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Mended Hearts Giveaway!

August 2, 2016

FAcebook Giveaway

I’ve been working on the Mended Hearts series for seven years, but it seems like SEVENTY! To celebrate the completion of the final book in the series, I’m giving away autographed copies of all three books … to one lucky reader.

To enter, leave a comment telling me the name of the last book you read. For an extra entry, share this post on social media and let me know you did so in the comments. You can also earn more entries over on my Facebook author page.

In seven days, I’ll announce a winner. U.S. residents only.

Good luck, and Happy Reading!

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And the Winners Are …

July 6, 2016

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In the past month or so, Jaded, book one in the Mended Hearts series, has received two awards. Woohoo! First, at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Jaded won a Selah Award in the First Novel category; and among bloggers, my book baby was chosen to win an INSPY Award for “excellence in faith-driven literature.” I am humbled, honored, and more than a little stunned. I owe an enormous THANK YOU to these contests as well as to my readers who make the magic happen.

And congratulations to the other winners too. Talk about a good list of novels! If you’re looking for a new book to read, follow these links to the complete lists of Selah Award winners and INSPY Award winners. There’s a lot of quality fiction on these two web pages. Happy Reading!

But hang on! There’s another winner:

LitfuseGiveawayFbI’m pleased to announce the winner from my recent Jilted giveaway and blog tour. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winner:

Rachel Stark

My publicists from Litfuse Publicity Group will be in touch via email with details on how to claim your prize. You can also email your mailing address to info {at} litfusegroup {dot} com. Congrats, Rachel!

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5 Inspirational Book Series You Can’t Put Down

June 30, 2016

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My summer break is swiftly getting filled with events, camps, and projects, but I still have plenty of time by the pool doing what I love best … reading! I’ve put together a list of books to recommend to friends, specifically Christian book series that have been described as “can’t-put-it-down” since that’s what we LOVE to read, especially during the lazy summer months. I hope you find a new series on the list, and I hope you pour yourself a glass of iced tea, and sit down and relax. Happy reading! (Don’t forget the suntan lotion)

Click to Tweet: 5 Inspiration Book Series you can’t put down!

Jan Karon’s Mitford Series.

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A little about At Home In Mitford: It’s easy to feel at home in Mitford. In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable.

Yet, Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more. Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won’t go away. Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge. Now stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft, and a secret that’s sixty years old.

Suddenly, Father Tim gets more than he bargained for. And readers get a rich comedy in which mysteries and miracles abound.

Click here for more information about the Mitford series.

Dawn Crandall’s Everstone Chronicles.

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A little about The Hesitant Heiress: After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt’s Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men–Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother’s tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems…and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn’t who she thought at all.

Click here for more information about the Everstone Chronicles.

Katie Ganshert’s The Gifting Series.

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A little about The Gifting: In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. What other explanation is there for the things she sees? After her complete freakout at a high school party, her parents worry she might be right. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.

Despite the whispers and stares, Tess is determined to fit in at her new school. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

Click here for more information about The Gifting series.

Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim Fairy Tale Romance Series.

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A little about The Healer’s Apprentice: Two Hearts. One Hope. Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill. When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

Click here for more information about the Hagenheim Fairy Tale Romance Series.

Varina Denman’s Mended Hearts Series.

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A little about Jaded: As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Now, thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed, and a string of secrets are unearthed that threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is a love story between both a woman and a man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness, and restoration, this book will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.

Click here for more information about the Mended Hearts series.

What was the last book series you read?

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A Letter to My Best Friend Who Hurt Me

June 21, 2016

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I’m sorry things have been awkward between us. There’s an enormous elephant in the room, and we both know why, but you already said you were sorry, and now there’s nothing left but for me to forgive you. Believe me, I’m trying.

It helps that you apologized, but even if you hadn’t, I would still forgive. It would be harder, but I think I could do it. Lately I’ve had trouble because random things keep triggering memories, and then all the emotions wash over me again, as though it just happened.

Hopefully someday we’ll both forget, but in the meantime, I want to remain friends. I don’t want to wait until I forget, and I don’t want to wait until there are no more triggers. If I waited that long, I might lose you … and you are too good a friend to lose.

Our mutual acquaintances tell me I shouldn’t spend time with you, and they are more than willing to support me if I make that decision. But I have a feeling that if I found a new best friend, the two of us would eventually end up at this exact spot. Forgiving each other and working things out. That’s what friends do.

You may have hurt me, but that single act doesn’t define our friendship. You’ve been there for me through thick and thin, and I choose to remember the good times along with the bad because we went through all of it together, supporting each other.

Life is hard. Friendship is difficult. But I wouldn’t want to do one without the other. I’ve come to realize I’m stronger with you by my side, even when things are awkward between us. Thank you for being patient while I work through my forgiveness.

Thank you for being my friend.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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Lynda Turner, the main character in Jilted, has struggled with trust issues for years, and no wonder. She was jilted by more than one man, the church shunned her family, and her friends turned their backs on her. Bless her heart. She’s finally trying to rise above her bitterness, and soon she’ll begin to realize that her friends, the church … even a handsome man … are trustworthy after all. If she can forgive them and allow them back into her life.

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Click to Tweet: A Letter To My Best Friend Who Hurt Me, from @varinadenman

10 Ways to Kick DEPRESSION in the Bum

June 14, 2016

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I suffer from depression, and it ain’t purty. There have been times in my life when my mood dipped so low as to be downright dangerous (postpartum, marital troubles, financial strain), but normally my struggle is light. Translation: I’m short-tempered, irritable, and super negative. However, I’ve learned a few tricks that help me overcome my dark moodiness.

  1. Consciously control your thoughts. I know. Crazy, right? But this is truly possible. I have the power to control what I think, and Philippians 4:8 proves it: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” If the inspired Word of God says it’s possible, I’ll go along with it too.
  2. Express your emotions. Let those feelings gooooooooo. If you’re sad … cry. If you’re angry … hit something (with caution). If you’re worried … speak your concerns out loud. Releasing them into the room will relieve some of the pressure inside you. If you’re happy (it could happen) … jump for joy!
  3. Hug people. Human touch has remarkable healing potential, so don’t forget to use it to your advantage.
  4. Exercise. This doesn’t just help physically, it also helps mentally and emotionally. You don’t have to join a gym or start a rigid exercise regime. Just open the door and walk around the block. Let the fresh air cleanse your lungs.
  5. Watch your diet. I’m not saying lose weight or count calories (you have enough to worry about already), but limiting sugar and junk food can dramatically improve your mood, sometimes rather rapidly.Varina-denman-jilted-heartache
  6. Take time for SELF. Do something you enjoy doing (or used to enjoy doing). Rest. Remind yourself that you’re worth it. Because you ARE.
  7. Get outside in the sunshine. This is a BIGGIE. Soak up some vitamin D, and let the sunshine tingle your skin with good-feels. Like exercise, this is good for you inside and out.
  8. Drink plenty of water. You are what you eat and drink. It just makes sense to cleanse your body and your mood with the purest liquid on Earth.
  9. Find a friend or group to confide in. Misery loves company, but that is NOT what I’m talking about here. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” If you have a friend or support group who’s been through it, their empathy will help you to let go of your pain. It’s as if their experiences allow you to give yourself a break, and to not feel so guilty for feeling the way you feel.
  10. Seek professional help when needed. This list isn’t meant to be the solution to severe depression. When you’re in over your head, seek help. This is easier said than done since the inability to ask for help (or even recognize the need) is a big part of the illness. But fight the urge to ignore the problem. Take action, and go to the doctor, psychiatrist, or even the emergency room.

Here are a few resources I’ve used over the years to help me in my own journey:

What’s Your Secret for Managing Depression?

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The Mended Hearts series tells of a heartbroken woman who desires to move beyond old memories, but will her past give way to hope?

Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life in which the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, of a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and of a town that must—once and for all-leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

Click HERE to learn more about the Mended Hearts series, and click the picture below to enter to win a copy of Jilted plus $50 bucks!

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Forgiveness … and other F-words

June 7, 2016

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Once when my youngest son was four or five, he came to me, clearly distraught and somewhat scandalized, and he said, “Momma, Ben said the F-word.”

Well, then I was scandalized too, because I knew Ben, I knew Ben’s parents, and I knew colorful vocabulary wasn’t tolerated in their household any more than it was tolerated in mine. And then I cringed, trying to decide if I would have to approach Ben’s parents and tell them what their little guy was up to.

But then a thought occurred to me, and I turned back to my son. “Honey,” I said, “which F-word did Ben say?”

The little guy’s eyes got big and round, and I could tell he didn’t want to say it out loud, but he finally blurted, “Fat!”

Well, as you know, fat is certainly one of the F-words, but there are a lot of other nasty ones. Like fight and friction and finances and funeral and feces and fool and (since I’m from Texas) funnel cloud.

But my least favorite F-word is forgiveness.

Sometimes forgiveness is an F-word for me because I CAN’T SEEM TO DO IT. Maybe I don’t want to forgive. Or maybe I feel justified in holding a grudge. Or maybe it’s just easier to shove it to the back of my mind and hope the bitter feelings stay buried deep.

And sometimes, I honestly think I’ve forgiven someone, but then … out of the blue … the ugly bitterness monster comes alive inside my brain and it’s clear that I haven’t QUITE made it over the forgiveness hurdle.

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But I have a theory about the F-word.

You’ve probably heard the saying “love is a decision.” When you love someone, you don’t always have precious and tender feelings toward them. I love my husband, but it’s a fact sometimes I get downright disgusted with him, but I decided a long time ago to love him even in the times I didn’t feel like it.

In the same way, forgiveness is a decision. But just because I decide to forgive an offense, doesn’t mean I’ll always have precious and tender feelings about it. It doesn’t mean I’ll instantly forget what happened. In fact, my damaged emotions may not change for quite some time, but I can still decide to forgive and keep on forgiving.

Over and over and over.

It doesn’t mean I didn’t forgive in the first place, it just means there’s more to forgive or more to overcome. Because forgiveness takes time. But if I’m stubborn enough, then I can get through it, and maybe, possibly, eventually … forget what happened.

When is it hardest for you to forgive?

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The theme of the Mended Hearts series is forgiveness. Each of the three books focuses on a woman who has loads of forgiving to do. In Jaded, Ruthie has to forgive the church who turned its back on her. In Justified, Fawn has to forgive herself for falling short of her own expectations. And in Jilted, Lynda has to forgive just about everyone she knows because she put it off so long that all that forgiveness began to pile up.

Click here for more information about the Mended Hearts series. And click the picture below to enter to win a copy of Jilted plus $50 bucks!

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Click to Tweet: Forgiveness … and other F-Words! How to Forgive the Unforgivable.

Getting Jilted Was Never So Much Fun!

June 1, 2016

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I can’t say I’ve ever been jilted, per se. At least not jilted at the altar which is how the word is used 99% of the time, but even though I’ve never experienced it, I can imagine it’s not much fun. My character, Lynda Turner, was jilted in the sense that she was abandoned … more than once … and it wreaked havoc on her emotional well-being for over fifteen years.

HOWEVER, getting Jilted on the blog today is going to be a lot of fun. Jilted, as in getting a new book to read, especially since it’s free. In honor of the release of Jilted, A Novel, I’m giving away an autographed copy to one lucky reader. There are several ways to enter … everything from tweeting about getting jilted … to telling us how you’ve been jilted yourself.

Good luck, and I hope you get Jilted!

Click Here to Enter!

If you’d like to get Jilted the regular way (by simply buying the book) then click HERE.

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