Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Aussie Christmas Angel

Welcome, Clare! It's always nice to have you bring something by for a visit. I'm very excited that the Christmas stories from Pelican Books are going to be available starting tomorrow and I'm planning to spotlight them all, starting with yours!

An Aussie Christmas Angel


On an extended holiday from the UK, John Connington finds himself in Sydney, Australia with no lodging, and only a telephone number from a friend-of-a-friend offering him a place to stay. Trusting that God knows what He’s doing, John makes the call.

Jo Heywood can’t believe the audacity of John Connington, yet when her flat mate knows of this obscure offer, there's nothing Jo can do. She’s not prepared for the avalanche of feelings this stranger elicits. Not impressed by God’s sense of humour, Jo fights how she feels.

Can a long distance relationship really work or is God just testing them both?


He slid his card through the phone and dialed the number. It rang twice.

“Hello?” a very warm and feminine voice answered.

John took a deep breath, not sure about asking for a place to stay from a stranger. He wasn’t impulsive and never made a decision without praying about it for several days first. “Hello, my name’s John Connington. Is Pippa there?”

“I’m afraid she’s not. I’m Jo, her housemate. Can I take a message? I can get her to call you back.”

For a moment, John was tempted to hang up, and he wiped his damp palm on his jeans, before he slid his free hand into his pocket. “Not very easily, I’m afraid.” Something prompted him to speak. “I’m calling from a pay phone. I was given Pippa’s number by a Christian friend of hers—Sandy Franklin. She works with my sister, Emma, in the UK. The short story is I was told if I needed a place to stay in Sydney, that I should ring Pippa, and she’d put me up.”

Silence echoed before the voice stammered. “I—I see. Well, like I said, Pip isn’t here right now. She should be back in an hour or so. Call back then.”

His heart sank. “All right. I’ll do that. Goodbye.” He set the phone back on the wall. What do I do, Lord?

Gentle feelings touched him that he should go on faith and just leave the hostel. No room at the inn, yet they found a stable. I will provide.


Man, how would you feel if you arrived in a foreign country and found you didn't have a place to stay? At least not where you felt safe...

And I don't know about you, but Christian or not, I would hesitate to open my door to a total stranger.

But I can just picture this happening. Ms. Ravell did a wonderful job of bringing these two strangers together. Trust me, you'll feel like you're there with them!

And the absolute best part is that this is based on a true story. You know what they say, truth is stranger than fiction.

Very well done, Clare!

Buy Links:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ziggy zig zag tag


I'VE GOT THE "LOOK" - ziggy zig zag tag

Thanks (!!! LOL) to a fellow author, Delia Latham, for tagging me with the ziggy zig zag tag—“You've got the LOOK!"

As part of this tag, I have to take my most recent work in progress or my current manuscript and search for the word "look," then post the surrounding paragraphs/text.

Look, I really don't know what this is all about, but I look my work over and make sure it doesn't look the same from line to line and page to page. So here, you can take a look for yourself at my soon to be released story, A Piece of Heaven. (I wish I had a cover to show you but I haven't had a chance to look at that yet.) So here's a bit of the story, look all you want!

Wow! That's almost as bad as "like", you know, "like" what she said!

Here's a little about A Piece of Heaven.


            Trina Wembly dreamt of owning a Christian coffee house for years –a Godly place where people could enjoy a good meal, and entertainment that was pleasing to God. A Piece of Heaven is that dream, and Trina the star entertainer.
Jared Larou, the construction foreman who helps design and build the coffee house, is a wounded soul with a soft heart, a soft heart that Trina is drawn to.
Trina knows God is the only one who can heal Jared’s wounded soul. Does she have the faith and patience to wait on God’s will – if it is God’s will? 

See! The word "look" doesn't appear in my blurb once even! LOL But the computer found it 66 times in the 90 pages that make up this short story! Hmmm, that can't be right. I don't think my computer knows how to count...

Trina whipped around, a hand to her throat. “Oh, I didn’t hear you.” She looked up, past broad shoulders covered by a white dress shirt that tightened around the man’s upper chest as he crossed his arms. Guaranteed, he didn’t spend all his time behind a desk.
Now that was worth a look, wasn't it???
I was quite amused when I found the frequency in this page. Here's a peek:

“No, no, actually, I want to reconstruct and restore, or whatever you want to call it, so the outside looks like it originally would have—well, other than my sign. I always loved it when I came to visit, and now that it’s mine, I’d like to help breathe a little life back into the area, but leave it looking quaint.”
He closed the folder and sat back. “Are you aware of how many restaurants end up closing within the first year?”
“Due to undercapitalization and high overheads, yes, I am.” She straightened in her chair. “But I don’t intend to fall into either of those quagmires.”
“And do you have the experience to make a go of it during a slow start up?” He lowered his chin to his steepled fingers.
Look, that’s my problem to deal with. Not yours.” She picked up her bag, blinking her eyes as heat flooded her face. No one was going to steal her dream. “If you don’t want the job you can just say so.” She pushed her chair back, ready to grab her drawings and leave. “I know those aren’t professional drawings—”

Watch for A Piece of Heaven, coming soon!

And now I get to surprise five other zig zaggy author friends by tagging them in the "I've Got the Look" tag game. Readers, if you're ready to look at a few more over-used "looks," follow me...

Pam Thibodeaux

Dana Pratola
Patty Froese
Mary Manners
Davalynn Spencer

Friday, November 23, 2012

Legally Wed

Welcome, Patty! Oh what a beautiful match a wonderful story. And what a story!

Can you imagine finding out you're still married...ten years after you thought you got divorced, then having to face the love of your life and go through it all over again? when you barely made it through the first time?


When Rich McConaughey comes back to town, divorce papers in hand, he's in for more than he bargained for. Lisa Young, the woman he was married to for six months, hasn't changed a bit. His mother has though... she's gone from matronly to meow, and his father has taken off with the secretary. Does anything last anymore?

Lisa Young feels chained to the hardware store her family has run for generations. How can she tell her father that she hates the family business? When Rich walks back into her store asking her to finalize a divorce she thought was behind her, she thinks that the answer is to sign on the dotted line and move on. Except, Rich isn't making it so easy... and God has other plans.

For better or for worse, when you're legally wed, things can get complicated.


"What do you mean we're still married?" She hurried to match his pace."And for crying out loud, slow down." 

He slowed his steps to a leisurely stroll and glanced down at her. She only came up to his shoulder, and she resented having to tip her chin to look him in the face. Young Hardware stood on Main Street, one of the first stores built on this street before the town sprung up around a crossroads with a gas station, a diner and a church to serve the farms in that area. Now it joined many businesses flanking Main Street, and she couldn't help but feel like every single of one of them watched. 

"We used my Uncle Neil to finalize the divorce, remember?" Rich asked. 

"Yes, that sounds right." As she hurried Ricky past Whirlwind Realty, the business next door to the hardware store, she felt a rush of relief that Jane, the head realtor for the place, stood with her back to them. One less person to give her the third degree later. 

"Well, as it turns out, Uncle Neil was having trouble with alcohol at the time and..." 


"And never filed it. It sort of slipped through the cracks." 

"Sort of?" What on earth are you talking about?" Lisa heard her voice rising in pitch. "He never filed the papers?" 

"Looks that way." 

"And how did you figure this out?" 

"When the IRS audited me. My accountant thought I'd had my identity stolen. The IRS thought I was fraudulent." 

"Ouch." For the first time, a pang of pity replaced irritation for the man. She stopped at the street corner and looked across the intersection at the coffee shop. A couple of people visible in the window ordered their drinks. She glanced back at Rich. "So you came out here to get me to sign?" 

He squinted in the bright sunlight and pressed his lips together. Finally, he gave a slow shrug. "That was the plan." 

She turned her attention to the envelope in her hands. It had been a long time since she'd held divorce papers, and they still felt ominous and weighty. She nodded. 

"Okay. Well, I'll take a look at these then." 

"Look, I'm sorry about this." Rich put his hands into his pockets and looked down at his shoes. He raised his gaze to meet hers. "I know this is a surprise." 

"You could say that." 

He gave her one of those lopsided smiles of his and for just a moment she could see the boy with the spontaneous grin and cajoling eyes she'd fallen in love with all those years ago. Why could Ricky always speed up her heart, even when every logical bone in her body knew he wasn't in her best interest? 

"Well." She cleared her throat. "Thank you. I'll see you around, I'm sure." 

"You bet." 

Lisa raised her hand in an awkward wave and turned back towards the hardware store. 

Married. Her body moved like wet clay, and when she fumbled about inside for her feelings she discovered -- nothing. Not yet. Later. Time enough for a meltdown in privacy. 


What wonderful characters Ms. Froese brings to us. I love Rich's smile and how it keeps drawing Lisa back, calling to her across the years. I love how Rich is willing to face his own mistakes and let God lead him forward. Her dad is great too, protective, but loving above all else.

I loved it! I loved the the way the truth is brought to light - what tore them apart the first time, and how maturity gives them the strength and understanding they didn't have the first time around.

What a wonderful story of how fragile young love really is, and what a sweet walk down memory lane!

In case you can't tell, I loved it!

Buy links: at Desert Breeze publishing
On Amazon
At Barnes & Noble

About the author:

I am an inspirational fiction writer with a husband, a child, a quirky sense of humor and a passion for what I do. Give me a pot of tea and some peace and quiet, and I can give you a novel. I’ll also give you blog posts, hilarious internet jokes, pictures of my ridiculously intelligent rabbit and other random things that keep me busy.

For more about the author:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jordan's Battle

Oh what a treat! Just look at that face! Thank you, Elizabeth for bringing this sweet dog to visit!

You know, this is the first I've ever heard of service dogs being able to help people with PTSD. It's fabulous! I wonder how many other people have no idea that this could be a source of help, people that perhaps could use this information. I certainly hope through this book  someone might find an answer to prayer.

As I read your story I realized what a wonderful solution this really is since the animals are so attuned to the person they are trained to help, after all, a dog is "man's best friend". Perfect!


Computer programmer Alaina Howard has a new office mate, and she couldn’t be happier that he’s handsome and unattached. Although initially uncertain of his position in the company, she quickly realizes that he’s good at his job and a valuable asset. If only she knew why the seemingly non-disabled man needed a service dog, things would be perfect.

Army veteran Jordan Blake is thrilled to get a job that allows him to pursue his dream of learning web development. The position is even sweeter thanks to the beautiful woman he shares an office with. The only drawback is that she seems suspicious of his need for a ser-vice dog to assist with an invisible disability.

Will Alaina’s suspicion and Jordan’s reluctance to talk about his disability keep them from developing the relationship they both desire?


Jordan leaned back in his desk chair and rolled his shoulders to relieve some of the tension. The longer he studied the Paradigm Computing website from both the public side and the back end, it 
sank in just how big a job he’d taken on. Although his dream of 
becoming a web developer was one step closer to coming true 
thanks to Russ Porter, Jordan couldn’t deny the weight of 
responsibility pressing down on him. Russ trusted him to learn 
huge amounts of information in a short period of time, and Jordan 
wanted to give a hundred and ten percent, the same way he always 
did. He just didn’t know if he could survive the pressure it would 
undoubtedly create.

Before his stress level could climb any higher, Jordan felt a 
nudge against his left leg. He released a breath and reached down 
to scratch his dog’s head. Abe always knew when to interrupt his 
thoughts. Given how long they’d been at this desk, they could both 
use a walk.

Jordan grabbed his dog’s leash as he stood, and the large, 
dark brown mutt followed his example. He caught Alaina watching 
him and smiled. He couldn’t ask for a prettier office mate than the 
blonde sitting at the desk across the room.

“I’m going outside for a few,” he said as Abe stretched.

Alaina lifted a shapely eyebrow, and distaste clouded her h
azel eyes. “You’re a smoker?”

He laughed and stepped out from behind his desk. “No, I’m just going for a short walk.”

Her eyes widened as Abe stepped into her line of sight. “You brought your dog to work? Does Uncle Russ know?”

His office mate was his boss’s niece? Added stress he didn’t need. He shook off the anxiety before it could threaten him too much.

“Of course. Abe goes everywhere with me.” Jordan glanced down at his canine companion and turned him so Alaina could clearly see Abe’s labeled vest. Maybe it would keep her from asking questions he didn’t want to answer.

She leaned forward, her eyes on Abe. An adorable pink blush crept into her cheeks as she met Jordan’s gaze. “Oh! I should have realized he’s a service dog.”

Well, this was new. He’d never seen anyone surprised to learn Abe was a service dog — a service dog nudging his leg in an attempt to get him moving. Jordan hid his amusement by reaching down to scratch the mutt’s head. “It’s all right. Now, I’d better take him out before he gets any more impatient.”


Jordan and Alaina are both wonderful characters in this enlightening story. For such a short story, Elizabeth does a great job of letting us get to know them, giving us a pretty good glimpse into Jordan's head as well as a view of the reactions to his PTSD.

This story is truly an eye opener to the reality some people live in, and a perfect example of why we shouldn't judge others because we don't know what they've been through.

I loved this story! I loved the dog. I loved Jordan's shyness. I loved Alaina's forwardness. I just loved it all!

Great job, Elizabeth!

For more information about service dogs and PTSD, check out some of these links: (This one is a PDF full of articles on how canines help veterans, but the article starting on p. 63 details how training service dogs can help veterans) (includes a psych dog doing tasks) (long, but excellent) (features author of Until Tuesday and his service dog)

About the author:

E.A. West is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.

Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes cats, dogs, and African water frogs. When she’s not writing or reading, you’re likely to find her working on her current crochet project or discussing current events.

E.A. West
Providing journeys of hope, one story at a time.
Jordan's Battle--Now available from Astraea Press
Breath of Christmas--Coming Christmas 2012 from White Rose Publishing

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stolen Miracles

Hey Mary, thought I'd sneak you in, just like Stolen Miracles tried to sneak past us! What a sweet story (as usual)! This is definitely one of those "what if" kind of stories, but it is so well written, and so heart wrenching, I loved it!


Rebecca Gillespie is lucky to be alive following a devastating car accident that claimed her husband’s life and put her in a coma with little hope of recovery. Her heart still aches for the loss of her precious daughter given up for adoption by her wealthy, dying mother-in-law to a couple in Mills Landing. Now, fully recovered, Rebecca struggles to rebuild her life—alone. She soothes the emptiness in her heart with laughter of children who fill her local preschool, Precious Miracles.

Cole Seibert clings to his daughter, Kimmy, following the death of his wife. They’d adopted the child as an infant, and Cole never imagined he’d be left to raise her alone. When he drops by to register Kimmy at Precious Miracles, he’s confident the center is the best place for Kimmy…Until Rebecca steals his breath and casts his heart into a firestorm with her revelation--

“I think you have my daughter…”


Dear Rebecca,
The oncologist has informed me that my time left here on earth is short, so I long to put my affairs in order before the fateful day claims my final breath.
That said, a weight presses heavily on my heart. I have wronged you grievously, my dear, and for my actions I deeply, regretfully apologize. The night that unspeakable automobile accident claimed Steven’s life and nearly yours, as well, holds veiled secrets that must, however painful, now be spoken.
You see, Rebecca, the night remains crystal clear in my memory—from the initial news of the accident to learning that my precious Steven, my only child, was gone to me forever. It was easy to blame you for his demise. I warned him not to get mixed up with you—and then to compound that error by marrying someone fathoms below his social class and bringing a child into the world!
I was consumed by grief and contempt those five months you lay in a coma. It’s true the doctors were forced to take your premature child by emergency Cesarean section. But the child was not stillborn, Rebecca. The opposite is quite true—you gave birth to a healthy, though somewhat premature, baby girl.
As you know, since you had no family to take charge of the situation, except for me, I held the power of attorney for both you and your child. In poor health myself, battling this awful disease, there was no way I could maintain the care of an infant. I had no choice but to place your daughter into a private adoption with a couple living in Mill’s Landing. Whether they still reside there, I have no idea.
I never imagined you would survive your injuries, fully restored to health. My dying wish is for you to have all the happiness you deserve. I hope the inheritance I’ve earmarked for you will help. Please accept the money and do something good with it…something that would make Steven proud. He would have liked that.
Finally, forgive me, Rebecca. I beseech you to pray for my soul.
Marilyn Gillespie
The letter slipped from Rebecca’s fingers, fluttering across the desk blotter. She brushed tears from her eyes and drew a tremulous breath. Despite countless readings of the note, she continued to struggle with making sense of such shattering words. So much hurt…all unnecessary. From the very start of her relationship with Steve, Rebecca had gone to great lengths to be pleasing to his overbearing mother. Yet, Marilyn had taken an immediate dislike to her, doing her best to destroy the love that Rebecca and Steve shared. Rebecca hadn’t spoken to her since the day Marilyn, still incensed over the marriage and subsequent pregnancy, had insinuated Rebecca was nothing more than a gold-digger, merely after the Gillespie family money. That day had come merely a week before the accident.
Marilyn’s gold-digging assumption was the furthest thing from the truth. Rebecca was still in graduate school when she’d fallen in love with Steve, and admittedly more than a bit na├»ve about the way the world worked, but she loved Steve, and he’d adored her. A handful of months into the marriage the pregnancy came unexpectedly, yet they both were thrilled with the prospect of becoming parents.
Now he was gone forever and their daughter was missing. How was it possible?
Rebecca crossed her arms over the desktop and settled her head as tears joined the painful memories. Once the initial shock and rage of the letter had worn off, Rebecca prayed for Marilyn’s soul as well as for healing in her own heart. She also used the inheritance Marilyn left to open Precious Miracles. She’d believed if she was patient, her daughter would eventually come home to her. But three long years had passed since she’d first read Marilyn’s confession. No matter which route Rebecca took, she always reached a dead end. Though it was beyond frustrating, she struggled to remain positive. What good would it do to allow anger and despair to devour her?
In her heart, Rebecca also believed that even in this most unbelievable mess, God had a plan. She held fast to that belief. Yet, on days such as this when the memories crept in and stole the light, each breath still sliced like a knife.
Maybe she was trying too hard. She’d spent nearly every waking hour either managing the preschool or searching for clues. Maybe it was time to ease up a bit and let God handle it. Her grandma used to say, “When the going gets rough, Becca, remember God’s always there to listen.”
Rebecca eased back in the padded desk chair and lifted her gaze. She clasped her hands and drew a deep, cleansing breath as she offered a silent prayer.
Tell me, Lord…how much pain might I endure? Will I ever find my daughter? And, if I do find her, what happens next, Lord?


Oh my goodness, what a wonderful story! Ms. Manners just pulls on your heartstrings right from the start of this one. For me, there is nothing like the love of a mother for her child to make the world a better place.

Rebecca is so sweet, with a heart of gold. How dare her mother-in-law give her child away? And how was she ever to find her? She has done well for herself by running the day care, but the emptiness is never far away. Losing the child that she never had a chance to know leaves her aching. And when Cole walks in with Kimmy that hole nearly swallows her up. 

But Cole is a kind hearted soul too, who has been hurt by the trials of life. This story is such a blessing, showing us the power of God's love.

I tip my hat to you, Mary, great story!

Buy links: 

About the author:

Mary Manners is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and teen-aged daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.

During the school year, she teaches middle-schoolers reading and Algebra. In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

Visit Mary at

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Welcome Sharon! And congratulations on your first full length story to be published. And you certainly don't do things in small steps. I believe there are four women, four stories to this series. Wow! Now that's what I call a leap of faith.

How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
I don’t, intentionally, write any of me into my characters. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a little piece of me in all of the women. Callie teaches Sunday school and loves her guacamole, Terri is looking for God’s will in her life and arguing the whole way, Pam is learning lessons in forgiveness. Yep, there I am. 
Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?

For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust, and patience.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m going to assume you don’t mean raising terrific daughters.  Really? This book. Not just for the validation or a sense of “I can really do this”. But because I feel like it represent me, finally finding God’s place for me. 
Well, raising a daughter ranks right up there - just another piece of God's plan for your life. And thank you so much for bringing this story to us, as well as the ones yet to come!
So, for those of you who haven't had a peek yet, come check out Callie, one of the women of Valley View.

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who's befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.


Callie Stillman dabbed raindrops from her face with a linen napkin as Benton dodged a server with a loaded tray and took his place across from her. She smiled into her husband’s blue eyes and reached across to wipe water from his beard. “We’ll both have pneumonia if we don’t dry off soon.”

Benton took the napkin and finished the job. “I’ve been told the food is very good. A few sniffles should be worth it.”

Callie’s gaze roamed the room. “It’s…” Recognition slammed into her chest, forcing the air from her lungs. The man crossing the room behind her husband nodded and continued to his table. Was that the bailiff? Do you swear to tell the truth… She gulped for breath and fought the familiar darkness that crowded the edges of her vision.

Callie ran a finger around her collar, tugging the neck of the blouse away from skin suddenly dewed with a fine film of sweat. Too hot. She took a sip of water, dismayed at the tremor in her hand as she lifted the glass to her lips. Not here, not tonight. Callie closed her eyes and practiced the breathing techniques she’d learned over the last six months. In through her nose, hold for a few seconds, and out through her mouth. Concentrate only on the current step in the process, the next breath. The tightness in her chest began to fade away. Thank you, Jesus. She raised her water again and held the cold glass to her flushed cheek.


This is a story of the heart, a story about unconditional love, God's love as He guides us through this world. You will fall in love with Callie and all the others in this story as their troubles draw you in and make you look a little deeper into the hearts of others..

After nearly being destroyed while trying to help a young mother, Callie feels called by God to try again, to love more deeply, to give of herself more freely, to be more than she is capable of on her own. Isn't that God's call to all of us? Well, Callie struggles with herself, and her husband, yet she answers the call. And God is just amazing when He demonstrates what a little bit of faithfulness can do.

I hope you will feel as blessed by this story as I have.

Oh, and Sharon is having a giveaway too! Look what you can win just by leaving a message (don't forget to leave a contact email).

The gift package includes:

A copy of Callie's story
A certificate for Terri's story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card

About the author:

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

The Women of Valley View. Ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things.

The Women of Valley View: Callie, Available 26 Oct 2012
The Women of Valley View: Terri, Available April 12 2013