Proud of My Authors

Few things are more satisfying than being named a finalist for a national, highly-coveted award—except winning the award, of course. Unfortunately, the amount of time between finding out these wonderful authors became finalists and finding out who won is too long. I’m excited. I want to share this now! I had the privilege of working on each of these books as a contracted editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (now known as LPC, an imprint of Iron Stream Media), and I have to tell you, I’m plum tickled for these ladies.

Young Adult

Something I Am Not, by Cher Gatto

Finalist for the ACFW Carol Award, YA Fiction

This remarkable story is Cher’s debut novel and should be a finalist in the debut category too, but I’m excited about it finaling in its genre category. The story isn’t your typical YA. It’s a painfully realistic exploration of the life of a young man who was sold as a boy to be trained as a paramour. In other words, human trafficking, sex slavery, etc. People who believe that Christian fiction is all sweet and fanciful should be aware of novels like this one. Christians tackle the tough subjects, and Cher tackled one of the toughest.

Contemporary Romance

Love You Truly, by Susan L. Tuttle

Finalist for the ACFW Carol Award, Romance

This was the first time I had the pleasure of working with Susan, but I’m so delighted wasn’t the last.

Susan’s characters are beautifully rounded and witty. I love the banter between the hero and heroine. The plot is compelling and the characters’ stakes are high—and the settings! Oh, my goodness! Susan knows how to masterfully lose you in the story setting as her characters cruise and jet all over the world. Beyond swoon-worthy, this one is a true winner! (PS: Her next one, Then Again, Maybe is going to be a block-buster too! Comes out later this year, I think. Watch for it!)

Historical Romance

Sand Creek Serenade, by Jennifer Uhlarik

Finalist for the Will Rogers Medallion Award and for the Selah Award

I’m not remotely surprised that Jennifer’s exceptional novel is a finalist in two prestigious contests. For this cross-cultural romance between a white woman doctor and a young Indian native, Jennifer did some intense research. The setting is real; the events surrounding the romance actually happened—and Jennifer brings it all to life in a compelling page-turner.

I am so honored to have played a small role in each of these books’ publication. To see them listed as finalists in their various categories and with their various competitions makes my heart swell up bigger’n my chest can hold. I’m rooting for all of them to win their awards; but if not, they’re still winners to me.

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Especially for Writers

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Wreathing to Writing

I discovered a secret: if I engage in a different creative outlet, my writing muse awakens and becomes jealous because I’m pouring my attentions elsewhere.

Huh. Who knew?

My office is finished now and my new Dell computer is set up, complete with Microsoft Word, a program I’ve never used for writing because I’m more accustomed to WordPerfect. I’ve been learning Word as I type in my manuscript, but what’s kept me adding to my work-in-progress and pushing it forward is the time I’ve spent creating a floral wreath. Using the creative side of the brain in any way apparently awakens it to the way you want to use it, if that makes sense. So, wreathing can lead to writing. Why not?

Here’s my masterpiece—my first attempt at a floral wreath. But I can’t decide how it should hang. What do you think? Right side up or upside down?

upside down


right side up

It’s hanging on the wall right side up, but I can’t decide. Which do you think?

I took a picture of it in its new home over the TV, but I swear, the gray paint in this house just swallows any hint of brightness. It’s a pretty shade of gray, but it’s beginning to get to me. I see repainting the house in my future. Sigh.

Anyway, now that it’s done and hanging on the wall, I can devote my attention on my WIP again. I hope to finish it by the end of the month—not an impossibility, since it’s a novella intended for a collection created among friends. I’m excited about it. I have the first part written and the finale in mind, all I have to do is drive through the middle without sagging, and I’ll be done. Woo-hoo!

Let’s hope my muse doesn’t desert me!

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Looking for a great read?

August 2020 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

The Price of Dreams by Toni Shiloh — Ballet has always been my life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything I’ve worked so hard for—especially my title of Octavia Ricci, principal ballerina. I thought for sure my physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain my dream once more, but he wants more than I’m prepared to give. I’ve seen firsthand the trials of interracial relationships. I’m a product of one myself and promised I’d never put my hopefully-someday kids through that drama. Everyone keeps telling me to let go of other people’s expectations, but I’m just not sure I can. Besides, if my dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Peace in the Valley by Kelly Irvin — After a devastating wildfire sweeps through her town, one young Amish woman is shown a different way to practice her faith . . . but pursuing it could cost her everything she holds dear, including the man she loves. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


The Plans We Made by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue — Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations. Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect – a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart. Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that things don’t always go according to The Plans We Made. (Women’s Fiction from White Glove)


In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan — While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression? (Historical from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Heart of Courage by Lynne Basham Tagawa — In 1753, troubling news comes to Russell’s Ridge… Susanna Russell longs to escape her valley home. When war breaks out, she gets her wish to study in fabulous Williamsburg. But she realizes she’s lost something important along the way. Something—and someone. James Paxton is studying for the ministry. But when violence threatens the valley, his path becomes clouded. What is God’s will for his life? The answer is alarming—and impossible. Red Hawk spies white surveyors near his home, a harbinger of trouble to come. Shawnee chiefs go to Philadelphia to treat for peace, but the unthinkable happens, and Red Hawk loses all he once held dear. Then he has a strange dream. What can it mean? (Historical from Blue Rock Press)

Historical Romance:

Heart of a Warrior by Angela K. Couch — All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail. Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart. (Historical Romance from Prism [Pelican Book Group])

The Shopkeeper’s Widow by Izzy James — When the love of her life returns with a load of smuggled firearms, she must discover a new way to happiness. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Dinah’s Dilemma by Linda Shenton Matchett — Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife. As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Katherine’s Arrangement by Blossom Turner — Marrying him is her only choice to save her family, but Josiah Richardson isn’t at all the man she expected. A marriage of convenience is the last thing she wants, but there doesn’t seem to be a better option for her family or herself. Meanwhile, Josiah works hard to befriend Katherine, to earn her trust and win her love. And Katherine is pleasantly surprised to find herself drawn to Josiah, until an unexpected friendship tears apart all they’ve worked for. Where once the promise of love had budded between Josiah and Katherine, now they wonder what to do with their so-called marriage. Is love strong enough to weave its healing power through two broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Called to London by her great grandmother Queen Victoria, former Pinkerton agent Alice Anne von Wettin goes undercover to assist Scotland Yard in catching Jack the Ripper after working a similar case in Austin, Texas. (Suspenseful Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Accidental Target by Theresa Hall — Allison Moore can’t deny what she sees—a lifeless hand sticking out of a tarp in the back of a crashed pickup truck. Seconds later, she’s on the run with a murderer on her heels. Nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted…except police sergeant Jackson Archer. But with someone set on silencing her, can Jackson keep his promise of protection? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Minutes to Die by Susan Sleeman — It’s the intel every agent fears—terrorists have been smuggled into the country intent on unleashing the most deadly attack since 9/11. With the threat imminent, FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are charged with taking down this terrorist cell. Only problem is, Kiley blames Evan for the death of her former partner, and she can barely be in a room with him. But with millions of lives on the line, she has no choice. If it wasn’t for a bad call Evan made, Kiley’s former partner would still be alive, and Evan has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. When he starts falling for her, the agent’s death seems an impossible obstacle—but it’s also the last thing he needs to think about. As the terrorist plot veers toward targeting Kiley’s family, the two are pushed to the breaking point in a race to save countless lives. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Kokopelli’s Song by Suzanne J Bratcher — Seventeen-year-old twins Amy Adams and Mahu Sekatewa team up with Mahu’s friend Diego James to stop ancient evil from tipping our universe into chaos. (Speculative from Scrivenings Press)

Rose in the Desert by K.M. Daughters — Anna Babic Robbins, dubbed “The Rose Of The Adriatic” by pilgrims to her village, leaves her home bound for America. She is to deliver secrets concerning the fate of the world to a Chicago priest who will shepherd mankind to prepare to hear God speak. Four women travel to Las Vegas, and while there, snow begins to fall during triple digit heat. They soon learn that the non-accumulating snowfall is a worldwide phenomenon—a universal sign from God preceding the gift of a permanent sign inexplicable by earthly standards. With the culmination of these miraculous events, all their paths intersect, and God will reveal His plans to each soul on earth. Will mankind listen? (Speculative from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Song of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson, When a vlogger spots a man stalking young children, she’s spreads it on social media only to learn she may be mistaken–the man might be innocent. (Contemporary Romance)

Faith and Hope by Amy R. Anguish, Two sisters. One summer. Multiple problems. (Contemporary Romance)

Grace in the Desert by Christine Dillon, Must yesterday’s pain strangle tomorrow’s hope? (General Contemporary)

When Heaven Sighs by Susan Guinn, Angels, death and mysticism surround the arrival of a Dead Sea Scroll in Nashville, Tennessee as a dedicated homicide detective and a local pastor struggle to capture the murderers of two young men brave enough to believe in the scroll’s unique message. (Mystery)

Where She Belongs by Pamela Harstad, A Hawaiian woman desires love and struggles to belong, but a murder changes everything. (Romantic Suspense)

Two Hearts by Ruth Kyser, Tory Hendricks visits a guest ranch in the Hill Country of Texas where she meets the owner, Reed Montgomery. Even though they’ve both decided to remain single, they become good friends. The question is, does God have something more in store for them than just friendship? (Contemporary Romance)

Legacy Redeemed by Robin Patchen, Vanessa will fight to rescue her sister. Caleb will fight to protect Vanessa. But Abbas has evil plans for them all. (Romantic Suspense)

No Secrets No Lies by Tamara Tilley, Charlie lives in hiding. Hunter lives in the limelight. She is afraid to be a part of his world. He cannot imagine her not being in it. (Contemporary Romance)

Devil’s Cauldron by Michael Jack Webb, The FBI asks an ex-Special Forces Ranger once accused of domestic terrorism to investigate a Black Swan event in Antarctica. He must battle interdimensional, supernatural enemies attempting to regain power over humanity after ten-thousand years. (Supernatural Thriller)

I’ll Be Yours for Christmas by Dalyn Weller, Christmas magic in the Cascade Mountains. (Contemporary Romance)

And don’t forget: Give the Lady a Ride is still 99c on Kindle, Kobo, Apple, and Barnes and Noble!

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Especially for Writers

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PS: Don’t forget the 99c SALE on Give the Lady a Ride!!!

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99c Sale!

From now until August 15, you can get my Grace Award winning Give the Lady a Ride for only 99c–and not just on Amazon! The eVersion is available on Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo too!

When Patricia Talbert, a New York socialite, daughter of a US Senator, inherits a ranch in Texas, she gives herself a week to put it on the market and get back to her life in Manhattan. How was she to know during that week she’d fall for the champion bull rider who runs it?

Talon Carlson, foreman of the Circle Bar Ranch, doesn’t dare fall for the new boss lady—but then again, why should he? She intends to sell his home out from under him! What will happen to him and the others if she’s successful?

Patricia finds herself intrigued with the cowboy and wonders what would happen if they got to know each other better. In order to buy time, she issues a dare: “Teach me to ride bulls!”

And in order to buy time to sway her against selling, Talon accepts the challenge.

From then on, they’re in for the ride of their lives!

See where it all began. Immerse yourself in the life and loves on the Circle Bar Ranch from the beginning!

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A Clearing in the Wild, a Review

Book Details

Historical Women’s Fiction at its most compelling. Based on the true story of Emma Wagner Giesy, a Christian pilgrim from Missouri to Washington state in the 1850s, this novel illustrates the challenges a young, outspoken woman faces as a member of an organization that frowns upon outspokenness, particularly in women. We watch as Emma Wagner matures from a spoiled, self-centered teen to the fiercely loyal and family-centered Emma Giesy, wife to a leader, woman of faith and action. As always, Jane Kirkpatrick whisks the reader away to a different time with her wonderful abilities with research and setting description.

Authors of historical fiction should pay special attention to the way Jane uses simile. Always relevant, never anachronistic, and totally unique and descriptive, her similes make me pause over the sheer beauty of them. Yeah, I know. I’m gushing. But check this out:

Only the steady thumping of the rain on the log roof filled the silence. Men moved their eyes to Christian, then to the floor. I might have fine ideas, but today I appeared to be invisible and my words a silent as a preacher’s sin.

That one was my favorite, but there are so many great similes in this book. Some were so perfect to what she was describing that they filled in the gap between what she had in mind and what I pictured, making the image perfect.

This first in the Change and Cherish series is definitely a must read for anyone who loves historical women’s fiction.

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Especially for Authors

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Especially for Writers

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Especially for Writers

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