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September ACFW-Author Releases!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:
Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus — For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Man to Trust by Carrie Turansky — After years spent helping manage her family’s Christian bookstore, it’s time for Adrie Chandler to give her own dream of playing her flute with a symphony orchestra a chance. But can she really trust the beloved shop to new manager Ross Peterson? The man is too handsome, too charming….and too much a reminder of another dream Adrie had to let go of – marriage. Yet Ross surprises her by knowing a thing or two about making sacrifices. Suddenly, Adrie is questioning what she really wants. And whether the dreams she once thought unlikely are within reach after all. (Contemporary Romance from Flowing Stream Books)

Fall Flip by Denise Weimer — The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband–her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business–stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets–and their own mistakes–cost them a second chance at love? (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Listening to Love by Beth Wiseman — Lucas is Amish. Natalie’s Englisch. They are best friends—and friends only. Despite what the gossips say. Besides, they couldn’t be together even if they wanted to be. Lucas would never leave the Amish faith, and Natalie is pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. But when a terrifying accident happens, Natalie and Lucas are forced to confront their true feelings and decide if they can stay true to themselves and each other. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary: The Christmas Portrait by Phyllis Clark Nichols — A family facing their first holiday season without Mama finds a way to celebrate Christmas. (General Contemporary from Gilead Publishing)

Historical: Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson — 1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape. Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life?and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried. (Historical from Tyndale Publishing)

Historical Romance:
Treasured Christmas Brides by Amanda Cabot, Rebecca Germany, Cathy Marie Hake, Colleen L. Reece, MaryLu Tyndall, and Michelle Ule — Six historical Christmas romances prove life’s most priceless gifts come not in the form of polished gold or silver—but from the vast riches of a loving heart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Thankful for the Cowboy by Mary Connealy — Hero Tom MacKinnon rides up driving a wagon with a second wagon trailing him. He and his sister want to be hired to build windmills. They’ll ask for very little money and, in exchange heroine, Lauren Drummond, newly widowed mother of four nearly grown sons, will help them learn to survive in the Sandhills of Nebraska. What to grow, what to hunt, how to build a sod house.
Tom’s windmills will save her ranch. Lauren needs three windmills on this drought year or her growing herd of cattle is going to die of thirst. She agrees to teach him the ways of the Sandhills, and to give him fifteen head of cattle. She’s not ready to think of another man. But Tom changes her mind. His little sister and one of her sons find love together before Tom and Lauren do. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Return of the King’s Ranger by Angela K. Couch — The war is over…for everyone but him. The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger. Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing. With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Christmas Next Door by Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough — Visit an Old West Texas town where a mysterious benefactor leaves gifts each Christmas, but also where four pairs of neighbors battle over hearsay, secrets, and mysteries. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Under Moonlit Skies by Cynthia Roemer — Esther meets Stewart, her brother-in-law’s ranch hand, when helping her sister recover from childbirth. Any interest she may have in the cowboy is hopeless, since she must return home to Cincinnati and the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed. till reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Mail-Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer — Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl wants a helper for her widowed father and a mama for herself, so she writes for a mail-order bride. Without telling him. Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor encourages her to answer an unusual letter from a little girl, hope opens an unexpected door. Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta may have to risk everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and find a second chance at love. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Witness Tree by Denise Weimer — Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother. Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Romantic Suspense:
Don’t Give Up On Me by Jodi Artzberger — When Cragge Automotive Group’s heiress, Amanda Cragge is left for dead, the only man she’s ever loved finds her. As the threats continue, will she accept help from the man who left her eight years ago without explanation? When Ryker Scott returns to Otter Bay, he is brought face to face with his past. He thought he could handle coming back but he might have been wrong. As a trained Army Ranger, he’s going to have to use his skills if he wants to keep the only woman he’s ever loved alive.
Will their past become their future or will their futures be destroyed forever?(Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Breaking Point by Marji Laine — Ever since her father’s death, Alynne Stone has had a series of strange “accidents.” Police Lieutenant Jason Danvers believes her father was murdered. He tries to connect the attempts on Alynne’s life, but things just don’t add up. Even in a small town, the mere rumor of treasure can change lives, end friendships…maybe even kill? Still dealing with the pain of his own wife’s death, he can’t allow an innocent woman’s life to be snuffed out on his watch. Especially one who shines as bright as Alynne. (Romantic Suspense, Write Integrity Press)

Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills — FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. (Romantic Suspense, Tyndale House)

Thriller:
The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal — Talia Inger is a rookie CIA case officer assigned not to the Moscow desk as she had hoped but to the forgotten backwaters of Eastern Europe–a department only known as “Other.” When she is tasked with helping a young, charming Moldovan executive secure his designs for a revolutionary defense technology, she figures she’ll be back in DC within a few days. But that’s before she knows where the designs are stored–and who’s after them. With her shady civilian partner, Adam Tyler, Talia takes a deep dive into a world where only criminal minds and unlikely strategies will keep the Gryphon, a high-altitude data vault, hovering in the mesosphere. Even Tyler is more than he seems, and Talia begins to wonder: Is he helping her? Or using her access to CIA resources to pull off an epic heist for his own dark purposes? (Techno-thriller from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

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Trouble Comes in Threes

By now, I reckon everyone knows I’ve been battling insurance companies and cancer this year. Basically, I’m good, now. I rang the bell signalling the last of my radiation treatments a couple of weeks ago. All that’s left is 12 months’ worth of IV treatment to battle the HER 2 protein. Not sure when that starts, but I’m glad it’s not for a month or so.

One day, as I drove home from my radiation treatment with the hubs in the passenger seat, he started slumping to the side, dizzy and feeling awful. We were less than a block from the house when I turned around and drove back to town. Long story short, he wound up in the ER with a tentative diagnosis of heat exhaustion.

Not long after that, I came out of radiation and found him slumped to the side in the waiting room. We went straight to the ER from there.

During this time, a close family friend was going with Mom to her doctor appointments. An X-ray showed a spot on her lung. A CT Scan confirmed there was a spot on her lung, and a PET scan–which makes cancer cells light up–lit up places in both her lung and her throat. Since I was having radiation daily, and since neither my husband nor I felt safe driving that far and back to go with her to her appointments, I learned of everything by phone call. I have no living siblings, so I’m thankful for Mom’s “adopted” daughter–and my adopted sister–Sandy.

Facing Storms

People who don’t understand call faith in God a “crutch.” I’ve got news for them. It’s not a crutch, it’s a wheelchair, one in which I can rest comfortably, knowing He’s got things in hand as He steers me through life’s messes.

When we’re in the midst of problems, God seems far away and faith trembles and threatens to crumble. We pray and deposit our cares on Him, then yank them back because He’s not solving them fast enough—as if we could do it better and faster. In the midst of storms, faith often proves itself effective only in hindsight.

Early in this decade, when we went through another triplicate of crises, God calmed my fears in a way that stays with me even now. The last leg of our threesome of troubles was a severe flare-up of my Crohn’s disease. After running me through a series of tests, my doctors here–who had pulled me out of many scary situations–shook their heads and shipped me off to a larger city in hopes of saving me. The doctors there shook their heads too. The prognosis wasn’t good.

By that time, though, I figured I was in a win-win situation. I’d either get better, or I’d be with Him in my new forever home. But I worried about Mom and my husband. Although he’d miss me, I knew Billy would be all right. He had his kids. But Mom had no one but me, and I began to fret for her.

As if He were sitting right beside me in the car as we drove to yet another appointment, I heard God say, “You are my child. So are they. You trust me for yourself. Trust Me for them.”

So I did.

Soon after that, the IV antibiotics finally began to work, and I started the slow path to health. Took five months.

Frankly, I don’t know how people go through life without an occasional push in the wheelchair. Don’t they get tired of facing everything alone? Dealing with things on their own instead relying on His supernatural strength? It’s a pity, I believe, to not recognize the One who loves us enough to reconcile us to Himself by sacrificing His own Son.

The Almost-Epilogue

After Billy endured a number of tests, a cardiologist discovered that he has a funky heartbeat and his blood pressure can get alarmingly high. But he’s in great shape. So far, he has been able to manage the symptoms with medication. Right now, he’s dealing with a nerve in his leg that is giving him fits, but the physical therapist is teaching him how to cope. Crisis #1 handled, thank you, Lord.

The cells that lit up in Mom’s throat weren’t cancer after all–again, thank you Lord! That was the most worrisome, because of her situation. She’s legally blind and officially handicapped, yet she’s still able to live alone. If she’d lost her voice to cancer, though, that ability would no longer exist. She wouldn’t be able to call for help and couldn’t see to text 911. She wouldn’t be able to handle her own basic business without the ability to talk on the phone.

Today, I’ll drive down to stay with her for a few days. The biopsy on the spot on her lung is scheduled for tomorrow. We won’t know the results until next week, but her faith is considerably stronger than my own. Her peace provides me with peace. Whatever God has in store for her is fine with us.

And for myself, as I said, I’m fine so far. Don’t know how the Herceptin will do me–it has some scary side-effects–but we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Whatever comes, I trust Him.

 

 

 

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Brea Rose Soap Garden

While I was going through radiation therapy, the doctor told me to use a cream on the affected area frequently–even told me which brand was best. “You can buy it on Amazon,” she said. Well, I couldn’t find it on Amazon, and after I told her, she couldn’t find it either. What to do? I wrote to the owner of Brea Rose Soap Garden, Dolly Vogel, told her the ingredients the doctor suggested, and asked her to make the cream for me.

She did, and she did a wonderful job. Can I say that she literally and single-handedly saved my skin? Not entirely, but her cream was a huge part of my healing. My doctor was amazed at how quickly and well I healed.

Actually, I love all her products. When we published A Southern Season, each of us authors chose one of BRSG soaps to represent our stories. I bought a few extra, just because I liked the way they looked. Afterward, I loved the way they felt. I’m a fan!

I asked her to write a piece about herself and her company for my blog~~~

She also provided some images of the soaps she makes. So cute!

Brea Rose Soap Garden does business exclusively on Facebook. Dolly also puts up some of the most wonderful pictures and memes. Even if you’re not in the market for specialty soaps and creams, check out her page for the sheer beauty of it.

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Sandra Melville Hart shares a bit of History about Abilene, Kansas

I just finished reading the other contributions to The Cowboys, and I have to say–we did a great job! Here’s a post from fellow contributor, Sandy Hart . . .

JUBILEE WRITER

In case you missed my previous posts my latest release is part of Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys. I’m one of four authors in this collection that releases August 15th. Today I’ve asked Sandra Melville Hart, another author from the collection to give us a peek into her story Trail’s End setting.

Trail’s End set in Abilene

by Sandra Merville Hart

My brother married a Kansas girl and moved to that beautiful state soon after their marriage. On a family vacation to Kansas, we visited Abilene.

The town had been a wild Cowtown in its early days. Wild Bill Hickok was the marshal of Abilene in 1871. My sister-in-law had ancestors who lived there. One of them was friends with Wild Bill—what a surprise!

I learned a little history of the wild western town and wanted to learn more. Who knew that a family vacation would spark an idea…

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Cowboys, Cattle Drives and Romance

Great article about cattle drives by The Cowboys’ co-contributor Jennifer Uhlarik! The Cowboys officially releases 8/15!

JUBILEE WRITER

Today, I’m sharing more about the upcoming release of Smitten Historical Romance Novella Collection: The Cowboys, all four novellas feature adventure and fun romance with hunky cowboys. Jennifer Uhlarik, award- winning author and lover of all things western set her novella Being Brave on a cattle drive. It is so exciting and swoon-worthy. Jennifer is sharing her knowledge of all things cattle drive and more about our novella collection.

The Jobs on a Cattle Drive

One of the most enduring and iconic images of the Old West is the cattle drive—where cowboys moved several thousand cattle from Texas to a rail town in Kansas. There, the herd was sold and transported to stockyards in the east. This major undertaking happened yearly after the spring roundup, and typically, several ranches pooled their cattle into one large herd and hired men to drive them north. But what were the specific jobs or…

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Who Doesn’t Love Cowboys? And a Giveaway?

Our novella collection, *The Cowboys*, officially releases next week, and since I’m still dealing with the aftereffects of radiation treatments, I’m going to share some posts by my fellow-authors, beginning with Cindy Ervin Huff.

JUBILEE WRITER

It’s coming! Tomorrow will be August. On the 15thThe Cowboys will be released. I’m so excited. In this post I thought I’d share the WHAT IF moment behind my novella Healing Hearts that appears in this collection.

Don’t you just want to ride off into the sunset with hm?

My editor Pegg Thomas, from Smitten Historical Romance (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) asked me if I’d be interested in being in a collection where the main character is a cowboy. Who doesn’t love a good cowboy story? Three other wonderful authors joined me in the adventure: Jennifer Uhlarik, Sandra Melville Hart and Linda W. Yezak, all wonderful, award-winning authors.

In romance the female character is the first character you met. The book starts by introducing her. But The Cowboy starts with scenes of the male lead. So that was an interesting challenge. Kansas was chosen…

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August Titles from ACFW Authors!

August 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website. Oh–and don’t miss my new release in the collection listed in Historical Romance: The Cowboys!

Contemporary Romance:

The Butterfly Recluse by Therese Heckenkamp — Lila finds solace in her sheltered world by raising butterflies and surrounding herself with their gentle beauty. They’re all she needs—until a motorcycle-riding stranger roars up her driveway, invading her safe haven, throwing her life off-kilter, and forcing her to question everything. What exactly is he after, and what is he not telling her? In one intense night of desperation and revelation, Lila must confront her darkest fears—and hopefully discover that with faith and courage, shattered dreams can be restored, damaged hearts can love again, and broken wings can heal . . . maybe even fly. (Contemporary Romance from Ivory Tower Press)

A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson — Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but things do not go as planned. Carter is fascinated with the wreck, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again: trust a man. (Contemporary Romance from Revell-A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hometown Healing by Jennifer Slattery — She’s home again, but not for long… Unless this cowboy recaptures her heart Returning home with a baby in tow, Paige Cordell’s determined her stay is only temporary. But to earn enough money to leave, she needs a job—and her only option is working at her first love’s dinner theater. With attraction once again unfurling between her and Jed Gilbertson, can the man who once broke her heart convince her to stay for good? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

Grace in Deep Waters by Christine Dillon — William Macdonald is at the pinnacle of his career. Pastor of a growing megachurch and host of a successful national radio programme. Clever and respected, he’s a man with everything, including a secret. His wife has left him and he can’t risk anyone finding out. Blanche Macdonald is struggling. Her once rock-solid marriage is showing cracks. She promised to love her husband for better or for worse, but does loving always mean staying? Blanche desires to put God first. Not William. Not her daughter. Not herself. When is a marriage over? When do you stand and fight? (Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)

When Mountains Sing by Stacy Monson — Mikayla Gordon loves nothing more than sleeping under the stars, reeling in the “big one,” and long hikes in the wilderness. A medical crisis reveals a 30-year-old secret that turns everything she’s known and believed upside down, unraveling her dreams and her identity. In search of answers, she follows a trail from Minnesota to Colorado and discovers more unwelcome secrets even as she falls in love with the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains, and a wilderness camp leader who shares the greatest secret of all. Knowing her life can never go back to what it was, she must make decisions that will impact far more than just her future. (Contemporary from His Image Publications)

All In by L. K. Simonds — Cami Taylor: a blackjack dealer, a bestselling author, and a fraud. Cami’s boyfriend, Joel, loves her in spite of her flaws. He wants to marry her, buy a house on Long Island, and raise a family–a life that’s a million miles from Cami’s idea of happiness. Her therapist suggests compromise and trust, but Cami bolts like a deer. She breaks off the relationship and launches on a new quest for happiness, not knowing that a nasty surprise waits around the corner. What follows is a fight to the death. Who will be the one left standing? (Contemporary from Morgan James Fiction)

Historical:

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano — A rag girl accepts an invitation to become the lady she’s always dreamed of being, but some dreams turn out to be nightmares. (Historical from Revel – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Historical Romance:

Lady and the Lawman by Crystal L. Barnes, Vickie McDonough, Annette OHare, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — Four historic stories of lawmen and the ladies who love them. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Farmer’s Daughter by Mary Davis, Kelly Eileen Hake, Tracie J. Peterson, Jill Stengl, and Susan May Warren — Enjoy five historical novels by some of Christian fiction’s bestselling authors. Meet daughters of prairie farms from Montana south to Kansas who find love in the midst of turbulent life changes. Marty’s nieces are kidnapped. Rosalind’s town is overrun by a railroad company. Amy’s jealousy comes between her and her twin. Beulah’s answer is needed to a marriage proposal. Lilly’s choice puts her at odd with her neighbors. Into each of their lives rides a man who may only make their situations worse. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Cowboys by Sandra Merville Hart, Cindy Ervin Huff, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Linda W. Yezak — Taming the West–one heart at a time. Healing Heart: A physically scarred cowboy finds solace with a ranch girl who is hiding from her past. Becoming Brave: A cattle drover wants to get his boss’s heard safely through Indian Territory…as soon he figures out why a bloodstained woman is holding a gun on him. Trails End: Waiting for his boss’s cattle to sell, a cowboy takes a kitchen job at a restaurant where the beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Loving a Harvey Girl: To improve the local preacher’s opinion of career women, a Harvey Girl makes it her mission to redeem a wayward cowboy, but finds herself longing for a husband, hearth, and home. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Lost in the Storm by Tamera Lynn Kraft — Lavena, a journalist during the Civil War, wants to become a war correspondent. She finally gets her chance, but there’s a catch. She has to get an interview from a war hero who has refused to tell his story to every other journalist, and she has to accomplish this impossible task in a month or she’ll lose her job. Captain Cage, the war hero, has a secret that will destroy his military career and reputation. Now, a new journalist wants him to reveal what he’s been hiding. He’d prefer to ignore her, but from the moment she came into camp, he can’t get her out of his mind. Leading up to the turbulent Battles for the city of Chattanooga, will Lavena and Cage find the courage to love and forgive, or will they be swept away by their past mistakes that don’t want to stay buried? (Historical Romance from Mt Zion Ridge Press)

Love’s Allegiance by Linda Shenton Matchett — Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

The Brightest Hope by Naomi Musch — Five years after the Great War, Holly Allen is a well-adjusted war widow with a knack for running the family press. She’s over the days of waiting for a white knight to ride in and sweep her away from her cares. Besides, if Hugh Phelps is a knight, he’s certainly a black one—with his prison record, personal demons, and the ghosts of war that haunt him. When Holly hires Hugh, despite her reservations, it isn’t long before she sees the man he could really be, and as Hugh finds his niche at Allen’s Printing, he finds his lady boss equally appealing. Despite the attraction, however, Holly won’t let herself fall for a faithless man, and Hugh isn’t on gracious terms with God. Then, just when new beginnings seem possible, old heartaches from the war come calling. Now it might only be in letting go of everything dear that they both discover what real love is. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Annabelle’s Joy by Betty Thomason Owens — She’s waited too long. When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again? Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)

Mystery/Cozy Mystery:

Hidden Secrets by Janet Sketchley — When an online vendetta against the Green Dory Inn escalates to physical threats, a cryptic message about a tunnel points to the property’s original owner, a notorious Prohibition-era sea captain rumoured to have left hidden wealth. (Mystery, Independently Published)

Murder at Rendsburg Resort by C. L. Wells — Trapped in a remote resort with a killer on the loose, the body count piling up, and no one else to save them, mystery writer Jill Pemberton must help find the killer before they claim their next victim. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Two Steps Forward by Luana Ehrlich — When CIA operative Titus Ray has an unexpected encounter with a Jihadi terrorist while he and Nikki are on their honeymoon in Morocco, he assumes it’s a coincidence, but when they travel to Israel for the second half of their honeymoon and encounter him again, he takes action, which takes him to Baghdad to prevent the assassination of a high-profile government official. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Edge of Truth by Kimberly Rose Johnson — The DEA sends two of its best agents, Kara Nelson and Jeff Clark, to Central Oregon, to shut down a major drug ring. Kara and Jeff usually work alone, but Operation Trail Ride throws them undercover together in a way neither of them expected. A notorious Miami drug lord wants Kara dead. Can these agents pull off the greatest acting job of their lives—and manage the sparks flying between them? Or will they die trying? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Speculative:

Redemption by Jacques R. Pye — Sterling Newman and Armena Sandal face death as they struggle to help the Alesandrans and the Kirilleans combat a force seeking the destruction of both worlds. (Speculative, Independently Published)

Young Adult:

Shards of Light by Susan Miura — Sometimes the pieces of a shattered dream can transform into something extraordinary. (Young Adult from Vinspire Publishing)

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Writing in Times of Adversity

I’ve seen dozens of posts about whether and  how to write during hard times. The answer to “whether” is always yes. Authors see it as an escape, a balm during times of trouble. I have friends who continued writing and producing during times that were far more difficult than what I’m going through right now. They amaze me.

During the hardest, most painful time of my life, from late 2010 through late 2012, I was writing both The Cat Lady’s Secret and The Simulacrum. Brad and I had been working on The Simulacrum together for years. He had the basics of the novel already; he just needed me to flesh it out more.  The Cat Lady’s Secret was all mine, and it was supposed to be a straight-out romantic comedy. But the tone shifted during those years, and what I had originally intended became altered. It’s still a good book. I reread it a few weeks ago and still love it. I’m in awe of how it came together despite the circumstances during which it was written. It was a God-thing. It had to have been.

This time around, with adjusting to Billy being retired and dealing with this breast cancer—even though it’s “little c” cancer and should never again be an issue once I’ve gone through treatment—I couldn’t seem to get myself to write. First of all, with Billy home all the time, I’m having to rearrange my daily schedule to match our new daily schedule, which changes almost on a daily basis. I’m no longer regimented as I was when he was working.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you already know that my biggest problem is the “I don’t knows.” For some reason, having so many question marks circling in my head whenever I try to plan for the year has stymied me. It’s hard to plan things when I don’t know when I’ll start the IV treatment and don’t know how it’ll make me feel or whether I’ll be able to travel. Building our new house and moving this year are totally off the table. We simply can’t deal with that and everything else too. But it leaves enough for me to juggle, both emotionally and physically.

Yesterday, I sat down to my manuscript, Kayla’s Challenge, again for the first time in weeks. The last time I sat down to it was the first time in weeks. And the time before that. I haven’t worked on it solidly since before Billy retired in early April. I’ve been able to do my editing jobs for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and my administrative job for ACFW, but I haven’t been able to write. You know what that means? I’ve been totally left-brained. That alone is reason enough to keep writing or doing something that stimulates my creative side. I’ve neglected it.

So, as to the question of whether you should continue writing during times of adversity, I have to go with the others and say yes. And the reason is clear: you must keep your creative side sharp.

Then there’s the second question . . .

How to write during times of adversity

  • The “No Time” Excuse

Not long ago, Pamela Thibodeaux, a writer friend, came to visit, and I cried on her shoulder a bit. Haven’t been able to write. Haven’t had time. Everything is all wonky. Can’t concentrate. Can’t get into it.

Although she was sympathetic through most of my whining, she took a hard line when it came to my work. Should I be writing? Unquestionably. No excuse. You must.

No time to write?

Phooey.

You always have time to write. Take a notebook with you wherever you go. In a waiting room? Write. Driving somewhere? Write. Sitting through a boring TV show with the hubs? Write.

In fact, according to Michael Scott, another friend, the best way to become an author is to be uber busy in other areas of your life. If you really want to write, you’ll find time and you’ll make good use of it.

  • The “Loss of Regiment” Excuse

That’s pretty much covered above: If you can’t write when you always write, write when you can.

But there’s another line of thought too: Set your hours and expect everyone to respect them. I can’t remember exactly what K.M. Weiland, my hero and critique partner, uses to make sure her hours are respected—a flame thrower?—but she’s the first one who made me realize that it is within my power to keep my hours sacrosanct. It may involve some snarling, but you have a right to your time and a right to have your time respected.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have a right to neglect your family and other duties. But whether it’s for thirty minutes or for a few hours, if you’re serious about being/becoming an author, your work time is important and should be honored.

  • The “Can’t Get Into It” Excuse

That’s the hardest one for me. I can’t get into it for two reasons: I’ve been left-brained for too long, and I’m dealing with emotional stress, which tends to absorb all my energy. But I found the second problem can be helped once the first one is.

  1. Try some warm-up exercises. Yesterday, I thought that going through a couple of chapters of my manuscript would kick the right side of my brain into gear, but instead, I edited. Left-brain activity. I’ve been doing it all year, so I simply fell back into the pattern. I decided to play instead, and here’s my favorite playground: Random Plot Generator. Try it. You’ll see immediately why I love it.
  2. Indulge in some free-flow writing. If you have a work in progress, take your characters out for a spin, driving them away from your manuscript and into a different world of “what if.” What if your novel’s hero got to meet your movie/TV idol? What if you took your villain to church? What if your historical character suddenly found herself in the 21st Century—or your contemporary heroine found herself in Downton Abbey? Just play with it.
  3. Notice your mood vs your manuscript’s tone. My first suggestion is not to work on your manuscript if the two don’t match. As I said about The Cat Lady’s Secret, the tone changed drastically from what I originally intended. But, your mood could enhance your tone. Use whatever you’re going through to make your characters’ emotions more real, more intense. Aside from making your novel better, it can be amazingly therapeutic.

Once you get into the flow of it, you’ll discover that you’ve escaped for a while all the things that are hard for you in your real life. You’re likely to emerge from your session more relaxed and refreshed.

Life is what life is—it’s full of ups and downs, and we’re not going to escape that as long as we’re in our clay houses. Part of being a professional is doing your job regardless. One friend of mine plows ahead while in the throes of migraine pain. Another met deadlines after her son died. Still another turned crisis after crisis into devotional books so she could share her lessons, love, and concern with those enduring what she endured.

Curling up in a ball in a dark corner of the room is also an option. But it’s best not to stay there.

Get up and write.

 

 

 

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New Releases for July!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Hometown Hope by Laurel Blount — In the three years since her mother’s death, widower Hoyt Bradley’s daughter, Jess, hasn’t spoken—until she suddenly begs him to save her favorite bookstore from closing. Hoyt is desperate to hear his daughter’s voice again, but he and the bookstore’s pretty owner, Anna Delaney, share a less-than-friendly past. Working together is complicated enough…but can they avoid falling in love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Heart Surrendered by Joy K. Massenburge — Since her teens, pastor’s daughter Sharonda Peterson devoted her life to church service and solitude after the one night she gave Carl Ray Everhart everything. Sobered by a near-death experience, prodigal Carl returns home from an acting and singing career to serve as the worship leader at Sheronda’s church, and she finds that it takes every ounce of her resolve to resist his pursuits … not to mention memories that threaten to overturn the delicate balance she’s created. Can she finally surrender the one thing she’s tried all these years to protect: her heart? (Contemporary Romance from Harambee Press [Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas])

Starting Anew by Melanie D. Snitker — He’s afraid to trust. She has a secret that could change everything between them. Will they let go of their fear, or allow it to rob them of their chance at happiness? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Historical:

Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller — Can shy, sweet Cecilia overcome her family’s prejudice to see a future with the recently returned prodigal son from next door? (Historical from Kregel Publications)

Benaiah: Might Man of God by PH Thompson — A novel of Biblical, historical fiction about Benaiah, one of King David’s mighty men, examining the premise: What happens when the king’s most obedient soldier is issued a wicked command? (Historical/Biblical from Word Alive Press)

Historical Romance:

Waltz with Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield — When the men and women of World War II marched off to war, they didn’t know what lay ahead. All they knew was that upon their young and inexperienced shoulders rested the plight of the free world. (Historical Romance from CrossRiver Media Group)

Thimbles and Threads by Mary Davis, Grace Hitchcock, Suzanne Norquist, and Liz Tolsma — Enjoy four historical romances that celebrate the arts of sewing and quilting. When Tilly, a schoolteacher; Alice, a bridal shop owner; Sarah, a seamstress; and Melissa, a rag doll designer, put needle and thread to fabric, will their talents lead to the surprising gift of love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Refiner’s Fire by J.M. Hochstetler
Will the promise their hearts cling to finally find joyful fulfillment, or will war’s refining fire separate them forever? (Historical Romance from Sheaf House Publishers)

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson — To escape an arranged marriage, Cassie Kendrick enlists in the Union army as a man, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer. Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase past guilt, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships along the way, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding. Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Express Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse — Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Legacy Rejected by Robin Patchen — She’s not giving up her home, no matter what threats come against her. Realtor Ginny Lamont’s family has abandoned her, leaving her with nothing but a warning that she’s in danger. But Ginny’s built a home in New Hampshire. After a childhood of nomadic living, she’s not running again, certainly not because of some nameless, baseless threat. Real estate developer Kade Powers is thrilled to go out with Nutfield’s beautiful new real estate agent. But the prowler they surprise after their first date offers a glimpse into Ginny’s past and the legacy of lies her parents left her with. She brings a mystery, one he’s determined to help her solve. With Kade’s help, Ginny searches for the truth of her parents’ criminal activity while her enemies close in. When mobsters show up in her quaint New England town, will she find a way to bring them down, or will she lose the home—and the man—she’s come to love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Suspense:

Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig — Mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets–and dangers–never before seen on earth. Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is once more given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as Viorica snatches the volume right out from under them. Iskra “Viorica” Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most–freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe, and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives, and entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of their past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in centuries-old words could unleash a storm of their own destruction. (Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Speculative:

The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin — Deceiving an empire is a treacherous game. Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret–Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse. As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone–least of all herself. The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers, and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent. (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)

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