Swept Away

Cover of Swept Away

Faith-filled Friends has two special guests with us today, Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven. They’re here to talk about their new release Swept Away and to give away a special gift that you don’t want to miss!

Thank you Cindy and Laura for stopping by and sharing with us today!

Hi, Cindy here! I just wanted to share a bit about the quilt, in Swept Away. When I started researching special quilts in the Appalachians, I started learning about Ballad Quilts. The more I read the more I knew Swept Away had to be about a ballad quilt. A ballad quilt is a quilt that depicts an Appalachian Ballad. Our ballad is The Ballad of Pretty Saro. I won’t share the words to it, because of copyrights, but I am including a link to a youtube video of the song.

Most ballad quilts are two varieties, one is individual blocks presenting the scenes, or one big piece of fabric with lots of scenes on it. I chose the individual blocks, there are twelve blocks in the quilt I designed for the book.

These are the blocks: ship on an ocean block, girl block, heart block, book of poems block, letter block, broken heart block, farm scene block, house block, road scene block, dove scene block, mountain block, ocean block. This is the order the blocks appear in the ballad. All of my blocks were applique blocks, when I designed the quilt.

Love it, Cindy! Thank you for sharing about The Ballad of Pretty Saro and the quilt!

Thank you for having us on your blog, we appreciate it. Thanks to all who visited, please leave a comment to win a Swept Away Prize Package.  A copy of the book, with some other special treats (bookmarks, candy and maybe another crafty surprise).

Yes, please leave a comment below to win this great Swept Away Prize Package! To find out more about Swept Away, visit Laura and Cindy’s Facebook page.

Swept Away Blurb:

He survived a life-altering event. She is facing one.

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her grandmother who doesn’t want to be cared for. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter.

It doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

Buy Links:



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LauraAward winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and three of their children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Laura also  has two adult children.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as a three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard in April 2015, and The Bird House in September 2015. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.

Laura’s Amazon author page

Visit Laura’s blogs: Lighthouse-Academy and Laura V. Hilton Twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512 Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/

bio picCindy Loven, an avid reader all her life, is seeing her dreams fulfilled, with the publication of her first novel, Swept Away Quilt of Love.  She co-authored this novel with Laura V. Hilton.  Born and raised in Arkansas, she loves her home state and is happy to live there with her husband of nearly twenty-nine years and her adult son. She and her family are very active in their local church, serving in many volunteer positions. She and her husband are very serious about informing parents about the dangers of the choking, after loosing their youngest son to this dreadful ‘game’ in 2009.  When not busy with church or her job as a “pr gal” for another author, you can find Cindy in her craft room, ,sewing, crocheting or making cards.

Where to find me on the web:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorcindyloven

Twitter handle: @cndloven

Blog: http://cindylovenwrites.blogspot.com


Amazon Page:http://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Loven/e/B00J54NEQY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


Have a wonderful week! ~Tanya

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  ~Jeremiah 31:3

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When Life and Fiction Collide

I was in a hurry. Shortly before a meal I’d intentionally planned to be simple, I received new and crucial information that turned my easy preparations into a grease-splattering mess.

The food: Nachos, an easy, widely enjoyed finger food that would allow ID-100214331the youth group kids to nibble on the move. (Because high schoolers don’t sit still.  If you thought toddlers were antsy…)

But then, just as I’m beginning to load a baking pan with chips, my daughter comes in, alerting me to new information, such as:

Not everyone likes meat. Can you put it on the side?
Do you have enough sour cream? There could be 50 kids there tonight.

Did you buy green onions? (Those are her personal favorite, and yes, I know, I could’ve ignored that one, but something in my mommy heart makes it hard for me to say no to food requests. If you have insight into this, do share. haha)

Long story short, with no time to spare, I began zipping around the kitchen, dicing, frying, spicing… I felt fairly productive, like the Don Juan of cooking endeavors, until a strangely sweet aroma wafted from the browning ground beef.

A very distinct, sweet aroma.

ID-10053602Biting my lip, I moved to my spice shelf and inspected the labels nearest the shelf edge. Yep. Cinnamon.

Not cumin.

A dash of one small ingredient changed everything. (I’m sure there’s some sort of spiritual analogy there. If you discover it, let me know. 😉 )

Short on time or not, I had to laugh. Loud. I was living out a flipped version of a scene in my novel, Intertwined (not yet released).

In the story, Tammy Khun, a single working mother agrees to make home-made cookies for her son’s end of school party. But then, she forgets about the endeavor entirely, until the day arrives. Then, in her haste, she buzzes about, grabbing spices here, stirring oats there, completely oblivious to the fact that she’d swapped chili powder for cinnamon. She’s not alerted to this until, once at the school, she notices the puckered faces of those who bite into her hurriedly baked cookies.

Oh, poor Tammy! For her, it was too late, as the cookies were already dished out on many plates. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for me. Double-luckily, meat browns quickly, and I happened to have another package of ground beef already thawed.

Even so, I found the correlation uncanny and quite hilarious. They say truth is stranger than fiction.

Can you relate to Tammy and my experience? When have you, perhaps in a hurry or maybe while distracted, fumbled up something that should’ve been easy? Can you share a time when you made a major blunder during food preparation? What happened?

Before I go, I wanted to invite the fiction-lovers among us to join my Biblestudyinvitemonth-long, relationally based Bible study. Centered on surrender and discovering our unique, God-given calling, this study will use my debut novel, Beyond I Do, as a springboard. The study starts Nov. 10th and ends Dec. 10th.  You can find out more here! If you don’t have the novel yet, you can purchase the ebook version at a huge discount (for only $2.39!) at CBD. Purchase the book here.

Posted in Book lovers, just for fun, Mothers, Novel Characters, the writing life | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Stories that Ask for More by Eileen Rife


DSC02020Have you ever asked yourself why you read?

Maybe you love a good mystery simply for the delicious spine-tingling suspense, or a horror story for the sheer terror the villain evokes. Perhaps you enjoy a love story that makes you feel all warm inside. You might be a reader whose strong intellect craves material that makes you think or reason through a situation.

I dare say, most of us read first and foremost for enjoyment or to glean information. Only students read because they have to in order to pass the test or write the paper.

Yes, reading is one of the supreme pleasures of life. You avid readers understand this.

On the other side of the coin, as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, I often ponder where my responsibility begins and ends with readers. Yes, I want to produce a story that keeps the reader turning pages. Yet, as a Christian writer who serves the King of Kings, is that where my job ends?

I don’t think so. Personally, I feel compelled through my writings to build awareness and move to action. In the course of the reading, I want the reader to identify with a scripture, an insight, a character, or a situation in a way that invites change, either small or great. I also want to write words that heal hurting hearts.

I read. A lot. In order to write effectively, one must read voraciously.

In my book travels, I’ve read some works, even Christian books, that amount to little more than entertainment. I’m left with nothing to grapple with that stimulates personal growth. These are often books that do well, even hit the bestseller’s list. I wager a guess that in some cases it’s because they require so little of the reader.

May I challenge you—both readers and writers alike?

Get on your face before God and ask Him to guide you in your choice of reading material. Refuse to settle for fluff, for books that merely entertain without moving you toward a decision or out of your comfort zone and toward action. Two such novels in my recent reading history are Scared and Priceless by Tom Davis, founder of Children’s HopeChest. Not only are these works great fiction, but they detail the plight of African orphans and trafficked victims. Highly recommended, by the way!

God loves books. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have authored the Bible. Since His desire is to transform us into the image of Christ, He wants us to choose reading material (and write words) that requires something of us, that asks for more than a fluttery heart or a good time or even gained knowledge. He delights in words that bring life and healing.

So should we.



Eileen Rife, author of Laughing with Lily, speaks to women’s groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story! http://www.eileenrife.com, http://www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com.

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Devotion: Blood Vessels

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (KJV)— For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

What is a blood vessel? I am. You are too, if you’re a follower of Christ.

In the natural—and in very simplistic terms–we think of blood vessels as the part of the body’s circulatory system that transports blood. That’s an important role, considering blood is the life force of a human body.

The network of blood vessels is actually far more complex than that description makes it seem, but let’s keep it simple. Three major types of vessels keep the blood flowing: Arteries carry the blood away from the heart; capillaries enable the exchange of water and chemicals between the blood and the tissues; and veins carry blood from the capillaries back toward the heart.

A perfect circle of life.

Circulation is hindered when any one of the three blood vessel types stops doing its job. For obvious reasons, that kind of situation could quickly become dangerous—threatening loss of limb in some situations, and loss of life in others.

We are the earthly vessels God uses to keep the blood of Christ distributed. We carry the Good News of the Gospel of Christ—some taking it to foreign lands, others spreading the Word on a local front. Through the lives we live and the words of our testimonies, we share the Living Water with thirsty souls, and keep the body of Christ hydrated and balanced. God has called each one of us to lead others back to Him…and that completes the circle, taking the flow of blood right back to the heart, which is Christ.

The word “vessel” simply means a hollow container made to hold or transport contents of one type or another. And isn’t that what we are, you and I as Christians? Just empty vessels the Lord has “prepared unto every good work” by filling us with the Holy Spirit, making us able to transport the life-giving blood to every part of the body of Christ.


Let us be careful not to become the vessel that is pinched or cut off from the central system (Jesus Christ), causing circulation problems within the body of Christ (the Church). He has created a perfect circle of life. Whether our function is a vein, a capillary, or an artery, it is necessary to the undeterred flow of that crimson stream of life-giving blood.


Father, I want to be a vessel of honor…the kind of vessel You can trust to serve well in whatever function You choose to use me. Let me never be the source of a “clogged artery” or “pinched vein” within the body of Christ. I’m only a vessel of clay, but Your love can shine through me, Your blood flow through me for Your glory. I ask that it be so. In Jesus precious name. Amen.

The above devotion, by Delia Latham, is excerpted from RED – a free weekly devotional available through Pelican Book Group.

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Sherlock, Shakespeare and Saxons

I am a word nerd. I love words. I love grammar. I love etymology. I love vocabulary.

I know the difference between nauseous and nauseated, fewer and less, affect and effect. I know when to use who and whom. I cringe when I see apostrophes used to make plurals. And while I collect egregious examples of bad grammar and spelling, mostly just to share with my daughter, I really do try not to correct or make fun of people who use language incorrectly in public or use proper English as a weapon.

refridgerationI absolutely adore Shakespeare, even though I must admit I have not read all his plays.

I get a kick out of, and actually have an opinion on, the argument over the Oxford comma, and the singular “they” question. I understand both sides of the adverb debate.

When I watch TV or movies at home, I turn on the closed captioning, a habit which drives most of my family nuts. In a lot of shows, the actors speak very quickly, or on top of each other, or there’s an accent, or background noise or music, and sometimes I miss some words. I hate that. I figure that the writers worked very hard on those scripts, and I want to catch every single word. I wouldn’t want readers missing some of my words, after all.

office shot hoursThe History of the English Language was one of my favorite classes in college. I love that although English is indeed heavily influenced by Latin, most Latin vocabulary is in the scientific and technical areas. Our everyday words are actually Germanic, Anglo-Saxon. About a quarter of our vocabulary is Germanic. 83% of the most common 1000 words in today’s English are of Anglo-Saxon origin: concepts like heaven and earth, love and hate, life and death, beginning and end, day and night, month and year, heat and cold. Words like path, meadow, stream, house, mother, father, cow, God, gold, work, land, winter. Words that make up the bedrock of life.

Even before the birth of Christ, English become a ravenous borrower of words. We borrowed from the Vikings, the Normans, the French. This is the reason we have such a rich and varied vocabulary, chock full of synonyms. From the earliest eras, we have Anglos-Saxon vs Norman: sick/ill, wrath/anger, rear/raise, hide/skin. A person sitting atop a horse can be called a rider (from the Anglo-Saxon ritter), a horseman (from the Vikings’ Old Norse hross), a knight (originally Old English cniht), a cavalier (from French chevalier), or an equestrian (Latin).

A while ago a video from the BBC series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, made the rounds on Facebook among my writer friends.

The scene depicts Sherlock interviewing a prisoner in jail, trying to explain why repeatedly stabbing his girlfriend was just an accident. His English is abominable. “My father was a butcher and he learnt me to handle knives.” The inimitable Mr. Holmes first sighs loudly at every error, then corrects him each time. In the end he simply cannot deal with a client who doesn’t speak English properly and walks away.

Now I realize others may find this a bit harsh, but I find that a completely acceptable reason to let someone be hanged.

He should have paid closer attention in school.

Or not stabbed his girlfriend.

His choice.

Posted in Authors, Book lovers, English, just for fun, language, memories, Novel Characters, Research, the writing life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Story Trumps Style

EVAMARIEEVERSON2~Guest Post By Eva Marie Everson

Every writer knows that there are a few books gracing the bookstore shelves out there called “style books.” I fear that is a misnomer. Perhaps they should be called “rule books.”

A period goes at the end of a sentence. That’s a rule.

How long that sentence is? That’s style. As a Southern fiction writer, I am inclined to make my sentences a little longer than some. Start sentences in the middle. (See previous sentence for example.) Southern writers tend to drone on (and on) in their descriptions (you know, in case our Northern brothers and sisters don’t quite get what we’re trying so desperately to convey). In turn, when “critiqued” by other less-understanding writers or even readers, we get lines like “your sentences are entirely too long.”

Well, that’s style.

Just recently, after reading a string of books in which the writers broke all the writing rules, I realized that–in fact–what the authors had done was break rules of  style. Ah-ha. Now, did I throw the books across the room? No. Did I keep reading? You betcha (in spite of the fact that my editing brain would occasionally think: you just used that word in the previous sentence).

I pondered this.

I pondered this for quite some time.

And then it hit me …

Story trumps style (and rules).

I didn’t throw those books with all their broken rules and styles across the room because the stories within were fabulous! Compelling. Drawing me further and further in. Into the lives of the characters. Into their quandaries. Often putting me in the position of having to decide if I wanted to work and make money (for more books) or keep reading. 

As the president of Word Weavers International, as a teacher at writers conferences, and as a private writing coach and freelance editor, I get the “style/rule” questions a lot. 

“Make this one sentence a paragraph unto itself,” I say to my client (or the conferee/fellow Word Weaver).

“But, my seventh grade grammar teacher said a paragraph has be x-number of sentences.”

“That’s a rule,” I say. “That’s not style. Forget the rules. Work on style.”

However, after reading these last novels, I see the following in terms of importance:

  1. Story
  2. Style
  3. Rules

Whatever style you have, whatever rules you break, make certain you have a story that trumps them all.  Write in such a way that readers (and editors, etc.) simply will. not. care. that your paragraph only had three words in it. Or that your ellipses didn’t have a space before and after it. Or … whatever.

Story. Fiction or nonfiction–it’s the story that draws your readers. It’s the story that trumps all else.


51v9mro1yCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Eva Marie Everson is a best-selling, multiple award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and president of Pen In Hand, Inc. Her latest release, The Road to Testament, is set in North Carolina. She is currently writing a good story for Tyndale Publishing House, Five Brides, based on actual events in post WWII.

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Literacy Decline?

Oh, the changes that have come to modern literature!

Sentences and paragraphs have gotten shorter. White space has increased. The stakes ID-100201420have gotten higher, for if they didn’t, our texting, tweeting, movie-watching culture wouldn’t read past page one.

Are we becoming an increasingly illiterate nation? One who, so desensitized, needs explosions, body counts, and flashy graphics to hold our attention?

And will the classics of old, the tales of whales and balls and fleeing slaves, slowly fade, soon to be forgotten?

Deshaies HeadshotToday fellow ACFW member Marisa Deshaies assures us, the great works of literature known as the classics are still alive and well among our book reading culture. And here’s why she believes that’s so:

Bright lights beam a marquee of Les Miserables in along New York City’s Broadway. Facebook posts shower users with advertisements of the newest version of a Jane Austen novel. A British actor’s posh voice delivers the BBC’s latest promotion for Masterpiece Classic. Walk into any bookstore or watch previews of upcoming movies, and you’ll surely come across numerous advertisements or displays of classic stories written many ID-10036810years ago. With each bestseller and Oscar-worthy movie comes a retelling of one of the well-known stories taught in English classes.

What is it that endears the public to the Classics? With the advent of three-dimensional directing, popular vampire lore, beloved magical adventures, and modern romance stories that fill the bookshelves and movie theaters, audiences do not lack amusing entertainment. Critics could argue, in fact, that Austen, Dickens, and Tolstoy are authors of the past. Why look back when there are unknown tales waiting to be told?

And yet, retellings of Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and other Classics continue to come to theaters and bookstores in droves.

Jane Austen’s novels are a particular favorite of authors and directors alike to recreate. In the two hundred years since Austen’s novels first hit the market, fan fiction and retellings are too numerous to count. Pride and Prejudice, in particular, is an audience favorite. Known best for her characters that pursue love in spite of difficult situations, Austen wrote novels that connect with young and old, male and female alike. Turning these novels into fan fiction and movies is a sure way to connect with book readers and movie watchers.

So what is it about the Classics that resonates so soundly with audiences? With Austen retellings, I’m convinced that readers and viewers live vicariously through the characters. Google-search the Jane Austen Festival, and you’ll see that while Persuasion doesn’t have witches or goblins and Emma doesn’t take place in a haunted mansion, readers of Austen novels and viewers of the novels’ movie counterparts are just as swept away by the stories as anyone reading Harry Potter or Twilight. Men and women dress in Regency costumes, attend balls, put on theatricals, and host luncheons and dinners, all in the fashion of Jane Austen’s time.


A graduate of the University of Delaware’s English major, Marisa holds a Master of Art’s degree in professional writing. Her career aspirations include working as an editor for a publishing house and as a literary agent. Marisa began reviewing books in January 2014 and now reviews for two web magazines, a reviewing company, multiple publishing houses, and directly for authors. In addition to her book reviews, she regularly blogs on her website, A Way With Words, and for fellow authors.

Connect with her online at her website, A Way With Words, on Facebook: A Way With Words (page) and Marisa Deshaies, Twitter: @deshaies89, Linked In: Marisa Deshaies, and Pintrest: Marisa Deshaies

Let’s talk about this! Do you enjoy reading the classics? Do you have one that’s your favorite? Do you ever read cliff notes with them? (I’m reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the cliff notes are helping me get so much more out of the book!) Did you know you can normally download the classics and cliff notes for free? If you don’t read the classics, is there a reason? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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