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An October Bride Giveaway

audioThere’s a first time for everything and firsts ought to be celebrated!

An October Bride is available on audio!

I don’t know about you, but in this crazy busy world, audio books are an excellent way to fit the books I want to read into my life. Driving while reading. Walking while reading. Or my personal favorite, cleaning while reading. You really can’t beat it!

To celebrate this fun first, I’m giving away three copies of An October Bride, on audio.

If you’ve already read it on e-book, don’t let that stop you from entering. It would make a great Christmas gift for the busy readers in your life.

Do you listen to books on audio? Why or why not?

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Giveaway

There will be three winners. I can sign the CD to whomever the winner would like me to. If you want the audio book for yourself, I can sign it to you. Or if you’d rather give it away, I can sign it to the recipient. If one of the categories already applies to you, please click on it for an easy entry.

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What if the only way you could make your father’s last wish come true . . . was to marry the man of your dreams?

Emma Tate has just moved on from one fiancé, so when she announces a sudden engagement to her lifelong buddy Jake Sawyer, every busybody in Mayfair goes into high alert. Of course, no one but Jake and Emma know the real reason they’re getting married—so Emma’s dying father will have a chance to walk her down the aisle.

But while Jake and Emma move forward with their plan—and frantically plan an October wedding—it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications . . . the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

With dubious friends, deliriously thrilled parents, and a town that won’t keep its nose out of their business, Emma and Jake will have a lot to contend with if they’re going to pull this off. The real question is: Who wants this wedding more, Emma’s dad . . . or Emma?

To order An October Bride, scroll down to the buy links at the bottom of this page.

Katie
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The Most Beautiful Selfies I’ve Ever Taken

As a woman, I’ve fallen into the trap we women (and men too) can so easily fall into.

Wishing my hair was thicker, my skin was tanner, my nose was straighter.

At every turn, we’re bombarded with the world’s definition of beauty.

Whether it’s the airbrushed models or actresses we see on the covers of magazines. The commercials and the ads and the billboards proclaiming quick fixes to acne or cellulite or dark circles or any other possible “flaw” a person should really hurry up and hide. Or Victoria’s Secret absolutely ridiculous “perfect body” campaign.

perfect body

Seriously?

That is a flat-out impossible standard for probably 98% of women in this world. But I guess if Victoria says it, it must be true, right?

Somewhere in the midst of all that noise and all those lies, we lose our compass.

Instead of looking up to see what our Creator has to say about us, we look around and fall into the horrible, dreaded trap of comparison, which inevitably leads to the road marked “not good enough”.

We forget that He formed us in our mother’s womb. We forget that we are a reflection of Him.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ~Psalm 139:14

We so easily diss HIS creation. HIS masterpiece. You. Me. Us.

I really think we have this idea of beauty all wrong. Messed up. Out of whack.

Which is why I’m so excited about this FACEme tour today, organized by a couple of my author friends.

A day when we take off the makeup and we celebrate beauty. REAL beauty. Which ALL of us have.

In this day and age of selfies, where let’s be honest, we take twenty shots in search for the best angle and the most flattering light, I have a series of selfies that is by far, my favorite. I’m not wearing make up. I don’t have my contacts in. I’m still in my pajamas and I’m sure I hadn’t even brushed my teeth yet. They were taken over a month ago, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where my daughter lives.

2014-10-06 07.39.40 2014-10-06 07.40.43 2014-10-06 07.39.57

I look at these pictures and I see beauty.

In her.

In me.

Because love is beautiful and SHE makes me a more beautiful person. That is real. That is something that can’t be airbrushed or filtered. That is something that will never fade.

That is something, God-willing, I will get to teach her some day.

Today, as you hop around to the various blog posts celebrating beauty, which are all listed at the bottom of this post, I hope God whispers words of love and affection and healing to your heart. I hope He shows you how beautiful you really are.

All of us participating in the #FACEme blog tour are posting selfies without makeup or filters or perfect lighting. The name of the game is celebrating the natural beauty God’s given each of us.

selfie

This is me. And God calls me beautiful.

He calls you the same.

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A #FACEme Giveaway!

In celebration of this inspiring #FACEme tour, I’m giving away a copy of my most recent novel, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, which is all about this tricky thing we call beauty. There are several ways to enter. Just click on the options below and enter as many ways as you’d like! I hope Ivy’s story ministers to you!

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A Broken Kind of Beautiful
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

To order A Broken Kind of Beautiful, scroll down to the buy links at the bottom of this page.

Bloggers who are joining the #FACEme tour today:

A free short story I wrote a few years ago about a little girl who thinks she’s ugly: His Masterpiece

Tell me one thing that’s beautiful about YOU!

Katie
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Bend the Knee and Be Small

I have a treat for my blog readers today–author guest, Joanne Bischof, who is releasing her novella, This Quiet Sky, very soon! I devoured it in a single sitting, it was so good. And today she’s here. I don’t know about you, but her topic strikes such a chord in my heart. I hope it ministers to you as much as it’s ministered to me.  Without further ado, here’s Joanne. . .

this quiet sky

Bend the knee and be small.

How I love those words. They’re Ann Voskamp’s from a quote of hers that I’m eager to share, but first I have a question for you: Do you ever feel unsteady?

Like your feet can’t quite carry you through the task, trial, or journey you’re facing? You need a hand to hold. Something to brace yourself against. Or you just need to sink down to the ground and be small for a moment. I’ve had this time rather recently. Because I often find that it’s in the face of my very doubts and insecurities that the Lord challenges me to press onward… right through the depths. Have you had times like these? Maybe you’re in the midst of one.

As a writer, it seems that the very things I struggle with, God uses story to speak to me on them. He asks me to draw closer…allowing me to put words onto the page that will have me facing my very own doubts. Recently, I wrote a novella titled This Quiet Sky. It’s about a young woman who falls in love with a boy who isn’t expected to live a lot longer. His name is Tucker, and he has cancer. The concept immediately felt too daunting and I was considering throwing in the towel before I even typed the first word. But as I considered turning away from the project, I saw those around me who had real hurts and trials. Their own kind of just-too-big-for-me journeys. The part of me that believed that a story like this didn’t belong in Christian romance began to fade and that still small voice asked—why not?

There’s a scene in the story that struck close to home on this. Its right after the heroine has recently met the hero. She knows he’s ill and because of peoples’ superstitions surrounding it, he doesn’t really have friends. She finds herself at a crossroads: be his friend—and risk her heart—or turn away and ignore any what-ifs. The pressing to do the right thing came strong for her.

Suddenly I knew what I had to do. Still trembling with the task at hand, I found myself settling down at the keyboard, whispering, “Alright, God. Show me…”

Even as I quaked at the notion of getting closer to these characters that had been taking shape in my heart, I couldn’t let my fears get the best of me. If the desire was there to write a heroine who was brave enough to settle down beside this young man and be his friend, and give him her heart, despite it all…I had to be brave enough to follow along with pen and paper. I began to pray that there would be readers out there who would feel the same.

In her book, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp says:

“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy’s flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.”

So I did that, I let go of my fears. And I held on to Him.

I felt his strength around my hands with each word typed on a story that felt beyond me. I felt His presence in the nights I woke, unable to sleep because the words were coming now. They were slamming forward, needing to get out and the more this happened, the clearer this love story became. The clearer the roots beneath this purpose became. And I remember feeling very small. And thanking God for being so, so big.

I realize now that it’s not about my fears or insecurities of what will come of this story. It’s about facing the call when it comes. It’s about the world that we live in. Like Sarah when she chose to be Tucker’s friend, it’s about others. Humanity and the trials that each of us face. It’s about the ones we ache to hold. The ones we dream about. Whether our hearts live several thousand miles away in the faces of our future children, lay curled up in a hammock beside our beloved, or pound with anticipation as we lace up our shoes—determined to run toward a cure—it’s for those who we will soon hold close. And those who we hold close only in our hearts, knowing that one day we will meet again.

I’m grateful that God has been taking me on this journey because it gave me the chance, once again, to witness how amazing He is when I trust. It’s still a journey and I still have ups and downs, but I’m thankful that He’ll be with me each step of the way.

How about you? Who or what in your life do you bend the knee and be small for?

joanne

Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is TornJoanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. You can learn more about her upcoming novella and more about Joanne by visiting her website: http://www.joannebischof.com/

Katie
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