
In other words, those who pardon without also delivering some form of consequence are creating destructive situations for themselves and for those they’re forgiving. Conversely, those who dispense penalties that aren’t regulated by mercy are cruel.
You know which of those two stings my heart. Ouch! Do you identify with either of them? If so, in what practical way can you adjust so that your behaviors and reactions reflect Christ’s perfect character?
We’ll end on a beautiful piece of advice about balancing mercy and justice, given by God through the prophet Zechariah. “This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.’” (Zech. 7:9)

About the book:

A man of abiding honor tested
by a woman of ruinous passion. 
A woman of unspeakable sins pursued 

by a God of unquenchable mercy.
For those who enjoy saga-length Christian historical romance. Bitter Eyes No More is a single, complete story. It is book four in the Creek Country Saga.
A man of abiding honor, tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins, pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.
Spanish Florida once sheltered Lillian McGirth from her fears. Now, it feeds them. Mercy is for the deserving; for Lillian, an unwed mother accused of treason, there is only battering and defeat, but her fall breaks softly in the arms of an unexpected arrival, a man too beautiful of soul to stain with her lost character.
Captain Marcus Buck sails in on a pledge to save Miss McGirth from herself and from her child's father, a ruthless don. All the while, he’s to regard her as virtuous and worthy of protection and to guard said virtue from pilfering. But the terms are flawed since he must first guard her from himself. Regardless, he is determined. He will free her, repair her name—simple labor compared to dodging the army’s noose, mending wounds three years deep, and navigating a host of rebel Natives bent on inflicting more.
Through the steady crumble of his pledge, their friendship becomes a consolation, for she knows his pain as no other can or will. Their scars are one; their paths, however, might irrevocably become two…

About the Author:

APRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination. She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native Tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.
April loves to hear from her readers at:

Friday, March 10, 2017

Guest Post: Kathleen Friesen

Stories of Redemption
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7(ESV)

I love stories of redemption, don’t you? Stories of I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see make my spirit soar and my heart sing. Whether it’s the Biblical story of Zaccheus, the historical narrative of John Newton, or even fictional tales, I love them all.

Redemption’s Whisper is my latest love story, and I’d like to share a wee bit about Hayley. When we first meet Hayley Blankenship, she is almost beyond hope. Ready to give up. End it all. Almost.

Then comes grace, that God-touch that sets in motion His plan for her, a plan to give her a future and a hope.

Isn’t that what we all need? Even those of us who’ve known God for a long time often find ourselves in need of His touch, His redeeming grace. Time after time. When I worry myself into a dark pit, when the world seems out of control, or as health problems debilitate, I need His gracious touch.

And every time, “according to the riches of His grace,” He gives what is needed. Redemption whispers, “Come. Be healed, be saved.”
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin has lost its crimson stain; He washed me white as snow. (Elvina M. Hall; Public Domain)

About Redemption’s Whisper:
Desperate to escape her past, Hayley Blankenship flies from Toronto to the Saskatoon home of Pastor Dave and Lydia Harris, the only people who may be able to help her. If she doesn’t find a reason to hope, she may give in to the temptation to end it all. If only someone could love her, in spite of what she’s done.
Trevor Hiebert aces the interview for his dream job in Toronto, but he’s torn. His beloved parents need him, and while he doesn’t want to let them down, he craves the affirmation he hopes to find in the big city. But on the flight home to Saskatoon, he meets an intriguing, gorgeous redhead with dark secrets of her own. Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love?
Purchase Redemption's Whisper:
About the Author:
Kathleen Friesen writes contemporary stories of faith that overcomes tough trials and deep heartaches. Her desire is for her readers to see themselves in the characters of her stories, and to realize that Jesus Christ is the true hero.
Kathleen spent her childhood in the Pacific Northwest and, after marrying the man of her dreams, survived the first thirty years of married life on the Canadian prairies, where they raised three fantastic children. Now she and her patient husband, Ron, live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.