Shady Grove Baptist Church – Established 1841

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NIV

It’s become a tradition for me to start the holiday season by attending a Thanksgiving service at Shady Grove, a small country church just a few miles down the road from my home. It was established  in 1841 and I learned last night that the founders first met in a log barn.

When I cross the threshold of this holy place, I am transported back in time.  There’s a special atmosphere in this simple building, and it seems to me, little has changed over the decades. There are four square posts (walnut or red oak) supporting the ceiling. Square panes of antique frosted glass are trimmed in the same dark wood. A six foot wooden cross is anchored behind the pulpit, and it’s adorned with a crown of thorns and draped with a purple cloth.

When I lifted the hymnal last night, the worn covers felt comfortable in my hand. The faithful remnant of about forty sang “Amazing Grace” and “Count Your Blessings” with piano music and it seemed to me the acoustics were perfect.

The fellowship meal that followed the worship service  reminded me of a family reunion. Maybe, this is because my aunt and cousins are long-time members, but I believe I feel this way because all are welcomed as a part of the family of God.

I’m thankful for the settlers who made personal sacrifices to build this church so long ago. It is a sacred place where I always discover peace, regardless of my personal struggles and circumstances. In this timeless sanctuary, I’m reminded of the scripture, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NIV

My Thanksgiving wish for you is that you too will find a place like Shady Grove, a place where you are welcomed like family, and reminded to be thankful for God’s most precious and perfect gift, His Son.

Happy Thanksgiving!


November 2018 New Releases in Christian Fiction

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

Contemporary Romance:

Christmas in Jingle Junction by Tabitha Bouldin — In the small town of Jingle Junction, Holly Winters owns the local coffee shop, Jolly Java. It’s here that she meets Patrick Cooper and promptly throws coffee everywhere. Not only does Patrick not like coffee, he also despises Christmas! It’s up to Holly to show Patrick that Christmas is worth giving a second chance, just as Patrick himself deserves a second chance when he is accused of robbing a local convenience store. In a town full of Christmas spirit, lively debates over the best superhero and riding in a sleigh pulled by actual reindeer is just a normal day. Will Holly be able to prove to Patrick that Christmas is more than a holiday that has to be endured? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Picture Perfect Christmas by Candee Fick — Freelance photographers Liz Foster and Ryan Callahan are finally making plans for their future. And what better time to get married than during the festive holiday season that brought them together? If only Liz’s parents weren’t standing in the way of a picture-perfect wedding. Spurred on by the ghosts of Christmases past, Dan Foster has already written Liz out of his will, so even attending the wedding—let alone walking his daughter down the aisle—is out of the question. However, this is the season for miracles and Ryan will do anything to make his bride smile. What will it take to bring this family back together in time for the wedding? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter — When his secret crush joins a dating website, Jack takes a leap of faith and soon becomes Daisy’s online suitor. But when they begin growing closer in real life also, Jack finds himself with an unexpected dilemma. Is Daisy falling for the real Jack or for the online version of himself? And how is she going to respond when she finds out they’re one and the same? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

A Merry Miracle in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker — Baxter Reid returns to his hometown of Romance, eager to see his childhood crush. Unfortunately, Savannah hasn’t forgotten all the ways he used to tease her back then. He’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to get a second chance. Savannah Miller avoids Baxter and the embarrassing childhood memories he evokes…until he apologizes and suggests a truce. Now what is she supposed to do? Only time will tell whether the spirit of Christmas in Romance is enough to transform a grudging relationship into true love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

I Still Do by Melanie D. Snitker — What’s worse than running into your ex-husband? Becoming snowbound with him and an avalanche of memories you can’t escape. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

A Southern Season by Eva Marie Everson, Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda Yezak — Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing. (Women’s Fiction from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


Second Chances by Carol Ashby — A widowed father, still grieving the loss of his wife and child, and a devoted mother, who leaves behind everything she’s ever known to rescue her daughter from the ex-husband who would hurt her, are first drawn together by their love for her little girl, but God has much more for them than either could have imagined. (Historical, Cerrillo Press)

Historical Mystery:

Murder of Convenience by Linda Shenton Matchett — May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit. (Historical Mystery, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection by Lena Nelson Dooley, Rebecca Jepson, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Candice Sue Patterson, Kathleen Rouser, Pegg Thomas, and Marilyn Turk — Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of our nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 at Great Lakes Lighthouses bring hope to the lonely lighthouse keepers and love to weary hearts. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Musket in My Hands by Sandra Merville Hart — Two sisters have no choice but to disguise themselves as men to muster into the Confederate army in the fall of 1864–just in time for things to go very badly for the Southerners at the Battle of Franklin. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Uncharted Journey by Keely Brooke Keith — Young widow Eva Vestal assumes loneliness is God’s permanent plan for her life. She keeps busy by raising her son and co-managing the Inn at Falls Creek with her elderly father, but her heart yearns for more. Solomon “Solo” Cotter has spent his life working with horses, but he secretly wants to write a book of the children’s stories his grandfather told him as a boy. He barters with Eva’s father for a 40-night stay at the inn, a needed respite from work to get his stories on paper. Once Eva discovers the barter, she believes Solo is taking advantage of her father’s failing memory. But when tragedy strikes and Solo works hard to save the inn, Eva sees his true nature. As her heart stirs with feelings for Solo, she wrestles with the guilt of loving someone new. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Snow Angel by Davalynn Spencer — Lena Carver works as her physician brother’s medical assistant, housekeeper, and cook. Maimed in a childhood accident at Christmas, she believes she is beyond love’s reach—until a dark-eyed cowboy arrives broken, bruised, and bent on changing her mind. Wil Bergman wakes in a stranger’s home with a busted leg and a bullet-creased scalp. Trail-weary, robbed, and penniless, he is at the mercy of a country doctor whose sister’s healing touch has power to stitch up his heart and open his eyes to the impossible. (Historical Romance from Wilson Creek Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Tell Her No Lies by Kelly Irvin — After Nina Fischer is accused of murdering her uncle and adopted father, she must unlock deadly family secrets in order to clear her name and learn to trust love again. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

North by Starlight by Diane and David Munson — Attorney Madison Stone hurries to help her client Jordan Star defeat a mysterious relative who claims a share in his inheritance, and during the Christmas season Maddie learns to leave past regrets behind her, embrace the warmhearted people of Starlight, and dig deep to find her true heart. (Romantic Suspense from Micah House Media)

Her Deadly Reunion by Beth Ann Ziarnik — What will it cost an estranged daughter when she meets her birth father at his home and discovers it’s a dangerous place to mix past and present? (Romantic Suspense from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse — When the new Lady of Ravenwood inherits her family’s secret gift of dreamwalking, she discovers a dark history. Women in her family have been wielding the gift to preserve her family’s legacy—through assassinations. She’s determined to find the true reason behind the gift, convinced there must be a more noble purpose. But she’s torn about upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people. What will she do when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations–but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house? One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen? (High Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])


Stratagem by Robin Caroll — Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux creates mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s for their executive retreat, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder. (Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Beyond Blessed


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV.

October 2018 will be imprinted on my heart forever. Last Monday, my granddaughter was born. There is nothing comparable to the joy of holding a grandchild in your arms other than watching your own child meet his newborn. Wren is healthy and content, and her mom is also doing well. I can’t believe I made it home from Africa in time for her birth. Thank you, Jesus!

For months I feared I’d miss being home for Wren’s birth because I agreed to serve at a home-school conference. Last March on Easter Sunday, I had to decide whether to commit to the project or pass. Most Easter sermons focus on the resurrection, but my pastor’s message was built around this scripture: If any man comes to Me and does not have much more love for Me than for his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my follower. Luke 14:26 NLV.

During the service, I stared at the church bulletin with the request for volunteers to serve in Africa. My daughter-in-law sat next to me, her baby-bump was barely perceptible. Surely, not me Lord. I need to be here for the birth of my grandchild, and I’m not a teacher. At last, I half-way yielded and said if at least one person stepped forward to travel with me, I’d go. My sister, an accountant, volunteered and so I sent an email confirming our willingness to help.

Even though I didn’t feel equipped for this project, God united us with four women. As the six of us got to know each other, we realized that each of us had a unique gift to offer. At the orientation program, we learned that what the children and parents needed most was encouragement and time with others who lived in similar situations.

We learned that when a person leaves America to serve in a third-world country, they live in a type of isolation I can’t comprehend. Our assignment was to work with kindergarten and first graders during the day while the parents spent time together in training and counseling.

During the first two days, I gave standardized tests to first graders. I simply read the test questions while proctors made sure the children were on the right page and filled in the bubbles. For the rest of the week, I read stories, sang songs, and helped with crafts. As my grandson would say, “Easy-Peasy.”

Before the trip, I spent hours selecting just the right children’s books with beautiful illustrations and my effort paid off. Never have I experienced children who were so engaged with each story. Their little faces are etched on my heart. For their safety, I can’t share their pictures, names or even the places they live.

During recreation, we walked beautiful paths surrounded by exotic flora in search of monkeys. Even though the class didn’t spy the monkey’s I’d seen on a previous excursion, the children didn’t complain about anything; not when we had to share scissors, nor when the marshmallows melted and stuck together. They were appreciative of everything and offered hugs at every turn.

I believe the reason God keeps sending me to Africa is to remind me of how He has blessed me. So often, I take conveniences available for granted. The only hardship I faced in Africa was that the hotel didn’t have enough hairdryers to lend so I had flat hair.  No wonder the Lord led me to the book of Ecclesiastes to read about vanity last Sunday.

On the morning after I returned home, my pantry was almost empty. The last thing I wanted to do was go to the grocery, but then I remembered this comment from a mom I met in Africa. She said, “I live a twelve hour drive from the capital city or a thirty minute plane trip, but if I take the plane, I’m limited as to how many groceries I can carry home.”

As I pushed my cart through my local IGA that serves a population of 9,000, I realized it had more offerings than the modern grocery I visited in Africa in a city of more than three million. God continues to remind me to be grateful.

The landscape of Africa is beautiful as are the people. The blessings for which I’m thankful are too long to list, but my grandchildren are at the top. Thank you Jesus for loving all your children. “Red and yellow, black and white they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  1 Chronicles: 16:34

To the Gala or Grocery? What would you do?

Ephesians 1:18 NIV: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Last week I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers’ (ACFW) Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It’s exciting to hear award-winning authors teach, heartwarming to catch up with old friends and rewarding to make new acquaintances, but it’s also stressful because writers meet prospective agents and acquisition editors.

On Saturday evening of the conference, there’s an awards gala. Jaws drop at the site of famous novelist wearing exquisite designer gowns. It seems a dream that I spent the evening sitting next to best-selling author Lauraine Snelling a few years ago.

This year, after my last appointment at four o’clock, I was exhausted so I decided to forgo the banquet and head home.

My stomach growled the minute I parked my car, and I realized a trip to the grocery a necessity if I wanted to have a decent meal. Grumbling to myself, I changed into jeans and drove to town. As I looked at the sour faces of the other customers in the store, I realized no one wants to be shopping for food on a Saturday evening.

At the deli, the clerk’s eyes were red-rimmed, and her cheeks puffy.

“Are you okay,” I asked.

She shook her head. “It’s been the worst day ever. I don’t know how much more I can take.”

After she shared all the things going on in her life, I prayed with her. Her husband is in the hospital battling a serious condition and he might lose both legs.

While I waited in the checkout lane, I noticed a nurse’s name-tag that bore the logo of a local nursing home. With slumped shoulders, she leaned on her cart and blew out a long breath.

“You must have had a long day,” I said. “Are you just getting off work?”

She nodded.

“It takes someone with special skills and patience to work with the elderly. I’m sure you’re a blessing to your patients.”

“I lost one my favorites today.” She wiped a tear from her cheek.

All I could do was give her a hug and pray for her.

As I loaded my groceries in the car, I lifted a prayer of thanks for God’s blessings and asked him to forgive me for whining. Who am I to ever grumble about anything?

I may never sell my novels, but maybe the best story I will ever write is the one where no words are used. (Not my original thought, but I can’t remember who said something similar.)

I pray that my life glorifies him. May His will be done in every aspect of my life. There are ministry opportunities everywhere for Christians. I wish I could always see the needs surrounding me with the eyes of His heart.

I’m not sorry I missed the gala banquet because the Lord fed my spirit in the grocery, of all place?  His ways are so much higher than our ways. Hugs and love, until I blog again.

If you have a prayer request, please send me a message.





September 2018 New Releases in Christian Fiction

Contemporary Romance:

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

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

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

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

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

Cozy Mystery:

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

General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction

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

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

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


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

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

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

Historical Romance:

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

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

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

Romantic Suspense:

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


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

New Releases in Christian Fiction – August 2018

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


Contemporary Romance:

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

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

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

Historical Romance:

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

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

Cozy Mystery:

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

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

Romantic Suspense:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

New Releases in Christian Fiction- July 2018

July 2018 New Releases

Contemporary Romance:

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

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

General Contemporary:

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

General Historical:

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

Historical Mystery:

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

Historical Romance:

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

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

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

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


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

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

Romantic Suspense:

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

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

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

Young Adult:

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

Friendship During Desperate Times by Ann H. Gabhart

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Ann H. Gabhart

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

Feed My Sheep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Contradiction to His Pride

By Leanne W. Smith

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

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


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

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

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

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

An overview…

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

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

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

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

The prologue…

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

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

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

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

About the Author

Leanne W. Smith

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