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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

November 2018 New Releases

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)

Historical:

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)

Speculative:

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])

Thriller/Suspense:

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)

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The other night I lay awake thinking of all the things I had to do before Christmas. The worrying didn’t help, but I did it anyway.
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You may be one of the many even-tempered, well-organized folks who complete their Christmas shopping in August, who decorate their homes with homemade ornaments in November, who bake and cook until every available space in freezer and cabinet is full of delectable goodies from Pinterest. Who never find themselves backed into a corner created by their own neglected duties. You may well be one of those.

On the other hand, you may be one of “the others,” people like me who never seem to get everything done, who forget to send birthday cards until the day before (why do people insist on having birthdays in December?), who make a hasty stop at the grocery store to buy mass-produced cookies, who mutter as they try to dress the house for Christmas. People like me who feel frustrated every December with all that waits to be done to comply with the status quo.file3341326331749

As I lay awake the other night, I thought of another individual who also must have lain awake those weeks before Christmas. She was very young, in the midst of an engagement grown difficult because of her unexplained pregnancy. Her family and friends, if there were any friends left, regarded her with accusatory glances. Her betrothed tried to understand, tried to walk in faith. And then, a final inconceivable obstacle: an unexpected journey. In those last weeks when she was tired and felt like a plodding camel, she and her fiancé had to travel a great distance to comply with the orders of the Department of Family Status to confirm their pedigrees. Add to this the fact that they were poor. No money for a wagon or even a cart. Just a bony donkey. No reservations to confirm a room at the end of the journey.file000450585184

 

Yet this young woman endured all this because she believed it to be God’s will. She still suffered swollen ankles, possibly dread of what lay ahead, a hard labor in the corner of a warm but smelly barn with only her fiancé as midwife, and unanswered questions about her future. But God was there. In the midst of the chaos, squalor, pain and fear, He entrusted His only Son to that young, very possibly worried young woman we know as Mary.

That first Christmas did not follow the expected script, but it was the perfect one. Which helps me to understand several things:

  1. We can’t expect our lives to follow our preconceived plans
  2. God often surprises but never forsakes
  3. Often the things we think are so important…are not

I pray that as we prepare for this Christmas season, we will concentrate on people and God’s gift to us. Let’s not let those niggling duties interfere with the greatest gift ever given to our world:  Jesus.

God bless, and have a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

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The new year is here, and with memories of wonderful Christmas celebrations with friends and family, I’m ready to move forward.

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas as much as I did. Our house was bursting with family including ten grandchildren ranging in age from four months to eleven years. And they all needed to be fed several times a day.

At the suggestion of our kids, we packed up and traveled to a small city about forty-five minutes away and booked into a hotel with a swimming pool and waterslide. I could summarize our two-day stay with the words “a fine time was had by all,” but that wouldn’t fully express the fun of watching the kids and grandkids throwing themselves repeatedly down the slide and into the water. Nor would it convey the noise level.

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The four and five-year olds wore water wings or life vests, so they quickly gained confidence in their abilities and jumped in with wild abandon. Then Jordy decided to take off his life vest. He danced down the steps into the shallow end until he was completely submerged. It didn’t faze him and there were adults within arm’s reach, but the experience reminded him that he would sink without his flotation device.

I thought of how often the Lord has rescued/comforted/guided/corrected me in the past year and how I sometimes thought I’d done it myself. As I step into the year ahead, I want to remember to rely on Him to keep me afloat.

Wishing you all “God-confidence” in 2014.

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I recently received a phone call from one of my grandkids, four-year old Jordy. He schmoozed a bit first because that’s what he does, then said something garbled about Christmas, followed by, “This…and this…and this…and this…”

“Jordy,” I interrupted, “do you have a list there?”

“Yes.”

“Have you been looking at the catalogue?”

“Yes.”

“Are these all things you want for Christmas?”

“Yes,” followed by a cheery goodbye. Mission accomplished.

Is that how my prayers sound to God? Do I schmooze my way into His presence with the prescribed praise, confession, thanksgiving, then get to the good stuff: my list of wants? Some of them are legit, some are just plain selfish. Sometimes I’m ashamed of how childishly I approach the Holy God.

But wait. Jordy’s chitchat didn’t bug me; I was more than pleased to hear from him. Sure, he was thinking of himself, but he also thought about me and took time to call—I know how he is. I loved piecing together the puzzle of his thoughts and deciphering his words. I guessed at what “this” and “this” might be. He made me smile and my love for him grew, as it does every time I see or hear from him.

I have a heavenly Father who adores me. He calls me the apple of his eye. Every moment of every day His thoughts are with me. When I rattle off my list of wants, He stoops to listen, and I like to think He smiles when He hears my voice. He knows how I am, yet His love for me is greater than I can dream or imagine. He tells me to approach Him with confidence and I am safe in His love.

This Christmas season I sense that Jesus is taking time to teach me—through the words of a child—how to love Him better. I trust His love and acceptance of me as much as Jordy trusts that I’ll open my arms to him when he comes for Christmas. And yes, there will be presents.

 

 

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I have a dear friend who publishes a column every Monday. The contents are as varied as life circumstances, and these posts always bless me. Since this one follows a Christmas theme, I asked Linda’s permission to repost it on my blog. Photo - Press

First, let me tell you a little about Linda. She is a published author, columnist, motivational speaker and workshop presenter. She has earned her bread and butter for many years as a professional business writer and has gained much wisdom regarding business management and professional editing skills. I’m primarily a reader of fiction, but I offered to read and review her non-fiction book 3D Success – Changing Careers in Mid-Life, and was greatly inspired and motivated by this excellent book. Please check it out after you’ve read Linda’s column. Also, note her contact info at the bottom of the page.3D Success

BOY’S GENEROSITY ASTOUNDS THOUSANDS

by Linda Wegner

As reported in the first edition of Christ’s News [1] publication, Jesus, son of Mary and step-son of Nazareth-based carpenter Joseph, began receiving unusual gifts just weeks after He was born. At that time Eastern Magi brought symbolic offerings of frankincense, myrrh and gold to Bethlehem were He was born. Now approximately thirty years later, another outstanding example of the generosity of His followers has been reported.

According to reporters covering the story, an estimated five thousand people gathered on a local hillside to hear this One who called Himself the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. That’s when a young boy was seen handing his lunch bag to Christ’s followers.

In what proved to be an extraordinarily attentive audience, attendees sat and listened for hours; some reports said it was only the physical need for food that interrupted their concentration. Apparently as conscious of their bodily requirements as their spiritual longings, this One called Jesus instructed his key disciples to provide food for the crowd.

Upon informing Him that there were insufficient funds to carry out that task, they continued to protest. “Even if we worked for months we’d never be able to earn enough to feed this crowd!

That’s where the commendable generosity of that unidentified young boy comes in. Although members of the Teacher’s administrative assistants, commonly known as disciples, acknowledged the donation, they quickly pointed out that in the face of the circumstances not much could be done with five barley loaves and two fishes.

Even eye witness accounts defy explanation as to what happened next: after a simple prayer, those same disciples were seen distributing baskets of food. Following a feast of bread and fish, conservationists were pleased to report that twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered.

Our question: Is any gift too small to be used by this Master?

[1] Fictitious title of publication used in this article

Linda Wegner, Author and Speaker
Words of Worth
5549 Maple Avenue
Powell River, BC   V8A 4N4

 

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Contrary to what you may think, I did not skip my Friday the 13th blog for superstitious reasons. Rather, real life snuck in. It was my husband’s birthday (yes, he was born on a Friday the 13th and he’s been blessed ever since!). It was also our first Christmas choir concert with St. Peter’s Chorus . After the concert about forty choir members and some of their spouses came to our house for a party. Lots of food and great fellowship.

During the evening, fellow choir member, Robert Henderson, said he has been reading these posts on my blog, so thanks for telling me, Bob, and Merry Christmas to you!

Today I’m going to feature another Helping Hands Press author: Jeanette Hanscome. I’ll let her tell you a bit about herself (taken from Jeanette’s blog):

Jeanette-Hanscome-067-headshot-copy-199x300

Who I Am 

I am an author, writing teacher, occasional speaker, and busy mom currently living in California’s beautiful East Bay Area.

As an author, I have almost 20 years of experience, which includes work with Focus on the Family, The Upper Room, Standard Publishing, Walk Thru the Bible, and Guideposts magazine. I am a regular assigned contributor to Standard Publishing’s Encounter—the Magazine, and Walk Thru the Bible’s Tapestry devotional (also published as Journey), as well as contributing to Girls, God and the Good Life and the Christian Manuscript Critique Service blog I also edit on a freelance basis for publishers and individuals.

If you have ever attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, you might know me as the coordinator of the First Timers Buddy System. Overseeing this program at the conference where I first sensed God’s call to write for Him continues to be a highlight of my year. I belong to several writing and editing organizations, including ACFW, The Christian PEN, Christian Editor Network, Christian Author’s Network (CAN), and Inspire Christian Writers.

In real life, I am the mother of two incredible sons—one in middle school and one beginning the journey of adulthood. I love to cook, bake, read, knit, crochet, study the Bible, and spend time with friends and family.

It might interest you to know that I am visually impaired and have been since birth. I was born with a rare vision disorder called Achromatopsia, which means that I have no color vision, am extremely light sensitive, and have visual acuity in the legally blind range. (For more information on this interesting eye disease, visit Achromatopsia.info) People often ask me to describe what I see. Although it’s difficult to make normally sighted people understand the light sensitivity and limited vision (which changes depending on how bright it is outside), this picture will give you a glimpse into how I see the world. Think of it as living in a black & white movie—beautiful in its own way.

Here is another link to Jeanette’s website so you can learn more about her and her books: http://jeanettehanscome.com/book-corner/. Below, see the cover of her newest release.

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And here’s a short note from Jeanette, complete with a tasty-looking Christmas recipe:

The past few years have brought a lot of changes, including changes to my family’s holiday celebrations. One thing has remained constant, however, and that is my baking traditions. One on-going favorite is pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins. I gave up a long time ago on designating these as a Thanksgiving treat. Late November usually marks the first of a half a dozen batches, and each batch makes a lot!

In honor of Christmas, I thought I’d share this much-loved recipe with you. I got it from a cookbook, so I can’t take full credit, but I do alter it a bit by only adding nuts occasionally. (I tend to forget them, nuts are expensive, and because the recipe calls for toasting them the risk of burning $3 worth of almonds feels like too big of a risk sometimes.) I pray that your family will enjoy them as much as much family does.

Note: The recipe suggests baking them a day or two ahead to give the flavors time to blend, but ours rarely last that long. I use mini muffin tins to make them bite-sized, but you can also use regular sized tins.

PUMPKIN-CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

Ingredients:

½ cup slivered almonds (optional)

1 2/3 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 T pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup plain pumpkin

2 eggs

½ cup melted butter

1 cup chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 350.

Toast almonds for 3-5 minutes. (Watch them carefully.)

Wisk together pumpkin, eggs, and butter in a medium bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and mix. Fold in chocolate chips and almonds.

Spoon batter into mini muffin tins, and bake for 12-15 minutes. (Larger muffins will take closer to 20 minutes.)

Let them cool. Store in a container for a day or so, if you have the will power.

Merry Christmas!

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Amber Schamel is a multi-published author of Christian Historical Fiction. Her passion for history and culture has led her to travel extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. Amber is actively involved in her church and enjoys volunteer work and music ministry.  Raised in a family of twelve children and homeschooled throughout her education, she currently resides in the beautiful state of Colorado where she also serves as bookkeeper and marketing director for their family businesses. Find Amber on her blog, or on all the main social media sites.

Take a read through this blog by novelist Amber Schamel, then check out her latest release below.

Amber Schamel

Amber Schamel

How Veggie Tales Inspired a Biblical Novella

It was a summer evening, I was in the kitchen making dinner while my little siblings (for some odd reason) were watching The Toy That Saved Christmas, a Veggie-Tales movie. My publisher had asked me to write a Christmas story and I was deep in thought wondering what I should write when I suddenly tuned in to what was playing on the screen.

Grandpa George was reading a scripture to Bob, Larry and Buzz-saw Louie. “And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in baby clothes and laid him in a manger.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute, the passage didn’t say baby clothes. In the King James it says swaddling clothes. That got me to thinking, what exactly are swaddling clothes? Are they just baby clothes? Or is there another meaning to them?

I looked up the passage in Luke chapter two and noted that it was mentioned not only once, but twice that Mary wrapped her first-born son in swaddling clothes. So I began my research.

I found out that swaddling clothes did not necessarily mean that Mary and Joseph were poor or destitute. Swaddling clothes were used by people of all classes to wrap a newborn in hopes that it would help their limbs grow straight, as well as calm the babe. But if swaddling clothes were so common during that era, why was it specifically mentioned as a sign to the shepherds of who the Messiah would be? So I searched some more.

Another source said that in the eastern countries they would use a cloth to put between the yoke of an ox, and the ox’s shoulders. When Mary and Joseph were in the barn, they had nothing else to use, so they used this ox’s cloth that was translated as swaddling cloth to wrap the Messiah that would carry the yoke of our sin and bondage.

Many hours and websites later, I emerged armed with a ton of information, four different theories, and a story forming inside my head. So, I guess you could say that my new book The Swaddling Clothes was inspired by a Veggie Tales movie.

The things that inspire people, or give them an idea is very interesting to me.

 

 The Swaddling Clothes Synopsis:

SchamelSwaddling-6 x 9 Flat Cover

Through the ages, many stories have been told about Mary, Joseph and the birth of the Messiah. Stories of shepherds and sheep, kings, angels, and stables. But there is one story that has never been told. One story that has remained hidden in the fabric of time. The story of The Swaddling Clothes.

Mentioned not once, but several times in the Scriptural text, what is the significance of these special cloths? And how did they make their way into a stable in Bethlehem? From the author that brought you the Days of Messiah series comes a whole new adventure critics are calling “intriguing…thought provoking… a fresh twist on an age old story.”

“I get tired of Bible stories sometimes, but The Swaddling Clothes brings the story to life.”

“Heartwarming…truly inspired. A story you will want to read again and again. Rich details and a suspenseful plot will keep you reading while giving you a glimpse of God’s wonderful power and His amazing love.”

http://amberschamel.com/

Blog: http://www.stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberSchamel
Twitter: @AmberSchamel
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/AmberDSchamel/

 

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