“The Heart of the Mountains” by Pepper Basham is a highly authentic and perfectly relatable novel in which the main characters complement each other to the hilt in an exciting fashion. The deepening plot sends the bandwagon rolling in an interesting manner. The Heart of the Mountains has its own serene atmosphere and personality, and is a perfect stand alone tale. A great historical plot with an eye for intriguing detail, a beautifully rich setting, and genuine characters on the road to redemption, and loads of conflict with a little suspense and lots of mystery thrown in for good measure. It is a delightful read and I highly recommend it to all our readers.
“Rebuilding Hearts: Sparrow Island,” by Carolyn Miller, is an engaging novel with a compelling plot, full of refreshing friendships, fervent faith, and hope-filled second chances. Endearing characters and meaningful themes enhance the fun-loving nature of this delightful book. A warmhearted and emotionally impactful story, the realistic characters are authentically vulnerable. When they struggle with deep-rooted insecurities and difficult, mind-boggling decisions, the story is very heartmoving. The main characters persevere resiliently, turning, from time to time, to their faith for direction, a sense of purpose, and hope. Themes of trust and honesty strengthen the novel and render it inspiring and uplifting, worthy and memorable. Carolyn Miller, in her own unique, inimitable style, has crafted yet another award-winning book that I highly recommend wholeheartedly to all readers who wish to find true satisfaction within the pages of an exciting book.
Mistletoe Village by Kathleen J. Robison is a delightful “Christmas in July” novel that poignantly tugs at your heartstrings. Two sisters, Rence (short for Florence) and Sandy have painful memories of the Big City, so they pack up and move with their children to the small town of Grace, Oregon. Rence has a new job at Grace General. They eagerly look forward to all the exciting changes and brand new life awaiting them. Will they settle into the small town and break the sad hold of the painful past before history tragically repeats itself? Will Grace be the place where love and forgiveness finally meet? The beautiful Christmas atmosphere of this story is delightfully portrayed with snow, a sleigh, reindeer and a beautiful town. This is a delightfully clean story filled with promising relationships, healing and faith-filled characters who learn to trust God through trials and tribulations. It is a wonderful place where forgiveness transforms hearts and Christmas is celebrated in the true spirit of the season by renewing relationships with God. The book has the intriguing elements of mystery, love, friendship, and faith. I highly recommend this inspiring book to anyone who enjoys a good, healthy, Christian story.
Kathleen J. Robison is an Okinawan-American, born in Okinawa, and raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels and her family are the sources of her inspiration for her books. Kathleen and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with eighteen grandchildren and counting. Her ethnically diverse background extends to her family of currently thirty-five personalities which provide many opportunities to share God’s amazing love amidst the challenges of real life.
More from Kathleen
The main character Rence Paladin is dear to my heart. She was created with someone extraordinary in mind, and I had that person read the book to see what she thought. When she finished, she turned bright red and answered, even if you hadn’t told me … I knew it was me! However, it’s not her story, but it encompasses her delightful personality, some of her sweet memories of a single-mom, and how she strives to keep her focus on Christ while always serving others. So let’s go. Let me take you to Mistletoe Village. You’ll find a little of everything that oozes Christmas in the tiny town of Grace. Holiday spirit, decorations, a children’s church pageant, and a Christmas festival. Oh, and I’ll introduce you to little Gus, the feisty family cock-a-poo. But most of all, I hope you, like Rence and Carl, rediscover the joy of Christmas at Mistletoe Village.
The Enduring Story of Christianity in the Middle East
The Global Story of Christianity
Edited by Mitri Raheb and Mark A. Lamport
Wipf and Stock Publishers
Imprint: Cascade Books
The Christian church was born in the Middle East and grew there for centuries. Its interaction with Islam turned Christianity in this once predominantly Christian region into a marginalized jewel, surviving at great peril within a difficult, even sometimes hostile, political and religious climate. Of course, the story of Christianity over the last 1,300 years is not solely one of conflict, marginalization, and persecution but is also about accommodation, interchange, and cooperation. This introductory book details the history of the church in its Middle Eastern birthplace through the past two thousand years. It is a story described as “a lost history” by Philip Jenkins, but it is here uncovered and placed on display. For those with eyes to see, the church of the Middle East is here revealed as a precious jewel, still catching the light.
“Christmas Changes Everything” by Elisa Morgan is about “How the Birth of Jesus Brings Hope to the World.” In the Introduction, “When Christmas Becomes Christmas” gives us a real Christmas feeling. It captures the warmth and light of Christmas. As we read on, the deeper meaning of Christmas grows in our hearts and souls. We discover Someone greater, the glorious reality of Christ being born in our hearts to save us eternally. Oh, what a joyous hope! A growing wonder fills us to overflowing. Who is this baby Jesus? Why is He so special? There is no one like Him on earth. He is unique. He stands alone. Christmas becomes Christmas when Easter becomes Easter. When we face the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, dying for our sins, we grasp the meaning of Christmas. Christ’s death and His resurrection gives us a new understanding of Christ’s birth in a manger. Christ is God’s gift to us. Christ in us, the hope of glory. Christ was born at Christmas, lived on earth, died and was raised from the dead to save you and me for eternity. I respond with a heartfelt, resounding “Yes” to Jesus being born in my heart. A “Yes” that compels me to offer myself to serve others out of my love for Christ. What is the real meaning of Christmas to you? When Christmas truly becomes Christmas, it changes everything for you. Your perspective changes. Jesus is your reason for living! Christmas fills our hearts with joy and wonder. Read this awesome book to discover the true gift of Christmas – Jesus Christ. Your life will be rejuvenated for ever.
“Living among the Breakage” by Rev. Dr. Duane Alexander Miller is exemplary, highly commendable, pioneer frontline research in a rapidly emerging, expanding and evolving sector of World Christianity, the indigenous theology of ex-Muslim Christians. In his outstanding research work, compelling in its creative simplicity, Rev. Dr. Miller explores the theology of Christians from a Muslim background (CMB) from several important angles: Iranian diaspora congregations; books, poetry, and testimonial literature & a case study of an Arab Middle East congregation. A work of internal contextualization, this is undoubtedly a concerted, disciplined effort and a truly herculean task to analyze the distinctive theology of the CMB churches. It is an original, systematic and analytic piece of highly sensitive research, perceptively attuned to the internal conflicts of former Muslims in transition from the old to the new. It has an exciting sympathy and sensitive realism towards ex-Muslim Christian communities struggling under pressure to adapt to conflicting realities, different contexts, and varied identities. Today, Christians from a Muslim background (CMB) believers are making significant strides and dynamic contributions to the living Church worldwide.
“When The Meadow Blooms” by Ann H. Gabhart is a most heartfelt and deeply inspiring story. Hope truly blooms at Meadowland, a place on God’s earth designed to help one heal and taste the goodness of God. At Meadowland, troubles become the fertile soil in which faith can grow and blossom. This is a deeply compassionate, sensitive book. I highly recommend it to all readers who wish to find true satisfaction in a richly rewarding reading experience.
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Along a Storied Trail, An Appalachian Summer, River to Redemption, These Healing Hills, and Angel Sister, along with several Shaker novels–The Refuge, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm’s fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at http://www.annhgabhart.com.
“The Sweet Life” by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a spiritually uplifting and deeply inspiring book about the refreshing, rejuvenative joy of restored relationships, the importance of courage, and the bright new hope of second chances. This is an irresistible story in which love of ice cream leads to finding your heart. Suzanne is a winsome storyteller who celebrates variety as the spice of life. I highly recommend this wonderful book by a dearly loved author.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 40 books, including The Sweet Life, The Moonlight School, and A Season on the Wind, as well as the Three Sisters Island, Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.
“Midnight’s Budding Morrow” by Carolyn Miller is the heartmoving story of a marriage of convenience between a wallflower and an unrepentant rogue. Both a conflict and a challenge, it is highly unlikely that real love can ever blossom between such an incompatible couple. Sarah Drayton spends time with her best friend at her crumbling Northumberland castle estate. Returning home from war, James Langley does not fulfill his responsibilities as the heir to a crumbling estate. He has to obey his father’s decree to marry before going back to war. Suddenly he finds himself wedded to Sarah Drayton, whom he unfortunately does not love. Craving love, Sarah longs fervently for a home to call her own. Only when her husband returns from war does Sarah begins to hope for real happiness. But has this roguish rake truly reformed? When tragedy strikes, they have to trust God and his plans. They ultimately discover that even in the darkest depths of the direst night, there still is a fragment of hope in Midnight’s Budding Morrow. These two utterly different people learn to love each other despite the social class issues between them. Plagued by grief and depression, their love is truly ‘forged by fire’ in the fiery furnace of difficulties and hurdles to overcome. In this poignant novel. Sarah selflessly sympathizes with her uncaring husband, though hopelessly trapped in a loveless marriage and often treated disrespectfully due to her lower social class. Her positive attitude shows that she knows she is dearly loved by God. I highly recommend this book to all readers of Christian Regency novels.
I received an ebook from I Read with Audra Blog Tours, courtesy Kregel Publications. I am honored to review the ebook.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carolyn Miller is an inspirational romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English literature and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She enjoys music, films, gardens, art, travel, and food.
Miller’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.
While most stories set in Regency England focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, award-winning author Carolyn Miller decided she wanted to give readers something different for a change. Her new Regency Wallflowers series follows the commoners, away from the hustle and bustle of 1810s London, out in the Lake District of England. She tells the stories of women who are slightly older and have few prospects for marriage, women who might be considered “wallflowers.” Midnight’s Budding Morrow is the second book in the Regency Wallflowers series. The first book in the series is Dusk’s Darkest Shores.
“Lily of the Valley” by Sarah M. Eden is a heartwarming historical novel of love, strength, dedication and friendship, with great character development, in a perfectly laid out story, exceptionally planned, with witty banter, colorful characters and tender moments. A literary masterpiece, so well crafted with Sarah’s trademark wit and meticulous attention to historical detail. I really love the marvelous cast of characters with such a refreshing sense of honor and loyalty. I highly recommend this delightful book to all readers who desire the very best in historical novels.
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2020’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, Forget Me Not, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library.
In this story about trust, disappointment, and disguises, Barbara Cornthwaite cleverly blends together Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing” and Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” into “Much Ado about Persuasion.” There are inspirational themes of guilt, wrongs, and finding redemption. It is a delightfully entertaining and most enjoyable book. Barbara has skillfully interwoven the two stories together with the intricate weaving of plot lines and characters. Humor and wit are lavishly interspersed in an easy to read and engrossing style. I highly recommend this delightful book.
Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her six children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.
More from Barbara I discovered Jane Austen in college when I was required to read Pride and Prejudice. This was in the dark ages before the famous adaptations, and I knew nothing about the storyline. In fact, I expected it to be depressing, probably because the title sounded similar to War and Peace. It was a delightful surprise to be charmed by the novel, and I went on to read all Austen’s other books on my own. Each of them
have a special place in my heart. I love Emma so much that I wrote a two-book parallel novel for it (the George Knightley, Esquire series). I also have novellas based on Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma in the A Very Austen anthologies. This book, however, is the first thing I’ve written based on Persuasion.
Shakespeare I met in high school, and furthered my acquaintance with him in college. Much Ado About Nothing is, I think, my favorite of his plays (although there are several close contenders for the top spot). His grasp of character is unmatched, and his language, even after five hundred years, is striking.
Mixing the stories of these two authors has been great fun, and redeeming a couple of characters who didn’t learn anything from their mistakes in the original stories gives my version a spiritual twist. I hope you enjoy it!
“The Putting Green Whisperer” by Zoe M. McCarthy is an amazingly well-written novel about two conscientious college graduates and their jobs in the world of professional golf. Zoe skillfully weaves the emotional strands of love into an extremely satisfying story.
Finding herself suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a person with an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that he is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, she uses her sport science degree to become his trainer when Shoo sustains a hand injury. Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for a new relationship after a broken engagement. Focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-pumping buddy. A happily-ever-after on the horizon plummets into a down spiral when Allie decides she is a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away? Or can The Putting Green Whisperer convince her to stay?
Zoe M. McCarthy, a full-time writer and speaker, was pegged an expressive analytic in a personality test. Isn’t that an oxymoron? But it’s true. Zoe couldn’t survive without expressing her creative imaginings. Yet this retired actuary and introvert receives her energy from being alone in her home office overlooking the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains.
More from Zoe The Putting Green Whisperer came about when my sister and I sat under a shade tree near a green at the PGA Senior’s Tour golf tournament. As we watched senior pro golfers and their caddies come through to putt, two young caddies standing just of the green with their backs toward us caught my eye. They talked quietly while their pros prepared to putt. He was tall and she was petite with her long blonde pony tailing protruding from the back of her pink ball cap. I day-dreamed how a romance might begin between the two caddies. I turned to my sister and pointed at the couple. “My next book will be about those two caddies.” My reviews of the book tell me readers who don’t care for golf enjoyed the romance and readers that love golf said I got the golf right.
Book: All That the Locusts Have Eaten: God’s Redemption Through Loss and Heartache
Author: Chuck Carr
Genre: Narrative Nonfiction, Christian Inspirational
Release date: August 22, 2020
In a life’s journey applicable to us all, Chuck Carr reveals how he found restoration after years of heartbreak, and how God put his life back together.
All That the Locusts Have Eaten will encourage readers who have suffered any type of loss. If you have struggled with overwhelming difficulties, you are not alone. Like Chuck, you, too, can discover hope for the future once again.
If His eye is on the sparrow, where does that leave her?
Lia Diaz’s life has become an illusion. Fired from her perfect job, she’s living a lie to avoid censure from her critical family. So when Lia gets a call about her nana’s recent fall, she heads to Nana’s house to help out and regroup.
Things are looking up until she discovers that her childhood refuge, Nana’s home on Sparrow Island, has been condemned in the wake of Hurricane Arley. Time to regroup—again.
I have loved Her Majesty, the Queen all my life for her selfless service to humanity. Her love of Christ and her humble heart have inspired me deeply. I thank God for her Platinum Jubilee and pray for her good health. Long live the Queen!
“A Time for Singing” by Carol James is the story of Charlee Bennett who is running from her sad past. Deserted by her musician ex-fiancé, she avoids anything that reminds her of his betrayal. Meanwhile, Chance Jackson is starting over in an effort to redeem the mistakes of his past. He wants to become a music and worship pastor. That’s when Charlee discovers an old letter in the secret drawer of an antique desk. The pain expressed by its sensitive author resonates deep within her heart. Can words penned so long ago help Charlee’s pain-stricken heart to discover that there is always a time for singing again? All the authentic details in this multi-layered story bring scenes to life in a multi-sensory way. The serene silence at the side of a lake becomes a “concerto of nature” with the sounds of lapping waves and “the piccolo trill of birds.” The spiritual truths in this story are deep and God’s grace and mercy flows abundantly. This is a story of past hurts, forgiveness, and learning to love and trust again, as life continues on its altered scale.
“Souls Astray” by Kellyn Roth is the heartwarming story of Adele Collier, whose tragic childhood leads to a carefree lifestyle. Never allowing external forces to control her, she constantly and consistently seeks distraction in the whirlwind of gaiety. But it is difficult to shake off the ghostly past. Alone, Troy Kee lost his parents in the Great War. How can he focus on his dream when trouble plagues his family vineyard? When Adele and Troy meet, a whirlwind romance ensues—but how can two lost souls ever have a healthy relationship? A well-crafted story of family dynamics and pain in the years between WW1 and WW2, “Souls Astray” is a heartrending novel, full of poignant themes and extremely relevant topics. A captivating story of WW1 and post-WW1, Kellyn paints a realistic picture of the bleakness of life after the war and the moral decline that inevitably followed. Love at first sight highlights the dangers and problems, not just the happily ever after! Adele’s emotional thoughts and passionate struggles are often painfully relatable. I highly recommend this souk revealing book for all readers who love to explore the intricacies of human relationships.
“The Travelling Prayer Shawl” by Jennifer Lynn Cary gives Cami Madison her dream account and two months to save it and the future of her family. When Cami’s grandmother died, she left her with a task she must complete or all the inheritance goes to charity. Cami’s boss hands her the ad campaign to win her the coveted vice presidency opening.
Both projects have the same incredible time table and are irrevocably interwined. When Cami realizes this, things really start to unravel, as the pressure mounts on Cami to do what she must do, in order to fulfill the conditions.
Cami’s grandmother, Kate Hanson raised her after she became an orphan in a car accident. But not all scars are on the outside and this split-time story links family and prayer in a unique way, proving that prayer is the one and only thing needed for a family to survive all the odds victoriously.
Historical Christian Romance author, Jennifer Lynn Cary, likes to say you can take the girl out of Indiana, but you can’t take the Hoosier out of the girl. Now transplanted to the Arizona desert, this direct descendant of Davy Crockett and her husband of forty years enjoy time with family where she shares tales of her small-town heritage and family legacies with their grandchildren. She is the author of The Crockett Chronicles series, The Relentless series, and The Weather Girls trilogy as well as the stand-alone novella Tales of the Hob Nob Annex Café and her split-time novel The Traveling Prayer Shawl.
More from Jennifer Lynn
The Traveling Prayer Shawl is actually a tribute to the wonderful women I’ve had the pleasure of making shawls with for the last ten plus years. We have a group that has remained faithful though some have had to leave, and new faces have joined. I thought this would be a book where there would be several points of view, sort of like how it is when we meet one Saturday per month. I even asked the girls when this idea began to churn if they could give me some character ideas.
Then one morning this scene came to me and wouldn’t leave. I wrote it out and sent it to my critique group. They thought I might be on to something.
Follow that with one of my prayer shawl girls asking if I was still interested in a character idea. Of course I said yes, and she handed me a fully fleshed out supporting character—Dericka.
I hadn’t planned on anything romantic but apparently my characters had other ideas. This story couldn’t get itself written fast enough.
The cherry on top was when another of my prayer shawl girls shared about a pattern her grandmother had designed that was published back in the 1960’s. With her permission, I include that pattern at the end of the book—an actual prayer shawl to crochet.
You will also see a prayer that is included with the shawl in the book. That is the same prayer that is given with each shawl from our Needles of Hope group. It was written by my dear friend, Pastor Lori Brown and used with her permission.
Crocheting is a relaxing craft for me and one I came to only a few years ago. My sweet grandmother tried to teach me to crochet, then gently suggested I stick with knitting. Ha! But my husband’s cousin came to visit and accepted the challenge, finally helping me to see what had been so elusive. Now I prefer it to knitting.
Though The Traveling Prayer Shawl is a stand-alone and not like my other books, I am currently working on another stand-alone split-time and have included the first chapter at the end of the book. Hope you will enjoy it and that you will try out my friend CeCe’s grandmother’s prayer shawl pattern.
“The Sweet Life” by Suzanne Woods Fischer is set in Cape Cod, a place where the sweet life might just happen when one least expects it! Dawn Dixon is on a groomless honeymoon with her mother, as Kevin, the man she loves, broke her heart and left her.
Mom, Marnie Dixon, on a sudden whim, buys a run-down ice cream shop with grandiose plans to fix it up, although she has never remodeled anything in her life. What’s more, she has never even made ice cream before! Dawn has to fix this fiasco. The ice cream shop may have unwittingly created a happy ending, one Dawn could never have expected in her faintest dreams, when it brings Kevin back into her life. “The Sweet Life” is all about the joy of restored relationships and the bright new hope of second chances. I highly recommend this wonderful book.
With over 1.5 million copies sold, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of over 30 books, ranging from novels to children’s books to non-fiction. She is a Christy Award finalist, a winner of Carol and Selah awards, and a two-time finalist for ECPA Book of the Year. She writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. Suzanne lives with her very big family in northern California.
More from Suzanne
The Sweet Life is a story about a mom and a daughter who, both in need of a little respite from life’s bumps and bruises, start an ice cream shop on Cape Cod…thinking it will be easy. After all, who doesn’t love ice cream?
Well, sure. That’s true. Everybody loves ice cream. But ice cream can be tricky. This I can say with authority. My husband is a serious hobby ice cream maker. He even attended Penn State’s Ice Cream School. While Steve was working on his vanilla recipe, he experimented fifty-nine times before he was finally satisfied. 59 times! Other flavors, like chocolate, can mask mistakes. Not vanilla. Too pure.
Here’s a few other things you probably didn’t know about ice cream:
The very first mention of a frozen dessert dates back to Persia in 550 BC, though it might have been sorbet-like. It’s said that Emperor Nero had ice brought down from the Apennine Mountains to produce a sorbet of honey and wine. And then there are those who insist that ice cream came out of China, and were introduced to Italy with the help of Marco Polo. Regardless of its origins, a love of ice cream has been around for a very, very long time.
Quaker colonists introduced ice cream to early America, having brought their recipes with them from England. Some argue that the French brought ice cream to America. Regardless, during the colonial era, ice cream was sold in shops in New York.
George Washington loved ice cream. So much so that he even brought ice cream making equipment to Mount Vernon! There are many accounts of “ice creem” (as it was then called) served during his administration.
First LadyDolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison, served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813. Common colonial flavors were soft fruits, like peaches or strawberries, added to a vanilla custard. Dolley had a curious favorite flavor: oyster. (Ugh.)
In September of 1846, a Philadelphia house wife named Nancy Johnson filed patent #3254 for a simple hand cranked ice cream churn. Prior to this point, ice cream belonged to the wealthy. Her hand cranked ice cream churn made it affordable for everyone. Nancy Johnson’s design is still used today.
During the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, an ice cream vendor ran out of cardboard dishes. The vendor next door offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles. Voila! The birth of the ice cream cone.
The majority of American ice cream companies have been in business for more than 50 years. Many of them are still owned by single families.
For the last 128 years, Penn State University has held Ice Cream School for professionals and serious hobbyists during January (for obvious reasons). All the greats have attended: Baskin & Robbins, Ben & Jerry, Dreyer’s, Nestle’s, Blue Bell Creamery, Dairy Queen, and…my husband.
The most popular flavor in the world? Vanilla. Of course.
Living with her parents and her eight-month-old son, Noah, after her husband left her, Adel longs for space, independence and the family that God has written upon her heart. When Adel inherits her grandparents’ old apple orchard in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, she and Noah leave her parents’ home to discover a new life at Sweet Valley Farms. This is a thoroughly refreshing story about beginning life again on its altered scale. It is engaging, enjoyable, relatable and perfectly relaxing to read. Lana describes the Blue Ridge mountains with vivid imagery. This is a gripping and appealing story that tugs poignantly at our heartstrings. It is a novel that is true to the word of God. It also addresses the hardships and challenges of life. The “presence” of faith is a pun on the title. The love of family and friends triumphs with humor. I highly recommend this heartwarming book.
As a writer of inspirational fiction and singer/songwriter, Lana offers a unique gift in service to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Characterized by her experiences growing up in rural Northeast Georgia and now as a wife and homeschool mother of four, her works reflect an honesty and a gentle natural beauty that is often missed and sorely needed in a culture saturated with transient entertainment and consumerism. Whether making meals, lesson plans, story arcs, or song lyrics, Lana is listening for the still quiet Voice to draw her nearer to where even messiness and failure can become a redeemed work of art.
More from Lana
When the pace of life is set at break-neck speed and the pressure is on to sacrifice self and family for the sake of achievement, I find joy in writing stories that show a hint of something else: something simpler, something slower. A world where people stop and get to know one another (and themselves). A world where people literally “stop to smell the roses”. Where they hear the birds sing and notice the flowers bloom in the springtime. A world where family and friends and place matter. Where traditions yield comfort and joy. Where home means more than just a house you return to at the end of a long day. Where delight and wonder can be found in the commonplace of everyday life. Where friendships flourish and love blossoms. A place where life happens, and it’s never boring!
In “Presence – The Story of Adel”, Doris Jones takes Adel under her wing and teaches her about life. One of the special memories they share is making blueberry muffins together. Here’s the recipe:
Doris’ Blueberry Muffins:
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp. sugar (for sprinkling on top)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Gently blend in the milk. In a separate bowl: mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add blueberries and stir only until well dusted. Fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture with a spoon and place into muffin cups or a well-greased muffin tin. Bake 10 minutes then sprinkle extra sugar over the tops. Bake 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
“Night Songs” by Jennifer Seines reflects the awesome power of forgiveness and the transforming beauty of new beginnings. Jennifer skillfully weaves real life situations into her heartmoving stories to capture our souls, as she blends God’s healing love into our heartache. I highly recommend this heartwarming book for all readers who wish to take a reflective journey of forgiveness, letting go of the past and letting God’s plan be fulfilled in our lives.
What’s a girl to do when her life sounds ripped from the lyrics of a country music song?
Charlotte Van Cleave’s hissy-fit reaction to her husband’s infidelity sours her world like a pot of boiled chitlins. She’s left with no husband, no job, and no home—well, besides the dilapidated farmhouse inherited from her nana.
But Charlie learned early that southern girls dig deep when things go sideways. She’d climbed out of the mire when her missionary parents were killed in Congo, endured two late-term miscarriages, and survived the death of her nana and papaw. Too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash, Charlie follows a new path with her interior design skills.
Derek Daniels spent his life serving his country until a helicopter accident ended his military career. Now back home on the family farm, he’s stuck between his philandering brother, Nicky, and the only girl he’s ever loved—sweet Charlie Van Cleave. Unwilling to cross a line, he vows to keep his feelings to himself. Easier said than done when Charlie discovers a mystery surrounding her parents’ death and asks him to help investigate.
What’ll Charlie and Derek have to do to turn those lyrics into a country hit?
Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies including several in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.
More from Jennifer
I love everything about the South. The seasons are more vibrant, the pace is slower, and the hospitality warmer than what I’ve previously experienced. I wasn’t born and raised here, but I’ve always felt an affinity for it. When my husband and I relocated from Northern California to middle Tennessee over three years ago, I was happier than ol’ Blue layin’ on the porch chewin’ on a big ol’ catfish head. Yes, there are times we need a translator, but we’re quick studies.
Setting is an important element of storytelling, whether it’s fictional or true. I will be the first person to tell you, I don’t have much imagination. I don’t read or write fantasy or sci-fi because I can’t picture myself in the story. I am in awe of writers who are able to create an alternate world in their minds and then share it in a story. Me? I need to see it to write it.
For that reason, I was very excited about how this move from the only place I’ve ever known to one I’d dreamt about most of my life would impact my novels and novellas. We landed here in the middle of July to magnolia trees with waxy leaves as big as my head and sweet-smelling white blossoms I couldn’t enclose in both hands. Mockingbirds chattering all hours of the day (and a lone guy at night), bright red cardinals flitting from tree to tree, and even an armadillo or two lumbering across our yard.
The character of Charlotte Van Cleave (Charlie) was born out of my imagination. Why I can create fake people but not fake settings is anyone’s guess. Her nana and pawpaw’s dilapidated farmhouse is a real home that had been abandoned outside the city limits of Shelbyville, Tennessee—in Bedford County, which is also the title of the series. I saw the house through a real estate website, and fortunately for me, it was empty. My husband and I snuck around the perimeter looking through broken widows to get a feel for the place. It didn’t hurt that there were several photos on the website, as well.
The rest of the story came in fits and starts. I first decided on Charlie’s personality, because if I know that, it’s easier to trip her up with all manner of chaos. If you’re familiar with the enneagram personality indicator, she’s a three—the Achiever. The other main character, Derek Daniels, is a six—the Loyalist. Throw in missionary parents, sibling rivalry, and southern culture and a story was born.
While I was working on Night Songs the mockingbirds were particularly active. They’re the Tennessee state bird, so they’re always around, but it’s only during the mating season they are vocal. I was lying awake in the middle of the night, and I heard one of them singing. I’d only ever heard them during the day, so I was surprised. Why would a lone mockingbird be singing at night? What I learned after a little research is that only those who are mate-less will do this. It made me sad to hear the little guy over the next several nights, pouring out his heart. Not unlike Charlie Van Cleave. Thus, a title was born.
“Miracles in the Middle” by Debbie Milam captures the serene beauty of surrendering to God in our daily lives. Her warmhearted words of wisdom fill us with God’s love and grace. When we surrender to God, He opens our hearts to see His great love in our heartaches, struggles and pain. God’s miracles still happen right in the midst of our fear, grief and suffering, miracles in our storms and difficult situations. God knows and understands all our struggles, sorrows, heartaches, worries and cares. The amazing power of God’s Word is expressed so eloquently in this heartwarming book. It inspires us to walk closer to God, day by day, in every way. This book is an outpouring of God’s love and wisdom, presenting answers to life’s greatest challenges. This book opens our eyes to God’s miracles that happen in our daily lives, when we least expect it, giving us renewed hope and strength to persevere. I highly recommend “Miracles in the Middle” to all who wish wholeheartedly to see the greatness of God manifested through His amazing miracles that reveal the goodness of God’s heart and the warmth of His love.
Do you need a miracle? You are not alone.
Some seasons of life can be so difficult. You may be in the middle of uncertainty, loss, grief, or anxiety.
You and your loved ones may be in the middle of chronic illness, financial issues, relationship struggles.
Whatever you’re struggling with, God knows.
And in the middle of your circumstances, God is there and He’s still creating miracles.
Miracles in the middle of fear. Miracles in the middle of grief. Miracles in the middle of unwellness. Miracles in the middle of relationship struggles. Miracles in the middle of suffering.
Most people talk about seeing God’s miracles when they have a breakthrough, receive healing, are freed from an addiction, or are victorious on the mountaintop. But what about the miracles that happen in the valley, in the middle of your storm, to in your difficult situation?
That’s where God does extraordinary work. That’s where God’s greatness amazes us when we need it the most.
In my newest book, Miracles in the Middle: I invite you to witness the astonishing miracles that happen in both seasons of blessings and in the depth of suffering. These true stories of God’s presence, power and love will reignite hope and help you develop a deeper intimacy with the Lord.
Debbie Milam is an award-winning occupational therapist, author and past syndicated columnist for United Press International’s Religion and Spirituality Division.
She is the author of Miracles in the Middle, Overtaken by Grace, And God Said and Lord Show Me You Are Here.
Debbie’s ground-breaking work has been featured in First for Women, the Miami Herald, Elle, and Ladies Home Journal, and on the Hallmark Channel, PBS, and WebMD.
Through her 501(c)3 Grace Love Well Foundation, her mission is to inspire people to the beauty, love, power, and presence of God. As an organization we have donated thousands of books to churches, missions work, prisons, pastoral counselors and prayer teams.
For more resources to deepen your intimacy with God and find peace in His presence, visit us online at gracelovewell.org or YouTube/Debbie Milam
More from Debbie
January of 2020, I began a journey of catastrophic health issues as I faced four life-threatening infections, including COVID, which led to being placed on Hospice care. While facing my mortality, I cried out to God and experienced one miracle after another.
Although my body was growing weaker and weaker, my faith, relationship with God, and desire to bring hope to others grew stronger and stronger. While battling severe health issues, I was able to publish this book by God’s grace and a great publishing team.
So many Christians are battling hopelessness, anxiety, and overwhelm. I understand all these feelings and I invite readers to witness the astonishing miracles that happen in both seasons of blessings and the depth of suffering. My true stories of God’s presence, power, and love will reignite hope and help readers develop a deeper intimacy with the Lord.
“The Amish Twins Next Door” by Vannetta Chapman is the endearing story of Deborah Mast and Nicholas Stoltzfus, and Deborah’s adorable twin boys, Jacob and Joseph. This is an uplifting and inspirational story of faith, repentance, forgiveness, hope and second chances, from Love Inspired. I highly recommend this heartwarming book to all readers who love fun and adventure stories.
About the Book
Book: The Amish Twins Next Door
Author: Vanetta Chapman
Genre: Amish romance
Release date: April 26, 2022
Two little matchmakers could change everything…in this novel by USA TODAY bestselling author Vannetta Chapman.
Falling for a pretend suitor could cause real complications…
Amish single mom Deborah Mast is determined to raise her seven-year-old twin sons her way. But when neighbor Nicholas Stoltzfus takes the rambunctious boys on as apprentices on his farm, she’ll learn the value of his help with more than just the children. And when the two little matchmakers hatch a plan of their own, Deborah could also discover how to reopen her heart…
Vannetta Chapman is a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of 39 full length novels, plus various novella collections. She has written for Abingdon Press, Harvest House Publishers, and Harper Collins Christian Publishing. She currently writes for the Love Inspired line of Harlequin Books. Chapman has received numerous awards including the ACFW Carol Award for best mystery (Falling to Pieces), and Christy Award finalist (Anna’s Healing).
More from Vannetta
When I married my husband 22 years ago, he had a 21-year-old daughter and 16-year-old twins. I was a single mom with a 10-year-old son. I was also a certified, experienced teacher. I could handle it. (Cue laughter) I had no idea what twins was like. I didn’t understand that special language they have with one another. I was perplexed by the way they could be fighting one moment and adamantly defending one another the next. Everything about twins confused me.
Now our children are all grown. They’re adults, and I wonder how the years have passed so quickly. The Amish Twins Next Door is my first book featuring twins, and I enjoyed every minute of writing it. I enjoyed telling a story about a mom who wonders if she will ever have a conventional family—because I was that mom. I also had way too much fun writing about a man who thought he could give parenting advice when he had no children.
Ultimately though, like all of my other books, The Amish Twins Next Door is a book about the over-arching grace of God and how it can carry us through all things. My hope is that you will laugh, maybe cry, and come away from the book feeling uplifted.
“No Longer A Captive” by Carol James features the heartwarming story of Ethne and Dr. Daniel Spencer. Ethne hides painful hurts from her sad past. When she meets Dr. Daniel Spenser, a handsome military doctor and a beneficiary of her father’s will, Ethne’s world slowly opens up as old hurts surface to see the light of day, paving the way for inner healing. Ethne finally come to terms with her sad past. She learns to forgive and forget the past and embrace what is before her. She cannot allow deep-rooted insecurities from her painful past to threaten her present happiness. This is a story of liberating freedom that inspires one to rise above suffering through the resurrecting power of forgiveness and the healing of God’s Word. The characters in the novel gallantly overcome sufferings to be restored by faith, hope and love. Ethne realizes that Dr. Daniel Spencer understands her past in a way no one else does because he has lived it. Daniel helps Ethne to break the chains of captivity binding her heart. God releases her from the shackling bondage of her past, to be free to trust the man she loves.
This inspiring story offers a redemption and healing through relatable characters and unexpected twists and turns. It is a book with a good Christian theme of forgiveness healing and love. I highly recommend this inspiring book about the liberating freedom from the oppressive, shackling bondage of captivity. Ethne is “No Longer A Captive.” She finds the true freedom her heart yearns for at last.
About the Book
Author: Carol James
Genre: Christian Fiction
Release date: October, 2021
When Ethne O’Connor’s brother tells her of father’s unexpected death, Sean asks her to do something she promised herself she’d never do. Come back home.
A victim of childhood abuse, Ethne left her father and the small Texas town ten years ago on the night of her high school graduation. She is determined to end the cycle of abuse.
Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She loves creating Redemptive Romance. She lives in Lilburn, Georgia, a small town outside of Atlanta, with her husband Jim, and a perky Jack Russell Terrier, Zoe.
Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.
Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, was an Amazon number one best-seller. Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter to be the first to learn about new releases: http://www.carol-james.com
Just recently, Carol allowed Zoe to start Instagram and Facebook pages with two of her dog friends. Follow them at Instagram: 3DogsandtheirAuthorsIG or Facebook: 3DogsandtheirAuthorsFB to learn the behind the scenes info about being a writer.
Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.
More from Carol One question people always ask me is, “Where do you get the ideas for your books?” Oh, ideas hover all around us. We need only open our eyes and see the common and everyday through the lenses of our faith.
Several years ago, my husband and I began attending a large church near our home. We’d heard people talk about the inspiring sermons their pastor, Buddy Hoffman, preached.
Buddy was unlike any preacher I had ever heard. He had a folksy manner, and he absolutely delighted in tripping all over the English language. Once he told us about a recent mission trip to Asia where he saw Kubotas (i.e. pagodas) dotting the landscape. A picture of a hill covered with riding mowers and tractors popped into my mind.
One Sunday morning, he preached about forgiveness. Ten years later, I don’t remember the major points of the sermon. I remember only one statement he made. “Unforgiveness is a prison.” My English-major self tensed, knowing unforgiveness wasn’t even a word. My husband would have called it a Buddy-ism. But it didn’t matter that unforgiveness wasn’t listed in the dictionary or that spell-check would underline it. That brief statement carried a depth of meaning that entire books might not. Later, in the same service, our worship pastor led us in the song “No Longer Slaves.” And from this service, the idea for No Longer a Captive was born.
“Corner Booth” by Chautona Having is the charming story of how a daring move forges the love of a lifetime. Carlie has a rushed lunch with a stranger, Dean who hardly acknowledges her existence. A random encounter becomes a weekly date with a silent lunchmate. Carlie is smitten by Dean’s sense of fashion and debonair flair, his exemplary commitment to his work and his evident attention to her monologue during meals that he pays for.
In this unusual encounter, Dean gets to know Carlie and eagerly awaits their lunch rendezvous each week. In doing so, he learns valuable lessons about himself. Dean realizes that their unusual friendship means so much more to him than he ever imagined. Dean is a very knowledgeable seminary professor.
In “Corner Booth,” with Carlie and Dean, we learn just how eloquent silence really is. I love the sound of silence. Silent voices speak in the serene silence. Voices in our consciousness. Voices that give wisdom to our souls. It is so important that we spend time with ourselves, to hear the silent voice of wisdom that gives us joy in our hearts and a lilt to our steps.
Corner Booth is a unique book, raising questions for readers to ponder about. Chautona Having gives us a unique story of a fledgling friendship that blossoms into romance and a deeper look at the intricacies of human interactions. I highly recommend this charming book to all our readers who value the relevance and importance of interpersonal relationships.
USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona You know, originally, I had Dean as a guy who was too wrapped up in his own little world to care about anyone else—the stereotypical academic. I pictured him buried deep in original Biblical manuscripts, annoyed that anyone would dare to invade his study time.
But you know what? That’s the easy character.
When I went back to edit the book, I had this thought. What if Dean weren’t reclusive at all? What if he were kind of a know-it-all who couldn’t keep his thoughts to himself. Maybe a child prodigy who was used to people thinking him rather brilliant and looking for his insights.
Yeah… I could get into that.
There was just one small problem. I’d written the entire book without him talking much at all on those Wednesdays. Now what?
After much deliberation, even more prayer, and a bit of fudging, I came up with the solution. What if he just challenged himself for “one lunch?” Just one hour or so of not talking to prove to himself (and his peers) that he could do it.
How could he possibly know he’d set things up for months of wordless lunches—on his part? And what would a person learn in a situation like that? I’ve never admitted this before, but I tested it a bit. At situations where I could, I forced myself to listen to people’s stories, their questions, their opinions. The hard part was not spending my listening time formulating my response (how rude anyway!). I really had to focus on exactly what they said, how their voice altered based on their emotions, and what others around us had to say to encourage (or not—too often not, I’ll admit).
I learned a lot with the experiment, and I’ll be honest. I still catch myself listening with an ear to how I’ll respond instead of really listening. No, I don’t expect to find some café romance for myself. My guy is amazing, and he’s probably the only person on the planet who could put up with me, so… I think I’ll keep him. But I do expect to keep learning how to really hear people. You know… kind of like Jesus did. Imagine that.
“Persuade Me” by Joanne Markey is the poignant story of a second chance for two heartbroken people who had a horrible misunderstanding seven years ago. Anne Elliot of Kellynch Station quietly mourned the loss of her first love, Fred Wentworth, until her sister offers the perfect escape: Uppercross. This move offers new friends, responsibilities, possibilities and a chance to escape her domineering father. It looks like the sky is the limit. It is certainly the perfect place for helicopter pilot Fred Wentworth to spend his days flying to his heart’s content. After the devastating breakup with Anne, he has put the past behind him. He only thinks about Anne a couple dozen times a day. Life is good until he literally runs into Anne, the one person he hoped to never see again. After that, he rethinks every lie he had managed to convince himself was the plain truth. Although they both admit they were wrong all those years ago, when things take a bad turn, Anne really wonders if it is too late for a reconciliation. “Persuade Me,” set in the rugged Australian bush, has a well-paced plot and interesting characters. Anne relies firmly on her faith to guide her through her difficulties. This is an engaging and thought provoking novel with a strong message of faith and forgiveness. Joanne Markey layers several stories together, still maintaining the overall flow. Anne’s resilient character and fervent faith develop through this heartwarming story. “Persuasion” by Jane Austen is one of my favorite classics. It is interesting to see how Joanne Markey rewrites the classic into a modern version and sets it in the rugged Australian bush, complete with dingoes. I highly recommend this inspiring book for all readers who love to read classics in a modern version, which will certainly appeal to the youth of today’s fast-moving world.
Originally from Australia, Joanne Markey now lives in Ohio with her husband and seven children. When she’s not reading or writing, you might find her wandering the property with her kids in search of whatever seasonal treasure they’re trying to find.
More from Joanne
Can a book be partially autobiographical without actually being an autobiography?
Probably not. Persuade Me comes close though. Not in it’s entirety, but I did draw heavily on my own life when I wrote this book. Many of the situations that occur in the book were things that happened to me back in the late ‘90s when I worked on a cattle station as station cook. I also set the book in places where we lived—stations we lived or worked on. The autobiographical
part ends there though.
As a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the family situation in Persuade Me is patterned on the Elliot family, not my own. I was easily able to imagine a family like this living in Australia though. The family pride, boasting of being descended from free settlers, knowing how long the family has been in the country to the exact generation—were all things I ran into as a kid.
Not every Australian knows how many generations of the family have lived over there (or cares to know), but in high school there was this one girl… She knew exactly how long her family had been there, and anyone who couldn’t count as many generations of Australians as she could wasn’t as Australian as her. Other people have quite plainly offered the information that their family descended from free settlers, without a single convict in the lineage. Still others can tell the exact year their first ancestor moved to Australia. All I needed was to package all of those things into one prideful being—Mr. Elliot. He doesn’t play a huge role in the story, but his influence can be felt throughout the pages.
From there it was easy to imagine him as a grazier—a station owner—who’d run into hard times. His daughter, Anne, is the heroine who has a hidden past, a broken relationship she’d rather not remember. The hero of the story can’t exactly be a ship’s captain, but there is one occupation in the bush that does bring in a lot of money—helicopter mustering—and having gotten into that line of work his personal finances have taken a drastic change for the better. I won’t spoil the story, but the rest followed in like manner.
And then came the writing… To craft a uniquely Australian book one has to use Australian terms, phrases, and spellings. And when the author has been living outside the country for 21 years, sometimes it’s hard to remember what words go with what country! We worked it all out in the end though, and if you come across a word that looks like it’s been spelled wrong—it’s the Aussie spelling, which is correct for the setting.
I hope you enjoy this contemporary retelling of Persuasion set in the Australian bush. Happy reading!
“Not By Sight” by Elizabeth Jacobson is the story of Joseph, the eleventh son of the patriarch Jacob. Joseph was beloved. He had his father’s favor, and that was his ultimate downfall. Betrayed and sold into Egypt by his jealous brothers, Joseph has nothing to cling to except the stories of his father’s God. The story of Joseph springs to life with historically accurate details. The portrayal of Joseph’s growth in faith, trusting his father’s God, reflects a perceptive depth of spiritual understanding. This inspiring book will be appreciated by anyone who believes in the infallible truth of the Bible, the Word of God. This book has biblical retellings in rich settings, with memorable characters, and a unique voice. Hope, faith, and love are carefully interwoven into every word and line. Through extremely harrowing and distressing life experiences, Joseph becomes a strong man of faith in his radical journey from doubt and fear into faith and and love. I highly recommend this deeply fascinating book to all our readers.
Seventeen-year-old Joseph’s life is far from perfect. He does have his father’s favor and trust, and the love of his younger brother Benjamin and sister Dinah. What he does not have is the love of his ten older brothers. Embittered by their father’s favor towards Joseph, his brothers take every opportunity to spite him. Spurred to anger by their actions and horrified by a threat made towards Benjamin, Joseph, overcome with fury, tells them of his dreams – for his dreams show a future where they will bow down to him.
Outraged, his brothers take their revenge, and Joseph is sold into Egypt as a slave. Bitterness and hate threaten to overcome him, and, in desperation, Joseph turns to the stories of his father’s God, a distant and omnipotent being whom Joseph has never dared to speak to. Slowly, Joseph begins to pick up the pieces of a shattered life. But only when those carefully gathered pieces re-break, over and over again, does Joseph truly begin to understand what it means to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Elizabeth Jacobson is a middle-school math teacher in sunny California who loves the Bible, fantasy, and science fiction. She got bit by the writing bug at age thirteen and has been frantically putting words on pages ever since. Her goal in writing is to share with the world the most important message anyone can express: the Love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.Not by Sight: A novel of the patriarchs is her first novel. You can connect with her at headdeskliz.com or on Facebook or Instagram. More from ElizabethImagine you’re back in Sunday School, sitting down with all your friends and watching the volunteer parent who teaches the class smile over the flannelgraph. (Or, if you never went to Sunday School, just imagine yourself in a smallish room with too many little friends around you
and an adult who doesn’t want to mess this up running the class.) “Now, friends,” (s)he says, holding up a flannel image of a teenager in what looks like a rainbow bathrobe: “This is Joseph.”
Joseph is plastered to the flannelgraph, and the parent puts up a flannel group of angry men next to him. “His brothers hated him because his father gave him a beautiful coat. They threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave!”
Appreciative gasps echo from the crowd of five-year-olds – even kids know that good drama comes from torturing your characters.
“His master threw him in prison – ” (we necessarily skip why) “– but one day Pharaoh had a dream!”
Flannel Pharaoh appears, slapped on the flannelgraph, wearing a white skirt and lots of bling.
“Joseph interpreted the dream, and Pharaoh made him his second-in-command. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt looking for food in a famine, Joseph helped them. And you know what, friends?” The parent
looks around with a grin. “Joseph never lost his faith in God! Isn’t that amazing?”
You and your friends nod solemnly. What a guy.
You probably hear this story at least once a year in Sunday School, with more detail added each time, but by the time you’re a worldly-wise sixth grader, you start to nod a little less and frown a little more.
You know the story like the back of your hand.
But it doesn’t make any sense anymore.
The truth is that this version of Joseph, whose flannel avatar has been waved in your face for years, this icon of the Sunday-School world, isn’t a person to emulate. He can’t be emulated.
Because the story of a man who faced every unthinkable hardship thrown his way with a smile on his face and praise on his lips and forgiveness in his heart is. Not. A. Story. Of. Real. Faith.
You want real faith? Look at the guy who talked to Jesus in Mark Chapter 9. “Lord, I believe; help
Translation: “I know I’m supposed to trust You, but in this moment, I don’t. Please help me out!”
Humans aren’t perfect. Why then are we shown a perfect Joseph?
Various adaptations of the Joseph story have tried their hand at mitigating the perfect Joseph problem. For the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the whole thing is played so humorously that character exploration ranks at exactly nil, and no one questions anything Joseph does. For the perennial Sunday-School favorite Joseph: King of Dreams cartoon movie, God and faith are taken mostly out of the story, so Joseph is free to be an “ordinary person” who reacts accordingly. (Do you see the problem with this last idea? I hope you do. faith ≠ superhuman).
Other adaptations have tried as well, but this fantasy and science fiction writer was one day struck with the need to try
it for herself. I loved the story (remember, torturing characters = good drama, and boy does Joseph get the – extremely – short end of the stick for a good chunk of his life) and secondly, because I knew it would be a challenge.
Part of the reason for this “perfect” Joseph we so often see in Sunday School is that the Bible is not written as a novel. Most narratives in the Bible go over the events needed to comprehend the message or information in bare-bones, rapid-fire succession. No fluff involved, no discussion of motives, internal conflict, or thought processes. The Joseph account in Genesis is unique in that it is one of the longest continuous narratives in the Bible, but even it gives very little in the way of discussing these storytelling necessities.
The goal then became to come up with consistent personality traits and motivations, and logical, human reactions to events, that would lead each player in the Joseph narrative to take the actions recorded in Genesis. I felt like an archaeologist, piecing together ancient clues that could lead me to a bigger, more complete picture of the story.
It was a wild ride, but I had an absolute blast writing it. I can’t wait to share Not by Sight: a novel of the patriarchs with you!
About the Book Book: Finding Love in Big Sky Montana
Author: Angela Ruth Strong
Genre: Sweet romance/western
Release date: September, 2016
“Finding Love in Big Sky Montana” by Angela Ruth Strong is a poignantly sweet novel that weaves warmhearted humor and spirit-filled faith into a community. The vibrant, well-developed characters engage in snappy dialogue and witty repartee. Rebuilding her grandfather’s legacy gives new life to Paisley. Through it, she finds her heart’s deepest desires fulfilled. Bright Star Ranch leads Josh Lake to Paisley Sheridan, until he can sort out all his financial issues. Paisley boards him at her ranch in exchange for his advertising expertise. Spending Christmas with Paisley gives Josh more joy than he has ever known. However, as Josh broke Paisley’s heart in high school, she is not too keen on having him at the ranch. Unfortunately, Paisley has no choice in the matter, for until her bank loan goes through, she has to take all the free help she can get. Josh seems to want to get back into her life again. Will Paisley find the healing she so desperately needs for a happy life with Josh? This is a beautiful story set in the picturesque, snow-covered hills and farmlands of Montana. At Christmas, a time of the year that revives warmhearted feelings among family and friends, Josh and Paisley have to deal with strong feelings arising from past memories. They fight to see what a treasure they really are to each other. After much struggle, they finally see God’s direction for their lives. Paisley and Josh have very deep seated insecurities affecting their interaction with each other, as they try to sort out their issues. They both need emotion healing. When they turn to God, He helps them to sort out their feelings, for a much deserved happily-ever-after. I highly recommend this inspiring book for all those hurting people with aching hearts who need emotional healing to enjoy happy family relationships.
Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Twelve years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Her book Finding Love in Big Sky filmed on location in Montana and will air in spring of 2022. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK.
More from Angela Ruth
Having my book made into a movie is a dream come true, and getting to be an extra on the set in Montana blew away all my expectations. There’s nothing like walking into a world you created and seeing your imaginary friends come to life. Everyone was so fun and nice, and even if I someday get to have another book made into a movie, I don’t think it could top this experience. I really hope you enjoy both the novel and the film. And may the message of how “you are a treasure” carry you forward toward your own dreams.
To celebrate her tour, Angela is giving away the grand prize package of a movie package with a $25 gift certificate to the movies, popcorn, popcorn bowl, and an autographed copy of Finding Love in Big Sky, including author notes in the margins!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
“The Inconvenient Gospel” is a selection of the talks and writings of Clarence Jordan, a farmer, preacher, and Bible scholar, who founded Koinonia Farm, a pacifist interracial Christian community in Georgia, USA. It consisted of 440 depleted acres, where Christians of different races pooled land and money to create “a demonstration plot for the kingdom of God. Like the first century Christians, they shared everything they possessed, working together to rejuvenate the soil and revive the local economy. In doing so, they demonstrated racial and social justice with their lives.
Clarence Jordan spoke with a crystal-clear prophetic voice. He was unwavering and relentless in his pursuit of God. He unequivocally rejected materialism, militarism, and racism as obstacles to the authentic faith of Jesus Christ. He fearlessly believed that greater change can happen in this world by living an authentic Christian life. Clarence Jordan bravely lived out the Gospel that he so fearlessly preached with exemplary courage and a highly contagious sense of humor.
I am deeply honored to review “The Inconvenient Gospel” by Clarence Jordan. He did not hesitate to embrace Christ’s suffering, at any cost. As part of a community of Christ in this world, it helps us to see our own unique place in history. The vision of Clarence Jordan will survive for eternity. I am grateful to God that such a man lived and left such an enduring legacy for others to follow in his daring footsteps.
Clarence Jordan embodied the cross and walked the talk. His bold experiment in nonviolence, economic justice, and sustainable agriculture was deeply rooted in his understanding of the Person and teachings of Jesus. “You can’t put Christianity into practice,” Clarence Jordan wrote, “Christianity is not a philosophy of life to be ‘tried.’ Christianity is not a system you work – it is a Person who works you.”
I highly recommend this deeply inspiring book to teach Clarence Jordan’s radically biblical vision to a new generation of peacemakers, community builders, and social activists. United as one in Christ, we can strive to make a difference in this world in which we live. Let us not underestimate the powerful fact that “one with Christ is a majority.”
“To Bring You Back” by Emily Conrad is a contemporary Christian fiction novel, filled with love, grace, forgiveness and redemption, that takes us on a journey of transformation, as Emily tackles delicate issues with great sensitivity. The heroine, Adeline refuses to face the truth of her shameful past and carries her burden so deep inside her heart that it affects every facet of her life. The hero, Gannon is very determined to get Adeline to deal with her past and learn to forgive herself. He adamantly refuses to give up and that is exactly what Adeline needs. The book examines two people who share a common past and how they each coped individually with the sad reality of what happened in their young lives. With characters who struggle to come to terms with the past, this book is a great lesson in redemption. Gannon’s genuine compassion for Adeline to regain her faith is heartwarming. Their friendship is gradually restored to a point where they can be frank, open and real with each other. Inner wounds are finally healed, so that they can get on with their lives together.
This is an emotionally inspiring story that opens the door to a real relationship with the One who loves us unconditionally. Emily Conrad brings together two broken, flawed characters, on a transformational journey of rekindling their past hopes and dreams, as well as their faith. The story and characters had a lot of depth. Gannon was ready and willing to do whatever he could to help Adeline heal first, before he pressed his case with her. Addressing complicated issues with finesse, grace, and poise, Emily Conrad crafts an excellent story with very realistic characters, who hope to overcome heartache in their lives, for wounds to heal and love to revive and restore a lost relationship. I highly recommend this inspiring read for all who wish to see healing take place in the aching hearts of broken people.
Gannon Vaughn is determined to confront the past Adeline Green is desperate to forget.
Broke in more ways than one, the last thing Adeline can afford is for her now-famous high school crush to descend on her quiet life.
People in the small town of Lakeshore, Wisconsin, think of her as the hard-working church secretary or as the local food truck’s lunch-hour cashier. They’d never suspect the shame she’s hiding.
She attended high school with both the lead singer and the drummer of the rock band, Awestruck. In fact, she used to play in the band herself, but that was back before Awestruck made it big—and before her relationship with lead singer Gannon Vaughn took a turn that ultimately led to tragedy and heartbreak.
She’s living a different life now, but when Gannon shows up, he brings with him a public spotlight that threatens to expose her deepest regret. The closer she gets to him, the more she risks the carefully curated life that’s finally brought her a measure of peace.
Gannon Vaughn and his rock band, Awestruck, have conquered the music industry, but he can’t overcome his feelings for Adeline.
She may have been right to cut off contact between them years ago, but thanks to the grace of God, he’s a changed man. When he hears Adeline’s struggling, he sets out to turn her life around and win back the love he lost to poor choices eight years ago.
But when Gannon’s fame and their mutual regrets jeopardize their relationship anew, will grace be enough to bring them back to God and each other?
A meaningful Christian romance with a side of fame and fortune for readers who enjoy faith-filled escapes and happily-ever-afters where no one is beyond hope of redemption.
Emily Conrad writes contemporary Christian romance that explores life’s relevant questions. Though she likes to think some of her characters are pretty great, the ultimate hero of her stories (including the one she’s living) is Jesus. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their energetic coonhound rescue. Learn more about her and her books at emilyconradauthor.com.
More from Emily A Guilty Pleasure with a Purpose When a reader called the Rhythms of Redemption Romances a guilty pleasure, I had to smile because that’s exactly what To Bring You Back, the first book in the series, was to me as I wrote it.
Don’t get me wrong, To Bring You Back is firmly Christian fiction, and it’s not “guilty” of being blush-inducing. Because of the characters’ history, theirs is a slow-burn romance that focuses more on the emotional side of their relationship than the physical.
But, To Bring You Back is a rock star romance.
When I first started writing it, I was embarrassed to admit that’s what I was working on.
After all, rock star romance has a reputation for being an unrealistic and shallow escape from reality with “guilty pleasure” written all over it.
Maybe there was some of that escapism going on. At that point in my writing journey, I was dealing with disillusionment, and I enjoyed the break of writing about rich and famous characters.
However, as I wrote To Bring You Back and went on to read others’ romances about famous characters, I found that the characters’ occupations and net worth don’t impact the most important elements of their
The tales can still showcase meaningful relationships and God at work in the lives of people who—rich and famous or not—need redemption.
Fame, money, and music help up the entertainment value, but those same features add even more rich conflict to explore.
The men of Awestruck, starting with lead singer Gannon Vaughn in To Bring You Back, have allowed me to ask questions like: How good is grace? What does it mean to live in forgiveness? What gives a person worth? And, when is living the dream no longer worth the price?
To write this post, I took a break from working on the first draft of the final book in the series, and it’s been fun to look back and see how much my opinion of these stories has changed.
If To Bring You Back and the books that follow are a guilty pleasure, they’re a guilty pleasure with a purpose. God has worked in my life through them.
It’s my prayer that He’ll also use them in your life, both to explore meaningful questions and to provide a few hours of entertaining escape.
“Spines and Leaves” by Chautona Havig is the well-written, fun-filled story of a barely surviving desert bookstore, in the town of Tamarisk, in Joshua Tree National Forest. The bookstore attracts Milton Coleridge as he enters with his parrotlet. Mercedes, the daughter of the owner, manages the store until her ill father can recover. Marcus Mendez, a police officer, cleverly masks his feelings for Mercedes, as he valiantly tries to protect his own heart.
This exciting book bears Chautona Havig’s own unique signature style. It has clever allusions to literature, plenty of wit and wisdom, faith lessons for all to learn, and surprising twists and turns to capture the reader’s attention from start to finish
Milton Coleridge has an excellent business sense and a humane heart to help bookstores struggling to survive. Milton is determined to help this quaint little bookstore spring back to life. His inspirational vision breathes exciting new life into the world of reading.
Marcus and Ced learn to trust each other and slowly allow their feelings for each other to grow into the love that knows no end. Through this awesome book, we learn how precious life is and how important it is to let others know how important they are to us. Firmly believing that “books are the strings that tie hearts together,” I highly recommend this inspiring book to all passionate readers who love to read to their hearts’ contentment.
With a month to get from Orange County, California to Delaware for his next corporate challenge, Milton Coleridge decides to spend a week at Joshua Tree National Park.
He never expected to find a floundering bookstore in need of his particular business skills. Will his methods of saving companies from bankruptcy or takeover work on such a small scale? And can he convince two people to risk their hearts?
Step into the Spines & Leaves, Tamarisk, California’s oldest (and only ever) bookstore. Come in out of the harsh, desert sun and wind and peruse all the store has to offer. It might just be more than you think.
One man, one store, thousands of books. What’ll it take to keep this bookstore from becoming a book ghost town… and what’ll it take for Milton to tie two heartstrings together?
Spine & Leaves is the introductory novella to the Bookstrings series.
USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Bookstrings series is a process rather than an idea. Each time I saw an indie bookstore close, each time I went in one with no one else in there for the hour or two I browsed, and each time I heard book lovers lament the lack of a store in their town… Yeah. Those experiences slowly grew into a wish—one where I knew how to rescue those stores from extinction. So maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but that’s how it felt.
Somewhere in the midst of all that, Milton appeared—a business genius who, along with his faithful parrotlet, Atticus (not Finch), travels the country saving corporations from takeover or bankruptcy.
Milton went through several iterations. Older, balding, mustache, and always wearing a golfer’s cap. Then I had him as a young hipster dude who got sick of the rat race on Wall Street and took off on his own, using what he’d learned. That just felt too cliché.
Instead, I have a forty-ish guy who wears chinos and oxford shirts with topsiders, shorter than most men, and with a nonchalant air about him. And charm. The quiet guy with serious business skills just oozes quiet charm.
After deciding on Milton, I had to choose where to put the stores. I’ve been watching out for towns for years—using trips different places as research times. Would I create places that felt like real towns or use actual small towns? Though drawn to real towns, I had an idea for where to end
the series, and, doing that meant a fictional town. Would it be weird to have four or five books set in small towns across America followed by a final fictional one?
The solution came to me as I learned that the Mosaic authors were doing a summer collection in 2021. If I started with a novella and ended the series with both in a fictional town, at least that fictional bit wouldn’t be out of the blue!
So, the Bookstrings series has two novellas and five full-length novels. (I couldn’t resist a Christmas “noella” in the charming town of Noel, Missouri—the “Christmas City.”) We’ll be off to other small towns around the country—one in Red Wing, Minnesota, another in Berne, Indiana, and one somewhere between Kingsport, Tennessee and Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina. If I can find a place in New England, that’d be great, too. Or maybe down in Mississippi… I’d love to visit my sister down there. The Bookstrings series books all have one very important thing in common (aside from Milton and Atticus, of course). They all illustrate that books truly are the strings that tie hearts together.
“Sweet Rivals” by Kari Trumbo is an easy read, perfect for an ideal day at the beach, or an afternoon in your favorite recliner, or even relaxing in an armchair with your Kindle. This book has interesting characters and a warmhearted storyline. Faye and Corbin first meet at a friend’s wedding and hit it off right from the start. A dream comes true for them when Corbin moves to the island but unfortunately, there is a major setback in their relationship. As business rivals on the same island, Corbin’s business will directly impact Faye’s shop. How they face this dire conflict will ultimately determine their relationship and the future they try to forge together despite the odds, twists and turns.
The key themes of friendship, God’s Will and second chances are skillfully interwoven throughout the storyline. Corbin truly desires to be a witness of his faith to his friends. He struggles to determine the all-encompassing Will of God in his life situations and circumstances, especially regarding Faye, their mutual businesses and their lives. Faye struggles to know God’s will for her life and her future. Both Corbin and Faye are in urgent need of second chances. Their faith is stretched to the limit as they struggle to make major life-affecting decisions.
Seeking God’s Will is important for our lives. He might eventually ask us to give up what might only be His plan for us for a season. I love the faith thread woven throughout this sweet romance. After meeting as new friends, Faye and Corbin discover they are business rivals as well. They handle this sweet rivalry amicably. Through their inspiring story of “sweet rivals-to-committed friends,” they discover what ‘true’ friendship really means.
This novel really challenges me to think outside the box, to be willing to accept others and see where God leads us. “Sweet Rivals” reveals how God can transform a difficult life situation, to work it out for our ultimate good and His glory. I highly recommend this extremely well-written, fast-paced, highly engaging and totally endearing story to all our readers.
About the Book
Book: Sweet Rivals
Author: Kari Trumbo
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Release date: March 29, 2022
Fay is about to lose her business…
…to the only guy she’s ever thought might be good for her.
Fay Ravven has spent years building a floral business on Mimosa Island. Too bad a chain florist has moved in right down the street. As her business wanes, she realizes her rival is none other than Corbin Lowel, the very man who swept her heart away at her friend’s wedding.
Corbin knows he’s not good enough for Fay. His friends remind him all the time that, as a florist, he’s not really man enough for anyone. That doesn’t stop him from stepping out of his comfort zone and going to Fay’s store to see if she remembers him. That’s when he discovers that his business is killing hers.
What are rivals to do when they can’t stop thinking about each other? Plan the flowers for someone else’s wedding, of course.
When Corbin and Fay must see each other and work together, will they dive through their pain and reach for the stars? Or will the roses be too prickly for two hurt hearts?
Read the next Sparrow Island novel in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.
Kari writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart. Her favorite place to write about is the place her heart lives, (even if she doesn’t) South Dakota.
Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.
More from Kari
Nudge from the Almighty or personal desire?
Sometimes what we should do is as clear as mud. When I first felt the call to write, I worried that it was a “me” thing. I worried that the nudge that I felt was for my own glory. It didn’t matter that I felt the desire to write Christian fiction. We can do all the things we think are right and still be in the wrong place according to God’s will.
When I literally felt captive to the idea of writing—like, I couldn’t move forward without doing something about it—then I finally considered that perhaps this was God’s will and not just me wanting something. But it took years of the Holy Spirit prodding me before I ever acted.
Fay is like that. She starts her flower business certain she is doing the will of God and it helps that she really wants it too. But she works so hard, putting in so many hours, that she forgets about why she started it and it becomes all work for her own glory. Her business.
Enter Corbin, a really sweet guy who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is used by God to nudge Fay away from her idol and into a deeper relationship. He’s a rival flower shop owner, and the only guy she’s ever felt a connection to. Which makes for some pretty interesting dialogue for the two of them.
Fact is, none of us likes to hear that our desire—especially when we think we’re doing the right thing—is wrong. No one ever wants loving correction by a Heavenly Father who cares about us deeply. We’re supposed to get it right.
Fay has to find out if it’s her business that’s getting in the way of her relationship or if it’s really a heart issue. I hope you’ll enjoy finding out along with her.
“Re-Created for Faith” by Ashley K. Adams is exactly what its sub-title states, “Training in Spiritual Warfare through a Mother’s Heavenly Assignment.” Battling impossible odds, practically staring defeat in the face, Ashley Adams courageously pairs with God on the invisible battlefield in the arena of life, fighting as a spiritual warrior, over her baby boy’s treasured life. This is the amazing and inspiring story of Carston Ford Adams, painstakingly narrated in journal style to chronicle the events of how both the spiritual and physical world warred for Carston’s very existence. Ignoring the “death cries,” Ashley believed for so much more for her beloved son. There had to be a divine purpose, orchestrated by God, for these obstacles in her son’s young life. And it was Ashley’s God-given mission to find it out.
Through an intensely deep devotion to the Bible and personal prayer, God gave Ashley a freshly inspired faith and supernatural strength to relentlessly persevere in saving Carston’s life. This supernatural fight was a virtual battle between the forces of life and death. The hospital room became her training ground of righteousness. God taught Ashley how to use the spiritual weapons with which He equips all believers to fight an enemy bent on our eternal destruction. Absolutely refusing to give up, Ashley experienced answers for the biggest decisions of her life. A divinely-inspired series of miracles pointed to the only One who could truly heal, which spurred Ashley on to keep fighting courageously, without giving up or giving in.
“Re-Created for Faith” shows what gloriously happens when a mother bravely refuses to surrender to the evil attacks of the enemy. It shows us how to anchor these spiritual strategies in our daily life to advance in our spiritual and physical battles
When belief turns into faith-inspired action, believing God for a victory in spite of the visible, miracles really do happen to reveal God’s glory in an awesome way.
I highly recommend “Re-Created for Faith” to all believers who wish to re-create their faith and press on with God, irrespective of their circumstances.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
Ashley Adams is an inspirational writer, who actively journals God’s voice and direction He has for her every day. Re-Created for Faith is the birthplace of her ministry. She blindly trusts in God for the next big steps to expand the Kingdom, faithfully using her social media platforms to encourage people through real-life heartache and God’s plan for it. Ashley lives to see souls saved, serving as a board member and director at Scioto Youth Camp: Reaching Kids for Christ, along with hosting Bible studies in her home for women of the community.
Ashley and her husband, Justin, now have four children, including their newest baby boy. They recently made a big move out of town and into the country. They now reside on what used to be her great-grandfather’s farm of over one hundred acres and are building a new home, excited for what the future holds. Ashley is
determined to obey the Lord as He guides, raising tiny disciples through her homeschooling and pressing in on aspirations to adopt more children. Ashley’s faith has been tried by fire, yet she experiences God’s blessings ten-fold.
To read original posts from Carston’s battle, search #prayersforcartson on Facebook. For current updates and encouragement through life, follow Ashley on Facebook and Instagram @ashleyadams4faith.
More from Ashley
This mission from God all stemmed from one simple prayer and the greatest thirst for Him that could not be quenched. “God, use me!” I prayed day after day, not knowing that God’s plan begun the moment I first uttered those words. Nine months later, He literally delivered what was the most precious and greatest challenge of my faith. In the midst of fighting for my son’s life, I didn’t have much of a choice but to record every detail of battle and victory. This story wasn’t an idea; it didn’t stem from a dream. God chose this assignment for me, a journey much bigger than I would have ever chosen for myself, and so in obedience to His command, I wrote. A simple prayer and a battlefield became my pencil and paper as I revealed the power of God and miracles He still performs today. When you crack open my book, I dare you to make a stronger commitment to Christ and rank up in faith as you relive the battle with me, learning my lessons along the way to receive the crown of victory.
“Grief Exposed” by Mike Sollom describes the anguish of his heart when he gives a voice to the unspeakable. As Mike finds the right words to express his grief, he also finds a way to endure the pain. As Mike exposes those words of dark grief to the illuminating light, islands of hope and rays of light are revealed. Mike realized that those words of light, discovered in the darkest of nights, can help others to endure their pain and loss. Mike’s unbearable loss of his son and his inconsolable memories give voice to someone else’s grief. As Mike exposed his grief, he found the strength to persevere in faith without despairing. Mike found the strength to live life on its altered scale. In this heartmoving book, Mike genuinely cries out to God and our Lord helps him to get a measure of relief from pain. I highly recommend this book to all who struggle to cope with the dark reality of inconsolable grief.
In those dreadful early days and nights after Mike’s son died, the only thing he could think to do, when he collided with the morbid memories of his son’s suffering and the unbearable ache of Jim’s absence, was to find some way to describe how he was feeling. So, he found a spiral-bound notebook and wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote.
Mike believed if he could assign words to the grief and pain, he might find a way to endure them. If he could bring those words into the light, it might make the whole thing bearable. Many of the words were dark and raw and angry and did little more than chronicle ten interminable years of wrestling and railing. But there were island of hope and yes, there were words of light.
Through the gentle and generous encouragement of friends, Mike came to wonder if those words of light, which he discovered in the darkest of nights, might also help someone else endure the unbearable realities of their grief and loss—that they might become someone’s guide. If they could, then how could he keep those words buried in a stack of spiral-bound notebooks?
I don’t know who wrote that. I saw it on a poster with no credit given. But it’s a good description of how this book came to be and what I hope will be its outcome—its path and its purpose.
Here’s the truth of it: I didn’t set out to write anything. Much less a book. I still don’t see myself as a writer. Yet, here I am.
I went somewhere I didn’t want to go. I went through something I never dreamed I’d have to go through. I didn’t have a choice. I went there. I went through it. And now I’m telling my story.
My first-born son died of cancer.
In those dreadful early days and nights after Jim died, the only thing I could think to do—when I collided with the morbid memories of his suffering and the unbearable ache of his absence—was to find some way to describe how I was feeling. So, I found a spiral-bound notebook and wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote.
I believed if I could assign words to the grief and pain, I might find a way to endure them. If I could bring those words into the light, it might make the whole thing bearable. Many of the words were dark and raw and angry and did little more than chronicle ten interminable years of wrestling and railing. But there were islands of hope and yes, there were words of light.
Through the gentle and generous encouragement of friends, I came to wonder if those words of light, which I discovered in the darkest of nights, might also help someone else endure the unspeakable realities of their grief and loss—that my voice might become someone’s “survival guide.” If so, then how could I keep those words buried in a stack of spiral-bound notebooks just because I didn’t see myself as a writer?
I’m taking a huge risk by plunging back into that bottomless pit of loss and dragging myself through that incessant slog of sorrow once again, unclear of the worth or usefulness of the outcome. I’m exposing my most intimate grief, with all its messiness and vulnerability, uncertain of its reception or the consequences it will bring. I’m giving a voice—my voice—to the unspeakable pain of death and suffering, unaware of who will hear me or how they will respond. Yet, in the face of all of that, I’ve decided it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
“One day you will tell the story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else’s survival guide.”
“Able Soul” by Lucy Goncalves is a strikingly honest, deeply inspirational account of God’s amazing grace and love. With great wisdom, Lucy draws the most insightful analogies from the myriad challenges and sweet triumphs of her own life, as she overcame the set-backs of living with cerebral palsy. “Able Soul” is a wake-up call to the world. This inspiring book reveals a different way of thinking and living, one that human society desperately needs today. True to its name, Able Soul empowers God’s Spirit within. God gave Lucy His grace and unconditional love to endure the challenging and difficult times. This book, birthed from prayer, will encourage us to have a deeper connection with God, the Holy Spirit, in our daily life. It proves that we can live in awareness of God at every moment. I highly recommend this awesome book for a deeper walk with God.
No stranger to adversity, Lucy Goncalves was deprived of oxygen at birth. She has lived her entire life with cerebral palsy, and the daily challenges she must face as a result.
In her award-winning debut book Able Soul: Empowering God’s Spirit Within, she explores the ground-breaking lessons garnered from embracing her struggles rather than giving up on God because of them. On the backdrop of personal stories from her life, along with related scriptures and prayers, you will find proof that the Holy Spirit is always accessible. God works with you in the midst of all your challenges.
By inviting God’s spirit in daily, Lucy has received tangible communications from God. She shares how the power of these soul-lifting reflections will lead you out of the darkness and steadfast toward pure contentment.
Author, Advocate, Adventure Sport Enthusiast, Able Soul
Lucy Goncalves began her writing career by penning a sought-after blog, ‘Able Soul’ where she shares her life experiences of living with a disability, and in the midst of it found hope, faith, and the greatest love of all. Due to a lack of oxygen at birth, Lucy acquired Cerebral Palsy. She uses a powerchair for mobility, wrestling with chronic muscle spasms, and has a speech impediment, yet has fought through these obstacles to tell her story. She is the epitome of overcoming adversity.
Lucy is the daughter of Portuguese Canadian immigrants from Northern Portugal. She was raised in Kitimat, British Columbia and has been living independently in North Vancouver for the past few decades
She obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration and has chaired several nonprofit boards, including the InterFit Society, an organization that exists to remove barriers for people with disabilities to access outdoor recreational adventures.
Anyone who has met Lucy Goncalves can attest to her radiant personality, intellect, quick wit, sense of adventure and to the depth of her character. In her book, she shares candid reflections of her life living with a disability, the abuse she encountered, and the freedom she found with God. She hopes that you too will discover your own Able Soul story.
Hung for the sins of humanity, on a cross of cruelty and shame, wounded, bruised, chastised, humiliated, beaten with stripes, the deathly sweat of His Gethsemane anguish, mingling with the deathly darkness of His Calvary agony.
How great the Father’s love for the lost mankind, in sin and woe. He sent His Son to the cross to pay the price for sin. On the cross He shed His last drop of blood, a perfect offering for sin to redeem and restore us to be Children of God.
Eternal Life is in the Blood, Everlasting Love of a Father, Humble Obedience of the Son, He went as a Lamb to the slaughter, that you and I might live.
“Dial E for Endearment” by Heidi Gray McGill is such a sensitive, joy-filled book. How apt that the main character, Everly is Blowing Rock, NC’s JOY Radio talk show host! What first attracted me to this book was the fact that author Heidi Gray McGill and Everly, have something in common. Like Everly, Heidi is also legally blind. Her diagnosis was devastating. There is no cure. There is no surgery. But there is hope. Heidi can still live a life of value, as this inspiring book proves beyond the shadow of a doubt. This book is very endearing to read. We can easily identify with the characters. Great world building! I highly recommend this book to all people who struggle to cope with life on its altered scale.
About the Book
Author: Heidi Gray McGill
Genre: Sweet Christian Contemporary Romance
Release date: February 1, 2022
Everly Johnson is every man’s dream of the perfect date, even though none of her audience has met her. As host for the Choose Joy segment of JOY Radio in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, she receives countless gifts of flowers and candy on behalf of her admires, which she promptly donates to her mother’s assisted living facility. What Everly wants are words–heartfelt, meaningful endearments meant for her ears only. She wants a man who will open her eyes to everything she cannot see to make her feel more than just the voice behind the mic.
Cameron Boyd struggles to make eye contact with anyone, let alone say something coherent unless it is the one-way conversation he has each Friday with Everly Johnson. Date night for Cam involves sitting alone on his back porch overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains while he dreams of things to say if he were ever to call in to her show.
A chance meeting changes everything.
Will Cam be able to step out of his comfort zone and into the world he has only been able to envision in his mind? Will Everly trust this stranger with her life as well as her heart?
Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to seamlessly weave scripture into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.
Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.
More from Heidi
Everly, the main character in Dial E for Endearment and I have something in common, but it may not be what you’d expect. As Blowing Rock, NC’s JOY Radio talk show host, Everly has discovered fulfillment, but she hasn’t found love, at least not for her—not even from her mother. In Dial E for Endearment, Everly wants words–heartfelt, meaningful endearments meant for her ears only. She wants a man who will open her eyes to everything she cannot see to make her feel more than just the voice behind the mic.
My diagnosis in 2001 of Retinitis Pigmentosa was devastating. There is no cure. There is no surgery. But that does not mean there is no hope.
I still have value.
Those who do not know me well often don’t realize I have low vision. As humans, we are amazingly adaptable, and I do a pretty good job covering up my disability. My friends have learned to watch out for me and alert me to potential pitfalls, some better than others, which is always good for a laugh. I use a cane when I’m navigating alone. I’ve traveled to China—that cane my only companion.
Being blind is certainly not something I would have chosen,
but it does not define me.
Join me on this fun adventure and see for yourself that God does not discriminate. You’ll laugh your way through mishaps–most of which may have happened to me at some point…although I’ll most likely deny if asked. But most of all, you’ll learn that we ALL have value, and that includes YOU.
“The Marquis’s Pursuit” by Lorri Dudley is a poignant, spiritually inspiring novel that tugs at our heartstrings from start to finish. This is a most extraordinary book, with such amazing twists and turns, that it has to be read in order to be believed. It even ends spectacularly with a towering inferno! As we read page after page, we are overwhelmed at the intensity of the emotions tearing the main characters apart. Lorri Dudley has painstakingly crafted an awesome tale of loss, second chances, forgiveness, betrayal, surrender, redemption and beauty for ashes. I highly recommend this inspiring book, that is guaranteed to give readers full satisfaction of heart and mind, with ultimate spiritual fulfillment.
About the Book
Author: Lorri Dudley
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: April 12, 2022
She’s desperate to keep her secret hidden, but he’s a determined Marquis.
As the son of a duke, Maxwell Oliver Weld, Marquis of Daventry, is allowed entry into the finest of London’s ballrooms, access to political figures, and advice from the best physicians. Yet, his wealth and contacts won’t heal his friend, Charlie, who’s dying from consumption. Hopeful for a miracle, Max persuades Charlie to sail across the Atlantic to stay in the Artesian Hotel on the island of Nevis and bathe in its famous healing springs. Max’s optimism is washed in doubt as the truth unravels about the hotel, its hot springs, and the beautiful caretaker.
The blaze of Evelyn Mairi Sheraton’s fiery side has long since been snuffed out. Hunted by a vengeful man from her past, only fortitude and the island’s sanctuary have kept Evelyn alive. She will do whatever it takes to keep her precious secret safe, even work for the demeaning Artesian Hotel owner, Edward Rousseau. However, when a jaunty marquis and his ailing friend arrive, sparks ignite, but Evelyn fears the revealing of her secrets will burn her to ash.
The elusive Evelyn may tend to Charlie’s well-being, but she stirs Max’s protective nature. He’d like nothing more than to remove her from the wretched employment of Edward Rousseau, yet that might endanger Charlie’s health even more. Refusing to give up on a miracle, Max waters her guarded heart, certain beauty will rise out of ashes. But when her secrets come to life, will love be worth the price?
Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household. Find her online at http://www.lorridudley.com
More from Lorri
The duty to care for and protect those he loves prompts Max to return to the Leeward Islands to save his closest mate, Charlie. He’s confident that God, with a bit of help from the famous healing springs in Nevis, will save Max’s life. However, Charlie has his own plans to unite the caring but secretive hotel caretaker, Evelyn Sheraton, with his buddy Max.
In the middle of writing, The Marquis’s Pursuit, my cousin passed away suddenly. He was newly married, in his early thirties, and in the process of renovating a house when he became sick. He started losing weight, and before doctors could figure out what was wrong, he went into organ failure and died. My heart still aches for those he left behind, especially his wife and my aunt and uncle.
As I wrote, the lines between fiction and reality blurred, and it’s hard to believe my tears didn’t fry out my laptop as I typed. But I’m grateful for how God used Max’s journey to help me to process why bad things happen, and how ultimately, God has a bigger plan that, at times, we can’t see or fathom.
God doesn’t always work in straight lines. Sometimes we must battle problems and issues to touch as many people as possible on our journey toward heaven. Stories, especially romances in my opinion, broaden our understanding of how those we love comfort and carry us through illness, pain, and sorrow. Max and Evelyn reminded me to stay anchored to those we love, lean on each other’s faith, and most importantly, that love conquers all.
In this heartwarming Amish romance, Emma, a brokenhearted woman and Sam, a steadfast man discover that the safest place to weather tragedy is to love and trust each other.
After the murder of her parents, Emma Hochstedler returns to the small community of Johns Mill, to resume her quiet life on its altered scale. This proves harder than she thought, in the glaring limelight of the movie being made about her family’s loss. But then, an old friend offers her a lifeline that gives her new purpose.
Amish builder Samuel Christner, a gentle giant and the strongest man in town, has only one weakness—Emma. Although she broke his heart once, he is determined not to let his childhood sweetheart face her troubles alone. When he hires Emma as a nurse for his elderly aunt, he loses his heart to her all over again.
But while the rose of romance blooms, dark storm clouds gather overhead. And ultimately, it will take all Sam’s deep, inner strength and all the passionate fullness of their love to see them through the looming darkness hanging like a sword over their heads. Read this beautiful story of Emma and Sam. It will touch your hearts like never before.
Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes inspirational romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart! She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals.
A enthusiastic multi-tasker, Laurel writes for both Berkley/Penguin Random House and Love Inspired/Harlequin. She’s the recipient of ACFW’s Carol Award, The New England Reader’s Choice Award and GRW’s Maggie Award. She’s represented by Jessica Alvarez of Bookends Literary Agency.
Strength in the Storm is Laurel’s seventh book—and four more stories are in the works! Stay tuned!
More from Laurel A word from Laurel:
Oh, I can’t wait for you to meet Emma and Sam—they’re one of my all-time favorite story couples! And what an intriguing combination they are: a gentle man known far and wide for his physical strength…and a heartbroken woman—his boyhood sweetheart—who’s his one and only weakness.
Don’t you just love a good second chance romance? I know I do! There’s something so satisfying about seeing a broken love story beautifully mended. Of course, it won’t be easy. Emma and Sam’s story is mixture of joy and sorrow, laughter and tears—lots and lots of bumps on the road for these two. But they’re about to discover that love and faith shine their brightest in life’s darkest moments—and that trouble only makes a hard-won “happily ever after” even sweeter!
“The Pilgrim Legacy” by Derek Prince articulates the biblical principle of sowing a tiny mustard seed of faith and reaping a harvest for eternity. As the Bible says, the Church is a bride and a city. Its identity is in Christ and its responsibility is to be the salt and light of the world. When the Pilgrims fasted and prayed, faith germinated to guide the growth of America.
The real Pilgrim legacy is one of faith, birthed in the heart and soul of America by a loving God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
President Ronald Reagan spoke of America as “a city set on a hill” – (Matthew 5:15) – “And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”
How did America become the greatest and most powerful nation in the world, a beacon light for lost pilgrims? America’s great power and shining beacon of light comes only from an undying faith in the living God.
America was born as a representative republic, a land ruled by laws and principles, embedded in the Constitution, hewn by men of great calibre and wisdom, guided by the eternal truths of God’s Word. Although the light of America still shines, reflecting the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, the nation is turning from its biblical foundations of honoring God and His Word, to favoring the dark philosophy of secular humanism.
God has used America to bless the whole world, and countless people came to America to become citizens, including Derek Prince, an intelligent scholar and Bible teacher from England. As he learned of the Pilgrims’ heroic struggle for religious freedom that led to the birth of Amery, the truths he encountered profoundly impacted his own life. Derek was firmly convinced that the legacy of the Pilgrims must be told, an unforgettable saga never to be erased from America’s history. This book is dedicated to the Pilgrims and their unfading light – the Light of Jesus Christ – ignited in their hearts forever.
Quoting from Scripture, Derek Prince focuses on the historical record of the Pilgrims, especially from the famous work by William Bradford, “Of Plymouth Plantation.” The truths of the Pilgrim narratives prove that the foundational principles in the Christian faith can be applied practically to America today, and to this crucial time in world history.
Derek Prince’s imagination was fired by the biblical story of how God, through Abraham, transformed a small band of sojourners in a foreign land into a great nation. With strikingly parallel similarity, Derek’s imagination was captivated by the unique story of how a small band of Europeans, the Pilgrims, called by God, also sojourned in a foreign land to become a great nation. Read “The Pilgrim Legacy” to learn the foundational principles of the great American nation and its people.
About the Book
Author: Derek Prince
Release date: November 16, 2021
A story that must not be erased from America’s history or from the public squares of nations worldwide…
“In all the history of the world, as nations have arisen and fallen amid endless war and bloodshed, the founding of America was utterly unique,” writes Derek Prince. “Reaching the shores of an unknown wilderness, a small group of people planted seeds—not of military might, or wealth, or power, but seeds of faith and freedom. And those seeds took hold and grew.”
Such seeds affect the destinies of nations.
A nation participates in shaping its own destiny through the process of sowing and reaping: what nations sow, they will reap. If they seek to align themselves with God’s purposes, they will experience His favor and blessing. But if they seek to align themselves with purposes that are in opposition to God’s, they will not prosper
Who were the Pilgrims? Why did they come to America? What difference did they make in the history of our country—and what does their legacy tell us about our country’s destiny?
The seeds sown by our Pilgrim ancestors 400 years ago continue to influence our culture and government. The basic principles by which they lived—beliefs in personal liberty, freedom of religion, and living in covenant with others—laid a strong foundation for America’s religious and political freedom. Without question, what the Pilgrims sowed, America has reaped as an abundant harvest.
Yet how long will the blessing of the Pilgrims’ influence continue? The light of this nation is still shining. But something is going wrong. Like a heavy, unanticipated fog, a spiritual darkness is gradually moving in to dim that light.
In The Pilgrim Legacy, internationally recognized Bible teacher and scholar Derek Prince discloses the biblical principles and tools at work in the lives of this small group of Christians who were, in a sense, the spiritual ancestors of the United States. It was these principles that not only helped to establish the nation but enabled America to be a stepping-stone in spreading the light of the gospel of the kingdom around the world.
By discovering and implementing the principles by which the Pilgrims lived, we can continue The Pilgrim Legacy today and preserve the spiritual destiny of our nation.
Derek Prince, Bible scholar and spiritual patriarch Derek Prince (1915–2003) was educated as a scholar of classical languages at Eton College and Cambridge University in England, and later at Hebrew University in Israel. While serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) during World War II, he began to study the Bible as a philosophical work and, as a result, experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Derek Prince taught and ministered on six continents for more than sixty years, imparting God’s revealed truth, praying for the sick, and sharing his prophetic insights. He is the author of more than eighty books, six hundred audio teachings, and one hundred video teachings, many of which have been translated and published in more than one hundred languages. Prince pioneered teaching on such groundbreaking themes as generational curses, the biblical significance of Israel, and demonology. Derek Prince Ministries, with its international
headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, carries on the good work that God began in and through him.
More from Whitaker House In The Pilgrim Legacy, internationally recognized Bible teacher and scholar Derek Prince discloses the biblical principles and tools at work in the lives of this small group of Christians who were, in a sense, the spiritual ancestors of the United States. It was these principles that not only helped to establish the nation but enabled America to be a stepping-stone in spreading the light of the gospel of the kingdom around the world. By discovering and implementing the principles by which the Pilgrims lived, we can continue The Pilgrim Legacy today and preserve the spiritual destiny of our nation.
“Peace in the Mountain Haven” by Misty M. Beller is an epic journey through breathless landscapes and intense adventures, as Watkuese and her adopted daughter, Pop-pank press on in their passionate quest to find the family their hearts long for. Desperate to return across the Rocky Mountains before the dead of winter sets in, time runs out for Watkuese to get her daughter back to her Shoshone village.
Hugh Charpentier shepherds Watkuese and her daughter back to their family village across the treacherous Rocky mountains. It makes him risk his lonely heart to a woman and child who may never be his. This is a poignant, unconditional love story that tugs at your heartstrings, full of danger, excitement, and suspense, of how two people from entirely different backgrounds try to understand each other in their passionate quest to assuage their loneliness.
Misty Beller skillfully combines her fervent love for clean, Christian fiction with the simple joys of rustic, rural, ranch life, writing historical novels to display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the turbulent lives and times of her characters. Writing is a beautiful dream come true for Misty, with each new book that she writes, to give a full and complete satisfaction to her beloved readers.
Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.
Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.
More from Misty
What do you love most about this genre?
I tend to be a bit of a sentimentalist, so Historical Romance is perfect for me! My favorite period is between 1800 – 1880, when the west was still an extreme frontier. I love the simpler life, where there’s no rat race. Just hard work, plenty of alone time (can you tell I’m an introvert?), and a strong family unit.
Are readers always promised a “happily ever after” in your novels? Why or why not?
Absolutely! I read as an escape, so that happily ever after is important to me. I know my characters will face challenges after the story ends, but I want to finish the book knowing they’ve grown through the story and will be able to meet future struggles with God’s strength and the support of each other—as well as family and friends!
How can readers connect with you?
I love to connect with readers! One of my favorite ways is through my newsletter, and readers can get a free copy of my book, A Pony Express Romance, when they sign up for the newsletter. Here’s the link for that: https://mistymbeller.com/freebook
Genre: Women’s Contemporary/ Christian Romance/Family Life Fiction
Release date: October 27, 2021
While watching her favorite baking show, “Cupcake Rivalry,” to her utter amazement and disbelief, Sarah Sweeting suddenly spots a contestant who looks, sounds and moves exactly like her long-lost twin sister, with whom her mother ran away twenty years ago! Unfortunately, Granny suffers a heart attack when she confirms Sarah’s shocking discovery.
Meanwhile, Raven Souwer’s morning begins at a frenzied and frenetic pace, with phones ringing incessantly with no respite, as everyone clamors to see the Cupcake Rivalry contestants—Raven and her best friend, Will Durning.
That’s when a mysterious phone call from an excited woman called Sarah causes pandemonium! Sarah claims to be Raven’s long-lost sister whom she cannot remember. Sarah informs Raven that their grandmother, whom she never knew, was admitted in hospital.
The call upends Raven’s young life and resurrects old trauma that lay buried for so long. Will Sarah and Raven finally be united, or will other sisterly rivalry and heartbreaking memories threaten to destroy the fragile relationship between twins long separated by the trauma of their mother’s addiction.
Forgiveness and unconditional love is the urgent need of the hour, but can these two sensitive sisters risk more hurt of the heart to realize their dream of a united family at long last?
Terri Gillespie paints a vivid and heartwarming picture of a broken family, ultimately transformed through their blossoming relationship with God who loves them most. This is a faith-inspiring book that swells the heart and make us sing with the joy of peace and reconciliation.
Award-winning author and beloved speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture women’s souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father.
Life is a journey. Terri lived in fear most of her life. Stories helped her see life through the lens of adventure and God’s abiding love. Those stories were the seeds that changed her perspective. They empowered her to be brave. She hopes her stories will do the same for you.
She is the author of critically-acclaimed women’s devotional Making Eye Contact with God, the award-winning novel She Does Good Hair, CUT IT OUT!,
Really Bad Hair Day, and award-winning novel, Sweet Rivalry.
More from Terri
Where do stories come from? Oh, so many places. Sweet Rivalry began over ten years ago with an idea called the “cupcake sisters.” Two sisters who worked in a small hometown bakery trying to be true to family recipes and not get overrun by the food chains. Not much more than that. Boring, right?
The other day, I ran across my notes written years ago with other ideas for the sisters. No plots could carry an interesting enough story to get the creative juices going.
A dear friend—and amazing author—gave me a life-sized cupcake candle. The vibrant colors and glittery icing were meant to inspire me to develop the idea and write the book. It sat on my inspiration shelf for years. At first every time I looked at it, I would smile
But, as the years went by the sun faded the candle, as did my hope of finding the right story for the cupcake sisters.
Then, during COVID I got hooked on those reality shows about long-lost families being reunited after decades of separation. Some of the families had no idea the other family member existed.
Each episode meant a fist of soppy tissues. Yet, even with the dramatic music, professional editing, and big build-up, some families’ smiles didn’t quite reach their eyes.
I wondered, what happens to these people after the camera crews leave? After the emotional reunions, the excitement subsides and reality settles into their respective homes? How do these people from very different histories become a family? Do they even try? Do they want to face the secrets that separated them?
Some of the “long-lost” family members were children from affairs. Most were children given up through adoption. Others abandoned. One man found his birth mother, only to learn he was the result of a rape. How do they navigate the choppy and complex psychological waters?
These interesting stories became delicious ingredients for the Sweet Rivalry novel. Twin sisters separated as toddlers by a troubled mother. One sister, Sarah was raised by her loving, Christian grandmother who owned the local Sweet’s Bakery.
The other sister, Raven was raised by her addicted mother, in crack houses. Still, Raven manages to become a celebrated pastry chef.
How do twins with completely different childhoods become a family? How does the sister raised in a loving, stable, Christian environment form a relationship with the sister who has seen the worst of society and had to pull herself from a terrible background all on her own? Who now blames God for the horrific things that happened to her.
And a grandmother that hides a terrible secret?
Now, throw into the mix three handsome men vying for the twins’ affections, then bake with the emotional investments into the lives of these women, and you’ve got quite a recipe for a delectable story.
With humor and passion and delicious recipes, Sweet Rivalry will satisfy the hungry reader looking for a unique story of hope.
You know, Sweet Rivalry’s journey proved to me once again, that creativity can’t be forced, and GOD’s timing is always the best—even if it is a ten-year wait.
To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon Gift Card, signed copy of Sweet Rivalry, Sweet Rivalry Coffee Mug, Sweet Rivalry bookmark, and a Hand-poured Cupcake Candle!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
“Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: Baby’s First Book of Extraordinary Women” introduces our budding baby reader to the lives of extraordinary Rebel women, past and present, who dared to stand out and excel in their chosen fields, from around the world. It features trailblazing artists, athletes, activists and inventors in its colorful, inviting pages, exciting pioneers like pilot Amelia Earhart and many other inspiring icons. Sparkling, easy-to-read text and beautiful portraits will capture our young baby readers’ attention from start to finish, to make this an all-time bedtime favorite. This is a beautiful collection of famous, extraordinary women throughout history, with brief information on each page, perfectly appropriate for a young baby reader at bedtime stories time. The pictures are really exciting to see, with full color photographs for each profile. An ample variety of people, countries of origin and historical time periods are represented. There are beautifully illustrated drawings and apt word descriptions for a baby reader to enjoy. With its all-encompassing kaleidoscopic perspective and wide-ranging panoramic vision, it is a perfect book for its baby audience. This visionary book has already achieved its aim to delight baby readers. I highly recommend it for our young baby readers enjoyment.
“Heart of the Rockies” by Angela Breidenbach reminds us that most of the biggest opportunities in life first start out as small-time dreams that dare to sprout wings to fly. The Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium was built by Charles A. Broadwater, in a growing city, Helena, in a new state, Montana, USA. His dream was to make Helena, Montana a destination for travelers from the east, at the turn of the century. This heartmoving story of creative innovation and mutual respect depicts what life in early Montana was like, as it became a new state. In 1892, the sport of synchronized swimming was known as scientific and ornamental swimming. This novel has two young swimming instructors for men and women, Hugh Thomas and Delphina O’Connor. Both of them are recruited to work for the wealthy resort owner, Mr. Charles A. Broadwater. Angela Breidenbach weaves the elements of faith, love, the suffragette movement and sports, to create a great historical romance. As Angela graphically presents the elaborate real-life history of the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium through historical fiction, several iconic people from Montana’s true history spring to life in the pages of this inspiring book. Angela even weaves genealogical and historical facts into this enriching glimpse of Montana’s extremely rich, elegant and illustrious past, a Gilded Age society that now exists only in memory. I highly recommend this inspiring novel to readers of great historical fiction.
1892, Helena MT: Delphina O’Connor believed God-given dreams for women didn’t stop at marriage and children. Hers might not include a husband or family at all. So when Hugh Thomas rescues the new swimming instructor at the elegant Broadwater Natatorium from near drowning in the Victorian-styled resort pool, how can anyone believe the freedom to enjoy swimming, competition, and a healthy body is an appropriate activity for a proper lady? Hugh is about to find out status quo is the starting line for a courageous woman with a dream!
Elaborate true history of the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium in romantic fiction. You’ll meet several iconic people from Montana’s true history in these pages. What do you do when you think differently than the world around you?
Lovely story sharing the early days of women in synchronized swimming nearing the turn-of-the-century when traditional sensibilities battle modern ideas. How does a traditional man learn to love a modern woman?
Angela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist, media personality, bestselling author, and screenwriter. She’s also the Christian Authors Network president. Angie lives in Montana with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who shakes hands, rolls over, and jumps through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angela can also.
More from Angela I toured Helena, MT for the research that kicked off my passion for the Queen of the Rockies series. While there, I searched for more on the history of the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. Visiting the now empty fields, staring through the fence where the resort once stood, I missed the elegant beauty even though I’d never known her. The way the mountains swooped up from the valley with the hot springs at the base created a dramatic sense of place. I had to write a story set at the Broadwater!
While volunteering with a non-profit for children, the executive director asked why I’d gone to Helena recently. Bubbling over with enthusiasm, he started telling me everything he knew, saw, and experienced at the resort area while growing up near the Broadwater in Helena. His wife and he had even attended the final auction in the 1960s before the grand lady lost her battle with time and damages from the major earthquakes of 1935. She was demolished after the auction! The ornamental elements of the hotel and natatorium took record auction prices from doorknobs to copper bathtub rings. Even what was left of the stained-glass windows sold. What I hadn’t found in history books, online, or at the local history museum/society my friends shared with misty-eyed memories. The sweetness of hearing their stories and being able to use them in my book was pretty miraculous. I had a front seat to history.
The Broadwater Hotel had an interesting feature in their bath/shower rooms. If you’ve ever heard of a “needle”
shower, it sounds painful. But it was a revolutionary new therapy treatment in the 1890s. I saw a few black and white faded photos. Those pictures in history books and online couldn’t do justice to the real invention. Want to see a little more before you read Heart of the Rockies? Here’s a link to visit on the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. I think you’ll want to immerse yourself (pun intended) in a story set in her extravagant, elegance. See what you think…
One weekend, my husband and I took a trip to Butte to stay at the Copper King Mansion. The stay included a tour and use of their facilities. (Don’t pass that bed and breakfast overnight up. It’s really amazing and closely preserved through the families that lived there!) The original owner, William A. Clark, had a needle shower installed to help his sickly son. What do you know? It still worked! I tried it that night. Because the tiny sprays are in a circular design all the way around your body, the shower rings you. The experience, minus the issue of one ring being right at face level causing a lot of battles to breathe, was exhilarating. More so because of the unique nature. But when the water pressure is all the way on, the water can sting with the force on your skin. I fully understood the name! Adjusting the spickets brought the water pressure under control, but I had one further difficulty. The pipes that ringed my neck and head sprayed water into my face no matter what direction I moved. They’d been built to the height of a young
man. Let’s just say it was a near-drowning! Super fun to try though.
Besides visiting Helena, make sure to stop in for your weekend in Butte, MT at the Copper King Bed and Breakfast. Take the tour. Then when you’re free of the museum visitors, and the house is all yours for the night, step into the needle shower (maybe really bring a waterproof step) and be swished back in time to the Gilded Age. Hmm, maybe I should be writing a time travel novel??
Come plunge into the pages of Heart of the Rockies with me.
“The Mechanic & the MD” by Linda Shenton Matchett is an incredibly clean story that incorporates God’s faithfulness in trials and tragedy. Fiction is skillfully interwoven with historical facts to present a fascinating glimpse into a time span when the uncertainty of war was felt by myriad people everywhere. Linda focuses on women who serve their country in different roles and capacities.
Doris is a unique character with her matter-of-fact, down-to-earth, no-nonsense attitude and extraordinary, indefatigable passion to execute her assigned job par excellence. With the Red Cross Motor Corps, Doris finds the perfect job suitable for her skills. She always trusted God wholeheartedly and relied on Him to guide her in her chosen path of service.
Ron, a gifted surgeon, has dedicated his life to save men in combat with his surgical knowledge of medical procedures. He just cannot figure out what in the world his old high school acquaintance Doris is doing, working as a mechanic, in exactly the same place where he is! His constant worry is whether she will distract him from his job. There is a perfect blend of friction and fun banter between the two of them, as they focus singlemindedly on the jobs they are assigned to perform.
In her selfless service during wartime, Doris proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that women are capable of doing jobs previously done exclusively by men. The story flows effortlessly at a nice pace, with the faith element skillfully woven through the story. Will Doris and Ron get the strength to overcome their past and get a second chance at a relationship of their own?
This book highlights the unique role of women as they served during the war. Historical novels chronicle the unusual jobs women held, especially during wartime. With less women in the work force, Doris answers the call to serve her country. This is a wonderful historical read. I highly recommend it to all readers of historical fiction who like to combine the elements of faith, family and service for the ultimate good of humanity.
All’s fair in love and war. Or so they say.
High school and college were a nightmare for Doris Strealer and being an adult isn’t much better. Men won’t date a woman of her height, and they don’t understand her desire to repair car engines rather than work as a nurse or a teacher. When her father’s garage closes, and no one will hire a female mechanic, she joins the Red Cross Motor Corps, finally feeling at home. Until she comes face to face with her past in the form of Ronald McCann, the most popular boy in school.
On the brink of a successful career as a surgeon, Ron’s plans crumble when he’s drafted and assigned to an evacuation hospital in England, the last place he expects to run into a former schoolmate. The gangly tomboy who was four years behind him in high school has transformed into a statuesque beauty, but a broken engagement in college leaves him with no desire to risk his heart ever again.
Will the hazards of war make or break a romance between this unlikely couple?
Linda Matchett Head Shot (1)Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.
More from Linda
As a former human resources professional I am fascinated by the history of women in the workplace. The WWII is especially intriguing because not only did women enter the workforce, but they took jobs previously only held by men. And they proved themselves up to the task.
Because of my background, one of the first things I do when devising a story is to determine the protagonist’s job, and I love putting her into an unusual situation. My heroines have been mercantile owners, gold prospectors, spies, war correspondents, photographers, and pilots. In The Mechanic & The MD, Doris Strealer is…you guessed it…a mechanic.
I learned early on that I am NOT mechanically inclined. Newly married with not a lot of extra cash, my husband and I decided we would perform our own car maintenance. My husband grew up helping his dad, so he had lots of experience. How hard could it be?
For me, apparently very difficult. My first (and only) attempt to change the oil ended with my face and hands covered in black muck and a hole in the filter (don’t ask!). I determined I’m better at holding the flashlight or performing other assistant-type duties.
As it turns out, that wasn’t the case for Britain’s future Queen Elizabeth who became the first female member of the British royal family to become an active duty member of the Armed Forces when she joined the Auxiliary Territory Service. She underwent a six-week auto mechanic training course and learned how to deconstruct, repair, and rebuild engines, change tires, and drive every type of vehicle she worked on including jeeps, trucks, and ambulances.
When I learned of her service, I was intrigued, and the idea for The Mechanic & The MD was born.
I hope you enjoy Doris’s story, my effort to honor the men and women who served during this difficult period in history.
Gracie’s Surrender” by Blossom Turner is a heartwarming, incredibly well-written, historical novel with multi-dimensional characters that absolutely wring your heartstrings! The characters are so well developed, with real, palpable, painfully raw emotions. This well-rounded, emotionally charged story, makes a delightfully absorbing read from start to finish, with compelling, warmhearted characters, that spring realistically to life on the page. The heart-warming plot, full of twists and turns, moves at a steady pace through the narrative, with a strong, inspiring faith element flowing naturally through the story. The historical aspect of the Orphan Train is very well-researched and perfectly integrated into the narrative of a warmhearted story of love, faith, trials, disappointments and God’s love in action. Magnificent, superb, challenging and compelling, Gracie’s and Matthew’s story is so powerful, filled with a beautiful faith element interwoven into the storyline to show the love of God in action. Gracie’s selfless dedication to God and passionate devotion to the orphan children is truly admirable and praiseworthy. Gracie’s character is very well developed. Matthew is a most endearing character with sound Christian values. Blossom Turner explores the blossoming relationship between Gracie and Matthew with great delicacy. I highly recommend this splendid novel to all readers who wish to see true satisfaction in the beautiful, illuminating pages of a most inspiring book.
Helping the orphan children in Richmond just might overturn everything Gracie thought she knew, including the value of love.
Gracie Williams has always had an adventurous streak, which led her from her home in the Shenandoah Valley to Richmond, Virginia, where she can devote her life to the orphan children. Though her beauty has brought on the advances of many men, she has no plans to marry, and finds suitors an unfortunate irritation she doesn’t have time for—much to her parents’ chagrin.
When she befriends Matthew Weston, the mature and serious orphanage superintendent, she confides in him and believes he shares her goals. Neither are prepared for the sparks that fly. Tension grows as Matthew falls in love with her, yet realizes he is just another man in the long line of would-be suitors.
A family crisis, an orphan train, and the plight of a sweet orphan named Emma throw the couple together in deep and meaningful ways. But will this be enough for Gracie to embrace a new way of thinking, and the gift of love that only true soul mates can share?
About the Author
Blossom Turner is a freelance writer published in Chicken Soup and Kernels of Hope anthologies, former newspaper columnist on health and fitness, an avid blogger and published novelist of the Word Guild semi-finalist Anna’s Secret. However, she has found her home in the writing of historical fiction. The power of love and romance is authentically woven into the Shenandoah Bride Series about five sisters and their love stories. She and her husband, David, have two grown children and live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Read more at blossomturner.com.
More from Blossom
Do You Enjoy Romance That Keeps You Thinking Days Later?
Long before I knew I could write, I loved to read. Being a hopeless romantic, I gravitated to all romance stories either contemporary or historical. I soon realized that finding clean fiction, but still written with the passion God created us to experience, was hard to find. (Song of Solomon is a good example of the expression of passion and love between a man and woman without being explicit.)
Given the gift of a writing career later in life, one thing was for sure…I wanted to write what I like to read. Clean romance does not need to be boring. As each story pours out, I realize that writing historical fiction is my passion. I finally know what I was born to do. My favorite theme was an arranged marriage…so birthed the first book of the Shenandoah Brides that has now morphed into a series of five sisters and their five love stories. March 8, 2022 is launch day for book four called Gracie’s Surrender.
Where-as book one was set in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, post-civil war, the second book Amelia’s Heartsong took place in the big city of Richmond, Virginia where balls, debutants, pomp and circumstance matter. The third book, Lucinda’s Defender unfolded back in the valley, and this fourth one takes place once again in Richmond. However, you will find a very different Richmond than in book two, for Gracie has a life mission to help the underprivileged orphans.
The backdrop for this fourth book includes the historical orphan train, street urchins, and the love for children in the orphanage to which Gracie and Matthew devote their life. Gracie, who feels men are just a distraction, is in for a grand surprise. Much to Gracie’s vexation, awareness, attraction, and alas, even love grow for her serious but well-meaning superintendent, Matthew. I promise this read will be a romantic page turner with grit and impact that will keep you awake into the wee hours of the morning.
Although this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, enjoying the whole series as the family saga unfolds will deepen the experience.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the write. I love to hear from my readers.
To celebrate her tour, Blossom is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
“Roxie Applesauce” by Tonya L. Matthews is honest, faith-based, Christian fiction at its best. It is beautifully written, revealing how God, the Master Craftsman, takes the broken pieces of human lives and skillfully shapes them into vessels fit for His use. Tonya L. Matthews has done a great job in writing this revealing book. It is highly imaginative, extremely compelling to read and captures the reader’s attention from start to finish.
Marcella Ciscal stayed sane only due to the ever-present Roxie Applesauce, the friend who was like her own shadow, and always by her side. Marcella is cared for by Haleya Kage.
With a very unstable life and unknown future, the unpredictable nature of life brings God’s greater plan into existence, for His honor and glory. In a dramatic story of reconciliation, love and legacy, God makes all things beautiful – in His time.
About the Book
Book: Roxie Applesauce
Author: Tonya L. Matthews
Genre: Faith-based Christian Fiction
Release date: August, 2021
Tonya grew up on a family farm in Riverside, Kentucky. Her father recognized early on that hoeing tobacco and running hogs weren’t in her skill set. He opted to send her to college. Graduating from Western Kentucky University with honors, Tonya went on to support the business community for two decades as an executive for the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce where she served a primary role in the organization’s multiple national honors.
Tonya has found writing to be a healthy escape and effective therapy in tough seasons throughout her life. Tonya began writing Treasure atop the Mountain 15 years ago when she and her husband were trying to start their family and encountered multiple disappointments. Ultimately, they signed up to be foster parents and adopted.
Tonya’s been married to Todd Matthews for 25 years. They have two grown daughters. In August 2019, she published Treasure atop the Mountain—a fiction novel based on real-life emotions that can be related to by many. Tonya’s second novel in the TREASURE series, Roxie Applesauce, released in August 2021. She’s currently writing the series’ third book, Get Will. Additionally, in 2022, she will debut the first two books in her children’s book series.
More from Tonya THE STORY behind the story—Tonya L. Matthews
As many of you know, Todd and I adopted our two girls from foster care. I remember hugging Haley one night after a tough day (she was a handful…well, still is) with tears in my eyes. Tears of sadness in my heart for what had brought us both together and tears of hope that we could help each other move forward. Todd and I had experienced multiple failures at trying to have a baby, and she’d experienced failure after failure of what is best for a little girl who needs a stable home-life. Roxie Applesauce, published and release this month, is dedicated to her. Though little has gone as we’d planned, God was and is still in control. I often say, ‘God had her before we did; he’s still got her!’
Life’s road isn’t always fair, but along the way there are those undeniable, unexplainable occurrences where without question the only answer is that it had to be God. That’s the message of hope I needed when I wrote Roxie Applesauce (and still need today.)
I began writing as an outlet for my emotions years ago as nothing seemed to work. I sat down and started writing, not knowing that I could write a novel and not set on it as the end goal. My goal was to find something that would take my thoughts away from the never-ending cycle of worry, anger and confusion over why there was no baby when for so many it just happened so simply.
I enjoyed reading fiction with an inspiring message. I remember when I finished a good book, I’d hold it for a minute after I closed it and even sometimes say out loud, “Wow, that was good!” I’d think about it the next day and the characters in the book were more like people that I knew or wished I knew.
After I read several that didn’t deliver, and inspired by those that did, I thought…I’ll just write what I like to read. So, I sat down and started typing and then I just never quit on the book. In the background of a busy, busy life, it was always there. Then when I walked away from the Chamber to be a better mom to my teen girls, I yet again, needed an outlet for all the ‘I am not equipped to raise these two!’ emotions that followed. Slowly, keeping my family as priority for really the first time ever, I worked toward the publication of Treasure atop the Mountain. Since its release, I can say the greatest joy has been the people that I’ve met! We all struggle. The emotions are the same, though the circumstances may be different. We need to know that we are not alone. We need to know that God’s plan is at work, even through the difficult times. If you haven’t had a chance to read Treasure atop the Mountain yet—first in the series, I hope someone passes it along to you as part of God’s plan as the existence of these books is beyond me!
If you didn’t know, my daughters are named Haley and Aleya. Not biological sisters. Born to two birth mothers who don’t know each other. One named her daughter HALEY and the other named her daughter ALEYA. If you put their names together you have HALEYA. Put you hand over the A on the end and it’s Haley. Put your hand over the H and you have Aleya. I have to remind myself on the toughest of days as a mother of two now adult-age girls in this world full of lies and heartache that God does know what he’s doing, and I know that God’s hand is at work! So, I write the third novel in the series, Get Will, yet again, as a healthy escape for my mind that is often unrelenting when so much is out of our control.
“The Prince and the Prodigal” by Jill Eileen Smith is the fascinating, true life story of Joseph, the pampered, favorite son of the Biblical patriarch, Jacob. His older brothers, deeply resentful of his favoured status, got rid of him by selling him to slave traders going to Egypt. They deceived their father about his fate. While Joseph is falsely accused and imprisoned, his elder brother, Judah tries to escape the haunting memory of his terrible complicity in betraying Joseph. After spending decades apart, the brothers come face-to-face in a stunning reversal of fate. Joseph, as Prime Minister of Egypt, wields great power and authority, while Judah pitifully begs for mercy. Will forgiveness or vengeance win? Jill Eileen Smith’s genuinely authentic research and highly imaginative skills are beautifully displayed in this fantastic life story of terrible jealousy, horrible betrayal, and a heartwarming reconciliation that only God can bring about, in His own divine plan and purpose, to bring glory to His name. Jill Eileen Smith pays expert attention to historical and cultural detail, as well as emotional sensitivity. Her great talent lies in exploring the plausible emotional and spiritual journeys of Biblical characters and expounds them graphically for readers of today. Jill infuses well-known Biblical stories with emotional depth and a modern sensibility rarely seen in historical novels. She breathes new creativity into well-known sacred Bible stories, causing them to spring out imaginatively, large as life, with captivating personalities, to inspire readers of today.
The Lady of Galway Manor” by Jennifer Deibel is a poignant, heartmoving tale from the Emerald Isle. In 1920, Annabeth De Lacy’s father is the landlord of Galway Parish in Ireland. Bored without all the royal trappings of the British Court, Annabeth convinces her father to arrange an apprenticeship for her with the Jennings family, prestigious descendants of the creator of the famed Claddagh Ring. Stephen Jennings does not want to run his family’s jewelry shop. Heartbroken, he does not believe in love anymore, weary of peddling the lies the legend of the Claddagh Ring promises. As the war for Irish independence gains full strength, the local residents bitterly resent the De Lacys and show their profound displeasure, as events take a disastrously dangerous turn for Annabeth and her family. Perhaps the “other side” isn’t quite as notoriously barbaric and pitifully uncultured as Annabeth and Stephen had originally believed. They finally learn that the bonds of friendship, love, and loyalty only become stronger when purified in the refiner’s fire. Authentic characters spring to life in this poignant tale. The Lady of Galway Manor showcases a fascinating piece of Irish history. The novel also features the internal struggles of the two main characters, Annabeth and Stephen, destined to be enemies by the inevitable twists and turns of fate, but who finally become a remarkable source of strength and healing for each other. This is an immersive read that abounds in rich folklore, brimming with conflicts, while love blooms in the air like a delicately fragile flower. This gem of a novel transports you to a world of differing loyalties, fascinating histories, and highly passionate expectations. With fires of danger burning, and immersed in a soul-satisfying romance, the two main characters, Annabeth and Stephen are drawn together through a strong faith, forged in the refiner’s fire and tested amid the devastating backdrop of a highly volatile war. This stunning Emerald Isle novel, from the enchanted pen of Jennifer Deibel, is so captivating that I highly recommend it to all readers.
“Arms of Freedom” by Kathleen Neely is an arresting story of two women who lived in different time spans, that captures our instant attention from start to finish. In some age-old journals hidden in the heart of her farmhouse, Annie Gentry discovers a common bond with Charlotte, who once lived there in the tumultuous 1860’s. One lived with wealth and the other with poverty, but both knew the binding bonds of captivity. Both longed to be free. The Civil War had ended, but freedom is still elusive. Charlotte covets a life free from shame to her family, a life where she can make a difference. Will her fragile hope be heartlessly wrested from her? The journals end abruptly with a climax, leaving Annie to wonder what ultimately happened to Charlotte and whether she ever found the elusive freedom her aching heart so desperately longed for?
Annie Gentry had two lives, one as a simple woman and the other as a super model with a pseudonym, Miriam, and a collective net worth of millions. Adopting her own name, Annie Gentry, she alters her appearance, to live a simple life unrecognised, caring for her grandmother, in rural South Carolina. All goes as planned until she meets a man who is interested in her and the simple life he lives.
All people are created in God’s image, loved by Him, created for a purpose, called to unity, to raise our arms of freedom to the Savior who saved us from sin.
Read on to find out what exactly happened in this captivating book of women’s fiction, as Annie’s story intersects with Charlotte’s story from 150 years earlier, both experiencing a dramatic coming-of-age, as they desperately seek to escape from the binding bonds of captivity.
About the Author
Kathleen Neely is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.
She is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, The Least of These, Arms of Freedom, and In Search of True North. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions.
Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
More from Kathleen
I’d like to introduce myself and then share a little bit about my book, Arms of Freedom. I am a retired educator having taught preschool, fourth grade, and then moving into administration as an elementary principal. When I retired, I pursued my desire to write. My first novel, The Least of These, won first place in a contest titled Fresh Voices. That honor renewed my confidence, and since then, I’ve written five novels. Arms of Freedom is my first timeslip (dual timeline) novel.
Arms of Freedom was birthed during a time of racial tension in our nation; a time when social injustice and protests were forefront in the news. Many publishers safely avoided manuscripts with any mention of racial issues—perhaps a wise decision from a business perspective.
However, failure to look at our past denies us the opportunity to learn from history. Our fear of offending can push major historical offenses into a dark closet. I chose to illuminate those offenses by launching this book. Following the Civil War, the period of twelve years known as Reconstruction was perhaps the most brutal period of racial terrorism. The contents may be hard to read. I confess that I often wrote through tears.
To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
“Legacy of Love” by Renae Brumbaugh Green is all about the lovely lady, Skye who finally realizes that “as long as you are accepted by God, that’s all that matters.” In an emotional talk with God, Sky understands that she is beautiful in His eyes. This is a faith-filled story with valuable lessons on acceptance and forgiveness. The main theme of this inspiring story is true self-discovery. Skye Stratton has many life-defining moments to decide which world she really belongs to – the White world or the Indian one. As a “half-breed,” Skye has to confront prejudice all her life. Fortunate to be adopted by her white aunt & uncle, she is very excited to be a new teacher. When Alan McNaughten, a new Indian agent, offers her a new teaching job on a reservation, she is conflicted. Skye’s pain and fear of betrayal are very real. I highly recommend this deeply satisfying book that appeals to our hearts. I wish our readers to have a most enriching reading experience.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is an ECPA Bestselling Author, award-winning humor columnist, and wannabe superhero. She lives in Texas with her handsome, country-boy husband, four nearly-perfect children and one nearly-perfect son-in-law, and far too many animals. When she’s not writing, Renae teaches online classes and tries to be rugged without chipping her nail polish.