Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Spotlight with Jeanette Levellie

Jeanette Levellie is here to celebrate the second edition release of The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul. It's a wonderful book, full of insight and humor that does exactly what it says, nourishes the soul. (Check out my review below.)

As you might have guessed, Jen and I met through blogging, and she's since become a good friend. So I'm excited to help her spread the word about this wonderful book.

Welcome Jen! Can you give us an overview of The Heart of Humor?

By all means! Here is the back cover copy, which took almost as much time and thought to write than the entire book:

Welcome to a vacation from stress, worry, and global whining. Learn the secrets of how laughter can help you:

  • Live healthier & longer
  • Deepen your relationships
  • Trust a God with the sense of humor that gives a 90-year-old lady a baby

In her sassy yet down-to-earth style, award-wining author and speaker Jeanette Levellie takes readers on fun trip through 45 short stories with titles like An Outhouse to Celebrate, Confessions of a Jailbird, and Swimsuit Shopping Stress. Accompanying the stories are comical drawings by a professional animator, articles, and lists revealing the superpowers of humor such as Got Pain? Laugh it Away, Everybody Loves Dummies, and Ten Ways to Help Yourself Laugh.

I can vouch for the fact that Heart of Humor is a fun and encouraging read. How did the idea for it come about?

I’d been writing humor columns for a Christian magazine for five years. I had so many on file, I decided to compile the best ones into a book. After writing articles about the benefits of humor and compiling lists of humor quotes and the best funny movies, The Heart of Humor was born. In this second edition, we’ve added 8 cartoons and a new cover, which has a laughing redhead who looks suspiciously like me!

Yes...I noticed that - the cover does somehow resemble you. :) What other books have you written? Can you share a bit about them?

Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top, my best seller, is a humorous devotional focusing on God’s bottomless heart of grace. Comical drawings from my son accompany nine of the chapters.

Shock the Clock is a fun time management system that focuses on different personality types. A great feature of this book is the list of time management tips by well-known Christian authors, agents, and editors.

Touchable God, features 25 personal stories about how I developed friendship with God through talking to him. The final 20 chapters are actual prayers for friends in crisis.

Thanks for stopping by, Jen! I know others will be blessed by your books. May you enjoy much success through every facet of your life and writing.

Thank you, Karen!

Find Jeanette 

Jeanette's Books 

The Heart of Humor  
Shock the Clock 
Touchable God

My Review of The Heart of Humor

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Jeanette Levellie’s gift for humor is evident, and shines through every chapter. Readers will appreciate her down to earth style, and will laugh (maybe cry, too) as she shares personal anecdotes and lessons learned. For example, one of my favorite chapters, “I Love My Hips”, reminds us that our worth goes beyond physical features. Ms. Levellie is the real deal; she understands how important it is to laugh at ourselves and keep a good perspective. I am sure that her wit and wisdom will entertain and lift you up.


Congratulations to Cecelia Lester! She's the winner of a copy of River to Redemption by Ann Gabhart. Thanks to everyone who stopped by for last week's post and interview

Do you think that humor helps us through the hard times? What questions do you have for Jeanette? What are you reading this week?

Happy writing, 

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Visit with Ann Gabhart

Ann Gabhart is back! It's always a pleasure to have this sweet, talented author and fellow Kentucky resident drop by the blog. Ann and I live just a few counties apart, so that makes us almost neighbors, right? I did get to see her again in person last spring when she visited with readers and talked about her books. That was fun, and ever interesting to see how her stories come about. 

This week's theme is Ann's latest book, River to Redemption. We're featuring an interview with Louis, one of River to Redemption's main characters. But first, here's a little about the story: 

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle.

Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page. 

Welcome back, Ann. Congratulations on A River to Redemption! I appreciate you sharing this character interview with us. 

Thank you, Karen! It's always fun to stop by! 

Louis, why did you stay in Springfield and care for the sick during the cholera epidemic? 

Well, ma’am, I didn’t feel like I had much choice, being a slave and all. I ain’t never thought about running off. Well, maybe I have thought about it, but I don’t have it so bad working for Master George and who knows what might happen to me if I were to run off and get caught. Most likely I’d get dragged back down here to be sold downriver. Things is worse than bad down there in the south. Besides, once I knew that the old cholera wasn’t gonna carry me off to glory, I could feel the Lord tellin’ me I should stay put and help them. Plenty there was I couldn’t help except by givin’ them a proper burial. I reckon that’s the last service any man can do for another person. I did say words over every single grave and I don’t have no doubts about the Lord listenin’ in. I did hope all of them that died were folks that knowed the Lord. 

You did the community a wonderful service. I admire that. What was your greatest personal challenge during this time? 

The soul weary sadness of it all was heavy on my heart. If’n all them that sickened and died had been old folks or even folks my own age that had had time to live a while, it might not have been so sorrowful. But there was younguns who hadn’t hardly lived no time at all that got the sickness and died. And color didn’t matter none either. It was like a wicked wind swept that bad air through our town and some breathed it in worse than the others. Those worse ones passed on to glory. Some fast like. Sick in the sun comin’ up time. Dead by the time the sun went down. I’m prayin’ the good Lord finds a way to stop the cholera from killing folks. 

I do tell you one thing for sure, ma’am, I was glad as I could be to find the little missy, that Adria child, still breathin’ when I went to her house after the doctor’s wife told me there was some sick ones there. Course all the rest of her family had done been took by the cholera. But Matilda and me, we pulled that child through. I don’t reckon I’ve ever been blessed more by any single human being than I was by that little missy. It was like as how the Lord give me that child to help me hang onto hope whilst burying all those folks. I know she’s white and I’m black, but back when she was a little thing there was times I felt like I was her uncle or something. Related by heart anyhow. I best not be sayin’ that where any white folks can hear. True or not, that wouldn’t be acceptable talk at all. Get me in awful trouble for certain. 

Well, I won't tell, alright? ;) What did you learn from this experience? What would you share with others about dealing with hardship?
That’s not no easy question, ma’am. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve got too many answers. First off, as I done told you, I found out the cholera disease wasn’t no respecter of person. It took whoever it wanted to take, rich or poor, young or old. Fifty-five of them in that first epidemic in 1833. Another epidemic in 1849 carried off thirty-three more. I learned that a man keeps digging, he can get a bunch of graves dug, but he does have to keep digging. I know I couldn’t a done any of it without the good Lord’s hands holding me up when the wearies were ready to overtake me. 

I guess that’s what I’d share with you folks about hardship. The Lord, he went through some hard times. He knows about them kind of bad times and he’s ready to step right up beside you to somehow get you through yours. When things get hard, think on that. Depend on the Lord and when you pray, pray believin’. The Lord can get you through them bad times. Even if he can’t make them go away, he be right there with you every livelong step of the way. 

Yes, ma’am, that’s what I would share with them ready to listen. 

Thank you, Louis! That's good advice. :) Now here's a question for you, Ann. What prompted you to write this story? 

A few years ago when I was trying to think up a new story, I came across this story about Louis in a book about little known Kentucky heroes. Reading about Louis and what he’d done for the town of Springfield and then what the town of Springfield later did for him fired up my imagination. What kind of man was this who could do what he did? Who in the town led the campaign to free him for what he’d done? 

I couldn’t find much information about Louis other than what I read in that first article. So my story surrounding that true bit of history is completely what I imagined might have happened. I’ve written often about true historical events, but I always dropped my fictional characters down into those times and let them live out their stories. But writing this was different since I needed to bring Louis back to life to play an important role in my story. I think readers have been touched and inspired by his character just as I was when I first read that piece about him. 

It sounds like an inspiring story and I'm looking forward to reading it soon. Thanks so much for coming by this week. It's always great to have you visit!

Thank you, Karen!

About Ann Gabhart 

Ann Gabhart, who is the bestselling author of over thirty novels, has been called a storyteller. That’s not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. Ann’s historical novels, including her popular Shaker series, have Kentucky backgrounds. Recently she headed to the Appalachian Mountains for These Healing Hills while her new release, River to Redemption, was inspired by a true story that happened in a small Kentucky town. Ann also writes about family life, love and sometimes mystery (as A.H. Gabhart). She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and enjoy life out on their Kentucky farm. 

Connect with Ann

Twitter - @AnnHGabhart
Find River to Redemption at Amazon and other booksellers

Giveaway Info 

Ann is giving away a print copy of River to Redemption to one of my followers. Here are the details:

  • Open to U.S. residents only.
  • Please leave a comment and your email address.
  • Giveaway ends Thursday, September 20 at midnight EDT.
  • Winner will be notified and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

Do you have any questions for Ann? How is September going? What are you reading this month?

Happy writing,