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 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.

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.
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)
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])