Monthly Archives: April 2018

Friendships Make the Journey Pleasant

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Southern Kentucky Book Festival and to catch up with some of my favorite authors.  While having lunch with Sarah Thomas, she mentioned how fortunate for me the American Christian Fiction Writers’ (ACFW) Conference is being held in Nashville this year as it’s only about an hour’s drive from my home. Then her face looked reminiscent and Sarah said, “Since being published, attending conferences aren’t nearly as exciting.”

Her off the cuff comment reminded me to appreciate each step of this writing journey. Don’t get me wrong, I want my novel to be published, but I know the road to publication is a long journey. I love attending writers’ conferences and meeting other like-minded people, and it’s thrilling to meet with other authors, agents, editors, and industry insiders.

I also had the chance to chat with my friend, award-winning KY author Ann Gabhart. She gave me encouragement and a gentle nudge to send out proposals. I promised her I’d send out something this week, and I did. All the writers I know seem to have insecurities.  It’s hard to send out your work because chances are, it will be rejected.  I’ve been procrastinating and I appreciate Ann pulling me out of my comfort zone.

If you haven’t read Sarah Louden Thomas’s books, start with Miracle in a Dry Season. Ann is holding the second book in Sarah’s series Until the Harvest. I love Appalachian stories.  And don’t forget Ann’s latest book, These Healing Hills.  Sarah is holding it. This novel about a nurse midwife who rides a pack-horse through the hills of Kentucky as a part of the Frontier Nursing Service. I keep asking Ann to write a story featuring the librarians who rode pack-horses through Appalachia.

Maybe, you too are struggling, and stretching to reach a difficult goal. Don’t’ forget to appreciate the journey and the people you meet. Success is fleeting, but love lasts forever. Signing a contract is exciting, but friendship far exceeds the the value of a book deal.



April is a season of joy for me as I have two grandsons with birthdays this month. A few days ago, my son announced he and his wife are expecting a baby girl.  Celebrating a grandchild’s birthday and the prospect of having a granddaughter is wonderful, but there’s a more significant event for which I’m anticipating rejoicing—the day my grandchildren ask Jesus to enter their heart.

It’s never too early to pray for our children’s or grandchildren’s salvation. I also pray for their future spouses.

My husband and I have a strong desire to hold our children close to us, but I’ve learned the only way to experience peace is to turn my kids and their situations over to God.

My daughter and her husband recently purchased a new home. Before they put their house up for sale, they asked my advice, but I have no expertise in this area. I did the only thing I knew to do that that would help them make the right choice. I asked God to lead them down the right path.

God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives, the big decisions and the small ones. Sometimes I just give him a few minutes in the morning and before I go to sleep.  But He is available to me through every heartbeat. Oh, how I wish I could learn to stay connected to him with each breath I take.

I am so thankful to be celebrating this month because I know I’ll struggle in May when I face the anniversary of my parent’s funerals. But because of Jesus, and His redeeming love,  I have the hope that we will all be celebrating in heaven someday.

Today, I’m going to focus on being thankful for my precious grandchildren and do my very best to focus on the good gifts from God.  That’s my plan for next month too, and the next. What about you?  Do you have something to celebrate today? Have you mastered the ability to stay connected with Jesus with every step you take?    

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17


My Battle Plan for Insomina

Do you ever suffer from insomnia? It frustrates me to be tired, yet wide awake. A few weeks ago, I started a new tactic to battle sleeplessness —meditating on scripture instead of my worries. Something I’ve learned about myself through this exercise is that I don’t know as many Bible verses as I thought I knew.

One night I focused on one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want….” When I mentally stumbled through the words, it shocked me. The first thing I did the next morning was review the chapter. Just now, I attempted to say it aloud, stuttered, then peeked in my Bible to make sure I got it right.

Last month while reading through Psalms, this verse seemed to poke me in the rib.  Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 ESV. I promised myself to commit these words to memory, and I’ve been successful, but my real struggle is to live it.

Something different is happening since I’ve focused on this one short verse. When “the words of my mouth” or my thoughts are not pleasing to God, His spirit nudges me and the verse comes to mind. It’s a constant battle.  I had no idea how many times my thoughts go to the dark side even though there might be a smile on my face.

When my evening prayers are finished and I focus on His words instead of the problems of this world,  I am comforted.

What about you? What’s your strategy for battling insomnia?  I hope you’ll give meditating on scripture a try.  Even if all the words don’t come, you are spending time meditating on good stuff instead of the worries of the world.

Sweet dreams dear ones. Close your eyes and dream of heaven.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 ESV.

April 2018 New Releases in Christian Fiction

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


Contemporary Romance:

Pelican Point by Irene Hannon — After inheriting a crumbling lighthouse, ex-Army doctor Ben Garrison wants to sell it. But Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber is determined to save the town landmark. Can these two romance-wary souls finds a meeting of the minds…and hearts? (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing)

An Amish Heirloom by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Beth Wiseman — From bestselling Amish authors come four novellas about the meaning and tradition found behind every family heirloom. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Historical Romance:

This Wilderness Journey by Misty Beller — He’s been sent to retrieve the new missionary… But she’s not at all who he expects to find. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy — Deborah and her sister and two little children survive a wagon train massacre. Trace finds them and takes them home. He finds himself their accidental guardian. He must protect them all and gain justice. When he does, all these friendly visitors–especially Deborah–will leave him forever. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

First Love Forever Romance Collection by Susanne Dietze, Marcia Gruver, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancette Pagels, Martha Rogers, Lorna Seilstad, Connie Stevens, Erica Vetsch, and Jennifer Uhlarik — Coming face to face with a lost love can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.” In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

All Things Beautiful by Keely Brooke Keith — It’s 1868 in the settlement of Good Springs, and Hannah Vestal is passionate about writing fiction and keeping her stories to herself. When her father asks to read her work, she decides to have it printed secretly for his 50th birthday. Hannah tries to arrange the printing with the settlement’s pressman, but the witty and dapper Henry Roberts has better things to do with his ink. In order to secure settlement support for his printing press, the elder council says Henry must print an error-free copy of the New Testament before the settlement’s 8th anniversary celebration. He is determined to meet their challenge, but when the enigmatic Hannah proves to be a beguiling distraction, Henry longs for something more than a life at the letterpress. (Historical Romance from Edenbrooke Press)

Adoration by Olivia Rae — Sir Darrin de Longue is desperate to get his lands back from Lady Faith de Sainte-Marie, the woman who betrayed him and may have had a hand in his father’s murder. But King Richard discloses on his deathbed that Lady Faith is the king’s daughter and then issues an ultimatum Darrin must obey. In order to reclaim his lands, he must marry Lady Faith and get her with child in a year’s time. Lady Faith has loved the rowdy and bold Sir Darrin since childhood, but cannot be a true wife to the bitter, angry man whom she has wed. In order to gain his trust and love, she vows to find the truth about his father’s murder. But when she stumbles upon deadly secrets, will she be able to prove her innocence–and his–to erase the past and win Darrin’s heart? (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press)

Under Prairie Skies by Cynthia Roemer — Illinois prairie, 1855. Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again. Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo — The last time New Orleans attorney Jean-Luc Valmont saw Maribel Cordoba, a Spanish nobleman’s daughter, she was an eleven-year-old orphan perched in the riggings of his privateering vessel proving herself as the best lookout on his crew. Until the day his infamy caught up with them all and innocent lives were lost. Unsure why he survived but vowing to make something of the chance he was given, Jean-Luc has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—until a very much alive and very grown up Maribel Cordoba arrives on his doorstep and threatens all he now holds dear. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Shadows of Hope by Georgiana Daniels — Crisis pregnancy worker Marissa Moreau suspects her husband is cheating, but little does she know how close to home her husband’s infidelity hits. College student Kaitlyn Farrows is floundering after a relationship with her professor leaves her pregnant. Soon she lands a job and a support system at the local pregnancy resource center and things seem to be turning around. But when Marissa and Kaitlyn become friends, neither one knows they share a connection—Colin, Marissa’s husband and Kaitlyn’s former professor. When their private lives collide, the two women must face the ultimate test of their faith and choose how to move forward as they live in the shadows of hope. (General Contemporary from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Secret Past by Sharee Stover — With gunmen at her doorstep, Katie Tribani learns her true identity. She’s been in witness protection since childhood, and now her crime-lord father has found her. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Young Adult:

Chase by Glenn Haggerty — Tyler, a middle school newbie, shadows drug runners to rat out the methamphetamine dealer before his friend turns into a brain-dead druggie. (Young Adult, Independently Published)