Monday, January 21, 2019

International Christian Fiction - New Releases | January 2019



A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz


Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning--together.

Laura Frantz's prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America.

Available at Amazon.com

In the Shadow of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson


Croft Towers holds more than its share of secrets . . . and Sybil is determined to uncover them all.

When Sybil Delafield’s coach to Croft Towers was robbed by highwaymen, she should have realized that her new position as companion to old Mrs. Chalcroft would be no ordinary job. Upon Sybil’s arrival, Mrs. Chalcroft sneaks into her room in the dark of night, imploring her to relay messages to town that are to stay hidden from the rest of the family. Who exactly is she working for and what do the messages contain?

When fellow passengers of the robbed coach are later murdered, Sybil’s hunt for the truth takes on a new urgency. The only person she can rely on is Mr. Sinclair, Mrs. Chalcroft’s godson, but under all his charms he too leads a double life. Sybil must decide if he is the one honest voice she can trust, or if he is simply using her for his own advances.

With murderers, smugglers, and spies on the loose, nothing—and no one—in Regency England is what they claim. Can Sybil even trust what she knows about herself?

Available at Amazon.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Midsummer Day’s Dream


Donna Fletcher Crow @DonnaFletcherCr

I first heard of the Ashland [Oregon] Shakespeare Festival in the mid-1960s when some of my fellow drama students at the college I was attending in Idaho spent the summer as interns at the festival. I recall that one budding actor spent his entire summer carrying a banner on and off stage in one of the historical plays. Even attending the festival seemed like an adventure beyond dreams.

We fulfilled that dream four or five years later, when my husband and I returned to the west after graduate school (for him) and teaching (for me) in New England. We managed time to make the pilgrimage to Ashland and were totally captivated by this small town nestled in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains that was completely given over to Shakespeare and all things Elizabethan.
For many years thereafter a summer trek to the Shakespeare festival was a yearly event. For a few years we hired babysitters so we could take our growing family (eventually 4 children) with us and still attend all the plays on offer. When the children were old enough, we took them to the plays, too. Early education that has led to lifetime appreciation for all of them.

In those days it was “Stay 4 days, see 5 plays.” Even that left one’s head whirling. Today the schedule offers ten plays, with often 3 or more on the boards every day.

The classic outdoor Elizabethan stage began life in 1893 as a Chautauqua Arena and its ivy-covered walls still surround the theatre.

Beautiful Lithia Park is behind the theatre and spreads for miles along a babbling stream into the mountains.


The festival also has the state-of-the-art Angus Bowmer Theatre, named for the energetic young drama teacher at Southern Oregon Normal School (now Southern Oregon University) who founded the festival in 1935. There is also a smaller, more flexible performing space in the Thomas Theatre.

Through the years my husband and I have attended Shakespeare performances in England, Canada and many venues in the States, but we never tire of returning to Ashland where the dream is re-ignited every season by actors, directors, technicians and young interns who may spend the summer carrying banners.

It was a natural, then, that when I came to write my Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series based on my favorite authors that Shakespeare would be one of my first. AMidsummer Eve’s Nightmare was first published in in 2010 (although written in 1992—the history of many novels often wanders, too). It has just been re-released in an all-new edition.

And so the story goes on. The love of literature and the dreams it creates never die; they are born anew in each generation and in each reader.
You can see all of Donna Fletcher Crow's books and more photos in her Research Albums on her website


Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Milestones

From Iola Goulton @iolagoulton


Happy New Year, and welcome to 2019!


In Monday Milestones, members of the Beyond the Borders zone of American Christian Fiction Writers share their latest achievements.

Click here for more information on joining American Christian Fiction Writers. In case you were wondering, Beyond the Borders covers all members outside the USA—there are almost 100 of us, from over a dozen different countries.

Onto our Monday Milestones!

Cover Design Award

Grace in the Shadows by Christine Dillon won a gold star for cover design in the September e-Book Cover Design Awards from Joel Friedlander. Christine's cover designer is Joy Lankshear of Lankshear Design, and it is the second of Joy's covers for Christine to receive the coveted gold star.

Joel says:

A gorgeous and perfectly executed cover for this inspirational story. The controlled color palette helps focus attention on the 2 figures, and the graceful tone of the design is emphasized by the careful typography



Works in Progress


David Rawlings has submitted his second novel, The Camera Never Lies, to his publisher, Thomas Nelson. Here's the quick description:

A successful marriage counselor, whose own marriage is falling apart is given an old SLR camera. Each time he uses it, it reveals another of his secrets, and he has no idea who is doing it.


Awards

There aren't any awards to announce this month, but if you're an unpublished writer you'll want to enter the Genesis Award from American Christian Fiction Writers. Entries are open, and close on 15 March 2019. Click here for more information.

Conferences

If you're a Christian writer based in the South Pacific, here are two writing conferences you'll want to check out:

Omega Writers Conference

US Christian literary agent and publisher Steve Laube will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Omega Writers Conference. As far as I know, Steve is the first US-based agent to visit one of our conferences, and this is a great opportunity for Christian fiction writers to connect with one of the most influential people in the industry.

The conference will be held in Sydney, New South Wales, from 11 to 13 October 2019.

Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference

This isn't a Christian conference, but one of the keynote speakers this year is USA Today bestselling Christian author and publisher, Melissa Storm of Sweet Promise Press.

The conference will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, from 23 to 25 August 2019.

To find out more, click here to visit the RWNZ website.

Congratulations, everyone!


That's all for this month! Do you have any writing or publishing achievements to share?

Friday, December 28, 2018

Our Redemptive King

                                            
                                              Our Redemptive King

The ring had been very important to her. An oval dark blue sapphire surrounded by many little diamonds.She still loved it though it was a painful reminder of her broken past.Shame and Guilt paid visits to her frequently- deterring her from wearing it. And besides, she needed money.





In her mind, there was  no option but to make an uncomfortable visit to the pawnbrokers. The  churning of her gut made her feel sick but there was no going back. As she handed over that ring, she knew there was no guarantee she would ever find the money to redeem it.

With one quick glance, the man with dirty fingernails approved of the small loan. He told her what it would cost to redeem it and the date on which he would put it up for sale. She had  a 2 week window.

Guilt and Shame followed her out the door as she held the paltry sum of money. How could she leave her beautiful ring in the hands of a stranger with dirty fingernails- who cared nothing for the ring, its value and the story behind it?   Where was she going to get the money from to redeem it back?

Maybe this 2018 has not been your best year. Maybe you have traded something of great value for a song- only to never get it back or redeem the situation somehow.

 However, just maybe, you  DID  realise the value of that situation and you were able to-  with God's help- to redeem it back. It came at a very high price but you were willing to pay whatever it took to redeem it.  Something happened in the transaction....

                                     You saw the true value of what you gave away.


Isaiah 43 verse 18: Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. verse 19: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

The comfort of this verse is about forgetting and not dwelling in the past. In verse 19 we see that God is definite about what He is going to do with the future and our messy situations.  His language is confident!                                             He is our Redemptive King!!

 He who knows all about us, can do much with our broken hearts and our stupid choices. He can do much with a broken loaf and a few fish.

 In His redemptive power, He can redeem our lives from the pit and crown us with love and compassion- Psalm 103 verse 4

Handing over our valuables to a pawnbroker has a way of bringing our true values and beliefs to the fore. Handing over the broken pieces of our lives into the hands of our Redeemer has a far richer and greater return.

                   Our Redeeming King has paid the price to the pawnbrokers of our lives.

He places no time demands on us  or charges us an outrageous  percentage  of interest.

Ephesians 3 verse 20: Now to Him who  is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us....

1 Peter Chapter 1 verse 18: For you know it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, verse 19 but with the  precious blood of Christ , a lamb without blemish or defect.

Getting back to our opening line, the price of getting the ring back from the pawnbroker was paid. Finding that money would have come at a great price as well but an even greater price would have been paid  had  she not made the effort to find the redemption money. The price of regret and more shame and the betrayal of her core values. However at that time, she did not know her Saviour or the fact that He is a Redemptive King.


                                

As the sun dips out of sight on Monday evening, may the New Year of 2019  herald in a  refreshing of your dreams, desires and hopes. May you meet up with your Redemptive King and thank Him for the ways he has redeemed you and your circumstances this year.

Lorraine Goulton lives in Masterton, New Zealand.
She works as a Specialty Clinical Nurse 4 days a week.
but would prefer to be retired....
She also manages Granny's Kitchen on Face Book and is a Support Coordinator with Crisis Pregnancy Support - Wairarapa
Pictured with 3 of her 6 granddaughters  on Christmas Eve 2018






Friday, December 21, 2018

God Prepares The Way

Lorraine Hossington | @lorrainehossing


When Adam and Eve fell in the garden of Eden, God had a plan. He was preparing a way for us to be able to come back into a relationship with him by sending his son Jesus into the world as a living sacrifice, that we would be reconciled with God.

Throughout scripture God has told us through his prophets about the coming Messiah. In Isaiah 9:6-8(NIV)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful counsellor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Throughout scripture the prophets have prophesied about the coming of a Saviour who would change the world and bring new life. Maybe the people were expecting someone who would come ready to defeat their enemies in battle and free them from slavery. To rid them of the Romans and start afresh. Can you imagine waiting for this time, longing for the Messiah to come. Calling out and asking God when will he send his Salvation to his people?

And then it happened in the most unexpected way. A child was born in a stable and placed in a manger. This tiny squalling baby would turn the world upside down, not in a threatening violent way, but in love and forgiveness. He would bring peace into the world and be a light in the darkness. He would teach us compassion and give hope to those that had no hope. He would forgive our sins and heal us emotionally and physically.
Imagine Mary looking at her new born son in her arms as she gently rocks him to sleep, knowing this is the one that has been prophesied about, the Saviour of the world, yet in her eyes this is her child to love and protect for as long as she can be a mother to him.

Luke 3:3-6 John the Baptist Prepares the Way

He went into all the country around Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet;

“A voice of one calling in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, and the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.”
John came to show the way to repentance in preparation for Jesus to come and start his ministry. And we see God’s perfect timing in all of this, everything has come together the way he has planned it.

Every aspect of what God has done excites me, just thinking of all the preparation and planning he has done. And all of this because he loves us and wants to have a relationship with his children. Jesus has done this for us by being born and then sacrificing himself on the cross for our sins.

Maybe you’re waiting for something that you have prayed about and wondering when you will get an answer. This can be a frustrating time when you can’t do anything but listen for God to speak to you.

Perhaps this is your preparation time and God will tell you when the time is right to step forward on the path he wants you to walk. He will guide you and make sure everything will turn out the way he has planned.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We serve a God of love and compassion and he only wants what is best for us. For we are his children and he wants us to have the blessings that he can give us.

Lorraine Hossington lives in the Gower Peninsular in Wales. She writes contemporary Christian Fiction. And loves nature and being able to see the wild ponies and sheep on the hills in the area she lives in. As she used to live in the city, but loves where God has put her in the country.

Twitter @lorrainehossing Facebook Lorraine Hossington

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bookish Tuesday | Out of the Cages by Penny Jaye

Book Review by Judy Rogers @ICFWriters



About Out of the Cages


Fifteen-year-old Meena has given up all hope of ever escaping the brothel.

For three years she’s locked away her memories – of home, of her childhood friend, of what it means to hope. But when a botched police raid offers her a chance at freedom, Meena must face the truth about her past.

As she attempts to piece her life back together, the memories she has buried deep inside begin to resurface. Meena realises escaping the brothel is only the beginning of what it means to be free.

Can she face the truth in her memories? Can she return to Nepal if it means returning alone? Or will she face the red-light district one last time?

Michelle Winser, CEO, Destiny Rescue Australia, says:

As the CEO of Destiny Rescue Australia, I see and hear of these atrocities every single day. Penny has captured the strength & determination of Meena beautifully as a shining example of all rescued children. A truly riveting read! The only way evil can triumph is if good people do nothing.

Melinda Tankard Reist, writer, speaker, and activist, says:

Out of the Cages reveals the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual suffering of young girls trafficked into global systems of prostitution. Young adult readers will gain insight into the deception, the betrayal of trust, the systemic collusion, and, above all, the extreme suffering of vulnerable girls whose bodies have become fodder to fuel a global industry. I hope this book will compel all who read it to do all they can to bring an end to sexual slavery.

Kate Marchesi, Lawyer and Women’s Rights Advocate, says:

Jaye’s words resonate deeply, touching on a story that is so often told only after the horrific events unfold. Jaye’s unique perspective on the sex trafficking industry and the lives if these women gives voice to the human experiences behind the headlines. This isn’t just a novel about brutality, cruelty and evil, it’s a novel about hope and friendship.


Review by Judy Rogers

From the first page of the prologue of Out of the Cages by Penny Jaye, I wanted to take Meena and Putali home and look after them. I couldn’t bear the thought of them being abused. They were just little innocent girls.

Then when I heard the motor bikes approach, I felt like jumping into the book and shaking the boys Rajit and Santosh until their teeth rattled loose in their heads. I wanted the scream at them, ‘Do you have any idea what you are doing? Go away! Leave my girls alone.’

Then Penny Jaye dumped me into Meena’s living hell. I knew it had to come, but I wasn’t quite ready for her pain and despair. I wasn’t quite ready for the callousness of Madam or the brutality of her henchmen.

When police raid arrived, it filled me with hope—and then anger.


Penny Jaye skilfully wove snippets of the girls’ journey from Nepal throughout the story. Each time, I wanted step in and tell them not to go. I wanted to confront the men who were kidnapping them. I wanted to step in and pluck my girls to safety.

Meena’s journey was a rollercoaster of emotions. Her years in the brothel sharpened her fears, decimated her trust and blinded faith in others.

Meena’s story is a story of many young girls—too many young girls who have been tricked or whisked away without a sound. Stolen from family. Stolen from life itself.

Meena’s future is one that is offered to too few girls.

Monday, December 17, 2018

International Christian Fiction - New Releases | December 2018



The Cowboy's Mixed-Up Matchmaker by Valerie Comer


Friends don’t let friends turn thirty… single.

It’s been almost fourteen long years since two teens made a pact to marry each other if both remained single at thirty. But the nearer the time comes, the more Lauren Yanovich steps up her matchmaking game to let James off the hook. Not that he likely remembers.

James Carmichael has been waiting forever, praying Lauren will be waiting for him. But, just when the end is in sight, she begins dating someone else, and his hopes crumble.

What’s a cowboy to do when the love of his life insists they’re all wrong for each other?

Available at Amazon.com


The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen


Much has happened in idyllic Ivy Hill in recent months, and while several villagers have found new love and purpose, questions remain--and a few dearly held dreams have yet to be fulfilled.

Jane Bell is torn. Gabriel Locke is back and has made his intentions clear. But Jane is reluctant to give up her inn and destine another man to a childless marriage. Then someone she never expected to see again returns to Ivy Hill. . . .
Mercy Grove has lost her school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires seems out of reach. Should she uproot herself from Ivy Cottage to become a governess for a former pupil? Her decision will change more lives than her own.

A secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, but the ladies soon suspect she isn't who she claims to be. Will they oust the imposter, or help rescue her from a dangerous predicament?

In the meantime, everyone expects Miss Brockwell to marry a titled gentleman, even though her heart is drawn to another. While the people of Ivy Hill anticipate one wedding, an unexpected bride may surprise them all.

Don't miss this romantic, stirring conclusion to Tales from Ivy Hill.

Available at Amazon.com