A Light on the Hill By Connilyn Cossette

One of my favorite relationships from the third book in my Out from Egypt series, aside from the romance, was the friendship between Alanah, the main character, and a young girl named Moriyah, a friendship that starts from a place of wariness and yet blossoms under adversity. So when I decided to write Moriyah’s story in A Light on the Hill for my new Cities of Refuge series I was excited to build on the theme of female friendships from the last book.

      A Light on the Hill opens about seven years after the fall of Jericho and Moriyah’s friend Alanah has moved south with her husband and her own mother has passed away. Since I felt that Moriyah needed a strong mentor in her life, one that could continually point her back to the Lord, I created a woman named Ora. Ora is physically blind, but with the wisdom born of fiery trial and keen insight that exceeds that of a sighted person in many ways, Ora speaks truth into Moriyah’s life before, during, and after the darkest of valleys.

          I am blessed with a very wise mother who has spent my life on her knees interceding for me, and she is who I turn to when I am in need of godly council. But there are many women in the Church who are desperate for a mature woman to come alongside them and speak truth into their lives. Life is hard, we all are struggling through valleys, some deeper than others, and God makes it very clear that his followers are to be walking the road together. And especially in a world where we are pulled in so many directions by social media, where women are bombarded by the message that we are not ‘enough’, where authenticity is scarce, and where families are so fractured, it is more important than ever to build strong female relationships.          

            I feel that there are a number of characteristics in this fictional relationship in A Light on the Hill that can encourage us as we build our own real connections between women in the church; ones that I did not plan as I wrote, but that somehow wove themselves naturally into the story.

            Ora is very open with Moriyah about her greatest sorrows, she does not hold back the ugly wounds of her past, and because of this Moriyah feels safe to share her own hurts and insecurities. Although she is maternal in many ways, Ora does not talk down to Moriyah, or condescend, but she treats her like an equal in spite of the differences in their ages. She also gives her the room to make her own mistakes, even when she might disagree with her choices, she simply gives her wise council and then steps back to let Moriyah wrestle through the decisions; which is an important step in working toward maturity, emotionally and spiritually. She is continually looking for the best in Moriyah, pointing her toward the Lord and his good will for her life, and speaking the truth even when it might be uncomfortable, or even painful.

            Are you a Moriyah? Do you have someone in your life that has been a wise mentor to you? How have they spoken truth over you in your own valleys?

            Or are you an Ora? Is there someone you mentor now in a formal or informal way? If not are you actively seeking someone to pass on wisdom from your own hard-learned life lessons? 

            I hope that readers will be inspired by the friendship between these two fictional woman in a A Light on the Hill and will be challenged and encouraged to work on building real, strong connections with other women within the Body of Christ. 

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

 

New Releases in Christian Fiction – February 2018

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


Biblical:

A Passionate Hope, Hannah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith — Hannah has spent her life trusting God, loving her husband, putting up with abuse from a second wife and still she has no child–until one day she discovers the secret to her own heart’s longings and rejoices in what will soon become God’s promised hope. (Biblical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)


Contemporary Romance:

Focus On Love by Candee Fick — In the standalone sequel to Dance Over Me, photographer-turned-actress Liz meets a freelancer who has put his career on hold, but when Ryan shows her what true love is all about, her life may never be the same. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Love by the Numbers by Laura V. Hilton — When false allegations by the bishop back home catch up with Lydia and threaten to ruin her reputation, can she clear her name and find lasting happiness? Or will her sunny disposition fade away into heartbreak? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)


Historical Romance:

This Treacherous Journey by Misty M. Beller — Widowed and with child, Emma Malcom is fleeing arrest. Innocent of her husband’s crimes, she and her brother hope to make it through the Rockies to Canada for a clean start. When a city woman, heavy with child, appears on Simeon Grant’s doorstep with her injured brother, her presence resurrects memories he’s worked hard to forget. Widowed and childless because of his own bad choices, can he overcome the past that haunts him to give her the safety she needs? Will Emma break through the walls around Simeon’s heart before it’s too late, or will the dangers of these mountains be the end of them all? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron — Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman speaks of a secret past and castle ruins. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . . But her grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley to unearth its secrets before time silences them forever. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The English Lieutenant’s Lady by Evelyn M. Hill — I’m not your enemy.” He held her gaze, willing her to believe the lie. It’s 1845. Britain and America both claim the Oregon Territory, and neither side is willing to back down. To survive, British Lieutenant Geoffrey Montgomery and American Lia Griggs both are pretending to be someone they’re not. The last thing either of them wants is to fall in love. And as the threat of war grows stronger, choosing to stay together could cost them everything they have. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Widow of Rose Hill by Michelle Shocklee — Widowed during the war, Southern slave owner Natalie Ellis strikes a bargain with a Union Colonel to save her plantation and her son’s inheritance: in exchange for use of her family’s property, the army will provide workers to bring in her cotton crop. Natalie Ellis is everything Colonel Levi Maish loathes: a Southern slave owner. But the plight of the beautiful Widow Ellis stirs to life his compassion and the heart he’d thought hardened by war. While the army camps on her land, Levi finds himself contemplating a future with Natalie and Samuel. But when he learns where her husband perished during the war, he knows a life with Natalie is impossible. How could she ever forgive him for what he’d done in battle on the banks of the Bull Run? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin — As D-day approaches, an American naval officer and a British Wren work together on invasion plans. But if he succeeds, will he destroy what she loves most? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky — A determined young aviator who strives to be the first to fly across the English Channel also longs to win the heart of an aspiring journalist who is secretly covering the race across the Channel. (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

The Mail-Order Brides Collection by Megan Besing, Noelle Marchand, Donna Schlachter, Sherri Shackelford, Michelle Shocklee, Ann Shorey, Liz Tolsma, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — Nine advertisements for brides lead to inconvenient complications in romance. Traveling west alone on a promise of marriage, each woman has her reasons to accept a husband sight unseen. Some are fleeing poverty or abuse while others simply seek hope for a brighter future. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:

High Treason by DiAnn Mills — CIA Operative Monica Alden and FBI Special Agent Kord Davidson face the challenge of their careers when a Saudi Prince’s life is threatened on American soil. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)


Kill Shot by Susan Sleeman
As the ballistics and weapon’s expert for the FBI’s special task force nicknamed the White Knights, Rick Cannon has known the Department of Defense was developing self-steering bullets and feared their effects in the hands of the wrong people. Now his fear is coming true. The ammunition been stolen, and the Knights are called in to find the thief and stop the killings. When therapist Olivia Dobbs discovers one of her military clients moments after he is murdered, she becomes both the FBI’s prime witness, and suspect. But with a sniper now training his rifle on her, Rick must recall all the skills he learned as a Marine sniper to make sure the next bullet fired isn’t a kill shot that takes Olivia out. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])


Supernatural Thriller:

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart — In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us—and one man’s only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul. (Supernatural Thriller from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


Western:

Cheyenne Sunrise by Janalyn Voigt — Can a woman with no faith in men learn to trust the half-Cheyenne trail guide determined to protect her? (Western by Mountain Brook Ink)

Finding Hope in Hopeless Situations—Emily’s Life Mirrors Others.

By Kathy Boyd Fellure

Have you ever known the despair of life not at the optimal place hoped for?

Perhaps it was a close friend, or a relative, not you.

Emily Taylor is forced to face abrupt changes that occur outside her control. Sound familiar? The sudden death of her husband, the revelation of his infidelity, the devastation of her two daughter’s different reactions to the loss of their father, and swift financial ruin.

This story set in contemporary time reflects several circumstances family, church members, neighbors, and complete strangers who cross our paths, face with, or without faith.

Emily escapes to her safe haven, her nana’s cabin located in one of the most majestic mountain ranges and alpine lakes in America, Lake Tahoe. Where better to hide out from painful reality when hopelessness overwhelms her hollow soul?

Most people have a person like Nana in their life—a person of deep faith to lean on when the earth below shakes and the ground gives way. One who will lovingly be a Christ-light to us when darkness overshadows lost dreams, betrayal by those we loved, who did not love us back, or worse, inflicted sorrow on those we tried to protect.

Sometimes a hug, a kiss, words of encouragement, simple acts of kindness can assuage invisible wounds that need time to heal while the heart mends.

In a little forest neighborhood along the water’s edge, Emily deals with the losses she fears, and unravels secrets that remain untold while discovering much about herself she never knew before. Doc and Jack in the cabin next door are part of that journey, in good times and in bad. Family is like that, you know.

As Emily slowly regains the memory of her twin brother’s drowning, the lake that swallowed him, also offers a baptism she’s longed for. What will she chose?

No matter how hopeless situations are, there is hope of redemption. There is a new sunrise every morning after the darkest of nights. There is a Savior calling your name. Listen. His voice is gentle. His hope eternal.

About Kathy Boyd Fellure

Kathy Boyd Fellure is author of four children’s books, and her debut contemporary women’s fiction novel that released January, 2018. The Language of the Lake is the first book in the completed  ~ On the Water’s Edge Tahoe Trilogy.  Her 4th novel, Across the Pond and her WIP, Harper House, are both set in England. Kathy is a member of CWC, ACFW, and is the founder of Amador Fiction Writers.  She hosted, wrote & produced the TSPN TV Show ~ Authors, Writers, Books & Beyond from 2012- 2015.  Kathy has served as a judge for the NCAP book awards in 2017-18. She guest speaks, teaches at writer conferences, hosts an annual literary read, exhibits her photography, and is agented with Books & Such Literary Agency. Kathy Boyd Fellure currently lives in the foothill gold country of California with her family and three stand-up comedian rescue dogs.

New Releases in Christian Fiction – January 2018

January 2018 New Releases

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


Contemporary Romance:

Her Handyman Hero by Lorraine Beatty — Reid Blackthorn arrives in Dover on a personal mission—to make sure his terminally ill brother gets a chance to meet his daughter. Deceiving little Lily’s guardian isn’t his intention. Yet once Tori Montgomery mistakes Reid for her new handyman, he knows it’s the only way to be close to his niece. Tori is honoring her friend’s last wish by keeping Lily away from her father’s family. And once she learns who Reid truly is, she realizes there’s too much at stake—including custody of Lily—for her to fall for the former DEA agent. But in keeping a promise, is she losing out on her chance for a happily-ever-after? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Beneath the Summer Sun by Kelly Irvin — It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to marry again for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is that grief isn’t holding her back from a new relationship. Fear is. A terrible secret in her past keeps her from moving forward. Meanwhile, Leo Graber nurtures a decades-long love for Jennie, but guilt plagues him—guilt for letting Jennie marry someone else and guilt for his father’s death on a hunting trip many years ago. How could anyone love him again—and how could he ever take a chance to love in return? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Ain’t Misbehaving by Marji Laine — True, Annalee’s crime amounted to very little, but not in terms of community service hours. Her probation officer encouraged her with a promise of an easy job in an air-conditioned downtown environment. She didn’t expect her role to be little better than a janitor at an after-school daycare in the worst area of town. Carlton Whelen hides behind the nickname of CJ so people won’t treat him like the wealthy son of the Whelen Foundation director. Working at the foundation’s after-school program delights him and annoys his business-oriented father. When a gorgeous prima donna is assigned to his team, he not only cringes at her mistakes but also has to avoid the attraction that builds from the first time he sees her. (Contemporary Romance from Write Integrity Press)

Finding Grace by Melanie D. Snitker — Single dad Tyler Martin can’t be more grateful to the woman who finds his missing daughter. Even though he feels a spark between them, falling in love is a risk he shouldn’t take. Too bad chance encounters and his stubborn heart keep trying to convince him otherwise. After escaping a nightmarish relationship, Beth Davenport is content with her safe and blessedly normal life. Yet something about Tyler and his adorable daughter makes her wish for more. With the walls around her heart finally starting to crumble, she’s afraid of a future she can’t predict. Can they let go of their fear and trust God to lead them to the love they desperately need? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Marrying Mandy by Melanie D. Snitker — Mandy Hudson swore she’d never marry. Abandoned by her parents and raised by her grandparents, she has a hard time trusting that real love will last. When her grandmother dies, Mandy’s shocked to discover a stipulation in the will. Considering marriage to her best friend may be the only way to keep her family’s beloved bed-and-breakfast. The loss of his job threatens Preston Yarrow’s shaky financial stability. Besides, he can’t watch his best friend give up the only real home she’s ever known. Frustrated by Mandy’s stubborn refusal to let him help, he’s certain they are stronger together than they are apart. A marriage of convenience might be crazy… or an answer to both their prayers. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


Historical:

Son of Promise by Caryl McAdoo — Can a wife find the grace to forgive when her husband’s withheld the truth? Travis Buckmeyer has a secret son, and the morning’s come to tell his sweet wife. He hates breaking Emma Lee’s heart. She promised him one ten years ago, but hasn’t been blessed to carry a baby to term. Every miscarriage made the telling harder, but now his clock’s run out. He’s going for his son, praying he won’t lose her.
Cody knows who his mother claims his father is, but he’s only interested in getting sprung from reform school then boosting enough from the do-gooder to bust out on his own.
Can Travis find redemption, Emma Lee forgiveness, or Cody the love he’s been longing for? (Historical, Independently Published)


Historical Romance:

Hearts Entwined by Mary Connealy, Melissa Jagears, Regina Jennings, and Karen Witemeyer — Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])



A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Mary Davis, Kathleen E. Kovach, Paula Moldenhauer, Suzanne Norquist, Donita Kathleen Paul, Donna Schlachter, and Pegg Thomas — For seven bachelors, this bouquet of brides means a happily ever after. Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Can love help them grow to their full potential? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)



A Mother For His Family by Susanne Dietze
Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.
All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



His Forgotten Fiancee by Evelyn M. Hill — Liza Fitzpatrick is stunned when her fiancé finally arrives in Oregon City — with amnesia. Matthew Dean refuses to honor a marriage proposal he doesn’t recall making, but Liza needs his help now to bring in the harvest, and maybe she can help him remember… Matthew is attracted to the spirited Liza, and as she tries to help him regain his old memories, the new ones they’re creating together start to make him feel whole. Even as he falls for her again, though, someone’s determined to keep them apart. Will his memory return in time to save their future? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White — Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I–to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales. Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe. But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Mystery:

Surgeon’s Choice by Richard L. Mabry, MD — Dr. Ben Merrick thought his biggest problem was getting his fiancé’s divorced parents into the same room for the wedding–and then, people started dying. (Mystery, Independently Published through White Glove)


Romantic Suspense:

Innocent Lies by Robin Patchen — Desperate to be safe from the man who held her captive and ruined her life, Kelsey must ensure her child is protected before she can take her enemy on. But a string of bad luck gets her arrested and lands her face-to-face with the only man she’s ever loved—the only man who can destroy all her plans. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Cold Truth by Susan Sleeman — When research chemist Kiera Underwood receives the cryptic phone call about her twin brother, she tries to contact him to no avail. Her twin sense tingles, warning her that something is wrong. Kiera’s not prepared when an attempt is made on her life and Blackwell Tactical operative Cooper Ashcroft delivers her second shock of the day. Someone killed the supervisor at the research lab where her brother works and stole a deadly biotoxin. The main suspect? Her brother, and Blackwell Tactical has been hired to bring him in. If that wasn’t shocking enough, she’s suspected of colluding with him. Setting out to prove herself and her brother is innocent, she is almost abducted before Ashcroft rescues her. He’s faced with the reality that she’s telling the truth and someone has likely abducted her brother—perhaps killed him—and now Kiera’s very life is in danger, too. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Follow the Star

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV.

The women of my church gather each Christmas season for a dinner and ornament exchange. Through the years, I’ve accumulated a treasure trove of fond memories and beautiful ornaments, but decorating my tree is a bittersweet experience as many of my keepsakes are from friends and family who have moved on to their heavenly home.

This year, I unwrapped a handmade ornament with “follow the star” embroidered into the fabric. I’m reminded of the Wisemen who followed the light to discover a king, born in the most humble of environments. For generations, thousands continue to seek His light, and I’m thankful someone shared the story of the greatest gift ever given to mankind with me.

December can be a dark time for many of us as our hearts yearn for what we cannot have. But as I look at the simple brown thread stitched into the words, follow the star, I’m reminded of Jesus and His light. I’ve struggled with sad thoughts, and a to-do list longer than my arm. My heart is heavy as I lift the names of five friends battling cancer. What’s amazing, is that each of these friends’ faces are filled with joy and peace. They have not allowed their difficult circumstances to affect their spirits. Someday, my flesh will fail, but with Jesus, I have all that I need.

As I meditate on the words, follow the star, I’m making a commitment to capture my thoughts. Each day is a gift, even the dark days of December. May we all be like the Wisemen, and seek the light that cannot be overcome by the darkness.

Father, Thank you for Jesus, the Light of the World, My Savior, and Redeemer.

December 2017 New Christian Fiction Releases

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


Contemporary:

Rebecca’s Redemption by Lee Carver — A nurse seeking redemption for past sins joins a doctor contending against the jungle. Both healers need healing. (Contemporary, Independently Published)


Contemporary Romance:

The Christmas Baby by Lisa Carter — Mistletoe Mommy Anna Reyes is pregnant and widowed, and a Christmas homecoming isn’t so simple. Reuniting with her best friend, Ryan Savage, makes it easier—even though she knows he’ll soon be leaving their small coastal hometown. After putting his career on hold for his family’s business, Ryan’s finally ready to pursue his goals. But as he and Anna work to make the holidays special for a group of at-risk kids, Ryan wonders if he can give up one dream for another. They’re determined to make this a Christmas to remember, but can Ryan and Anna also make their holiday family last forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

You’re Gonna Love Me by Robin Lee Hatcher — Nick’s love of thrills and danger and Samantha’s love of safety and security drove them apart two years ago. After her worst fears came true, can they build something new upon the ashes of the past? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

A Christmas Kind of Perfect by Christine Schimpf — Conrad Hamilton thought his life would be easy. A great job running his own construction business, living in his hometown in Door County, Wisconsin, with Lila Clark by his side. He planned on marrying her as soon as she returned from her Chicago internship but it never happened.
Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor did she plan on spending the last decade in New York. But she did. Can the magic of Christmas turn two hearts back to one another again or is it too late to capture that special kind of perfect? (Contemporary Romance from Prism Christian Publishing)

Under the Mistletoe: A Christian Christmas Anthology by Jenna Brandt, Lorana Hoopes, Carol E. Keen, Elle E. Kay, Mary C. Findley, Judith Robl, Evangeline Kelly, C.J. Samuels — Christmas is the time when families get together and love abounds. Eight inspirational authors have teamed up to bring you 8 wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring you joy this season. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Making Spirits Bright by Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Toni Shiloh, April Hayman — Christmas is a season for new beginnings and second chances. A time for hope and joy and laughter. A time for people of all ages to find love and come together in community. Making Spirits Bright is a collection of just such stories – four never-before-published inspirational Christmas novellas. From romance to cozy mystery, with a generous dash of humor, these contemporary stories are sure to warm your heart as well as brighten your season and lift your Christmas spirit. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


Historical Romance:



The Calico and Cowboys Romance Collection by Mary Connealy — The Old West comes to life under the talented pen of bestselling author Mary Connealy. Enjoy a lighthearted ride alongside seven historical and one contemporary cowboys and the women who tame their hearts. (Historical/Contemporary Romance Novella from Barbour Publishing)



Would-Be Mistletoe Wife by Christine Johnson — Worried she might lose her teaching job if funding is cut for her boarding school, widow Louise Smythe must consider marriage. But the only prospective groom in town is lighthouse-keeper Jesse Hammond, and he wants children–something she may never be able to provide. While Jesse waits for the ideal woman to make his wife, though, Louise can’t help but long for something more than his friendship. If he wants to be promoted to head lighthouse keeper, Jesse needs to find a wife suited to his rustic lifestyle. But as he and Louise partner to give the town’s homeless orphans a joyous holiday, he’s drawn to the petite woman. Will the light of Christmas finally inspire them to trust in each other’s hearts? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Circle of Blessings by Deborah Raney — A young college student is determined to win the love of her English professor at the university in the Dakota Territory where she is studying to be an architect. (Historical Romance from Raney Day Press)


Historical:

Return to Bella Terra by MaryAnn Diorio — When she receives word that her mother is terminally ill, Maria Landro Tonetta travels to her Sicilian homeland with her son Nico. She finds herself yearning for the life she once knew as a child on Bella Terra, the family farm, now on the verge of bankruptcy. Caught between two worlds, Maria dreams of moving back to Sicily with her husband and children to save the farm. When, however, Nico’s biological father unexpectedly appears at Mama’s funeral, Maria faces a new enemy to her dream.
But is there an even greater enemy within her own soul? (Historical, Independently Published)

Brides of Minnesota by Lena Nelson Dooley — Follow a Swedish family’s journey as they settle in Minnesota where each brother seeks a living—and wife. (Historical from Barbour Publishing)


Mystery:

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert — When the dead body of an overdosed teen turns up next to Tess Spencer’s mom’s trailer, it’ll take a miracle to keep Tess from becoming a casualty in her own personal war on drugs. (Mystery, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman — The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . . can they? (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Holiday Secrets by Susan Sleeman — When his ex is thrust into the crosshairs of a deadly syndicate, FBI agent Gavin McKade will do whatever it takes to protect her. Even work the case with his stubborn sheriff dad. As if protecting Lexie from professional killers isn’t difficult enough, the unlikely reunion has rekindled their complicated romantic connection. But if Gavin can’t untangle Lexie from this dangerous web, the blurring line between duty and love may not matter…because this Christmas could be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Speculative:

The Redemption of Jedidiah Pinkney by J.R. Pitts — A crippled and bullied young boy finds redemption and healing after an encounter with Jesus. (Speculative from Ambassador International)

The Importance of a Friendship in Biddy Chambers’ Life—and Ours! By Michelle Ule

Do any of you have a friend who would be willing to risk her life to help you?

Mary Riley

Biddy Chambers had such a friend in Mary Riley. Without Mary’s help, presence and encouragement, one of the most beloved devotionals, My Utmost for His Highest, might never have come into print.

The two were the same age, thirty-one, in 1915 when an opportunity arose for Biddy and her two-year-old daughter to travel to Egypt. Biddy’s husband Oswald, a noted Bible teacher, was serving as a chaplain at a YMCA camp north of Cairo during World War I.

Prior to sailing to Egypt, Oswald requested permission to bring his wife and child since Egypt was not yet a war zone.

The YMCA authorities considered his shocking request—no one else had a wife or child with them– and said yes. Biddy and Kathleen could come, along with a nurse.

How many of us have a friend who would volunteer to sail through winter U-boat infested waters to a war zone with a small child to live in an adobe bungalow in the Egyptian desert surrounded by Australian and New Zealand troops?

How many friends would volunteer to pay their way to live in a land of pestilence and illness in an era before antibiotics when summer temperatures regularly hit 130 degrees?

Mary Riley volunteered. She loved Biddy, Oswald and Kathleen and through her attendance at the Bible Training College (BTC) they ran in London prior to the war, she wanted to serve God, no matter where he sent her.

She also was a terrific cook and the ministry Oswald envisioned at Zeitoun camp could use her.

Three months after Oswald’s departure, Biddy, Mary and Kathleen caught a small ship. A passenger ship hit a mine and sank in the English Channel the day before they sailed. They passed two U-boat-sunk ships ruins in the Mediterranean Sea. The danger was real.

Once in sunny Egypt, they must have taken a deep breath when they saw their humble dwelling with sand as the floor.

Both women rolled up their sleeves and plunked a pith helmet on their heads. Mary cooked in the outdoors with the help of an Army orderly. Basically camping, she and Biddy turned the Zeitoun YMCA camp into a center of hospitality. They never knew how many people would drop by for dinner.

As one soldier wrote about Mary and Biddy’s arrival: “They kept open house for us all. Whatever they had they shared, and with little Kathleen running around and attending the Sunday services where she lustily sang the hymns, and Miss Riley’s cooking, we began to feel almost as if we were home again.”

When they went “up the line” to a more primitive camp, Biddy and Mary concocted fruit trifle to serve desert-weary soldiers at free teas on Sunday afternoons.

As one officer said, he would “forgo the comfort of a chair and sit on the sand to get such a meal,” as prepared by Biddy and Mary.

Oswald himself appreciated the women’s toil under arduous conditions, “it takes some vitality, morally, physically and spiritually to be cheerful in weather,” like they had in Egypt.

Mary mourned with Biddy when Oswald died unexpectedly from appendicitis in 1917. She helped keep the camp running while Biddy and Kathleen grieved.

At war’s end, the three sailed to England together in far less perilous seas.

Mary Riley did not have to lay down her life for her friend, but she was willing to do so when she accompanied the Chambers family to Egypt.

Biddy could not have traveled nor done the ministry she performed while in Egypt without Mary. Mary helped with Kathleen’s care (as did others), cooked and ministered to the soldiers while Biddy attended her husband’s lectures and “took down” in shorthand everything Oswald said.

From her notes, and those Biddy took at the BTC, Biddy compiled all 30 Oswald Chambers “authored” books in the years following his death.

For that reason, you can say that without Mary Riley’s friendship with Biddy and Oswald Chambers, readers for the last 90 years would not have had the bestselling devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.

We should all thank God for the friendship of Biddy Chambers and Mary Riley!

About the Author

Michelle Ule is the biographer of Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional (Baker). You can learn more about her, as well as Biddy and Oswald Chambers, at her website, www.michelleule.com

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/mrs-oswald-chambers/384330

That One Friend by Krista Phillips

Do you have that one friend?

That person who will tell you like it is.

…Who will call you out on your crap

…Who will love you despite your crap

…Who will listen to your rantings when you’re upset and not let your low moment color their view of you

…Who will give you “that look” when you are being nonsensical

…Who is intensely protective when someone hurts you

…Who is your “safe” space where you don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not.

Some people may call them “best friends” but honestly, that term is so seventh grade and brings to mind times I’ve been hurt, crushed, and stabbed in the back by people I “thought’ were my friend. I wouldn’t wish seventh grade on my worst enemy!

The older I get, though, the more my view of friendship has changed. It isn’t just someone to hang out with. It isn’t someone who will grab their pitchfork when I’m angry and be angry with me. (although, sometimes it is.)

I don’t need someone to agree with me about what a dork my husband is being. I need someone who will lovingly point out to me that how I am handling the matter is making things worse.

I don’t need someone to tell me that what a loser he is and that I could do so much better—I want someone who will encourage me to fight for my marriage and who will pray for my marriage with me.

I don’t need someone who will gossip with me, I need someone who will thwack me in the arm when I start to gossip.

I don’t need someone who will *heart* a post of mine on Facebook. I need someone who will be at my house, jumping up and down with me. (or on the phone or text if they are remote…)

I don’t need someone who will *sad face* a post of mine on Facebook when I’m hurting. I need someone who will be at my house, sobbing with me, or on the phone, giving me words of encouragement.

And I need to work on being “that” friend right back to them.

When I was writing “The Engagement Plot” I was working on giving Hanna a friend. She really needed one. Then Carly showed up on the page.

I loved Carly. She had spunk. She would show up with chocolate or a rifle in her hand, or maybe even both. She was intensely protective, but she was also brutally honest. She would listen, but also speak truth to her friend, even when it might sting. She didn’t just listen and agree to tickle her friend’s ear and make her feel happy in the short term. She loved her friend enough to be honest. She was her biggest cheerleader but also her biggest critic when that’s what Hanna needed.

Not all friendships can or will be like that. Honestly, I’m not sure I could handle more than a few of them at that level. But I’m finding the importance of having friendships that go beyond the surface, and my life has been so much richer from them.

For me, my fellow bloggers at The Writer’s Alley are my heart sisters. I feel 100% able to spew my junk to them and get honest, helpful opinions in return. And my “real” sisters, as we’ve grown into adults and past the whole “SHE PULLED MY HAIR” or “I GET SHOTGUN” thing, have turned into my best friends in the world. I have been so blessed by those friendships, and can’t imagine my life without them.

What about you? Do you have “that one friend” who doesn’t just serve as a confidence keeper but an accountability and prayer partner too?

About the Author:

Krista Phillips writes contemporary romance sprinkled with two of her favorite things, laughter and Jesus. And sometimes chocolate for kicks and giggles. She lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband and their four beautiful daughters, and is an advocate for congenital heart defect and organ donation awareness. Visit her online at www.kristaphillips.com.

New Releases in Christian Fiction – November 2017

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


Contemporary Romance:

Rooted in Love by Valerie Comer — A divorcé with a set of rambunctious twins falls for the boys’ daycare administrator, but does he deserve another chance at love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Prescription for Romance by June Foster — Though history teacher Scott Townsend made a commitment to the Lord as a teen, he can’t relinquish his bitterness toward his younger brother after he squanders their parents’ money. When a beautiful, young pharmacist seeks affirmation in a way that challenges Scott’s values, he must uphold his Christian upbringing. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romance [Winged Publication])

Believing in Tomorrow by Kimberly Rae Jordan — Sammi struggles to accept the consequences for her actions and to live with her new reality—unwed mother instead of wife and then mother. Though it eats at her soul, she feels that the judgment she faces is her lot to bear. Can Levi get Sammi to see that their child deserves better? Or will she lose everything she’s dreamed of for her tomorrow because she can’t accept that forgiveness is hers for the taking? (Contemporary Romance, ACFW QIP)

Texas Christmas Twins by Deb Kastner — Miranda Morgan’s Christmas will be twice as busy now that she’s guardian of her sister’s sweet twin babies. But the celebrity photographer is happy to trade a glamorous LA lifestyle for motherhood in her small hometown of Wildhorn, Texas. Unfortunately, the twins’ handsome godfather, Simon West, is unconvinced. The brooding rancher isn’t thrilled about letting sunny, spontaneous Miranda into his carefully managed world. Though they disagree on almost everything, Simon and Miranda discover common ground as they work to make the twins’ first country Christmas cozy and bright. Could this holiday transform Miranda and Simon’s tentative friendship into a forever love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Historical:


The Legacy by Carol Ashby — A father’s martyrdom makes his son and daughter hunger for revenge on their brother who betrayed him and the people who led him to faith until God answers their father’s final prayer in unexpected ways. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)



Jerusalem Rising by Barbara M. Britton — When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit,God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David. Nehemiah challenges the people of God to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Will her father, who rules a half-district of Jerusalem, be forgotten forever? Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same stones they hope to construct? (Historical from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Historical Mystery:

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering — Amateur sleuth Drew Farthering and his wife Madeline travel to Scotland for the 1935 British Open, but instead of a relaxing holiday, they find murder, mystery, and international intrigue. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Waiting for His Return by Carrie Turansky — The daughter of a wealthy Tennessee doctor falls in love with an injured artist-correspondent on assignment to cover the battles near Union occupied Nashville. (Historical Mystery from Flowing Stream Books)

Historical Romance:

The Virtuous Viscount by Susan M. Baganz — Lord Remington falls for a woman he rescues and recovers in his home, but can Miss Storm trust his virtue when he risks his reputation to unbeknownst to her, saves her life. (Historical Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Lord Phillip’s Folly by Susan M. Baganz — Lord Westcombe finds himself falling in love with his unexpected wife and having to rescue her from the devices of the Black Diamond with the help of his friends and newfound faith. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

The Regency Brides Collection by Amanda Barratt, Angela Bell, Susanne Dietze, Michelle Griep, Nancy Moser, MaryLu Tyndall, and Erica Vetsch — Romance is a delicate dance bound by rules and expectations in Regency England…Seven couples must navigate society’s gauntlet to secure the hand of true love…. Charity and Luke are strangers who were forced to marry three years ago. Adelaide and Walter share a love of music and disdain for elitism. Caroline and Henry are thrown together by three orphans. Helen and Isaac harbor his unlikely secret. Esther is empowered to choose between two men. Sophia is determined not to choose a man like Nash. Jamie and William face a daunting London season together. Will their faith grow and love prevail in a time when both were considered luxuries the elite could not afford? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas — Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother–and nearly his own life–in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company. Larkin Heyward’s life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more–maybe moving to the hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company. Drawn together in the wake of a devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Legal Thriller:

Guilty Blood by Rick Acker — A desperate mother tries to prove her son’s innocence, but shadowy forces want to keep him in jail–and kill him there. (Legal Thriller from Waterfall Press)


Romantic Suspense:

An Unexpected Legacy by Amy R. Anguish — When Chad Manning introduces himself to Jessica Garcia at her favorite smoothie shop, it’s like he stepped out of one of her romance novels. But as she tentatively walks into a relationship with this man of her dreams, secrets from their past threaten to shatter their already fragile bond. Chad and Jessica must struggle to figure out if their relationship has a chance or if there is nothing between them but a love of smoothies. (Romantic Suspense from Tulpen Publishing)

Christmas Double Cross by Jodie Bailey — Undercover Texas Ranger Colter Blackthorn’s convinced Danielle Segovia is really a wanted criminal—until she’s nearly kidnapped right in front of him. Now Colter must keep her out of the clutches of the notorious drug cartel leader whose traitor sister is a dead ringer for Danielle. The drug czar wants the drugs he thinks the pretty shop owner stole from him. And with the younger brother Danielle is raising dragged into the crosshairs, Colt has to find a way to protect them both. But a showdown at Christmas—with Danielle as bait—may be the only way to make sure they all survive the holidays. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright — Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Speculative:

Awakened by Morgan L. Busse — The monster has awakened. After her escape from the Tower and from her father’s experiments, Kat Bloodmayne wakes up to discover the dark power inside of her has grown stronger. Now more than ever she needs to find the doctor who holds the key to healing her, but the only one who can help her find him is Stephen Grey, the very man who betrayed her. Stephen Grey cannot change the past or what he did to Kat, but he will do everything he can to help her now. But will Kat let him? Or will his transgression be too much to overcome? Time races against them as they travel with sky pirates through harrowing storms and across the war-torn country of Austrium in search of the doctor who can cure Kat. But can he cure what is broken inside of her? Or will the monster inside of Kat consume her soul? (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)

Imperfect Pieces

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm: 147:3 NIV

Walking on the beach, searching for perfect seashells is an activity that always returns me to my childhood. My body may be older, but my spirit is childlike, searching for treasure.

This year, the October waves were unusually high until the last day of our vacation. When the tide receded, shattered seashells littered the bleached sand. Repeatedly, I bent to dig out a prize only to discover it splintered. An onyx seashell half-buried in the crystals appeared to be perfect until I cleaned it in water and discovered a hole at the apex. I’d been walking and praying, asking God to speak to me, and He did, through the debris on the beach.

How many shells had I passed over because of their imperfections? How many people have I ignored because of their poverty, the coarseness of their language, or just plain old meanness? There are others who seem to have it all, the perfect life. But I know no one reaches maturity without being crushed. Some just hide it better than others, just the like the shell I discovered half-buried in the sand. At first glance, it appeared to be whole, but it too had been damaged.

Someday, when I get to heaven, I’ll be perfect, but only because of Jesus and His precious blood that wiped away my sins. Until then, I hope to gather other broken pieces for His kingdom. It takes each of us to make up the body of Christ. The church is not for the perfect, it is for the fractured. Each broken life forms into the one body Christ. His body was broken and pierced for you and for me.

I saved the imperfect shell to remind me of my brokenness, and the healing power of Jesus. How about you? Are you too broken and splintered?  Let me introduce to Jesus. He’s the perfect treasure.