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.