About the Book
At Christmastime, love is just a wish away! Join master romance writer Carla Kelly in this joyful celebration of the most wonderful time of the year. Set in regency England, these Christmas tales will take you from dangerous adventures on snowy roads to cozy little cottages, filled with holiday mischief. Five fun stories in one book!
About the Author
Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for “Borrowed Light,” “My Loving Vigil Keeping,” and “Softly Falling.”
Check out the interview with the author HERE.
It all started with a letter. No reason it wouldn’t end with one.
Nothing much exciting ever happened in Dumfries, Scottish market town in the old Kingdom of Galloway. It prospered because of its fishing fleet, and English visitors, who came to appreciate the handsome stone houses and tidy businesses, located on the lovely River Nith.
This story begins in 1818 with two young ladies, one the daughter of a local merchant who had become quite comfortable through business dealings, cod, and herring. The merchant may have been actually wealthy, but there is something in the Presbyterian water of Scotland that calls bragging a sin.
The other young lady is Sally Wilson, only child of Dumfries’ minister of the Church of Scotland, retired now from the pulpit. Such a man would never be wealthy, but he would be respected. So was his daughter.
Ten years before the beginning of this story, Margaret Patterson, daughter of the wealthy merchant, had informed a young man that she would write to him, as he sailed across the Atlantic to make his fortune in Canada. She had done it as a dare from her equally silly friends.
She shouldn’t have teased John McPherson like this. In John’s defense, he hadn’t thought that any gently reared young lady would ever write to a man not her husband or fiancé. Youngest son of the disreputable, unwelcome McPhersons, John was dubious Martha would reply. He only agreed to her forward scheme because who doesn’t like to get letters?
About the Book
Christmas is a season for new beginnings and second chances. A time for hope and joy and laughter. A time for people of all ages to find love and come together in community. Making Spirits Bright is a collection of just such stories - four never-before-published inspirational Christmas novellas. From romance to cozy mystery, with a generous dash of humor, these contemporary stories are sure to warm your heart as well as brighten your season and lift your Christmas spirit.
About the Authors
Chautona Havig lives and writes in California's Mojave Desert with her husband of nearly 30 years and six of her nine children. When not writing she enjoys reading, a couple dozen hobbies, and trying to learn to like workouts at the gym. She writes Christian Fiction without apology or pretense--lived not preached. Her desire is to encourage Christians in their faith through fiction.
April Hayman lives in the high desert of California with her husband and their three sons. During the day, she focuses on homeschooling the boys and working on client projects. She writes at night when the temperature outside is only somewhat cooler than during the day.
Her passion for reading began in grade school and her teachers often reprimanded her for reading when she should have been completing her math assignments. Now she reads whenever she likes and writes for those who love to read.
April collects fountain pens, has too many pen pals (and always looking for more), journals sporadically, creates art when she can squeeze it in, and hordes stationery.
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.
Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years. They enjoy spending time with their family and being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching and fishing, but summer is short in Wisconsin, so it’s important to have indoor hobbies, too. Cathe has been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years, and she enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper.
Her family is growing steadily; she and her husband had three sons, and those boys all grew up and married delightful women and started producing grandchildren: four boys and three girls so far!
The long Wisconsin winters are perfect for writing and reading books! Cathe enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.
About the Book
Doctoral student Hannah Wagganer entertains dreams of teaching at a large university and leaving her hometown of Glen Arbor behind. That is until Jasper Morgan, the new mail carrier, arrives in town. Not only does he set Hannah’s heart aflutter, but he has an instant bond with her cat, Jingles.
Preparing for the church candlelight Christmas Eve service and running the family store, Hannah continues to bump into Jasper—and the prying eyes of the locals who suspect there’s more going on than business as usual.
Blessings and suspicions abound when an anonymous donor pays to have the church furnace repaired, and other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental, or the work of a secret angel?
About the Author
Cherry hails from the Great Lakes state of Michigan, where she lives with her husband and two adorably mischievous cats. She does most of her writing at night because she is not a morning person, and wholeheartedly agrees with the anonymous saying, “I could be a morning person, if morning happened around noon.”
In addition to writing, Cherry has traveled overseas, exploring castles in Scotland, soaking in the sights of London, and gazing at the beautiful English countryside out a train car window. Closer to home, she’s gone dolphin watching and parasailing in Florida.
Cherry’s husband is also an author, but he doesn’t share her love of football. Her favorite teams are the Michigan Wolverines and Denver Broncos. Go Blue! Mile High Salute! So, what’s better than watching football? Eating chocolate chip cookie dough during a game!
"Ms. Christensen writes a delightful, clean tale of fresh, new romance." ~ Tracy from Textual Love
"Secret Angel by Cherry Christensen is a sweet heartwarming Christmas romance... I thought the author did a good job at depicting the characters' hopes and dreams and real life situations." ~ Isis from Sizzling Hot Books
"It was a refreshing change... as this one contained no scenes of a sexual nature... It is overall a very sweet and heart-warming tale of two people finding each other - and being exactly what the other needed." ~ Krystal from Red Wine & Books
"The little bit of innocent suspense is fun to speculate about as you watch the relationship grow between Hannah and Jasper." ~ Cyrene from Uncaged Book Reviews
“I’m sorry if I embarrassed you in there,” he said, kicking a chunk of ice with the toe of his boot.
“It wouldn’t be the first time.” She listened to the faint sound of a snow blower off in the distance, remembering other occasions when Sabela instigated rumors about Hannah’s love life. She quirked a smile, realizing fantasy was more gossip-worthy than reality, and perhaps Sabela’s meddling would somehow prove beneficial in the future.
“Is that a good smile or an ‘I’m plotting my revenge on him’ smile?”
She hastened her pace as Deer Crossings came into view. “I’ll never tell.”
“Hey, wait,” Jasper called out, his footsteps stomping behind her. “That’s not reassuring at all.”
First Line Fridays -- The Gift of Twins
via Hoarding Books
Today I am going to post a line from
The Gift of Twins
by Gabrielle Meyer.
GOODREADS | AMAZON
My First Line:
Little Falls, Minnesota
October 15, 1858
Reverand Benjamin Lahaye was usually a man of patience, but tonight he felt like a caged bear, pacing up and down the room.
What are you reading? What is your first line?
Open the book nearest you and post the first line in the comments below...
Now head on over to Hoarding Books and link up! And then hop around the linky.
About the Book
Christmas is right around the corner . . .
It’s the most wonderful season of all, and for the women of Christmas Lights, it’s a time of magic, good cheer, and, most of all, family.
In this collection, we meet Katherine, Julianna, Adrianna, Cassandra, Victoria, Alexandra, and Isabella―seven women each wishing for their very own Christmas miracle. From Katherine, who is caring for an ailing loved one, to Cassandra, the busy mother of toddlers, and Adrianna, struggling with the difficulties of marriage, to Victoria, who is searching for a love to call her own, these stories perfectly capture the heart and soul of the holiday spirit. As Christmas Eve approaches, each woman strives to remember the reason for the season before coming together in a moving finale that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.
Full of festive cheer, Christmas Lights is the perfect stocking stuffer for fans of Debbie Macomber and Fannie Flagg―or anyone longing to rediscover the magic of Christmas.
About the Author
Christine Pisera Naman is the author of six books, including Faces of Hope, Faces of Hope: Ten Years Later, Caterpillar Kisses, The Believers and Nine Days. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.
About the Book
Rev. James Turner takes his job seriously. As pastor of Lindenport Christian Church, he makes sure his congregation is spiritually fed and that their needs are met, especially during the holidays.
Christmas Eve services is a mainstay to the Christian faith. At James’ church, it's no different. The decorating committees have the church decked out for the holidays.
Pastor James' faith is challenged when a beautiful female parishioner confides in him about her past, putting both and loved ones in danger.
The magical beauty and wonder of Christmas Eve is a perfect backdrop for remembering God's continued protection through adversity.
About the Author
Editor and award winning novelist, Grace Augustine, grew up in Montana. Her work career has taken her from title and abstracting to administrative assistant church work to co-owning a small town weekly newspaper to her current profession as an author and editor. When she isn't at her keyboard, she is enjoying her passions: a good game of Scrabble, acrylic painting on canvas, watching old movies,listening to Celtic/folk music, or speaking on behalf of Multiple Sclerosis. She currently resides in Iowa with her older son and a feisty 3 yr old feline named, Babou.
“I don’t mean to be difficult. I don’t trust too many, Pastor Turner. I know you’re a man of God and I know what we talk about won’t go farther than the walls of your office. It’s just…”Tears fell down Jaden’s soft pink cheeks. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed.
James knelt beside her chair, placing a hand on her shoulder. He was puzzled as to what would bring this woman to such grief. He was afraid of driving her away with more questions, but if he didn’t ask, he wasn’t going to know. He grabbed a handful of tissues from the box on his desk and placed them in her hands.
“Jaden, whatever this burden is you are carrying, you know you will feel better once you share it with someone. I’m here and I want to help.”
Jaden mopped up her tears and relaxed into the chair. She opened her purse and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to James.
“This is freaking me out,” she admitted. “I thought I was finished with all of this. They promised I’d be safe.”
James took the note and smoothed the wrinkles. Five words scrawled in blue ink stared back at him.
I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE
About the Book
Rylie Durham is used to dealing with all sorts of people and situations in her role as a Child Life Specialist at a local hospital. Why, then, does Zach York bring out the worst in her? After all, he’s there to donate toys to the children she loves.
Could it be that she sees a kindred spirit in him? Rylie knows a thing or two about hiding a bruised heart from the world… and the danger inherent in blaming God for the hurt.
With December's approach, Rylie enlists Zach’s help for a special undertaking — a Christmas formal for one of the pediatric units. As they work together on the project, she hopes to show him that, even when it’s painful, love is worth the risk…
About the Author
Heather Gray loves coffee, God, her family, and laughter - not necessarily in that order! She writes approachable characters who, through the highs and lows of life, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her. Her books almost always include someone who's infatuated with coffee, too. Some things just can't be helped. Heather delights in creating characters who, like her, have their share of faults and foibles, characters who are flawed...but loved anyway.
Rylie ran for the elevator. A man in a faded denim jacket stood inside with the back curve of his left shoulder facing her. He didn’t acknowledge her high-speed sprint in his direction. Nor did he stop the two brushed steel panels from sliding closed between them.
She thought of pushing the button and forcing the doors to reopen. Honestly, though, did she want to get stuck in a metal box with a man who didn’t care about basic courtesy toward his fellow mankind? Not likely. Rylie huffed out an exasperated breath as she started up the stairs. Three flights up. It could be worse.
With a shove to the door, she exited the stairwell and stood on a narrow landing with skylights above and a view of the hospital’s lobby below. Ten steps to the left, and she broke through to the hallway-of-no-return. Nobody came up to this floor unless they worked in one of the three departments exiled here. The first door belonged to the chaplaincy. The second led to the main office for the hospital social workers. The third door, decorated with construction paper butterflies and cotton ball caterpillars, was home sweet home — Child Life.
“I can’t believe how rude people have become!” Rylie vented about the man in the elevator as she stepped past the colorful decorations and into her domain. Suzie, the part-time department head who kept their ship running tighter than junior size spandex on a burly linebacker, wasn’t at her desk. Their offices were anything but spacious, though, so she was likely still within hearing distance. After all, what was a good venting without someone to listen?
“I was running for the elevator, but the guy inside didn’t even wait for me. He let the doors slide closed. Because obviously it wasn’t big enough for two of us.” She left out the part about his back being to her. Absolving him of guilt wasn’t high on her priority list at the moment.
Suzie emerged from The Vault, a nether region of their office used for storage. She dusted her hands off and frowned at Rylie. “We have company.” She waved at the man following behind her. “This is Mr. York. He brought several boxes of stuffed animals for our kids.”
No way. Not… Lots of guys wore denim jackets, right? It couldn’t be the same…
“Sorry about the elevator. I got wedged into position by my dolly. I thought I heard someone calling, but by the time I turned myself around, the doors were closed and I was on my way up here.” His voice reminded her of a lemon tart, decadent smoothness with a sharp aftertaste. For some reason, she found herself tempted to savor the sound rather than pucker. Too bad her mind was already made up about him. He might have proven interesting.
About the Book
It’s Christmas in Ohio in 1816, and Abby Rose meets a Scottish immigrant who proposes minutes after they meet. Abby Rose figures she’ll rid herself of Preston McInnes by sending him on an impossible task, but the determined Scotsman doesn’t know the meaning of “impossible.” Has Abby Rose met her match?
This holiday novella, a dramatic sequel to The Gardener’s Tale and prequel to Chance’s Bluff, tells of a love story that connects generations.
About the Author
The daughter of a foreign-service officer, Catherine McGreevy grew up in countries including France, Spain, and Morocco, where she attended international schools. During this time she learned to love reading and dreamed seeing her own novels on a shelf next to those of her favorite writers Mary Stewart and Elizabeth Peters.
She majored in Communications (Journalism) with a minor in English at Brigham Young University, and later earned her Secondary Education Teaching Credential at Cal State Fullerton, teaching English/Language Arts before moving to Northern California ten years ago, when she joined SSWC and, thanks to her critique group, finally began finishing all those stories she’d started long ago while raising a family!
A history buff, Cathy is delighted to live in Northern California's gold country, where she has occasionally donned a bonnet and petticoats to re-enact the past with the Sierra Nevada Mormon Pioneers, appearing in Veteran’s Day and Fourth of July parades, as well as history days at Sutter’s Fort and Coloma.
She published her first two books in 2014, The Jewelry Case, a mystery/suspense, and The Gardener’s Tale, a historical. This summer, she signed a contract with Cedar Fort Publishing, which will release two more of her historicals in 2018: Chance’s Bluff (in January), and A Place Called New Hope (in March).
“Well, Mr. McInnes?” Abby Rose turned to face her companion. “What is this important question you could not ask with others around?”
Preston shoved his big hands into the pockets of his ragged coat. Abby Rose thought no less of the man for his poverty. That was no reflection on his character. Rather, it was his boldness and odd behavior that set her on guard.
“This spring, I leave for Iowa. They say part of it has been purchased from the Indians, and is open for settlement by whites. I’d like you to go with me, Miss Westerly—as my wife.”
The snow was thickening now. No longer melting, it formed a curtain around them, sealing them off from the world. Abby Rose stared at him. It took a moment to gather her wits. “Are you …? You mean …? Am I to understand that you’re asking me to marry you? But that’s ridiculous. We’ve only just met!”
His matter-of-fact tone did not change. “Trust me, Miss Westerly, normally I dinna behave so forward. But I’ve no time to court in the usual manner, even if I knew how. Where I’m going there are no white women, nor churches to wed in. If I’m to take a wife, I must do it right away.”
“And what on earth gave you the idea that I might agree? You know nothing about me, Mr. McInnes, nor I about you!”
His eyes held hers. “I know more about you than you might think.”
“How can that be, when we first laid eyes on each other less than an hour ago?”
“I am an observant man, Miss McInnes. For example, I know that you are intelligent, warm-hearted, a bit of a flirt, popular—and more than a tad spoiled. I also know that despite those qualities you are not yet married. At your age and with your gifts, that means only one thing: you’ve no wish to marry any of the men you’ve so far had the opportunity to wed. That’s what gave me hope.”
“You are very presumptuous, Mr. McInnes — and moreover, you are wrong.”
Privately, Abby Rose was amazed. In spite of her instinctive protest, virtually every word he’d said was true.
About the Book
Maggie Award Finalist 2016 in Romance Novellas
A Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life
A letter for Sonja’s deceased friend arrives at the post office in Michigan, and with it a proposal. With her father threatening to kick her out of his home, Sonja impulsively responds, offering to travel west to be a substitute bride. At the same time, Louis’s railroad promotion sends him back to Michigan, the one place on earth he’d hoped to never return—where Christmas past was full of pain. A mysterious stranger leaves him marked copies of “A Christmas Carol” as he considers romancing Sonja in Christmas present. Will Louis discern the best choices for Christmas future? Does it include the Poor House, again? Even so—will God bring healing and love to him this year?
AMAZON | B&N | BOOK DEPOSITORY
About the Author
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!
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Sonja closed the post office’s heavy oak door behind her, shutting out the frigid breeze that had accompanied her. The blessed heat from the pot-bellied stove, center left, drew her closer. She trod across the wide-planked pine floors, and then held her hands out.
Bent behind the high, dark-stained counter, Mr. McLaughlin, the postmaster, glanced up over his spectacles. “Glad to see ye, lass.”
With no decorations, other than a few posters tacked to the wood-paneled walls, the Spartan room lay empty. From the fresh beeswax scent, the postal superintendent had already waxed the few furnishings in the room—a narrow table for folks to set boxes on, a straight-backed oak chair where elderly patrons could sit, and the counter.
“Has it been quiet this morning, Mr. McLaughlin?” Her words almost echoed in the chamber.
“Give it a few weeks, lass, as folks realize they need to get their Christmas parcels out.”
“That’s what Father says, too.” Among other things he often discussed, such as her need to find employment and to not merely be his substitute at the post office. “Hard to believe there’s already snow dusting the streets, sir.”
“Could be a hard winter.” He shuffled through a few envelopes. “Folks in these parts got their maple syrup to market just fine—and that’ll make the difference between hungry bellies and full ones this winter. Aye?”
“Yes, I pray so.” Sonja strode away from the stove and toward the postmaster, shivering,.
Conversation about Shepherd’s maple syrup always reminded her of the tragedy a decade earlier. An entire boatload of men had gone down in the river, their precious syrup lost, and one man, Abner Smith, dead. Where was his son, Louis, now? How did someone come to grips with losing everything—as Louis had? Sonja nibbled her lower lip. She was about to find out for herself what it was like to lose everything—if Father carried out his threats.
“How’s yer Pa faring today?” Mr. McLaughlin smoothed his bushy white moustache.
Ornery, demanding she find a husband, threatening to kick her out—just like her friend Cora had said he would do. But Cora was gone now. Buried in a pauper’s grave. Sonja blinked back tears.
“Ah, now, lass—he’ll be fine soon.”
Obviously he misunderstood her grief over her friend as fear for her father.
She dipped her chin.
Mr. McLaughlin tugged at his stiff, celluloid collar. “I need to head out back for a moment.” He jerked a stubby thumb over his narrow shoulder.
The silver-haired man pushed aside the curtains that separated the front office from the rear workroom. “I’ll return shortly, lass.”
Sonja circled behind the desk and reached for the stack of unfiled letters. Her heart leapt in her chest as she spied the top one—with Cora’s name. Sonja slid the missive closer. Mr. Penwell’s distinctive and elegant handwriting marked him as the sender. The poor man—his pen pal had died, but he didn’t yet know in far off South Dakota where he lived.
Would she, or possibly even her father, get into trouble if she opened the letter? This was, after all her father’s livelihood and she represented him when she substituted on his route. Sonja’s mouth went dry.
She exhaled a low sigh as sweet Mr. Akers opened the heavy door and entered the building, a heavy beaver coat draped over one arm, his cane looped over the other.
“Good day, Little Sunshine.” He greeted her with the same nickname he’d given Sonja when she was a child in his wife’s Sunday school class, more than twenty years earlier. A class Sonja now taught. Hard to believe Mrs. Akers had been gone to heaven for four years already.
“How are you, sir?” She watched as he laid the glossy coat on the counter.
“Perplexed, my dear, and disturbed.” He removed his tall, black hat and set it beside the coat.
“Oh dear, why are you mystified, Mr. Akers?” And why had he brought the fur here?
He leaned in and stroked his white beard. “Your father.”
She cringed, anticipating what the elderly man might say. Father wouldn’t. He didn’t. He probably had. “Please tell me he hasn’t asked you to marry me, sir.”
His aquamarine eyes widened. “How did you know, Sunshine?”
Groaning, she shook her head slowly.
About the Book
“His eyes were filled with so much hope and excitement that it cracked through and pierced my heart. ‘I’m going to write a letter to Santa,’ he beamed. ‘I know he will bring me a new bike.’” Christmas is already going to be tough for Marie and her family. Marie is struggling under the pressures of living in a new home and adjusting to life as a working mother. When her son’s bike is stolen on Christmas Eve, Marie doesn’t know what to do. Despite her lack of time and finances, she sets out in search of the perfect bike. If she can’t find one, Christmas will be ruined—and so will her son’s faith in Santa. But her search for a bike quickly turns into a journey of faith as Marie begins to recognize the real Christmas miracle in her life.
About the Author
As a child, Tara Mayoros moved to Asia with her family. Her love of different cultures and travel began. In college she satisfied her wanderlust by moving back to China, filling her head with countless stories, and occasionally writing them down.
Years, marriage, children and many adventures later, she picked up her dusty pen and paper (or laptop) and realized that writing took her to different worlds and gave her the experiences that she yearned for. As an author, artist, baker, music teacher, gardener, and nature lover – she sees the beauty in the process, and the miracle, of creation. The Rocky Mountains are her home and they call to her whenever she finds herself in need of inspiration.
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