Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Bookish Tuesday | Miss Serena's Secret by Carolyn Miller

Review by Iola Goulton @iolagoulton



I'm a long-time Regency romance fan. I can't remember when I read my first Georgette Heyer novel, but I remember reading and rereading many of the 1990s reprints. I loved the humour and intelligence, and the trials of falling in love in an age where male-female relationships were strictly regimented.

I watched the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice when it first showed on TV. I rewatched the series a couple of years later when my husband bought me the videos for Christmas (and discovered that TVNZ had cut almost an hour of footage in order to get more ads in). I then bought and read all Jane Austen's novels—more humour, more intelligence, and more difficulties in finding true love. I also loved the settings and the clothes (and Julia Sawalha, aka Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous).


Regency romance has had a resurgence of popularity in recent years, but many of the general market novels have a lot of sex and not much Christian faith—which seems at odds with the period. So it's good to see more Regency romance coming out of the Christian market, from authors such as Julie Klaassen, Kristi Ann Hunter, and now Carolyn Miller.

Miss Serena's Secret is Carolyn Miller's fifth novel, and the second in her Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series. If you've read the others, you'll enjoy catching up with some of the characters from the previous stories. If you haven't, don't worry: this is a standalone novel.

Despite the title, Miss Serena actually has several secrets.

These secrets combine to persuade her that she will never marry. She will especially not marry a man like her father, a gambler who lost their fortune at the tables. So she is not impressed when she meets gambler and womaniser Lord Henry Carmichael.

This is a sweet and slow love story. It's not the romance novel where we meet the hero and heroine and wham bam they're together. Instead, both characters have plenty of time to get to know each other and to change—to mature into people who are able to fall in love and contemplate marriage.


Miss Serena is an artist, and her art plays a key part in the novel. I'm no painter, but I loved the painting references—the colours, the techniques, and the little upset at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition.

Recommended for Regency romance fans.

Thanks to Kregel Publications and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Iola Goulton


Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and currently works as a freelance editor. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, two teenagers and one cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

Monday, October 15, 2018

International Christian Fiction - New Releases | October 2018 #giveaway



Stone of the Sea by Jeanette O'Hagan


A desperate journey into the unknown

Food is scarce, the Glittering realms in chaos and solutions fast disappearing. Twins Delvina and Retza have always stood shoulder to shoulder. Now new strategies are needed. Will new challenges pull the twins apart? Will they, and their shapeshifter friend, Zadeki, find food before the people under the mountain starve?

Join Delvina, Retza and Zadeki as once again they must face their fears and rescue a realm. Stone of the Sea is the third novella in the Under the Mountain Series.

Giveaway


Jeanette O'Hagan is giving away a copy of your choice of Heart of the Mountain or Blood Crystal or Stone of the Sea (the first two are available as both print and ebooks, Stone of the Sea as ebook).

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post and/or Jeanette's Bookish Tuesday post on October 30. Receive two entries in the drawing by commenting on both posts. The October 30 post will contain more information on the giveaway, including the closing date. The winner will be announced in a comment on both blog posts.

Available at Amazon.com

Learn more about Stone of the Sea in Jeanette O'Hagan's upcoming Bookish Tuesday post on October 30.



Resonance by Dianne J. Wilson


Kai was born with the ability to see brokenness and to fix it. This ability has a name: Affinity. Saved from death and freed from the spiritual realm, all Kai wants is a chance to go back for the friend he left behind. But his simple rescue mission is sabotaged and all the broken, homeless kids from the OS are sent back into the spiritual realm with him to be recruited, marked and re-purposed by the enemy. Cut off from the source of his ability, Kai is plunged into a desperate struggle against time to rescue them all before their blood is on his hands.

Available at Amazon.com




The Shadow of Reality by Donna Fletcher Crow


A week at a resort high in the Rockies, enacting and solving a Dorothy L. Sayers-style mystery
— a perfect spring break for two English professors. And all the more perfect for Elizabeth when the man of her dreams enters the scene. Until the play-acting embroils them in a real-life murder and the lines between reality and fiction blur dangerously.
What happens when fantasy obscures the real world?

Available at Amazon.com




A Christmas to Remember by Valerie Comer plus 7 authors


Laugh, cry, and fall in love as you savor these brand-new Christmas romances from some of your favorite authors. Pair with a peppermint chai, hot chocolate, or your favorite wintry flavors, then snuggle down in front of the fireplace with a quilt over your lap... and maybe a purring cat!

Eight authors have joined together in this Christian romance collection that will leave you celebrating the gift of Christmas.

Available at Amazon.com




Somewhere Beyond the Blue by Marion Ueckermann and Clare Revell plus 3 authors


Five brand-new, fun sixty-something novels and novellas.

A TIME TO PUSH DAISIES—MARION UECKERMANN

JoAnn Stanson has loved and lost.
Caleb Blume has faced death and won.
When they find themselves on the same cruise around the British Isles, JoAnn instantly steals Caleb’s heart. But she’s far more guarded with her own. So many little things about Caleb remind JoAnn of her late husband. It’s like loving the same man twice. Yet different. Or is it?

OCEANS APART—CLARE REVELL

Moved halfway around the world by his parents, Oliver’s only touch of home are letters from the girl next door – his best mate’s sister, Connie. Never one to break a promise, Connie is still writing letters forty-eight years later. As the decades fly past, the relationship has altered. When they meet face to face after a lifetime spent Ocean’s Apart, their lives will change, forever.

Available at Amazon.com



Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd


Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

Available at Amazon.com



Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan


In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

Available at Amazon.com



Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette


The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

Available at Amazon.com



Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker


Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams. They are all wrong.

Rachelle Matthews, who grew up in the small town of Eden, Utah, discovered just how wrong when she dreamed and awoke in another world. There she learned that she was the 49th Mystic, the prophesied one, tasked with finding five ancient seals before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness.

In The 49th Mystic, Rachelle found the first three of those five seals through great peril and mind-altering adventure. But two seals remain hidden and the fate of both worlds hangs in their balance.

As Rachelle Matthews sits deep in a dungeon, Vlad Smith is just getting started. Thomas Hunter's world is about to be turned inside out. The mystics say that there is no defense against the Fifth Seal--but finding it will cost Rachelle everything.

So begins the final volume of high stakes in one girl's quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward.

Ready? Set?

Dream.

Available at Amazon.com



The Awakened by Richard Spillman


Everyone dies once. But what if a chosen few were raised from the dead?

Two thousand years ago Jesus resurrected his friend, Lazarus, who founded a secret organization: SOAR. Since then Jesus has added to the resurrected—The Awakened—to aid Lazarus in SOAR's battle against Satan's slaves, the UnVeilers. The threat is escalating. The UnVeilers have stepped up their attacks on mankind through a charming leader and a devastating series of bombings in Dubai and Tel Aviv.

But the invasion doesn't stop with international terrorism. The UnVeilers are searching for a secret that Jesus embedded in Lazarus’ journal that not even Lazarus knows—and it will determine the fate of mankind. After a failed cyber-attack against SOAR's computers, Lazarus and his team of experts must find the secret before the UnVeilers do. What clue is he overlooking that could turn the tide of this ageless conflict?

The souls fighting with Lazarus are weary, but the war against evil is far from won. Can Lazarus and his team set aside their longing for heaven and put a stop to these satanic attacks before it's too late?

Available at Amazon.com



When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma


Natia has a secret—and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose.

In 1943 Poland, the Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their peaceful farm to the harsh confines of a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear—but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price. . .

Available at Amazon.com




Friday, October 12, 2018

Devotion: WHEN THE STORM HITS

Karen Rees | @ICFWriters



“I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” Ps 57:1b

As both an author and a reader I know that the best stories are ones filled with conflict, suspense, danger and challenges to overcome. While we like this in fiction, none of us want our lives disrupted by the real thing. But it's going to happen.

Last September's weather events are an example. Thanks to Hurricane Florence, the states of North and South Carolina in the US saw historic flooding that destroyed so much and took a number of lives. Around the same time the northern Philippines and then Hong Kong and southern China were hit by super Typhoon Mangkhut leaving unprecedented death and destruction behind.

Although Hong Kong saw no deaths from Mangkhut, it was the most damaging typhoon on record here.

In the park bordering our housing complex, a great many trees - both large and small – were damaged or destroyed. Normally after a typhoon the park workers have all the downed trees cleared in a day. This time, four days after the typhoon, they were just starting to make progress with the cleanup.



Our park wasn't the only place that was devastated. It was the same all over Hong Kong. Besides the devastation in other parks, a number of buildings had windows blown out and received other damage. Downed trees all over the territory blocked roads and sidewalks. Low lying areas and lower floors of apartment blocks near the ocean were flooded. Beaches were covered in rubbish.

It's going to take time to recover from this super typhoon. While the recovery continues, government officials are acknowledging that we must to be better prepared when the next one hits ... because it will.

Where we shelter from a storm makes a big difference as to the damage we suffer. Thanks to being surrounded by apartment blocks and sitting under a flyover (overhead highway) running through the middle of our housing complex, the Book Tree, an on-loan community book-sharing structure, survived intact. Again, because of our apartment's location, we suffered no real damage.



We can't avoid the storms of life, either the literal or the figurative ones. We need to prepare both on a practical level and on a spiritual one.
Our best spiritual preparation is building our lives on the solid foundation of Christ by listening to and obeying Him. (Matt 7:24-27) Every small act of obedience, every little word spoken that honors Him is one more brick added to our spiritual house.

Adding these bricks must be done daily because we have no way of knowing when the next storm will hit. But, like the wise man in Jesus' parable, when we're built on that foundation, we'll face the storms of life from a place of refuge.

Bio: Karen Rees exchanged life as a farmer's daughter for SE Asian “big city” life when she and her husband began mission work in Hong Kong. They've worked with local Chinese, household servants imported from the Philippines and Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka.
As a result she's eaten chicken's feet, baby octopus cooked in its own ink, barbecued pig's ear and several other delicacies that she didn't ask about.
Karen is the mother of two and grandmother of three, an avid reader, quilter, lover of history and an author of historical fiction set during the English Reformation.
Facebook Author Page: https://www/facebook.com/Author.KarenRees

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bookish Tuesday: All At Sea

by Jeanette O'Hagan @jeanetteohagan



I was born in far inland, in semi-arid outback Queensland. Water was scarce until first one and then two big dams were built. Each year we would spend time on the coast, and, when I was on the verge of ten years, we sailed on an ocean liner across the Indian Ocean from Melbourne to Durban, part of our journey to another inland abode, Kitwe Zambia. Two years later we repeated the journey.

A visit to the beach is one thing. Two weeks on the southern ocean something else altogether. At the beach the ocean is (mostly) tamed, It comes in and breaks upon the shore in curly waves. Okay, not altogether tame, it has a limit to it. In fact, ancient sailors (before compasses, and sextants) often sailed within sight of the land so as not to get lost in the vast trackless wilds of the ocean. Even so, sailors in the Pacific Island used wind, currents, birds and other signs to venture out into the wild, blue deep.

For me, those two weeks swaying, slipping and staggering on the ship's deck, fighting nausea, was still a magical time. The sparkling blue-black waves stretched as far as my eye could see in every direction. Albatross and gulls followed the wake of the ship. Flying fish, dolphins, jelly-fish brought wonder and fired the imagination.

In a few of my recent stories, I've recaptured something of that wonder of the ocean. It got me thinking about books set at sea.



Jonah and Paul


In the Bible, the ocean is often a symbol of chaotic, unruly forces arrayed against God, forces that he has subdued and tamed. We can see this in the story of Jonah in the Old Testament and Paul in the New - where a disastrous storm brings fear and devastation - yet also God's sovereign control, as a great fish swallows Jonah, while Paul and all his companions lives are saved despite shipwreck. On the Sea of Galilee, Jesus both calms the storm and walks upon the waves. However fierce the ocean may be, God is stronger. After all, He created it.

The Classics


A number of classic books are set at sea. Books like Gulliver's Travels by Jonathon Swift, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe,  Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, Moby Dick by Herman Melville or The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway to name a few.


Migration stories


In Australia - many early historical stories (both fictional and non-fictional) start with the First Fleet (the perilous journey, and the arrival and establishment of the convict colony in Jackson Bay, Sydney) or later ship arrivals in the eighteen century. Carol Preston's Mary's Guardian or Kate Grenville's The Secret River are examples.

No doubt there are also a great many stories surrounding the Pilgrim Fathers a couple of centuries earlier, stories which also include the privation and dangers of the voyage, as well as the challenges of settling in a new land and encounters with the original inhabitants. Mercy Clifton: Pilgrim Girl by Peter Marshall and David Manuel is a charming example aimed at young adult readers.


 The Light Between the Ocean


The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman is set on a lighthouse on remote (fictional) Janus island situated off the coast of West Australia and between the Indian and Great Southern Oceans. While technically land, this small rock is at the mercy of the might waves and wind. The beautiful, wild, remote setting is integral to the dramatic ethical dilemma that confronts the main characters, Tom and Isabel and Stedman's descriptions are exquisite.


Voyage of the Dawn Treader 


C S Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is part of his Narnia series and is almost wholly set at sea. King Caspian sails to the end of the world in search of the banished seven lords, friends of his father. He is joined by the youngest Pevensie children and their insufferable cousin, Eustace. The ship's company face dangers and stop by on a number of strange and perilous islands on the way. From Eustace's transformation, to the albatross that leads them out of danger, to the Far Country and Aslan appearing as a lamb, there are numerous biblical and spiritual allusions woven into a delightful adventure story.


Rose of Admirias


I loved Charis Joy Jackson's floating kingdom in her Beauty of the Beast adaption Rose of Admirias. This story is rich in imagery and has an allegorical undertone. It is a story of betrayal, of bitterness, revenge and forgiveness with great characters in Averie, the Beast, the Elderpine Bryce and others.



Jewel of the Stars


Adam David Collings first episode of his Jewel of the Stars series, Earth's Remnant introduces us to a crew and passengers of a cruise ship - with two main differences. The ocean this 'ship' sails on is between the stars (or space) and, early on in the cruise,  it becomes clear that earth is under devastating attack by an alien force. The Jewel of the Stars is on its own and must flee earth space to survive. Earth's Remnant kept me flipping the pages, and I'm looking forward to the next instalment.


On my to-read list


While many stories are set at or by the beach, an ocean is setting is less common.  With a bit of searching, I found some other Christian Fiction with a marine setting such as Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall - a voyage to Brazil to establish a utopia in 1866  -  or My Enemy My Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes - with heroine facing the capture of her father's ship in 1812 by a privateer on the high seas.


In the world of Nardva


Earlier this year, I wrote Before the Wind for a collection of my stories  Ruhanna's Flight and Other Stories (released in March 2018). Tamrak leads his people across the ocean to search of safety after his island is attacked. Researching and writing the effects of the winds and waves, the type of sailing crafts, ancient ways of navigation was both challenging and exhilarating, but most of all, I love immersing myself in my characters.

"... he dropped like an anchor-stone beneath the foaming surface.
       Cold gripped him and the roar and thunder of waves and winds, the hoarse shouts and cries from the other wakans were doused in a sudden muffled silence.
      The currents tossed him this way then that like a strand of dried seaweed in a high wind. Trails of silvery bubbles tracked their way to the surface, joining the foam of the crashing wave and collecting along the bottom of the hulls.
      He had to surface before he ran out of breath and the ocean claimed him. Clamping his mouth shut and tightening his chest muscles, he held what air he still had and kicked upwards.
      Something jerked him backward."
Before the Wind in Ruhanna's Flight and Other Stories



With my near release Stone of the Sea (release date, end of the month; novella 3 in the Under the Mountain series), Delvina and Zadeki continue their efforts to save the under the mountain realm, including a sea voyage of a crystal powered White Ship into unknown dangers. 

And earlier this year, I wrote a short story for an anthology (due release later this year). My story, Maroon's Sanctuary, is set deep in the ocean beneath the icebound surface of a frozen moon.  The story required another foray into pressures, depths, moons, breathing underwater, and cloning, as I explored the depths of the ocean. While the other two stories are epic fantasy, this one has a more futuristic slant. 

The ocean can be both mysterious and dangerous. Sometimes we need to leave the safety of the shore, to risk the storms and unseen perils.  But even in the storms of life, we know our Lord is with us.

------



Jeanette started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of eight or nine. She enjoys writing secondary world fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. Her Nardvan stories span continents, time and cultures. They involve a mixture of courtly intrigue, adventure, romance and/or shapeshifters and magic users. She has published numerous short stories, poems, two novellas and her debut novel, Akrad's Children and new release Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and a Master of Arts (Writing). She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

To keep up to date with latest news and blogs, sign-up to my newsletter - and receive the short story Ruhanna's Flight.

Find her on:




Monday, October 8, 2018

Monday Milestones

By Iola Goulton @iolagoulton




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!


Awards

Kara Isaac won the 2018 RITA Award from Romance Writers of America for Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements. Congratulations, Kara!

Click here to read the full list of winners, or click here to watch the replay and Kara's awesome acceptance speech!

New Releases

Grace in the Shadows by Christine Dillon

Christine Dillon (Taiwan) has released Grace in the Shadows, the sequel to Grace in Strange Disguise.


Physiotherapist Esther has survived cancer, but wounds within her family remain unhealed. Is her revived faith the reason for the rift or could a simmering secret be the root cause?

Cosmetics consultant Rachel buried her past - and her father’s God - but the past refuses to stay buried. Will she continue to run or is confronting her pain the way to freedom?

Two women. Two different lives.

One collision course with truth.

Can God’s grace shine even in the darkest of shadows?

Return to Baragula by Mary Hawkins


Return to Baragula by Mary Hawkins (Australia) has been re-released by ForgetMeNot Publishing.

When overcome by being alone with the man she loved on the romantic beach setting, teenager Emily Parker failed to keep her promise to God never to make love until married. She never dreamed how it would impact her own life and the lives of many others. Six years later, despite the hateful way she’d been treated there, she has to return to her home town, but discovers that Matthew Davidson, the man she’d yielded to, is now the local doctor.

While Emily’s faith is now weak, even believing God can no longer love her, Matthew’s life has changed since he committed his life to Christ. However, now he has to deal with all the consequences of his actions with Emily. When he becomes ill and is still weak when disease attacks the community, Emily, a registered nurse, has to help him. But danger from her life in the city has followed her, and now also threatens her family. Through it all, will Matthew and Emily’s faith and love be strong enough to forgive each other, and deal with all the consequences of their behaviour?

All Made Up by Kara Isaac

Kara Isaac (New Zealand) has released All Made Up, a standalone contemporary romance that features some characters from her previous novels.


Everyone thinks Katriona McLeod is living the dream. Her professional career as a make up artist sees her traveling the world working with the stars and she's got no shortage of men wanting her affection. Only problem is she's never gotten over Caleb Murphy, the one guy she's ever loved. When she accepts a job on the latest looking-for-love reality TV show, Falling for the Farmer, she discovers to her horror that Caleb is the leading man and she's cast as one of his harem. But she hides a secret that means that even if she wanted a second chance with the guy who broke her heart she could never have it.

Caleb Murphy couldn't care less about C-Class celebrity fame or reality TV and he certainly doesn't believe it could lead him to love. The one thing he does care about is fulfilling his mother's last wish. Kat's presence on the show seems to offer up a solution that will make both the network and his mother happy. It might have been almost ten years since they split but he knows he can trust her with his plan. Just as long as he doesn't fall in love all over again with the woman who will never stay.

Unknown Enemy by Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley (Canada) has released Unknown Enemy, the first in her new Green Dory Inn Mystery series.


Landon Smith vowed never to return to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Despite her faith, the memories might undo her.

But a shadowy figure has been skulking around the Green Dory Inn—seen only by her friend Anna.

Loyalty demands she stand by this woman who’s been a second mother to her. No matter the cost.

With the police unable to find solid clues, and the incidents escalating, Landon must help Anna discover the truth about the prowler and stop him. Before he turns violent.

Works in Progress

The Making of Mrs Hale by Carolyn Miller will release in November 2018.

Rita Stella Galieh is working on a proposal for a new series.

Jessica Kate is working on the edits for Love and Other Mistakes, which will release from Thomas Nelson in 2019. Click here to read the first chapter on her website.

Kara Isaac is working on the edits for One Thing I Know, which will release from Howard Books in February 2019.

Janet Sketchley is working to release Hidden Secrets (next in the Green Dory Inn Mystery series) in early 2019.


New Agent

Tara Ross has completed her first YA novel, and signed with Cyle Young and Hope Bolinger at Hartline Literary Agency. She is currently querying and hoping her manuscript finds a home.


Cover Reveals

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings (Thomas Nelson, March 2019) 


When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever.

A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.

A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister's house before her niece’s wedding.

And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive.

When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcases from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.

In this modern-day parable about the burdens that weigh us down, David Rawlings issues an inspiring invitation to lighten the load.

Congratulations, everyone!






Friday, October 5, 2018

Devotion: How's Your Sense of Direction?

by Sherma Webbe Clarke | @sdwc8181 




Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NKJV) 


My daughter is blessed with a keen sense of direction. She remembers landmarks and learns her way around new places quickly. Even if she is a stranger to an area, she maneuvers on foot or on public transportation as if she lived there all her life. I was amazed that, on her first trip to London, she was able to guide me from place to place using the Underground and bus system after only a matter of hours. On several occasions during our time together in London, I relied on her to get us to our destinations without getting lost.




I am the opposite.

I arm myself with detailed, written instructions or a map to find my way around in unfamiliar places. Before starting any trip, I pour over the directions several times to create a mental map. Online maps are great for virtually “walking” the streets of an unfamiliar destination. When driving, I use GPS to guide me, although I have been known to argue with the mechanical voice. “Are you sure?” I ask.




Even with ample preparation, there is no guarantee I won’t lose my way while trying to find a hotel, locate a particular store, or drive to a certain town or city as a first-time visitor. I have a talent for getting lost. A street sign could be missing. Or I might get sidetracked by an unexpected event (or a bookstore). More than once, a detour has caused me to take a different route than anticipated, sending my anxiety level through the roof of my rental car. The airport of one particular city--that shall remain nameless--is constantly involved in or surrounded by construction. Construction means detours. Detours mean. . . well, let's just say I'd rather have someone pick me up than attempt to drive from that airport.



Sometimes self-doubt is the culprit. At the last minute, I turn right when I should have turned left at the grocery store on the corner or at the second intersection. These mistakes can result in frustration, not to mention in a loss of time and energy. Doubting clear directions can be particularly costly when making life choices. Some can be life changing.


Peer pressure may lead to addictive habits such as drug or alcohol abuse or lifelong struggles with nicotine. Hasty purchases can result in long-term financial debt. Life is full of detours and side roads. It provides more than anyone’s fair share of doubtful moments. As writers, we stare at the page and make no progress in finding the words we need. We compare the first draft of our WIP to another writer’s new release and question our talent. We think it would be wonderful if we could make all our plans work out according to our timing and desires. But when self-reliance or self-doubt creeps into our thinking, plans go awry.




God’s word reminds me that the most essential sense of direction I need comes from following Jesus. I can have confidence in Him because He already knows what is best for me (Jeremiah 29:11). He sets up divine appointments. If I follow and obey, I don’t need to depend on my own instructions, a carefully drawn map, or even the skill of others when traveling in unfamiliar territory. All I need to do is put my hand in His and allow Him to lead.

Do you have a testimony about claiming Proverbs 3:5-6? Please share in the comment section. It might encourage someone else.

About Sherma... 

Sherma Webbe Clarke is a contemporary fiction writer and a 2017 ACFW First Impressions Finalist. Her inspirational writing has been included in Christian devotional books: Grace Notes and Blessed. She loves to take her husband by the hand to explore nearby and far-flung areas of the globe. This wanderlust has its perks. She credits many of her story ideas to these adventures. Quiet, early-morning walks along the railroad trails on her home island of Bermuda provide inspiration when she is homebound.

Friday, September 28, 2018

DEVOTIONAL: Some Things Never Change

By Leila Halawe | @LHalawe



Life is constantly changing. Every day something changes; the news, the Prime Minister (is Scott Morrison still leading Australia??), people, the weather. All around us, nature is changing and day by day we see subtle changes reminding us that a new season is coming whether we like it or not. Every day, people are dying, and babies are being born. Life is a constant cycle of change and it’s going to happen with or without our participation.

Our lives can be very much like that, too. I’m sure if we all looked back on the year so far, we can identity a few, if not a lot of things that have changed. I can tell you that a lot has changed for me this last year. Some good, some bad. I’ve made some new friends, I had a friend pass away, I’ve completed some study while also moving tackling my Masters. I’ve had some health issues and watched friends have health issues. I have seen prayers answered and have desperately cried new prayers. It’s just life.

But one thing that never changes is God. Ever.

Numbers 23:19 tells us,

 'God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?' 

I don’t know about you, but this is one of the most comforting scriptures in the bible for me. It is a clear promise that God hasn’t changed, isn’t changing and will never change. And this is great news for us because it means that what He promised, He will fulfil.

When He promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), He won’t leave us or forsake us. 

When He promises that He will walk through the darkest valley with us (Psalm 23:4), He will remain by our side. 

When He promises that He forgives our sins and they are forgotten (psalm 103:12), He will forgive and not hold our sins against us. 

When God tells us not to fear because He has redeemed us and knows us by name (Isaiah 433:1), He will call us by name and redeem us. 


God is not a human that He would change His mind and so when read one of His promises or declarations for us, we can be confident that He is unchanging and faithful to fulfil not just what He has promised, but far more than we can ever imagine or deserve. And that is so very comforting.

This post was cross posted at ACW


Leila (Lays) Halawe is a Sydney based coffee loving nonfiction writer and blogger. She has published a short devotional, Love By Devotion, and shares her views on life and faith via her blog page Looking In . You can connect with her via Facebook at Leila Halawe Author  and via Twitter at Leila Halawe.