I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

WhiteFire Scavenger Hunt Stop #15


Welcome to the WhiteFire Publishing Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to go back to stop #1 and collect all the clues in order. Once you have them all, you’ll have uncovered a secret message. Turn that in at the final stop for a chance to win one of THREE amazing prize packages!

The Hunt begins at Roseanna White’s site
Take your time! You have all weekend to complete the Hunt—entries will be counted until Monday June 26—so have fun reading all the posts along the way and getting to know each author
Lots of extra prizes! Many of the authors are featuring unique giveaways as well, for even more chances to win!
Submit your entry for the grand prizes back at Roseanna White’s blog.

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Austen in Austin: Book or Party?


Both! Austen in Austin, a 2-volume series from WhiteFire, began as a fun, lighthearted conversation among friends and blog mates.

We were talking about Jane Austen adaptations when Anita Mae Draper said she might like Mr. Darcy better if he wore a Stetson.

I jokingly titled the project Austen in Austin.


Next thing you know, eight women, all inspirational authors of historical fiction, began brainstorming. Each of us took one of Austen's works to rewrite, historical Texas-style (Sense and Sensibility got two stories, one for each of the sisters in the original work.). We talked Austen books and watched movie adaptations of her stories. We researched historical Austin, Texas. We invented a street, Chawton Circle, and a finishing school for young ladies so our heroines would all have a home base in common. We created Pinterest Boards and documents so we could plan how to overlap characters and could describe what the school, which we named the Austen Academy, looked like.

Austen in Austin was truly a labor of love, a fun exercise with friends, and a delightful chance to spend time with Austen characters--in my case, by retelling Pride and Prejudice.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is now Will Delacourt, railroad magnate, and Elizabeth Bennet is now Eliza Branch, a striving journalist who is trying to pay her way through school and avoid the suitors thrown at her by her overbearing mother. Like their original Austen counterparts, Eliza and Will form terrible first impressions of one another...but will pride and prejudice stand in the way of a happy ever after?

My story, One Word From You, won the ACFW Genesis contest for Historical Romance in 2013. It was an amazing moment for me.

(If you like books set in Jane Austen's time, check out my novel The Reluctant Guardian about a spy, a woman who's in the wrong place at the wrong time wearing the wrong thing, and her two rascally nephews. If you like books set in the old west, you might like my novel My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho, a mail-order mix up with plenty of humor and heart. Just click the titles for links!)

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Here’s the Stop #15 Scoop:


You can order Austen in Austin, Volume I, here:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Jet

~OR~ you can order my individual Austen in Austin novella, the Genesis-winning One Word From You:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Clue to Write Down: meets

Link to Stop #16, the Next Stop on the Loop: Suzie Johnson! Click here for her blog.

If you're going out of order, here are the links for each stop:

Melody Carlson (hosted)

When you're all finished, Submit Your Entries here!

And now, my giveaway!

In honor of Jane Austen, I'm giving away a Jane Austen Devotional! Devotions include Scriptures and quotes from Austen's works. Please enter the Rafflecopter form below.

(Like winning books? Subscribe to my newsletter, an occasional cheery hello only when I have a new release, and someone always wins a prize!)

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

June New Releases from ACFW Authors!

 More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Contemporary Romance:
Engaged by Julie Arduini -- Trish Maxwell returns to Speculator Falls with egg on her face and apologies to make as she tries to determine what's next, especially when around paramedic Wayne Peterson. (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)
  Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter -- When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down. But when Josephine drives out to Noah's North Georgia cottage to deliver the corrected papers, they are trapped there during a snowstorm. Things couldn't get worse…until they are forced out into the storm and must rely on one another to survive. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Zondervan])
  Then There Was You by Kara Isaac -- Would you give up everything for a life you hate with the person you love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
  An Encore for Estelle by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- A former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children's theater. The writer/director didn't anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) The Cowboy's Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner -- When Ex-soldier Seth Howell suddenly becomes guardian of a two-year-old, he needs Rachel Perez's help. Though she is gun-shy about relationships, this handsome cowboy and his adorable son break through. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
  Finding Love by Toni Shiloh -- Delaney Jones is putting her life back together after widowhood when in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson. Luke had a part in the death of Delaney's husband--will his secrets widen the gulf in their relationship or will he finally find absolution? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)
Cozy Mystery:
The Copper Box by Suzanne Bratcher -- When antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome, Arizona to search for a copper box she believes will unlock the secrets of her past, deadly accidents begin to happen: someone else wants the copper box, someone willing to kill for it. (Cozy Mystery from Mantle Rock Publishing)
General Contemporary:
Coming Home – A Tiny House Collection by Yvonne Anderson, Michael Ehret, Kimberli S. McKay, Pamela S. Meyers, Ane Mulligan, Chandra Lynn Smith, Linda W. Yezak -- Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what can you do with something so small? Here are seven stories about people chasing their dreams, making fresh starts, finding love, stumbling upon forgiveness, and embarking upon new adventures in tiny houses. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)
  Katie's Quest by Lee Carver -- Katie Dennis hopes for fulfillment as a single missionary nurse after the death of her fiancé. She trusts God for a new direction, but she'll never fall for a pilot again. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)
Historical Romance:
A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller -- Rocky Ridge Stage Stop Manager Ezra Reid is put in a difficult situation when two ladies show up on his remote doorstep seeking refuge, one of them being Tori Boyd, the mysterious correspondence partner writing him letters for over a year now. Tori refuses the most proper solution to their circumstance—marriage. But when danger follows, it will take a lot more than luck to ensure Ezra's heart is the sole casualty. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
  High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin -- In German-occupied Brussels, a WWI nurse struggles to keep two life-threatening secrets. She's in league with the British Secret Service, and she's harboring a wounded British pilot. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker]) Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands Romance Collection by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Gina Welborn -- Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas', finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn't return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
  The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere -- When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he's glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can't wait to leave behind. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
  Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson -- Set in WWII, an Irish woman must choose between her heart and her freedom when she finds a downed combatant pilot. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)
  Mail Order Sweetheart by Christine Johnson -- Singer Fiona O'Keefe must make a wealthy match to support her orphaned niece. Musically talented Sawyer Evans is a self-made, but not wealthy, sawmill-manager. Unwilling to live off his father's railroad fortune, can Sawyer prove to Fiona he's the man she needs when she's already determined to mail-order a rich husband? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
  Freedom's Price by Christine Johnson -- On a quest to find her mother's family in Louisiana, Englishwoman Catherine Haynes enlists a dashing Key West man seeking revenge for his own family. When an incredible secret comes to light, she and Tom will face a choice. Can they relinquish their dreams to step forward in faith? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker]) Sutter's Landing by Betty Thomason Owens -- Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)
Romantic Suspense:
Hidden Legacy by Lynn Huggins Blackburn -- When someone threatens the baby she's adopting, Caroline Harrison must rely on Detective Jason Drake, the man who once broke her heart, to figure out why. If Jason wants a chance at a future with with Caroline and her son, he'll first have to help them outrun a hit man. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
  Weaver's Needle by Robin Caroll -- Pitted against each other to recover a map to the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine, two recovery specialists follow the trail to Arizona. But someone doesn't want them to find the map. . .or the mine. They must work together despite their mistrust and growing attraction, to save themselves. (Romantic Suspense from Barbour Publishing)
Speculative:
The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe -- Revisionary or Rogue? To rescue her brother, Portia might have to break every rule in the book she set out to rewrite. (Speculative from Write Integrity Press)
Women's Contemporary:
Redemption's Whisper by Kathleen Friesen -- Desperate to escape her past, a suicidal young woman flies from Toronto to a Saskatoon pastor's home, the only people who may be able to help her. If only someone could love her, in spite of all she's done. On the flight, she meets a young man torn between seeking affirmation in the big city and helping his parents in Saskatoon. Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love? (Women's Contemporary from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])
Young Adult:
All Things Now Living by Rondi Bauer Olson -- Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him. (Young Adult from Written World Communications)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Love Inspired Historicals: The End of an Era

By now the news has made its way through cyberspace: Harlequin is closing five lines in mid-2018, and Love Inspired Historicals (LIH) is one of them.

I received the email from Harlequin less than an hour after submitting revisions to my next Regency with them, A Mother for His Family. I had been on Cloud 9, and once I saw the news, I crashed hard.

Of course, I'm not alone in grieving. Readers, editors, and, yes, authors, are in shock. Some authors feel like we just lost our jobs.

What does this mean to the industry? I don't know, beyond the fact that the market is fluid, changing, and authors and publishers must adapt.

What does this mean for me? I don't quite know that, either, but I can tell you that A Mother for His Family will go to press and release in January of 2018--so that's good news.

Every author has secret dreams. One of mine was to write for Harlequin. Another was to write for Barbour, and to walk into a Christian bookstore and see my book on the shelf. This year, both of those dreams came true.I am grateful beyond words.

But still sad. God closes doors and opens others. He has always been the One who has had control of my writing. I must trust Him to reveal His plan in His timing.

This has been an excellent reminder to seek Him at every step and never grow complacent.

I will keep writing. I have stories in my head, ideas and imaginary friends. And I'll tell you here first: I signed a new novella contract, so that's on the horizon. The story is called First Things First from the upcoming First Loves Forever Collection. The heroine might be familiar to you: her name is Georgia Bridge, and she was introduced to readers as a four-year-old who wanted pet birds and a new mama in For a Song from The Cowboy's Bride Collection.
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Thanks for your prayers for the readers, editors, and authors affected by the closure of LIH.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ghost Town: Ruby City, Idaho



After silver and gold was discovered in 1863 along what is now Jordan Creek in Idaho's Owyhee Mountains, a mining boom erupted in southwest Idaho, creating several towns in rapid succession. Ruby City was one of them.

In fact, Ruby City was Owyhee County's first official city and its county seat. As such, it boasted a sheriff, lawyers, a post office, a newspaper (the Avalanche), mercantiles, smiths, and miners--possibly thousands of them, working in the lodes on on War Eagle Mountain.

Men outnumbered women by 200 to 1 at one point, so one can only imagine the number of saloons in town, too. Anyone interested in making money off the miners (including a traveling circus) made the journey to Ruby City and its neighboring mining towns.

The town thrived despite the high costs of living there: it wasn't easy to haul goods to Ruby City, and some of the paths to reach it were toll roads. Nevertheless, residents who could afford more than a tent built wood homes and businesses. 

One of them was the Idaho Hotel, build in 1863. In 1866, a third story wing was added to accommodate more guests.

In 1864, however, a new town was laid out a mile away: Silver City. It was closer to the mines and out of the wind that sometimes swept through Ruby City. By the end of 1866, the decision was made to transfer the county seat from Ruby City to Silver City in the New Year.

Folks started to move from Ruby City and bring their homes and businesses with them. The Idaho Hotel was dismantled in December of '66, and its pieces were loaded onto sleds, pulled by oxen through the snow to its new home in Silver City, where it stands today. While Silver City is now a ghost town, visitors can still stay at the Idaho Hotel during warmer months.

Since so much of Ruby City was dismantled and moved, nothing really remains there today beyond some white stone markers in the cemetery. In fact, the site of the town has all but disappeared since the area was used for hydraulic placer mining.

Monday, May 8, 2017

ACFW May New Releases

May 2017 New Releases

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


Contemporary Romance:
Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard -- Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring--fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)

  Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer -- An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  Summer Dreams by Delia Latham -- God's love...reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

  Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh -- Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell -- Two Spring wedding novellas, "A Proxy Wedding," and "Hope Beyond Savannah." (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing) True to You by Becky Wade -- Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
Cozy Mystery:
What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman -- A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)
General Contemporary:
A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal -- The heart wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman -- A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press)
Historical:
Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby -- What began as a bored man's decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

  Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette -- A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
Historical Romance:
The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Penny Zeller -- Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard--even risky--especially when faced with some of life's greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
  The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson -- She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

  My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca's Plight by Susanne Dietze -- It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they've married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order--and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

  A Love So True by Melissa Jagears -- They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

  Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle -- When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena's heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

  Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt -- Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)
Romantic Suspense:
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman -- Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho, I've got a giveaway going...

The book is up for grabs, of course. So are some heart-themed kitchen goodies, because the kitchen is the heart of the home, and the book is from the My Heart Belongs In series.
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So what's the book about?

A mail order bride. A mistaken groom. A whole heap of trouble. Falling in love with a man, a town, and...even a mule. (I love Madge the mule. I hope you will, too.)

The contest only runs through May 5, 11:59 pm! US only, please.

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