New for 2019

Snow Years EveI can’t believe I just wrote 2019! I’ll have to get used to that. I really don’t know where 2018 went. Yet, I am excited to step into the new year. Are you?

As I write my novels, I think about what the character feel about the new years they stepSurround Me front (1) toward. Of course, I know, since I write historical fiction, what they are facing. But they don’t. In my Revolutionary Faith series, Louis and Elizabeth see 1773 through the eyes of the pre-revolution full of questions and hopeful outcomes; 1774 with the consequences of their choices looming but hazy; 1775 battle lines drawn, and a backward path blocked forever; and 1776, well we all know about the difficult walk to independence. I doubt they wanted any of that at the beginning, but each year brought challenges–some difficult, some full of joy.

2019 is just the same! Well, I hope there is not a revolution. I don’t know when I pass from 2018 to 2019 what changes I will have to make or difficulties I’ll have to face; but, I know God has plans for me and mine that I haven’t dreamed of yet. I can’t wait to share with you what I find out in the new year.

Here are a few of my goals (although they might change as life intervenes):

  1. Re-release of Surround Me, Jan. 1.
  2. Release of Bring Me Near, Feb.!!! So excited!Bring Me Near rough (3)
  3. Finish writing Draw Me to Your Side
    (Revolutionary Faith Book Four)
  4. Help build a deck.
  5. Travel with my husband to someplace adventurous. Banner Day

Here we all go whether we want to or not…..2019 awaits.

Do you have any goals or dreams for this year?

Last-Minute Details

 

 

Are you a last-minute shopper, decorator, or Christmas card sender? I will admit years ago I was the one who had everything done and in order by the first week of December. Yet for the last few years I have become more of a last-minute shopper and wrapper. Therefore, today, the Saturday before Christmas I wrapped, baked cookies, and watched Hallmark movies. I loved every minute of it. It doesn’t matter that Christmas is in three days.

IMG_6356What happened to make me change? Life happened and there have been other priorities. My life is simpler, and the gifts have taken a back seat to the real meaning and purpose of Christmas.

 

 

So, at this busy time of year, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I want you to enjoy the celebration of Jesus–his birth, his life, his gift of salvation to each of us.

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

       Isaiah 9:6-7

Merry Christmas and Happy 2019!!!

Catching Christmas Review and Giveaway

I am very excited to offer my review of Terri Blackstock’s Catching Christmas. I have read so many of her intriguing mystery and suspense novels. This one looks and reads and feels like Christmas. In addition to the tour giveaway, I am giving away one copy of Catching Christmas to someone who comments on this blog.

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Catching ChristmasCatching-Christmas-210x300

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 9, 2018

This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 My Review

I have followed Terri Blackstock and her writing career since I lived in the same city as she did over twenty years ago. I even attended a workshop she taught. This novel shows a different, upbeat, feel-good side of her writing skill. If you want mystery and suspense that you usually find in many of her other books, Catching Christmas offers a different experience.

The festive cover features a little yellow taxi cab with gifts on top. This is definitely a book offering a gift of love, hope, second chances, and forgiveness through acts of giving and sacrifice.

I must admit I laughed and smiled a lot while curled up with this novel. Thank you, Terri, for a delightful Christmas–and life–tale.

I give Catching Christmas five stars.

About the Author

Terri-Blackstock-200x300Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

From Terri Blackstock

 

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Vicky Sluiter, December 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

Captive Dreams Window, December 27

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

1e998299-1dd7-470d-9237-3d8e3cf18173To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d776/catching-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Also, when you comment here, I will enter you in an additional giveaway of Catching Christmas from me.

Merry Christmas!

I Know the Plans Review and Giveaway

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: I Know the PlansI-Know-the-Plans-188x300

Author: Melissa Wardwell

Genre: Romance

Release Date: October, 2018

All the plans Tiffany and Brad made for their lives as individuals were thrown to the wind the moment they met. Now, after almost a decade of marriage, they spend more time apart than together. Though plans remain unfulfilled, their hearts seek to remain steadfast and connected.

After Brad returns from his latest tour in Afghanistan, it is evident that the man Tiffany married is no longer the same. As Brad struggles with reacquainting himself with his life, Tiffany questions how it could be part of God’s plan. Have the sins of their past finally come back to haunt them? No matter how much support they have in their family and friends, the choice is still theirs. Will they continue to trust God with their lives or will they choose their own course?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I Know the Plans challenges the reader to consider the reactions and choices we make on life’s journey. Plans change as circumstances and events creep in silently or with a bang.

This story involves a married couple who have decisions to render that will change their lives no matter what choice they make. Isn’t that the way in our lives? We cannot avoid a decision, but the choice can have a devastating outcome or a joyous resolution. As in Melissa’s novel, the challenges and paths ring with the truth that God knows the plans He has for each of us.

I appreciate the truths the author develops as harsh reality descends on her characters. Brad and Tiffany are vibrant, hurting individuals who have choices to make, none of which are part of their original plans. I enjoyed connecting with these real-life characters.

The whole series is worth the readers’ time. I give the novel 5 stars.

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in the quaint town of Owosso, Michigan with her husband and Melissa-Wardwell-200x300their three teen aged children. She began her writing journey in August of 2014 with her debut novel “What God Brings Together”. She decided to give writing a try after she shared a story that nagged at her with a friend. Unsure in her own abilities to craft a story she plunged ahead anyway. After reading the first draft of that first book, she then understood that God had a much bigger plan. “God does not give his children a desire just so that it can go to waste.” Since then, she has added three more novels and taken part in two anthologies. Melissa also has a review blog and is a contributing blogger for Heart”wings” Blog.

Being a mother and wife herself, Melissa understands the importance of taking care of yourself from time to time. So, all her stories revolve around women who are mothers: single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of their own.

To see the full list of her work, visit www.melissawardwell.com

 

Guest Post from Melissa

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This verse has been my “Go To” verse since the day I married. It is a constant reminder that no matter what struggles I endure, God has a plan. I may not be able to see through the fog, I may not like or understand the journey, but it is all part of a plan. All I can do is trust God’s design for my life and be willing to move when He tells me to.

God used the writing process of “I Know the Plans” to remind me that He has a plan for me and book and I need to just trust the process. This book has taken me over a year to complete. If it wasn’t one thing to keep me from committing to it, then it was another. I don’t begrudge the events that kept me away, but as soon as I would begin to grumble to God about not having the energy or the brain power to write, I would get this preverbal reminder that I was not the one in control. If I am going to write faith lessons in fiction, I need to trust the Master Author.

In “I Know the Plans”, Sergeant Bradley Jones and his wife, Tiffany, are hit with one whopper of a plot twist that leaves them wondering if they can get through some major medical issues, PTSD, and infertility in one piece. Their family and friends do their best to support the couple but sometimes, trusting God’s plan is all they can do. Something we all try to learn to do in our own lives.

Due to the military thread in this book, I asked my veteran friends what charity they hold in high esteem. Almost every single one of them suggested “Wounded Warrior Project” and offered rave reviews of their humanitarian efforts in the military community. So, a portion of my royalties from this book will be going to “Wounded Warrior Project” in honor of their service and the service of thousands of others.

https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

There is another group of people I wanted to honor. Those who fight with infertility. I know many who have fought the battle to have children of their own. Some eventually find success, while other have not. Some have even taken the route of adoption and have saved the lives of young ones who needed all the love in the world. Then there are some that just choose to embrace the fact that children of their own was not going to happen and have given all their love to others. All of these groups of people fight a battle that is riddled with pain, confusion, endless medical procedures, and thousands of dollars. There isn’t one group or anther that could support these people as much as our love, prayers, and thoughtful kindness can. So, I encourage you to embrace those around you and shower them with love. Sometimes what they need is just a friend that will listen and not try to mix the problem. Just as you have received the Father’s love, now you can give it away.

Finally, I want to thank the CelebrateLit blog team for signing up for this tour. I am honored that they choose to read this story and offer their honest opinions on this book. As always, I pray it ministers to the readers as much as it ministered to the author. “You all are amazing!”

Blessings,

Melissa Wardwell

Blog Stops

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 13

Real World Bible Study, December 13

Connect in Fiction, December 14

Inklings and notionsDecember 14

Godly Book Reviews, December 15

Blogging With Carol, December 15

Blossoms and Blessings, December 16

Mary Hake, December 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 17

Carpe Diem, December 17

Maureen’s Musings, December 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Christian Bookaholic, December 20

cultivating us, December 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 21

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

A Baker’s Perspective, December 23

Simple Harvest Reads, December 24 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Janices book reviews, December 25

The Becca Files, December 26

Bigreadersite, December 26

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away a grand prize that includes an “I know the plans” coffee mug and print copies of books 1, 2, & 3 from the Promises From Above Series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d76f/i-know-the-plans-celebration-tour-giveaway

Please comment here on this post.

 

Christmas 1772

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I have a funny confession to make. When I wrote the draft for Hold Me Close, I knew Elizabeth, my heroine, would love Christmas. I had her 1772 home in Charles Town, South Carolina decorated with a tall, full tree, greenery, and candles everywhere. As the story traveled through a critique group, a very wise critic brought to my attention a grave error. (Of course, she told me tactfully and nicely.) Christmas trees were not introduced and used in the United States until the 1800’s. Oops!

dc252520076_thumb25255B225255DOh, how I hated taking away Elizabeth’s Christmas tree. How could I replace that? With a few gorgeous, bountiful wreaths. Garland, greenery, candles, and a nativity remained intact. After the initial shock, I smiled and rewrote Elizabeth’s Christmas tree scene:

On this crisp Monday morning, Elizabeth put the finishing touches on the pine and fir wreath placed on the front door of her house. The pheasant feathers, nestled between oranges, pine cones, and magnolia leaves, graced the wreath…

“There. Spectacular,” she voiced out loud as she stepped back to view the rather large evergreen wreath, her handiwork hanging by a read sash attached to the door…

The candles in the windows, the smaller wreaths suspended from each window and the swags and garland throughout the house caused Elizabeth to twirl around the foyer. The sights and smells of Christmas brought back so many memories of her childhood in Boston. As a little girl, the decorations always triggered her anticipation of all the Christmas season events–parties, dresses, food, family, gifts, but mostly the singing, smiles, and happiness all around.

Promo 4 Hold Me CloseMy decorations are now complete. Now I can concentrate on the singing, family, anticipation of all the Advent season brings, especially the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

What are some special items you use for decorations?

 

 

Order your copy of Hold Me Close today from Amazon :Hold Me Close

 

My Review of Shelter of the Most High

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

My Review and Opinion

I love Biblical fiction when the author is able to bring to life the characters I have read about for years. Connilyn does that! As I read Sofea and Eitan’s tale of life in Kedesh, a city of refuge, I enter the Promised Land with new eyes, open to the adventures of God’s struggling people, a time when Joshua is still alive, and the tribes are continuing to conquer the land. Sofea, a foreigner from a distant island not only faces a new land with a strange language but a people with a different set of beliefs and a one true God. While the tribes of Israel fight for their new territories, many of the men within the walls of Kedesh live there under the protection of the law because of a crime committed.

The novel brings the pages of the Old Testament and the struggles of the Israelites to life in a way I had not imagined. These people melt my heart with their very real fears and harsh conditions. The land that God gives them has extreme beauty and extreme wildness, extreme potential and extreme hardness.

I look forward to reading the first Cities of Refuge book and any of those following in the series.

I give Shelter of the Most High five stars.

About the Book

Book: Shelter of the Most HighShelter-of-the-Most-High-194x300

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Genre: Christian Biblical Fiction

Release Date: October, 2018

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series. Her debut Cossette_Connilyn-240x300novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter.

Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com.

 

 

Guest Post from Connilyn

Shelter of the Most High, the second book in my Cities of Refuge Series, will be the first I’ve written to have been influenced by my trip to Israel last year. When I started writing Biblical fiction almost nine years ago, I was limited to exploring the Land of Promise via Google Earth, books, and through a plethora of photos on the good ol’ world wide web, but of course nothing can compare to actually experiencing the atmosphere and scenery for yourself.

So although I’d already written Shelter of the Most High by the time I hopped on a plane to join fellow author Cliff Graham’s GoodBattle Tour, once I returned my editing was filtered through the sights and sounds I’d witnessed for myself. It had been a life-long dream to go to Israel and it did not disappoint, in fact it just went way too fast!

One of my greatest fears was that I would see the places I’d written about in my books and realize I totally messed up my descriptions, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part I’d been fairly accurate (although I did tweak a few things here and there).

Standing on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee I was able to envision Eitan, our hero in Shelter of the Most High, sitting on one of the black boulders there, defeated and weary as he searched for his love. I was able to look toward the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon in the north and over the fertile Hula Valley just below the ancient ruins of Kedesh, the city of refuge, and consider how Sofea must have felt as she experienced the landscape of her new home for the first time, both the fear and the awe.

One of my favorite sites was Tel Dan and although it does not feature in Shelter of the Most High it’s lush greenness and dense forest gave me a better sense of what Israel must have been in the past before deforestation, war, and shifts in climate have done to the fertile land God himself called a land of milk and honey. Since I was so affected by Tel Dan (or Laish in ancient times) that city will be one of the settings in my upcoming third installment of the Cities of Refuge Series, Until the Mountains Fall.

Being a super visual person who is highly sensitive to sensory input, I took great pleasure in absorbing with all my senses as we walked paths, climbed mountains (yes, mountains), slogged through a long, cold, and wet tunnel deep beneath Jerusalem, hiked up to the secret oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul, and rocked along on a boat over the glassy surface of the Galilee. I felt like a sponge just soaking up every little detail and every grand vista.

Smelling the salty breeze off the Mediterranean and hearing the waves crash against the sandy beach in Tel Aviv and Caesarea Phillipi made me imagine our heroine Sofea looking over that enormous, blue expanse and wondering what sort of god had control of such a powerful thing.

Feeling the timeworn cobblestones beneath my feet gave me a sense of what it must have been like for Eitan and Sofea to walk through the streets of Kedesh, their own sandals scuffing against the rough-hewn stone as they went about their daily activities.

Running my fingers along the pitted surfaces of ancient buildings and tracing the chisel marks from craftsmen of the Bronze Age wrapped me in a whirl of imagination about who the people were that hefted those same rocks into place and the ingenuity it took to create structures that have lasted so long.

Tasting the unique spices and flavors of the Middle East gave me a sense of the passion Moryiah (our hero’s mother) has for creating delicious new dishes to feed her growing family and the guests at her inn.

Although I write fiction, my stories are woven into Biblical accounts so going to Israel was a perfect reminder for me that the people that lived between the pages of Genesis to Revelations were real. They breathed, they cried, they loved, they mourned, they suffered, and they celebrated with their families. I am so grateful to have gleaned some great new insight into the Land and its resilient, vibrant people and hope that through Shelter of the Most High readers get a small sense of the beauty and wonder I experienced there. I cannot wait to go back!

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, November 20

The Power of Words, November 20

Among the Reads, November 21

Gensis 5020, November 21

God’s Little Bookworm, November 22

Book by Book, November 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 22

Remembrancy, November 23

Real World Bible Study, November 23

Inklings and notionsNovember 23

The Becca Files, November 24

Baker Kella, November 24

Bibliophile Reviews, November 25

The Meanderings of a BookwormNovember 25

By The Book, November 26

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 26

Aryn The LibraryanNovember 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, November 28

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 28

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

For the Love of Literature, November 29

Janices book reviews, November 29

The Lit Addict, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Just the Write Escape, December 1

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 1

Connect in Fiction, December 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 3

Purposeful Learning, December 3

Carpe Diem, December 3

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Connilyn is giving away Grand Prize: All five of Conni’s novels, including Shelter of the Most High, plus AHAVA Dead Sea Bath Salts

Three other winners will receive a copy of Shelter of the Most High!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d66d/shelter-of-the-most-high-celebration-tour-giveaway

I highly recommend  Shelter of the Most High. Please comment for your chance to win a copy.