Friday, March 10, 2017

Changes


I realized the other day that it has been a long time since I’ve written a blog post besides new release information. Unfortunately, I write posts in my head all the time but most of them never make it on here for some reason. However, in 2017, I’m hoping to change that and give updates more often.


With that said…some of you may have been wondering where I have been and why my writing has slowed down. The truth is, since October 2015 things have been a little crazy. It’s been quite a journey. You see, my husband and I started this ambitious kitchen remodel project in order to make our little two bedroom house in the suburbs more appealing to sell.


Why you might ask? Well, we dreamed of moving to the country and began praying for God to make a way if it was in his will for us. For over a year we dreamed of what it would be like—raising our kids somewhere peaceful on a few acres—more room for them to run and play. A place where we could have a large garden and maybe have some chickens and enjoy fresh farm eggs. Stuff like that.
I’m happy to tell you that after many months of praying, working, house showings and searches, God led us to a cute fixer upper home on two acres on the outskirts of a small town. It needed some work but was just what we were looking for. So we bought it and moved in during one of the coldest weekends in January of this year. Brrrrr…I would not recommend moving during the winter…lol. However, that’s how it happened.


About a month later we were adjusting to life in a new house and new town. We met our new neighbors, found a great church, made a few new friends and slowly but surely began the long and daunting task of unpacking.


Then an unexpected health scare interrupted. I ended up doubled over in pain one evening and had to undergo emergency surgery to remove a large mass in my abdomen. Somehow I missed the signs that something was going amiss with my health. I had been fatigued and short of breath but just attributed the symptoms to the stress of moving.


During those times of uncertainty in the hospital God comforted me and brought peace to my heart through a verse from Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.I knew that no matter what circumstances I found myself in that God was there with me. Through good news or bad he had a perfect plan for my life and would take care of me.


And he did take care of me and my family. Praise the Lord, the mass turned out to be completely benign. Recovery has been a challenge especially with two young boys to homeschool (that's also something new and a blog post for a future date 😊). However we have been blessed with wonderful family and friends who stepped in to help. Our new church family and friends have also been wonderful even though we are new in town. They have prayed for us, sent cards and delivered meals so I didn’t have to worry about cooking. I am so thankful for everything people have done for us during this time. It has truly been a blessing and inspired me to look for more ways to help others in need.


So, that's my story. Some good changes and some scary close calls. The past year and a half have been quite a journey, but through it all, God has taught me some valuable lessons and grown my faith. I'm learning to slow down a little and look for the little blessings He has given and look forward to the adventures He has in store for the future.

God bless and keep Shining for Him!



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Special Announcements:



Literary Lighthouse Awards


My new book, Escaping Reality is up for the Literary Lighthouse Award. If you have read and enjoyed this story or think it sounds like a good read would you follow the link below and cast your vote? Thank you! J This website also includes a contest to win a Kindle Fire!




February Giveaways


Because of my recent health scare I’ve fallen a bit behind in my February audio book giveaways. However, next week I will be formally announcing the winners on my blog and also sending out emails with the prizes. Thank you for your patience.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Valentine's Day Release and Giveaway



February is here!

I don't know about you, but I've always loved Valentine's day ever since my childhood. Fond memories of cutting out paper heart decorations, giving out cards and writing sentences with heart candies fill my thoughts around this time of year. Now, as an adult it holds even more significance for me since my oldest son's birthday is in February. In fact we brought him home from the hospital after a big snowstorm the night before Valentine's Day.

Being an author of Christian romance, the holiday provides an ideal setting for a love story. For that reason the second book in the Riley Family Legacy Series, is one of my favorites. It follows Sarah Riley's story of finding love, courage and forgiveness that only the Lord can give.
Click here to listen to a FREE sample!


Speaking of Beauty Unveiled, I am excited to announce that it is now available in audiobook! I had the opportunity to work with Sarah Pavelec again, the same producer who narrated the first book in the series. You can learn a little more about her below.


Sarah Pavelec is a narrator and producer from Iowa who enjoys working with authors to bring their audio book projects to life. She is also a voice talent, photographer and aspiring author. You can follow Sarah’s projects and future endeavors on her website, Twitter and Instagram.
Now here's the exciting part! To celebrate this new audiobook release I'll be giving away an audiobook of both Beauty Within and Beauty Unveiled to two newsletter subscribers. If you are already subscribed, you're entered! However, if you're not there's still time to enter. Just subscribe by using the link below and I will announce the winners on February 15th.  Please feel free  to help spread the word by sharing this offer on social media.
Click here to Subscribe.

**UPDATE**
Technical difficulties with sign up form. If you don't receive a confirmation email within a minute or two please leave your email in the comments below so I can add your subscription manually. Thank you for your patience while I work to resolve this issue!

Thank you for your continued support and God bless.  :)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Audio Book Release and Giveaway!

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Update 2/2/17
Congratulations to Rebekah D. You are the winner of the audiobook!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway.
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Exciting News!

My latest release, Escaping Reality is now six months old and available in audio book. I’ve had the opportunity to work with an amazing audio producer, Austenne Grey who's creativity has really brought this story to life. So, to celebrate, I’m offering a free audio book to one random commenter. Keep reading to the end to find out how to enter in this giveaway.

About Escaping Reality
Fame gave her a reason to hide. Can anyone unlock her guarded heart?

Reality star ADDISON LEWIS had the perfect life in LA. Or so she thought. After her fiancĂ© betrays her she’s left with one option. Escape. But is anywhere safe from the relentless paparazzi?

LOGAN HART is caught off guard when a mysterious young woman becomes stranded at his family’s ranch. Past heartbreak makes him reluctant to let anyone close, but the city girl’s amusing antics draw them together.

While two lonely hearts collide and secrets loom on the horizon, could God be orchestrating something miraculous behind the scenes?


 
Meet the audio book producer…

A performer since childhood, Austenne Grey is a professional opera singer, actress and audio book producer who has always loved the art of story-telling no matter the medium. You can follow Austenne’s works and future endeavors on Twitter and Pinterest.

How to Enter in the Giveaway…

All you have to do is enter through rafflecopter through the link below and leave a comment saying why you would like to win an audio book copy of Escaping Reality. Also, I’m looking for help to spread the word about my new release. So…if you share this post on social media, list where you shared and you will get additional entries! *This contest will run from December 30th to January 20th.*

Enter in the Giveaway Here


Good luck everyone and thanks for your support.

God bless.  ~Rachel
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For updates on new releases and giveaways
please consider signing up for my free newsletter.



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Escaping Reality Celebration Tour

The day is finally here!

I'm excited to be celebrating the release of my new book with a blog tour hosted by Celebrate Lit! Please visit their website to follow the stops on the tour and sign up for a chance to win some great prizes.

~ Excerpt From Celebrate Lit Website ~


Have you ever needed to escape?

Every year my husband and I plan our summer vacation several months in advance. We hardly ever plan anything lavish or expensive. Most of the time we just hook up our camper, load our kids and family dog in the truck and head to a state park for our “escape.” Some of our most treasured family times have been enjoyed without television, electronics or other luxuries. It’s refreshing to leave the noise of the city for a while and enjoy a nice walk in the woods or a quiet night roasting marshmallows over a campfire. It gives us time to rest and appreciate the simple blessings that God has given us.

If someone ever needed to escape, it’s Addison Lewis. From the outside it seemed like she had it all; fame, fortune and a handsome and successful fiancĂ©. However, when her dreams of a happy future come crashing down Addison flees her home in LA and ends up stranded at a dude ranch in the Montana wilderness...



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Interview with JB Hawker

~ Excerpt from jbhawker.com ~

We are pleased to have Rachel Skatvold joining us today.
Hello, Rachel. Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule writing inspirational romance, devotions, and encouraging blogs to be with us. My readers and I are looking forward to getting to know you better.

You recently completed your novella series (Riley Family Legacy Novellas) and your first full-length novel (Escaping Reality) is in pre-order for publication this month. Besides the length, what was the biggest difference between writing a novella and a longer book?

Rachel: Thank you for having me as a guest today. I think the biggest difference between one of my novellas and a longer book is the complexity of the story line. In my novellas I had to stay completely focused on the main characters, so it left very little time to make any subplots for minor characters. With my new full-length novel, Escaping Reality, the plot is still fast moving and suspenseful but you get to know the minor characters a little better and there are more plot twists, which are always fun to create....



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Book Review: After the Final Dandelion by Brooke Williams


After the Final Dandelion 

By Brooke Williams



Release Date: May 17, 2016






Order HERE

Summary

After Renee Lockhart appeared on the local TV dating show "Accept this Dandelion" and found the love of her life, she thought she was done with TV. But when she hears that the entire city has bets on how soon she and her fiancĂ© will break up, she is determined to show that their love is meant to last. When Mike, the KETO producer, approaches her about airing the wedding live, she jumps at the chance. Once she is set up with a famous wedding coordinator, plans take a turn for the worse and the simple wedding they wanted becomes the event of the year. In the meantime, Eva Merida is dealing with her own life changing opportunity. Though she’s in love with her boyfriend, who she met on the second season of the dating show, she can’t turn down the chance to investigate a Hollywood TV show when offered a position. When she runs into an old flame, she questions the stability of her current relationship. Will Renee be able to prove her love for Ben to the city before her wedding falls apart? Who will Eva choose on her own emotional roller coaster? Hilarity ensues as the wedding of the decade melts into the disaster of the year. Because everyone knows weeds take over every garden…


Add “After the Final Dandelion” to your Goodreads list HERE

My Review

After reading the first two books in the Dandelion Series, I was excited to read this one too. Well, once again Brooke has created a great read that is heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. First of all, it was wonderful to be reunited with the characters from the first two books again. This time the point of view switched back and forth between Renee and Ava so we got two love stories in one. Also, I loved the wedding theme throughout the book. I laughed out loud several times when poor Renee had so many mishaps during the wedding planning process. She’s by far my favorite character in this series because of her corky personality and clumsiness. This is a great read for those who love clean romantic comedy. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!



About the Author







Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “After the Final Dandelion.” Brooke is also the author of " Mamarazzi," "Accept this Dandelion," “Dandelions on the Road,” “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Someone Always Loved You,” and “Beyond the Bars.” She even has children's books on the market, such as "Shower in the Rain" and looks forward to releasing “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” in the future. Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (7) and Sadie (3).



Connect with Brooke:
Facebook     Website     Blog



Note from the Author on the book's inspiration:

I wrote “After the Final Dandelion” because I loved the characters of the first two dandelion books so much, I wanted to see what would happen to them myself! Everyone had heard wedding disaster stories and since I had never seen one in person, I was excited to create as many as possible for this poor couple. I loved laughing along as I wrote and hope you get some giggles from the book as well!



And next from Brooke Williams....



Dandelion Sprouts

A possibility for the future



The Leftover

Completed, but not yet scheduled for release

Watch her website for details on upcoming releases....




Thursday, April 21, 2016

3 Things To Do When You’re Struggling by Lindsey Bell



Click here to purchase on Amazon

Excerpt from Unbeaten by Lindsey Bell:

Do you remember when WWJD bracelets were popular? I was in junior high school and just had to have one. Actually, I wanted several in a variety of colors to go with every outfit I wore.


The bracelets asked the question, What Would Jesus Do? They were physical reminders to live like Him throughout the day.


The bracelets are out of vogue, but the goal of the believer is the same: to live like Jesus, or as Ephesians 5:1 says, to “follow God’s example.”


The question is, how can we follow Jesus’ example when bad things happen to good people?


Jesus, more than anyone else who ever walked this earth, was a good man to whom bad things happened. He was perfect — sinless. He was the only one who could honestly cry to God, “This isn’t fair!” and be right.


That is why it is so important to look at Jesus’ response to His suffering. He did three things when He knew His death on the cross was approaching.


3 Things Jesus Did When He Went Through A Trial:


The first thing He did was pray.


In Matthew 26, right before Judas handed Jesus over to the religious leaders, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to talk to His Father. He told His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Then “he fell with his face to the ground and prayed.” (Matthew 26:38–39)


Some of us do this naturally. When we face a difficult situation, we go to the Lord in prayer before we do anything else. Others of us, especially if we feel God has let us down in the past, are hesitant to bring another request before Him.


What if He doesn’t answer again or worse yet, what if He does answer, and I don’t like the answer? Jesus didn’t give in to those questions. When He faced an unfair trial, He brought it before His Father in prayer.


Jesus also submitted to the Father’s will.


After He fell on His face before God, He said these powerful words, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39, emphasis mine)


Jesus didn’t want to go to the cross. He begged God to come up with another way to bring salvation to the world. But when His Father said no, Jesus submitted Himself to God’s plan.


A few weeks ago, I attended a conference for moms, ministry leaders, and mentors. During the conference, one of the speakers challenged the audience to surrender their plans to God. She dared us to let go of the plans we were clinging to and grab hold of God’s plan for our lives.


As I sat and asked God to help me do it in regard to my desire for children, Satan whispered in my ear, “But what if God’s plan is painful? It was painful for Jesus, you know. What if His plan for you is painful too and His plan is that you’ll never get the one thing for which you long?”


I didn’t have an answer for Satan then, and I don’t have one now. I don’t know if God’s plan includes us getting a baby. I don’t know if His plan is painful. But I do know this.


If God’s plan is painful, He will help me through the pain and use it somehow for my good. If His plan hurts, it’s because there’s something better on the other side of the pain.


A third thing Jesus did when He faced the most unfair event imaginable is He cried out to God.


As He hung on the cross and tried to pull His body up enough to catch His breath, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)


With these words, Jesus cried out to the One who put Him there. The cross was God’s plan from the beginning. It was the reason Jesus came to this earth. Regardless, even though God the Father was the One who planned the pain, God the Son still called out to Him.


Jesus endured the pain because He knew what was coming next. He knew what His Father had waiting for Him on the other side of His death.


We can have that same confidence. We might not know how His plan is going to unfold for our lives on this side of heaven, but we do know how it’s going to unfold on the other side. Eternity awaits us.


Nothing Satan throws at us in this life can change that.


We have hope, not because of our certainty in this life, but because of our certainty in the next.


WWJD bracelets might have only been a fad, but this call to be like Jesus is not going anywhere. Sometimes, being like Him means submitting to a painful plan.


The question is, are you willing to submit?


This post contains an excerpt from Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too) by Lindsey Bell (CrossRiver Media). Used by permission.


About Unbeaten:

Why does life have to be so hard?


Difficult times often leave Christians searching the Bible for answers to the most difficult questions — Does God hear me when I pray? Why isn’t He doing anything? Does He even care?


In Unbeaten, author Lindsey Bell shares the stories of biblical figures who went through tough times. Through this 10-week Bible study and devotional, she reminds readers that while life brings trials, faith brings victory. And when we rely on God for the strength to get us through, we can emerge Unbeaten.

My Review of Unbeaten:


Unbeaten is an uplifting devotional that shows that God is with us even during the hardest times. In this ten week study, Lindsey Bell draws from biblical stories and her own testimony to encourage readers to live unbeaten. The devotions are the perfect length for a busy stay-at-home mom like myself who has very little downtime. I also loved the journal questions and prayers at the end of each chapter because they reinforced the lesson and allowed time to reflect. I highly recommend Unbeaten to anyone looking for daily encouragement in their spiritual walk.

Giveaway:
To celebrate her book, Lindsey is giving away a HUGE bundle of books! Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. You can get more entries by commenting on other blogs in the tour as well. Get a full list of participating blogs here: HERE.




About Lindsey Bell:

Lindsey Bell is the author of Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too). She’s also the author of the parenting devotional, Searching for Sanity. She’s a stay-at-home mother of two silly boys, a minister’s wife, an avid reader, and a lover of all things chocolate. Lindsey writes weekly at www.lindseymbell.com about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given.