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.

 

 

 

Magnolia Storms–Friends, Novels, and Ocean Springs, Mississippi

By Janet Ferguson

Stories come together in unusual ways. My latest novel, Magnolia Storms, is no exception. The idea formed when one friend described being a ship pilot, and I knew I wanted a ship pilot for my next story hero. Then riding home from a writing conference, I brainstormed with other friends-authors and came up with having a meteorologist who’d been through Hurricane Katrina and never wanted to return to the Mississippi coast as a heroine. Of course she has to! And so I had the bones of my story.

Ocean Springs is a quaint town near the Mississippi Sound with an adorable downtown area lined with gift shops and restaurants.

Sprawling live oaks majestically spread out their massive roots and branches along the sidewalks.

Somehow some of the adorable homes weathered the inundation of the tidal surge and mass destruction of Hurricane Katrina, but not all.

-See more about that here: https://www.wunderground.com/education/Katrinas_surge_part14.asp


I’d been to Ocean Springs over the years, more recently with my husband, and navigated the streets on Google Earth, but I needed some finishing touches on my scene descriptions. Enter my sweet beach-friends. They sort of randomly asked me at just the right time to go for a girls’ trip to Ocean Springs and stay in Front Beach Cabins, one of the very places I’d been checking out online. The cottages are near enough to walk downtown and only a couple of blocks from Front Beach. We took bikes that were provided by the cabin owners down to the shore.

The beaches are small in Mississippi because the Sound is protected, to some extent, by barrier islands. From Front Beach, you can see the barrier islands.

 

I  finished the last tweaks on the Magnolia Storms manuscripts after critique partners (who are now beloved friends, too) looked it over. My next adventure was finding the perfect cover. Another friend, Nancy on my street team suggested, that she had a friend with the perfect hair for my heroine. I thought that was great, but how would I get her on a cover?

Long story, short. Her friend, Emily, drove to Ocean Springs with her sister-in-law, Ann Marie, and made pictures. They were perfect, and the cover all fell into place!

 

So friendships not only molded this story together, but also put the proverbial cherry on top!

Magnolia Storms
A Coastal Hearts Novel
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you….

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Author Janet Ferguson has a series of books published just in time for the Mississippi Book Festival.

Ebook    Amazon  Nook  Kobo iBooks Google Play 
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Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space. 

I love to hear from readers! You can connect with me on FacebookTwitter,GoodReadsPinterest, use the contact page, or subscribe to my newsletter on the Under the Southern Sun page for exclusive book news and giveaways

Southern Contemporary Inspirational Romance
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Faith, Humor, Romance
 Southern Style

 

 



 

How to Defeat Jealousy

By Shelia Stovall

Everyone I know suffers from jealousy at some time in their life.  Since starting the writing journey, I’ve been plagued by the acrid emotion and it shames me.  When it’s time to announce finalists for different writing contests, I shut down my computer and avoid Facebook.  When writer friends post, “I’ve just signed a three-book contract,” I make the appropriate comments, but, there’s an ugly green poison that infuses my spirit.

There’s a reason God listed covetousness as one of the Big 10, Thou shall not…  It steals our joy. What I’ve finally discovered is that I needed help to overcome this virus.  All these years, I could have been celebrating with my friends and sharing in their happiness.  Instead, I’ve sipped from the cup of  envy. I’ve confessed this sin, and repented in prayer, but it wasn’t until I asked Jesus to take this burden from me, it happened. THANK YOU, JESUS! I couldn’t’ do this on my own, but the power of His holy spirit wiped it away.

My critique partner, Carrie Padgett, has a sweet spirit, and she’s one of the most talented and hard-working writers I know.  I’ve critiqued the first few chapters of Harley Taps Out.  When the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (ACFW) announced her name as a finalist in the Genesis contest, my heart soared with joy. Then she asked me to accept the award for her, if by chance, she won, because she was not able to attend. My heart overflowed with happiness for her achievement. When her name was announced as the winner, I practically ran to the podium in high-heels and accepted with tears in my eyes. What a blessing to share in her success and joy.

Photo by Becky Melby.

God has gifted me with so many wonderful friends along the writing journey. As I sat in the audience Saturday evening, I cheered on and celebrated three additional writer friends who have counseled and mentored me. Cynthia Ruchti won a Carol Award for her novella, Restoring Christmas. I still have the advance copy she shared with me two years ago.

Ann H. Gabhart

Also, my friend, Anne Gabhart’s book, Murder Comes by Mail was a Carol Award finalist.

Liz Johnson and me.

And my friend, Liz Johnson’s book, The Red Door Inn was a Christy Award finalist.

I am so fortunate to have these women as mentors and friends.  What a joy to be able to celebrate my friends’ accomplishments as their successes make my cup runneth over.

What about you?  What’s causing you to be envious?  Perhaps it’s a friend who gets the job you wanted, or maybe you’ve been waiting for the right man to be your life-partner, and it seems you’re always the bridesmaid and never the bride. I’ve seen women suffer such angst as there are praying for a baby, and yet, it doesn’t happen, then they suffer when friends have children. Dear ones, it took the power of Jesus to take away the burden of jealousy from me.  Don’t do as I did, and try to do this on your own. I think it impossible to do so without the strength of the savior.  My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 NIV.  Jesus can replace your jealous spirit with His spirit of love, joy, and peace, but the choice is yours to  ask for His help.

To celebrate my writer friends, I’m going to have three drawings on Saturday, September 30, 2017. For a chance to win one of the books below,  comment about jealousy.


 

Angels Among Us

By Wanda Rosseland

Oh, the joy of hearing people tell about their angel stories! I never dreamed in my life of having an opportunity to hear this, let alone write about them; true angels, close enough to touch, magnificent beyond belief in their beauty and power. And others who looked like ordinary people, you or me. It still seems a miracle that God asked me to write a book about them, and that he brought me stories out of the blue, starting with Rhonda’s angels surrounding her bed where she lay when her husband was so sick with brain cancer. A soft gray cloud of angels, floating and swirling above her, bringing peace and calmness that never left.

This was what I learned as I worked on gathering the stories, from all different people and situations. That God was giving us, filling us, with hope and faith so strong we’d never doubt it, along with an unflagging assurance that He answers our prayers, sending help swiftly. Healing sickness, protecting innocents, or just showing us the unbelievable majesty of heaven. That He is always taking care of us.

What do you envision when you think of an angel? Is it a little old lady, nicely plump who looks like your grandmother from when you were a child? Like Lois’ did when she was mourning the death of her husband and her severely broken leg. Or do you see myriads of golden lights dancing around the room like little spotlights, with a joy and effervescence you have to laugh at? As Cherie did at her Christmas “Wrapping Presents Party” after she had been diagnosed with cancer in her mouth. Or is it a well-groomed Arab man with impeccable English, telling you things about your life no one but you knows. As happened to an American soldier based overseas, when his grandmother died and he could not get back to Montana for her funeral.

Click on cover to link to Amazon.

Before starting to write Angels Among Us, I would have never dreamed an angel could appear on earth in such forms, and then I started to understand that they come as they need to be, in order to accomplish the mission God sent them to do. Some in their long white robes with wings spread wide, others looking like nurses, little girls or old men.

I’ve always loved angels, ever since a child. But I felt they were regulated to heaven and only showed up on earth for very important things. I didn’t realize they came to ordinary people, and then I wondered if perhaps everyone on earth is ordinary in the sight of God, and therefore each one of such value He immediately sends angels at their call. I’m sure now that’s what it is. From the description of my cousin, Gail, there must be thousands and thousands of angels flying about us every day. Some seen, most not, with wings and without. And I no longer think I’ll never see one, for in this book they come to everyone, old, young, sick, healthy, mothers, single people, rich, poor. The angels are for us all. You. Me.

When I first started writing what truly became Angels Among Us, I had no idea God was going to take me down a road that would show not only their supreme magnificence but also how caring and protective they are.  Shielding us from harm. Standing between life and death. Taking our hand when we have something fearful to do. And at the end, carrying us back to Heaven in their arms.

“Look, Mom! The angels are here. Can’t you see them? Up there in the corner. They’ve come for me.” The bright shining angels, standing with love, waiting to take Alice home.

On a wing and a prayer.

About the Author

Wanda and her husband Milton raised their three children in Montana where they grew wheat and ran sheep and cattle.

She writes for Guideposts and Angels on Earth magazines and reads every book she can find on angels.

if you’ve seen an angel, she’d  love to hear about it.  Her email is wjross@midrivers.com or you can make comment on the blog.

 

 

Dog Friends – Real and Imagined

By Ann H. Gabhart

Have you ever had a super dog friend? I have. Several of them. I started begging for my own dog when I was about eight. I needed a dog like I needed air to breathe. Some of you may understand that and some of you may not. We had barn cats. We had calves and lambs we bottle fed, but I had the dog hunger that nothing was going to appease except dog fur under my hands.

My wishes were answered when dad must have asked one of his friends to bring me a pup. Ollie was a collie and Spitz mix as best we could guess, but I didn’t really care. He was a dog. That was all that mattered. Since then I’ve had many dog buddies. None any more loved than my current dog, Oscar. Sometimes a dog just seems to become an extension of you as though he knows your thoughts before you think them.

Click on cover to link to Amazon.

I wanted my heroine in These Healing Hills to have that kind of dog. Many of the Frontier Nursing Service midwives had dogs. The Frontier Service recruitment posters promised the nurse midwives their own horse, their own dog, and plenty of adventure to entice them to the mountains to deliver babies in the homes of their patients. So, naturally my heroine had to have her own dog. But he had to be a special dog that would matter in the story. And he was and he did.

The recruitment ad wasn’t the only reason I dropped a dog down into my story. I read the memoirs of one of the Frontier nurse midwives who had a great dog friend. Her dog chased rattlers out of her paths and even managed to block her horse and stop it once when in some mysterious way the dog sensed danger. A rock slide a few minutes later covered the trail in front of them. That’s the kind of dog friend I gave my nurse midwife character in my story. I was so glad Sarge made the cover of the book.

My Oscar hasn’t done any heroics, but he is a very good friend. He’s walked miles with me. He’s slept on his bed behind my chair while I wrote thousands of words. He’s been a good model for my fictional dogs. Trouble is, back in the summer he was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer in his back leg. I’m sure some of you have had to say goodbye to a furry friend long before you were ready. That’s where I am now. Not ready but knowing the day is speedily approaching when Oscar will head over the rainbow bridge.

Shelia said I could write a story about friendship. So that’s what I’ve done. My dog friends have given me unconditional love and friendship over the years. The dogs I’ve dropped into my stories have done the same for my characters from Maybe, a dog in my first young adult book, Chance Hero, to Zeb, Jocie’s answer to her dog prayer in Scent of Lilacs to Asher in The Innocent and now Sarge in These Healing Hills.

Have you ever had a special furry friend to make you smile and feel loved?

About the Author

Miracle Meeting

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37

Every mission trip to Africa leaves me with an awareness, that God is with me. Today’s story is an example of God’s grace and faithfulness.

I met a little girl, Melalla, six years ago on my first trip to Africa. Of the fifty or so children that attended our kid’s club, she stood out with charisma, energy, and charm. At the time of our first meeting, I guess her age to be seven or eight-years-old. It’s always difficult to judge the age of an African child as many are small for their age compared to American children.

When I returned home from my first mission trip, I offered friends the opportunity to choose one picture of an African child, and I asked them to commit to pray for the child in the photo. My friend, Anna, chose Melalla’s snapshot, and a year later, when I returned to Africa, Anna sent a gift of school supplies. When we returned to Melalla’s village with the package, we discovered her family had moved. Our missionary friends kept the gift in case she returned for a visit. Melalla eventually received the school supplies, but my friends have not been able to stay in contact with her because African families often move in search of work.

I know Anna is still praying for Melalla, and I’ll never forget her, but I thought it unlikely I’d ever see her again.

Normally, when traveling in Africa, I’m riding in the bush taxi with the mission team, but on this particular day, last week, I rode in an air-conditioned Toyota with Sabrina, the missionary who opened her compound for us that first year so we could have a controlled area to teach the children. (A compound is a home and other buildings surrounded by a wall). On the journey, I asked her about Melalla, and she said she’d not seen her in a long while. I lifted a prayer for this lost relationship, and accepted that I’ll probably never see this engaging girl again. Then God did something amazing. We were delayed in a traffic snarl at a small village on the highway due to the Tabaski holiday. The markets are always chaotic, but it was especially so because everyone was preparing for the festival. Consider the shopping craze of the last weekend before Christmas. An African traffic jam is impossible to describe, but picture vans piled high with produce, donkey carts, cars, motorcycles, and every horn is blaring, then throw in a herd of sheep wandering through it, and children selling peanuts or sweets standing at car windows. As we waited in the jumble, Sabrina gasped, “It’s Melalla.” She rolled down her window and called to her. Melalla, beamed her brilliant smile and approached us.

Melalla and Sabrina spoke for a moment in Zarma, and when I asked her if she remembered me, she shook her head. This didn’t surprise me because it’s been six years since the kid’s club, and she met many Americans as she lived close to the missionaries. My heart lifted to see her smile. It’s not important she remember me, but I hope and pray she remembers the words she heard about Jesus. There’s no doubt in my mind that God’s hand is upon her. My sister snapped a picture, which I cannot share because she might persecuted for associating with Christians. We waived and said, “Calantonton-see you later,” with big smiles on our faces.

To stumble upon little Melalla, among the mass of holiday shoppers in the traffic snarl is a miracle. Even if I’d tried to find her, the task is impossible as I had no idea of the village to visit. Keep in mind, there are about 1.2 million people in the city of Niamey. God arranged for me to meet her again.

Even though Melalla has not professed a faith in Christ, I know she heard the gospel many times. Maybe, God wanted to remind Melalla of the words she heard when living next door to the missionaries. Maybe, God wanted to encourage me to keep sowing seeds. Maybe, someday, I will see Melalla again, in heaven, and we will worship God together, in the language that is understood by all, the language of love.

God is faithful to answer our prayers.  I will continue to pray for Melalla, and I will ask you to do so too. Many friends think my time in Africa is a waste of time and money. Sometimes, Satan tells me the same lie. But time after time, God reminds me that He is with me. Jesus sacrificed his life that I might have life, and I am blessed to be able to share His love and plan for salvation with others. I can do nothing without Him, and He’s made it clear to me that He can do anything.