Tag Archives: contemporary

Providence Epic Book Launch

About the Book

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Book: Providence

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Release date: April 13, 2021

How can she forgive a man she isn’t sure she ever knew?

Melissa Bainbridge doesn’t have time to grieve. She has three kids to feed, bills stacked high enough to crush her, and guilt–oh so much guilt.

When her husband’s death is ruled a suicide, her financial stability and identity die with the man she now wonders if she ever knew. How could he choose to leave them like this? How could she have lived with him for 15 years and not known of his fragile mental health?

A journey of discovery reveals more questions than answers until Melissa finally faces her fears and tries to understand the mind of the man she thought she knew and never did.

The journey from despair to hope leads Melissa beyond grief and into the light of forgiveness in Providence.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing–and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies–two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

Book Excerpt

Trevor wouldn’t come in through the front door.

Out of habit, I flip on the porch light and peer through the glass sidelight, hoping to see Trevor’s hangdog expression—his attempt to work me before I can even voice my anger. Instead, I’m slapped with the image of two police uniforms.

* * *

It seems appropriate that anemic flakes of snow drift from the steel-gray sky on just such a day. Placerville sits at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills and sees the occasional winter white, but it’s rare enough that when it makes an appearance, the kids run outside, their heads tilted back, mouths open to catch a flake or two on their tongues.

But not today.

We sit graveside in the cemetery. Graveside. The word bounces around in my mind as all else fades away but the soul deep pain of knowing Trevor lies in that casket. And even knowing that, anger at him has a visceral grip on my heart.

I didn’t sign up for this. We had a plan. We were a family. And now it’s like a chair missing a leg—it doesn’t work.

Pastor Kent’s voice drones on in the background.

Missed Past Excerpts? Go Here

Excerpt Onehttps://vickysluitercom.wordpress.com/book-tours/

Excerpt Twohttps://beckiebythebook.com/2021/03/27/book-launch-providence/

Excerpt Threehttps://janemouttet.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/book-launch-excerpt-

providence/

Excerpt Fourhttp://www.simpleharvestreads.com/posts/providence-book-excerpt/

Excerpt Fivehttps://abakersperspective.com/providence-by-jennifer-sienes/

Excerpt Sixhttps://litteraegaudium.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/providence-epic-book-

launch/

Excerpt Sevenhttps://www.susankbeatty.com/providence-by-jennifer-sienes/

What You Said to Me Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: What You Said to Me

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release Date: November 2020

Book 4 in the Tree of Life Series: A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Faith Journeys on Family Trees

When 15-year-old Tisha Crowder gets caught shoplifting, attorney Nolan Duffy tries to protect her from consequences that could rattle her already troubled life. His daughter, Jillian, feels like she’s the one being punished instead—by having Tisha assigned to work with her on a backlog of genealogy files. Tisha doesn’t seem interested in taking the job seriously, and Jillian’s patience wears thin. Besides, everyone in Canyon Mines knows the Crowder family has experienced generations of brokenness. Then a sliver of hope turns up in long-ago words in plain sight, challenging shrouded assumptions about Tisha’s family. Now Jillian is the one who can walk with Tisha back to 1893 and uncover where everything went wrong in the first place—and save her from the past.

What You Said to Me is the fourth book in the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport. You’ll want to return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.

Click HERE to get your copy! 

About the Author

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Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.

More from Olivia

Careful Words

“You didn’t just say that.” Or, “I can’t believe you said that.”

Have you ever said that in retort to someone whose comment offended or wounded? I know I have. But what cuts me even more deeply is when I say to myself, “I can’t believe I just said that.”

The words of a parent at wit’s end, a spouse harboring hurt, a friend saddened by misunderstanding, an employee feeling undercut—they have all been my words. And they came out too fast to swallow back before they did their damage.

I hope I have also had the words of a parent who set aside busyness to listen, a spouse offering loving encouragement, a friend checking in with someone going through a tough patch, a coworker curious to see how I could help rather than compete. Those are the kinds of words I’ve never regretted, never had to repent of, never had to do rebuild from.

I certainly didn’t write What You Said to Me because I think I get it right all the time or even most of the time. Far from it! In our culture of rushing and achieving and—let’s face it, sometimes just getting through the demands of the day—sometimes our words are the last thing we are careful with. Yet they have the longest lasting consequence in our relationships and families—sometimes for generations. The dual-timeline story traces how words that injure became a pattern in one family line until one girl finally fought back to find healing for her future.

My challenge for myself, and all who read What You Said to Me, is to be the person who speaks healing words of hope so that “I can’t believe you said that” becomes “Thank you for saying that.”

If you have a particularly poignant experience of how another’s words impacted you, I’d love to hear from you.

Olivia Newport

My Review

Reluctant as I am to say goodbye to the quirky, heartfelt world that Olivia Newport has created, her Tree of Life series is one that I will remember and cherish. I would highly recommend reading the books in order because although the plots are different in each, the character trajectories form an ongoing narrative that is otherwise disrupted. The small town of Canyon Mines seems reminiscent of Stars Hollow (of Gilmore Girls fame), and I so enjoy spending time there amongst the shopkeepers and other townspeople. It is the perfect blend of modern with an old-fashioned touch, matching the dual-timeline that each book features.

The fourth and final book in this delightful series, What You Said to Me, takes a bit of a different track than the previous three. The mystery is intentionally not really a secret, and is apparent early on; in most cases, this would ruin the book for me and cause me to lose interest, but Newport creates enough conflict in the present day to ensure an intriguing tale. Prior to this, I was relatively unaware of the 1893 recession and the collapse of the silver mining industry, and reading about how devastating this was for the people of just one town in Colorado alone is heartrending. Even though the Brandt family is fictional, the historical backdrop is not, and considering what our country has been through in 2020, it is easier to empathize with them.

Contemporary issues intersect with those of the past century in the form of an angry, lost teenager named Tisha Crowder. Beneath her bad attitude and lack of motivation lies the root of a generations-old bitterness, one that can be eradicated only by love and healing. Her story is a keen reminder to look beyond what we can see and to acknowledge that everyone is struggling with something, that bad attitudes and bad behavior have a reason that needs to be explored with patience, love, and understanding regardless of age. When we make way for God to move in us and through us, miracles happen!

Throughout the Tree of Life series, my favorite character has been Nolan. I relate more to Jillian’s character, from her introversion to her fascination with genealogy and history, but I love her dad’s ability to assess a situation and recognize what people need in order to come to reconciliation, and to then act as mediator. While Nolan is obviously human and therefore not perfect, he serves as a subtle yet powerful reminder that Christ is our true mediator, dying for our sins and bringing us back into a right relationship with God if we accept this priceless gift. Our attitude matters, and our words matter. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Choose life.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 21

Remembrancy, November 22

Connect in Fiction, November 22

lakesidelivingsite, November 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 23

Splashes of Joy, November 24

Robin’s Nest, November 24

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 25

Mamma Loves Books, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 26

Lis Loves Reading, November 26

Hallie Reads, November 26

Older & Smarter?, November 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Inklings and notions, November 28

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 28

The Write Escape, November 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 29

Blogging With Carol, November 29

Mary Hake, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

Artistic Nobody, November 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Betti Mace, December 1

Worthy2Read, December 1

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 1

Lots of Helpers, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 2

Amanda Tero, blog, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f1/what-you-said-to-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

Snuffed Out Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Snuffed Out

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian cozy mystery

Release Date: July 24, 2020

Picnics can be murder… scenes.

What was supposed to be a romantic picnic at “their spot” turns criminal when Katrina and Todd stumble—almost literally—over a body.

What’s the college chef doing under a bush up in the mountains? Other than being dead, that is.

Who killed him? Why?

All clues point to people who Katrina is certain didn’t do it. Especially the one who ends up dead himself.

Uh, oh.

Thanks to a slow-burning romantic relationship that can’t seem to get past chapter one, and a determination to save her friend from false arrest, Katrina joins Todd again as they riddle out bizarre clues, weed through unlikely suspects, and learn to communicate on a more personal level.

What do you get when you combine literary humor, sweet romance, and a practical helping of faith? A cozy mystery that’ll keep you guessing. Barbara Cornthwaite’s second Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read.

Snag Snuffed Out today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

Teaser for Snuffed Out

Todd closed the folder with the Franklin case paperwork in it and laid it on top of the stack of folders waiting to be filed. He almost reached for the Delaney case notes again but resisted the impulse. There was no new information in there, and he’d gone over everything a dozen times in the last few days. He had promised Katrina he wouldn’t give up, but without any new leads to pursue, there wasn’t much he could do.

He shook his head, impatient with himself. He’d been doing so well at putting her out of his mind—hadn’t thought of her all day until this moment. Now he’d probably be struggling for the rest of the day.

John Ortega poked his head into Todd’s office.

“Hey, we just got a call from the librarian at Wilkester College about the theft of a manuscript. The chief said either one of us could go, but I thought you might like to take it.”

“Why?”

“Oh, come on,” said John. “You think I’m blind and deaf?”

“It’s no use. Nothing’s going to happen between Dr. Peters and me.”

John leaned up against the door frame and grinned at him. “’Dr. Peters,’ huh? She was ‘Katrina’ for weeks.”

“Well, that was before. Now that I know a relationship isn’t possible, I need to keep my distance.”

“She turned you down?”

“I didn’t ask, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Hmm,” John said. “You don’t usually give up on things so easily. Well, do you mind handling this anyway? I’ve got that other robbery case to deal with, and I’m supposed to be interviewing that guy from Tacoma in a couple hours.” Todd hesitated and John added, “She’s an adjunct professor, right? She’s probably not even on campus now, and she certainly won’t be in the library.”

“Oh, okay.” Todd sighed. He pushed back his chair and stood up.

“’Attaboy. Thanks for taking the call.” John turned to go and then looked back. “It will get easier, you know.”

“I know.” As long as I don’t see her again.

My Review

The Wilkester Mysteries is a series that I hope will continue and result in many volumes. As far as cozy mysteries go, I am rather picky and often find them too fluffy or dull, which is why I lean more toward the suspense genre. However, Barbara Cornthwaite has managed to create a cozy series that has light danger and thrills without inducing nightmares or putting readers to sleep. There is a near-perfect blend of mystery, romance, literature, and faith that both entertains and educates, along with some wry humor for good measure.

For those who have bemoaned the seeming dearth of witty literary fiction focused on historical literature (or at least the knowledge thereof), this series needs to go to the top of your to-read list! Snuffed Out is book two, and in my opinion it is necessary to read book one, Brought to Book, first (read my review HERE). The characters remain consistent and although the crimes differ, the storyline itself continues, and in this case there is not enough backstory in the sequel to sufficiently understand who each person is and what is happening. Katrina narrates both stories in the first person, drawing readers directly into the mysteries and her personal life. My favorite character in the first book, I have to admit that I found Katrina annoying at times in this one, particularly when she begins comparing herself to Todd’s ex-wife. This does demonstrate her humanity, though, and her selflessness is evidenced by how she always takes care of those in need. She still quotes famous classic literature, with a fondness for the work of Jane Austen, applying it to life in unique ways.

Spiritual truths gently permeate the narrative, explaining the Gospel to characters—and readers—in brilliantly simple terms. Todd’s analysis of sin particularly stood out to me and is more relevant than ever during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic: “Sin is dark. All sin is dark. Not just the violent and heart-breaking crimes. That stuff is what evil looks like with the mask off. Sins that don’t seem so bad—losing your temper, telling a white lie, gossiping—is the same dark evil, just with a mask on. But all of it is bad enough to separate us from God. All of it is why Jesus had to die on the cross.” Often enough, we are faced with overwhelming situations that make us feel as if we, like Katrina, are “a turtle walking through tar”, but thankfully, if we walk with the Lord, He gives us the strength and the courage to continue on as Paul exhorts us in Philippians 3:13. In Snuffed Out, fostering is again a significant theme, which is so important in and of itself as well as for the lessons it can teach. Consoling a new foster mom, Katrina tells her: “But just because something turns out to be difficult—or more difficult—than you thought it would be doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help or sympathy.” The same applies to our trials, too, and we have a Savior ready and waiting for us to call on Him!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Nancy E Wood, November 29

The Avid Reader, November 30

Genesis 5020, November 30

For the Love of Literature, November 30

Sodbusterliving, December 1

Artistic Nobody, December 1 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Remembrancy, December 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 3

Splashes of Joy, December 3

Inklings and notions, December 4

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 4

For Him and My Family, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 6

Emily Yager, December 6

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 7

Lis Loves Reading, December 7

Labor Not in Vain, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

She Lives to Read, December 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 10

Godly Book Reviews, December 10

SusanLovesBooks, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bizwings Blog, December 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f2/snuffed-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mountain of Peril Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Mountain of Peril

Author: J. Carol Nemeth

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: January 25, 2018

When Molly Walker graduated from college, she was thrilled to be hired on as a ranger at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She arrived ready to begin her career and to enjoy all the aspects of her new job, but the one thing she hadn’t counted on was the local poachers and their illegal shenanigans. Molly and fellow ranger Jake Stuart try to put a stop to the escalating poaching problem while protecting the animals. In the meantime, Molly finds the handsome ranger, who is also a local, is a great partner to have on her side. She also finds she’s losing her heart to him when she’d planned to stay focused on her career. Can she give her heart and have a career? She and Jake find themselves in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Molly and Jake are in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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A native North Carolinian, J. Carol Nemeth has always loved reading and enjoyed making up stories since junior high school, most based in the places she has lived or traveled to. She worked in the National Park Service as a Park Aid and served in the US Army where she was stationed in Italy, traveling to over thirteen countries while there. She met the love of her life, Mark Nemeth, also an Army veteran, while stationed in Italy. After they married, they lived in various locations, including North Yorkshire, England. They now live in West Virginia, where, in their spare time, Carol and Mark enjoy RVing, sightseeing and are active in their church. They have a son, Matt, who serves active duty Army, a daughter, Jennifer, her husband Flint, who serves active duty Air Force, and three grandchildren, Martin, Ava and Gage. Their four-footed kid, Holly, a black Lab, loves traveling in their RV, and when they pack up to go, she’s waiting inside for them to head out.

More from J. Carol

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I worked for the National Park Service at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park many moons ago before I met my husband. The setting for Mountain of Peril, Faith in the Parks Book 1 is in that park. I met a lot of interesting people and there was never dull moment. Something was always happening. I was either helping trap wild boar, riding horse back for back country patrol, or doing search and rescue for missing persons. I used several of my own experiences in the story, tweaking them a bit here or there to fit with the flow of the narrative. This book is near and dear to my heart just as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is. Working there was the best job I ever had, other than writing of course, and I loved it. I hope my love of the park flows through my characters and spills out for readers to experience and enjoy.

My Review

One of my favorite vacation memories from growing up is staying at Lake Lure, North Carolina and visiting Chimney Rock State Park. I think that it is the only state park I’ve been to, but I would love to see the others, and revisit Chimney Rock, too, for that matter! I love the outdoors and rural areas, and although many people dream about the beach, my heart will always belong to the mountains and woods. As soon as I saw the title of this series, I didn’t hesitate to sign up to review it. That it was categorized as suspense was an added bonus.

Mountain of Peril is the first book in J. Carol Nemeth’s Faith in the Parks series. Taking readers alongside new ranger Molly Walker as she begins working at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, Nemeth generates interest in America’s national parks system. I do feel that the beginning of the book is a bit slow after a startling, intriguing first chapter. The narrative settles into a quotidian rhythm, describing some of a park ranger’s duties, and I was surprised to learn their extent. Their job is anything but boring, for anyone who has an interest in trapping, law enforcement, search and rescue, horseback riding, public relations, and a plethora of other tasks. Add to that the challenges of inclement weather and sometimes working in solitude, and I felt an even deeper respect for these public servants.

Regarding the characters, I enjoyed them and their interactions, but I still don’t feel as though I connected with them very much. They seem almost superficial in some ways. As a romantic suspense novel, there is naturally a romantic love interest, and along with this a heroine who is determined to remain dedicated to her career. Nemeth demonstrates that God has a plan for our lives, and that He is working things out for our good and His glory, whether we can see it or not.

The editor in me did pick up on various errors within this book, most of which concern proper apostrophe usage. There are also a couple of discrepancies, including the number of children that Cal and Pam have, and a time disparity. None of this detracts from the reading experience, and I would recommend this book to those who enjoy stories about the great outdoors, sweet and clean romance, and/or romantic suspense.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 4

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 6

Blogging With Carol, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 7

For the Love of Literature, November 8

Artistic Nobody, November 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Labor Not in Vain, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, J. Carol is giving away the grand prize a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10330/mountain-of-peril-celebration-tour-giveaway

Breaking Point: A Book Review of Irene Hannon’s “Point of Danger”

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Very apropos for today’s security challenges and tumultuous culture, Irene Hannon’s Point of Danger goes beyond classic romantic suspense with a multifaceted plot and a complex array of characters. This is the first of Hannon’s books that I’ve read, and I love starting fresh with the first novel of a new series. I will admit that I was unprepared for what unfolded within these pages, but that is part of the experience and why I almost always prefer going in blind, so to speak. At first, I did have difficulty with the panoply of characters, most of whom entered into the narrative without introduction for reasons that become clear as the story progresses. As someone who has a terrible memory when it comes to names, trying to keep everyone straight did slow down my reading and cause confusion for me during the first half, but I trust that this will not be everyone’s experience. Some of their identities are not divulged until the ending, and I think that Hannon made the correct choice in her portrayals because I certainly did not guess who the perpetrators were ahead of time!

Hannon excels at recognizing and incorporating contentious issues into Point of Danger without over-politicizing them. Given that I read this in the days before the 2020 presidential election, that’s saying something. Heroine Eve Reilly, host of her own radio talk show, does seem to me to be a bit over-idealized; although I admire her character, she is written without any true flaws, and that makes her less realistic to me as a reader. The police detective, Brent Lange, on the other hand, not only has demonstrable flaws but also is willing to acknowledge them. The secondary characters are well-drawn, and their motivations authentic. As the plot wrapped up, I found myself completely taken aback by where things went, and I consider that a success on the author’s part. I appreciate Hannon’s positive representation of the police in this story, as well as Eve’s conservative viewpoints, which are clear but still respectfully presented.

At its heart, Point of Danger offers readers a glimpse into love found at the intersection of hope and fear. Whether it can or will prevail depends on learning to trust and to not give in to fear. As one of the characters advises, “In the end, though, you have to let people do what they’re called to do and put the rest in God’s hands. Once you manage that, life is much less stressful.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

A Longing Fulfilled is a Tree of Life: A Book Review of Amanda Cox’s “The Edge of Belonging”

If the story of my life could say one thing, I’d hope it would show the importance of venturing into the highways and the hedges to let invisible people know they’re seen and loved. To invite them in.

A breathtaking tour de force, Amanda Cox’s The Edge of Belonging tugs at the heartstrings and reminds readers that belonging goes beyond having a place to live to encompass the people who love us and, by so doing, help us to truly belong. Cox employs a split-time structure to tell Ivy and Harvey’s story, and what I love about this format is the short time lapse; the two main storylines take place in 1994 and the present day, creating a small generational gap that allows readers to follow the same characters from one period of time to another. For a debut novel, The Edge of Belonging hits the perfect notes, drawing all of the characters together in a symphony both heartwarming and bittersweet.

With this intricately nuanced cast of characters, Cox demonstrates her keen understanding of and insight into the human psyche. In the present: a broken 24-year-old young woman who does not know who she is anymore and wonders if she ever did. Twenty-four years prior: a homeless man with a sorrowful past who finally has solitude and routine until he finds a newborn baby. An older woman heartbroken from recent losses but with much love still to give. A couple aggrieved by their inability to have children. And the thread of hope and faith that binds them all together.

My favorite aspect of the characters is how they exemplify Jesus amidst their mistakes and brokenness and humanness. Pearl is a prime example of this, and she is my favorite character, despite my incorrect characterization of her when she is first introduced. As a result of this and of several scenarios in the narrative, I find The Edge of Belonging to be convicting. How often do we judge someone based on their behavior or appearance without making any effort to reach out to them or know them on a personal level? Pearl is one of the foremost characters who demonstrates openhearted compassion, which she sums up in a simple and beautiful way: “Nurturing is nurturing. It doesn’t take a blood relative. We’re all adopted into God’s family through Jesus. And I decided long ago that if it was good enough for God, it was good enough for me. So I set in my heart that I would love and mother anyone who crossed my path who needed that kind of love.

By far one of the best debut novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, The Edge of Belonging gently speaks to many current issues, including PTSD, fostering and adoption, domestic violence, abuse, grief, and both platonic and romantic love. Most of all, it guides us toward the unconditional love of the One Who gave His life for us, and in Whose arms we will always find our place of belonging.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Texas Holiday Hideout Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Texas Holiday Hideout

Author: Virginia Vaughan

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: October 1, 2020

When her identity’s exposed,

hiding on a lawman’s family ranch is her last hope.

After her mother is killed, Melissa Morgan’s shocked to learn she’s spent her life in witness protection. Now it’s US marshal Miles Avery’s job to keep her and her little boy safe. And with a mole in his agency, the only way to evade the killer is to hide Melissa on Miles’s family ranch…and pretend she’s his wife for the holidays.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Virginia Vaughan is a multi-published author of inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love of writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger.

More from Virginia

What if one day you discovered you were in the Witness Protection Program and didn’t know it?

This is the premise for my October book, TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT, which releases this month. My heroine, Melissa Morgan, learns she and her mother entered the program when Melissa was a child. Her mother never told her and, when Melissa witnesses her mother being murdered, she becomes the assassin’s next target. US Marshal Miles Avery steps in to protect the single mom and her son from a killer, but a leak in WITSEC leaves him with little options except to take his witnesses to his family’s ranch…and pretend she’s his wife for the holidays.

So, in celebration of TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT releasing this month, here are 10 things about the Witness Protection Security Program (or WITSEC) I learned during my research for this book.

  1. The program is voluntary. No one can be forced to enter.
  2. You can leave the program at any time—although it is not recommended.
  3. No person in the program, who follows the rules, has ever been killed.
  4. People entering WITSEC sometimes keep their same first name and/or initials so that if they mess up and start to sign their name, they have time to correct.
  5. Since WITSEC is a federal program, many states have their own programs to protect witnesses of gang or street-level crimes.
  6. If you get married while in WITSEC, you must lie to your new spouse to protect your true identity in the event the relationship doesn’t last.
  7. Protected witnesses are mostly criminals. Only about 5% are innocents despite the popular trope in movies and fiction.
  8. Local law enforcement may or may not be notified when a protected witness is relocated to their jurisdiction.
  9. Divorced, non-custodial parents have had their children hidden from them and now must agree to allow their children to enter the program.
  10. WITSEC protected witnesses are expected to eventually become self-sufficient. They do not get to live off the government for the rest of their lives.

Did any of these facts about WITSEC surprise you? I’d love to hear which ones. I had a lot of fun researching WITSEC for TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT. I hope you enjoy Miles and Melissa’s story! Look out for the next book in the series—middle brother Navy SEAL Paul Avery’s story—coming in TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF in March of 2021.

My Review

Book two in Virginia Vaughan’s Cowboy Lawmen series, Texas Holiday Hideout can easily be read as a standalone, although readers will not want to miss spending more time with the Averys in Texas Twin Abuction, which tells Lawson and his wife’s story. While I would not want my family to be comprised primarily of law enforcement agents due to the inherent danger, I do love reading about the Averys and how they band together and protect each other. Because they each serve in a different capacity, they have a range of knowledge and resources at their disposal, although this changes somewhat for Miles Avery when he is the US marshal assigned to keep Melissa Morgan and her young son safe within the witness protection program (WITSEC). Unable to trust his own agency due to the interference of a mole, Miles takes his two charges home with him under the guise of having married Melissa. What could possibly go wrong?

For some reason, I didn’t find this story quite as absorbing as the first book. I think that I was expecting there to be more about Christmas, given the title and official description, and the extent of the incidents occurring in the narrative became a bit numbing after a while. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Texas Holiday Hideout, because I did. I learned quite a bit about WITSEC, including that the majority of people in it are criminals and that no one who has followed the rules has ever been killed. I love the Avery family and how compassionate and openhearted they are, and Silver Star Ranch is idyllic. Vaughan skillfully demonstrates the emotions and internal conflicts of her characters, particularly noting how lying is part of witness protection and the implications this can have. Subsequently, trust is also a substantial issue. This scenario provides a unique opportunity for interweaving the faith element, which ultimately points to God’s sovereignty and to the precious truth of Romans 8:28 when Melissa proclaims, “If I’ve learned anything through this entire ordeal, it’s that, even though I couldn’t see God’s plan, He was working for me all along.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, October 8

Genesis 5020, October 8

Hallie Reads, October 8

Artistic Nobody, October 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 9

Texas Book-aholic, October 9

reviewingbooksplusmore, October 9

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 10

deb’s Book Review, October 10

The Cafe Scholar, October 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 11

KarenSueHadley, October 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 11

Older & Smarter?, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Simple Harvest Reads, October 12 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

She Lives To Read, October 13

Hebrews 12 Endurance, October 13

For Him and My Family, October 13

Betti Mace, October 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 15

Lighthouse Academy, October 15

To Everything There Is A Season, October 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 16

Blogging With Carol, October 16

Book Love, October 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 17

Batya’s Bits, October 17

Emily Yager, October 18

Labor Not in Vain, October 18

HookMeInABook, October 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 19

Mary Hake, October 19

Daysong Reflections, October 19

For the Love of Literature, October 20

Bigreadersite, October 20

EmpowerMoms, October 20

Blossoms and Blessings, October 21

Splashes of Joy, October 21

Pause for Tales, October 21

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Virginia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Texas Holiday Hideout!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/101f3/texas-holiday-hideout-celebration-tour-giveaway

Brought to Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Brought to Book

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian cozy mystery

Release Date: June 24, 2020

There’s nothing in Emily Post about dealing with murder.

Katrina just wanted to spend time among the books at Frank’s Bookstore. Yes, that’s an unimaginative name for a store, but Frank’s an unimaginative guy–or he was.

Now he and his murder are the reason Katrina is spending her spare time with Wilkester detective, Todd Mason. Or, that’s what she tells herself.

Why would anyone want to kill Frank Delaney? Who would do it? And is Katrina herself even safe?

Mixing faith, literary humor, sweet romance, and a cozy mystery that will keep you guessing, Barbara Cornthwaite’s first Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read.

Begin your investigation of Brought to Book today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

More from Barbara

Meeting of the Minds

A Wilkester Mysteries Introduction

Detective Todd Mason knew Katrina was the one the first time he met her. The woman had witnessed a murder—if not with her eyes, at least with her ears. She’d seen the man dying and called for help, afraid all the while that the killer would return for her. So much he’d been told before he went into the interrogation room.

“How’s she handling it?” he asked the officer who had arrived first at the scene and escorted her to the police station.

“Not too badly,” said Gary. “She’s in shock, of course, but she’s trying to hold it together. Katrina Peters. She’s in Room 2.”

He’d gone in then and gotten his first look at her. Late thirties or early forties. Brown hair that fell to her shoulders in loose waves. Brown eyes that were red-rimmed from crying. Hands clutching a tissue. She managed a faint smile when he walked in.

“Hello, Ms. Peters. I’m Detective Todd Mason. I need to ask you some questions, if that’s all right.”

“Miss,” she said, almost as a reflex.

“I beg your pardon?” Todd wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly.

“It’s Miss Peters.” She said it firmly, repudiating the term Ms. even at such a stressful moment. Something made her blush then, and he saw her glance at his left hand. “Never mind,” she murmured.

She’s afraid I’ll think she’s trying to advertize her availability. It amused Todd to see the blush—if only she knew how refreshing it was to see a woman who would even be conscious of such a thing. Old fashioned, he thought. In a good way.

She answered his questions as calmly as she could, and even apologized for the tears that insisted on coming out now and then. When she alluded to Daniel in the lion’s den, he knew she really was out of the ordinary, and it took all his self-control not to offer to drive her home himself.

To join the investigation, read your copy of Brought to Book today.

My Review

In general, I don’t gravitate toward romances, and while I love a good mystery or suspense, cozies tend not to make my to-read list. So how did I end up requesting to review Barbara Cornthwaite’s Brought to Book? Through the recommendation of fellow readers who have highly praised this novel. There are so many interesting points that make this story memorable, and as such, it will appeal to a broader audience than it may have otherwise.

As book one in the Wilkester Mysteries series, Brought to Book introduces readers to Katrina Peters, an adjunct English professor at Wilkester College. Her faith in God has brought her to this current place in her journey through life, in more ways than one, and I felt an empathetic connection with her character. She is definitely multi-dimensional and dynamic, and I delighted in her triumphs and also sympathized with her losses. Battling a mid-life crisis of sorts, she wonders what God would have her do with the rest of her life, and the options that she considers are all godly and fruitful, but until true and complete surrender occurs, no decisions will be clear. Murder and other crimes increasingly affect her life and come closer to her as she finds herself running the gamut from suspect to witness to victim.

Cornthwaite’s skill at creating characters finds expression in Katrina’s self-doubt while wrestling with her ordeals and uncertainty: “How can anyone as ineffectual as I make an actual difference in anyone’s life?” This is a question that we all ask in some form or another at some point in our lives. However, the answer lies not in our ability but in the already-accomplished work of Christ on the cross and His ministry while on earth. As Todd tells Katrina, not taking chances or leaps of faith may be sins, “Especially if you think following the rules will keep bad things from happening to you.

Brought to Book offers many such spiritual truths and nuggets of wisdom, none of which feel forced, as well as multiple topics that are so common today, including the victories and the tears of foster care, serving as missionaries, marriage and divorce, second love, small town history and its secrets, and literature. This last one is my favorite because I have a great love for literature through the ages and of language in general, and I love how Cornthwaite implements so many literary techniques. I am now eager to read book two!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10

21st Century Keeper at Home, October 10

The Avid Reader, October 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 11

Remembrancy, October 11

For the Love of Literature, October 12

Worthy2Read, October 12

Genesis 5020, October 12

deb’s Book Review, October 13

Blogging With Carol, October 13

Robin’s Nest, October 13

Texas Book-aholic, October 14

Losing the Busyness, October 14

April Hayman, Author, October 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 15

Inklings and notions, October 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 16

Daysong Reflections, October 16

Older & Smarter?, October 17

For Him and My Family, October 17

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 18

Just Your Average reviews, October 18

Lis Loves Reading, October 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 19

As He Leads is Joy, October 19

Emily Yager, October 19

Sodbusterliving, October 20

Artistic Nobody, October 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Labor Not in Vain, October 20

She Lives To Read, October 21

Bizwings Blog, October 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 21

Godly Book Reviews, October 22

Mary Hake, October 22

Vicky Sluiter, October 22

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 23

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10210/brought-to-book-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mind Over Matter: A Book Review of Rachelle Dekker’s “Nine”

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“This time she would break the rules. Even the ones she’d set for herself.”

By turns dark and intriguing, Nine by Rachelle Dekker explores what makes us human and how much choice, if any, we have in what we become. Through a trio of main characters, Dekker presents a narrative that is as timely as it is terrifying, given the current direction of science and military weaponry. Lucy, a young amnesiac, bursts into Zoe Johnson’s carefully-constructed and reclusive life, and the metaphorical house of cards comes crashing down. Part one contains third-person narration, but in part two some of the chapters are narrated in the first person by Lucy, a shift that adds depth and insight. Each girl’s backstory is revealed slowly as the story progresses, and their similarities are essential to the plot. Both have been brainwashed, in a manner of speaking, and their trauma draws them together: Lucy from scientific studies and Zoe from her mother’s cult. Agent Tom Seeley seemingly walks the fine line of double agent, but in this story trust is a quality that gets you killed.

While there is a discernible interplay between goodness and darkness (evil), manifested through a myriad of topics, I am conflicted as to whether I would classify this as a Christian novel. It is marketed as such, and while I can extrapolate a general Christian message from the overall content, I still do not feel quite comfortable labeling it as such. I personally don’t think that if a non-Christian were to pick up this book and read it, they would consider it a Christian work without being told so. There is no profanity, just allusions to people cursing, and none of the characters demonstrate any kind of faith in God that I could see. The bits and pieces of the former cult are the only religion demonstrated in the narrative, and naturally Zoe has a bitter and negative view of such, which was reinforced after leaving the cult. I think that with the storyline, Dekker could have really turned this into a fantastic Christian inspirational novel by the last third of the book, and I’m disappointed that it didn’t happen.

Delving into the shadowy realms of military experimentation, neuroscience, and ethics, Nine is not for the faint of heart. There are scenes of and descriptions of torture that I could definitely have done without; while I am not naïve enough to believe that such things don’t happen, a sentence or allusion to the events without details would suffice, for me at least. The topic of abuse in the story is handled better in this regard, and I think that the questions Dekker raises about ethics are important and need to be considered, especially as we are rapidly entering into a new era of digital dependency and artificial intelligence. As we move forward, we, like the characters in Nine, have to determine who we are and wherein our identity lies. Otherwise, we open ourselves up to being controlled by whomever our community—be it small or large—says we should. From a Christian perspective, we have two choices: follow Jesus or follow Satan: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

A Season to Dance Scavenger Hunt and Author Interview with Patricia Beal

A Season to dance scavenger hunt

About the Book

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Book: A Season to Dance

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: May 6, 2017

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

About the Author

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Patricia writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. She is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance and Desert Willow (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017 and 2020). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Visit her at http://www.patriciabeal.com for more.

More from Patricia

When I wrote the first line of my first novel in January of 2011, I wanted to get published because I was desperate to feel important.

I finished writing A Season to Dance that fall and hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.

She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent a year rewriting.

During that year, my husband got orders to move the family from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Germany, and he deployed for the sixth time soon after we settled on a lovely mountaintop in Idar-Oberstein.

When I finished rewriting, Gloria said the novel looked good and had everything a novel was supposed to have. But… “Something’s still missing. I don’t know what it is. We’ve covered it all.”

So of course I did what any writer desperate for validation would do. I told my coach that surely nothing was missing and that it was time to query. I hired a service to blast queries everywhere for me. I know… Shame on me… But God used that.

God’s Plan—Phase One

One query ended up with Mrs. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary. The novel wasn’t Christian—I wasn’t a Christian. She shouldn’t have received my query. But she did. She sent me a note saying she liked the storyline but that in Christian novels the protagonist couldn’t live with her love interest without being married. She was very kind and said that if she was missing the point and if the novel was indeed Christian that I should resubmit explaining the living together piece.

When I read it I laughed and rolled my eyes. I started typing a condescending reply. Something about Christian fairy tale brains and me living in the real world, but I decided not to send it.

Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.

See, up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” and that somewhere, somehow, being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty German kitchen—husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died. And I looked at that inbox full of rejections and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”

Mercy. Surely I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. But I know that He was in that kitchen with me. And phase two of His plan was about to start.

Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

God’s Plan—Phase Two

As I lost all restraint and became the worst version of myself, God removed me from my green German mountaintop.

After less than eighteen months in Germany, we were sent back to America, to the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. To a place called Fort Bliss—a place from which you can see a Mexican mountain with the words: “Cd. Juárez. La Biblia es la verdad. Leela.” That translates to “City of Juárez. The Bible is the truth. Read it.” Gotta love it. God is good.

During the first six months back in America, I went to two secular writers’ conferences and met more rejection. My lack of restraint and my selfishness didn’t really make me happy. I wanted to go to therapy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…

But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life. Even the shrink kept double booking, closing early, and somehow cancelling on me. It was ridiculous.

The One Open Door

When God planted our family in the desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.

I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.

Gloria’s “Something Missing”

I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “You silly goose of a girl. You wrote a salvation story without the salvation piece.” My first coach, Gloria Kempton, had been right all along. There was something missing!

A Season to Dance isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

I deleted Mrs. Hart’s email that week. Yes, it was still in my inbox. Job well done, Mrs. Hart.

Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the novel. Five ladies from my Sunday school read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support. God is good.

Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. God is good.

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. God is good.

ACFW 2015 was fantastic and many houses are looking at that first manuscript. God is good.

My family got saved, too. My husband in July of 2013. Our son in December of 2013. My mom in the fall of 2014. And our little girl just this past summer, the summer of 2015. God is amazingly good.

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Author Interview

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser all the way. The novel began in my mind as a single scene—a ballerina stuck at the top of a marquee, something that kind of happened to me once. From there it grew a chapter at a time, one per Saturday, during a six-month period.

I wasn’t a Christian when I wrote the first version of A Season to Dance, so the story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but for most of my life I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important. But in the summer of 2012, that early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired and lonely, and I freaked out. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god, if there was a god at all.

Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely.

Then Jesus passed by. I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I cancelled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a fourteen-month rewrite. This book, A Season to Dance, wrote me—not the other way around. I journeyed with Ana and pray that now others will journey with us, beyond expectations and suffering and to the very heart of Christ.

I think God is a plotter. He knew where the whole thing was going all along. But how could I have known that I was writing my own salvation story? ❤


Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

Do I ever! I’m big on this. Huge! If you go to the reading guide at the end of the book, I reveal several hidden things one might have missed… 😉


Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

Yes! I love all the stories about less-than-perfect people who were greatly used by God. How sweet of Him to show us time and again that we don’t need to be stellar to be family and be His hands and feet.

Remember the story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32? That might be my absolute favorite… So much in. I love both God’s actions and Jacob’s refusal to let go.

What does God do before blessing Jacob (self-reliant, self-seeking) and naming him Israel (prince, powerful with God)? God touches the hollow of Jacob’s thigh. The hollow of Jacob’s thigh was now out of joint. Jacob would be forever weakened by that injury. God saps strength out of Jacob. He breaks Jacob of Jacob.

God grew him by making him weak. He grew Peter by making him weak (let the devil sift him as wheat). He grew Paul by making him weak (didn’t remove the thorn in the flesh).

Our trials are making us weak and loosening us from the shackles of self-reliance that are holding us back. All we have to do is cast ourselves at His feet daily and acknowledge that we can’t do life and service on our own. He already knows. He wants us to know.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5 😊

Celebrate Lit Scavenger Hunt page:

http://www.celebratelit.com/a-season-to-dance-scavenger-hunt/

Giveaway

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The grand prize is a $50 Amazon gift card!

https://promosimple.com/ps/10068/a-season-to-dance-celebration-scavenger-hunt-giveaway