Halo Found Hope Celebration Tour Kick Off

Guest post by Helo Matzelle

Hi, it’s Helo (pronounced Halo) Matzelle, award winning author of Halo Found Hope.

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I’m a cherished wife and blessed mother who never took life for granted or so I thought. Have you ever felt hopeless? I have. Have you ever wondered why God allows certain afflictions? Been there — done that. God has and will walk alongside us during trials — if we let Him. When discouraged, remember, that at the exact moment you find hope in God — it’s the only time when searching for it stops. Time to be honest. I haven’t always felt this way.

Halo Found Hope is the first book I’ve ever written. It started out as a diary hidden in a drawer. I scribbled private moments between God and I onto a yellow pad. I asked Him to turn my frustration into determination and my fear into courage. I never thought I’d have a riveting reason to write, however God had something else in mind.

God gives us many firsts. Our first step, first puzzle, first crush, first attempt at spreading our wings, first love, first home, first child, first graduation to attend, first loss… and the “firsts” keep coming.

Some firsts bring us joy—others hurt. I’ve journeyed through my share of both. God blessed me with a good life: an amazing husband, three incredible children, a beautiful home, and two cute dogs. But I’ve also known my share of pain. God has walked with me through four miscarriages, the passing of my father-in-law, and my husband’s job loss, among other trials.

Then He pulled me through a “first” I never imagined facing. It was a rainy Friday afternoon when I first went to see my ENT about ringing in my ear. Tests revealed that I’d lost most of the hearing in my right ear. The doctor ordered an MRI to find the cause of my hearing loss.

After the MRI, I sat in the waiting room planning my weekend. It was stacking up to be fun, busy, and completely hectic.

A nurse called out, “Helo, it’s time for you to come back.”

I picked up my to-do list and hurried to the room, planning that evening’s dinner in my head. I walked into the exam room to find that there were two doctors instead of one. Now, I was puzzled, “What’s the backup for?”

My doctor compassionately said, “Helo, sit down. This has nothing to do with your ear. You have a tumor the size of a golfball resting over the main artery in your brain. You have to go see a neurosurgeon on Monday.”

Time froze. My to-do list dropped to the floor.

Shock fertilizes fear. This “first” turned my world upside down and shattered me. I had no idea what to do, and then I heard God’s voice. He said, “Helo, I loved you first, love Me back. Trust Me.”

“God, I promise to love You first. I’m scared. Please wash away my doubt. Hold on tight, and don’t let go.” I’ve cried tears of joy and sorrow before, but this time was different. I’ve never sobbed so hard. That’s what shock does. My parents came. We hugged—and they brought me home.

My husband, Rich, bolted out of work to come pray with me. In my shock and disbelief, I whispered, “God, please make something beautiful out of this.”

Within a week, I was looking back at the faces of my loved ones, as the surgical team wheeled me into the operating room. I stared back until I couldn’t see my family anymore. When I closed my eyes I was on an operating table.

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Weeks went by. Prayers were lifted up as I lay motionless on life support. My family held onto the hope of firsts they wanted to see.

Finally, while intubated in the ICU, I motioned that I wanted to write something. A yellow pad was held for me and a pen was placed in my fragile hands. It took me five minutes to write: “God is amazing.” Those words would become the future theme message of Halo Found Hope’s Chapter Seven — although it would be several months before I would write again.

God helped me endure eight weeks of hospitalization and twenty weeks of intensive rehabilitation. I learned how to walk, talk, eat, think, and function again. Relearning “firsts” isn’t easy — but I am grateful to be alive. Every day is a cherished gift.

People often ask me if I had a near death experience. I call it a near Heaven experience and it’s a miracle that I am alive today. Now, I don’t take life for granted — at least I’m better at not doing so. Halo Found Hope portrays God’s steadfast affection and embrace throughout its pages. It closes focusing on God’s promise. I simply held the pen with strength — God scripted the words.

Now I know where hope is always found — and this ‘Halo’ is passing it on.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

Halo Found Hope Celebration Tour Schedule

Oct 19: Jendi’s Journal

Oct 20: Simple Harvest Reads

Oct 22: Artistic Nobody

Oct 23: Cheryl B Book Blog

Oct 24: Just Commonly

Oct 26: Bukwurmzzz

Oct 27: Cassandra M’s Place

Oct 28: Texas Book Aholic

Oct 29: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

Oct 30: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

Oct 31: A Greater Yes

Nov 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Nov 2: Singing Librarian Books

Giveaway and more information about the book

For more information about Helo’s book and to enter the giveaway, click here.

The King’s Highway Celebration Tour Kick Off

Guest post by Caryl McAdoo

NO GREATER LOVE

kingshighwaycoverGreater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

In The King’s Highway, book one of the new Days of Dread Trilogy, an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is detonated over Kansas, rendering all electronics useless. Airplanes fall from the sky, and cars and communications die.

I wrote this story in 2013. Yesterday morning, I listened to an online video produced by Nathan Shepard, a Bible scholar with a background in theology and archeology about the end times. ( http://survivetheenddays.com/asm_i3/?t=  ) He gives scriptural evidence to back his beliefs that Russia will explode an EMP high in the atmosphere over mid-U.S. (Kansas?) to throw our country back into the dark ages—exactly as written in my scenario…two years ago!

Gave me glory bumps!

Here’s my jacket copy on my new book:

A mysterious dead man directs the small band on their journey to a much safer corridor he dubs The King’s Highway.

Airplanes are falling out of the sky, and all things electric rendered useless after a mysterious flash. It tests the grit of fifteen-year-old Jackson Allison when the care and safety of his younger siblings fall solely to him. No one knows for sure what’s happened, but danger lurks if they stay. With a fierce determination to keep his thirteen-year-old sister McKenzie and nine-year-old brother Cooper safe, the high school freshman is compelled to leave their Irving home in the shadow of the DFW Airport for their grandparents’ farm a hundred-plus miles northeast.

Thrust into a lawless, chaotic world, he’s guided by an ever-changing cryptic note that leads his growing troupe along the King’s Highway. Bullies, Russians, wild animals, gang-bangers, and kidnappers thwart their progress while a lack of drinkable water and food is a constant concern. Will he ever get his people to safety in the Red River Valley in far Northeast Texas?

One Zonderkidz editor asked me, “Why would you write an end times dystopian for mid-grade?” My answer was to bolster the faith of young people that God will keep and guide them through any situation, providing their needs. I wanted to replace any fears with faith ahead of time through my fiction story.

An avid reviewer and reviewer told me she hoped the “possible look into the future” wasn’t prophetic, yet Mister Shepard at ‘Survive The End Times’, who I’d never heard about before now, has basically come up with the same developments as his truths. Here’s what she said about it:

This first novel in the Days of Dread Trilogy fits the mid-grade classification in that the chief characters are mid-grade children. It is so much more than a dystopian story since it fits so well into the quest genre. Just as C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” are much more children’s novels in that they are dearly loved and read by adults worldwide, even so “The King’s Highway” takes the adult reader hostage and keeps them enthralled to the very end, a point when they will want more story.

This book is so well written and edited that the critical eye of this reviewer found not one typo or mistake. For sure, every detail in the world Caryl McAdoo depicts fits perfectly with the projected future environment after another world war. It is to be dearly hoped that the author isn’t being prophetic in the scenario depicted in this book. Here’s looking forward to the next book “The Sixth Trumpet” due out hopefully before the Lord returns.

I read this story in an advanced reader copy and am under no obligation to provide a positive review.  –Cassandra Wessel, multi-published author and avid reader

I hope you’ll read The King’s Highway and judge for yourself!

Whether fantasy fiction or prophesy, reviewers of all ages are loving the story which I am thrilled to launch right here at CelebrateLit! I’m so excited about my blog tour from its awesome organizer, Sandra Barela! She’s just tops, and I am so blessed that God brought us together! She knows how to help spread the word about my newest release The King’s Highway.

It’s my pleasure to offer not one, but TWO free paperback copies of The King’s Highway—one for you, and one for your friend—in honor of Sandy and friendship!

I also want to thank every blogger who has signed on for this fun adventure! Hope you all have enjoyed The King’s Highway, and that you’ll be blessed of God for helping this daughter!

Tour Schedule:

Oct 19: Jendi’s Journal

Oct 20: ArtisticNobody

Oct 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Oct 22: Cassandra M’s Place

Oct 23: Singing Librarian Books

Oct 24: Bukwurmzzz

Oct 25: Simple Harvest Reads

More Information and giveaway:

For more information about this book and to enter the giveaway click here.

Celebrate Lit Blogging Team

To become a member of the Celebrate Lit blogging team, click here.

Current giveaway:

Our October/November giveaway is:

  • Grand Prize: $25 Amazon gift card
  • 1st Place: London Tides & Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano
  • 2nd Place: The Dawn of a Dream by Ann Shorey

Click the word “entry” to enter below.  Please note, you must be a member of the Celebration Blogging Team to enter.

Daughters of the Heart Kick off Guest Post with Caryl McAdoo

I’m so excited and honored to help launch Celebrate Lit! And I’d love to share a recipe that’s in my new release DAUGHTERS OF THE HEART, book four in my historical Christian Texas Romance series, a family saga. The Buckmeyer home is blessed with a wonderful cook. Mammy’s been making it since Mister Henry hired her son for his experience in raising cotton and she started cooking for him. In book three HOPE REBORN, she gets a new name, Jewel, and finds a new love, too.Daughters of the Heart

This series has been such a blessing. I began writing thirty years ago, and I believe it was exactly for such a time as this. God’s hand has been so evident since meeting Mary Sue Seymour, my New York agent now, at a small Texas writers’ conference in April, last weekend, 2012. Taking her back to the airport, she told me to write her a historical Christian romance set in 1800s, and she’d sell it.

Did I mention her maiden name was McAdoo?

I’d never written historical or Christian either, but I dropped her off on Sunday and started VOW UNBROKEN on Monday. Finished it in nine weeks, and she sold it two months later to Simon and Schuster! May to October–five months! Try to convince me that wasn’t God! But then S&S didn’t exercise their option on book two. Was I sad? Oh no! I began a new phase of this writing journey He called me to, becoming an Indie author.

You see, S&S had taken basically two years to release VOW, and I’d been writing that whole time, so I had five completed manuscripts and a few more well started. Instead of taking until 2026 to get them all published traditionally, the Lord and I went about releasing eleven new titles in 2015! One per month through November. My readership is well into six digits now and it’s all because of God’s blessings and favor.
He first sent me to a writers’ workshop for fifteen years to learn my craft, then He’s given me great stories and wonderful friends in my characters and their families. He’s brought the most amazing people into my path who have helped me immeasurably: Two artists, Kirk DouPonce, a graphic designer who creates my Texas Romance covers, and Judy Levine who paints original cover art for The Generations, my Biblical fiction series.

Proofreaders, beta readers, a magnificent review crew called the eVALUaters, crazy helpful Facebook groups with a community of Christian authors willing to help anyone and everyone trying to share God’s Good News! And I can’t forget a few awesome marketing specialists along the way like Sandra Barela here at Celebrating Lit! I’m one year into this and stand truly amazed at what God’s done!

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The ‘tagline’ I adopted for all my books is, ‘Praying my story gives God glory!’ I do my best to please Him in all I do, but especially through this exciting career He’s given me to share such Biblical principles as not worrying, forgiveness, trust, having faith, repenting, salvation, watching the words we speak and so much more so intricately woven into the story that it comes in the form of entertainment, not being preached at. Readers see, experience the consequences of right and wrong decisions, blessings and curses, and life and death.

To Purchase your copy of  Daughters of the Heart, click here.

Recipe

Now for that recipe! It came from a critique partner’s new cookbook SWEET THANGS and was perfect for Miss Jewel!

To purchase your coy of Sweet Thangs, click here.
Sweet Thangs Cover

Apple Pie in Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients

3 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced.

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup butter

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

3-(9 inch) pie crusts

1 egg white

Extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling

Directions

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

~ Toss apples with cinnamon and ¾ cup sugar.

~ Melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

~ Add brown sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes

or until sugar is dissolved.

~ Remove from heat and place 1 piecrust in skillet over the

brown sugar mixture. Brush crust with egg white which has

been whisked until it’s foamy.

~ Spoon ½ of apple mixture over piecrust, then top with second

crust, and brush with egg white.

~ Spoon remaining half of apple mixture over that crust, and

top with final pie crust, brushing it with egg white, as well.

~ Sprinkle top crust with sugar and cinnamon.

~ Cut 4 or 5 slits in top of crust for steam to escape.

~ Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden

brown and bubbly, shielding with aluminum foil during last

10 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary.

~ Cool on wire rack 30 minutes before serving.

Y’all enjoy—the pie and the books! I’m excited to be giving away some great prizes and pray you all will be as blessed and highly favored as I am!

To find out more and enter the giveaway go to the Daughters of the Heart Celebration Tour page: http://celebratelit.com/daughters-of-the-heart-celebration-tour/