April 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:
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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)

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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:
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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:

 

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A 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])
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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)

3 Reasons to Use Your God Given Gifts

This past Sunday, my pastor preached on using your gifts. Of course, it is that time of year when they are looking for members to teach Sunday School, but what about our gifts outside of our church family. I’ve been thinking about this, not just this past Sunday, but for the past few months. Basically, I’m taking what he said and applying it to my ability to tell a story. Well, ok, I don’t really have proof yet that I can tell a story, except for the two chapters I’ve posted here on my blog. The other writers in my writing group seem to enjoying my writing so I’m just going to go with the fantasy that I’m a gifted story-teller.

As followers of Christ, we have all been given a gift. Some of us have been given more than one. The bible verses the sermon was basted on came from 1 Peter 4:10-11. Here are the verses in the NIV translation:

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

So, the reasons to use your gifts (mine is writing Christian Romance.)

  1. Because there is a purpose to God’s gift to you.

Ultimately, the reason you have been given a gift is to bring glory to God. Not so you can get recognition, praise, or any other glorification. It’s all for God.

Sometimes, it seems Satan puts a dark thought in my mind. He says, “That seems selfish on God’s part.” I have to tell him, “No. It’s not.” God created me. He is my maker. He sent Jesus. I would have died in sin never to see him in heaven. Am I grateful? Of course, but it’s more than that. God took a person like me, someone who had to take remedial english in college, and made her a writer. Yea, yea, yea, you can tell me that I’m smarter than I think I am till your blue in the face, but I know the truth. I’m only an author because God wants me to be. He is the one who will make it happen, when it happens.

  1. Because of the perspective you have in managing a gift.

It amazes me the information you can find through social media. People blog, post, and comment on everything there is to talk about. They don’t have to, but they are serving others even if they don’t know it. It’s wonderful! Yet I’m finding few Christian’s blog. Most just put a comment on twitter and/or Facebook. Just imagine what could happen if more Christians blogged. If you take something your knowledgable about and add Christian perspective you have a gift that can be used as a unique instrument for God. Here is an example: my pastor jokingly told his congregation an idea he had for a reality tv show about a preacher. He gave a short demonstration and it was hilarious. I told him he should video himself and put it on YouTube, but he just laughed. Yet, I was serious. I think he could do a short summary of his sermon, add his funny spin on it, then post it to YouTube and start a blog. I imagine he would reach people he would not normally reach. I think it would be great!

  1. Because of the power in expressing a gift.

There is something about a Christian who uses their God-given gift. You know how you buy a gift from the store, then you get it home and realize it’s suppose to have batteries. You look on the box (which you should have done in the first place) and it says batteries not included. Well, that’s not how it works with God’s gift. He empowers you to use your gift. You will have everything you need, though that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard work. Besides, without hard work there is no appreciation. So, that something about a Christian, the one who uses their God-given gift, it’s God empowering them. Amen. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being empowered makes me feel super human. I like it!

What about you? Do you have a gift? Leave a comment and tell me how you are using it. If you’re not using it, do you have any ideas on how you could use it? Do you know of any good Christian websites or blogs? Please prove me wrong with my comment that there are not many Christian bloggers!

5 Things We Might Not Experience in the 21st Century

Every ball in the 19th century started at night about 8:00 with as many as 200 to 500 guests. It always included a sit down meal (a supper) at some point in the evening and may last until 3:00 in the morning. Here are a few things that we don’t experience in the 21st century.

1. Lighting:

If you lived during in early 19th century, you would have danced at a ball by candlelight. Electricity was not yet invented. Gas lighting was invented before electricity, but it was not a safe way to light your home or business. Plus, it could be smelly. Everyone in the 21st century who has been without electricity from time to time. We sometimes pull out candles, usually more than one, if we don’t choose to use a flashlight. Can you imagine always having to read a book by candle light?

2. Chandeliers:

Of course, dancing by candlelight could be very romantic, but was it back then? To light up a room you could always count on the chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The problem was the hundreds of candles that were burning, melting, dripping . . . I think you get the picture. Not so fun to have hot wax falling on your head. I can’t even imagine what it was like for the servants to scrape all that wax off the floor the next day.

3. Ball Gowns:

A lady (young and old) wore a white ball gown. Actually, it was more of a bluish white. You can imagine, after your experience with reading by candlelight, that a gown would look yellowish in the candlelight, hence the bluish white material of the gown. In the movie, “Pride and Prejudice” (2005)with Keira Knightley you can see a good example of the white dresses ladies wore at Mr. Bingley’s ball minus the bluish tinge.

4. Crowded Room:

In the ballroom there was an area where couples danced. While couples danced, other guests stood around the edges and watched the couples. Don’t think they just stood there doing nothing, they talked or gossiped, but it was usually standing room only. Remember, there was anywhere from 200 to 500 guests. Think about what it would take to walk to the refreshments table or how long it would take. Again, in “Pride and Prejudice” (I love that movie) you can see this at the public dance. Not to be confused with a private ball, the public dance anyone could go to and ladies didn’t have to wear white.

5. Roaming:

Guest at a ball could roam from room to room looking for other activities. The doors to the library, the drawing-room and other rooms might have been open for guest. Your would have found a game of whist, which was a card game that was very popular or refreshments in any of these rooms. In the following short video clip you will see Elizabeth Bennet looking for Mr. Wickham. See if you also notice lighting, gown color, and if it’s crowded.

It doesn’t take a genus to figure out that a private ball was a very large party. To think it was all done in hopes of marrying off your daughter.

What do you think is the most romantic part of a 19th century ball? Or you can tell me what you think is romantic about the 19th century.