The first in a series…
What do you get when you combine the small town of Starlight, a firefighter, friends, Christmas, and a lovely lady? A love story, of course!
I love the way the author weaves in Christian values with the characters as if they were a normal part of life and not something that was gratuitously thrown in to make the story “Christian.”
Christmas is my favorite time of year and I love binge-reading as many Christmas stories to inspire me to remember the important things in life – the Lord, family, and friends.
Another incredible read by Joann Durgin!
The second in the series, “Starlight, Star Bright” returns us to the charming small town of Starlight and introduces us to the Italian Cowboy. I thought the first in the series was great, but this was was just as good – maybe better since it combined my heart’s desire to read anything about Italy! Well, it’s not about Italy per se, but it mentions the life there and the Italian phrases here and there make this love story another charming hit!
Being drawn to the kindness of her heart, Dante falls for Amanda, the firefighter’s sister.
Weddings, family, and friends, oh my! LOVE!!!
“Do Not Return To Texas!” Marti Rushing gets the message, loud and clear. If she returns to Texas, her life is in danger. If she stays in Tennessee, she’s safe. But when she receives a letter telling her that Daniel, her ex-husband and the love of her life, is dying, she knows she has to defy the stalker and return to Texas to see him. Three years ago, Daniel accused her of things she couldn’t remember doing. Without waiting for an explanation and after four wonderful years of marriage, Daniel kicks her off of his family’s Quarter Horse ranch. Now, three years after their separation, he walks into her art reception in Tennessee and acts like he doesn’t remember her. Does the memory loss have anything to do with the letter she received, or is Daniel pretending? Is he the one stalking her, or is it someone with a deadly, sinister motive? Ignoring the deadly warnings, she leaves for Texas, but on the way there, the attempts on her life begin. Will she be able to evade her pursuer’s attacks? Or will Daniel’s face be the last one she sees?
Lies, secrets, and deception. Mystery, suspense, and romance. Joanie Bruce masterfully weaves everything together to form a story of Daniel and Marti Rushing.
Marti lives a life trying to forget the man she married. Daniel lives a life not able to remember the woman he fell in love with. Through a web of circumstances, the two cross paths and Marti finds herself being threatened to never return “home.” She is lured there anyway, under false pretenses, and risks losing her life. Her passion for art is the catalyst that draws her heart to a forbidden past. Daniel has been deceived by those who have taken advantage of his memory loss. But he finds that the Lord can uncover lies and bring new life to broken hearts.
Evil will always attempt to thwart the plans the Lord has set in motion. But if those who seek His heart remain faithful, He can restore hearts and draw families together in ways that only He can. Evil loses. Good wins. And life is what happens in between.
I love the author’s way of telling this story. Her writing rivals any best-selling author I have read. I hope and pray she shoots to he top of the charts in her genre!
About the Author
Joanie has a strong passion for reading, and her love for books with nail-biting suspense, inspires her to write contemporary suspense books. Thankful that God has given her the ability to write from her home in the country, she strives to use that opportunity to honor Him in all of her writing. Joanie and her husband, Ben, live in a country home near Madison, Georgia, right in the middle of a pasture full of beef cows. There they raised and homeschooled their three children. She enjoys cooking, taking long walks, painting oil portraits, and caring for their home in the country.
Guest Post from Joanie Bruce
Hello everyone. My name is Joanie Bruce, and I’m happy to visit with you today and tell you a little about myself and my book, “A Memory Worth Dying For.”
The idea for this book actually started from a simple memory. Years ago, I watched a movie about a woman whose father-in-law ruined her marriage. That thought raised a question in my mind: What would happen if a married woman was kicked out of her home by her father-in-law, and her husband never stood up for her against his father?
Many questions and solutions emerged from that one idea, and the brainstorming began… One answer lead to another problem, and the answer to that problem produced another question. When all was done, the plot for this book emerged.
After adding suspense, mystery, love, and a growing spiritual aspect to that one idea, I was able to combine them to form an interesting plot. Finally, after several months of work, “A Memory Worth Dying For” was born.
I love this story because it shows forgiveness at its highest peak. Marti and Daniel have a wonderful marriage, but because of greed, selfishness, and a colossal misunderstanding, that marriage is dissolved. Even though they are separated, the love they feel for each other never wanes. Marti’s love for Daniel throws her into a dangerous situation, but that same love also gives her the perseverance and determination to stay in Texas and fight for the happiness of the man she loves even though her life is threatened if she does. I’m sure you’ve all read the Bible verse Joel 2:25a. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” That verse is the one Marti clings to throughout the story.
As I do my writing each day, I pray that God will teach me something. Writing this book taught me so many lessons. Not only did I fall in love with the characters, but with the idea of practicing forgiveness in my own life. It also reinforced the knowledge that I should never jump to conclusions and get the facts before I make decisions. In this book, Daniel jumped to a conclusion and listened to gossip which caused the break-up of his marriage and unnecessary stress in his life.
Years ago, one of my Sunday School students gave me a book for Christmas called “In His Steps.” If you remember, that book started the campaign that encouraged you to ask “what would Jesus do?” before every action. I was convicted while reading that book because I knew I wasn’t doing things in my life for the Lord’s glory. So the next Sunday in church, I dedicated my life back to the Lord, and I began praying He would use me in whatever way He chose.
After those sincere prayers, the Lord began showing me how I could use my life and the talents He gave me for Him. It was shortly after that prayer I found out I had the ability to paint portraits, and not long after starting my art career, my first attempt at writing was accepted for a publishing contract. I realized then that following the Lord’s leading in my life and an attitude of gratefulness and obedience all worked together so the Lord would bless my efforts.
If you take anything away from this post, I hope it will be that the Lord can use anyone who is willing to be used. If you surrender your talents to him, no matter what your age or limitations, God can still use you for His glory.
Thank you for listening to my ramblings. I hope and pray that God blesses each of you in all of your accomplishments.
Evil Forebodings: Tiffany Rodgers is the kind of danger that she never dreamed could happen to her in the quiet little town of Newville. She is being stalked and having strange visions. The animals even seem different of late, somehow affected by the changes in the air. Officer Allen Lawrence is drawn to Tiffany, but he has reservations. Is she losing her mind, playing games, or are the things that she is seeing more than just evil forebodings?
About the Author
Carol E. Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now. Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates.
On a personal note: Carol really enjoys coffee and a good book!
Guest Post from Carol E. Keen
Well, I know it isn’t lady like or proper to squeak or go “Eeeeeee!” with excitement, but it’s so hard not to do so. I’m past excited to be on this tour with Celebrate Lit! First I have to say, these are wonderful folks who I’m so very blessed to get to work with!
Now, today I’m doing happy dances over your being here for the kick off for my book, Evil Forebodings. It’s my second published book, and my first full-length fiction novel. This book took eight, yes that is 8, long years to complete. What on Earth could take me that long to write one book?
It started with my first event called, NanoWriteMo. In my case, it was NanoWrite-less! Who had the “brilliant” idea to have a huge writing contest smack over Thanksgiving and two major birthdays in our family? It was a disaster. It was as bad as saying a night person like myself has to function at 8:00am and be good at it. I was alone in my endeavor and didn’t get far at all.
A few years later, I went back to working on this book. This time I had a huge emotional backset from an incident that was just traumatic. I was told, in essence, that I wasn’t good enough to write for a career, and that my focus was on all the wrong things in my life. This came from a published author, who really didn’t know me. I was weighed and judged unfairly, and it was devastating. I learned a great deal though, and pretty much gave up on doing things the way I had been.
Forging ahead anyway, my first book, Beauty For Ashes, was published. Then I got to work on Evil Forebodings. This story and its characters have never left me, and I knew I had to finish this book. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I hope that you will enjoy it. While I believe all authors put some of themselves into their work, this book had a heavy dose of my heart infused into it in several places.
Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask questions!
Jillian Matthews is a widowed mom and owner of a dance studio in a small farming community. When her husband died nine years ago in the desert of the Middle East, a piece of her died as well and she lost all joy in the day to day blessings. Tiny dancers and her daughter, Katie, are her main focus until an old flame, Michael Emerson, waltzes back into her life, awakening things she thought dead and gone.
Dr. Michael Emerson told himself he was happy with his bachelorhood after a messy divorce. He thought his life as an ER doctor and yearly missions work left no room for a wife and family. When tragedy strikes and he is left with an unforeseen situation, he must evaluate his life and make some major changes.
Michael is a true gentleman and his naivete when dealing with children and women is sweet. The fact that his feelings toward Jill had remained throughout the years was romantic. And the fact that neither one of them dwelt on their past relationship but only used it as a springboard to renew their friendship was inspirational. Jill was a complex character, and seeing how her faith was restored through dance was beautiful. Anyone who has a heart for creativity in any form could understand the need for expression in worship.
One of the things that I particularly liked about the story was the setting. I was drawn to the area in the north and that there were positive as well as negative aspects of the scenery and climate. The descriptions the author gave made it seem as if one was right there and felt the cold during the winter and the snow on the face.
Melissa Wardwell does a terrific job in drawing the reader in immediately and getting them emotionally invested in each character. I LOVE the way the chapters leave you hanging and you just have to read the next one.
I thoroughly loved this story and I found myself drawn in and totally immersed in the covers. I look forward to reading more by this very talented author.
About the Author
I am an independently published author of Christian romance.
I wear many hats from one day to the next. I am a devoted wife, basketball and dance mother, teacher, taxi service, friend, caregiver, daughter, sister, and now, published author. Seeing all that is enough to make my head spin. But more importantly, I am the Daughter of the Most High King.
I was raised in and still reside in a little farm town in Mid- Michigan called Corunna. It’s quiet and simple, just the way I like it. If I can’t live out in the country among the corn fields and trees then living in this small town works for me. My husband and I have been together since high school and have 3 children, all of whom we homeschool. It has been quite the journey, but I couldn’t ask for a better life.
I decided to give writing a try because I needed something to occupy my down time, but after reading my first draft of my first book, What God Brings Together, I then understood that God had a much bigger plan. God does not give His children a desire just so that it can go to waste. I never anticipated the journey God would put me on through writing, but I am excited to see what He has in mind for the future.
I have always felt a call to reach out to women and mothers, to encourage them in their lives. So naturally, all my stories revolve around women who are mothers: single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own.
My greatest hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life. Lord, knows we have earned it.
Guest Post from Melissa Wardwell
When I wrote the first book in this series, “What God Brings Together”, it wasn’t supposed to become a series. It has seemed to have a mind of its own and is spiraling into other books.
You met Dr. Michael Emerson in the first book as the third wheel to Emma and Ryan’s crazy triangle. As soon as I finished it and read through it one last time, Mike’s character begged to have his own story. I felt bad giving such a nice guy a sad ending. So an idea formed for a story focused on him but it took me a while to decide on who his other half would be. I was sitting in front of the dance studio two of my kids attend, and it hit me. A Dance teacher and studio owner. From there the story went out of control- in a good way. The dance studio is the actual studio my kids dance at, and much of the descriptions of the location are the same as the space. The town is even the real town this studio is in. It is such a quiet place and I love it.
I live in the area this series takes place. The county has a funny name as it is a Native American name – Shiawassee. It is nothing but small towns and farm land. New Lothrop, the main location for this story, has a population of approx. 600. I spend many hours there because of dance and I have grown to love the quiet little farm town.
I like to bring light to actual business in some of my work, so when I chose to write in Infinity Dance Company I had to include the location. There is also a neat little coffee shop that I talk about in this book that is also an actual coffee shop.
I am all about promoting local business, so if I can plug a cool business in my books, I will.
You will see a bit more of another character from the first book, Tiffany, and you’ll get some insight into her story as well but you won’t get the full picture until the release of “I Know the Plans” which is set to come out no later than next spring – hopefully. I also introduce a new character in “Dance and Be Glad” whose story is heartbreaking but you won’t know much more until book four “Redeemed Through Grace” comes out in 2018.
“Dance and Be Glad” is about finding joy in the middle of uncertainty and the scary moments in life. We can let the sudden changes bring us down or we can look at them as an opportunity to learn something new. I have witnessed a lot of tragedy and sudden losses in my personal life to learn that God still has me in His hands even when I feel like my world is crumbling. My prayer is that each reader can have a similar revelation.
Marriage has been good to Aggie. After a few years and a baby under her belt, she’s confident that she can take on anything–including adding child number ten to the home! Blessings aren’t always easy, and Aggie is about to discover that in a whole new way!
When their near-idyllic life was turned upside down by senseless vandalism, Aggie and gang spent a week on “Aunt” Willow’s farm. Luke worked day and night to get them back home for Thanksgiving. But when things, once more, seem to pile up, Aggie flounders. Her pregnancy grows precarious, and her husband doesn’t recognize her anymore.
Only the Lord can soothe her rumpled spirit, but will she allow Him to comfort her as only He can?
Aggie’s sure that she just needs to “knuckle down” and “ante up” to keep from losing ALL her marbles.
I don’t know how she did it, but Chautona Havig was able to tic every box on my list of great aspects of writing. I did not have a chance to read the first three books in the series, but reading the synopses was enough to get me caught up and get me right into the story line.
The characters we so unique and well-developed. I enjoyed reading how each had their moments of growth, of self evaluation, of maturity.I loved getting in the mind of the teenagers and maybe getting a glimpse of what they might be thinking, and finding myself wondering if my own felt that way. I know that the main character, Aggie, went through a major crisis of faith and I found it very genuine. Her falling in to her thoughts and allowing them to overtake her when she knew it wasn’t the godly thing – I have seen that in myself at times. The feelings Luke had as he watched the love of his life struggling to keep it together and feeling hopeless – I have been there as well. The children and their antics were so….childlike! I mean, who wouldn’t LOVE to have a huge family, right?
I don’t want to give anything away about the way the story ends, but suffice it to say that by the time you get to the last sentence you will be hoping that this author is not through telling us about the Stuart-Sullivan clan.
About the Author
Chautona lives in a small, remote town in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and six of her nine children. When not writing, she enjoys paper crafting, sewing, and looking forward to retirement from home education. Chautona writes stories of fictional people who have real problems, weaknesses, and triumphs. Through their stories, she tries to share the Hope that is within her.
Guest Post from Chautona Havig
“You have eight kids? How do you do it? I can barely manage with the one (or two or three) that I have! I could never do eight.”
How many times had I heard those words? Ten? Fifty? A thousand? I suspect it was between fifty and a thousand. I guarantee it felt like a million. And the reason wasn’t that people were rude or unkind about it. It was simply because they assumed things that weren’t reasonable. They acted as if I’d woken up one day with eight kids and never had a problem with adapting to it.
The cold, hard truth? I never planned to have children—ever—much less the eight I had then or the nine I have now. I didn’t like children, and even now, I really just prefer mine and others’ in very small doses. I’m naturally a very selfish person. So the comments that made me sound excessively patient and maternal were, in a word, ridiculous.
I had one answer I always gave—just one. “I didn’t get them all at once. I got them one at a time, the old fashioned way. And with a minimum of about eighteen to twenty-two months of getting used to having two, three, six, seven before I got the next.
But that thought haunted me for weeks. What would happen if someone did get eight at once? How would she handle that? Not like the women with multiples—five, seven, eight at a time. No, I was thinking of what it would be like for someone to have my kids just dumped on someone all at once with all those different ages to deal with. I think I should have known at that moment that my childhood dream of being a writer would come true, because my next thought was, “And what if she was single?” From there, I added more. A grandmother-in-law to rival any horror stories of mothers-in-law, home renovations with kids (every mother’s nightmare), grieving, and accident prone kids who can’t stop calling 9-1-1 and you had all the worst things I could think of without becoming ridiculous.
I had originally decided that Aggie would remain single. Yeah, that didn’t happen. So, I gave her personal convictions to follow. I added to that her sister’s convictions, just to keep things interesting. I wanted to show that people have convictions for a myriad of reasons, and just because they hold one, doesn’t mean they look down on those who don’t. That original story grew from a sixty-thousand word single book into a trilogy—each book being over one hundred twenty thousand words! I was sure people would hate the length, hate the story, and ride me out of the country on the proverbial rail. I just hoped I landed in the southern Atlantic—nice and warm.
Instead, Ready or Not has been my best selling book—an Amazon bestseller. The first promotion we did resulted in the book being downloaded every 3.6 seconds in a twenty-four hour period. I was flabbergasted. I did the math a dozen times to make sure. When the last book came out, fans bemoaned the loss of their favorite character. I added more of her to another series, Past Forward. That helped—a little.
Eventually, I agreed to write a fourth book. I waited, and I’m so glad I did. Nearly five years have passed since Aggie inherited her eight nieces and nephews, and nearly four have passed since she married and began a new journey with him. She’s a mother now, not “just” an aunt. She’s a wife. Her life is rich and full of the craziness readers have come to love. So in this book, I decided to explore what happens when life throws just one too many curve balls. I decided to show the children growing up and facing new trials and temptations. And, I wanted to give just a little bit of joy in the extended family front after three books of trials there. I thought it was about time.
My goal for these books has always been to point my readers to the Lord. I did that through one character’s wisdom, another’s steadfastness, and of course, through Aggie’s songs and bite-sized prayers (p-mails). In this book, I wanted to point readers to the Lord through Aggie again, but in a different way. I hope it is as encouraging to them as it was to me. I learned so much in the writing of this book. It laid open my heart before the Lord and I saw things in myself I didn’t want to see but needed to. The Lord is so good to us.
Don’t forget—for those who purchase before July 7, 2016, we’re giving away a FREE bonus devotional,Tune My Heart: 25 Hymn-Filled Moments with the Lord. Each chapter corresponds to the book and examines some of the themes of the book, so you don’t want to read it before you’ve read the book! To get your free copy, just forward your Amazon receipt to THIS EMAIL.
Liberty comes with a price. Can a fledgling nation bear the cost?
British forces advance upon a struggling colonial army. The time of decision has come. Declare independence, or give up the fight. The weight of a nation rests on Samuel Adams’ shoulders as he joins the delegates of the Second Continental Congress. Can he raise the cause of Liberty above the fear of the King’s wrath in the hearts of his countrymen?
Three riveting short stories follow Samuel Adams as he struggles through the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence and evokes the Dawn of Liberty.
Dawn of Liberty
Liberty hangs in the balance. With Pennsylvania’s vote divided, the declaration may not pass. Samuel Adams has two hours to convince the delegates to pass the document, or the lives sacrificed for freedom will be worthless.
A Shot at Freedom
“The Regulars are coming!”
Samuel Adams is awakened by Revere’s cry of alarm. A large force of British soldiers are marching on Lexington to seize him and his compatriot John Hancock. Adams and Hancock encourage the militia to make a stand against the Regulars, but should they stay and join the fight, or escape to safety?
Travail of a Nation
Samuel Adams felt the weight of the nation resting on his shoulders as he and his cousin entered the Pennsylvania State House. If the declaration did not pass today, their chances at ever truly gaining independence were all but lost. The British forces bound to arrive in New York any day would crush their revolution if it was not bolstered by a formal declaration. The “Travail Of A Nation” has begun…
About the Author
Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online atwww.AmberSchamel.com/
Guest Post From Amber Schamel
On July 4th, 2016, Americans across the nation will celebrate the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Besides the basic overview you got in history class, how much do you really know about the document and the men that signed it?
As an American and a history nerd, I was upset when I realized how much I didn’t know the struggle these men went through, who they really were, what they felt, and what they were putting on the line when they signed their name to that document. There are SO many inspiring stories in the signers and founding fathers, so when I began looking at which signer to feature in Dawn of Liberty, it was a tough decision to pick only one. One of the signers was terminally ill and rode unthinkable miles through the rain to be there in time to sway the vote. Most were away from their homes and families for incredible amounts of time. Some sacrificed fame and fortune.
But after looking through all of the names, I ended up with Samuel Adams. Sam is such a passionate and inspiring character, and I really related to him. He voiced his passion for freedom and independence before the idea was popular, spent countless nights writing articles and pamphlets promoting the cause, always held faith and optimism that someday the Colonies would be free from the tyranny of England. His character is so intriguing and inspiring…Yet, Sam is only known as a beer brand.
Talk about infuriating a history nerd!
Sam Adams is a patriot and a hero. The more I learned and read about him, the more I liked him. Americans should know Sam for who he really is, rather than as the icon to sell liquor. That’s why I am so excited for people to meet Sam in DAWN OF LIBERTY. These stories give folks a chance to experience the tension in Philadelphia at the time of the signing, meet some of the signers, and feel the weight of the decision placed in their hands. It is my hope that this collection of short stories will make the signers more than just portraits in a history book. By the time you finish reading it, my prayer is that you feel you know Sam and his compatriots as friends.
When I was a teenager I really hated history. All of those dates and facts got all jumbled in my head and I ended up passing by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. In college, history (actually the C’s and D’s) cost me my scholarships, so I had to switch to a community college. All that said, I want the reader to understand that I REALLY have a bad taste in my mouth for all things history-related.
HOWEVER….once I found historical fiction I began to love history. Once I started seeing that history was merely a combination of stories of people at certain time periods, history became a joy to read. Sure, I like stories, that is why I read and write.
When I first saw Amber’s book, I signed up to review it with a little trepidation. But once I read the first few lines I was hooked. The story of our founding fathers, from the point of view of Samuel Adams, was so enlightening. The way we, as the readers, were able to get a glimpse of the inner struggles as well as the outward conflict with those in opposition gave me a greater appreciation for what had to happen for this country to become the nation it is today.
I am not sure if all of the relationships were just like written in the story, but I choose to believe that they were. The way the personalities of John Hancock as well as Paul Revere and the Adams cousins were portrayed was so vivid. The whole story was beautifully woven and presented. I look forward to reading more of the author’s works, knowing that she has put so much time into researching and writing these tales in a way in which we can place ourselves. Refreshing!
Abigail Stutzman thought it was bad enough being dropped at the nearest bus station and sent to live several states away with some relatives she’d never even heard of, much less met. But now, just a week after her arrival in Jamesport, Missouri, she finds herself at the scene of a barn fire. An intentional barn fire. And all fingers are pointed at her. She’s desperate to prove her innocence and protect her reputation, but nobody’s making that easy to do. And God certainly doesn’t seem willing to help.
A Brave Firefighter with an Agenda of His Own
Sam Miller is in the process of turning over a new leaf. Determined to atone for the follies of his past, he is a volunteer firefighter, an EMT, and a doctor-in-training. With suspicious barn fires escalating, and the Miller family being among the victims, no one is more determined to see the perpetrators brought to justice than Sam.
A Kindled Flame Neither One Could Have Anticipated
When their paths first cross at the site of a barn burning, the emotional intensity rivals the warmth of the flames. Soon, they must decide whether this fire is one they should feed or fight. And they’ll discover that the truth can prove more dangerous than a blazing inferno.
We all have lapses in judgement, no matter who you are. Such is the case for Abigail, an young Amish woman who is new to the area and trying to make new friends. She finds herself in a situation in which she is the prime suspect in a series of fires. Sam, a volunteer firefighter, is the first to accuse Abigail of setting the fires. But after a series of unfortunate accidents, Sam begins to see that his assessments were incorrect and that Abigail was, indeed, innocent.
I absolutely loved this story! I related to each of the character, even in a small way, and that drew me in to their lives. Abigail, having a troubled and mysterious past, must come to terms that there are still people who care about her well-being. She has to see her future, not in light of her past, but through the eyes of an all-loving God. Sam tries to find his way in life and overcome a bad decision to look for a relationship outside of the faith and Amish community. He finds hope in a newcomer whose innocence is not only refreshing but inviting. All of the supporting characters are rich in nature and make a very warm and full story. I did not want to read the last pages, knowing it was the end, but at the same time, I knew that the story would go on, even if only in my head.
About the Author
Laura V. Hilton
Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includesPatchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised ofHealing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Birdhouseconcluded Laura’s 2015 series, The Amish of Jamesport, includes The Snow Globe,The Postcard and The Birdhouse. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas.
For more about Laura, her latest book, the books she’s written and those she’s reviewed:
Unlike some authors, I am not a planner. I have a very vague idea of the story, of the series, and as soon as the characters step forward and introduce themselves I dive in and start writing. When I first began writing this series – New Beginnings in Jamesport – I knew Sammy Miller was going to be the hero. Readers started asking for Sammy’s story as soon as they read The Postcard where Sammy was the villain. Ouch. I’d never considered writing a story about a former villain. But just as David in The Postcard was reader requested, Sammy would be.
Sammy is a very strong character and I knew he had to have a strong female lead character, one that wasn’t afraid to stand up to him and keep him under control. He is a leader, an EMT studying to be a paramedic, and a volunteer firefighter. The female lead, Abigail, is thrown into Jamesport without warning. Her step-father takes her to the bus station and sends her away and she doesn’t even know why! When she is met at the bus station by an aunt and uncle she didn’t even know existed, she is thrown into the middle of several mysteries, including barn fires set by arsonists. And she is the main suspect.
The whole New Beginnings in Jamesport series, while considered a continuation of The Amish of Jamesport series due to Sammy being the hero, is set around Amish starting over in Jamesport. The second book The Amish Wanderer is about a former resident of Jamesport hitchhiking across the country to get to his Mennonite uncle’s house in Pennsylvania. Silas is desperate to escape from his dysfunctional family for several reasons. But he cannot stay in Jamesport because someone is out to kill him. When he stumbles upon another mystery within hours of his arrival, what choice does he have but to stick around for awhile?
God gave me the verses for all three books in the Amish of Jamesport series The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer and the yet untitled third book (My books all stand alone) before I started writing them, which is unusual. He usually reveals these things slowly to me, as I need to know. The verse for The Amish Firefighter is Isaiah 43:2-4 and the verse for The Amish Wandereris Romans 8:38-39. The third book’s verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8. It is tentatively titled The Amish Accountant, but most people think accountants are boring, and his real profession is a clockmaker. But The Amish Clockmaker has already been taken by another author. So we shall see what the wonderful Whitaker House team will come up with. It is about another young Amish woman, Lydia, who needs a “safe haven.” So her parents send her to live with her Mennonite aunt and uncle in Jamesport. It doesn’t exactly work out as planned, as the aunt and uncle leave for a foreign mission trip immediately, leaving Lydia acting manager of a gift shop and living in an all electric apartment. Before her aunt leaves, she tells Lydia’s secrets to her best friend. But did she tell all of them or some of them? And the best friend’s son, Caleb (the clockmaker) is acting as accountant for the gift shop. And what about Caleb’s carefully kept secret? When Lydia’s past catches up with her, will it destroy all she’d begun to imagine as she dreamed of starting over in Jamesport?
Next after that is The Christmas Challenge which is also set in Jamesport.
I don’t have official release dates for The Amish Wanderer or the other books yet. But as soon as I know, I’ll share.
Coming next? Who knows? I have two ideas warring for attention—but which one gets told first, I don’t know! I lean toward one, then the other. They both want to be told.
And now, I must get back to work. Thank you for visiting today and thank you so much for supporting my books. I do hope you’ll enjoy The Amish Firefighter!
It was more than she dreamt. But as the romance began to bud, she felt the thorns of a heartless beauty rise to tear it apart.
Young widow, Katie Jensen, endures patiently under her oppressive uncle in desolate Arizona Territory. She tries to keep her promise to her dead aunt to be a witness and take care of her uncle but when his tirades grow worse, she gathers her two precious little ones and runs.
Making their way to an unknown land, they come to the town of White Rock, which is strangely like the place in the dreams Katie has been having. They are welcomed into the cottage of a kindly grandmother who takes in borders.
When Danny, the older woman’s grandson, comes home, he finds surprises in store: a crisis, a beautiful young woman, and her adorable children who bring laughter and life into all their weary souls.
Katie is filled with hope when an unexpected romance sparks but there is a vindictive raven-haired beauty and an old enemy conspiring to put it out—permanently.
Will God give Katie rest as she and the family pray for their enemies?
Can she stand strong in her faith when fear overwhelms her?
Katie, like many women, deals with doubt – doubt in herself. She has faith that the Lord is with her, but she has difficulty seeing the end purpose of God’s plan. Like many women, she doubts that she is pretty enough, smart enough, worthy enough, to be loved by someone who, in our eyes is a prince. Sandy Faye Mauck weaves a wonderful story about a woman who comes to terms with who she is and WHOSE she is. Her prince is a man who has seen the worst in others and is able to deal wisely with the situations in which he is faced. My favorite character, however, is Grandma Gwen who has seen so much pain in her life yet turns to the One who continues to give life. Her faith in the Lord and continued optimism in those around her inspires me to want to be like her at that age, if not sooner.
About the Author
Sandy Faye Mauck writes Historical Romance in the light of the gospel and with the heart of her Savior.
Slip into a comfy chair with a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and travel back to the first years after the turn of the century.
Enjoy faithful Christian characters who have come through a spiritual wilderness into a place of hope. Stories of charming romance sprinkled with humor and topped with redemption. And be sure not to put the cup too close to the edge of the table because there are enemies lurking about.
Sandy lives in her own happily-ever-after with her Bible doctrine writer husband in the west they love. They have five children and nine grandchildren. She enjoys crocheting (a different kind of yarn) and is also a professional artist.
Guest Post from Sandy Faye Mauck
Hi everyone! Sandy Faye Mauck here! Today I launch my book on Celebrate Lit!
They say to write the book that is missing from your bookshelf. So I did. I wrote a story that brought the purity of a Christian romance with a touch of humor and endearing characters who live what they believe, with real enemies and redemptive grace.
More Than She Dreamt is set at the time just after the turn of the century. Probably my favorite time travel place if I had to choose because of the interesting changes and the lovely clothing and yet there was indoor plumbing, and lights, LOL!
My greatest writing inspiration (other than my Lord), was my favorite author, Grace Livingston Hill. She could tell a story, make you feel you were there in every sense. Grace could bring romance, excitement, and enemies and then touch your heart with a truth of God’s word that would penetrate your heart. I hope to do this as I write my heart and I add humor because that is who I am.
I hope you enjoy this Celebrate Lit Blog Tour and the special personal giveaway at the end!
An old fence separates a modern community from their Amish neighbors, until a little boy opens the gate and breaks down barriers between them. Main characters, Matt and Eli, find friendship, hope, and a future through a mutual need, which creates an opportunity for them to learn to understand each other. Eli and his little sisters will touch your heart by Whispering to Horses.
About the Author
Thomas Nye, author of the Amish Horses Book Series, Lives near an Amish community where he grew to know and respect his Amish neighbors. During grade school Thomas developed an interest in history and loved reading anything he could find about the 1800s. His love of farm, history, and horses all came together in real-life experiences with his Amish friends, who also happen to share his Christian faith. He purchased draft horses from Amish farmers in his neighborhood and set out to learn the art of working with horses in harness. After years of buying, selling, and trading work horses with Amish farmers in his community, Thomas had many wonderful memories of those experiences. His novels based on those adventures. Learn more about Thomas Nye on his website.
When I received this novella, I will admit I had some misgivings. At first I thought it would be more of a children’s book. Then I began to read it and I was blown away! This story is so fascinating and the author did a marvelous job of capturing certain aspects of the Amish life and how they interact with the outside world. Each page is chock full of vivid pictures of the simple life and the beauty which the people and their lifestyles bring to each place in which they live.
Having lived close to Amish country for many years, I found myself drawn in to the relationship between this young boy and his adult neighbor. The friendship that is formed through working together and memories of grandparents is beautiful. The adjoining properties provides the perfect backdrop for tension between the modern world and the Amish life. I am so excited about adding more of this author’s books to my TBR stack!
Guest Post from Thomas Nye
Last spring, I visited numerous Amish communities throughout the state of Indiana. My original goal was to bring awareness of my Amish Horses book series to the Amish and tourists in that region. As I traveled down quiet country roads, my heart was overwhelmed by beautiful farm scenes. Conversations with Amish families, and especially Amish children, brought a new awareness and inspiration to me. Springtime and its rich aromas flooded my senses and filled my heart with a story, Whispering to Horses.
Whispering to Horses is a very short novel which spans several generations. It is the story of two families that live side-by-side for years, and yet are strangers to each other. A fence that was installed to keep livestock apart has become a dividing line, separating Amish from their non-Amish neighbors. Years ago, when putting in the fence, an Amishman remembered his grandfather’s advice, almost prophetically, “… a gate opens the way for help in time of need.” Generations later, a gentle Amish boy named Eli, seems to have inherited his great-great-grandfather’s wisdom, as he opens the gate and communication between neighbors.
Kalona, Iowa has been my home for the past 35 years. Living in an Amish/Mennonite community, I have experienced many situations exactly like the one described in this book. It is so easy for us to look over a fence and have a disdain for people we don’t know, or understand. Sometimes, a little child can use their simple wisdom to break through our misconceptions, and soften our crusty opinions. In my hundreds of visits to Amish farms, it has been the children that have surprised me most. Even though English is their second language, Amish children speak with wisdom that has become a treasure to me, and I want to share it with you. I hope the story of Whispering to Horses opens your eyes, and brings back memories of your own childhood, when we all shared that simple wisdom.
Obedience is better than sacrifice…and trumps romance, no matter how sweet.
Profound loneliness propels a childless widow west to choose an orphan to share her life. On the way, a fellow traveler takes her by surprise. She never dreams, is unprepared, doesn’t need another man, but can’t get him out of her head…or heart. He’s so perfect—every bit the one she’d searched for as a young woman—except his mistrust of God has erected a wall she cannot breach.
Marcus Ford blames God and struggles for peace after losing his wife and baby. Not once has he considered another woman could be the answer, but the widow is like none other he’s ever met. He falls hard, but plans are taking him east. Hope dashed sends two hearts into the pit. If only Ford could forgive God or the widow ease up on her adamant resolve.
Will God’s mercy shine a beacon in the fog of despair and prove sufficient to heal their souls?
Not willing to let age deter her from a new beginning, Rebecca leaves the comfort of her home is search of a family to call her own. Along the way she discovers that her heart and her head do not always come to the same conclusion and she decides that she cannot allow her passion to overrule her convictions. Her family comes together in a very non-traditional way, but the love and support from all of them convinces her that the Lord always has her best in store. I found myself relating to Rebecca, knowing a mother’s heart yearns for her children no matter where her children come from. I love that Marcus isn’t made of money and works hard to earn a living.
This is a wonderful story of second chances, new beginnings and trusting God in every moment. I needed to be reminded that the Lord is Lord of second chances and that all we need to do is remember His promises to get us through each day. Once again, Caryl weaves a story with beautiful characters and believable settings in a time-gone-by.. And most importantly I enjoy the way she brings in characters from previous books and adds new ones in a way that each story in the series could be a stand-alone book. Thank you, Caryl, for sharing your gift of story-telling with everyone.
About the Author
Caryl McAdoo is all about loving God! She currently writes four series: the historical Christian ‘Texas Romance’; a contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; The Generations, her Biblical fiction, and the newest Days of Dread Trilogy for mid-grade readers. Known as the Singing Pray-er, she loves praising with new songs the Lord gives her and prays her story gives God glory! In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Besides glorifying Him, she hopes each title will also minister His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State with two grandsons.
Guest Post from Caryl McAdoo
Obedience Trumps Romance
Rebecca, forty-two years young, has never known true love. Oh she’s loved—and had a best friend—but that special made-just-for-her soul mate, she’d never met. She settled, instead, and lived a happy life, even though never blessed with children. Then the unthinkable happened, and she found herself alone, widowed too soon by the Civil War that claimed so many lives.
Rather than throw a pity party, she prayed and formulated a plan for the rest of her life. God gave her a way to turn her mourning into dancing! She’d adopt an needy child to love and fill her lonely days with joy. And her sisters in San Francisco happened to have an orphanage. She’d never traveled by herself, but determined to put the idea into action, she left Clarksville, Texas for a month long journey to California!
This new story is one of my favorites as it extols the goodness of the Lord, how His plans are always so high above mere man’s, and how He moves those who love Him into place to receive His blessings. And Rebecca had loved Him since a little girl. He’d been her father when she was born without one and then when she’d prayed for a daddy, sent Henry Buckmeyer into her life.
And how do we show God we love Him? By our obedience to His Word.
Before, that’d come relatively easy for her, but early on her trip, a man climbs into the stagecoach and makes her uneasy. Glad that Daddy had bought her a Derringer and taught her to use it, she rides in silence, feeling his gaze and sneaking her own peeks from her reading.
With no idea of the test God was about to put her through, when the fellow traveler finally figures out who she is and speaks, Rebecca is taken aback by the surge of totally unexpected attraction. Marcus Ford was handsome, intelligent, and everything she’d looked for in a suitable man back when she’d been courted.
But alas, he almost hates God, blaming Him for the premature deaths of his wife and baby girl during the yellow fever epidemic that plagued New Orleans. If she leaned one thing from her mother, it was not to unequally yoke herself. Besides, her life had been planned. She had a goal and a child to save. Plus, when her trip took her west, he went east for a job interview.
It was never meant to be. How many times do we make our plans only to be thwarted by circumstances beyond our control? We thought God had been leading us, we’d given Him the glory, and trusted the path to be in His will. So then why—when she at last had her life figured out—had she even met the man? She didn’t need another one, but never experienced what she did in Marcus’ presence.
When confronted with temptation, do we quote God’s Word to the one out to kill us, steal from us, and destroy our lives? Or do we toy with doing exactly what we know we should not? I pray as you read AT LIBERTY TO LOVE, you’ll be encouraged and root for my dear heroine to do what’s right and not give in, not fall into a place God never meant for her to be…or did He?