September 2018 New Releases in Christian Fiction


Contemporary Romance:

A Baby for the Minister by Laurel Blount — Jilted at the altar, Natalie Davis has no one she can turn to—until Jacob Stone steps in. The single minister’s drawn to the beautiful mommy-to-be and wants to help…even if it goes against his congregation’s wishes and could cost him his job. But when she refuses to accept charity, can he convince her she’s more than a ministry project? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Courting Her Secret Heart by Mary Davis — Deborah Miller lives a double life as an Amish woman—and a fashion model! All photography is forbidden in her Plain community, so she must keep her job a secret. But when Amos Burkholder starts helping at her family’s farm, hiding the truth from him is impossible. And soon she must choose between the Englischer world of modeling and the Amish man she’s come to love. (Contemporary Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

12 Gifts of Christmas by Lena Nelson Dooley — Can Malcolm MacGregor, a contemporary descendant of Scottish lairds, capture the heart of Brazilian-Italian beauty, Alanza Cantalamessa, in 12 days? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

All Made Up by Kara Isaac — Katriona McLeod has never gotten over Caleb Murphy, the one guy she’s ever loved. When she accepts a job as a make up artist on the latest looking-for-love reality TV show, Falling for the Farmer, she discovers to her horror that Caleb is the leading man and she’s cast as one of his harem. But she hides a secret that means that even if she wanted a second chance with the guy who broke her heart she could never have it. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

An Amish Holiday Wedding by Carrie Lighte — On the brink of losing her bakery, the last thing Faith Yoder’s interested in is courting—until Hunter Schwartz returns to Willow Creek. After hiring him to deliver her treats to a Christmas festival, Faith’s determined their relationship will stay strictly professional. But despite a secret that’s kept her single, Faith can’t help but wish she and Hunter could become husband and wife. (Contemporary Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Cozy Mystery:

Deadly Holiday by Marissa Shrock — The Christmas season greets Georgia Winston with a new boyfriend (maybe), a Christmas program to run, and a man dying at her feet. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)


General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction

From the Lake to the River by JPC Allen, Bettie Boswell, Carole Brown, Sandra Merville Hart, Tamera Lynn Kraft, Sharyn Kopf, Michelle Levigne, Cindy Thomson, and Rebecca Waters — Set in Ohio, in the past and present, these nine short stories and novellas by Ohio authors cover a wide range of genres, topics and locations. From Troy in the west to the North Coast and south-central Ohio. From Lake Erie to the Ohio River. From romance to YA adventure, with touches of mystery and humor. Dealing with historical events and situations, such as floods and the lasting effects of the Civil War. With characters involved in square dancing, theater, and music. Dealing with loss and danger, a second chance at love and taking a chance on love for the first time. Chances are good, no matter what you have a taste for reading, you’ll find something to like. Welcome to a taste of the Buckeye State! (General Contemporary from Mt Zion Ridge Press)

Place Called Home by Brenda S. Anderson — While building his graphic design company, Nate Brooks is focused on the future he’s dreamed of: traveling around the country from the comfort of his renovated school bus. But when he picks up a wounded, mysterious hitchhiker, those well-laid plans take a backseat to protecting her. Hobbled by her injury, and unable to keep running from her controlling ex, Tessa fears she’ll never find freedom. Or has she found it with the family who graciously opens their home to her? And will Nate’s protection put his family–and his heart–at risk? (Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)

Swimming in the Deep End by Christina Suzann Nelson — Jillian Connors has big expectations for her teenage daughter, Gabby, an Olympic hopeful—until Gabby becomes pregnant with her boyfriend Travis’s child. Meanwhile, Margaret Owens is furious that Gabby’s condition jeopardizes her son’s baseball scholarship. In the midst of the family drama lies the fate of the unborn baby. What does the future hold for him? (General Contemporary from Kregel Publications)


Historical:

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson — A gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted the evils of the Hitler regime in their own extraordinary way. (Historical from Tyndale House)

Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick — A Victorian woman who traveled 15,000 miles by stage between 1870-98 decides to tell the story behind her memoir believing her husband will never see it. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Enya’s Son by Cindy Thomson — This retelling of the early life of St. Columcille and his mother will usher readers on a fateful journey through ancient Ireland’s monastic centers, her wild coastline islands, and the land Columcille believed was filled with holy angels, a place where he felt safe … yet was destined to abandon. (Historical, Independently Published)


Historical Romance:

Victorian Christmas Brides by C.J. Chase, Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Vanessa Riley, Lorna Seilstads, and Erica Vetsch — Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Esther’s Temptation by Lena Nelson Dooley — Saddle weary, former deputy US Marshal Jac Andrews rides into Denton, Texas hunting a swindler-and-daughter criminal team and finally feels he’s caught up to them. Unfortunately, he becomes distracted by the lovely redhead, Esther Brians. Esther, feeling like an old maid surrounded by all her close friends who are happy married couples, is drawn to the intense gaze, blue as the Texas sky, of an unknown cowboy. But several things cause her to become wary of his intentions—and his spiritual well-being. Has this unsaved lawman captured Esther’s heart or will the Lord deliver her from the temptation of Jac’s presence? What will it take for Jac to win this lovely lady and become Esther’s husband? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Sound of Distant Thunder by Jan Drexler — Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents’ insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother’s name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother’s place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)


Romantic Suspense:

Loving the Texas Negotiator by Mary Connealy — Beth Garrison is the top hostage negotiator in Rocky Ridge Texas. She’s called in to a task force to investigate a killing that is a copy cat of her first bust as a rookie cop. The Valentine Killer.
Tate McCade, with the best arrest record on the force and a reputation for steamrolling anyone who gets in his way, heads the task force. He’s had a run-in with Beth and her oversized ego. He’s got a bruise on his face to prove it. Rather than have the pleasure of busting her back to walking a beat, he has to work with her. And the clock is ticking because there’s a woman and child missing and nothing about the crime adds up. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Speculative:

Guardian of Ajalon by Joan Campbell — The poison tree path is Shara’s road home. . .if she and her companions can survive the journey. In the danger and darkness of the forest, her only respite is in the story unlocked in the Old Tongue book. In this vivid world, Shara finally discovers what she has longed for all her life: the key to the secrets of her past. Yet time is running out for Shara—and all of Tirragyl—as Lord Lucian, King Alexor, and the royal army attack the Guardian Grotto to claim the powerful Guardian Rock. Unwilling to sit idly by as her kingdom is destroyed, Queen Nyla leaves her hiding place to recruit a most unlikely army—the Charab. But how can she win over the infamous assassins who have been oppressed by her

New Releases in Christian Fiction – August 2018

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

 


Contemporary Romance:

Out of Their Element by Angela Breidenbach, Robin Lee Hatcher, Vickie McDonough, and Deborah Raney — They are totally out of their element! Four mismatched couples find unexpected romance. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Redemption Road by Christa MacDonald — As Alex awaits retribution, he means to keep Annie safe at any cost, but she knows it’s redemption he needs and she’ll pay any price for him to find it. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Scarlet Tears by Laura Hervey — Caught in a romantic triangle with her brother’s best friend and a charming pastor, former call girl Carly Lawrence struggles to start a new life. (Contemporary Romance from Alabaster Box Press)


Historical Romance:

Rebecca’s Legacy by Betty Thomason Owens — After a threat against her family, a spoiled heiress is sent to the country to work on her aunt’s produce farm and finds love. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)

The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse — Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Cozy Mystery:

Deadly Harvest by Marissa Shrock — Georgia’s biggest challenge in the farming town of Wildcat Springs, Indiana, is figuring out how to win Evan Beckworth’s heart. Until the day she discovers the body of a former student in the woods. When she starts to suspect this wasn’t an accident, memories stir of her father’s murder nine years earlier. A murder never solved. As Georgia works with the sheriff’s department’s newest detective, Cal Perkins, she finds her heart slipping into his hands. But her head is pummeled with conflicting evidence and anonymous threats of severe consequences if she digs any deeper. In the end, Georgia faces a paralyzing choice. Ignore the dark secrets inside the family and friends who surround her or be willing to risk her own life to uncover the truth. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)

Unknown Enemy by Janet Sketchley — A young woman with a traumatic past must discover the truth about who’s playing mind games with the Green Dory Inn’s owner. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:

Hiding in Plain Sight by Mary Ellis — When a Charleston PI rents a room above an Italian restaurant owned by a handsome chef, she lands in the middle of a family feud with robbery, arson and murder for the daily specials. (Romantic Suspense from Severn House Publishers LTD)

Wildfire by Gayla K. Hiss — A female wildfire scientist and a firefighter team up to solve the mystery behind the outbreak of wildfires in the Rockies and find themselves at the center of a firestorm. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)

Amish Country Ambush by Dana R. Lynn — A police officer and a dispatcher travel deep into Amish country to rescue her nephew and to escape a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Imperfect Promises by Elizabeth Noyes — When a homegrown terrorist threatens the woman he loves, former Special Forces soldier Jonas Cameron calls on old friends to help him eliminate the danger. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)

Cold Fear by Susan Sleeman — When a sniper’s ex-girlfriend, a musician, is framed for murder during her summer tour, he jumps to defend her from an imminent arrest and a killer’s deadly rage. But the evidence against her stacks higher as three bodies are found with her name tattooed on their wrist. (Romantic Suspense from Edge of Your Seat Books, Inc.)

Cold Case Cover-Up by Virginia Vaughan — The first thrilling Covert Operatives tale An infant is believed to have been murdered thirty years ago—but investigative journalist Dana Lang is convinced she’s that baby. Now someone’s willing to kill to stop her investigation. And only secretive deputy Quinn Dawson, whose grandfather may have faked Dana’s death to protect her, can keep her safe. But a killer’s dead set on burying the past—and them—for good. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Thriller/Suspense:

Pretense by John Di Frances — A dark cloud hangs over Europe after the brutal murders of two heads of state just days apart. A diabolical plot appears to stretch westward to the United States, implicating the CIA. But do the facts reflect reality or is there a sinister force working behind the scenes to destabilize Europe and NATO? The team of investigators led by Interpol’s Marek Frakas, ‘The Wolf,’ moves quickly to track the perpetrators and uncover the identity of the unseen mastermind behind the conspiracy. This cadre includes the lovely Adrianna, a young forensic weapons expert who can hold her own on the male-dominated international team of investigators. Together they seek to understand reality versus the shattered mirror-like reflections meant to obfuscate the truth and shroud the mastermind’s identity and ultimate purpose. (Political Thriller from Reliance Books Publishing, LLC)

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig — Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies’ blood. Cole “Tox” Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes. First, though, he’s called to complete a final mission: retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order. The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to a string of unsolved serial murders. Tox and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO . . . or join them in the flames. (Military Suspense from Beth

New Releases in Christian Fiction- July 2018

July 2018 New Releases


Contemporary Romance:

A Widow’s Hope by Vannetta Chapman — After tragedy claimed her husband’s life and her son’s ability to walk, Hannah King doesn’t want a new man. She has her family, a home and mounting debts. Scarred Amish bachelor Jacob Schrock offers Hannah the job she desperately needs. But while Hannah helps Jacob resolve his accounting issues, can she and her little boy also heal his wounded heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton — Bridget Behr can’t shake the guilt that it was her fault her family moved—and is too afraid to trust anyone, especially the flirtatious, overly-friendly Amish man who lives next door. Just as Bridget is finally settling into friendship, a new life, and maybe even love, a devastating forest fire ravages the county, destroying both land and the Behrs’ dreams. Now Bridget and her family must decide: will they leave behind the ashes and start anew in another Amish community? Or will they dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)


General Contemporary:

Ride to the Altar by Linda W. Yezak — Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on wedding plans—which involves Patricia’s traveling to New York to patch things up with her domineering mother. While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate? (General Contemporary from Canopy Books of Texas)


General Historical:

My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Dodging bullets takes a simple missing person case to a new level as Jonah Cahill, a Pinkerton agent, and Madeline Latour, an investigative reporter, form a tentative truce in Galveston, Texas, 1880. Are they on to a much bigger story when their best witness is suddenly kidnapped? (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)


Historical Mystery:

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright — Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])


Historical Romance:

This Freedom Journey by Misty M. Beller — Adrien Lockman left France to finally live life on his own terms, but when he discovers a half-starved and half-frozen woman in the treacherous Canadian mountains, the truth soon becomes clear—the only way they’ll survive is together. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Widow’s Plight by Mary Davis — After moving to a new town and joining a quilting circle, a single mother steps out of the shadows of abuse and into the sunshine. But will a secret clouding her past cost her the man she loves? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart — Orphaned during an early 19th century cholera epidemic and helped by a slave to find a new home, Adria Starr must now stand up for his freedom—and maybe find her own in the process. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano — A young heiress is suddenly the poorest wealthy woman in all of England when her father dies without telling anyone where he put his money. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])


Mystery:

Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Ludwig — A mysterious key hidden in the depths of an ancient lighthouse unlocks family secrets hidden for generations. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Guarded Prognosis by Richard L. Mabry — At first Dr. Caden Taggart feared for his freedom, then for his ability to cope, and eventually he feared for his life. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll — When Adelaide Fountaine, the general manager of a hotel in New Orleans, finds the body of a guest who was stabbed with a kitchen knife, her childhood friend Detective Beau Savoie is shocked to discover a connection between his friend–the woman he’s quietly loved for years—and the murdered guest. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . because he’s keeping secrets of his own. Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose? (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Camp Hope by Sara L. Foust — Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will Amy succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in a vast wilderness forever? (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey — Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to join an elite team of terrorist hunters. Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, asking her help to stop America’s newest terrorist threat—an attack that would shake the country to its core. Together they must navigate secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next mark? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Young Adult:

Launch by Jason C. Joyner — Teens with special abilities are invited to an exclusive conference where tech billionaire Simon Mazor is looking for those who can help him influence the world. (Young Adult from Little Lamb Books)

Friendship During Desperate Times by Ann H. Gabhart

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. ~Saint Basil

Recently, I read about a study that showed doing a good deed fired off an abundance of those good sensors in our brains that we sometimes think we need chocolate to set off. Some studies you wonder about, but this one made sense. After all, I’ve felt those good vibes after helping out somebody without expecting a reward or a return favor.

When I came across a story about a man who did just that during a desperate time for his town, I began to wonder about this man, a slave with no personal freedom. You might question why he would even want to help the people who kept him enslaved. Yet, when cholera hit Springfield, Kentucky in 1833 and all who had the means to do so fled the town, Louis became a servant for the good of his fellow citizens unable to escape the epidemic. For some reason, he was unaffected by the dreadful disease that killed thousands all across America that summer. So he tended the sick left in town with no one to care for them and he buried those who died. All fifty-five of them. What kind of man did he have to be? Thinking about that is what led to my current release, River to Redemption.

Early on, when Louis is trying to find a place for Adria, he explains why he wants to help her with so many others needing help too. “I ain’t denyin’ that plenty of folks is in need, but this little girl is the one the Lord set down in my path. I don’t reckon he expects me to help ev’ry hurtin’ body, but he does expect me to help them I can.”

That friendship continues to grow throughout the story as Adria grows up and wants to see Louis freed. When that opportunity comes, I make Adria the one to spearhead the drive to buy his freedom. That is another part of the story based on the real Louis’s life. Not that a young woman rescued by him as a child was in any of the historical accounts, but the people of Springfield did come together to raise money to buy Louis’s freedom in gratitude for what he’d done for the town during the cholera epidemic. River to Redemption is a fictional account of how that might have happened and how a little girl and a slave developed an enduring friendship.

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NIV)

About the Ann H. Gabhart

ANN H. GABHART, the bestselling author of over thirty novels, has been called a storyteller. That’s not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. Ann’s historical novels, including her popular Shaker series, have Kentucky backgrounds. Recently she headed to the Appalachian Mountains for These Healing Hills while her new release, River to Redemption, was inspired by a true story that happened in a small Kentucky town. Ann also writes about family life, love and sometimes mystery (as A.H. Gabhart).  She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and enjoy life out on their Kentucky farm. To find out more about Ann and her books, visit www.annhgabhart.com. You can also join in the conversation on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart or Twitter @AnnHGabhart.

Feed My Sheep

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, Do you love me?” Peter was hurt because he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17 NIV

While passing through a busy intersection, I zipped past a Walmart Super-Center and noticed a man holding up a sign. He had two, maybe three children standing next to him and I think the sign read, “Hungry.”  I don’t know what else was written because I sped by too quickly. I was in a hurry to get home, it was hot, and it’s dangerous to stop amid traffic. That’s what I keep telling myself.

The truth is, I could have turned around. What if I’d done so and offered to purchase a cart of groceries for this family? Sometimes, I don’t have the extra cash, but on this particular day, I did.

This morning, I thought of the family in need and I did the only thing I could do to help them— I lifted a prayer and asked the Lord to meet their needs, to send someone to help them, and to forgive me for failing to literally “feed His sheep.”

Every day there are choices to make, moments to react. In my haste, I missed the opportunity to be a blessing to someone, and therefore, I missed being blessed.

In America, no one wants to answer a door when a stranger knocks. But I’m sure, if I’d fed this family, if I’d let them see Jesus living in me, I could have been a witness any maybe had the opportunity to share the “bread of life.”

It seems I’m always in a hurry. Do you recall any story of Jesus rushing anywhere? Even when he heard Lazarus, whom he loved, was ill, he took his time.

What about you? Did God give you an opportunity to “feed his sheep” this week?  I hope you responded better than I.

A Contradiction to His Pride

By Leanne W. Smith

Do you enjoy stories about ordinary people, especially women, who find themselves in extraordinary situations in history that test both their character and their mettle? I do.

I am intrigued by the values and motivations that lead people to act as they do. And I am inspired and encouraged when they choose to act bravely and rightly.

 

Herman Melville said, “We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” Life is a tapestry, and stories intersect along that tapestry like the intersecting threads of a spider web.

To order from Barnes & Noble, click on the cover.

A Contradiction to His Pride is my second historical fiction novel (available June 12). While I envisioned writing several stories with intersecting threads at the time my first novel was released two years ago, I hadn’t planned to write a follow-up story per se. Contradiction actually caught me by surprise, much as James’ feelings for Corrine caught him by surprise.

One part of the original vision that has remained steady, however, is a strong female lead forced to make a decision about the kind of person she’s going to be as she meets unwelcome adversity.

An overview…

James Parker didn’t mean to fall in love with Corrine Baldwyn; they were simply traveling the Oregon Trail together. But what started as a standard game—see if he could get the sharp-mouthed beauty to smile, and better yet to blush—wrapped itself around his heart mid-way into the five-month journey.

Now that the core group of pioneers in their wagon train has settled in Baker City, Oregon and begun to build homesteads, James is restless to make his fortune so he can stake his own claim and win Corrine’s hand with honor.

But when James takes Corrine on an outing designed to impress her, things go tragically wrong. When James foils a bank robbery, he unwittingly sets a series of events into motion that shatter Corrine’s heart and now threaten her life, along with his and her older brother Charlie’s.

James, Corrine and Charlie soon find themselves in Colorado for a final showdown with the outlaw family bent on making James pay for his heroic actions.

The prologue…

A cold wind rustled the leaves of the evergreens west of Baker City, building like the crescendo of a symphony. When the wind unfurled and swept into town, it lifted the top layer of a twenty-inch snow that had fallen the day before, sending icy sprays swirling over several residents who rushed to stand in the drifts and on the boardwalk following the gunshots.

 James Parker wanted to give Corrine Baldwyn a day to remember him by, not a day to curse his name.

 Now, as she thrashed while he tried to hold her, the blood from her hands raking stains over the sleeves of his coat, James squeezed his eyes shut against the wind, the ice, the snow and the slaughter, and wondered if she could ever forgive him.

If you enjoy reading stories about ordinary people, especially women, who find themselves in extraordinary situations in history that test both their character and their mettle, I hope you’ll consider A Contradiction to His Pride.

About the Author

Leanne W. Smith

Leanne W. Smith is a writer and professor. Her books include Leaving Independence, On a Dark & Snowy Night (short story), and A Contradiction to His Pride. She also teaches business courses at Lipscomb University in Nashville. Smith and her husband have two creative daughters and a son-in-law who make the world a more beautiful place through their art, design, photography, singing, songwriting and mandolin-playing. Visit her website at www.leannewsmith.com.

 

Not Yet

Have you ever been waiting and praying for something to happen, and finally, just when you think it’s going to become a reality, it doesn’t? Instead, you’re told, “Not yet.”

One of the most exciting days of my writing career was the day I signed a contract with a well-respected agent. Last summer, she decided to leave the business of being an agent and my heart felt the same as it did the first time a boyfriend broke up with me. I knew I’d recover from the heartache, but for days, I walked around with shoulders slumped, sighing.

I met several agents at the ACFW conference last September and four requested proposals, but I didn’t have a clue as to which professional would be the best fit for me and my work.

When you have appointments with agents at a conference, it’s sort of like speed dating.  You have fifteen minutes  to get to know each other, and then it’s the writer’s job to convince the agent that publishers will be clamoring to buy his/her manuscript.

The relationship between an agent and a writer must be built on mutual trust and respect, and it’s impossible to develop that in one brief meeting.  I want a long relationship with my next agent, so I’ve been researching the Christian publishing industry and praying for God to lead me to the right person.

Last month, I finally sent material to three agents. Two replied immediately and said they would give my proposal a serious look. Their prompt, professional reply narrowed the field down from three to two but still, I tossed and turned.

Most rejection emails have only one sentence and it start with, “I’m sorry, but…” However one agent explained that he asked a fiction expert to review my manuscript. Her credentials made my eyes bug out. The critique included paragraphs explaining what I did well, and what I need to do to get one of the larger publishing houses interested in my work. To sum it up, the fiction expert thinks I have potential, but the response from the agent was, “Not yet.”

A successful author told me a critique like this is a rare and wonderful gift.  I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, which agent I want to represent me. He’s already made an investment in my success, and I’m going to do my best to ensure he receives a return by listening to his advice. My prayers were answered even though I haven’t been offered a contract (yet).

You might think I’d be disappointed with the response, but God prepared my heart.  I’m currently working through Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s book Live a Praying Life. Consider these words I read on the morning I received the email.

God has good, loving, and productive reasons for scheduling waiting periods into the prayer process.  When He has called on you to wait, it is because what He is doing during the waiting time is necessary for the best outcome.  If He didn’t need the incubation time, it would not be there.”

This weekend, I’ll be visiting Lake Couer d’Alene, Idaho to attend a writing workshop  which is being taught by award-winning, Christian author Brandilyn Collins. To be a guest in this prestigious author’s home seems like a dream, and to have the opportunity to be her student is an amazing gift from God. (He provided me with a free airline ticket.) I’m going to  enjoy every step on my writing journey. My goal is to glorify  God with my very best effort. I know God has a good plan for the words I write.  

What about you?  Have you been working on a goal that seems impossible? Have you been waiting for an answer?  Don’t give up. Pray and seek wisdom. God will provide you with exactly what you need, and when the time is right, when your heart is right, he’ll give you your heart’s desire.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23.

New Releases in Christian Fiction June 2018


Contemporary Romance:

The Sleuth’s Miscalculation by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Librarian Nancy Daley loves a good mystery and enjoys moonlighting as a consultant for the sheriff’s department. When license plates go missing in Tipton County, she’s on the case. But she’s been partnered with the new deputy, Carter Malone, and he’s not interested in her help. When the minor case they are working morphs into something more, things quickly go from harmless to scary. Can they solve the mystery before it’s too late, and more importantly, what will they do about their growing attraction? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe — Hiring Amanda “AJ” McAlester as his assistant at the Big Heart Ranch isn’t foreman Travis Maxwell’s first choice—but his sisters insist she’s perfect for the job. And AJ’s determined to prove she’s just as qualified as any man. But with money on the line, AJ and her innovative ideas could put him at risk of losing everything…including his heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Enduring Love by Toni Shiloh — Belle Peterson is hiding a secret. Seeking sanctuary in the small town of Maple Run, she’s intent on starting her life over—one she hopes honors Christ. The plan was going great until an undeniable attraction to Micah Campbell has her wondering if she’s changed at all. Can love really conquer all or will Belle’s past be too much for Micah to handle? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)


General Contemporary:

A Firm Place to Stand by Lori Altebaumer — Out of options, Maribel takes a safe enough seeming job, but soon finds herself in the middle of a murder, a search for a missing girl, and a race to find a lost treasure. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Kuwaiti Seeker by Jim Carroll — A young Kuwaiti Muslim searches for truth in Islam, but God finds him anyway. (General Contemporary, Crosslink Publishing)


General Historical:

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett — Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty. After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling? As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas–a revelation that may bring her charade to an end. (General Historical from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])


Historical Romance:

Orphan Train Sweetheart by Mollie Campbell — Spring Hill is the orphan train’s last stop—a final chance for Simon McKay to find homes for his young charges. When his fellow placing agent quits, Simon enlists help from the frontier town’s pretty schoolteacher. Cecilia Holbrook is as intriguing as she is independent, yet Simon’s devotion to his mission will soon call him back to New York. Long overshadowed by her flirtatious sister, Cecilia is done with waiting for a man to choose her. She’s already fighting the school board to keep her position. Now she’s struggling not to lose her heart to Simon. Could their shared concern for the children show them how to follow a new dream, together? (Historical Romance Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Love Restored by Kelly Goshorn — She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of-until a promise from his past threatened their future. (Historical Romance from Pelican Book Group)

The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman — In 1792, Quinn O’Shea leaves Ireland for Natchez, Mississippi, ready to force his oldest brother to reclaim the role of family guardian so Quinn can be free to pursue his own adventures. While aboard ship, a run-in with tenacious yet kind Kiera Young and her two Irish sisters lands him in the role of reluctant savior. Upon arriving in the colonies, Kiera realizes her intended groom never existed and a far more sinister deal has been negotiated for her and her sisters. Quinn offers to escort his charges safely to Breeze Hill Plantation and his brother’s care, fully intending to seek his freedom elsewhere. But the longer he remains, the greater his feelings toward Kiera grow and the more he comes to realize true freedom might be found in sacrifice. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter — When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. Graham, intent on finding his friend’s missing sister, is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling. After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different, but long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. As much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer — Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. She’s made a safe haven with Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers. Seeking justice against the gambler who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Instead, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Romantic Suspense:

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley — It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four? (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter — After losing his closest friends and now his girlfriend to the ravages of war, Caden Wallis arrives on the Outer Banks for one final mission–to thank the woman who sent him a quilt while he was recuperating at Walter Reed Army Hospital. McKenna Dockery knows about loss. She juggles the family business, her ailing father, and an aging grandmother. Much to Caden’s surprise, she–not some elderly lady–is the quilter. The quilt was something she’d begun for her future husband but shipped to the military hospital after the tragic death of her fiancé. When a man is found snared in a net and murdered on McKenna’s property, she and Caden must work together to bring the killer to justice. (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Ransom of the Heart by Susan Page Davis — Police Captain Harvey Larson’s exhausting day takes a big detour when a teenaged girl approaches him at the diner, announcing that she is his daughter. When Harvey is on his way home from work a few hours later, his sister-in-law Abby calls him. She went to meet her husband for a dinner date and found a dead man on the floor at his place of business, and Peter has vanished. Harvey calls in his detectives and turns his car around. It’s going to be a long night, too. Once again, Harvey depends on his wits, his faith, and his squad, the Priority Unit, to solve a tough case and carry out Maine Justice. (Romantic Suspense from Tea Tin Press)


Speculative:

Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams — Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged. Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army—singers who can shake the earth and master the sea—and monsters rampage across the land. As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer. (Speculative High Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)

How to Anchor Your Marriage

On Monday, my husband and I celebrated our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. Most days have been wonderful, but sometimes… not so great.  Through it all, I believe prayer has anchored our marriage. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. The couple that prays together, stays together.

Praying with your spouse can be one of the most intimate experiences you can share. It’s impossible for newlyweds to imagine the dark, turbulent days they will face. No one wants to walk through the valley, but it makes us stronger, and it can be the same for marriages.

If there’s one word of advice I could give any couple, it’s to commit to pray for your beloved throughout the day? When you do this, you are being a helpmate to each other. It will be impossible for Satan to threaten your relationship with lust for others or worldly desires if you are both focusing your attention on God and each other’s needs. You can weave a mantle of protection woven of love around your darling and your marriage through prayer. This collaboration will help you live in a manner that is worthy of the Lord.

Pray without ceasing so that you may come to know God and each other more intimately. Each petition will be like another bolt that anchors your marriage to the rock that will not be shaken.  Prayer has protected our marriage for thirty-five years, and it can do the same for you.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. Psalm 62:6.

 

A Weed by Any Other Name…

Last week, I walked beside our wheat field with my husband and I stopped to snap a picture of a pretty purple flower hidden among the green stalks.

“That’s a weed,” my husband said as he yanked it out by the roots and tossed it aside. Then he explained the blue cornflower is invasive and can destroy a crop by choking out the wheat. Through the week, I’ve removed the blossoms I noticed while walking on the trail.

When I drove by our neighbor’s farm this morning, I noticed the rolling hills of wheat have waves of indigo. It seems the blue cornflower invaded several areas.

Sin can be like that in our lives. Maybe it starts with a simple “white” lie that needs another to support it. We ask ourselves, “Is it really wrong to watch the popular television show?” Or maybe we justify reading that book because a friend recommended it, and after all, she’s a good person.  Bit by bit, we compromise and hardly notice sin is choking us.

As Christians, we have been commanded to go out into the world, but we must not be of the world. My life is not free of sin, but by spending time studying the Bible and in prayer, it’s like yanking the blue cornflower out of the wheat field daily.

The blue cornflower will always be a weed, no matter how pretty, and sin will always be sin, no matter what the world tells us.  Let us strive to live in such a way that others will recognize that we belong to Jesus.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth.” John 17: 15-17 ESV.