Monthly Archives: January 2013

Weaving Faith and Fiction with a Fresh Twist

Last year, Waterbrook Press released the first book in The Cadence of Grace, a series of historical fiction stories set in Appalachia. Reminiscent of the “Christy” series, yet with a fresh voice and compelling characters, “Be Still My Soul” has become one of the hottest selling, highly reviewed Christian novels.


2013 Christy Nominee!

While considered romance, Joanne’s stories are not cookie cutter, never cliche. The characters are flawed, the settings are real and thoroughly researched to transport you immediately to walk alongside them.

Joanne’s taken risks in creating plots that at once surprise, and then keep you up late turning the pages well into the night.

All reasons to read, but if that’s not enough, Joanne’s faith elements add a dimension that bless and inspire you well after you’ve finished. All these are reasons why I predict that these stories are well on their way to becoming one of the most highly regarded, even classics, in Christian fiction.


Here’s a podcast of Joanne explaining how she weaves elements of faith and scripture into the lives and settings of her stories.

Click on this link to listen as Joanne Bischof discusses “Though My Heart is Torn”

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet read Be Still My Soul, yet, hurry and do so and you will be ready for the next book in this incredible series. You’ll thank me!


Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home schooled children. When she’s not Joanneweaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. Visit Joanne at her website, Heartfelt Fiction, and tell her Bev sent you! 

Nailing Success-How an American actress Tipped off the Vietnamese-American Salon Industry

Photo courtesy of Enuk Nails.

Prior to the introduction of new technology in the 1970’s that made manicures, specifically acrylic extensions, prohibitively expensive, only celebrities and the uber-wealthy could afford frequent visits to the salon. Except for the temporary stick-ons that provided more fodder for comedians than real fashion advantages, the perfection of a new technology, with the end of the Vietnam war, combined the possibility of nice looking nails with a successful business for enterprising Vietnamese expatriots.

Photo courtesy of Miss Minx.

When the actress Tipi Hedren (most famous for Hitchcock’s “The Birds”) visited a tent city of Vietnamese women—some of them former professionals—in Sacramento, called “Hope Village,”  she saw an immediate need to help.  She shared manicure techniques, and with their diligence and business savvy, a “niche” industry was off and filing.

A dentist had begun using tooth repair technology to repair fingernails, and with the evolution of that technology, the availability of clean, quick, attractive artificial nails provided an added value to the previous cleaning, trimming and polishing choices.

By the early 2000’s, surveys by the industry reflect that 80% of nail salons in the Unites States are owned by first or second generation Vietnamese.

Sources for article:


Which dazzling “gemstone” are you in God’s eyes?


Today my guest is Teena Stewart, who understands firsthand what it means to go from something of seemingly little value to a beautiful and valuable treasure in God’s eyes.

Q:  Why did you write The Treasure Seeker?

A:  I guess you could say I discovered hidden treasure I wanted to share.  As I studied the Bible I couldn’t help but see a treasure theme that reoccurs. It’s all through the old and new testaments. We see it in Jesus’ teachings and especially in what I call the “lost” parables. But as I studied these I realized that in some of the parables, such as the lost coin, the lost sheep and lost son, that we are the thing of great worth that is lost. God sees us as something very valuable and he’s earnestly trying to recover what he’s lost because it’s so precious to him.  In two other parables, (the pearl of great price and treasure hidden in the field) weare the treasure seeker who needs to recognize a lost treasure of great value—a relationship with God to be had—if we will just grasp that.

So, there’s this mutual seeking. When we understand just how important it is to be in this relationship with God it is life altering. Imagine in your mind a scene played out in slow motion like in a movie where two people in love have been separated from each other for a long time. They run toward each other and meet in an embrace and passionately unite.  That’s what it’s like but it doesn’t end there.

Once we unite with God, he moves into the role of a Master Jeweler who takes us in all our roughness, and shapes and reworks us into something even more remarkable. To really realize our true worth we have to stay in that relationship and allow him to refine us. So, to answer the question, why did I write the book? I want everyone to know they can have this incredible relationship that will make them  feel treasured and valued and that by having it they will become even more so.

Q:  Who is likely to find your book most helpful?

A:  I wrote it with women in mind—women who are spiritually seeking and Christian women who want to grow more mature spiritually. I consider it a Christian Living book.

Q:  Is it meant for individuals, or might it be used in a group setting?

A:  I originally wrote it for self-study, in fact, I include Points to Ponder at the end of each chapter to help readers reflect on the main theme of that chapter and consider where they might need to grow. But I’ve had people who read the book tell me they think it would make a great group Bible study.

 Q: What are some unique features that set yours apart from other books?

Well, first, the treasure stories, other than the parables, that I include.  That was another thing that made me want to write the book. Over time I’ve heard and collected some intriguing stories about lost treasure and I wanted to share those, but I do so to tie into a point.

The book also has gemstone trivia just for fun and I included a section on specific gemstones and a bit of their history. Readers have the opportunity to decide what gemstone they think they are most like and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The back of the book includes a spiritual gifts assessment because I want readers to understand a bit more about who God made them to be and how they can use that “gemstone” package to serve themselves and God best.

I also created a Treasure Seeker jewelry line and have designed necklaces and earrings based on these particular gemstones. Those who purchase my book can also order these handmade—for a 10% discount when they purchase my book. More info on that at Serendipitini. The jewelry and art can also be found at Etsy.

Q:  If there is one message you want readers to take from your book, what would you say that is?

A:  The importance of a deep relationship with God & Christ. It will be the most fulfilling thing they have ever been a part of.

Q:  What is the exact book title and where can people purchase it?

A:  The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father is available in paperback or ebook version on Amazon, and through my website and most bookstores.

The book and jewelry would also make a great gift for someone who may need a little bling in their spiritual walk, besides being a great idea for a women’s Bible study. Now if y’all will excuse me, I’m off to discover what my gemstone is! Thanks, Teena! 

Teena Stewart

When Teena isn’t creating up-cycled treasures using artwork and jewelry from discarded and found objects, she writes articles and books, and leads a ministry for Java Journey, an innovative coffee shop ministry in Hickory, NC. Teena’s life work reflects the spiritual message of being broken and yet valuable in God’s eyes—a message incorporated in her book The Treasure Seeker: Finding Value and Love in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father (Wine Press).

How to set achievable writing goals to make 2013 the best year ever

Happy New Year! Help me welcome Heather Hart, who has some helpful advice for setting realistic goals. Here’s Heather!


I’d like to start off by wishing everyone a happy new year! This is the time of year when many people are making resolutions, and trying to better themselves for the year to come, so on that note, I wanted to share three goal setting tips that I try to live by.

1. Be specific. Setting broad goals makes it hard to know when you’ve reached them, or even how much progress you’ve made in the right direction. Setting specific goals makes them easier to track and achieve. One of my goals for the new year is to market my book every day for the entire year – which also happens to be the theme behind my most recent book (that came out today), “A Year of Book Marketing.” You’re goals are quite possibly different than mine, and that’s okay, but being specific will help you stay on track.

2. Have different target completion dates. Set daily, weekly, and yearly goals. There’s no point in setting a goal that you aren’t ready to reach for, or setting your expectations so high that you won’t ever get there. Instead of sticking to the traditional New Year’s resolution of giving yourself 1 year to lose 30 pounds, why not make a goal to exercise every day for two weeks, and to lose 5 lbs within 2 months?

3. Make them realistic.  You know better than anyone else what is realistic for you, so when setting goals, just double check to make sure that you are being reasonable (it’s okay to push yourself, but there’s no point in killing yourself for something that will only discourage you because it’s too much too fast). I have four children, I couldn’t possibly set a goal of spending an hour a day doing… well anything. I don’t have that much free time to work with. Likewise, I can’t set a goal of visiting Paris with my husband as we don’t have a sitter that could watch the children for that amount of time, nor the financial resources to get us there.

Whatever your goals are for 2013, I hope you reach them. If you are an author who has set a marketing goal for the new year, I highly encourage you to check out my new book, “A Year of Book Marketing” – Available on


Helping other authors since 2009, Heather Hart lives in Texas with her husband, Paul, where she fills her days caring for their four young children, writing for Christ, and studying God’s Word. Heather works as a liaison, author, and authors assistant whose desire is to glorify Christ through her work and to help other authors do the same. You can learn more about Heather by visiting her website:

Or, by connecting with her in the following places:

Twitter: @_HeatherHart