Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dating, Dining, and Desperation (a Dear Daphne Novel)

I think that I could be perfectly happy if Daphne, aka Dear Daphne, stayed single, and remained 34 for the rest of her literary life. That way, I could enjoy the constant possibilities of new friendships, dates with potential Mr. Right's, and community events that take place in the wonderful, fictional town of Appleton. But rumor has it that there are only 2 novels left in the series and that a wedding bells will toll by the end (sigh)...

I digress. Book two finds our heroine with a new, somewhat bodacious friend, in Sabrina, who moves into the neighborhood, a fresh round of suitors, and love in the form of a needy child with a terminally ill grandmother. Opportunities for personal and home makeovers abound and I found myself thinking about some improvements of my own that might help get me through the remainder of this long, cold, winter.

And that is why I love fiction.

Thank you Melody Carlson for another delightful Dear Daphne novel. I look forward to more happy hours spent in Appleton with Daphne and her adventures!

Please read on for more information from the lovely people at B&H Publishing!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dating, Dining, and Desperation

B&H Books (March 1, 2014)


Melody Carlson


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.


Daphne Ballinger has learned to accept her deceased, eccentric aunt’s strange request that she marry in order to inherit her estate, along with taking over her aunt’s hometown paper’s advice column.

But knowing and accepting that God’s will be done becomes harder when a new neighbor, a divorced socialite, learns of Daphne’s predicament and takes on the task of finding her the perfect man, even if it includes speed dating. When God does open Daphne’s heart, it is instead to take in a young girl left parentless and in the care of her dying grandmother. It may be a temporary arrangement until the girl’s uncle returns from the Marines, but God uses Daphne to speak His heavenly love and protection into the life of the child -- whom Daphne soon discovers has a very handsome and single uncle.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dating, Dining, and Desperation, go HERE.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare

After her husband is killed in a bar fight, Frankie Chasing Bear and her son, Harold, move to Phoenix to start over, but it isn't easy for a young, broke, Native American woman to build a life in 1951 America. 

Nick Parker, a half-breed Federal Agent wants to come to Frankie's aid, but fears that her trust issues may prohibit a relationship. He is also in a struggle to stay sober.

One of the remnants of the Lakota culture is the Lakota Star quilt, which Frankie is creating for ten year old Harold to remind him of the generations of ancestors that have gone before. 

Prejudice is also alive and well, and opportunities for education and a shot at the American dream come at a high personal cost. 

A Sky Without Stars challenged me to think about how to effectively reach people of other cultures with the love that Jesus came to earth to give. I cringed on a number of occasions when Frankie's story included encounters with white people who believed that assimilating into contemporary American culture meant obliterating the Native ways altogether, in a manner so condescending and rude that it's no wonder enmity seems to prevail.

Author Linda S. Clare was inspired by her Cherokee/Choctaw heritage and her childhood memories of Arizona, to create character Frankie Chasing Bear's story. I'm so glad she did.

For more information on this "Quilts of Love" winner, read on!
This week, the
is introducing
Abingdon Press (February 18, 2014)


Linda S. Clare is an
award-winning author and coauthor of several books and has also
published many essays, stories, and poems in publications, including The
Christian Reader, The Denver Post
, and The
Philadelphia Inquirer
. Her most recent book is A
Sky without Stars
, the newest release in Abingdon’s Quilts of
Love line. Born in Arizona, Linda and her husband now make their home
in Eugene, Oregon, where Linda has taught college-level creative
writing classes, and writes, edits, and mentors other writers. She also
is a frequent writing conference presenter, a church retreat leader,
and mom to four grown children and five wayward cats. 


Frankie Chasing Bear is caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she also thinks he will need to learn the white man’s ways to succeed. After the untimely death of her husband, Frankie joins the U.S. Government’s Relocation Program and moves to Arizona. There she begins sewing a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn, and prayed into it. 
A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither the quilt—nor her new life—comes easily to Frankie. Nick Vandergriff, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. He’s half-Lakota but Christian, and Frankie can see no good coming from that faith after her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian school. Can Nick convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren’t all bad? And will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient—for her son’s quilt and life itself?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Sky Without Stars, go HERE.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Once Upon a Winter's Heart by Melody Carlson

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I think that it is only fitting to indulge in a frothy literary fling of a novella-- and Once Upon a Winter's Heart is just the thing to inspire the romantic through the season of love.

Emma Burcelli returns home be with her grandmother, Noni, after her beloved Poppi passes on. Not a difficult decision, seeing that her "promising career" designing e-cards has pretty much flatlined, along with her love life, leaving her wondering if true love and happily ever afters are a thing of the past.

While her grandparents had it  pretty wonderful-- making the most of the time they had together-- Emma's parents marriage has turned into a tangled mess.

Her sister Anne has dumped her husband, and is now looking at greener pastures. She has her sights set on Lane Forester, a cool guy who has captured Emma's attention, and maybe her heart. But Anne usually gets what she wants...

Fans of Melody Carlson will devour Once Upon a Winter's Heart like a box of chocolates--possibly in one sitting! Ok, one of the smaller, heart shaped ones...

Read on for more about this book and the truly prolific, bestselling author, Melody Carlson!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Once Upon a Winter's Heart

Center Street (January 7, 2014)


Melody Carlson


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.


Emma Burcelli has suffered over a decade of dating disasters. But she concludes that love is officially dead when her grandfather Poppi suddenly passes, leaving her grandmother Nona devastated. To help out, Emma works in the family bookstore, which Nona insists must be decked out in sweetheart d├ęcor as Poppi would have done for Valentine's Day. Although she feels like a V-Day Scrooge, Emma quickly learns to enjoy the task with the help of a handsome family friend, Lane Forester, who shows her that hanging hearts is much more fun when done to the tune of Dean Martin. As Emma and Lane share time and memories of Poppi, she reconsiders the notion that romance is alive.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Once Upon a Winter's Heart, go HERE.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gabriel's Bride by Amy Lillard

Rachel Yoder's life has been full of disappointments. She lost her family in a buggy accident--one of the real dangers of being Amish. The aunt that raised her has died leaving her with...nothing. Her one joy is her goats--caring for them and making artisan cheese. And she's really good at it. Now she is faced with losing her little flock, as her Ohio relatives are willing to take her into their home-- in exchange for help with their eleven (gulp) children--sans goats...

Gabriel Fisher needs a housekeeper and offers Rachel a job taking care of the home and five boys, the youngest having downs syndrome. She gets to keep her beloved goats...but the elders must quell the gossip that erupts at a young, unmarried, woman moving in... so they get married. Each promising the other that it is just a marriage of convenience.

I loved the way Amy Lillard developed this story. Rachel tries hard to win the respect of Gabriel whose gruff exterior belies a tender heart, but three of the boys feel that, if they welcome Rachel into the home, they will forget about their mother who died giving birth to Samuel, the little guy with Down's.

Gabriel's Bride is a wonderful read. With a timeless Sound of Music style, this one is a keeper that stands on its own, though you will want more! 
Please read on for more about Amy Lillard and Gabriel's Bride. :)
This week, the
is introducing
B&H Books (February 1, 2014)


I’m a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?)  Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, shoes, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I  believe that God is love. I guess that’s why I adore romances.  

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I’m a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture.  I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that’s me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twilight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)

Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940′s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.


Rachel Yoder has two choices: marry Gabriel Fisher or move to Ohio. As an orphan, Rachel doesn’t have much to offer; any match she can make will be a good one. She just didn’t plan on Gabriel with his big hands and permanent frown.
As a widower Gabriel needs help caring for the farm and his six children. But he never thought he’d marry a slip of a girl who barely reaches his chin.
Yet as time passes, Gabriel finds himself thinking about a real marriage. They have spoken vows to God and each other, but can he risk his heart with Rachel?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gabriel's Bride, go HERE.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron

When Tess Villanova's best friend, Samantha, is murdered on Senior Prom night, Tess sets her mind and heart to finding her killer. Now, at age 28, she is a detective with the St. Augustine Police department and has just joined forces with a new partner--the handsome Logan McMillan. Logan is new to sunny Florida, so, along with solving a horrific murder, the partners investigate many of the local eateries and take in the sights of the historic town-- St. Augustine actually seemed like one of the characters, with its old world charm and tourist attractions.

Tess' Aunt Susan is more like a mother than an aunt to Tess, owns a quilt shop, and shares her love of the craft of quilting with Tess. Quilting helps Tess unwind from the stress of "the job". Her latest has become something of a "quilt therapy" project to honor her friend Samantha.

Scraps of Evidence falls on the edgier side of the Quilts of Love line published by Abingdon Press. Along with the presence of a serial killer are themes of domestic abuse that lend a darker feel to the series.

Barbara Cameron knows how to put the pieces together in a page turner/romance that fans of detective stories will love.

This is a winner!
For more about Scraps of Evidence and Barbara Cameron read on!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Scraps of Evidence

Abingdon Press (January 21, 2014)


Barbara Cameron


A Word from the author:

CBD, CBA, and ECPA bestselling author of 35 books (including new series upcoming for Abingdon Press in 2011/2012) including fiction and non-fiction books for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, and other publishers.

I sold three films to HBO/Cinemax and am the first winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

My two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW).


Tess has taken some ribbing from her fellow officer, Logan, for her quilting hobby. He finds it hard to align the brisk professional officer he patrols with during the day with the one who quilts in her off-time. Besides, he’s been trying to get to know her better and he’d like to be seeing her during those few nights a week she spends with her quilting guild. Then one afternoon Tess and Logan visit her aunt in the nursing home, and the woman acts agitated when Tess covers her with the story quilt. Aunt Susan is attempting to communicate a message to them about Tess’s uncle. There’s a story behind this quilt, they realize, one that may lead them to a serial killer. Will they have a chance to have a future together, or will the killer choose Tess for his next victim before they find him?

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

For the Love of Pete by Debby Mayne

For the love of Pete is a gentle novel in B&H Publishing's Bloomfield series. This one focuses on Bethany Hanahan, a middle aged widow, who returns to her home town after her husband dies of cancer. She is overwhelmed by loss, her overbearing mother, and a boatload of figurines. The clutter in her life reflects her low self esteem and perpetuates an inability to move on with her own life.

Pete is a sweetheart of a guy who has always had a thing for Bethany, and remained single in part because she was his ideal. He is also very organized...

Will Pete and Bethany be able to overcome the meddlers and the clutter in time to see what really matters?

I think that For the Love of Pete would appeal (especially) to empty nesters and women who like books about small town life.

On a personal note, I could relate to Bethany's feelings of insecurity and have been guilty of holding onto things because of sentimental or a perceived "value"... come to think of it, I still struggle with letting go of stuff...

For more information please read the following information from the wonderful people at B&H Publishing. :)

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

For the Love of Pete

B&H Books (January 15, 2014)


Debby Mayne


Debby Mayne is a best-selling author who has published more than 25 books and novellas, 400 short stories and articles, and devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor, and a copy editor and proofreader. Her novel, Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Review, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July. She and her husband Wally have two grown daughters, and live in Palm Harbor, Florida.


Widow Bethany Hanahan is trying in vain to fill an empty heart and an empty nest. The result is a home filled to the brim, but something is still missing. That’s when her new gardening club friends come to the rescue, encouraging her to let go of the past as well as the present clutter –emotional, spiritual, and physical. It’s not long before Bethany is finding friends, not bargains, to fill her days. But has her life become too full for someone like Pete Sprockett, a childhood friend, for whom her romantic feelings are beginning to bloom? Join the quirky, loving community of Bloomfield as they do what they do best – poke their well-meaning noses in and intervene in times of need –in author Debby Mayne’s second novel in what has become a five book series about a community where life is simple and love is real.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of For the Love of Pete, go HERE.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Songs of the Shenandoah by Michael K. Reynolds

Songs of the Shenandoah is the third and final book in the Heirs of Ireland series. The series chronicles an Irish family that comes to America to escape the potato famine but find different challenges as America's growing pains threaten the very fabric of their new homeland.

Issues such as slavery and succession inadvertently divide the Hanley family as the North and the South are set on a collision course of destruction and bloodshed.

Clare is the glue that has held the family together, but her husband's New York newspaper is falling apart fast as advertisers pull their support in protest of its stand against slavery.

Seamus and Ashlyn have moved to Ashlyn's abandoned family farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, the breadbasket of the Confederacy. Seamus' faith is shaken due to some disasters and feels like a failure.

Youngest brother Davin struck it rich in California, but at what personal cost?

I loved this book. The characters are well drawn and complex. Mr. Reynolds' research helped me to understand another layer of the Civil War. For instance, I was unaware of the exploitation of the Irish--they were given a flag and placed on the front lines. He also explored the reality of good and bad people on both sides of the Mason Dixon line.

This is Christian fiction that anyone could read and enjoy. It would also be a great "stand alone".
For more about Michael K. Reynolds and this book, please read the following information!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Songs of the Shenandoah

B&H Books (January 1, 2014)


Michael Reynolds


Michael K. Reynolds is a writer with more than two decades of experience in crafting fiction, non-fiction, journalism, copywriting and documentary production. He is the author of a series of Irish historical novels published by B&H Publishing Group. These highly acclaimed books are available in bookstores and libraries across the nation and beyond.

Michael is the writer and producer of an Emmy and Telly award-winning series of documentaries titled, Crystal Darkness. These thirty minute anti-meth films have been heavily promoted and broadcast in cities and states throughout the United States and Mexico. They have been viewed collectedly by more than 10 million people and the message has reached more than 30 million to date.

He also has wide experience as a speaker and on-air personality and has been interviewed on a variety of newspapers, radio stations and televisions networks throughout the nation.

Michael earned his B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, San Diego and lives in Reno with his wife and three children. He is active in marketplace, marriage, small group and men’s ministries as a leader and speaker.


At the onset of the Civil War, Seamus heeds his wife’s wishes to return to her beloved family farm in the South, where he takes a post as chaplain for General Stonewall Jackson’s brigade. As Seamus ministers to the troops, his sister Clare ministers in a different way—by being a powerful voice in the Northern cause toward freeing the slaves. All this while their youngest brother Davin, who became wealthy during the Gold Rush, struggles to find love and identity in a fallen world. It’s a clash of loyalties and beliefs that threaten the entire family, each of them trying to hear God’s encouragement in the midst of the tragedy of war. The dramatic conclusion to the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland Series.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Songs of the Shenandoah, go HERE.