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April 2017 New Releases

April 10, 2017

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

Contemporary Romance:

sandpiper-cove

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon — When a police chief and an ex-con join forces to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks fly. Given their backgrounds, it’s not a promising match—but in Hope Harbor, anything is possible. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])

 

oh-baby

Oh Baby by Delia Latham — Dawni Manors seeks peace in Angel Falls, Texas. What she finds is a cowboy, an abandoned infant, and emotional chaos. If the Heart’s Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

 

General:
a-fragile-hope

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti — Where does a relationship expert turn when his wife leaves him and carries a tiny heartbeat with her? (General from Abingdon Press)

waiting-for-butterflies

 

Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent — When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother’s love never ends–not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her sudden death, she becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. (General from Walrus Publishing [Amphorae Publishing Group])

Mystery:

sunset-in-old-savannahSunset in Old Savannah by Mary Ellis — When a philandering husband turns up dead, two crack detectives find more suspects than moss-draped oaks in charming old Savannah, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne’er-do-well brother. (Mystery from Harvest House Publishers)

Historical:
above-rubies

Above Rubies by Keely Brooke Keith — In 1863, young teacher Olivia Owens establishes the first school in the remote settlement of Good Springs while finding love. (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

a-rose-so-fair

A Rose So Fair by Myra Johnson — Caleb Wieland would give anything to win farm girl Rose Linwood’s heart, but Rose’s stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she’s named. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
under-the-same-sky

Under the Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer — In 1854 Illinois, Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)
the-pony-express-collection

The Pony Express Romance Collection by Barbara Tifft Blakey, Mary Davis, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Maureen Lang, Debby Lee, Donna Schlachter, Connie Stevens and Pegg Thomas — Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express. Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

plain-targetPlain Target by Dana R. Lynn — Horse trainer Jess McGrath only wants to clear her disgraced brother’s name, but enemies keep coming out of the woodwork and danger only gets closer. Jess soon learns that no place is safe—and no one can be trusted…except for the last white knight she’d ever expect to ride to her rescue. Paramedic Seth Travis was the boy behind her high school humiliation, but he’s also the man keeping her alive. When they find sanctuary in the Amish community, can they uncover answers in time to stop a killer—and resolve their past in time to build a future together? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
dangerous-testimony

Dangerous Testimony by Dana Mentink — Four weeks before she’s set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband’s memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

deep-extractionDeep Extraction by DiAnn Mills — Special Agent Tori Templeton is determined to find who killed her best friend’s husband. Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer?and to each other?the more intent someone is on silencing them for good. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

final-verdict

Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch — When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it’s his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancée from a dangerous felon, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

guardian

Guardian by Terri Reed — When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who’s important to him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) witch

Witch by Denise Weimer — Having restored Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael’s been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary convince her to rely on the faithfulness of his love? (Romantic Suspense from Canterbury House Publishing)

Speculative Romance/Fantasy:
the-fairetellings-series

The Fairetellings Series (Books 1 through 3) by Kristen Reed — Discover a trio of enchanting novellas inspired by three beloved fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)

by jill at 6:00 am in ,

Cover Reveal!

April 5, 2017

This September Revell will release the fourth book in the Loves of King Solomon series – The Queen of Sheba. This e-book novella is the last in the e-book only series. To follow in 2019 the final compilation (paperback) of these novellas will be available, though this compilation will not be the same as the e-books. My goal is to give readers a slightly different experience with the compilation, which I’m working on now.

The e-books are written in first person from each woman’s point of view. The compilation switches to third person (like my other novels) and includes Solomon’s point of view. So right now, as I’m writing the compilation, I’m also editing this last e-book – The Queen of Sheba. And in the midst of it all, it seems like the perfect time for a cover reveal!

As always, Revell does a wonderful job on covers and this one is no exception. She is pretty close to what I envisioned. Now I just hope you enjoy the story that goes with the cover!

Pre-orders are available on Amazon.

~Selah

Why Prayer and Faith are Linked

March 31, 2017

I remember as a kid, I had these half-mile to mile-long walks to school, often taken by myself. We didn’t have a lot of kids on our street, so I didn’t have a group of friends surrounding me. Plus, I was “miss introvert”, so time alone never bothered me. But what I remember most about those walks? That’s when I had long conversations with God. It just seemed natural then.

Praying as I walked turned to journal praying and now I pray just about anywhere – but I promise I don’t close my eyes if I’m riding my bike or driving the car! Posture of body is not nearly as important as the posture of our hearts.

There have been a few times in my life when my prayers became deeper, more intense. Sometimes such gut-wrenching pleas came because of some internal battle I faced. Other times I found unexpected eternal circumstances hit hard and remain completely beyond my control. Life has a way of doing that to us, doesn’t it? Desperate times either cause us to turn to God or run away from Him. 

Perhaps it’s a bad medical diagnosis or a financial disaster or an estranged relationship with someone who was supposed to love you forever, or maybe it’s a car accident that ruins a future, or a drug overdose that does the same. Perhaps someone we love suffers with addiction or mental illness or anger they can’t get under control. Maybe we are caught in a spiral of depression or anxiety, or we’re facing a job loss or homelessness or persecution.

The world has all kinds of ways to punch us in the gut, doesn’t it? And for a while we think we can deal with this on our own. We can fix it. We just have to do this…or that…or…but there comes a time when we run out of “or”. And we realize how helpless we are and how hopeless life can feel.

Jesus once told a story to his followers that has stuck with me as I am learning to navigate the waters of too many struggles. Too many changes. Too much stress and sometimes too much pain. It’s a story that begins with an admonition, but it ends with a question. And I wonder…are the two connected?

Here’s the story:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”” Luke 18:1-8 ESV

My takeaway? I think the story of the widow and the unjust judge was not trying to tell us that God is unjust, but rather, as Christ said at the beginning: We ought always to pray and not lose heart. Don’t give up.

And that’s the point. I look around today after over fifty years of walking with Jesus, no longer on my way to school, but on my way through life. The journey has been good and not so good. It’s been amazing and despairing. And trust me when I say I’ve come oh so close to losing heart. But then I remember Jesus’ words NOT to do that, so I cry out desperately once more to Him in prayer. And a lot of my friends tell me they do the same.

In my circle of friends (my age, older, and much younger) I see a deep desire to pray and not give up. I hear testimonies of God’s answers that give me goosebumps and encourage my faith. (True stories of amazing grace.)

Then on the other hand, I see too much truth in Jesus’ final question after He told that story. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

And I wonder…are prayer and faith linked? Do we start to lose faith when we stop talking to God? When we stop listening for His answer or seeking Him through His Word? Did Jesus tell us to not lose heart as we wait on God’s answers because prayer is so intricately linked to faith?

The apostle Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God so we can withstand in the days when evil reigns. Part of that armor is the shield of faith, which protects our vital organs where our heart beats strong. But did you know that the last piece of that armor is prayer? Prayer is like the invisible shield that holds the armor together because prayer admits that we need God. We subject ourselves to the General in charge of the battle. Any soldier can put on all of the pieces of armor or battle gear, but if she doesn’t follow her commanding officer, she’s a lone wolf, a rogue warrior who has no backup. She will only get so far on her own.

And I believe that’s why Jesus linked faith and prayer in the same story. We pray persistently only when we believe unflinchingly. But if we lose our ability to pray…is it not because we have lost our ability to believe? To trust? And we think that we know best?

I have a lot of things in my life that are completely beyond my ability to control. I bet you could say the same. We desperately want to see a change in circumstances, like the widow wanted justice. We want to find peace and joy and love yet somehow it eludes our grasp. And we find ourselves walking alone with no one to turn to.

Maybe it’s time to invite Jesus back into that conversation and learn again to pray and not lose heart. To pray and not give up. To know that just because we aren’t seeing answers just yet, doesn’t mean He doesn’t hear us. But it’s possible that He’s waiting to answer for a reason. Just don’t lose faith by giving into the notion that God is silent or does not care. Because one day we will look back, if we don’t lose heart, and see that He was working behind the scenes and His answers are going to be amazing.

~Selah

#livegrace #prayanddontloseheart

by jill at 12:34 pm in , ,

One life here

March 13, 2017

Perhaps it is because I’ve been on and off sick since the end of January, or perhaps it’s because we visited the cemetery the same day we turned in the information to have our taxes done…death and taxes…yeah those two sure things. Or perhaps it is because I was looking for remedies to this virus and ran across a website that told me my resting pulse rate determined how long I would live. But one of these things got me thinking – and that tends to end in a lengthy email or blog post or journal entry. (So please forgive me for the length of this!)

Back to that website and the pulse rate. I was fairly “rested” at that moment, so I took my pulse and by their calculations discovered I might only have three years left to live. Woah!

And hmm…

Since I believe God determines how long I will live, I didn’t give the website too much credence, except that I did check my pulse again a few days later and looked for a more reliable website and discovered I fall right in the normal range. So there’s that.

I also figured it’s not worth worrying over. I couldn’t control the day I was born, nor did I have a say in that event and I certainly won’t have a say in the end of all things. I’ll skip over all of those “what ifs” about suicide or people who take unnecessary risks or other ways we can shorten our life except to say that yes, I think we can shorten God’s time table like Solomon did, when he flat out disobeyed God’s specific warning to him not to worship other gods. (He was about 56 when he died, which was young in comparison to his father.) You would think the wisest man in the world would have listened when God Almighty spoke to him three times! Boy how I would love to hear God’s voice speak directly to me!

But I digress…

That whole three years to live possibility mixed with visiting my in-laws and my dad’s graves this past week reminded me that we really aren’t here for long. Not on this physical earth. My mother-in-law (who I dedicated Redeeming Grace to in part) has been gone 17 years. My father-in-law ten years. My dad five. That doesn’t even count the grandma I grew up knowing the best who met Jesus when I was twenty-one. Yet time still ticks on and we forget the space those people held on the planet. We forget what their voice sounded like after a while. But if we’re coherent enough, we don’t forget their love or their faith or the way they treated us and we treated them.

I might not remember everything my dad and I did together, but I won’t forget that he loved to take the kids and me (Randy was working) to McDonalds for lunch and prayed with me on my birthday each year. He loved my mom for more than 70 years and was married almost as long to her. He loved watching his family, just spending time with them. I have pictures of him holding my kids as babies and getting on the floor and playing with them, or sitting in the chair watching them play. That is a precious memory I won’t easily forget.

And it got me thinking…what would I do differently if I really did know I only had three years left on earth? What if it was three days? Or thirty years? Do you ever wish we knew? I mean sometimes it’s tempting to want to know. We might spend our money differently. We might travel more often. We might not care about the petty things.

But of course, we don’t know and if truth were told, we probably don’t want to know. The mystique of not knowing keeps us getting up each day, looking forward to it with purpose. Yet how would you use the next year, two, three, ten, if you knew that’s all you had left?

I’m not trying to be morbid. It’s more like – what’s important to you? Do you have a bucket list? Do people or things matter most if you were faced with that very real possibility of our mortality? It’s not like the movies where we can get shot and come back to life in the next scene. We aren’t superman or wonder woman.

We will live forever somewhere, but it won’t be this current as-it-is earth. I am assuming if you read enough of my blog posts that you already know that I believe in heaven and hell and truth and life and that there is a way to be transformed and know the One who determines the future. But that’s not what this post is about.

I’m thinking earthly for a moment. And just wondering if you’ve ever thought of your own life in that framework? I lost a baby before he/she was born, had a neighbor boy die on our front lawn when he was twelve, knew two friends in high school who died in their twenties, had a cousin lose a teenage daughter in a car accident, knew a family who lost six members at once to a boating accident and more than one friend become widowed way too young. So I know that death is no respecter of age. Jesus considered it the enemy.

And He came to defeat it, which He did.

But until He completely shuts it down, we still live in a fallen world and while we scramble to find the fountain of youth, do we stop and think about…what if? How long, Lord? What would He have you do with your one life here?

If I really did have three years left on this earth, that would be a pretty freaky thought. The other day when I coughed so hard my chest hurt, I thought about this again. What would I do?

Well…I would probably keep doing what I’m doing, except I’d try to see my family more. I would try to mend any broken fences, if I could. I would travel to some of those bucket-list places. But mostly? I would just want to love and be loved. I would hope that I would share Jesus with everyone I knew – like my dad did. He exuded Jesus even in the nursing home, until he couldn’t speak anymore. I hope I never end up in a nursing home, but I do hope I exude the love of Jesus until that final breath.

How about you? I know I’ve probably made this more spiritual than it started out to be, but by now, my readers know that I tend to end up there because that’s who I am. I guess I wrote this more for me than anyone else – preaching to myself, as it were.

I do hope that perhaps something in this “trying not to be morbid” post causes all of us to think about our lives, how we’re spending them, what we’ll have in the end. Do I really care if I died with a boatload of money? (I don’t have a lot of money, nor a boat, but just sayin’.) We can’t take anything with us except the people we loved to Jesus, and we don’t get to pick when our future ends. We do get to pick how we spend our one life here.

I hope we choose to live it with love, forgiveness, and the grace of God, because that’s how we’ve been treated by Jesus. That’s my bucket list, even if I live to be one hundred.

In the meantime, I wouldn’t mind getting rid of this never-ending virus, and I think cemeteries and taxes should probably not be visited on the same day!

And if you’ve read this far – thank you!

#livegrace

by jill at 12:53 pm in ,

Could you give up everything?

March 6, 2017

Giving up. Have you ever had to give up something to gain something more, something better?

Ruth gave up all she knew in Moab to move with Naomi to Bethlehem, a city she did not know. I wonder, how willing i would be to go where I have never been? To love enough to cling to a God I was only beginning to know.

Ruth is an amazing woman of Scripture. While her story is also Naomi’s story, we see Ruth standing out as someone who risked everything for something she could not see. Did not know – yet.

Life is full of challenges, isn’t it? Every phase of life brings risk and change and the older I get the less I like those changes. But you know what? God is there in the risks. God is in the challenge and in the change. And He is seeking people who will come to Him, want Him, and allow Him to teach them in the middle of the challenge.

I’ll be honest. I’ve faced a lot of challenges these past few years. I’ve been placed in positions I would never have chosen. And sometimes I look heavenward and wonder, “couldn’t we have taken a different path?” If I were doing the choosing, this would look different than it does.

But it doesn’t. And it isn’t. And that’s okay, because God is in the challenge. And as Ruth discovered, He is worth anything we might have to give up.

Anything?

Yeah. Anything. If we put other things above Him – make them more important than Him in our hearts? We will find Him jealously pursuing us, because He wants to be our heart’s greatest desire. And that might mean giving up other things. Other people. Other longings. He wants no other gods to rule our hearts. 

As Christians, we tend to skip over those first two commandments about having other gods or worshiping idols. That was for those times, not ours. But was it? Are we not just as susceptible as the ancients were in putting other things, other goals, other people above our love for God?

When Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself,” He really didn’t leave any wiggle room for us to love someone or something above God His Father. Either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. 

And yeah, that’s been my struggle these past few years. I never thought I could slip someone else or something else into God’s place as most important in my life. But when someone else is causing us to change our behavior or mood by their actions? We’re giving them too much power to control us. And that’s a warning sign – a big red flag that God is no longer our first love.

Giving up things I thought would always be part of my life is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Giving up a life I expected to be mine but isn’t leaves me asking “why”? Perhaps you see my career and think – what is she talking about? But you see, we all have our private side and God is in those private moments – in our homes, with our family, among our friends. It’s there where we face our biggest challenges. Maybe for some it is giving up a longed for career. We all walk a different path.

But God wants the other gods that war for space in our hearts to lose all potential to take His rightful place as the true Lord of our life.

Ruth realized that the gods of Moab were not even remotely comparable to the God of Israel, Naomi’s God. She wanted the God her mother-in-law knew. And she gave up all to have Him.

Are we willing to do the same?

~Selah

#redeeminggrace #livegrace