Category Archives: Award Winning

Once Upon a Farm | Rory Feel


Today I am reviewing Once Upon a Farm, with lessons on growing love, life, and hope on a new frontier, by New York Times Bestselling Author Rory Feek.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Sometimes it’s not only what we plant but where we’re planted.

Now raising their four-year-old daughter, Indiana, alone, after Joey’s passing, Rory Feek digs deeper into the soil of his life and the unusual choices he and his wife, Joey, made together and the ones he’s making now to lead his family into the future.

When Rory Feek and his older daughters moved into a run-down farmhouse almost twenty years ago, he had no idea of the almost fairy-tale love story that was going to unfold on that small piece of Tennessee land . . . and the lessons he and his family would learn along the way.

Now two years after Joey’s passing, as Rory takes their four-year-old daughter Indiana’s hand and walks forward into an unknown future, he takes readers on his incredible journey from heartbreak to hope and, ultimately, the kind of healing that comes only through faith.

A raw and vulnerable look deeper into Rory’s heart, Once Upon a Farm is filled with powerful stories of love, life, and hope and the insights that one extraordinary, ordinary man in bib overalls has gleamed along the way.

As opposed to homesteading, this is instead a book on lifesteading as Rory learns to cultivate faith, love, and fatherhood on a small farm while doing everything, at times, but farming. With frequent stories of his and Joey’s years together, and how those guide his life today, Rory unpacks just what it means to be open to new experiences.

“This isn’t a how-to book; it’s more of a how we, or more accurately, how He, God, planted us on a few acres of land and grew something bigger than Joey or I could have ever imagined.”




“A man famous for loving his wife is challenged to rise to an even greater love as a father.”

This is such a sweet, touching story. . . one that begins with Rory Feel and his teenage daughters moving into a run-down house on a farm in Tennessee. At the time, he had no idea that he would meet and marry the love of his life, nor that she would be taken from him long before he was ready to say goodbye.

When you pick this book up and turn to the first page, you’ll be drawn into the stories. . . and you won’t want to put the book down until the end. But if you’re like me, you’ll want to have tissues handy. The stories are sweet, sassy, and sometimes emotional.

Get the book.  Read the book.  Then share the book.

Happy Reading!



Review © 2018 DJ Mynatt

Daughters of the Promise (series) | Beth Wiseman Marathon

Introducing the . . .



Daughters of the Promise promo banner


Plain Perfect

A search for peace in Amish country proves anything but simple for a woman on the run from life…and herself.

On the rolling plains of Lancaster County, PA., Lillian Miller is searching for her grandparents’ house…and so much more. After years of neglect and abuse, she’s turning to a lifestyle of simplicity among the Amish to find herself.

As she discards the distractions of her former life, she befriends the young boy working on her family’s farm, and his attractive widowed father, Samuel Stoltzfus. Despite Lillian’s best efforts to the contrary, her feelings for Samuel–and his for her–deepen. Will Lillian find her faith in Plain living, or will she be forced to return to her former life?


Plain Pursuit

Carley has given up chasing her dreams. Now her dreams are chasing her.

Carley Marek experiences culture shock when she visits her friend Lillian’s family on their farm deep in Amish country. She’ll get an article out of the visit–and maybe some of Lillian’s newfound peace will somehow rub off on her.

Just when Carley is getting used to the quiet nature of the Plain community, Lillian and Samuel’s son falls ill. But the local doctor who can offer the most help has been shunned by the community and forbidden to intervene.

As David’s condition deteriorates, Dr. Noah determines to do whatever it takes to save the boy’s life. Carley is caught in the middle–drawn to Noah, wanting to be helpful in the crisis–and confused by all their talk about a God she neither knows nor trusts.

Carley must decide what in life is worth pursuing . . . and what to do when she’s pursued by a love she never expected.


Plain Promise

Sadie Always Believed in God’s Promises. But Can She Really Trust His Heart?

Young Amish widow, Sadie Fisher, leads a simple life in the quiet countryside of Lancaster County–selling Amish goods to a steady stream of tourists. Though it is a good life, lately she’s wondered if it is God’s will for her to remain without a husband and a family.

Winters can be brutally cold and lonely in Pennsylvania, so Sadie rejoices when a renter signs up for a three month stay in her guest cottage. But when wealthy, impulsive “Englischer “Kade Saunders arrives, she isn’t sure she wants him around that long. Sadie feels the stress of the bishop’s watchful eye, expecting her to act in accordance with the “”Ordnung”,” the understood behavior by which the Amish live. To complicate things, Kade is soon surprised with sole custody of a child he barely knows–his five-year-old autistic son, Tyler.

Sadie and young Tyler form an immediate connection. As she grows to love and understand this exceptional child, her feelings for Kade grow into something that both terrifies and exhilarates her. And while Kade seems to feel the attraction to her as well, their worlds couldn’t be farther apart.

Sadie must stay true to her Amish roots, but denying the love she feels is impossible. Could it be that God has the improbable in store for Sadie? And will she have the faith to step into a love bigger than she’s ever dreamed possible?


Plain Paradise

Linda’s Amish life seemed like paradise. Until she found out her family had been hiding a secret since the day of her birth.

Josie was just a frightened teenager when she left her baby in the care of an Old Order Amish couple in Lancaster County. Since then, seventeen years have passed and while much has changed, one thing hasn’t. Josie still longs to reconnect with her daughter Linda.

But Linda is unaware of Josie–and living an idyllic life within the Amish community. The bishop’s grandson, Stephen, is courting her and she hopes that he will propose soon. When her birth mother comes to Paradise, Linda finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Josie’s world. Meanwhile, her adoptive parents–and her Amish beau–are trying to understand how this interruption in Linda’s life could possibly be God’s will.

As new relationships begin and old ones are tested, no one’s life will remain the same. In the process of losing and letting go–Linda realizes whose daugther she really is. And as only God can do, something more powerful and far more beautiful is forged within the Daugthers of the Promise community…hope.


Plain Proposal

Miriam Raber takes a bold stand when her Amish boyfriend considers leaving their community. “Whatever he chooses, I’m going with him.”

Miriam Raber enjoys life in her Old Order Amish community, and she is hopeful that Saul Fisher will propose to her soon. But when Saul starts talking about leaving the only world either of them has ever known, Miriam imagines what her life might look like as an Englischer.

One thing she knows for certain, she loves Saul and feels he’s the one God has chosen for her. But Saul’s indecision has come at an inconvenient time as Miriam is noticing advances from Jesse Dienner, a man she went to school with, who is committed to marry and live his life in the Old Order community.

Complicating matters is the arrival of Miriam’s cousin, Shelby, a worldly Englisch girl sent to live with Miriam’s family following trouble back home.

Who will Miriam choose a life with, and who will choose to stay in the Old Order Amish community?


Plain Peace

Anna’s grandfather seems determined to ruin her Rumspringa . . . and any hopes she has of finding a husband.

Anna Byler should be enjoying her Rumspringa as allowed by her faith. But because of the strict rules enforced by her grandfather—the bishop—the available suitors in town are afraid to court her.

Even Anna’s grandmother is keeping a big secret from Anna’s grandfather in an effort to keep the peace. Under her grandfather’s oppressive watch, Anna begins to feel her faith slipping and wonders if God has forsaken her.

Jacob Hostetler and his family have relocated to Lancaster County following a family tragedy in Ohio. As his family struggles to rebuild their lives, Jacob is forced to act as head of the household when his father is unable to cope with recent events. It’s been a long time since Jacob has felt any joy. Until he meets Anna Byler.

But will Anna’s grandfather succeed at keeping them apart? And can Jacob put the past behind him and open his heart?



And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter Beth’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Beth Wiseman Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!

Intro © 2015 DJ Mynatt

Brian’s Choice (prequel) | Vannetta Chapman

Today I am reviewing Brian’s Choice, a prequel to the Plain and Simple Miracles series by Vannetta Chapman.

Brian’s Choice is an e-only short story prequel to the brand-new Plain and Simple Miracles series from popular author Vannetta Chapman… These stories of love and family and Amish community in Oklahoma tell of the miracles that can happen when lives are lived in service to God and to one another.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Brian Walker has it all — a trust fund, the job of his dreams, and a beautiful woman at his side. But all of that changes in one tragic moment.

One year later he finds himself in the small town of Cody’s Creek, Oklahoma, and eventually becomes a member of the Amish community located there.

Brian feels God’s hand directing his path, and he begins to hope that perhaps his past is behind him. However, nothing prepares him for the day his bishop asks him a question. His choice changes everything.

Plain and Simple Miracles… stories about the miracle of faith and our ability to forgive and be forgiven. Tweet this!


Brian Walker thought he had it all… but it only took a few moments — to lose it all.

After an almost-fatal accident, Brian chose to leave the life he had made for himself, and just “get away”. Once he passed through Oklahoma, he found himself in Cody’s Creek — and feeling that God was leading him, decided to stay.

Eventually, he joined the Amish community — and the church — and began a new life, leaving behind the modern conveniences he had grown up around.

The characters in Cody’s Creek are great; friendly, helpful, encouraging — and accepting of others. If this were a real place, I’d be making plans to visit soon.

Vannetta Chapman is a superb author — and she writes amazing Amish stories. This… this is an amazing story in itself; I can’t wait to read the next story in the series.

I love reading about miracles, so this series will be a real treat for me. I won’t give anything else in this story away, so I can only urge you to get a copy of Brian’s Choice… and begin this awesome series.

Brian Walker thought he had it all… but it only took a few moments — to lose it all. Tweet this!
God bless you!

Review © 2015 DJ Mynatt


July 2015 MARATHON… extra chance to win!


Charlotte Hubbard - Naomi King Marathon Banner


This month on my bookshelf blog I am featuring:





In addition to the requested tasks:

1) follow this blog – Donna’s BookShelf Blog

2) follow my Facebook Inspirational Author page

3) sign up for my newsletter HERE!

For an EXTRA chance to win, you can do the following:

4) Follow me on my Twitter page
** Be sure to leave a comment, stating which tasks you have completed!




Marathon © 2015 DJ Mynatt

JULY 2015 MARATHON | Charlotte Hubbard & Naomi King


Charlotte Hubbard - Naomi King Marathon Banner


I am dedicating the month of JULY on my bookshelf blog to:




Charlotte (aka Naomi) has graciously offered to sponsor five (5) special giveaways!

ONE WINNER will be selected each Saturday during the month… these 4 WINNERS will each receive a set of books by Naomi King — Abby, Rosemary, Amanda and Emma — autographed — and sent to you directly from the author!

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be selected (and announced) on July 31st… and will receive a set of the Seasons of the Heart series (The Christmas Cradle not included)!



Don’t miss this opportunity to win a book by CHARLOTTE HUBBARD or NAOMI KING!Tweet this!




For a chance to win a book by Charlotte or Naomi, do the following:

1) follow this blog – Donna’s BookShelf Blog

2) follow my Facebook Inspirational Author page

3) sign up for my newsletter HERE!

4) for an extra chance to win, follow me on my Twitter page

** Be sure to leave a comment, stating that you have completed these tasks!


Now go enter! And tell all your friends about this contest!


CHARLOTTE HUBBARD and NAOMI KING are being featured this month on Donna’s BookShelf!Tweet this!




Please remember that giveaways are limited to US residents only. Visit my giveaway rules page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway.

Marathon © 2015 DJ Mynatt

Hannah Alexander – Author Spotlight


Thank you for joining me for this exciting Author Spotlight!


First – my interview with Hannah:

1) I love your pen name… is there a story behind it?

Yes there is. My website, tells the story about how Mel and I met. He started reading all the unpublished novels soon after we began seeing each other. After we were married, he gave me some good medical insights into the manuscripts and I based my male characters on him. Then we began writing a series of ER suspense together. I wanted to emphasize that we worked as a team, so I chose the first name, Hannah, because I identified with pre-Samuel Hannah in the Bible. Mel chose Alexander because it means “servant of mankind,” and he likes to believe he serves mankind as a physician.


2) How does it feel writing alongside your husband? How much input does he give?

Working with a cowriter can be very difficult, especially when that cowriter has a full-time, demanding job, so I’m the writer of the team, he’s the technical specialist who helps me with the medical scenes and helps edit. We’ve always worked well together as a team so it’s very important to us.


3) How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

It feels good to be published. Our first Hannah Alexander novel was relased in 1998, and they’ve been coming out every since. I count myself extremely blessed.
My first surprise was that, after writing for fourteen years without being published, an editor actually called me to ask to publish my work. Soon after, three more editors from three publishing houses wanted the ER suspense novel we had just finished. I wasn’t surprised, however, that it took so long to have a book published by a traditional publisher. It took me that long to develop my writing skills, and I’ll never be sorry I took that much time.


4) Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they are necessary — or helpful — for your writing?

I attended my first writing conference a month after I sat down to write my first novel, and I’ve never stopped. They are vital to learn how to write, learn what publishers want, what readers want, and to find friends who understand the mindset of a novelist. I’ve also read how-to books on writing since I first began, and I’ve read hundreds of well-written novels to learn the craft. It’s the only way to grow as a writer.


5) Which character in your “Hallowed Halls” series most interested you while you wrote? Why?

My most interesting character, to me, is Molly at this point. She has a secret, and it hasn’t been revealed yet. I’m presently working on the revelation on the book I’m working on now.


6) Many best-selling authors are self-publishing novels… would you consider self-publishing? What advantages/disadvantages do you think there would be in self-publishing?

I would never have considered self-publishing when I began my first novel because I knew I had a lot to learn. I was once told by an accomplished novelist that learning to write an excellent novel that others will want to read should take as much time and effort as it would take a person to become a brain surgeon. For me, that’s how long it has taken. I’ve seen too many careers cut short when someone published his or her own work without having it edited, having a professional cover, and without knowing how to write a readable story. Many of those best-selling self-pubbed novelists had to jump the hoops of a traditional publishing house first. Now that I know how to write a novel, I can see many advantages to indie publishing, but that’s after decades of being forced to do it right by a horde of editors. A good editor is a writer’s best friend.


7) What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?

I’m working on the third book in the Hallowed Halls series, and I plan to write more in this same genre. I might someday go back to deeper suspense writing, but at this time I’m enjoying the characters in this series.

“You’re a doctor? You could help me paralyze someone, then, couldn’t you?” – curious yet?Tweet this!




Now, a bit more about Hannah – including that story she mentioned earlier…

“YOU’RE A DOCTOR?” Cheryl leaned toward Mel and raised her voice to be heard over the din of Mazzio diners.

You could help me paralyze someone, then, couldn’t you?”

Mel stared at her with some trepidation. This was the “nice young lady” his pastor, Brother Ron, wanted him to meet? “Um . . . well . . . what, exactly, did you–”

“I’d better explain myself,” she said with a smile. “I write novels. I’m doing research on book number thirteen, and I need one of my characters to be paralyzed through part of the story. Any idea how I could do that without damaging him permanently?”

With relief and sudden interest, Mel gave her all the information she needed. Actually, she received more than she needed, in detail. He couldn’t understand why she only ate half a slice of pizza the whole evening.

Thus was Cheryl’s introduction into the world of an emergency room physician. It was Mel’s introduction into fiction. They were both fascinated. A year and a half later, they were married.

The fascination grew as Mel shared more of his world and Cheryl’s imagination took over. Together they generated ideas for a story. With Mel’s medical input, encouragement and help with plotting, and Cheryl’s writing skills, they developed their first novel together, and called it Sacred Trust

Bethany House published it in 1999. Eight months later came the sequel. Solemn Oath. To end the three-book series, Silent Pledge was published in December 0f 2000.

Both Mel and Cheryl Hodde (pronounced Hoddee) dreamed of their chosen professions since they were children. Mel remembers the decision he made when he was ten years old to become a physician.

At the time his dream was to be an old-time country doctor who knew all his patients as well as he knew his own family, prayed for them, and sometimes even accepted chickens for payment.

Although his career didn’t develop in the way he expected, he can’t imagine anything more rewarding, especially now that he is able to incorporate his knowledge into novels with his wife.

Cheryl remembers composing songs and stories before she knew her ABC’s. When she wrote her first romance novel in 1985 she realized that no romance, and no life, can be right without Christ at the center, and so that was how she wrote—with Christ at the center. After she and Mel got married in 1995, they worked together on rewrites of her previous manuscripts. This time, when she marketed them, they began to gain notice from publishers. Three of her first novels, entitled The Healing Promise, Ozark Sunrise, and A Living Soul have now been published by Heartsong Presents under the name of Hannah Alexander.

“I hope this is just the beginning,” Cheryl says. “Mel and I have a lot of stories yet to write.”


Want to know the story behind Hannah Alexander’s name?Tweet this!



Thank You Hannah… and God bless you!

Today’s the last day to enter Hannah’s GIVEAWAY contest!
If you haven’t entered, click the link below!

Hannah Alexander Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


Interview © 2015 DJ Mynatt

JUNE 2015 MARATHON | Hannah Alexander



I am dedicating the month of JUNE on my bookshelf blog to:


who will also be giving away several of her books during the month!



We are doing the WINNERS a bit differently this month!

Each time I review one of Hannah’s books, you will have a chance to win THAT book!

Each Saturday, I will announce the winners of the books for that week!


THE GRAND PRIZE: The ER Trilogy; Sacred Trust, Solemn Oath, and Silent Pledge – AUTOGRAPHED BY THE AUTHOR!



Don’t miss this opportunity to win a book by HANNAH ALEXANDER!Tweet this!




For a chance to win one of Hannah’s books, do the following:

1) follow this blog – Donna’s BookShelf Blog

2) follow my Facebook Inspirational Author page

3) leave a comment on the individual review post for the book you want to win!


To win the GRAND PRIZE… do the following:

1) follow this blog – Donna’s BookShelf Blog

2) follow my Facebook Inspirational Author page

3) sign up for my newsletter HERE!


Now go enter! And tell all your friends about this contest!


Want to WIN a fascinating medical suspense by HANNAH ALEXANDER?Tweet this!




Please remember that giveaways are limited to US residents only. Visit my giveaway rules page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway.

© 2015 DJ Mynatt

Sarah Loudin Thomas – Author Spotlight


Thank you for joining me for this exciting Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Sarah:

Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, released August 2014 through Bethany House. Book #2, Until the Harvest, released May 2015. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.

A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle – the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and – you guessed it – reading.


Until The Harvest – RT Book Reviews Top Pick – 4.5 starsTweet this!



Now for my interview with Sarah:

1) Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?

I’ve always wanted to write, but it’s only in the past decade that I got the urge to write novels. They always seemed so LONG! But once you finish a 100,000 word manuscript and realize it’s possible, it seems less monumental. As for outlining, my outline pretty much fits on half a page of paper. I know where I want to begin, where I think I’m headed, and some key plot points. I write so I can find out what happens next. If I already knew, what fun would that be?


2) How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

It feels AMAZING! I have to stop every now and again and remind myself I really do have books in print. It seems too wonderful to believe. At the same time, it really didn’t change my life as much as I thought it would. Authors are so accessible now and so many writers are “published” in some fashion, I think it makes it feel like less of a big deal to people. There are even some people <GASP> who don’t read.


3) Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with all of your ideas after a suggestion from your editor/agent/friends?

Thus far it hasn’t been hard to come up with ideas. I grew up in such a rich, storytelling environment that all I have to do is think about family stories and take my pick! Right now I’m itching to write about a WV coal miner who barely survives a cave in (which happened to my great Uncle Harry). Of course, I take VAST liberties, just using family stories to seed my writing.


4) How do you find time for everything… writing, family, church, friends, etc.

I don’t! Something has to give. I think I’ve found a pretty decent balance, but I often have to make hard choices and say “no” to things I might LIKE to do but choose to give up for writing. Not having children makes writing possible. I have to say, I have a deep respect for writer moms!


5) Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they are necessary – or helpful – for your writing?

You’ve hit on one of my favorite topics! Conferences and retreats are PRICELESS! I don’t think I would have been published if not for all the wonderful feedback I got at conferences and through contest critiques. If you’re a beginning writer, get to a conference ASAP! And let people read your stuff. Critiques can be tough, but for me it was the BEST way to learn.


6) What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?

I’m about to turn in book #3 in the Appalachian Blessings series. This one will be set in a more modern day and features Perla’s granddaughter as my heroine. Readers will finally learn what happened that summer Perla got pregnant with Sadie before she wasn’t married. As for genres, I say I write Appalachian Romance and I’m very happy doing so!


7) Many best-selling authors are self-publishing novels… would you consider self-publishing? What advantages/disadvantages do you think there would be in self-publishing?

For me, traditional publishing was the way to go simply because I don’t have the time to invest in the hard work of really high quality self-publishing. The editing, designing, marketing, distribution, and so on. I understand friends who do it because they want tighter control of the finished product and don’t want to wait on a publishers timeframe, but I hope to stick with the traditional route for the time being.


Here is Sarah’s book list:

Appalachian SerenadeAppalachian Serenade: A Novella
Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister’s offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream–even if it means giving up the old?

Download FREE at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Includes an excerpt of Miracle in a Dry Season, the first full-length novel in the Appalachian Blessings series–a book New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber called, “Wonderful, simply wonderful.”



Novel #1Miracle in a Dry Season – Released Aug. 5, 2014
It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

“Once in a while a new author comes along with a work that makes you sit up and take notice. Thomas has crafted a tale of this proportion.” – Library Journal starred review

  • Selah Award nominee
  • Inspy Award nominee
  • Christian Retailing’s Best Award nominee


Until the HarvestUntil the Harvest – Releasing May 2015 – Continue the Phillips’ family saga with Casewell & Perla’s son Henry.

When a family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he’s left unmoored and feeling abandoned. Although Henry tries to find escape in bad company, the only things that can tamp down his anger and grief are the family farm, his fiddle, and sweet but unusual pre-teen Mayfair Hoffman.

Unfortunately, Mayfair’s older sister, Margaret, with the freckles and cute, turned-up nose, has the opposite effect. Worse, she’s his grandmother’s housekeeper and helper, so she’s always around and ready to push his buttons. At first he thinks she doesn’t care about his loss, before beginning to understand she’s facing her own struggles. Mayfair’s health and unique gift sit at the heart of those worries, and Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as both Henry’s future and Mayfair’s life are put at risk.

This followup story will delight readers of Thomas’ previous novel, but, it reads perfectly as a standalone as well. RT Book Reviews Top Pick – 4.5 stars



The Secret of Being Content
Ella Phillips’ life is just about perfect—until her fiancé leaves her for another woman. She keeps the truth from her family for months, fearing they’ll see her as a failure. But when her beloved Grandma Perla suffers a stroke and can’t speak, Ella rushes home to help. She’s always had a knack for understanding pre and non-verbal communication, so she confesses her secret and stays to help nurse her grandmother. Of course, Pastor Richard Goodwin and handsome Davis Markley make her choice a little easier.

Perla Phillips has carried a secret since she was eighteen years old. While family and friends know her oldest child, Sadie, was born out of wedlock in 1949, no one knows the father’s name. Perla sees her granddaughter struggling for perfection and decides to share her secret so that Ella will know God can use even the biggest mistakes for good. But before she can reveal what happened during the summer of 1948, she has a stroke.

Sadie Phillips adored her stepfather and never wanted him or her mother to know she secretly longed to find out who her real father was. When she realizes Perla could die without revealing his name, she determines to discover the truth. Still single and nearing retirement, she takes a sabbatical from work to nurse her mother and dig for secrets.

Three generations of women carry secrets. Will they have the courage to share their hearts with one another? Or will the truth remain buried forever?



Thank You Sarah… and God bless you!

Today’s the last day to enter Sarah’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Sarah Loudin Thomas Marathon | Giveaway!


God bless you!


© 2015 DJ Mynatt

MAY 2015 MARATHON | Sarah Loudin Thomas



I am dedicating the first two weeks of MAY on my bookshelf blog to:


Sarah has sent me several of her books to give away during that time!



THREE WINNERS will be selected at random over the next two weeks… the 3 PRIZE PACKAGES are as follows:

PRIZE #1: A copy of Miracle in a Dry Season

PRIZE #2: BOTH of Sarah’s printed books* – Miracle in a Dry Season and Until the Harvest


* Appalachian Serenade is a FREE e-book and is available for download on several sites, therefore it is not included in the PRIZE packages



Don’t miss this opportunity to win a book by SARAH LOUDIN THOMAS!Tweet this!




For a chance to win one of Sarah’s books, do the following:

1) follow this blog (if you don’t) – and…

2) leave a comment for Sarah (or me)


Now go enter! And tell all your friends about this contest!


Want to WIN a fascinating historical romance by SARAH LOUDIN THOMAS?Tweet this!




Please remember that giveaways are limited to US residents only. Visit my giveaway rules page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway.

© 2015 DJ Mynatt

Melanie Dickerson – Author Spotlight


Thank you for joining me for this exciting Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Melanie.


Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. 

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

She has won several awards, including the Carol Award, The Holt Medallion Award of Merit, and the National Readers Choice Award for her debut novel: “The Healer’s Apprentice” . 


Here is my interview with Melanie:

1) Do you find that writing under a deadline takes the fun out of writing? How do you deal with that? Any special snacks you like to have handy?

I actually like writing under a deadline! Deadlines help me focus and stay motivated. I can do so much more when I know I HAVE to get it done! But if I start to panic and the fear creeps in, I just pray and say, “God, I know you have this worked out. You gave me these contracts and you’ll give me the available time to get these books done.” And that helps.

As for snacks, I drink a lot of green tea! I especially like coconut flavored green tea, which is kind of hard to find. I stock up when I find it. I also like dark chocolate when I’m writing, especially Lindt dark chocolate truffles. They give me that tiny burst of caffeine and whatever it is in chocolate that makes you feel good. (Ladies, you KNOW what I’m sayin’.) And I like Snapea Crisps. Have you ever had those? I recently discovered them and they are so addicting!


2) Do you attend writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they’re necessary – or helpful – for your writing?

I have never been to a writer retreat, although that sounds like fun. However, I’d probably talk the whole time and get very little writing done! I love conferences, but now that I’m published, and since I have plenty of contracts to fulfill at the moment, and since I have such an amazingly competent agent in Natasha Kern, conferences aren’t really necessary for me right now. (Although I do love to socialize at conferences! Love my writer friends.)

I do teach at one or two conferences a year, which is also fun. Writers conferences are great places to learn and network, but there are a lot of other ways to learn the craft of writing a novel that are a lot less expensive. Books on writing, and writing websites and blogs are wonderful ways to learn. Also, there are lots of great organizations online where you can get advice, as well as “meet up with” critique partners. Also, entering contests and getting feedback from judges is a wonderful way to hone your skills as a writer. I would highly recommend all these ahead of attending a conference. Although, going to conferences is also a good thing to do, in moderation, and if you can afford it.


3) Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with all of your ideas after a suggestion from your editor/agent/friends?

I do have a file for story ideas, but there’s basically nothing in it! I also have a list somewhere (not sure I could find it!) of fairy tales that I might like to turn into novels someday. But I have basically been just coming up with story ideas as I need them, i.e. when I’m writing proposals. And no, I don’t have any unused proposals lying around. The only planned series I’m NOT working on is the one set in Alabama in the 1800’s. That one has been put on hold for now.


4) In The Healer’s Apprentice, most of the married people had never experienced true love… how true to real life do you think this occurs? Do you personally know couples who have married for reasons other than love?

I think you are referring to a line in The Healer’s Apprentice where Rose cynically says that she had never experienced love, but most married people didn’t either, or something like that. But I was trying to play up the rarity of true love, as well as Rose’s cynicism. In Medieval times, marrying for love was not the norm. People married for various other reasons. In my lifetime, I’ve never really known any couples who didn’t marry for love. Whether that love lasts is another story.


5) In The Merchant’s Daughter, Annabel’s own mother and brothers don’t treat her with love or respect… did you write this from imagination or from real life?

All of my books are written both from my imagination and from my own experiences. We all experience painful moments—rejection, mistreatment, triumph, jealousy, love, hate, etc. We writers use those emotions and experiences to color our stories. I don’t write directly from my own experiences, but indirectly.


6) Many best-selling authors, including Vannetta Chapman, Amanda Flower, Tricia Goyer and Shelley Grey are self-publishing novels… would you consider self-publishing? What advantages/disadvantages do you think there would be in self-publishing?

There are many pros and cons to self-publishing. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to self-publish an out of print book, as well as a new book that you haven’t found a publisher for. Someday I could see myself self-publishing something, certainly. But since I have never done it, I can’t really speak to the advantages and disadvantages. It is definitely a viable option in this day and age of digital publishing!


7) What are you working on now? Are there other genres you are interested in writing?

I am working on the first Regency romance in a new series, and I’m really excited about it! I’ve been writing Medieval romances for so long, but I love Regencies too, and it’s been fun to explore a new setting, with all its own rules and parameters. I also would like to write books set in the Deep South in the late 1800’s. That’s my other favorite setting. But it’s hard to imagine myself writing anything that’s not a romance. The romance is what makes a book exciting! I’m just a romantic at heart.

My first book geared toward adults is the romantic Medieval mash-up of Robin Hood and Swan Lake, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, releasing May 12th with Thomas Nelson Publishers. The second book in that series, The Beautiful Pretender, releases next spring.

My Rapunzel story, also a Medieval romance, The Golden Braid, releases in November.

My first Regency romance, tentatively titled A Spy’s Devotion, is set to release in February of 2016.

Readers can catch up to me on facebook,, twitter, and my website,

Here is Melanie’s book list:

The Healer’s Apprentice (Hagenheim Castle #1)
The Merchant’s Daughter (should be read before The Princess Spy)
The Fairest Beauty (Hagenheim Castle #2)
The Captive Maiden (Hagenheim Castle #3)
The Princess Spy (Hagenheim Castle #4)
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (Thornbeck Castle #1)


Thank You Melanie… and God bless you!

Today’s the last day to enter Melanie’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Melanie Dickerson Marathon | Giveaway!


God bless you!


© 2015 DJ Mynatt

%d bloggers like this: