The Christmas Prayer, CelebrateLit Tour

“The Christmas Prayer” by New York Times best-selling and award-winning author Wanda Brunstetter is not her usual Amish offering, but a historical Novella.  Set in the West, this 176 page paperback is the tale of a small group of travelers leaving Independence, Missouri, in April 1850 journeying to California. Their goal is to join a wagon train which left earlier.
A29D10C6-6DA2-4419-9F7E-B483A4DEA6D7
Cynthia Cooper and her mother Mabel are two of the characters we meet.  They are going with Cynthia’s fiancé, Walter Prentice, to California.  Arriving in Independence, late they are disappointed to learn the wagon train has already departed. They discover two other families in the same shape and begin their long journey to catch the train.  The other parties are Cole Edwards and his sister, Virginia as well as Jack Simpson, a widower traveling with his two young children, Alan and Amelia.
The characters are extremely well rounded defined.  Some were delightful and others detestable.  Conversations flowed easily and smoothly.  True to life, troubles and trials happen along the way to delay their journey. The group finds themselves at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains when winter hits.  Snow falls and halts travel. The author has done a wonderful job describing the time, place, and emotions in her delightful story.
CF6E5D34-8474-4026-9F43-CD4A471E2CCA
The Christmas Prayer is a well-written novel with a nice message, great writing, and smooth transitions between characters’ viewpoints.   At times it was easy to guess what would happen next.  The Christian message was sprinkled lighter than normal, but it was still present.  Pray and trust God.
I would highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys historical romance, Christmas books, or for Wanda fans.  It is a lovely afternoon or evening read.  I will be buying a few for stocking stuffers this year.  I gave it 5 out of 5 star rating.  A free copy of the book was provided by the author and CelebrateLit, but all opinions are my own, honest ones.

About the Book:

Genre: Historical Christmas Romance
Release date: September, 2018

 

Beloved, bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter takes readers on a journey in 1850 along the California Trail.
Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.
Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?
Click here to purchase your copy!
 

About the Author

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wanda E.
Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda’s stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.
Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.
When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.

Guest Post from Wanda

A cross-country journey in 1850 leads to high mountain danger—and romance.
Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.
Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?
Find out in The Christmas Prayer from NY Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
Try this Exclusive Bonus Recipe Found Inside the Book!
Cynthia’s Fried Apples
Without peeling, quarter as many tart apples as you would like. Lay apples close together, skin side down, in frying pan with salt pork fat or butter. Cover until well steamed then uncover and brown both sides, turning and watching closely to prevent burning.
To celebrate her tour, Wanda is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a free copy of The Christmas Prayer with an autographed bookplate inside.  Be sure to comment on the blog stops (schedule below) for 9 extra entries into the giveaway.  Click here to enter.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, September 18
The Avid Reader, September 18
The Power of Words, September 18
Lighthouse Academy, September 18
Just Commonly, September 19
Carpe Diem, September 19
Britt Reads Fiction, September 20
Luv’N Lambert Life, September 21
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 22
Lis Loves Reading, September 22
Babs Book Bistro, September 23
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 23
Janices book reviews, September 23
Mary Hake, September 24
Inklings and notions, September 25
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 25
Book by Book, September 26
Splashes of Joy, September 27
The Morning Chapter, September 27
The Mimosa Blossom, September 28
Pause for Tales, September 28
Have A Wonderful Day, September 28
Cafinated Reads, September 29
Bibliophile Reviews, September 29
Quiet Quilter, September 30
Bigreadersite, October 1
D7A14FCA-73ED-4946-B71D-583BCC99DF00

Chatting with Author, Illustrator SE Foster…..You’re Never Too Old to Color

It is my pleasure to chat with author, illustrator SE Foster today.  Previously she sent me copies of her coloring journals.  What lovely products!  If you are not into coloring or journaling, I would encourage you to try both and start with hers.  I loved them.  
Her journal coloring books are such a delightful change from the other tedious intricate designs with minuscule parts in them.  Often I start those and become discouraged that I won’t be able to finish, so I give up.  These are different, doable.  The pictures are larger and very pretty.  The scripture and journal questions provide food for thought.  While reflecting I was able to color, pray, and write down thoughts.  The author has designed well organized, thought, beautiful books.
 
I highly recommend her beautiful journal/coloring books.   The format is easy to use and would be great for any age whether a beginner or seasoned pro.  It would make a fantastic gift for camp.  I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.  Now let’s chat a minute with the creator of them.
Hi Shannon!  Tell us about the type of book you write?
Okay, I write and illustrate books in the Christian/Spiritual Genre that are coloring journals.  I wanted to offer more than just a coloring book and thought the scriptures reflection and journal prompts would make a nice addition and maybe set it apart from other coloring books on the market.
I totally agree and see a great potential for these.  Women’s groups, youth groups, camps.  I could go on about them, but let’s learn about you.  Do you have a job in addition to writing?
Yes, I do.  When I am not writing, painting, drawing or making jewelry I teach water aerobics at the local YWCA for 2 hours a day Monday-Friday.
Wow!  You are a busy lady.  Tell us your story of how you came to be published.
My first book came to be after I started drawing flowers for the 100 Days Project that is popular on Instagram. One particular day I was having trouble uploading my daily sketch to Instragram and decided to post it on my Facebook page instead. One of my author friends said I should make a coloring book. I, of course, told her “no I don’t think I could do that”.
43154222-DA78-4E6D-B97C-F4E8A742C816
Well, I for one am glad you did.  Your newest book is a bit different from your first.
Yes, my second book is called Coloring Through the Seasons with God: 12 month Prayer Journal with Coloring Pages.  I published my first Prayer Journal with Coloring pages in July of 2017 and around September the idea came to me to do a 12 month one instead of a 30 day one like the first book.
How long did it take you to create this book?
To be honest I am not entirely sure how long this one took as I didn’t keep track as closely as I did with my first book. My first book took well over 300 hours. I sketched out each floral element and word and then inked them onto tracing paper. Then scanned those into my computer and I turned them into vecotor images.  After cleaning them up I was finally able to place them in the document to create the pdf file to upload. My second book the pages were drawn entirely on my Ipad Pro that I purchased with proceeds from the local sales of my first book. That eliminated so much of the work as I could drawn an entire page and then send it to my computer to be put into the file to be uploaded and published.
Yes, much more efficient.  Is this dedicated to anyone?8260A270-E084-4707-9DC8-4308455C8E05
I dedicated both of my books to my husband. He allows me to do the things I love and be creative. The ladies in my weekly bible study groups were also instrumental in the process of both books and I acknowledged them as well.
Shannon, when did God first call you into this ministry?
I felt the nudge from God to make my first coloring book in April of 2017.  My initial response was no as was my response to the second and third nudge. Finally after the fourth nudge I took the plunge and started creating my first book at the end of April 2017 and published on July 6, 2017.
It falls in place when God has His hand on it, doesn’t it?  How quickly did doors open for you?
Well, I haven’t had many doors open for me. I do have copies of my book in a local Christian Book store.  I have been researching and praying for guidance on what to do next to get my book out there to those who need it.
Did God send you an answer?
In February 2018 I had sent my book to an author who spoke at our local ISI Women’s Conference for her to review. She loved the book and wanted to send me a proposal to work with her on promoting my book. I knew that there was no way I could afford her so I told her not to waste her time sending me something I knew I couldn’t do. She then asked me what I could afford. I told her (it wasn’t much as we had to put a roof on our house in March and had taxes to pay in April).

“I prayed specifically”

She asked me to pray about it and let her know. So the next day while I was teaching water aerobics, I told one of my friends about the conversation.  I said that I was going to pray about it and I was going to be very specific. “Ok God” I was going to say, “IF I am supposed to work with this woman the money for the fee is going to have to come from sales in my Etsy shop or I won’t be able to do it.”  I went home and said that exact prayer before bed. When I woke up in the morning there had been a $45 sale. Later that day a $152 sale, and then the entire amount was there within about 12 days from when I offered my prayer to God.  With pleasure I have started working with her and am very hopeful about what will come of our time together.
God is so good!
Tell us a few of your favorites:
Book:     Gone with The Wind
Color:    Purple and Teal (again just can’t pick one)
Food:     Cheesecake
Smell:    Lily of the Valley
Animal:  Elephant
Hymn:    It is well with my Soul
Song:     Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams
Drink:     Diet Ginger Ale
Candy:   Lily’s Sugar free Salted Almond Dark Chocolate bar.
Movie:   That is a tie between Gone with the Wind and Brigadoon
Place:    The foothill mountains in Colorado by Boulder.
Chocolate or Vanilla: Both and Strawberry.  Neapolitan is my favorite flavor.
Coffee?  Cream, cocoa powder and Stevia
Scripture:      Be Strong and Let Your Heart Take Courage ~Psalm 27:14
What would be your dream vacation:  A trip with my two sisters.
Destination and mode of travel:   I would love to fly to Ireland, France, Italy, Scotland, and Sweden( I have a pen pal there from when I was in 7th or 8th grade).
Favorite hymn of SE Foster
Anything you want to leave the readers with today?
Yes, they may keep in touch with me or purchase my books using the following links:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
@s.e.foster.author
Links to purchase signed copies of both books
A Stroke with God
Amazon
Barns and Noble
Coloring Through the Seasons with God
Amazon
Thank you very much, Shannon, for this lovely time.