Unexpected Friendships

By Regina Merrick

In my book, “Carolina Dream,” Sarah’s best friend is Lucy, who she met in high school. They were inseparable. They even teach in the same high school – the one from which they graduated. Here’s a snippet from a deep conversation between the two:

“Girl, what’s with you? If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were back in tenth grade mooning over Jimmy Henderson in biology class.” Sarah had to laugh at Lucy’s reminder of those awkward days of crushes and acne. Sarah had the crush. Jimmy Henderson had the acne.

“Sorry. I guess I wandered off for a bit, didn’t I?” She reached for her bottle of water. She wanted to find something, anything, to do to keep her busy.

“Wandered? That’s an understatement, Sarah. This is me, Lucy, remember? We’ve told each other everything since ninth grade chorus. You are the one who got up the nerve to tell me I couldn’t sing, and guess what? I’m still here! If that didn’t run me off from being your best friend, nothing could.” A comical expression graced Lucy’s face, but there was a hint of seriousness in her words. “You know, I have noticed that it doesn’t matter what is the topic of discussion, the subject always comes around to Jared Benton.”

Lucy is that friend who will tell Sarah the truth, and will support her no matter what. I like to think that everyone has a friend like that. You know, the one that it doesn’t matter if you’ve hit a dry spell and don’t seem to be nurturing the relationship, they will come to you and give you a big hug and say, “we need to get together – soon.”

Those are the keepers. I’ve had a few of those in my life. I patterned Lucy after one particular friend, although she is one of the sister-friends that I have now, that I never knew existed when I was in high school. And you know, we might not have been friends, then, though I like to think we would have. We became friends through church and motherhood, and we have mothered all four of our girls until they are like cousins instead of friends.

She’s the friend that inspires me to TRY. To KEEP GOING. To go out of my comfort zone. She asks the deep, unexpected questions and makes me laugh at the same time. If you wonder who she is, check the “Acknowledgements” page of Carolina Dream.
Find a friend who is a keeper – and KEEP HER.

About Carolina Dream by Regina Merrick

Sarah Crawford wants more from life than to attend the wedding of her ex-fiancée. An unexpected inheritance in South Carolina comes at the perfect time, just as Sarah is willing to use any excuse to get out of town.

When she meets potential business partner Jared Benton and discovers that a house is part of the inheritance, she is sure that God has been preparing her for this time through a recurring dream. But will a dream about an antebellum mansion, many rooms to be explored, and a man with dark brown eyes give her the confidence to take a leap of faith, leaving friends, family, and her job behind?

About Regina Merrick

Regina Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and she is currently the director of a small public library in Marion, KY. She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. Married for 30+ years and active in their church, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts. Visit Regina on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or on her website at https://reginamerrick.wordpress.com/

Signatures By Donna Hix Bewley

And His Mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. Luke 1:50 NKJV

“Signatures”

By Donna Hix Bewley

There’s a large closet in my house with many shelves. In the top is a square box that I found one day while cleaning. I opened it eagerly, not remembering what was inside. However, I knew whatever it was; years had passed since the box was placed up high.

It was such a surprise to find wedding shower cards and gift cards. Each had a different signature from our wedding shower. It would have been held the summer of 1978, 39 years ago this year.

The signatures belonged to so many people that had already passed. Great aunts and grandmothers that are missed so much. Dear friends that I don’t see except maybe every 10 years.  

I could smell the scents of the old cards and see the unique designs. Picturing the person along with the cards was such a special treat. I treasure the cards and the memories they bring back. When you get older you find yourself trying to grasp anything to make those memories come alive.

About the Author:

Donna Hix Bewley is a retired Registered Nurse. In 2010, the Lord inspired her to begin writing poetry. Two years later, she stepped out in faith and retired from her nursing career, and responded to the call to write. Today, a collection of her poems are compiled in a book, How He Touched My Soul:  A Collection of the Lord’s Poems.

Note to Readers:

Donna Hix Bewley will be at the Allen County Public Library, 106 W. Public Square on Saturday, April 22, 2017, during the Jacksonian festival.  I hope you’ll stop by and visit her and consider purchasing her book of poetry.  All proceeds from her book sales go to Living Hope Baptist Church’s missions’ fund. “Signatures” is included in her book showing how old cards and notes hold a message from the past.

Special Friendships Usually Mean Something Special to Eat

By Mary Ellis

Ever notice that when women get together food is almost always involved? From a cup of coffee with a few cookies to a full-blown extravaganza of culinary delights, Americans love to eat. And why not? We live in a land of plenty so we should be grateful and willing to share! Today I’m willing to share my favorite pie recipe—Key Lime Pie, a true Southern favorite.  In my latest book from Harvest House, Sunset in Old Savannah, a special friendship develops between a twenty-something private investigator, Beth Kirby, and her 70ish client, Evelyn Doyle. As first Beth cannot understand why Evelyn doesn’t divorce her husband when he breaks his vows and strays from their marriage. Evelyn is willing to take him back, providing he’s sorry and agrees to counselling sessions with their minister. Throughout the story, Beth learns much from Evelyn about Christian forgiveness. She also learns that women share many of the same challenges, no matter what their age. In my favorite scene in Sunset in Old Savannah, Evelyn serves her young friend Key Lime Pie. Now you can enjoy some too!

Ingredients for Key Lime Pie

1 ½ cups finely crushed graham crackers (20 squares)
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup Key lime juice
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Steps

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press in bottom and up side of 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.
  2.  In large bowl, beat milk and lime juice with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and thickened. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into cooled pie crust
  3.  Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until set. Store in refrigerator.

About Mary Ellis

Mary Ellis has written twelve novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Sunset in Old Savannah, is part of a series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

What Happened on Beale Street 
Magnolia Moonlight, available now
Sunset in Old Savannah, available now
http://www.maryellis.net/
http://www.facebook.com/Mary-Ellis. Author/

That’s What Friends Are For

By Cynthia Ruchti

I had an “aha” moment this morning as I contemplated the characters in the novels I’ve written to date. They’ve all had one key friend, and usually a small circle of others—the healthy characters, that is. And in none of the stories did the main character set out to find a friend or manufacture friendships for his or her journey. Nor did I sit down to intentionally create a friend for the character.

As the story unfolded, they entered the scene organically. As friends do in real life.

When I was in high school, friendship was most closely connected to fun, laughter, and common interests. Band friends, forensics friends, National Honor Society friends, drama friends, chorus friends, lunchroom friends, after school friends…

Notice I didn’t mention any friendships centered around my sports prowess. I had none. Prowess, that is.

I had friends within the youth group at church, one who eventually became my husband. Bible quizzing friends. Summer camp friends. Pen pal friends.

Common interests and fun.

The tight circle of girlfriends from high school morphed with moods. This week Sheri isn’t talking to Michelle, so there are five rather than six of us for the sleepover. The next week Dynae is on the outs with Sophie, but Michelle and Sheri are speaking to each other again. And some rare weeks, everyone was speaking with everyone else.

But as an adult, the value of friendship is less about laughter—although I count on my friends for that—and less about common interests—which have matured into common passions—and more about hope.

Friends help each other hang onto hope. We carry hope tenderly for each other when it seems fragile or tentative.

A friend who’d been through an unbearable series of hardships—relationally, financially, medically—told me she was losing her grip on hope. I told her the words that had poured salve over my own heart years ago. “I’ll hold onto hope for you until you’re stronger. That’s what friends are for.”

About Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-hope through award-winning novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and through frequent speaking events for women or writers. Her latest novel—A Fragile Hope—underscores the importance of friends who help us tighten our grip on hope when it seems too fragile to endure. You can connect with her at cynthiaruchti.com, hemmedinhope.com, or facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage and twitter.com/cynthiaruchti.

April 2017 New Releases

Are you looking for something good to read?  Check out these new releases.

Contemporary Romance:

sandpiper-cove

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon — When a police chief and an ex-con join forces to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks fly. Given their backgrounds, it’s not a promising match—but in Hope Harbor, anything is possible. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])

oh-baby

Oh Baby by Delia Latham — Dawni Manors seeks peace in Angel Falls, Texas. What she finds is a cowboy, an abandoned infant, and emotional chaos. If the Heart’s Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

General:

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A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti — Where does a relationship expert turn when his wife leaves him and carries a tiny heartbeat with her? (General from Abingdon Press)

waiting-for-butterflies

Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent — When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother’s love never ends–not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her sudden death, she becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. (General from Walrus Publishing [Amphorae Publishing Group])

Mystery:

sunset-in-old-savannahSunset in Old Savannah by Mary Ellis — When a philandering husband turns up dead, two crack detectives find more suspects than moss-draped oaks in charming old Savannah, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne’er-do-well brother. (Mystery from Harvest House Publishers)

Historical:
above-rubies

Above Rubies by Keely Brooke Keith — In 1863, young teacher Olivia Owens establishes the first school in the remote settlement of Good Springs while finding love. (Historical, Independently )Published

Historical Romance:

 a-rose-so-fairA Rose So Fair by Myra Johnson — Caleb Wieland would give anything to win farm girl Rose Linwood’s heart, but Rose’s stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she’s named. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
under-the-same-sky

Under the Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer — In 1854 Illinois, Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)
the-pony-express-collection

The Pony Express Romance Collection by Barbara Tifft Blakey, Mary Davis, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Maureen Lang, Debby Lee, Donna Schlachter, Connie Stevens and Pegg Thomas — Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express. Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

plain-targetPlain Target by Dana R. Lynn — Horse trainer Jess McGrath only wants to clear her disgraced brother’s name, but enemies keep coming out of the woodwork and danger only gets closer. Jess soon learns that no place is safe—and no one can be trusted…except for the last white knight she’d ever expect to ride to her rescue. Paramedic Seth Travis was the boy behind her high school humiliation, but he’s also the man keeping her alive. When they find sanctuary in the Amish community, can they uncover answers in time to stop a killer—and resolve their past in time to build a future together? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
dangerous-testimony

Dangerous Testimony by Dana Mentink — Four weeks before she’s set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband’s memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

deep-extractionDeep Extraction by DiAnn Mills — Special Agent Tori Templeton is determined to find who killed her best friend’s husband. Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer?and to each other?the more intent someone is on silencing them for good. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

final-verdict

Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch — When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it’s his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancée from a dangerous felon, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
guardian

Guardian by Terri Reed — When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who’s important to him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
witch

Witch by Denise Weimer — Having restored Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael’s been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary convince her to rely on the faithfulness of his love? (Romantic Suspense from Canterbury House Publishing)

Speculative Romance/Fantasy:

the-fairetellings-series

The Fairetellings Series (Books 1 through 3) by Kristen Reed — Discover a trio of enchanting novellas inspired by three beloved fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)

Building One Another Up

By Sara Sundin

Introverts and extroverts—we need each other.

As a shy child who was rejected and bullied, I benefited greatly from extroverted friends. Those kind souls reached out to me, nudged me out of my shell, and included me in their fun. I loved their energy, their generosity, and their encouragement. But honestly, I never quite knew what they saw in me.

A few years ago, I cornered one of my bubbly friends. “Why do you want me for a friend?”

She laughed as if it were the silliest question ever. “You’re thoughtful and you think deeply, and you force me to slow down and be serious.”

Huh. So I did bring something to the table.

In my Waves of Freedom series, I’ve enjoyed exploring the friendship between quiet Mary Stirling, driven Lillian Avery, and effervescent Tess Beaumont. When Tides Turn is Tess’s story, and I loved getting inside the head of this fun-loving extrovert.

I also enjoyed challenging her. I showed her where her motives weren’t entirely selfless. I introduced her to women who resisted or rejected her friendship. I made her realize she’d misjudged someone, despite her strong intuition. And—horrors!—when she needed to confide in someone, I stripped away her ability to do so.

But then I confirmed her strengths and showed her what a very good friend she was indeed. She grew into a better version of herself.

I was being Tess’s friend.

The best friendships both challenge us and affirm us. They give us chances to give and to receive, to comfort and to be comforted, to build and to be built up.

Our friends don’t need to be our polar opposites to accomplish this. I have many dear introvert friends as well and cherish the role we play in each other’s lives.

In what ways do your friends build you up? How do you return the favor?


About Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin is the author of nine historical novels, including When Tides Turn. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award, won the INSPY Award, and was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups. Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com.


About Sarah’s New Release    When Tides Turn

When fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont learns the Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, determined to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. No-nonsense and hoping to make admiral, Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills to fight German U-boats. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. For her part, Tess works hard to prove her worth in the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston—both to her commanding officers and to the man with whom she is smitten. When Dan is assigned to a new escort carrier at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he’s torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help Tess root out a possible spy on shore. The Germans put up quite a fight, but he wages a deeper battle within his heart. Could Tess be the one for him?

 

The Importance of Little Things

(15) Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, (16) making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Yesterday, small things held me up. I had an eight o’clock appointment, but when I arrived, the person wasn’t available. A hint of frustration crossed my mind, but I shrugged and left.  Later, I checked the email confirming the appointment, and discovered the request to change our meeting to Wednesday. Sigh.

I entered the drive-through at a restaurant to pick up an unsweet tea. When I parked my car and sipped the drink, I gagged—sweet tea.  Too lazy to get out of the car, I entered the drive-through line again, and waited. The window clerk passed me another drink, and I tested it—sweet tea. The worker smiled and said, “I guess someone put sweet tea in the wrong container. Do you want a soda?”

“No, thank you. Is unsweet tea not available today?”

Her shoulders dropped. “It will take about ten minutes to brew. Do you want to wait?”

I nodded and pulled to the side. The sun shined on me as I drummed my fingers on my knee. Then I stopped. The temperature was perfect, and it was book club day, one of my favorite days of the month. Few people get paid to do what they love. Years ago, I worked at a drive-through window, and it’s not easy. I lifted a prayer repentance and thanks.

Later, I considered what my failure to pay attention to the little things costs me and calculated. An unsweet tea costs $1.06 x 365 days a year  = $386.90, plus the frustration of spending at least five minutes in line equals about 31 hours a year. That figure caught my attention.

Do you spend too much time waiting in the drive-through  too? I picked up a box of tea last night and brewed a pitcher full this morning.  It took me about thirty seconds to prepare the kettle, and another twenty seconds to put ice in the cup.

My new goal is to pay attention to the little ways I’m wasting this precious gift of time.  I’m not saying I’m giving up the drive-through all the time, but I am going to brew tea in the morning. Maybe I’ll waste that thirty-one hours enjoying the sunrise, or perhaps I’ll  spend five more minutes a day writing something I hope encourages someone.  Whatever I do, I’m sure it will be better than waiting in line, and I’ll have an extra three-hundred dollars for my travel fund.

Are there daily habits costing you precious time and money? Don’t worry. Jesus is the only one who ever got it right.

#timemanagement

How to Write and Sell Your Romantic Suspense

By Angela Ruth Strong

I have three friends here in Idaho who all sold books to Love Inspired Suspense. We’d get together to write every week, and they’d be talking about their editor or sharing covers, and I’d feel a little left out. So I decided to try to write for their publisher. I wrote two manuscripts. The first one was rejected, the second they bought. Presumed Dead came out last month.

So, just in case you’ve ever read a romantic suspense novel and thought, “Hey, I could do that!” but you don’t have friends like mine to show you how, I’ll give you some pointers.

  • Find a great setting. The first book I ever sold was to the Love Finds You line of books, which were all set in real towns, so now I’m a sucker for picking a real place and researching the heck out of it. Sometimes authors make up towns of their own, and that can be fun too (I’ve heard), but when you pick an actual place like Lake Tahoe, you discover there’s a secret tunnel built by an eccentric millionaire for his baby elephant, and there’s an island with a cliff for jumping off, and then there’s my grandest discovery—the Tahoe Keys, a neighborhood of inland waterways. PERFECT for a suspense novel. Another benefit of picking a real location is that when the characters are running for their lives, you can MapQuest the location and know exactly which direction they need to go and what might get in their way.
  • Pick a plot. Again, I like to find inspiration from real life. The plot for Presumed Dead came from a real failed operation and conspiracy theory. Remember the Iran Hostage Crisis? Their first rescue attempt failed and helicopters crashed because the pilots were not trained to fly under such circumstances. Thus, the military created SOAR—Special Operations Aviation Regiment. I made Preston a pilot for SOAR. He was presumed dead in a helicopter crash much like the real one. I can’t tell you more about the conspiracy theory because that would give away too much, but I’ll just say that in my story, it was much more than a theory—it was going to get him killed for real.
  • Create characters with chemistry. My biggest pet peeve in romance is when the characters don’t have chemistry. Their energy has to feed off each other. They are so obviously better when they are together. However, a romance novel isn’t about getting two characters together—it’s about keeping them apart until the very end. Though they are working as one, they have different goals. And here’s the part I love: They, and they alone, possess the perfect strengths and weaknesses required for them to overcome their challenges. Absolutely nobody else could survive what they survive. Not because they are better than anybody else, but because they are unwittingly prepared. For example, if Preston needs to escape, there’s going to be a tourist helicopter on a platform above the dock, and he alone has what it takes to fly that chopper.
  • Know the rules. Some publishing houses have more rules than others. To write for LIS, I had to have the characters meet in the first chapter, they couldn’t already be in love, and they both had to have reasons not to be together. Also, I couldn’t have used the word “heck” like I did above. As a writer, you may not agree with all the rules (I’ve said worse things than heck before…shh), but the publishing company is a business with buyers/readers, and it’s their job to know exactly what those buyers/readers want.
  • Be flexible. For my novel Presumed Dead, I had to change the whole ending. Twice. I didn’t want to at first, but now I’m glad I did. Editors make our stories better.
  • Be diligent. What was really cool about selling my book to LIS was that I sold it through a contest that required diligence. It was kind of like the television show The Voice. Hundreds of writers entered the first page of the manuscript. If the judges/editors liked it, you moved onto the next round where you had a deadline for submitting a synopsis. On and on until finished manuscripts were turned in. This might be the best way EVER in the history of writing to finish a novel. But if you don’t want to take part in a contest, then set deadlines for yourself. Or participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. Which brings me to my last point…
  • Have fun. Some parts of writing are not fun. You may even contemplate tossing your laptop out the window. Here’s a better idea: Find a way to make it fun again. Sometimes I will skip to the parts I’m inspired to write and go back to fill in the gaps later. Or you can take yourself on a field trip to get back into the story. Once I called a friend to ask if I could visit her farm because I was writing about a ranch, and I wanted to be around horses. Also try brainstorming with friends. It was my stepdaughter Ashley who gave me the brilliant idea for the end of Presumed Dead. She saved my laptop’s life.

Now that you’re ready to write a romantic suspense, find some other people who want to write books. You can encourage each other to go farther and do more. Just like my writing friends did for me.

About Angela Ruth Strong

Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book, she’s re-released it as part of a new series titled Resort to Love, and she’s excited to be writing for Love Inspired Suspense, as well. This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and three teenagers where she teaches yoga and works as a ticket agent for an airline when not writing.

For a chance to win a free copy of Angela’s new book, Presumed Dead, subscribe to this blog in the top right hand corner.  The winner will be announced March 18th.

Framed for a sabotaged military operation, Preston Tyler has allowed everyone to believe he’s dead—until he witnesses someone planting a bomb in his childhood sweetheart’s cabin. To save Holly Fontaine’s life, he must blow his cover. Holly is shaken…both by the explosion and the sudden appearance of a man she thought she’d lost forever. But their reunion is short-lived when the bomb planter returns, forcing their escape into Lake Tahoe’s wilderness. As they struggle to survive, memories of their shared past reignite old feelings. Holly refuses to lose Preston again, but with their pursuer closing in, will the ultimate betrayal tear them apart for good?

March 2017 Christian Fiction New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:
reunion-at-crane-lake
Reunion at Crane Lake
by Robin Bayne — Colt’s memory is returning after the accident that ended his career. Now he wants to take over his family’s inn, but he’ll have to partner with his former fiancée to be able to afford it. He’ll need forgiveness to make that happen. Tia’s goal is clear: to return the inn to its former grandeur. And she’ll even work with Colt to do so. But like the inn, their relationship needs a lot of work. He broke her heart…can she ever trust him again? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

hope
Hope
by Fay Lamb — She’s a starving artist facing a serious illness; he’s the doctor who’s her only hope of survival. If only she hadn’t caused his sister to die. (Contemporary Romance from Write Integrity Press)

muffins-&-moonbeams
Muffins & Moonbeams
by Elizabeth Maddrey — Malachi Baxter is happy to hide in the background and manage the business-end of the family bakery. He’d much rather live in the online world of computer games where he can explore the galaxy and no one has to know he’s deaf. Ursula Franks designs websites during the day and spends her evenings battling alien races online where relationships are easy and uncomplicated. When she agrees to design a website for the local Community Supported Bakery, she has no idea that Malachi is the real man behind her online persona’s best friend and her own secret crush.As the two work together on the website, they uncover an attraction, but will they be able to put aside past hurt and insecurity to find love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

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Then Came You: A Bradford Sisters Novella
by Becky Wade — Garner Bradford, heir to the troubled Bradford Shipping empire, doesn’t know much about babies. But he’s going to have to learn fast because he’s just become a single father to his newborn daughter. Career girl Kathleen Burke is wholly uninterested in settling down. She has big dreams, and none of them include Garner and his small hometown in Washington State. Yet she can’t seem to get her handsome boss out of her head or her heart…. (Romance Novella, Independently Published)

General:
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When the Bough Breaks
by Ane Mulligan — Her dream job has a Catch 22—and time’s running outRookie lobbyist Sienna O’Shea is determined to make a name for herself in New York’s capitol city and use that influence to gain easier access to her birth records. For years she’s searched for her birth mother, but when she’s handed her first assignment—to lobby support for the permanent sealing of all adoption records—her worlds collide. Swept up into the intrigue of backroom politics, falling in love was not on Sienna’s agenda, but the candidate for Lt. Governor runs a formidable campaign to make her his first lady. When an investigative reporter discovers foreign money infiltrating political campaigns, the trail leads to Sienna’s inner circle. (General, Independently Published)

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The Memory of You
by Catherine West — Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her? (General from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Cozy Mystery:
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Murder Is No Accident
by A. H. Gabhart — When murder comes to call at a stately Victorian house, the town of Hidden Springs looks to Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane to solve the crime before anyone else dies. (Cozy Mystery from Revell [Baker])

Historical Romance:
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A Rocky Mountain Romance
by Misty M. Beller — When Zeche takes shelter from a blizzard in a remote cabin, he doesn’t expect to find a beautiful woman and her father, a disturbed Civil War veteran. Zeche’s instincts tell him Greta is endangered and he should stay and protect her, but his own presence aggravates her father’s condition. With a dangerous snowstorm outside and growing hostilities inside, can he find a way to keep them all safe from harm? Or will it be to the detriment of his heart? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

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A Stolen Heart
by Amanda Cabot — From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners–like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé. But when she discovers he has disappeared–and that he left behind a pregnant wife–Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

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My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmela’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis — Experience the Wild West as Carmela seeks freedom of body and soul. Forced for years by her uncle to pose as a survivor of an Indian kidnapping so he can profit on the speaker circuit, she longs to end the lies. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with a deputy US marshal and his handcuffed prisoner. When the stage is attacked, will Carmela’s wish come true, or will she forever be branded by her past? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

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Desert Moon & Honor Bound
by Susan Page Davis and Colleen L. Reece — Enjoy an Old West romance adventure from author Susan Page Davis. Julia Newman looked forward to moving home to Arizona, then she got word that her mother has died and Julie’s stagecoach is robbed. If that wasn’t enough, the first person she sees in town is Adam Scott—the man she always loved but could never have—and now he is accusing her brother of criminal activity. Also includes a bonus historical romance, Honor Bound by Colleen L. Reece. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

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Her Motherhood Wish
by Keli Gwyn — En route to the Double T Orphanage to work on its expansion, carpenter Chip Evans and Caroline Hunt discover two orphaned children—and become their caregivers. But Chip’s determined not to let himself get too attached to the children who just lost their widowed father…or to the lovely woman helping him care for them. Especially since Callie and the little ones just don’t fit into his detailed plans for the future. Callie can’t help but fall in love with the orphans, and despite her better judgment, she’s falling for Chip, too. Her dreams of being a wife and mother were not quite like this. But Callie believes a plan bigger than Chip’s brought them all together…and now she just has to help him see it, too. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

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The Planter’s Daughter
by Michelle Shocklee — When her father’s Texas cotton plantation faces bankruptcy, Adella must choose between the man who can her family’s land and the man who can save her! (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

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When Tides Turn
by Sarah Sundin — When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions–and his heart. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Medical Suspense:
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Dcotor’s Dilemma
by Richard L. Mabry M.D. — Young surgeon Tyler Gentry thought the offer to join the Hall Group of surgeons offered the answer to his problems, but things changed when he received a 3 AM phone call that told him such a move would be hazardous to his health. (Medical Suspense, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:
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Her Baby’s Protector
by Margaret Daley and Susan SleemanSaved by the Lawman by Margaret Daley: As an unknown assailant attempts to kidnap family-court judge Kate Forster’s infant son, police officer Chase Walker thwarts the attack—and vows to keep the pair safe. But who will protect the ex-marine’s heart when the widowed mother and her little boy make him long for a permanent spot in their family? Saved by the SEAL by Susan Sleeman: The tragedy that killed Bree Hatfield’s best friends–and left her with custody of their young daughter–has been ruled an accident. But Bree knows it was murder. Scared and alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, navy SEAL Clint Reed, who’ll risk everything to protect baby Ella and the woman he never stopped loving. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

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Agent-in-Training
by Terri Reed — FBI intern Zara Fielding and her K-9 partner, Radar, stumble across a robbery gone wrong and put themselves in the criminals’ crosshairs. Her childhood friend FBI computer guru Dylan O’Leary works for the secretive FBI unit she longs to join, and he vows not to let anything happen to her. As they work to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, new feelings ignite. When she goes missing, it’s only Dylan–and Radar–who can track her down. Will they arrive in time to save her and the future she and Dylan have started dreaming about? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative Romance/Fantasy:
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Ingrid’s Engagement
by Kristen Reed — When King Viggo marches through the kingdom of Schlagefilde in a relentless quest for retribution against its wicked king, the Count of Anselm attempts to make peace with him. As the two strike a deal that will protect the people of Anselm, the King of Villriket becomes enthralled with a portrait of the Count’s oldest daughter, Ingrid. The vengeful king vows that he will leave Edmund’s county in peace if he will allow him to marry Ingrid. To prevent her father from incurring the sovereign’s wrath, the young lady hastily agrees and enters into an unforeseen engagement with the grim ruler. Ingrid’s Engagement tells the enchanting tale of a beautiful young woman who softens the hardened heart of a beastly king with nothing more than her quiet wisdom and gentle spirit. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)

Following the Story Trail by Ann H. Gabhart

Author Ann H. Gabhart

In one of my books, I included this dedication. “To my readers who have followed my story trail from Hollyhill to Harmony Hill to Rosey Corner and now…Louisville.”

I have the best readers in the world. They are willing to try all kinds of genres, and that’s good because I’ve let my imagination run down many different story paths. I’ve written historical novels about the Shakers and that Louisville novel, Words Spoken True, with the dedication. I’ve written stories that follow families through good times and bad. I’ve tried my hand at cozy mysteries so now I could add Hidden Springs to that dedication. I’ve even written several novels for young readers.

I just published a middle reader book, Freak of the Week, about a boy who feels like a lopsided giraffe because he has a limp. When the most popular girl in sixth grade starts making fun of him with silly rhymes, things go from bad to worse for Clay in a hurry. But then he meets an old man who isn’t afraid to try the impossible even though he has several physical handicaps. With Old Dan’s help, Clay learns that heart and attitude make for winners no matter the game or the score.

Much of Freak of the Week happens on a baseball diamond where Clay shines as a pitcher but not so much as a base runner. I like baseball so that made writing the story fun. I also knew a man something like Old Dan who was always hunting adventure in spite of having several physical disabilities. That brought Dan to life for me and I hope, for readers too.

However, I know nothing about murder. Thank goodness. But I still had fun writing my cozy Hidden Springs Mysteries. With the third book in the series coming out in March, I’m excited about readers coming back to Hidden Springs. Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane has a new murder to solve in Murder Is No Accident, while also trying to figure out whether he has any chance with the woman he loves. Right now the first Hidden Springs mystery, Murder at the Courthouse is a free download for e-readers and the second book, Murder Comes by Mail, is at a reduced e-book price for a limited time. So this is a great chance for you visit my little town where murder has a way of happening.

I based Hidden Springs on the Kentucky town where I grew up although I’m pretty sure no one has ever found a body on the courthouse steps. A few of the quirky characters every small town seems to have made their way into the story too since a cozy mystery needs a few smiles along with those murders.

Are you a reader who likes all sorts of stories? If so, I’m smiling and that dedication up top could be for you. Happy reading along the story trail!

About Ann H. Gabhart

ANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. She keeps her keyboard warm on a farm in Kentucky. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann’s books or to read her blogs, visit www.annhgabhart.com. You can also join the conversation on Facebook. www.facebook.com/anngabhart