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    Katie Ganshert
    You’re Far from Common

    I’m so excited to have Jessica Patch here on the ol’ bloggity-blog today. Do you know Jessica? If you don’t, you should! Not only is she an awesome person in general, her writing is ah-mazing!  So without further ado, here she is, folks …

    Jess color headshot

    Ever felt like you had no idea what your purpose was? Ever asked God, “What am I supposed to be doing in life?” You take a bird’s eye view of your life and you don’t see any way that God can use you. You read blogs and Facebook posts and instead of inspiring you, it’s depressing. People are reaching millions through their words, through mission trips, and the list goes on.

    And you?

    You live in a middle class neighborhood, with a middle class income, 2.5 kids (I never know what the .5 is for, but I’ve always wanted to use it so here it is), you have a pet that drives you crazy, and you drive a minivan.

    Typically, you run late for, well, everything. You might stay home to work or you might venture out to work. Your job is average. In fact, most days you don’t even want to be there. Your hair is in serious need of color or a cut. You’re still wearing clothes from five years ago and they’re too tight. While you long to be a Sephora kind of woman, you’re just a Cover Girl. You do the same thing day in and day out.

    You wouldn’t call your life beautiful. You’d call it…reality.

    I know you. I am you.

    My fictional character in Just the Way You Are knows you, too. Her name is Audrey. She has an unpretty past (unpretty is a word so let it go). She’s living her life. Day in. Day out. She has a lot of regrets and wishes she could be more like Sierra Bradley. Sierra, in Audrey’s eyes, is a Sephora woman. She owns her own business. Audrey still works for the same sisters she’s worked for since she was sixteen. She can’t afford her own business. Sierra can sing like an angel. Audrey won’t even let the shower head hear her for fear she’d never get a hot shower again. She wishes she could be like her best friend Eden, who is organized and always on time, who knows just what to say at the right time…

    Ever compared yourself to others? Wished you had someone else’s gift? Yeah. Me too.

    Audrey decides to be more like those people. She thinks it will help her become a better match for the single pastor who has his eye on her.

    But what Audrey doesn’t realize, and what you may not realize, is God made you unique. I know, we say that all the time until it becomes cliché, and we don’t even believe it.

    But it’s true.

    When He formed you He embedded interesting things into your DNA: The ability to sing and hear parts, to stay in the pocket and on perfect pitch along with the love for music. Maybe you have an amazing eye for color and you can walk into a room and envision beauty and warmth. You might be really great with words, poetic and beautiful. You might be athletic. You enjoy cooking and are excellent at it. You love to bake. You love children and are good with them. All you did in high school was babysit! All those seemingly common things. All those ordinary things…

    They’re beauty to God. Because He gave each one of those gifts to you. To make you who you are. To be used for His glory.

    Take that ability to make a cozy home and share it with others. Host a small group or Bible study. Go into a single mom’s home and help her create the same atmosphere for free! Using things you’ve found at garage sales or using what she has. When she comes home after an exhausting day, her home becomes her sanctuary and it gives her a measure of peace. A gift God gave you has now been used for His glory. A reminder every day for her that He loves her and has her in His hands.

    If you love to bake and cook. Host a progressive dinner to give your small group a fun night. Take your deliciousness to teachers, new moms, families who are grieving. Everyone knows fellowship over food is king! J Share your gift to bring joy into lives. Take a dish to your new neighbor. Bake a birthday cake for a mom who can’t bake but wants to do something special for her kids. Maybe she can’t even afford a cake. But you have the ability. Do it. It’s a beautiful thing.

    If you scrap book, start a local group and invite the one who cooks lol! She can bring dessert. Who knows what a stress reliever that will be to a mom how needs a night out. It’s fun. It’s ministry. And who knows what divine appointments await.

    Use what God gave you. No you might not be in Africa feeding tens of thousands of starving children. But you are pouring renewed hope into a frazzled mom.

    You might not be singing to a theater of people. But you’re touching a tired working woman who needs recharging for a week to come as you sing to a church body of 75 people.

    You might not have your own decorating show, reaching millions. But you are bringing some joy into the life of someone who needs to feel secure and safe.

    You might not be writing the best seller novel, but you’re touching hearts as you pen little notes of encouragement to the people in your community. A good word in due season is gold!

    Maybe like Audrey in my novella, you just need to see that God loves you and can use you, just the way you are.

    It’s a thing of beauty. You are beautiful. Your gifts…they aren’t common. They’re beautiful.

    “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23 HCSB

    “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 HCSB

    Just the Way You Are - High Resolution

    When Pastor Gabe asks Audrey Gilbraith to use her mad florist skills to help him design a prayer garden, she’s all in, especially since it helps take her mind off the fact she’s about to lose her job and her apartment. But working closely with Gabe and not falling for him is complicated. She’s not pastor’s wife material, and she has the past to prove it.

    Gabriel Brookson wants out of Audrey’s friend-zone, but when he pursues her romantically, he ruffles more than a few feathers in his congregation. How much is he willing to give up for this wonderful, quirky woman, and will Audrey accept him if he risks it all?

    Just the Way You Are is now available on Amazon for only $2.99!

    ~~~

    Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, watching way too much Netflix with her daughter, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Her debut novel with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense will release in early 2016. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

    Sign up for Jessica’s newsletter http://www.jessicarpatch.com/p/blog-page.html to receive books 3 & 4 for FREE! (Books will be sent to your inbox later this year!)

    Connect with Jessica on: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST (where you can take a peek at the cast of Just the Way You Are and get a peek into some fun scenes in the novella), or her WEBSITE.

    Check out her first book in the Seasons of Hope series, Hope Under Mistletoe on AMAZON. (Katie here. Seriously, do it. I loved this novella!)

    Katie
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    E-Book Sales, Y’All!

    instagram ebook sale

    My debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, is on sale for $1.99!

    Since this is the story that started my career as an author, it will forever and always hold a special place in my heart. I wrote it after spending an entire summer binge-reading craft books. I brought it to the very first writing conference I went to (ACFW in Denver, Colorado) and nervously pitched it to an agent and an editor–both of whom would become my agent and my editor.

    It’s the first story that went through the editing process at a real-live publishing house, growing me as author in a way craft books couldn’t. I got all verklempt when I saw the cover. Absolutely giddy when I held it in my hands in actual book form for the first time–tangible proof that this dream I dreamed for so long had come true.

    And then it went on to become a Christy Finalist and a Carol Award winner, two experiences that left me pinching myself.

    Never mind my affection for Evan Price. :-)

    All this to say, I’m very excited to share this with more readers! If you’re looking for a cheap book to sample, I hope you’ll consider Wildflowers from Winter. If you’re not sure, you can read some sample chapters. You can also enjoy some bonus features by clicking on the Wildflowers from Winter book page. Last I checked, it’s currently on sale for $1.99 on Amazon and CBD and should be soon on other retailers as well, wherever e-books are sold.

    Even better news? If you’re looking to load up your e-reader before the summer or before a Memorial Day weekend road trip, Wildflowers isn’t the only e-book on sale! My friends Hillary Manton Lodge, Joanne Bischof, and Lori Benton have books on sale, too!

    ebook sales four books

    Happy reading, friends! I hope Evan and Bethany’s story blesses you!

    Katie
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    Cover Reveal!

    A little over two years ago, I sat down and started writing this story. It was unlike anything else I’d ever written. I was between contracts, see. Without a deadline, and I had this enticing idea for a young adult trilogy. I didn’t plan on sharing it. I was writing it for fun. For me. For the heck of it. And let me tell you, that story brought my creativity to life.

    Don’t get me wrong.

    I love writing the stories I’ve published. And Lord willing, I will continue to put them out there for as long as I have readers wanting to read them. But there was just something so new, so freeing, so energizing about this particular project. When I finished with the first book, I wanted to share it. Call it an authorly quirk. We aren’t just compelled to write, we’re compelled to share.

    So I did.

    I sent it to a few friends. I sent it to my dad. I sent it to my brother (who helped me brainstorm in a huge sorta way). I sent it to my agent who shared it with her two teenage daughters.

    The response I got was overwhelmingly fun.

    I decided this fun should be shared. Not just with friends and family, but with anyone who might want to give it a read. So here I am, on the cusp of the release and I feel like a little kid bouncing in my seat! Who wants to bounce with me?

    The Gifting (book 1 in The Gifting series) will be available on June 1st.

    TG Amazon

    If science is right, then I am crazy.
    And crazy is dangerous.

    Tess Eckhart has always felt things nobody else can feel. Then the Ouija board incident happens at a high school party. Her complete freakout sends her family across the country—next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill. Worried that Tess suffers from the same illness that tormented her grandmother, her parents insist she see a psychiatrist.

    Tess is more concerned about fitting in at her new school, and hiding the fact that she’s seeing a therapist at the Edward Brooks Facility. She’s used to whispers and stares, but when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

    But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

    ~~~

    “Set in a not-too-distant future that feels frighteningly like home, this novel immerses readers within the heart of Tess’s fear from the very first chapter. This is not, however, a novel of horror. Guaranteed to leave you breathless, The Gifting is an eerie merging of Gothic-like dystopian mystery and YA romance within a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller. Expect to lose sleep over this book! A must-read addition to any YA reader’s collection, this one’s a keeper!”

    ~Serena Chase, USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog, author of The Ryn

    To learn more, visit The Gifting book page on my website! And if you want to stay up-to-date on the latest in this exciting adventure of mine, make sure to subscribe to the K.E. Ganshert email list. Or follow me on Twitter and Instagram, where I’m sure I’ll be sharing the fun as I go.

    Do you enjoy reading YA?

    Katie
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