Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year--Almost!

We still have a couple more days before New Year's Eve, but I thought I'd post a few thoughts about the coming year while they are on my mind.

This morning I spent time reading some Amy Carmichael for my devotion time. Amy lived in the late 19th Century and into the 20th. As a young woman, she committed to being a missionary in India and, at some point after arriving there, she fell and messed up her leg. These days, the injury would have been easily repaired, but back in the day she ended up unable to walk. Did she come home? Not a chance. She spent her days bedridden, but God wasn't finished with her yet.

The woman journaled daily about the insights from the Bible God had brought to her mind, and from her writings I gather she had many a visitor whom she counseled, encouraged, and prayed over. What a blessing to have her writings now, over a century later.

I also journal, but I doubt anyone will ever have a notion to publish my writings after I'm gone. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I'd want them published. Some are way too personal.

This morning as I looked toward the coming of 2013, I read Amy's words about trusting God. She said that according to Young's Concordance, the word trust can be read as meaning 'to lean on.' I immediately had a vision of leaning against God through every day of my life in the coming year, much like the disciple John leaned against Jesus at the last supper. Many a time I've set out on my own without pausing to pray for God's guidance and surrendering it all to Him, and many a time things haven't worked out.

As we enter 2013 with talks of the 'fiscal cliff' looming, a new healthcare plan taking place, and an economy that is still wobbling, I can't think of any better place to be than leaning on God. I can lean on Him for the big stuff going on in Washington D.C. and I can lean on Him for my writing and possible future contracts. I can lean on him for help in losing those five or six pounds I gained over the past month or so (I've already started working on that!) And I can lean on Him for my health and for whatever lies ahead that I may or may not be prepared to face.

And that gives me peace.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Words in the Wind by Yvonne Anderson -- A Great Read!

I've always said if an author got me to sit and read a Science Fiction story from start to finish, there was one great author. Well, last year my friend, Yvonne Anderson, proved to be one great author because her debut novel The Story in the Stars kept my interest from start to finish. When I finished the book, I begged her for more. And more I got just a few weeks ago when her sequel Words in the Wind arrived in my mailbox.

And, just like the first book in the series, I became quickly engrossed in Words in the Wind, happy to see that Dassa, the heroine of the first book has returned and immediately finds herself  in trouble when her landing craft crashes in a remote area of her home planet Ghanna, cutting her off from family and colleagues. Yes, I said seems in the few years between the first book and this book, Dassa and Pik have married and started a family. Smile.

You'll want to get a copy of Words in the Wind as soon as possible to find out what she's been up to these past few years. But if you missed the first book, never fear, you can jump right into the fun and start reading Book 2, although I highly recommend reading them in order.

Anderson is a master storyteller with an imagination to be admired. I truly appreciate her ability to create a whole alternate universe full of strange, but somehow likable people. From the expressionless Karkar natives who show all their emotion through their ears, to the Ghannians who can communicate with each other through their minds. Far better than any iPhone or Android.

I would give this book five stars if I had a star system, and definitely give it two thumbs up. Don't miss this one!

You can purchase the book at Amazon or at your local bookstore. If they don't have it, I'm sure they'd be happy to order you a copy.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions of the book are my own.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wish I'd See Something Like This at My Mall!

A friend sent this today and I just had to share. It's done at the South Bay Galleria in the greater Los Angeles area.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You'll Fall in Love with Madily in Love

Author Lynda Lee Schab and I both published our debut novels from OakTara Publishing the same week of November 2011. I was so caught up getting my own book marketed, having my launch party and celebrating in general, I have to admit I never got around to reading Lynda's book, Mind over Madi.

So when the sequel to the first book Madily in Love came out, I jumped at the chance to read and review it, and now I'm sorry I missed the first book. I loved this story. I loved Lynda's voice (writing style), her humor, and all the crazy predicaments her main character Madison McCall gets into navigating through two teenagers and a tweener, her husband and live-in mother-in-law. And in the midst of a chaotic household she's determined to put more romance back into her relationship with her husband.

I found myself laughing out loud more than once, and at other times tear up when a scene touched my heart. I gave it five stars at Amazon.

Lynda Schab is an author to watch. I don't think we're going to see the last of her for a long, long time. You can learn more about her at her website

You can get your copy at Amazon in print (now on discount) or in the Kindle version. Whatever your preferred mode of reading, you won't be disappointed with this one!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Blessings to All!

I've been busy the past week or so working on edits for my April release, but have come to the surface this morning to take time out to thank God for His bountiful blessings of grace, mercy, and redemption through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for all who come to faith in Him.

One thing I know to be certain, no matter what each day brings. God is still on His throne and He is in control.

Habakkuk 2:3 came to me as I was writing this. I usually don't use the King James Version, preferring the more modern translations, but I like the wording of this verse in the KJV:

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

As I said God is in control and that gives me peace.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Voice Bible - A Fresh Translation

I'm a self-described Bible addict when it comes to acquiring new translations. When Thomas Nelson alerted me to their new translation titled The Voice Bible, I looked at a sample and immediately became intrigued enough to agree to sample it for myself and review it.

The first thing I noticed right away was the different formatting. In some parts where dialogue occurs, it is formatted like a play, while in other parts, it is laid out similar to most other Bibles. I did not have difficulty adjusting to this unique format.

I can be a stickler for translation, preferring it to be as close to the original Hebrew or Greek. If a translation is too paraphrased I become uncomfortable, but I also want one that is easy to read and understand. I love the poetic feel of the King James version, but I do not care for that version for everyday reading. In the Voice Bible, I like that when they do insert a word here and there to help clarify the translation from Hebrew or Greek to English, the added words are in italics, alerting the reader that the words were added.

After I used The Voice Bible for several days alongside my favorite translation, the ESV (English Standard Version), I became so intrigued by the New Testament that I wanted to see how the Old Testament read, and I purchased a hard cover version of the complete Voice Bible! Since then, it has been a very enlightening and useful resource to use alongside the ESV.

Another helpful resource is a blog that the editors use to discuss the reasons for their choice of certain words or phrases and other thought processes that led to the publication. In fact, there is a whole website just for the Voice Bible that is there as a resource. But rather than just describe this version in words I'm going to do what we authors are encouraged to do all the time with our writing, not tell, but show. This video's entire script is word for word from The Voice translation of the well-known parable about the Sower and the Seed.

You can get The Voice Bible in ebook format, paperback or hard cover.

As stated below, I received a complementary copy of The Voice Bible in ebook format for review purposes only. I purchased my own copy of the entire Voice Bible. All opinions are my own and not anyone else's.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Placebo - Mystery-Thriller Not for Faint of Heart

I enjoy a good mystery thriller and I was very excited to have a chance to read Steven James’ newest release, Placebo.

The publisher’s description of the story intrigued me: While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms. After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons' tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did.

Rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research, Placebo explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. Readers will love this taut, intelligent, and emotionally gripping new thriller from master storyteller Steven James.

Unfortunately, when I received the book, I realized that I would have done better with a Kindle edition on my iPad. Reason being that the font in the print version is very small. I am sure it’s because the book is over 400 pages long in a trade-sized book. If they used a larger font the book would have been as thick as War and Peace! I can’t read the book for long before my eyes start to tire. Therefore, if small print is troublesome for you, my recommendation is to get the electronic version.

I must also warn that the first chapter is not for the faint of heart. It involves the death of the main character’s family. That’s all I’m going to say, just to give fair warning. Know that the following chapters aren't like that. After I got past the first chapter the story pulled me in, and I became intrigued. If only the print weren’t so small. (And I’m not one who needs large-print editions—at least not yet!) I had to stop reading not too long into the book. And such a good story, too. Maybe I will order it on Kindle so I can adjust the font size.

Steven James has an excellent reputation for writing page turners, and I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys mystery-thrillers. You won’t be disappointed. Just get the electronic edition if you have a problem with very small print.

Note: I received a complementary copy of this book from Revell Publishing for purpose of review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Mom!

If my mom were alive today, she'd be celebrating her 100th birthday. Sadly, she died at age 70 from the effects of emphysema. Way too early in my opinion. It's been nearly 30 years since she passed. In some ways it seems that long, but sometimes it seems less.

This morning I journaled about Mom, reflecting on how much she loved me, and realized that the greatest lesson she gave me was unconditional love in action.

My family was what one would call nominally Christian. We knew about Jesus and attended church, sometimes regularly and at other times not, but we didn't know Him personally. I often hear people speak of their moms being strong spiritual influences on their lives. Their moms  prayed with them, taught them from the Bible as they had their devotions, and pretty much followed the scripture verse that says, "Train up a child in the way he shall go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6. But back then my mom did not have that kind of Christian walk -- as I said we were nominal Christians.

I came to know Jesus in a personal way a few years before she died, but I never had the chance to see her come to a similar faith. Where she was spiritually at the time she passed only God knows. It is He who can look beyond our outside appearances and know the true inclinations of our hearts toward Him.

Most mothers love their children with all their mights, but to me, my mom loved me more. Perhaps it was because she almost died having me. My parents were married a long while before I came along and then, because of complications with my birth, I was the only child she had.

Mom and me swimming in Lake Geneva
I wish I could say I was always the daughter she dreamed of having, but I frustrated her many times with my disobedience and, as I matured, with my lack of motivation with regard to school. By the time I got to high school, I was more interested in socializing than studying and received grades that matched that attitude. I went to college, partied hard, and found myself back home the next fall instead of beginning my sophomore year...

Still my mom loved me fiercely.

I went through a broken engagement and a move to the West Coast in search of life's fulfillment. Bounced from job to job and partied hard. Then, finally tired of that life, I moved back to the Midwest only to have Mom diagnosed with emphysema several months later.

During the five years she lived with that debilitating disease, I stopped running from God and surrendered to Him. She wasn't interested in hearing my testimony and invitation to commit to Jesus. I was told not to evangelize her. I never learned for sure why she felt so strongly that way, but I suspect it had to do with the church she attended as a child. She didn't like my choices as far as my faith was concerned ...

Still my mom loved me fiercly.

In my opening, I said only God knows each person's heart as far as their relationship to Him is concerned. And I have peace with that. But in looking back today, I realize that even when she didn't set out to teach me a spiritual lesson, she did. No matter how much I disappointed her, treated her disrespectfully (especially in my teen years), and disobeyed her, she never stopped loving me. And that's how God is with me. I've disappointed Him, at times treated Him disrespectfully, and disobeyed Him. Yet He loves me unconditionally because I've placed my faith in His Son Jesus. Thanks to Mom, I knew what unconditional love felt like long before I came to know that kind of love from God.

Thanks, Mom, and Happy 100th Birthday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ludwig's No Safe Harbor is a Winner!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
No Safe Harbor
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Elizabeth Ludwig


Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year honors. This book was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned Four Stars from the Romantic Times. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool (Barbour Publishing) and Inn Plain Sight (Spyglass Lane), respectively, released in 2011.

Coming in 2012 is Elizabeth’s newest historical series from Bethany House Publishers. No Safe Harbor, the first book in the Edge of Freedom Series, will release in October, with two more books following in 2013 and 2014.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first full year, with more than 17,000 visitors in 2011. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas.


I think going as a single woman to a foreign country alone would be unnerving for a lot of ladies, even in this day and age. But what if it were the 1890s? What if you never dreamed of leaving your homeland,  but you are prompted to make the trip to America from your native Ireland because of a cryptic message you received from a brother you thought was dead? What if even though in his note he warned you to not talk to anyone until you found him in this new country, but a handsome and seemingly nice man offers to help you find your bearings in this new land and before you realize it you are talking to him.

The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she'd thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother's warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara's desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke's true intentions come to light.

Elizabeth Ludwig has such a knack with turning a phrase, deep characterizations and spinning a tale you cannot put down. She just keeps getting better and better. This one is a keeper!

If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Harbor, go HERE.

You can order it from Amazon and it's even available as an audio book!

I received a complementary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love in Disguise - Not Your Usual Historical Fiction

When I read the back-cover blurb describing author Carol Cox's latest release, Love in Disguise, I was intrigued.

Jobless, and down to her last dime. Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it is the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use...she adopts the disguise of elderly Lavinia Stewart and takes off to Arizona--arriving in a stagecoach.

Did I mention this is a historical? The story takes place in 1881, and Arizona was a far cry from Ellie's native Chicago. The wild west to be sure. She pulls off her Lavinia disguise, but can she do the same playing Lavinia's ravishing niece as she tries to track down thieves who are stealing shipments from a local silver mine. All goes well until the mine owner falls in love with the niece.

I did have a problem at the beginning staying with the story, as the pacing seemed to drag at times when Ellie seemed to have similar situations over and over again. It also took me a while to connect to the character, but once I did, I came to enjoy the story as a light read.

Cox has blended a serious subject with just the right amount of humor to make a unique storyline that is bound to keep you turning pages until you reach the last page. And Cox knows her stuff when it comes to Arizona, because that's where she lives!

This is the first book I've read by this author and I look forward to reading more in the future.

Bethany House Publishers provided a complementary copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Another New Book Cover - Love Will Find a Way!

This has truly been my week for new book covers. The other day I shared the cover for Love Finds You in Lake Geneva Wisconsin, and today I'm very excited to present the cover for my November 2012 release, Love Will Find a Way.

This is Book 2 in the On The Road to Love Series, and a sequel to my debut novel, Thyme for Love, which released last November.

You do not need to have read Thyme for Love before reading this one, but if you haven't yet read it and want to, it's available on Amazon in print or Kindle edition.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Love Finds You in Lake Geneva Wisconsin - The Cover!

I have been beside myself in waiting to be able to show the world the beautiful cover Summerside Press has designed for my April 2013 release. And the day has finally arrived!

This story is set in my hometown, and it is a huge blessing from God that I have been granted the opportunity to show the world through this story the beauty of the small Wisconsin town where I grew up.

So without further ado here is my new cover!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dying to Read Something Good? Try Dying to Read!

I love cozy mysteries, and when I’m not writing historical romance or women’s fiction, I’m writing cozies as well as reading them.

When I received the opportunity to review Dying to Read, author Lorena McCortney’s first book in a new cozy series called The Cate Kinkaid Files, I was on board faster than I could say “yes.”

And I wasn’t disappointed.

The tagline for the story reads: 

All she wanted was a paycheck. What she got was murder.” 

Love. It.

With her life seeming to be out of control thanks to a job history as long as her arm and a failed romance, Cate Kincaid takes up her Uncle Joe’s offer to act as his assistant PI while he undergoes some surgery. No violence, he promises. Easy peasy stuff.

Her first assignment is to locate the niece an elderly client is trying to find. But, as soon as she arrives at the dark Victorian, the person’s last known address, she runs into a group of mystery-loving ladies known as the Who-Done-It Book Club and she realizes this is not going to be an ordinary case. Suffice it to say the Who-Done-It’s are only the beginning of a mystery that requires more time to unravel than a knotted ball of old yarn. Certainly more time than simply looking up a person to deliver a message would take. I had a couple quibbles with the storyline in places, but they were only minor compared to the entertainment that Dying to Read provided. A great way to spend the last hazy, crazy days of summer.

McCortney spins a tale that keeps the reader turning pages, wondering if Cate will ever get out of her latest predicament. A lot of humor, some pathos, and even a smattering of romance makes this a delightful read. Now I can’t wait to see what Cate gets into in the next book.

You can get a copy on line or at your favorite book and mortar store. Either way, you won’t want to miss this one.

About the Author:

Lorena McCourtney is the award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible (which won the Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America), In Plain Sight, On the Run, and Stranded. She resides in Oregon. 

Note: I received a copy of Dying to Read from Revell Publishers for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and no one else’s.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Lethal Legacy--Another Winner for Author Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon scores another hit with her newest release, Lethal Legacy, from Revell Publishing, the third in her Guardians of Justice series. I’ve read one other book in this series and really enjoyed Hannon’s ability to write edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense. 

Kelly Warren’s father’s death was ruled a suicide, and the case was considered closed by the St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons. Whew, that’s a long name for a police department, but these guys aren’t short on courage, smarts, and some hunky good looks to boot.

Kelly has never been at peace with the conclusion her father killed himself, and when she receives a gift in the mail that was preordered by her dad the day before his death, she concludes her instincts are right. The detective that worked her case in on vacation and in his absence, handsome Cole Taylor steps in to help – reluctantly. But his reluctance quickly changes to enthusiasm as easy-on-the-eyes Kelly grabs a piece of his heart that has been closed for quite a while.

Romantic and crime-solving tension weave through this story, with just the right amount of levity thrown in when Cole and his brothers and sister get together for their weekly brunches. I laughed out loud at several of those scenes which also made this only child yearn for such a family.

Except for one small instance where I felt the plot point was somewhat contrived, I found this fast-paced story believable and enjoyable.

Irene Hannon has written more than 40 romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have been honored with two RITA awards—the “Oscar” of romantic fiction—and she is a six-time finalist for that prestigious honor. Her books have also won a Daphne du Maurier award, a Carol award, a HOLT Medallion, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Retailers Choice Award and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. One of her novels was also named by Booklist as one of the top 10 inspirational fiction books of 2011.

Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full-time.

I highly recommend this book. Available now in bookstores and on line.

NOTE: Lethal Legacy was provided to me by Revell Publishing, free of charge for purpose of review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

I Give The Glory to God and All the Blessings Fall Down on Me

It's been a long dry and hot summer in the Midwest. Between trying to keep my balcony plants well watered and wincing at the thoughts of my electric bill as the air conditioner churns away, the Olympics this week has brought a welcome respite.

It's awesome to watch the swimmers winning gold, silver and bronze, but the highlight for me so far as been women's gymnastics. I was not familiar with any of the young women on this year's team, but from the start one member stood out to me from the beginning. It could have been her smile that stretches across her face, or the sparkle in her dark eyes, not to mention her uncanny and wonderful gift to fly through the air, twisting and flipping before she nails a near perfect landing every time.

But, wasn't until Gabby Douglas won the gold the other night and she said this in a one-on-one interview right after the medals ceremony, that I knew what attracted me the most to her.

As a recently published author after years of hard work I've been so aware of how much God has been involved in my desire to write, as well as my growth as a writer. It's only been since I totally surrendered the process and my writing career to Him for His glory that things began to happen last year. I've tried various ways of saying this, but a sixteen-year-old girl said better than I ever have.

Congratulations to Gabby Douglas. May you have many years of golden blessings falling down on you!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Hot Saturday in July

Some random observations on July 7, 2012.

The Chicago area is entering what could be the fourth consecutive day of a high temperature in the 100s. Yep. That's correct. It's a race to see which happens first. The 100 degrees or the cool front that is supposed to come through later this afternoon. As I write, it's already 93 degrees at 9:10 a.m.

High heat stresses not only humans and animals, but also plants. Yesterday, I became distracted and forgot to water my balcony plants. By early afternoon my New Guinna Impatiens had shriveled and drooped over the edges of their pot, looking like they'd met their untimely end. I raced out there and poured huge amounts of water into the dirt. A couple hours later it stood tall and proud, ready to face it's adversary (the heat). It made me think of how sometimes I feel spent and exhausted. Drained. Then I spend an hour in God's Word (the Bible) and like my plant, I am ready to face whatever confronts me, feeling strengthened and refreshed. Often times Jesus speaking of Him being living water for the soul.

Mom and me swimming in Lake Geneva
Revisiting the past through old photographs is satisfying to my emotions. Yesterday, I looked at pictures from my childhood and remembered old playmates and houses we had lived in. My pre-K years of ages 2 weeks to 5 years were idyllic and life was good. I didn't care if my parents and I lived in a teensy apartment. To me it was a castle. I was loved, sheltered, and fed. We lived in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin not far from one of the most beautiful lakes in the state, and summers were spent at the beach. I wish I could step into those photos and relive just one day, still being me today but observing it from my child's POV.

Now called The Maxwell Mansion, this mansion  was my home when I was a toddler.

Why don't we appreciate what we have when we have it? A few months back I wrote a blog post about living in a mansion during my toddler years. That post was on The Barn Door. (Note: If you read that post, my publish date for Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is now April 2013.) Of course back then I had no idea of the history of that house, and I wonder if even my parents did. We lived in what was designed to be the servant's quarters. Oddly enough my dad's boss was the house's owner, but he went to work at an office. In a way he was living in quarters designed for the owner's servant, and that much hadn't changed, although he was by then called an employee. I've since learned that the man who built the house, Philip Maxwell, was one of the town's founding fathers and Maxwell Street in town was named for him. But the house was built on Baker street, another surname strongly connected to those who helped found the town.

I'm currently on the planning committee for my high school reunion. Many years have flowed under the bridge of life since we left high school. Back then we were divided into cliques. What I always find amazing is that after some years, the lines between groups began to blur until by now they have all disappeared. None of the people on the committee were my best buddies in high school, and I'm finding myself regretting I never tried to get to know them better back in the day. It's never too late to forge new friendships, even with people you knew years ago.

My church has a Saturday night service. The campus where it takes place is a good 20-30 minute's drive for me so I don't attend it often, unless I am already out somewhere. But this summer I have gone a few times, and today will be another one of those times. Last time I attended Sat. service, the next morning I took my daily walk fairly early in the morning. As I was passing a building in my condo complex, a lady who attends my church came out the front door, on her way to first service. There I was in shorts and a tee shirt and she looked at me with questions sparking from her eyes. LOL. I suddenly felt I needed to explain that I already went to church last night. It has occurred to me how many people where I live know me as a church-going woman and are used to seeing me heading to my car with Bible bag on my shoulder on Sunday mornings. If I'm out walking instead on a Sunday, do they think I'm backsliding? Do they even care?

Yesterday I found my old report cards, starting with kindergarten right up to college transcripts (minus the ones from my freshman year which I burned). The older I got, the more the teachers said I had trouble staying on task and applying myself. My chemistry teacher even called me lazy. Oops. Looking back, I think he was mistaken. I wasn't lazy, but was caught in the trap of being a right-brained person trying to learn something better suited to left-brainers. Anything to do with chemistry flew right over my head. I didn't "get" it and that probably led to my lack of interest in his subject of choice. I needed the credit and squeaked by with a C at the end of the year. Nowadays, educators are much more aware of learning styles and right-brain, left-brain issues. They have better figured out how to teach us creative types. Back then we were just lumped in like square pegs in round holes.

Right now I'm sitting here with things that need doing on this very hot day. I think writing this blog is a way of procrastinating. I'd best get busy before more time elapses and I prove my chem teacher right. I could always blame it on the heat!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The End is not Really The End...

This past Monday I figuratively typed "The End" on my latest manuscript, Love Will Find a Way, and sent it off to my editor. I didn't really type "The End," but typing that last period on the last sentence for the last time is a great feeling.

Of course after that page, I had to add a few recipes since my character is still cooking up a storm as a chef, followed by a teaser for the last book in the series, Loves Reward, and then tweaks on my bio.

It won't be the last I'll see of that manuscript. I'll be getting edits and maybe rewrites, but for now I'm busy cleaning up and organizing my office space. Ever since February I've been rather oblivious to most things around me. If I wasn't writing, I was working on the ACFW Genesis writing contest. So things sat. I have a new storage cabinet on order to hide away a lot of what is sitting out and once that arrives and is put together, everything will look so much better.

This week is set aside for getting my house in order and then its on to researching and gathering information to put together a three-book proposal set in my home area of Lake Geneva, this time in the 19th century and early 20th century. I'm very excited about the ideas flying around in my head. Then it's on to plotting Love's Reward.

But at least my office will be organized.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blog Tour: Waiting for Sunrise - Awesome Summer Read!

For years, one of my author friends, Fay Lamb, has raved about Cedar Key, Florida—a small island off the west coast of Florida close to where the coastline bends to become the Florida Panhandle. Fay has described the place as a wonderful haven for writers to find their muse and spend sun-splashed days writing, beach combing and eating great seafood has made me want to go there. But, so far, I never have.

Thanks to author Eva Marie Everson’s Cedar Key series, however, I am able to vicariously enjoy this little spot of heaven on earth.

A while back, I devoured the first book in the series, Chasing Sunsets, and now Revell Publishing is releasing the second book, Waiting for Sunrise. I devoured that story as fast as I did the first.

Waiting for Sunrise begins in the forties and carries the reader through the fifties and into the sixties. I love that time period for stories, and because of that, I am always able to find nit-picky misused details in stories that are not of that era. In this case, Everson did her homework well.
But more than that, it’s a study in how one person’s bad decision can sometimes affect others for years to come. Or maybe it’s not so much a bad decision, but one reluctantly made because the person feels they have no choice.

Patsy Milstrap’s mother had to make such a decision regarding Patsy when Patsy was old enough to remember. Patsy wants to erase her past forever, and tries to stuff it down and ignore it, but the pain remains. Her husband hears about Cedar Key and in a kind gesture, takes Patsy there for a few days of escape. There on Cedar Key Patsy comes face to face with a familiar face from her past, and she can find no way of escape.

Everson weaves a story of healing and forgiveness, lacing it with Southern charm that keeps you turning the pages until you get to the last. Then you want to say, “More please.”

So go get yourself a copy, settle onto a porch swing with a big glass of sweet tea at your side, and give it a read. You won’t regret it!

And to encourage you to look into this book even more, Eva Marie is running a contest to win a free Kindle Fire. Go to her website at and sign up!

A copy of this book was provided to me by Revell Publishing for purpose of review. The opinions expressed here are totally my own.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

ACFW Authors Bring Good Reads to Start the Summer!

Hi all,

With June comes the question, "What books are you taking to the beach, cabin, or maybe just your own back deck, to read this summer. Here's a feast of new June releases from ACFW authors to start you on the right track.

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Lily (Song of the River) by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver -- Desperate for financial independence, Lily Anderson has embarked upon a riverboat venture. Will she learn to trust God's leading or head into disaster? Lily's partner, Blake Matthews, is initially stymied, then smitten by the Mississippi miss. Can he anchor her heart, or will Lily fall for another man's wiles? (Historical from Barbour).

A Promise for Miriam by Vannetta Chapman -- Miriam King loves the children of Pebble Creek and is content teaching in the one room schoolhouse, then Gabe Miller steps into her life and everything changes. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House).

Sophie's Daughters Trilogy by Mary Connealy -- The little girls from Petticoat Ranch are all grown up with love stories of their didn't think Sophie's Daughters would grow up to be quiet little things, did you? (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox -- When Ellie Moore wins a job as an undercover Pinkerton operative, she finds that playing a part in real life is far different than acting out a role onstage. Will the man who captures her heart still care for her when he learns the woman he's fallen in love with doesn't exist? (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

A Dream of His Own by Gail Gaymer Martin -- Quinn O'Neill feels to blame for his family's death and longs to release the guilt he feels, and when he meets Ava Darnell life takes a positive turn as he helps Ava earn his trust...but suspicion nearly undermines their relationship while he perseveres to encourage Ava to have faith that dreams of healing and family just might become reality. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

End of the Trail by Vickie McDonough -- Brooks Morgan won Raven Creek Ranch in a poker game, but when he goes to claim what's his, he finds a woman with a shotgun living in his house-and she claims she isn't leaving. (Historical Romance from River North (Moody Publishers).

Proof by Jordyn Redwood -- What does a victim do when DNA testing sets a guilty criminal free? (Medical Suspense from Kregel).

Walks Alone by Sandi G. Rog -- A Cheyenne warrior bent on vengeance. A pioneer woman bent on fulfilling a dream. Until their paths collide. (Romance from White-Fire Publishing).

The Hidden Life by Adina Senft -- An Amish spinster finds love where she had given up hope in the second book of the Amish Quilt trilogy. (Contemporary from Faith Words (Hachette).

Winning the Widow's Heart by Sherri Shackelford -- When Texas Ranger Jack Elder stormed the isolated Kansas homestead, he expected to find a band of outlaws. Instead, the only occupant is a heavily pregnant woman-and she's just gone into labor. A loner uneasy with emotion, Jack helps deliver widow Elizabeth Cole's baby girl and can't get back on the trail fast enough. The robber and murderer he's after killed one of Jack's own, and he vows to catch the man. But when he returns to check on Elizabeth and her little one, he discovers that she may hold the key to his unsettled past-and his hoped-for future. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Double Exposure by Susan Sleeman --When photographer Jennie Buchanan unknowingly captures a drug-cartel meeting on film and the cartel tries to kill her, her ex-boyfriend risks everything to expose the truth-about the drug smugglers, the past and the future together he still wants. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

The Director's Cut by Janice Thompson-- Full of the humor and crazy family dynamics Janice Thompson fans have come to love, this colorful story gives you an inside look at Hollywood and a healthy dose of romance. (Contemporary Romance from Revell).

Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer -- All he ever cared about were his brothers and his land, but when a good deed goes awry, Travis Archer is stuck with a bride who endangers both. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rational Fear or Irrational?

Most people have some kind of phobic-like fear such as heights, spiders, or water. For me it's lightning. I've never been struck by lightning, and don't know anyone personally who has. Yet, ever since childhood I've never liked it.

And, as an adult I came to like it less when I would hear about fires started by lightning strikes, and then the most recent thing, people being struck by lightning because a bolt hit the umbrella they were using thanks to the metal handle and pole. It's like walking around with a lightning rod in your hand!

Some of you may be thinking, "She's a Christian. Doesn't she trust God for her safety?" And my answer to that is: yes, I do trust God, but I also say He gave me a brain and common sense that tells me it's not safe to be out walking with lightning shooting from the sky. Yet, I see people doing it all the time.

I live in a condo complex with only non-assigned outdoor parking available. I love the grassy front yard my windows look out over, and then beyond that, the cul-de-sac, and beyond that the parking. If I park in front, I have to cross a parking lot, the cul-de-sac, and then take a long sidewalk up to my building's front door.

If I park in the back where I do, I might park a tad closer to my building, but to get to MY backdoor I have to walk under a canopy of very tall trees. And we all know the warning that's been out there for years. Don't stand under a tree during a lightning storm! So if such a storm is in progress when I arrive home, I sit in the car and wait it out. At least now I can get radar on my cell phone, so I can  know how long my wait will be. If it looks like it's never going to end, I do give in and race, heart pounding, for my door, praying the whole way. LOL

Last night was one of those nights. I had been enjoying a lovely dinner with my Bible study group when we looked outside and saw dark clouds approaching. Then someone said, "There's lightning we'd better make a dash for our cars." I froze and told them I'd wait it out and to go on head. I took the teasing for a while, because they thought I was joking. I finally said, "No joke." They tried to convince me it was better to make a run for my car, and when it was apparent no one would leave me there, I agreed. One friend even offered to follow me home and walk me inside! I told her no, I wasn't that much of a wimp. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

By the time I arrived home, having to park further away because all the close-in slots were taken, lightning was streaking across the sky right over my head. Walk through those trees? No way! The clouds were moving fairly fast, and it hadn't started raining yet. So I waited and, suddenly, a kid ambles along, bouncing his basketball. No fear in the boy, but here sat a woman in her car many years older than he, afraid to open the door. So, I said a quick prayer and made a dash for the door.

As you can see because I'm writing this, no sudden bolt of lightning shot out of the sky and struck me dead on the spot. But, that doesn't mean I'm going to fearlessly walk in from my car the next time a storm happens.

Somehow I think this will end up in a story somewhere.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Review: The Pursuit of Lucy Banning

I haven't agreed to review very many books lately due to my own deadlines, but when Revell Publishing offered a copy of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport, I jumped at the chance.

The story is set in Chicago in 1893 just as the World's Fair was about to open. This is Book One of a series of historical romances set on an actual street in the city called Prairie Avenue, where during the late 19th century many of the well-to-do of the city built lavish homes.

Although the Banning family is fictional, Newport name drops familiar names such as the Pullman family (think train cars), the Field family (think department store), and the Kimball family (think pianos). The street reads like a Who's Who in the up and coming business world of Chicago in that day.

Although Lucy comes from a well-heeled family, her interests lie more with helping at a local orphanage and taking college courses, which she does on the sly. She's expected to marry the son of her parents' best friends and wears the young man's ring. But, the more involved she gets with the orphanage and getting an education, planning a high society wedding just isn't at the top of her to-do list. And when her brother introduces her to a young architect who has just moved to town....well, you'll have to get a copy of the book for yourself to find out what happens.

I loved this story from beginning to end. In fact, the other night I sat here reading way past my bedtime because I was so close to the end of the story. It was well worth losing sleep!

You can learn more about Olivia Newport by going to her website or her FaceBook page. And you can purchase the book on line, in both print or ebook formats. Or at your local brick and mortar store. Don't miss it!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Noticer is a Story Worth Noticing

I am red-faced about this one. A long, long time ago, the people at Thomas Nelson Publishing sent me a review copy of The Noticer by Andy Andrews. I read the book, enjoyed the book and the touching story, then thought I'd reviewed it.

I got busy writing my novels, doing ministry work at church, etc. and went on with my life in general. Since I've been facing deadlines of my own, I haven't requested many reviewer books from any publishers, but I recently received a notice from Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze program, offering a review copy of a book I'm interested in. I went on line to request it and there sat a picture of The Noticer, showing I'd never reviewed it and still owed a review!

I still have the book, and I remember it well because of the heart-touching story about a young man, down on himself and homeless, spending most nights under the Gulf State Park Pier. Maybe the opening stuck with me because I visited that pier about ten years ago during a visit to Alabama to trace my maternal family origins, and I could easily visualize the setting. An older man enters the scene and the young man's life is changed forever. The young man is the author Andy Andrews. And the story is true.

It is more than the fact I had visited the opening setting of the book that caused it to stick with me all these many months. The real reason being the message of encouragement the old man had for the younger man and for the readers of this book.

It was quite popular a few years back, but something this good should still be promoted today, so I'm going ahead and offering this encouragement to check it out.

The book description provided by the publisher describes it well:

A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.
Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.

Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration.

You can also visit this video for more information.

The message this story evokes is relevant now, just as it was back when the book first came out, so check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Lake Geneva Wisconsin Library - A Backstory Like None Other

A few weeks ago, I headed to my hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and its wonderful public library to begin researching the old mansions wealthy industrialists and bankers from Chicago had built on the lake shore during the last half of the 19th Century and into the early 1900s.

The librarian guided me first to a folder on Mary Delafield Sturges, the woman who willed the property the library occupies, as well as the park that stretches to the west of the building, all situated on the shore of Geneva Lake, offering an unobstructed view for passersby.

But to explain all this, I must take you back to 1871 when Mrs. O'Leary's cow famously kicked over a lantern that started the Chicago fire. A great portion of the city was destroyed, including businesses and the fancy homes of the well-to-do.

Until that time, the wealthy businessmen often headed north over the state line into Wisconsin a few miles to a beautiful spring-fed lake that was surrounded by virgin forest. There they hunted and fished, and  then likely spent their nights in the small village at the western end of the lake called Geneva.

After the fire, these men whose homes had been destroyed, wanted to get their families out of the horrible mess of the city until it could be restored. George Sturges, a prominent banker, brought his wife, Mary, and their children to a boarding house that sat on Main Street--probably one he had stayed in while on one of his fishing or hunting trips--and they moved in, along with another family by the last name of Rumsey. And that's where they lived for many months.

The following summer, someone planted corn on the land between the house and the lake, and when it grew so tall, the home's residents could no long see the lake from the back porch, Mr. Sturges bought the house and the property. The first thing he did was chop down the corn so they would continue to have an unobstructed view of the lake.

Fast forward to 1894 when Mary Sturges, the widow of George, executed her will of the property, including the house they'd lived in right after the fire, to the city of Lake Geneva "for use as a public park and public library."

When I learned this in such detail, I sat there looking out the library window at the lake and tried to imagine corn growing there. I couldn't blame them for wanting to cut down that corn!

The house that was once the Lake Geneva Library
I actually do have a vague memory of the old house that still served as our library when I was small. By then it was falling apart and becoming unsafe for occupancy. I remember my mom volunteering to help pack boxes of books for moving to the library's temporary location while a new modern library was built. One designed by an affiliate of Frank Lloyd Wright.

And I remember when the new library opened to much ballyhoo and delight. But if I was told the details of how our wonderful library came to sit on such a prime location, it must have gone in one ear and out the other. If the forward-thinking Mary Sturges hadn't specified the property was to be used for a library only, and a public park for all to enjoy. That land could now have fancy condos facing the water, giving no view of the lake to people on the street.

I grew up often going to the new library to take out my first chapter  books, then later, Nancy Drew mysteries. When I reached high school I spent many hours there studying and researching for my term papers. Then life moved on, and so did I when I moved out of state.

The newer library & the walkway that sits where corn once grew
Now here I am, a published author, back sitting in the library of my childhood, researching facts about the history of the town and lake I've come to love all over again. The old library that began life as a boarding house figures in a scene I wrote for Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (out April 2013) and the new library is in a scene in Thyme for Love (released last November), a contemporary novel set in fictional Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, a few miles east of Lake Geneva. In both books, I have my lead couples take the walkway that goes between the lake and the library.

Before I left the library for the day a few weeks back, I sat in front of the window wall that faces the lake and thought about how the Sturges family was treated to the same view (minus a few buildings on either periphery) as I experienced that day. And that's kind of cool.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Where Do the Days Go?

It's often said that the older one becomes the faster life passes by. Well, right now life is zipping past at warp speed for me. I hate to think what it might be like if I live into my 90s.

As a result, this blog has been very neglected because something has had to give over the past months of overseeing the ACFW Genesis writing contest and writing the sequel to Thyme for Love on deadline. Unfortunately, the blog was something that felt the brunt more than most other things in my life.

I am learning, as I have since this time last year when I received THE call telling me I'd sold my novel, that once on the other side of the line that separates the published from the unpublished, life takes on a different persona. 

I am truly blessed to have book contracts and being able to serve ACFW by giving back to an organization that has done so much for me.

As May slipped in quietly yesterday, I determined  to work hard at posting here at least twice a week.

I walked past this large home last summer on the lake shore path.
Writing-wise as I am preparing my ms. called Love Will Find a Way to send to my new crit partner for her review, my head is already spinning with new ideas for a three-book series set in Lake Geneva, my hometown, once again. But this time involving the families that built the gorgeous 19th century mansions on the lake shore. Many are still there, but so many have disappeared, either by fire, tear-downs, or whatever else. Slowly the legacy of what was Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for so many years is giving over to newer, equally grand homes, but at the same time, we are losing an era that can never be replaced.

I hope to share some of my findings here as I prepare a book proposal.

Truly, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is a gem in so many ways, and I hope to perpetuate the grandeur of yesteryear in the stories itching to be written.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Cooking The Books is Not a Cook Book but a Great Book!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Cooking The Books
Abingdon Press (April 2012)
Bonnie S. Calhoun

Today I bring my blog out of it's long winter's nap, know as distraction caused by deadlines and coordinating the ACFW Genesis writing contest, to do a little horn tooting for my good friend and fellow Penwrights Critique group member, Bonnie Calhoun. Her debut novel releases today from Abingdon Press and what a book it is!

I received my copy of Cooking the Books late last week, and I inhaled it over the past three days. It is a definite page-turner that keeps you on your toes. Bonnie has woven a tale full of snarky humor and serious-as-a heart-attack suspense, blended perfectly. If you like both, you can't go wrong with this one. I love how her character uses her technology knowledge to track down messages that mysteriously show up on her bookstore's computers. And when the going gets tough, she's not afraid to call in the cavalry, a buddy from the Cyber Crimes Unit she used to work at, who knows a lot more about solving cyberspace mysteries that she. The book is fun, gritty, and a page-turner for sure!


As the Owner/Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Bonnie has helped use the 220+ blogs of the Alliance to promote many titles on the Christian bestseller list. She also owns and publishes the Christian Fiction Online magazine which is devoted to readers and writers of Christian fiction. She is the Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). At ACFW she was named the ‘Mentor of the Year,’ for 2011, and she is the current President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network. Bonnie is also the Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.

In her spare time she is an avid social media junkie, and teaches Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and HTML as recreational occupations. She also has a novel coming out in the Abingdon Quilts of Love series. Her novel Pieces of the Heart will publish August of 2013.

Bonnie and her husband Bob live in a log cabin on 15 acres in upstate area of Binghamton, New York with a dog and cat who consider the humans as wait-staff.


After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton, who Bonnie admits is a lot like her, goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also "inherits" a half-batty store manager who reminds me of someone I know quite well which makes it double the fun; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Cooking The Books, go HERE.

Watch the book video:

If you'd like to read interviews with Bonnie, try these:
Everbody Needs A Little Romance
A Christian Writers World
Novel Rocket
ACFW - Fiction Finder

Saturday, February 25, 2012

He is My Beloved

Today one of my crit partners on Penwrites sent a link to a music video one of her readers sent her. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link to see what it was. God knew exactly what I needed to hear right at that moment.

For several years I have taken to heart that even though I've been single all my life, God has given me a special gift of a relationship with Him. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Bridegroom for His bride, the church. Not church in the sense of a building, but church in the sense of all who follow Him as committed Christians.

Digging deeper into the Word (Bible) I have come to see that it is also a personal relationship in Jesus being my Bridegroom in a spiritual way. God spoke through Isaiah in the Old Testament, saying to  widows that He was their husband, and though they were barren (without child), they would have many children through Him. That means, of course, not physical children, but others they would take under their wing and mentor or, in some cases, become like a spiritual mother.

That passage opened up a whole new way of looking at my singular status. And it gave me peace beyond measure.

This has been a stressful week for me and when I watched the video on Ginny's website I sat here bawling. I want to share it with you now. I pray that those that need to hear these words will be drawn to see it and listen to these amazing word, and realize that even when we are feeling cast down, unappreciated, or even unloved, there is One who loves you unconditionally and will never ever leave you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thyme for Love Won Clash of the Titles This Week!

I have had a blast competing with a pair of authors and their scene in a contest called "Almost Kiss." Visitors to the blog could vote on which scene they thought was the best and I am flattered to have won the contest!!!

You can go to the blog's website and scroll back over the past several entries to read both scenes that were up and then an interview with all of us authors, then finally the announcement of the winner.

I'm about to post a link to the Clash site in my sidebar, so if it's not there as you are reading it, it will be there shortly. Or you can just go here.

Thanks to Raquel Byrnes, my host for the Clash. It was really fun.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

As promised here's the ACFW New Release list for February, a day or two late because I thought I'd done it and I hadn't!  Great reads coming our way. Woo hoo!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Love Finds You in New Orleans by Christa Allan -- (Historical Romance from Summerside Press - Guideposts).

Picture Perfect Family by Renee Andrews -- Missionary Daniel Brantley has returned to Claremont, Alabama to raise his orphaned nephew; however, Mandy Carter, the woman whose proposal he refused years before, isn't about to let him take Kaden away. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell -- A simple girl with anything but a simple story. (Contemporary Fiction from David Cook).

A Wedding to Remember in Charleston, South Carolina by Annalisa Daughety -- Wedding planner Summer Nelson is throwing herself into her work to avoid the pain of her recent marriage separation. Husband Luke knows he made a mistake - but doesn't know how to fix it. When a hurricane traps them together, the crisis might tear them apart forever. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing).

Heart's Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes, -- When midwife Phoebe Lee is pressed by her pregnant sister-in-law to help save her husband from an English prison during the War of 1812, they end up aboard a British privateer crossing the Atlantic under the command of a man with a deadly mission. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Highland Crossings by Laurie Alice Eakes, Pamela Griffin, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Gina Welborn, -- Historic North Carolina takes center stage in a new collection of novellas that follows the lives and loves of four women...and the heirloom brooch that connects them through generations. Will Seona, Fiona, Seren, and Brynna find God's path in a new world far from their Scottish home? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing).

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason -- When Alexia arrives home to find her ex-boyfriend dead in her mother's basement, she realizes she needs help. Thanks goodness Hunter Graham is more than willing to offer it. (Romantic Suspense from Revell).

Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott -- A shy young woman must find her courage when she is thrown together on a dangerous errand with a musical genius. (Historical Romance from Thomas Nelson).

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart -- Adriane Darcy stands ready to do whatever she must to keep her father's newspaper number one in the city including agreeing to marry a man she doesn't love, the son of a powerful local political figure, but when she meets Blake Garrett, the editor of a competing newspaper, sparks fly that will change both their lives forever. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach-- In 1775, A young woman longs for acceptance and leaves behind all she has in order to follow her heart and the man she loves into the Maryland wilderness. But will her love and faith protect her from the trial she must face? Will she find the true meaning of companionship? And how will she face the world when she is rejected by those closest to her? (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press).

Sheltering Love by Elizabeth Goddard -- Alexa's last chance to produce an award-winning documentary draws attention to a canopy biologist hiding in the trees. When their greatest fears collide in the heart of the wilderness, can they each bury the past long enough to nurture love? (Romance from Heartsong Presents (Barbour)).

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke-- Michael Dunnagan is given a life, a hope and a future through his friend's sacrifice aboard Titanic. Now he must keep his promise to help Owen's family in NJ, and bring his sister from England to America. He never expected to fall in love with her, or that she would disappear into the horrors of WWI. Michael risks everything to find the woman he's grown to love. (Historical from Tyndale House Publishers).

To Love and To Cherish by Kelly S. Irvin-- The sudden, tragic death of Emma Shirack's parents in a buggy accident and the return of a suitor who abandoned her years earlier test Emma's Amish faith and her ability to forgive. Will a man she thought of as a friend be the one to help her to heal? (Romance from Harvest House).

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings-- She's Finally Found a Place to Call Home... How Far Will She Go to Save It? (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Hometown Cinderella by Ruth Axtell Morren -- (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Falling for the Fireman by Allie Pleiter-- When fire marshall Chad Owens suspects that fire victim Jeannie Nelworth's son may be channeling his emotions in a dangerous manner, will the pretty and but protective widowed mom be strong enough to help him? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Second Chance by Eileen Hinkle Rife-- Dareece Jackson, a teen from the projects, wants something in Mave Robertson's purse...and he'll stop at nothing to get it. (Contemporary Fiction from OakTara Publishers).

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer-- Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent - though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job. Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

A House Full of Hope by Missy Tippens-- A widowed mom of four who's put her life on hold until her kids are grown finds hope of love in the most unlikely of places when the former bad boy who ruined her sister returns to town seeking redemption. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh-- Campbell Carter has come to Sweethaven in search of answers about her mother's history. Just before losing a battle with cancer, Suzanne Carter wrote letters to childhood friends from her hometown of Sweethaven, Michigan. Suzanne's three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-haven't spoken in years, yet each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together as girls. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. (Contemporary Fiction from Guideposts Books).

Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate-- A sweet deal for the sale of lakeside family property in Texas could make Heather's career, but suddenly the family backs off, Heather rushes back to the site of a previous family tragedy and finds an old high school flame and her brother scheming to -- what? (Cozy Mystery from Bethany House).

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall-- Love between a Mennonite woman and an Amish man threatens the lifelong relationship between two brothers. And two families. Annie is a young Old Order Mennonite woman whose grandfather co-owns a restaurant with the Zooks, an Old Order Amish family. Romance between the Mennonites and Amish is unacceptable. Inappropriate. Forbidden. But it seems that Annie and Aden have denied their feelings for each other for as long as they can tolerate. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah).