Paula Moldenhauer
A New Journey

I’ve lost 3 ten pound bags and am working on my fourth!

Hi Friends,

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted much on GraceReign lately. My life has taken some unexpected turns, including two car accidents last year. This sent me on a journey to healing. Physical healing.

It’s funny, I’ve always thought a lot about spiritual and emotional healing, and spent much time focusing on nurturing the inner Paula. But for a long time I neglected the outer me. 

No More!

To hear what I’m thinking/doing in this area, join me at my new blog, A BeNew Journey: Losing weight inside and out.

It’s my plan to soon give GraceReign more attention again one of these days, but for now I’m pacing myself, praying about what GraceReign is to become as my life is changing, and focusing my time where God has me right now in my personal journey. Join me on A BeNew Journey as I explore how the physical connects with the emotional, mental, and spiritual.

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Fiction Friday ~ Pick from these Winners!

Looking for a great book? Consider choosing from this list, all finalists in the ACFW Carol Awards!

Debut Novel:
Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
The Loom by Shella Gillus (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)
Give the Lady a Ride by Linda W. Yezak (Sky Sail [Port Yonder Press]– Chila Woychik, Editor)

Long Contemporary:
Lost Melody by Lori Copeland/Virginia Smith (Zondervan – Sue Brower, Editor)
The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House Publishers – Sarah Long/Dave Long, Editors)

Long Contemporary Romance: 
Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Jamie Chavez/Natalie Hanemann, Editors)
Lilly’s Wedding Quilt by Kelly M. Long (Thomas Nelson – Natalie Hanemann, Editor)
My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale – Karen Watson, Editor)

Long Historical:
Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis (Moody Publishers/River North – Deborah Keiser, Editor)
Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press – Laura Barker, Editor)

Long Historical Romance:
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers – Karen Schurrer, Editor)
Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman (Multnomah Publishers – Alice Crider, Editor)
To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers – Karen Schurrer, Editor)

Mystery:
Falling to Pieces: A Shipshewana Amish Mystery by Vannetta Chapman (Zondervan – Sue Brower, Editor)
Died in the Wool by Elizabeth Ludwig/Janelle Mowery (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Yesterday’s Secrets by Kelly Ann Riley (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)

Novellas:
An Accidental Christmas from A Biltmore Christmas by Diane T. Ashley/Aaron McCarver (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Reese: All Along from Smitten by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell/LR Norton, Editors)
A Star in the Night from A Log Cabin Christmas by Liz Johnson (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)

Romantic Suspense:
Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon (Revell – Jennifer Leep, Editor)
Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)

Short Contemporary:
The Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray (Avon Inspire/Harper Collins– Cindy DiTiberio)
Lakeside Reunion by Lisa Jordan (Love Inspired – Melissa Endlich, Editor)
Oklahoma Reunion by Tina Radcliffe (Love Inspired – Melissa Endlich, Editor)

Short Contemporary Suspense:
Double Identity by Diane Burke (Love Inspired Suspense – Sarah McDaniel-Dyer, Editor)
Nightwatch by Valerie Hansen (Love Inspired Suspense – Melissa Endlich, Editor)
A Deadly Game by Virginia Smith (Love Inspired Suspense – Tina James, Editor)

Short Historical (four finalists due to a tie):
Promise of Time by S. Dionne Moore (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons, Editor)
Revealing Fire by Connie Stevens (Heartsong Presents – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Light to My Path by Erica Vetsch (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons, Editor)
The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)

Speculative Fiction:
The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson (Risen Books – Reagan Reed, Editor)
The Chair by James L. Rubart (B & H Fiction – Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)
Broken Sight by Steve Rzasa (Marcher Lord Press – Jeff Gerke, Editor)

Suspense/Thriller:
Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins (B & H Fiction – Karen Ball, Editor)
Fallen Angel by Major Jeff Struecker/Alton Gansky (B & H Fiction – Julie Gwinn, Editor)
Freedom’s Stand by Jeanette (J.M.) Windle (Tyndale – Jan Stob, Editor)

Women’s Fiction:
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press – Shannon Marchese, Editor)
When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley (Multnomah Publishers – Jessica Barnes/Shannon Marchese, Editors)
Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate (Penguin Praise/Berkley – Ellen Edwards, Editor)
Young Adult:
Wreath by Judy Christie (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Jamie Chavez, Editors)
The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan – Jacque Alberta, Editor)
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Natalie Hanemann/Becky Monds/Jamie Chavez, Editors)

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Fiction Friday on Tuesday – The Christy’s!

If you’re looking for a great book, consider this list–the finalists for the coveted Christy Award. This list was taken straight from their website. I also listened on-line to the keynote, given by the author of Braveheart. Powerful! Well worth your time. Especially happy to see Lisa T. Bergren‘s book, Waterfall, receive the award. She’s a Colorado author, one of my early mentors, and a fabulous woman.

2012 Winners + Finalists

Contemporary Romance/

My Foolish Heart

by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

Larkspur Cove

by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Wolfsbane

by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing)

Contemporary Series/

The Amish Midwife 

by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (Harvest House Publishers)

Dancing on Glass

by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H Publishing Group)

The Touch

by Randall Wallace (Tyndale House Publishers)

Contemporary Standalone/

Dry as Rain

by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House Publishers)

Promises to Keep

by Ann Tatlock (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Words

by Ginny Yttrup (B&H Publishing Group)

First Novel/

An Eye for Glory

by Karl Bacon (Zondervan)

Southern Fried Sushi

by Jennifer Rogers Spinola (Barbour Publishing)

Words

by Ginny Yttrup (B&H Publishing Group

Historical/

Forsaking All Others

by Allison Pittman (Tyndale House Publishers)

Mine is the Night

by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Wonderland Creek

by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

 

Historical Romance/

A Lasting Impression

by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

To Die For

by Sandra Byrd (Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster)

Suspense/

Over the Edge

by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing Group)

Pattern of Wounds

by Mark Bertrand (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Queen

by Steven James (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Visionary/

The Chair

by James L. Rubart (B&H Publishing Group)

Forbidden

by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group USA)

Veiled Rose

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Young Adult/

How Huge the Night

by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn (Kregel Publications)

The Merchant’s Daughter

by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan)

Waterfall

by Lisa T. Bergren (David C Cook)

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Fiction Friday ~ The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller

 
Dineen Miller‘s debut novel, The Soul Saver, is a little bit suspense, a little bit Frank Peretti, a little bit women’s fiction, and a whole lot-a wonderful.

I’ve known Dineen for years, appreciated her tender heart toward people, her artistic talents, and her love of God, but now I have another reason to sing her praises. With this book Dineen establishes herself as an accomplished novelist.

The Soul Saver opens Lexie Baltimore using her talents in unexpected, supernatural ways. Through dreams and the art she creates, Lexie is sent on unexpected missions of eternal significance, but she can’t tell her atheist husband. In fact, there’s much Lexie can’t s

hare with him as he is increasingly opposed to the faith she holds dear. Enter the handsome, widowed preacher who sold his soul. His assignment from the dark side collides with Lexie’s heavenly missions–and threatens to destroy everyone in its path.

More than a supernatural suspense story, this book also probes issues of a good women’s fiction read. While everyone will relate to the heroine’s struggles and cheer her on, women who know the challenges of living in a spiritually mismatched marriage will especially relate to Lexi–and might want to check out Dineen’s non-fiction book, Winning Him without Words.

In addition to authoring books, Dineen writes for Spiritually Un

equal Marriage, has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and has had her devotional writing featured in Our Journey and Christian Women On

line Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody R

I’m happy to be chosen to receive Dineen’s debut novel and encourage readers to pick up The Soul Saver. It’ll keep you turning pages and–just as important–offers great take-away value.adio Network, Family Life, and several other Christian radio stations.

 

Congratulations to Dineen Miller on a fantastic debut novel.

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Truth, Lie, or . . . Triumph?

Today my husband posted beautiful pictures on Facebook of our Fourth of July brunch, and then I shared them on my page. My bright, happy sunflower plates loaded with goodies made a fine table, and I enjoyed the abundance displayed in those pictures.

But my heart is agitated.

I’m wondering what image I projected to the Facebook friends who don’t know me well. Do people think I’m a gourmet? That my house looks like something in Southern Living? The pictures were true, but viewed by someone not “in the know,” they could lie.

Here’s what I mean.

That meal was a triumph for me, a celebration in some tough stuff. Summer is always lean with our family business, and I was a bit stressed when my family shared hopes for the holiday. A trip to the grocery store wasn’t an optio

n, so most of the meal was scrounged from storage from better days or improvised. On top of that, the American Dream seems far away. The dryer went out on the 3rd. My kitchen Aide blew when I made the bread dough on the Fourth. The pictures don’t show that the platters are strategically placed to cover the places on the table where the wood laminate is worn off.

But none of that shows on my pretty Facebook status. It looked good. Norman Rockwell good, if not quite Martha Stewart.

Is that wrong?  Is sharing my happy moment perpetuating some kind of lie? We did have that meal. It was a beautiful Moldenhauer moment. Praise the Lord for the blessings!

 But life isn’t all ease around here, and THAT part doesn’t show on those happy status posts.

My concern is that some sweet friend will see my happy moments and hurt, thinking we have a life we don’t. I worry she’ll look at her worn sofa, scratched up table, or dwindling food stores and not know I get it. All that stress she already feels will be exacerbated by feelings of being left out of the “good” life.

My mind conjures a million different thoughts about all this, but here’s the bottom line of my heart:

 Friend, if you’re one of those hurting today, feeling left out of the American Dream on July 5th, 2012, know this:

1)      You’re not alone. I set a beautiful table yesterday, but my carpet is still held together with duck tape, and I’m praying in the milk money.

2)      Don’t take the public face everyone wears as the full story. Nobody is perfect. Nobody lives the perfect life. We are all in this together.

3)      Into  every life rain and sunshine come. Grab a hold of the sunshine moments. Take a picture. Post it to Facebook or simply to your heart. Write about the good times in your journal, or at least pause a moment to breathe a bit of gratitude. We’ll drown if we only hold our face to the rain.

So, let’s start here. How about celebrating YOUR sunshine moment by leaving a comment and telling me about it—not in the spirit of one who has it all, but as one who grabs the good and stands in triumph even when the going gets tough.

 

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Oppressed, Fruitful, and Celebrating!

The words leaped off the page and into my soul.

Seriously?

I hadn’t noticed them when I did the study. Beth Moore wasn’t talking about them from the video, but suddenly that’s where my attention focused and stayed: “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.”

Each week of the new Bible study I’d fought tears to make it there. The first week it was because getting there required driving, for the first time, past the site of my recent car accident–the one that totaled my daughter’s car the day before she was engaged. Returning to the site of the wreck left me trembling and crying.

The next week I just felt awful. It was the first night I’d slept without my prescription pain pills, and I hurt. Beyond that I could barely breath because from every side there were to do lists, and I didn’t feel like doing anything.

Oppressed described my feelings well. Beat up by two car wrecks in less than six month. Frustrated that just when I was about to be released from the doctor’s care, I had to start all over. Oppressed because it hurt to sit at the computer, and I had so much that needed to be done there.

Held back. Slowed down. Pushed under. Again.

But God’s word was clear. In the story in front of me, the more God’s people were oppressed, the more fruitful they became.

I’m thinking a lot about that today–about how my new website launched the same week God made those words leap into me.

Maybe I did feel oppressed, but the oppression couldn’t keep me under. Thanks to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the support of my family and friends, pain pills, and my fabulous web designer, there was FRUIT. May whatever God is doing through me multiply and spread.

So I’m smiling tonight. Rejoicing in fruitfulness in the midst of oppression. Loving the joy that is somehow embedded into my new website despite the struggle to get it finished in a difficult season.

Celebrating.

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Fiction Friday – The Big 5-0h! by Sandra Bricker

Now that I’m almost 47, I think of myself as practically 50. My husband shakes his head and reminds me that I’m still closer to 45, but I’m not buying it. Between the work it takes my cosmetologist daughter to hide the grey in my hair and the effort it takes me just to walk around the block, I have to tell you I’m feeling my age.

Maybe that’s what attracted me to Sandra D. Bricker‘s The Big 5-Oh!. Or maybe it’s the fact that she’s billed as the lady who writes “laugh out loud” fiction for the inspirational market. Either way, I’m glad I picked this book up.

Honestly, I can’t remember when or where I got this little keeper, but after seeing Sandra’s posts on facebook, I knew I had to read her stuff. I enjoyed this quick, light read, then read the teaser in the back of the book for Always the Baker, Never the Bride, and began searching for it. I was lucky to catch it on one of those days when it was free to Kindle. Score! It was great fun, too.

If you’re looking for a fun read to enjoy in the sunshine this summer, this is the book for you. A nice break from more serious fare, Sandra’s books make me smile.

I don’t know Sandra personally, but she’s connected to a lot of the same people I am in the industry. From everything I’ve seen, she’s a go-getter and a woman of passion. I really enjoyed learning more about her on her bio page on her website.

Here’s the back cover copy for The Big 5-0h!:

Olivia Wallance can’t remember a birthday that wasn’t marked by illness, tragedy, or both. As she approaches the big 5-0, she’s determined to change her streak of bad luck. With the help of her best friend, Liv escapes to the Florida sunshine. Amidst a crazy cast of characters that include a dog with a lampshade collar, a rogue alligator, and a flirtatious octogenarian, God surprises her with the best birthday gift of all . . . a second chance at love.

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The reviews are rolling in!

You never know what the feedback will be when you write a book. Being an author is quite the journey!

Thankfully, Kathy and I have been thrilled with the reviews coming out on Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal, our book that released last month in honor of the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic. (The book is available right now on Kindle and Nook and will release soon in paperback.)

And so I decided to invite you to peruse a collection of snippets from the reviews we’re enjoying:


Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal moves along at a nice clip, full of intrigue and mystery. . . Thankfully, this novel does not insult our intelligence, but carries the reader along on an exciting ride through the intricacies of past and present, revealing depravity, nobility, courage, and cowardice, but without illusions of grandeur. In this work we see the simple realities of the human heart. Thank you for this delightful read!
Review from Amazon.com


I was totally captivated! The writing was so descriptive that I felt I was living the story. I was anxious to have the story resolved but yet I did not want it to end. 

Review from Amazon.com 

Another Titanic story? We are being inundated. But a friend recommended the book and I love reading on my Nook, so I took a chance. I am so glad I did. This story happens in April, 2012 with intelligent, well-written flashbacks to April, 1912 when the Titanic sank. . . . Both tales were riveting. I can’t say I enjoyed the progression of the historical tale. I don’t think we are meant to. I squirmed as the characters made one selfish decision after another. The old deeds went on to affect generations of one family. To see how far-reaching our actions can be is definitely something that people should be aware of. The truth of this maxui is not pounded forth with a didactic sledgehammer. Rather the authors allow the events in the plot line expose the consequences. This is a great read. Take time to enjoy the story as well as a time of reflection on the loss of so many brave souls.

Review from BarnesandNoble.com

 

I’d like for you to feel my pain today on how your book, Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal, has put me WAY behind my intended schedule for the week! Shame on you two for being fab writers . . . I’ve been putty in your hands!!!! OH MY! What a well-written page turner! Excellent story, excellent way to tell the story, and excellent ability to hold the reader’s attention . . . enjoyed your work and enjoyed the fantasy of escape. Now, however, I’m looking for a Xanax vending machine because my anxiety level is over the top as I look at all I didn’t get done!!! LOL I refuse to look for anymore of your eBooks…before bedtime, anyway! 🙂 

Review from Amazon.com 


I completed reading Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal a few days ago. I have always been fascinated by stories of the Titanic, but this one is a classic. Loaded with accurate historical facts, suspense, intrigue and romance this is truly a “Must Read”.

Review from Amazon.com 

I really got wrapped up in this story and the characters. This is a good read. Moving! Gripping! Made me see that disaster in a whole new light. I highly recommend this. Take a trip into the past of a world wide tragedy but see it from a contemporary perspective. These authors really take you right into the scene.

Review from Amazon.com 

The authors took an overworked subject and wrote it in a fresh, captivating way. The added dash of mystery flavored the good writing and kept me reading. (I’d call it a page-turner, but it was an electronic copy!) 

Review from Amazon.com 


The historical research shows and blending the fictional story with known historical stories and facts makes it all seem real and true. The intertwining of human emotions carried me along.

Review from Amazon.com
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Fiction Friday – Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin

Several months ago I connected more closely with my friend, Darlene Franklin, when we began to work together on Postmark Christmas, which was Darlene Franklin‘s brainchild and my first traditional fiction contract. When we started connecting again, she sent me a copy of her full-length novel, Lone Star Trail, published by Moody Press. She never asked me to review it, but I couldn’t resist letting GraceReign readers know about it.

Set in 1844 in Texas, the novel tells the story of German immigrants. It intrigued me because most of the stories I’ve heard about large German settlements placed the immigrants in the Dakotas or back east. I didn’t know there was a large German population who settled in Texas. Darlene’s historical accuracy as well as her ability to show the tension between existing settlers and the Germans who came later made this an authentic read.

Darlene’s heroine, Wande, is bright, kind, and an overcomer. Of course you can’t help cheering the hero, Jud Morgan, as he has to fight through his prejudice against the Germans to embrace his love for the sweet Wande. Easy to read with strong values and a good spiritual thread, the story is a match for adults and young adults alike.

Lone Star Trail is part of Texas Trails: A Morgan Family Series. This 6-book series is written by three award-winning authors of over 60 books: Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, and Vickie McDonough and covers four generations of a Texas family in 50 years of Texas history, from 1845 to 1896. Lone Star Trail is the first in the series. Enjoy the following book trailer!



The first five books in this series are out, and the last releases in June.

It’s an honor to recommend Darlene’s book as well as the whole historical series. It was largely due to Darlene’s faith in me and her reputation in the industry that I can say I’m a published fiction author. Darlene has been a friend and mentor over many years, first in Colorado and later via the Internet as she wrote me from her new home in Oklahoma. Several years ago she spoke at HIS Writers when I was president there, offering all of us encouragement to persevere as well as a wealth of knowledge from her experience as an established author. My love and gratitude goes out to her!

Here’s a little more on her professional life:

Darlene Franklin is the author of fourteen books and novellas as well as several hundred short pieces. Two of her books have been finalists in ACFW’s Book of the year contest: Dressed in Scarlet and A String of Murders. Darlene lives in Oklahoma.

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Fiction Friday – The Loom by Shella Gillus

Once in a while a debut novel comes along that has that something extra that takes a story from a “good read” to a literary experience. There’s something special in the voice, the feeling, the imagery, the rhythm of the story. The Loom has it.

I love reading all kinds of books, from fluff romance to deep literary experiences, but when a story has that something extra, I’m all in. Instead of turning pages quickly, I savor.

I savored The Loom. It’s not a quick read, but it is a beautiful read. Some reviewers felt the Loom lacked in motion and believability. There were a few times I struggled to suspend reality, but that didn’t ruin the experience for me. I think we’re so steeped in the history of the Civil War Era and the atrocities of slavery, that we come to stories like these with preconceived notions about what is plausible, but Gillus‘s premise is unique and lends itself to a non-traditional storyline.

Thank you, Shella and Guideposts publishing. I’m not sure how I ended up on your list of reviewers to receive an advanced reader’s copy, but I’m glad I did.

Here’s the premise:

Lydia was a common slave with a common life until the day she entered a world no slave had gone before. Pale skin and deceit opened the door to wealth and a power she had only dreamed of. But what she didn’t count on was falling in love. What she didn’t realize was life was not always black or white.

Here’s more about this talented new novelist:

Shella Gillus fell in love with the arts as a child. By age ten, she wrote her first chapter book, a three-act play and performed in several theatrical shows. During her teenage years, she penned and performed in plays for her local church and organized a series of summer self-esteem workshops for underprivileged youth in South Tucson.

Shella earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arizona and Screen Actor’s Guild membership while working in the film industry in Los Angeles. Under the tutelage of a skilled playwright, she honed her skills as a writer before becoming a professional actress for Childsplay, an award-winning theatre company. Shella was crowned Miss Black Heritage, 1st runner-up Miss Black Arizona, Miss Congeniality, Copper Bowl Princess and University of Arizona Homecoming Royalty. She has made two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show. The Loom is her fiction debut. She lives with her husband, Stacey, and their two children, Spencer and Staci, in Dallas.

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