Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Powerful Novel Aims to Bring Attention to “Bullycide”

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Author’s Real-Life Experience woven Through Caged Dove

For immediate release: Caged Dove was not written without tears, says author Andrea Rodgers. Although the idea for the story has been floating in her mind for two decades, Rodgers says it took time to gather the courage to revisit those painful memories from her past. “Bullying and suicidal thoughts were something I once dealt with and overcame,” she explains. “But I believe it’s also our duty to stand up for those who are currently going through similar situations.” Caged Dove (Ambassador International; October 2015; $13.99, paperback) follows the story of journalist Aniston Kline assigned to cover a tragic story that echoes her own past.

9781620205419While bullycide is a prominent theme in the novel, Rodgers continues her trademark style of writing about dark topics without being too dark, a skill seen with her first novel The 20th Christmas. Much of Caged Dove is a light-hearted love story. “If you ever had a high school crush than you can relate to the giddy and silly memories of the main characters,” says Rodgers. “School crushes were a bright light for me. I kept one high school journal so it was fun to read to get back into that mind-frame!”

Caged Dove begins with Psalm 55:6, “I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.'” The verse fits the novel’s plot perfectly says Rodgers, whose faith was significantly strengthened during her own bullying experience. “It really helped to have the perspective that Jesus was bullied and therefore knew exactly what it was like and was on my side. Looking at what he’d endured, I had motivation to rise above my own situation,” says Andrea who spent a year as an atheist. “But once I realized he was with me every single minute at school—I wasn’t on my own, he was watching everything and would help me through it—life got amazingly better. I wore cross necklaces to school and, when the kids were mean, I’d hold on to the cross and feel Jesus standing beside me. He was not only my friend, but gave me the most strength I’d ever had.”

About the Author: Andrea Rodgers is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She worked in the television and radio industry prior to being a stay at home mom, but her life-long dream was to be an author. A few months after her oldest child started kindergarten, she wrote her first published novel, The 20th Christmas. Her second book, Caged Dove, follows one year later. Andrea lives near Des Moines with her husband, son, and daughter.

To receive a review copy of Caged Dove or to connect with the author please contact publicist Alison Storm by email at media@emeraldhouse.com.

 

National Bullying Prevention Month: My Bullying Story

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Ambassador author Laura Taylor’s book EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies teaches kids how to biblically combat bullying. This is the final installment in Laura’s three-part series on bullying.

 

I really wasn’t planning on writing a children’s book. I spent years telling stories to my own boys. One of my younger sons, Evan, was wild about the fantastic tales of Nutty the Naughty Squirrel that I made up to help him go to sleep at night. Still, I’d never entertained the idea of writing a book for kids. I always wanted to write but thought my first adventure into publishing a book would be more along the lines of a women’s devotional.

Bullying-PinterestThat all changed about five years ago. My two youngest boys, Evan and Ethan had gone on a trip and brought me back a stuffed otter. Otter’s happen to be my favorite animal so they surprised me with this sweet gift. We were going through a very difficult time back then. And I named that little, stuffed otter EE Otter (short for Evan and Ethan) and told them I was going to write a story about him.

I didn’t set out to write a story about bullies, it just popped into my head one night as I was trying to go to sleep. EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies. It had a catchy ring to it so I decided that would be the title of my first manuscript. That’s good, right? To have a title? At least it’s a place to begin. And being a physical education teacher I had to deal with handling issues of bullying as they arose. And, beyond that, I was actually dealing my own situation involving a bully. It seemed as if the timing were perfect.

It was a quick start. I found myself lost and falling in love with the Laurel Wood and all of EE’s little forest friends. The first few chapters came easily and I was thoroughly enjoying writing this story. Then I hit a snag. I just wasn’t sure where the story was supposed to go. EE had his bully encounter, but now what? I did know one thing for sure, that this book was to center around God’s Word and how children can apply His truths to any situation in their life because His way works. I pondered using David and Goliath for the scriptural part, but that seemed too overused. I read various passages of scripture but none seemed to be the right direction for my little otter to head.

At the same time, the situation in my personal life was escalating. I was receiving emails, calls, and text messages with insults and veiled threats and I was getting fed up and angry. Yet this bully always managed to fly under the radar. I wasn’t able to get help in stopping this and I was sick with anger and anxiety over it. There were times I prayed those imprecatory prayers like David where I asked God to just deal out His justice upon my enemy. And times I cried out to Him to heal my hurt. There were times I fired back with an angry email or text. Yet healing seemed to be so far away and so did the conclusion of EE’s story. It was New Year’s Eve and my husband and I were at church. Seated in front of us was a family that I knew had been through experiences similar to ours. I had listened as the mother talked about forgiveness and healing. It was then that God’s voice spoke to me sweetly and very clearly. “I said to love your enemies, to bless those that curse you”. I really wanted to pretend I didn’t hear that! “But I am afraid, Father.” I replied. “This person has caused so much pain and destruction in my life, in the lives of people I love, if I let down my guard I can’t protect them, I can’t protect me!” He whispered, “Child, I created mankind. I created you. I know how the heart works. I know how life is supposed to work. That is why I gave you My Word as an instruction manual. What I ask of you is because I love you and I know how to make things
work for your good. My Word says that there is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear. I love you perfectly, Laura. So if I tell you to forgive this enemy, this one who has hurt you; if I tell you to bless this one who has cursed you, then I am telling you out of my perfect love for you. Do you trust my Love?”

It was then that I relinquished my hurt and my control over this situation. I realized that God’s word was truly Life for my living. It wasn’t a book of suggested “How To’s”, it was the essence for living well, for living life as He intended and commanded for me to live it. Forgiving didn’t come easy and the bully is not gone from our lives. Forgiving has been and continues to be a process for me, but as I learn to trust God’s love more completely it becomes easier. And as I marvelled at God’s ways, I became thankful that His ways are not my ways nor His thoughts my thoughts! I was thankful that His love was perfect and meant I didn’t have to fear doing that which He asked of me! And, in the midst this personal growing process I discovered the direction that my little friend, EE Otter would need to travel on his own adventure in dealing
with those old bullfrog bullies.

I don’t know what bullies you might be facing. I don’t know how daunting the task of forgiving someone may be for you. What I do know is that you have nothing to fear by following the words of our Savior, by putting His principles of living and loving into action. Trust His love. It has never failed anyone yet! May you be blessed and find rest in His perfect, unending love.

$1.99 SALE: One Day Only!

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For 24 Hours we’re offering a brand new fiction title for just $1.99! Pick up Andrea Rodgers’ new book Caged Dove at a discounted rate for the Kindle during our one-day sale event. After Thursday the price will go up to $2.99 through the weekend, and then it will return to regular price. So don’t wait- pick up this book right now for just $1.99 on Kindle!

CagedDoveSynopsis: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Twenty years ago, Aniston Kline learned that childhood rhyme wasn’t true after being bullied in junior high. Now a newspaper reporter, Aniston returns to her hometown—a place she thought she would never return to—prepared to write an article about a boy’s story that echoes her past. Aniston wants nothing more than to slip in and out of Savanna Shores unseen and unrecognized by anyone who might still remember her; however, a brutal snowstorm ushers her into town and leaves her stranded in a snowstorm with her high school crush, Arjay.

Arjay Mason was once the handsome quarterback of the high school football team. Now a police officer in Savanna Shores, he has yet to find lasting love. He realizes he already missed one opportunity with Aniston and doesn’t want her to leave again—but how could she stay in a town that once caused her pain?

As Aniston faces her own demons from her past and sifts through old emotions with Arjay, the fate of a teenage girl named Maddie becomes intricately intertwined with the two adults’ to reveal a much grander plan for everyone involved. While it seemed like it was just coincidence that brought together Aniston and Arjay, the two begin to understand there’s a reason they were brought together again . . . BUY NOW

National Bullying Prevention Month: A Chance to be a Hero

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Ambassador author Laura Taylor’s book EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies teaches kids how to biblically combat bullying. This is the second installment in Laura’s three-part series on bullying. The final installment can be found HERE.

Maybe you’ve noticed the way the girls turn their backs on her and laugh as she approaches her locker. Maybe you’ve seen the look of fear on his face as a group of athletes saunter up the hallway and one of them hollers, “Hey guys look who it is!” Chances are pretty good that , at some time, in some place, you’ve had a front row seat to a kid being put down, laughed at, intimidated, and hurt. In other words, you’ve seen bullying in action. And you did nothing. Maybe you were too scared to speak up. Maybe you didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Maybe you were already late for class and didn’t have the time to do anything. So it went on, one more time.

Bullying-PinterestAnd somehow you missed your chance; your chance to be a hero. That’s right! Yeah, like the one you used to pretend to be when you were just a little kid, cape and all. You know, the one in the movies and the comics. The one who stands up for the little guy. The one who speaks out against injustice. The one who does it, not because he’s trying to be a hero, but because he’s trying to do the right thing. Yeah, I know, he’s got all those super powers, right? And you don’t.

Yet the fact remains that you still have the chance to be a hero. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? You don’t have to have the cape and fly, be able to smash cars with your bare hands, or shoot heat rays out of your eyeballs. You just have to be you. Yep, you! The you who decides to stand on the heroic principles of right and speak out about what’s wrong. That’s it. All it takes is a commitment to what is right and the courage to stand up and speak out when things are wrong. Statistics (yeah, you maybe should have listened a little more in math class) say that bullies stop bullying 60% of the time when a hero like you intervenes. Think about that! Over half of the situations that occur where someone is being picked on and bullied actually stop! They cease when a hero like you steps onto the scene and speaks out about what is wrong. Now that’s heroic power in action! And, I don’t need to tell you that picking on someone is wrong. I don’t need to tell you that intimidating someone else is wrong. It goes without saying that posting nasty stuff on social media about someone is wrong; that hitting, hurting, or belittling another fellow human being for any reason at all is wrong ALWAYS!

You’re smart. You already know that stuff! But here’s the thing: knowing and not doing something about it, well that’s not smart. And like I said, you’re smart! And when you take what you know and apply it to what you do then you’re smart and strong! Sure sounds like the making of a hero, huh? And you know what else is cool? The more you stand up for others, the more you speak out against wrong, the stronger you actually become yourself! And what’s more, if Jesus Christ lives inside of you, then you’re already promised His power, His wisdom, and His presence when you choose to do the right thing!

So, the next time you see someone being picked on or bullied, stand up and speak out! Taking a stand and speaking out may look different than you might imagine. It may take the form of finding an adult that you can trust and ask for their help; or simply saying, “Stop picking on her!”; It may mean that you take the time to befriend the victim of bullying, or eat lunch at her table, or walk with him to class. A simple act of kindness can set off some serious ripples that can grow into waves that might just flood that whole school of yours!

Yeah, there are a lot of ways to stand up, to speak out against bullying, but you already knew that, didn’t you? Because there’s a hero right there inside of you! Inside of everyone of you! And how cool would it be if those who think your generation is just a bunch of selfish, mean spirited and entitled kids had to sit up and take notice because of the heroes, like you, who are choosing to make a real, everyday difference? How awesome would it be that you would be known as the generation of ordinary, everyday heroes who make an extraordinary difference and defeated, once and for all, the evil arch nemesis called Bullying!

$1.99 SALE: One Day Only!

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For 24 Hours we’re offering a brand new non-fiction title for just $1.99! Pick up Dee Travis’ new book Celebrate Life: Living to Serve God and Encourage Others as We Celebrate Life Together at a discounted rate for the Kindle during our one-day sale event. After Thursday the price will go up to $2.99 through the weekend, and then it will return to regular price. So don’t wait- pick up this book right now for just $1.99 on Kindle!

CelebrateLifeSynopsis: Every day is a gift that we have been given from God and that’s something to celebrate! God blesses us daily with so many good things and sometimes we just need to slow down, look around at His creation, and enjoy the blessings He has given us! This book helps you celebrate those good things with your mate, your children, your church family, and your friends. It gives you ideas to plan a day once a month to do something fun and exciting with those you love and care for. Each celebration includes a theme, verses to read and meditate on, and recipes to make your celebrating special! Being together is such a good way to encourage each other, laugh with each other, and make some memories for years to come! Hopefully the ideas in this book will help you and even maybe spark a few ideas of your own! It might take a little extra work on your part, but it will be worth it! God is always good and we are always loved. Everyday is a gift He has given us and we get to choose how we live it. Let’s celebrate it! BUY NOW

National Bullying Prevention Month: Prevention Begins with a Change of Heart

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Ambassador author Laura Taylor’s book EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies teaches kids how to biblically combat bullying. This is the first installment in Laura’s three-part series on bullying. The second installment can be found HERE.

 

October is many things. It is the month that ushers in the beauty of Autumn. It is blazing treetops, football games and homecoming queens, Harvest festivals and Halloween. October heightens our awareness of the beauty all around and about us. It is celebration and transition. It is the month that slowly prepares us for change as summer’s heat passes and winter cold is on its’ way.

Perhaps that is why October is the perfect month for something else. As we celebrate the beauty of God’s creation and embrace the inevitability of change that October signifies, it seems only appropriate that October would be the month chosen to heighten our awareness of the need for change regarding a very important social issue. October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Bullying-PinterestI am sure you’ve heard the stories, read the headlines, seen the statistics. You probably even have a story of your own. It’s not like bullies are new. No, they’ve been around since mankind decided in his heart that he could live life better apart from God and His love. And that is the heart of the matter of bullying. I could quote statistics about the numbers of kids that are bullied every year, but statistics aren’t always accurate. I wonder how many kids go home to parents who bully them but never tell; how many women are bullied by a boyfriend or husband but dare not breathe a word; or how many students hide away in the bathroom during lunchtime but won’t speak up and tell who they are afraid of? The important thing isn’t the numbers, because in my estimation, just one person being bullied by another is one too many! What is important is that behind every statistic, every victim and every bully is a heart. A heart that holds hurt, insecurity, fear, anger, violence. A heart that needs to hear and feel the love of a people who reflect the love of a Savior who himself knew a thing or two about bullies.

Where do we begin to address the issue of prevention to such a pervasive enemy? We begin with ourselves, we begin at our own heart level. As the month of October brings on seasonal transition and change, what if we allow it to begin to transition and change some of the attitudes that assist a culture of bullying. What if we stop saying that it’s just “boys being boys,” or “ kids are just mean these days,”  or “it’s just part of childhood”? What if, instead, we embrace the truths, the unchanging truths that Christ taught and expects His own kids to live by? The Maker of our hearts knows every nuance of how our hearts work, how hearts are connected to actions. Jesus addressed this very issue in Luke chapter 6. He said that it is from the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks. Nowhere did He ever say it was okay for people to use their words or actions to bully someone. Never did He justify manipulation or intimidation. He never entertained the idea that bullying was some sort of rite of passage for children, or for anyone. Prevention begins with change. Change begins at the heart level. Change begins when we check our the temperature of our hearts against the heartbeat of His Word. When we hide His Word in our hearts and teach our children, grandchildren, neighborhood children to do the same. When we decide that He really does know what He’s talking about when He tells us how to live our lives, love our enemies, and take care of those around us that is when prevention begins!

As the cool autumn season is upon us and the transition from warm summer sun to cool autumn days has us heading to the closet for that favorite hoodie to ward off the chilly autumn morning air, why don’t we check and make sure that we’ve clothed ourselves in the wardrobe Christ commanded so that together we can ward off the chilly sting of bullying and let our hearts produce the warmth of His love?

“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love the perfect bond of unity” Colossians 3:12-14 (CSB)

99¢ SALE: Two Books, One Day Only!

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For 24 Hours we’re offering two amazing novels for just 99¢! Pick up AnnaLee Conti’s books A Star to Steer By and Till the Storm Passes By are each available for less than a buck for the Kindle during our one-day sale event. After Thursday the price will go up to $2.99 through the weekend, and then it will return to regular price. So don’t wait- pick up these books right now for just 99¢ on Kindle!

AnnaLeeContiComboTill the Storm Passes By Synopsis: “Mommy! Wake up!” a little girl screams. But the woman on the beach lies cold and wet and still. Evie Parker is plagued by a recurring nightmare from her childhood – who is the woman in her dream? What does it mean? A deathbed confession compels Evie to leave her home in Rhode Island and travel to the Territory of Alaska, where she struggles to unravel a past shrouded in mystery. Can she come through storms, both physical and emotional, to open her heart to true love? Author AnnaLee Conti’s gripping story explores the power of secrets, love, and forgiveness.  BUY NOW

A Star to Steer By Synopsis: This exciting sequel to Till the Storm Passes By, second book in the Alaskan Waters series, goes back a generation to tell the love story of the Norwegian parents Evie never knew.     Tales of the booming fishing industry and big money to be made in faraway Alaska in 1920 lure nineteen-year-old Norman Pedersen, a Norwegian fisherman, to immigrate to Alaska to make his fortune. He plans to return to Norway to marry his fiancée, Kristina Michelsen, who promises to wait for him, even if it takes years. But Norman becomes entrapped in a “prison” of his own making.     In Alaska, Norman is charmed by the beautiful but conniving Cecilia. In Norway, Kristina is wooed by Henrik, her best friend’s musically talented cousin. Norman calls Kristina his “star to steer by.” Will he ever find his true “star to steer by”? BUY NOW

 

 

$1.99 SALE: One Day Only!

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For 24 Hours we’re offering a brand new non-fiction title for just $1.99! Pick up Hope Griffin’s book Finding Joy: The Year Apart That Made Me a Better Wife at a discounted rate for the Kindle during our one-day sale event. After Thursday the price will go up to $2.99 through the weekend, and then it will return to regular price. So don’t wait- pick up this book right now for just $1.99 on Kindle!

9781620205372Synopsis: As a military spouse and mother (with one of her children being a young cancer survivor), Hope has faced some long, lonely nights questioning God’s faithfulness and the strength of her marriage. If you’ve ever found yourself in a long-distance marriage and wondered if it was possible not only to survive but also to thrive, then this book is for you. Hope invites you—through personal experience, examples of others in history, and Scripture—to explore the possibility of a stronger more fulfilling marriage. Together we are stronger. Together we can overcome any obstacle. You don’t have to do it alone. BUY NOW

10 Steps for Fighting Life’s Battles Successfully

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Billy Graham’s Pastor Empowers Readers to Live Life Undefeated

For immediate release: Every day we face numerous battles in life that challenge us financially, emotionally, and spiritually. In Undefeated: God’s Strategy for Successful Living (Ambassador International; September 2015; $10.99, paperback) author and pastor Dr. Don Wilton equips readers with the proper groundwork and training to not just face, but conquer life’s battles through God’s strength.

UndefeatedLiving in an upper-class neighborhood, driving a fast motor-car, and having lots of toys are worthless when faced with a life-threatening illness. In other words, the success you’re chasing won’t help you overcome difficulty and tragedy. Using the same strategy Jehoshaphat used in 2 Chronicles to obtain victory, Wilton provides ten steps for fighting the battles of life successfully. “These steps will help you live a life of integrity, purity, accountability, and humility,” writes Wilton. “The assurance that God has ‘got your back’ will remove any fear you may have in facing these battles head-on.”

Each chapter of Undefeated breaks down one of the ten steps for fighting life’s battles successfully which include:

  • Recognize the enemy
  • Listen to alarms
  • Resolve to fast and pray
  • Assemble a team

At the end of each chapter, a list of study questions guides readers to more intimately and specifically apply these steps to their own lives and battles. Wilton explains, the best way to overcome is to allow God to fight our battles, but there are steps everyone must take in order to summon God’s help.

As the pastor to “America’s Pastor” Rev. Billy Graham, Wilton also shares wisdom gleaned from Graham over the years. On his North Carolina porch Graham told Wilton the four core values that helped Graham’s ministry experience unmatched success. “These principles not only helped them to be successful in their ministries but in their personal lives and families as well,” says Wilton.

About the author: Don Wilton is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina and is the founder and president of The Encouraging Word broadcast ministry which is enjoyed by more than a million people through television, radio, and the Internet. In addition, he is passionate about hosting teaching tours to the Holy Land each year including Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Rome. Undefeated: God’s Strategy for Successful Living is Dr. Wilton’s 9th book and the first book in a series on Conquering Life’s Battles.

Dr. Wilton has the privilege of serving as Dr. Billy Graham’s pastor. They have remained close friends for many years, and he is a frequent speaker for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Schools of Evangelism and for The Cove. He is a highly sought after Bible expositor and preaches around the world. Don and his wife, Karyn, have three grown children who serve the Lord around the world in ministry. They have seven grandchildren.

To connect with the author or request a review copy of Undefeated please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com.

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