June 2016 Posts

E-book Extra Summer Reading Tips

Guest post from E-book Extra Editor Jesse Doogan. Be sure to follow E-book Extra on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s summer vacation time, and there is no better feeling than leaving the real world behind with an e-reader packed with all the books you’ve been meaning to read. We’ve put together some tips to make your vacation e-reading experience as relaxing as possible.


Check your cords. There’s nothing worse than an e-reader with a dead battery. Make sure you have all your cords and adaptors, and see if you’ll need any kind of international adaptor.

Pack a power strip! Hotel rooms never seem to have enough outlets for everyone’s electronics. Pack a power strip or two and you won’t have to argue over any outlets. Bonus tip: bring an external battery with a mini USB port and you’ll never be stuck with a dead battery again.

Tablet or e-ink? Tablets are hard to read in the sunlight but easier to read in low light. E-ink devices are easy to read in bright lights, but you’ll need a reading light to read them in the dark. E-ink batteries last for days or even weeks, but tablet batteries only last a few hours. E-ink devices are distraction-free because they can only be used for reading, but tablets can also be used for games or movies in your hotel room. Weigh your options and see what will work best for you!

Bring a baggie. There are all sorts of water-proof cases for e-readers and tablets out there, but a large zip-top freezer bag works just as well for a few pennies. You’ll still be able to use your touch screen through the bag, and you can even feed your headphones through the zip-top if you need to.

Take your book light! Don’t have a back-lit reader? Foregoing the tablet? A regular old book light can clip on to your e-reader so you aren’t dependent on dim lighting in hotel or guest rooms.

Browse your own bookstore. Stopping in at new bookstores is one of the perks of travel, but you can replicate the feeling on the road by sending yourself first chapter samples from your favorite e-bookseller. Flip through them until you find something you like, and then purchase and download.

Use e-book deals to stock up. Maybe the book you were looking forward to just isn’t working for you, or maybe you have more time on your hands than you think. Look for e-book deals and freebies like the ones we offer through E-Book Extra for an inexpensive way to make sure you don’t run out of reading material!

Don’t forget to download! So you’ve found the perfect book, and you even bought some extras. Don’t forget to download them to your device! You never know when you’re going to have Wi-Fi access on the road.

Want a brand new e-reader to take with you on all your summer adventures? Enter here to win a Kindle!


E-book Extra Summer E-book Giveaway

GIVEAWAY: Summer Survival Kit

Trying to survive summer with the kids at home? We’ve put together the perfect kit to keep your kids busy and learning! Enter now to win this great giveaway!

Summer Survival Kit Giveaway (2)


Love, Lexi
Love, Lexi
is a unique combination of a fictional story combined with a devotional and journal to allow readers to watch Lexi learn to seek God first above all else, while writing their own letters to God. Love, Lexi draws young people into Lexi’s life as they contemplate their own place in God’s eyes.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Audio CD
Fully dramatized and produced with cinema-quality sound design and music, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is the second of seven audio dramas in the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre production of The Chronicles of Narnia. Hosted by Douglas Gresham, stepson of C. S. Lewis, these timeless adventures are brought to life by a cast of talented actors, including award winners Paul Scofield and David Suchet, and were recorded in London.

The Gigantic Coloring Book of Bible Stories
Coloring fun with familiar Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation. Over 380 pages of coloring fun covering 45 favorite Bible stories with a Bible reference on each page.

Summer Survival Giveaway

The Inside Scoop of Publishing Fiction

Today on The ARC, acquisitions and social media editor Shaina Turner walks us through the process of fiction acquisition and gives us a sneak peek at what her daily duties look like.

Here’s an excerpt:

The acquisition process differs slightly depending on the company and department, but at Tyndale House Crazy4Fiction, we start off by receiving proposals and manuscripts from various agents in the Christian and secular industry. The proposal typically consists of a summary, short hook, comparable titles, and a few sample chapters. If the proposal catches our eye, our acquisitions editors (or AEs) read it through and discuss whether the author and novel would be a good fit for our company and line of products. When acquiring, we’re often working more than a year out. So that means that if we acquire a novel now, in April 2016, it will most likely release in the spring or summer of 2017!

To listen to the whole podcast and learn more about the publishing process, click here {LINK TO PODCAST HERE}. If you’d like to hear more from Shaina and the Crazy4Fiction team, follow them online!

Visit the Crazy4Fiction BLOG and sign up for the E-NEWSLETTER.

Like Crazy4Fiction on FACEBOOK.

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Crazy 4 Fiction Slide

14 Ideas to Keep Summer Boredom at Bay by Kathryn O’Brien


As much as we moms long for the summer season, a lull from hectic schedules, a respite from nightly homework, a nice pause from dragging the kids out of bed each morning, there’s another part of us that completely dreads the upcoming lazy, hazy days. After the initial excitement wears off, along with the rising temperatures, summer break also brings those two dreaded words that spill from our kids’ mouths like sand from a bucket… “I’m bored.”

If the idea of seeing your child on the couch with a remote control in his hand or a computer in her lap for the next ten weeks makes you sweat, read on for some hot ideas to keep your summer from burning out.

Put some purpose in your pause. During the school year, our To-Do lists usually revolve around Must-Do’s. But summertime is the perfect time for our Should-Do’s. Make it a goal with your children to regularly help others. Turn it into a never-miss event by calling it Ministry Monday or Think-About-Someone-Else Thursday!

  1. Write letters to troops to let them know you’re praying for them and their families.
  2. Collect canned goods and drop them at a local food pantry.
  3. Deliver sweets to a retirement home, along with pictures and paintings to brighten a senior’s day.
  4. Offer to take a friend’s dog for a walk or help put away an elderly neighbor’s groceries. The abundance of free time in the summer allows a great opportunity to teach our kids how to be a blessing to others.

Sharpen school skills… secretly. Every teacher will implore you (myself included) not to allow two and half months to roll by without refreshing, reviewing and even expanding on the knowledge children have recently acquired. Math worksheets and reading packets are fine, but involve them in even more learning by disguising it as fun!

  1. Ask your child to summarize a favorite book by writing it as a play, then act it out.
  2. Go on a Number Hunt each day… how many circles are in the house? How many red things are outside? How many flat things can you find?
  3. Practice letters or review spelling words by writing them in sand, shaving cream, pudding or rice.
  4. Do math problems outside with sidewalk chalk or washable soap. Shhh… don’t tell them they’re doing schoolwork!

Make a Bored Book. A surefire cause of the summer doldrums is a lack of ideas. By the beginning of July most moms are fresh out of new options to offer. So take some time in June helping your kids create their very own personalized “Bored Book.”

  1. Brainstorm suggestions and research online for some favorite pastimes… building a card house, pulling out the play-dough, reading a book, calling Grandma, cutting out paper dolls, watching a video, playing catch, tossing a Frisbee, running through sprinklers, making ice tray popsicles, jumping rope, making a hopscotch grid, blowing bubbles…
  2. Now illustrate a page for each activity. Don’t forget a cover and a title page for your book. If siblings or pals can’t agree on what to do, take turns choosing one at at time, then set the timer for thirty minutes. Everyone wins!

Don’t put it away! Why not rearrange things, just for a while? Summer is all about a break from strict schedules and school rules. It’s a perfect opportunity to let loose at home as well. While I’m not suggesting complete pandemonium, I am encouraging making activities readily available in order to keep kids’ choices in plain view.

  1. Set up a card table for ongoing jigsaw puzzles; don’t take it down till September.
  2. Let the kids make a Summer Reading Fort in one of their rooms, filled with beloved old books and new books from the library each week.
  3. Create an art space that makes markers, paper, glue and craft supplies continuously accessible.
  4. Fill a laundry basket with board and card games and keep the basket in the family room or kitchen, not tucked away in a closet. It may seem more cluttered than you’re used to, but it’s only for a season!

Just like the occasional summer storm, the boredom blues will inevitably pass through your home a few times during the upcoming months. Hopefully these ideas will keep your kids off the couch and engaged in playtime, education, friends and fun. Got any other tried and true ways for us moms to keep the kids engaged? Share them here!

kathrynKathryn O’Brien has been published in numerous parenting and teaching magazines, and is a member of the writing team for HomeFront Magazine. An educator for over twenty years, as a former elementary school teacher & current Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Kathryn continues to write on education and family topics. She is an award-winning author of five children’s books, including the Sit for a Bit series (Tyndale) and I’d Be Your Princess, winner of the ECPA Christian Book Award (Best Picture Book). See her most recent articles and blog posts at www.kathobrien.com

How God Can Heal a Daughter’s Heart by Tessa Afshar

“‘Daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’” Luke 8:48 (NLT)Daughter meme

My father passed away several weeks ago. There are a lot of lessons to learn when you watch your daddy die.

I’ve learned, deep in my soul, where words can’t reach and only experience can teach, that death is the enemy. Yet I’ve also learned to be utterly grateful that Jesus has overcome death. One day, I will be with my father in the mystery that is heaven, and I’ll hold his perfect body, and we will wonder what tears are.

But there is one more lesson I’ve had to learn in a new way as I watched my daddy die. I’ve learned to come face-to-face with the fact that I am a daughter.

I may be a wife, I may be a writer, I may work in ministry, people may rely on me for wisdom and help. But none of this changes the fact that I am also a daughter. At the core of my being, I carry the blessings and wounds of being my father’s daughter.

That’s true for most of us. Whatever it has meant to you to be a daughter is recorded at the roots of your soul. Somewhere in your head, you still think of yourself in these terms: cherished, loved, encouraged, acknowledged, accepted, protected, worthy, wanted, or abandoned, rejected, put down, criticized, judged, neglected.

Whatever your father thought of you is how a part of you still thinks of yourself. Daughter.

There is a story in the Gospels about a woman who has been sick for 12 years. She has suffered from a bleeding disease, and no physician can help her. She is broken and devastatingly alone.

There are two more things we know about her. We know that Jesus heals her and her body stops bleeding the moment her hand touches His dust-stained robe.

And perhaps, more importantly, we also know that Jesus calls her “daughter.” In fact, she is the only person in all of the New Testament whom Jesus calls daughter.

When you read her story carefully, it seems that in addition to bleeding outwardly, this woman’s heart is bleeding inwardly from a different kind of wound.

A father wound.

A father’s rejection or absence, his neglect, abandonment or scorn. We don’t know how she has been hurt any more than we know the modern diagnosis for her physical bleeding.

We just know that in a culture where fathers show up to advocate for their daughters, she comes to Jesus alone, in secrecy and shame. There is no father to appeal on her behalf.

And Jesus, looking at her, perceives the lack. Recognizes the wound. And He chooses to heal it.

“Daughter,” He calls her. And with that one word, He claims her as His own. It is as if Jesus is saying, “You have Me to father you now. You have me to take care of you, love you, cherish you. Everything good in a father that you missed, you will have in Me. I will be your father.”

With that one proclamation, all the lies, shame and hurt attached to her experiences as a daughter are healed. Jesus has the power to restore the daughter inside us, to make us whole where our fathers, despite their best or worst efforts, failed us.

After my father passed away, we found a picture of me as a little girl in his favorite briefcase. He used to carry that battered old thing on every trip with him. Through the years, there I was, forever captured in the photo as a 5-year-old, forever close to Daddy’s heart.

In real life, my father couldn’t always be there for me. I knew from the day I was born that he loved me. But he was a busy man, and he didn’t always have time to spend with me. When I came to the United States, we were separated from each other for years. I was fatherless, even though I was loved.

All these separations left their mark. A throbbing bruise that can’t be banished with human strength.

What I have found, though, is that Jesus can overcome these wounds. Daughter, He calls me, and I know we will never be separated. He is never too busy for me. I will never be abandoned. One day, I will be with my earthly daddy in heaven. Until that day, I will have the perfect love of my heavenly Father to make me whole, make me daughter.

Dear Jesus, thank You that You have called me daughter. Thank You that You desire to teach me what it means to be cherished and protected. Please restore my heart today, and help me to trust You to be the Father I need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 John 3:1a, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” (NLT)

In Land of Silence, a novel based on the woman with the issue of blood, Tessa Afshar tells the story of how God can heal a daughter’s heart.

Stop by Tessa’s website to watch as she talks more fully about how Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood, while reaching out to us with the same tender healing.

Can you identify the specific ways that your relationship with your father may have wounded you? Ask Jesus to heal each wound.

© 2016 by Tessa Afshar. All rights reserved. Originally posted on Proverbs31.org.

pic_420_Afshar_TessaTessa Afshar was voted “New Author of the Year” by the FamilyFiction-sponsored Readers Choice Awards in 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her second book, Harvest of Rubies, was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Christian Book Award in the fiction category and chosen by World magazine as one of four notable books of the year. Her novel Harvest of Gold won the 2014 Christy Award for historical fiction. In the Field of Grace, based on the biblical story of Ruth, was nominated for the Grace Award.

Tessa was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England, where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University, where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. Tessa has spent the last seventeen years in full-time Christian work in New England and the last fourteen years on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. Visit her online at www.tessaafshar.com.