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The Rescuing Day is a lovely children’s storybook, reminding me of the wholesom

e, uplifting reads of my childhood. No wild magic rides, no goblins or fairies, just good storytelling that a child can connect with. This is a great read-aloud book for parents, or an early reader’s chapter book for a child

Experience a day with Megan and her favourite doll Callista, as they interact with friends and family, and deal with major and minor catastrophes. This story touches on a number of themes, among them obedience and truthfulness, courage (Callista’s) and kindness

This book is set up in eight short chapters with easily readable font and intriguing pencil sketches by illustrator, Wendy Siemens. Siemens also designed the inviting bright-red cover

Author Christine Goodnough writes many forms of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as regular blogs at christinegoodnough.com and christinecomposes.com. You may also contact her at christinevanceg@gmail.com

This little book makes a great gift.

Canadians should order directly from the author, or they can order through the Prairie View Press website, with Credit Card. (Paypal is set up only in US funds).

 

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Getting Over Ourselves

I recently read an article in “The Writer” magazine (July 2017) about creating characters “that are not secretly you.” It was one of those revelations that came to me a little late, but resonated nonetheless. Here’s my take on it.

When we are young—I’m talking babies and toddlers and young children—oh yes, and teenagers—the world revolves around us. Or, at least, we think it does. We are naturally selfish and needy, and expect others to put us first and fulfill our needs.

Most of us outgrow this eventually. Or do we?

What was the main character like in your first novel or short story? Did he or she at all resemble you? Good chance your answer is yes. We often create characters that think like us, respond like us, even look like us. Through them, we are able to work through our thoughts, feelings, struggles, dreams and hopes. Non-writers may not realize how much of our hearts and souls feed into our characters.

But, as Susan Perabo suggests in her article in “The Writer,” it’s time we got over ourselves and started creating other kinds of people, freshly imagined folks who are nothing at all like us.

This is what happened when I started writing the first draft of my current WIP: I had invented a young woman passionate to know who she was, but after a couple of scenes, I was looking into a mirror of sorts. Diana was a “fraidy cat.” She didn’t like challenge or risk or danger. She was naïve and passive and, frankly, boring. I’m not putting myself down; I’m being honest. But I didn’t want Diana to be that way. Too easy. Too much like some of the characters I’ve written in the past.

So, what to do? I rewrote the first scenes (I know, I know. You should never edit until you finish the first draft. It’s not the first rule of writing I’ve broken.) and for my every inclination to make Diana respond like me, I stopped, listened, and allowed her to be herself. And do you know what I discovered? She is nothing like me. She’s rebellious. She adores the limelight. She is sometimes disrespectful. I’m not sure I even like her very much. But she’s interesting. I want to know why she does these things, what she really wants, how she is going to become her own worst enemy as the story unfolds.

Two specific takeaways for me from the article:

1) Often we don’t realize what we’re doing until someone points it out (thanks, Susan Perabo)

2) It’s helpful and wise to consider the truth of the matter and make the necessary changes

So, let’s get over ourselves and bring into being brand new, fascinating fictional characters that inspire and spark our stories.

©2012 DEBBIE RIDPATH OHI. URL: INKYGIRL.COM

 

NOTE: This post was first published on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog on August 7, 2017.

 

 

A Day of Waiting

My husband and I recently experienced a waiting day. We were in the hospital for his surgery pre-op, and ended up spending seven (7) hours for what could have been an hour-long appointment in a perfect world.

I had read the daily devotional thought that arrives in my inbox every morning, and had then forgotten about it. When I saw it there again the following day, the title took me by surprise: “Waiting on the Lord.”

How fitting. Throughout our day of waiting and reading and eating food from the cafeteria (amazing how they can make all the food taste the same) and talking, I had forgotten that “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” Isaiah 64:4. I had momentarily forgotten that He cares and He sees and He is aware of our minutes and hours. Of our waiting times.

The gist of the rest of the inspirational thought was that we need to respond by focusing on Jesus. The article said: “We wait and God acts.” What an encouraging and energizing reminder of our great God and His love for us.

Life is full of times of waiting, so let’s wait actively and expectantly as God works in our lives.

September 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Planting Hope by Brenda S. Anderson — Jess Beaumont is trying to get her separated parents together again by restoring the family cabin gardens that helped them fall in love. Luke Harrison inherited his Gran’s candy store, but would rather have a Vice President position in his family’s land development business—a sure sign of his father’s approval. To get the promotion, he must acquire the land on both sides of his store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin. As Luke gets to know Jess, he realizes buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip their blossoming romance in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading his corner office for the candy store counter…for good. Is their romance doomed? Or could the classic combination of chocolate and flowers solve everything? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

An Amish Christmas Love by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman — Fall in love this Christmas to the gentle pace of Amish courtship. In Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman, six lonely hearts find healing in the Stoltzfus homestead basement while waiting out a Christmas Eve storm. In The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston, a group of young people and a forbidden house cat bring reminders of love and hope to a grieving widow at Christmas. In Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin, A young woman’s prayer for a Christmas proposal is delayed by the appearance of her potential groom’s first love, whom me met on his rumspringa. In Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid, an Englisch woman thinks she’s breaking into the house her aenti left to her, only to discover she’s trespassing upon an Amish widower and his young daughter, whose quiet way of life tempts her to stay. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson –Maggie Marovich lost her father to Hurricane Katrina, so she’s dedicated her life to meteorology and plans never to return to the Mississippi Coast or the ship pilot she once loved—until a family crisis sends her running headlong into a storm. (Contemporary, Independently Published)

The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton — Susanna’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington by Annette Irby — Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancé. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue Mikaela if she ever returned to the island single. But what will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Returning Home by Toni Shiloh — Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings. Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker. Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from? (Contemporary, Independently Published)

All This Time by Melissa Tagg — Ten years ago, Bear McKinley gave up everything—his freedom and his reputation—for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him. Raegan Walker is happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago—and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Home All Along by Beth Wiseman — Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for. Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and community help them become strong enough to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley — Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. (General from New Hope Publishers)

Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan — Is it a midlife pregnancy or … cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer cancelling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire s life is upside down. Meanwhile, shy Lacey Dawson faces the emotional effects of traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction, and rumors of gold in Chapel Springs have greedy investors clamoring to buy all the homes in town and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs ever be the same? (General from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Historical:

A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott — What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved – to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible? (Historical from TSU Press [Trinity Southwest University])

Queen of Sheba by Jill Eileen Smith — King Solomon meets his equal in the Queen of Sheba and does his best to give her everything she seeks to find, but will he be able to give her the deepest longing of her heart? (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing)

Historical Romance:

These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart — When life takes an unexpected turn, Francine Howard finds work in the mountains as a midwife where healing and love await her. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing)

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep — Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation and is promised a sum of five hundred pounds if she will remain a guest at Bleakly Manor for the duration of a twelve-day Christmas celebration. Then she learns Benjamin Lane, who left her at the altar, is also in attendance. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whomever stole his honor. Torn between money, revenge, and love, will Clara and Ben last the full twelve days at Bleakly Manor and learn what matters most at Christmas? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Mystery:

When the Bishop Needs and Alibi by Vannetta Chapman — Amish bishop Henry Lapp eagerly awaits the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. But his visit to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge reveals more than just a miracle of God’s creation. Hidden among the bulrushes and cattails is the deceased body of a young woman. As the local authorities attempt to unravel the mystery, Henry feels God’s calling to use his extraordinary talent to aid in the investigation. His ability to draw from memory in photographic detail could help solve this puzzling case. Henry’s closest friend, Emma Fisher, has always urged him to embrace his gift. As their relationship deepens, Henry realizes his involvement could put him and those he loves in the direct path of a killer, one who is willing to do anything to cover up a brutal crime, including framing the bishop. (Mystery from Harvest House)

The House Next Door by Susan Page Davis — As Jennifer’s due date approaches, Harvey decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? (Mystery, Independently Published)

Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel — Detective Jasper Hollock thought he wanted nothing more than a real case. But when the man who raised him stands on the brink of suicide and mysterious incidents sabotage the factory, Jasper has 24 days to unravel the malicious plot and convince his employer that life is worth living. (Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley — A security specialist is accused of murder and must clear her name or her career is over, but her investigation draws her into the path of a killer, and she finds herself fighting for her life. When a man from her past is called in to investigate, she may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing)

Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty — An innocent bike ride leads to a hostage situation, jeopardizing an undercover mission and two stubborn hearts. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan — A female attorney hires a former Army Ranger turned private investigator to help research an alleged pharmaceutical cover-up. As the case deepens, both hearts and lives become endangered. It appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Uncharted Hope by Keely Brooke Keith
Sophia Ashton must prove herself in her new job while researching the gray leaf medicine and dealing with her toxic family. (Romantic Suspense from Edenbrooke Press)

Thriller/Suspense:

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig — Perhaps the only person as skilled as Cole “Tox” Russell is Alec King, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago. Now he’s back, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Witness Protection by Carol Kinsey — After four years in witness protection, Ty Westgate’s identity has been exposed – with the help of a struggling nurse, the ex-lawyer with a new faith must work to unravel the truth behind his adversaries before he’s silenced permanently. (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)

 

 

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I am not a green thumb by a long shot, nor will I ever be, but my gardening self-image improved substantially when I discovered the joy of perennials. (I hear some of your saying, “Duh!” But really, I didn’t know.)

I’ve always loved the randomness of English gardens, and now that I’ve welcomed perennials, I have my own version. Some of my seeds/plants came from my middle daughter, who has a green thumb she inherited from her paternal grandmother. Some were freebies from a neighbour who was trimming up her gorgeous yard.

My flower gardens will never make “Better Homes & Gardnes,” but they make me happy. After many years of failed flowerbeds and embarrassment in my “everybody gardens” neighbourhood, I can finally look out my windows and enjoy color and variety, with low maintenance.

The best thing about perennials is that you’re never quite sure what will come up. My box garden in front of my kitchen window is different every year. This year, the violas took over in joyful disarray.

I had to stick in a few red and yellow portulacas to add variety to the purples and yellows.

My favorites, the Maltese Cross (they are July bloomers, as am I, so I call them my birthday flowers, and I love red) are prolific this year, to the point of overwhelming one of my pretty purple and white lilies. I may have to do some transplanting before next spring.

I’m always amazed at how something comes from nothing.

We have long winters and short summers here on the Canadian prairies, so se perennials hurry to sprout up and bloom as long as the weather allows.

Lesson to learn: use my time wisely and bloom where I’m planted. We never know the joy we can bring to others just by being ourselves.

Today my author interviewee is Tracy Krauss. Besides writing, Tracy teaches high school in British Columbia, Canada.

tracy-krauss-author-photoJANICE: Tracy, how long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

TRACY: I started writing seriously back in 1985 right after I had my first child. I composed a lot of stories in my mind before that time, but I used visual art as my main creative outlet. We lived in a very small house and, as most new mothers can tell you, “free” time was at a premium. During my daughter’s precious naptime, it became frustrating to get all my art supplies out only to have to clean up again. Instead, I borrowed my mother’s old typewriter and started putting some of those stories that were in my head onto paper. I was hooked. Thirty-two years later, I’m still tapping away.

JANICE: We know that writers love to read. What are you currently reading? Do you prefer digital or print?

TRACY: I’ve currently become enamored with two authors: April Gardner and Dana Pratola. Both write in the “edgy” style that I aspire to myself, yet still have a very strong Christian message. Plus, their stories are just plain spellbinding. I actually do most of my reading digitally these days. I like the way I can make the font as large as needed, I can buy and download books instantly, and it is just so easy to have an entire library at my fingertips! Sometimes with non-fiction, I will buy the print copy after I’ve already read the digital version so that I can go back and highlight it.

JANICE: Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your favorite things?

TRACY: Art Galleries really do it for me. It’s probably because drawing was my first love and I actually majored in visual art at university. Going to a gallery exhibit fills me with such a sense of euphoria – even when the subject matter isn’t necessarily pretty. I also have a large collection of handmade pottery mugs and I genuinely take pleasure in having my morning coffee in a different mug every day. Oh, and shoes. Yup. I’m a shoe person.

JANICE: I’ve seen some of your amazing shoes at writing conferences, so I can attest to the shoe fetish! What keeps you going in your writing career?

TRACY: There’s always another story to tell. It certainly isn’t the money, fame, or prestige since none of those things have materialized. I’ll admit that sometimes I hear that voice of discouragement in my head telling me to just give in – “Stop it already because you’re spending a lot of time and effort on something that isn’t having any real impact!” Then I get a nice email from a reader, or see a positive review and I think, “Don’t listen to that voice.” I genuinely feel called to write, so I guess it’s about obedience to the call, without caring what other people think. (Or what the negative ‘voice’ in my head says.)

JANICE: How is your faith reflected in your writing?

TRACY: My novels and short stories usually have a pretty blatant Christian theme or message although I try very hard not to preach. I did not come to Christ until I was an adult, so I think my work is “edgier” than a lot of Christian fiction, but I certainly don’t intend to offend anyone. One of the recurring themes in my work is the redemptive power of Christ, and my characters often have serious flaws that they need to work through. My NEIGHBOURS series is not quite as faith forward, but many of the characters are Christians and the sequel, KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS, ends with a stronger redemptive theme. I also write stage plays which are totally secular in nature. Most are parodies of classics like Shakespeare or fairy tales.  sallys-promo-copy

JANICE: What are some things you learned from your own writing?

TRACY: I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn! I’ve come a long way in thirty years, but still haven’t arrived. When I look at my first published books, for instance, I see so many things I’d like to change – things like too many adjectives, to name just one. It’s one advantage of today’s publishing world. Since I’ve gotten the rights back to my first three books I plan to republish them, fixing all the things that irritate me. However, it’s not as straightforward as that since there is always new material in my head that needs to get out and finding the time is an issue.

JANICE: I can understand the wish to change things in my first books. We live and learn. What is your ultimate writing goal?

TRACY: I suppose my ultimate goal is to be able to write full time. At this stage in my life that goal is not too far off since I hope to retire from teaching in the next five to six years anyway.

JANICE: Do you have some advice for beginning writers?

TRACY: Set goals for yourself but don’t have unrealistic expectations. Humility goes a long way in this business. Learn what you can from those that have gone before. Be a life-long learner and never stop pushing yourself to get better.

JANICE: Thanks, Tracy, for taking the time to visit with us today. Keep up the great work.

A Worthy Heart is the second in the historical fiction series, Courage to Dream by Susan Anne Mason.51kdxzdubel-_sx322_bo1204203200_

Quick story review: One reason Maggie Montgomery leaves Ireland for the United States is to avoid her former fiancé. She and her brother, Gabe, arrive in New York to stay with their brother and his wife, who run an orphanage.

During their stay, Maggie and Gabe each meet someone who affects their lives and their hearts. Meanwhile, Maggie’s nemesis turns up in New York, with progressively threatening plans that affect not only her, but also those dear to her.

Although Gabe’s love interest returns his affections, her family does not approve. There is much of social standing in this novel.

A Worthy Heart is primarily a double romance between these two couples, but it includes the backdrop of unrest, epidemic and rumblings of war in Europe. It is also a story of faith, forgiveness and the truth that social status does not affect God’s love for his people.

I think the characters are well developed, and fairly well managed. This cannot have been a simple task because of the number of family members and minor characters involved. The plot is interesting and not without unexpected conflicts to keep it moving. I did find the two romantic sub-plots fairly similar in development, but still interesting. And the book has a lovely cover.

The first book in this series, Irish Meadows, featured another member of the O’Leary family, who is briefly present in this second book as a secondary character. I’m sure the intertwining of families will keep this series attractive to readers.

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