Author Archives: Janet Sketchley

About Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley is an Atlantic Canadian writer whose Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense novels have each been finalists in The Word Awards. She's also the author of the devotional collection, A Year of Tenacity. Janet blogs about faith and books. She loves Jesus and her family, and enjoys reading, worship music, and tea. Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join her writing journey through her monthly newsletter: bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews.

New Releases in Christian Fiction (October 2021)

October 2021 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)

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


Contemporary:

 

Perfectly Arranged by Liana George — Can Nicki risk letting go of her well-ordered life plans and embrace what God has perfectly arranged? (General Contemporary from Scrivenings Press LLC)

 


Contemporary Romance:

 

Tacos for Two by Bestsy St. Amant — Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site. Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month. Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one? (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

 

Riverbend Gap by Denise Hunter — She came in search of the family she’d always wanted—and found the kind of love she’d never dared to imagine. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))

 

Worthy of Redemption by Krystina Renae Rankina — Ten years ago, tragedy sent her running… can friendship and maybe even love prove him worthy of redemption? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

Home for Christmas by Cathe Swanson, et. al. — The 6th annual Christmas Lights Collection features active duty and veteran military members. (Contemporary Romance from Havilah Press Publications)

 

A Harvest Heart by Denise Weimer — Hope Richardson is good at just that—hoping. Problem is, she’s often disappointed—by fathers who die, boyfriends who ghost her, and lack of promotion at her event planning firm. It’s her twin sister, Faith, for whom things work out. When Faith’s fiancé lands an out-of-town job, Hope is called home to plan a wedding in the Georgia foothills … and jumpstart the tea room Faith was supposed to run with their mother. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

The Billionaire’s Secret by Meghann Whistler — He’s a billionaire hiding a devastating diagnosis. She’ll do whatever it takes to help her sick, matchmaking mom. A freak accident throws them together, but will his big secret tear them apart? Inspired by 2 Corinthians 12:9, The Billionaire’s Secret is a sweet inspirational romance with a swoony hero, LOTS of entertaining banter, and a strong Christian message. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 


Historical Mystery:

 

Murder at the Empire by Cathe Swanson — They call him the Emperor. John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees. Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky. Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next? (Historical Mystery from Celebrate Lit Publishing)


Historical Romance:

 

To Stand in the Breach by Danielle Grandinetti — 1933, Wisconsin – Large animal veterinarian Katy Wells takes her patients’ welfare personally, so it’s no surprise when she stands up to angry farmers planning a milk strike or takes in an injured draft horse to save its life. But after a visitor from the past discovers her location and reveals a threat, she must choose between her work and her freedom, and whether to trust a man to keep her safe. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

 

The Petticoat Spy by Elva Cobb Martin — A feisty Southern belle and a blockade runner ignite romance, faith, and fireworks to save Charleston during the American Revolution. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

 

A Family for Hazel by Linda Shenton Matchett — After the Civil War takes Hazel Markham’s father, and her mother dies of a broken heart, a friend of her parents hires Hazel as a companion. All is well until the woman’s lecherous son takes an interest in his mother’s assistant. When Hazel spurns his advances one too many times, the man frames her for theft, and she is fired. As a last resort she applies to be a mail-order bride, and to her dismay, her groom-to-be is a preacher. Will he believe her claims of innocence or reject her as unacceptable? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

 

In Pieces by Rhonda Ortiz — Boston, 1793—Beautiful and artistic, the only daughter of a prominent merchant, Molly Chase cannot help but attract the notice of Federalist Boston—especially its men. But she carries a painful secret: her father committed suicide and she found his body. Now nightmares plague her day and night, addling her mind and rendering her senseless. Molly needs a home, a nurse, and time to grieve and to find new purpose in life. But when she moves in with her friends the Robbs, spiteful society gossips assume the worst. And when an imprudent decision leads to public scandal, Molly is tempted to take the easy way out: a marriage of convenience. In the wake of tragedy, these longtime friends discover a new intimacy. But slander, confusion, absence, and a wealthy, conniving bully stand between them. And with French spies on the loose, they not only have to rescue their reputations—they have to protect their lives. (Historical Romance from WhiteFire Publishing)

 

The Wrangler’s Woman by Davalynn Spencer — Corra Jameson doesn’t think of herself as a spinster and is content to spend quiet evenings with her books. Paper beaus, her sister calls them, teasing her about the stories Corra reads. But when a rugged widower asks her to come to his ranch for the summer to help him with his tomboy daughter, she sees opportunity to earn a side of beef for her sister’s family. Besides, she has nothing to lose in the arrangement. Except perhaps her heart. Re-released from the 2016 ECPA bestselling Barbour collection, The Cowboy’s Bride. (Historical Romance from Wilson Creek Publishing)

 

Christmas Tree Wars by Delores Topliff — Kris Lundquist, an ambitious New York City financial planner, comes home to Wisconsin for two weeks to help his Swedish-American Christmas tree grower dad meet a financial crisis. While there, he gets re-acquainted with Marcie Halvorsen, the idealistic forestry-major niece of their cranky Norwegian neighbor who is also home to solve a financial shortfall. Both enter contests to provide national Christmas tree to build their businesses and sales. Despite their relationship seeming as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet’s, they fall in love and help their families and town rediscover the reason for the season. (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press LLC)

 

A Heart for the Sailor by Terri Wangard — Working as a Winnie the Welder during World War II, Evelyn builds submarines. She’s good at her job, but men begrudge women taking jobs in heavy industry. She dreams of the day her sailor comes home and the life they’ll have, but does Jerry dream about her? When a typhoon threatens the US Fleet in the Pacific, Jerry and his shipmates aboard the Tabberer rush to the aid of their fellow sailors. The typhoon prompts a greater awareness of what he wants in life. First, though, they have to survive. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

 

A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse — After being kidnapped as a child, heiress Emma Grace McMurray has seen firsthand the devastation that greed causes in the world, and she wants nothing to do with it. When she discovers her father has offered her up as a bargaining chip to expand his empire, she disappears into the night. Determined to stay hidden, even if it means always looking over her shoulder, she finds herself working as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Hotel. When the son’s owner, Ray Watkins arrives at the hotel on business, he immediately admires Emma Grace, and though an attraction begins to form, she can’t let go of the deep-rooted fear that he’s just like every other wealthy man she’s known. When suspicious activity follows Emma Grace and Ray to the El Tovar, they are pulled into a mystery that stirs up their worst fears. And as shocking revelations come to light, they are left to question all they thought to be true. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)

 


Romantic Suspense:

 

Deadly Connection by Kathy Harris — After fending off a would-be abductor, 27-year-old singer-songwriter Hannah Cassidy hides behind a car in the half-empty parking lot behind Pancake Pantry in Nashville. From there, she watches in horror as her attacker grabs another woman and pushes her into a nearby car. Within seconds, the vehicle speeds away. TBI Special Agent Jake Matheson may have planned a quiet day off and a date with Shannon―the only name her online profile revealed―for an introductory lunch, but after pulling into a parking space on 21st Avenue South, he hears a scream. He races to the back of the building and finds a frightened young woman bent forward and gasping for breath. Thrown together by uncanny circumstances and driven by the whys and what-ifs of secrets yet to be revealed, Hannah and Jake set out to find the connection between them before it becomes deadly. (Romantic Suspense/Thriller from Iron Stream Fiction (an imprint of Iron Stream Media))

 

Yuletide Cold Case Cover-Up by Jessica R. Patch — The mystery of her sister’s death is about to reveal some deadly answers…When her sister’s remains are found just before Christmas, cold case agent Poppy Holliday is determined to solve the years-old murder—even if it turns the killer’s sights on her. But her investigation with her straitlaced partner, Rhett Wallace, is stirring up the town’s old memories—and bitter grudges. And this killer will do anything to keep secrets buried. (Romantic Suspense/Thriller from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

 

Traces of Virtue by Robin Patchen — From her deathbed, Carly Garcia’s mother asked Carly to look after left her stepfather and her sisters. Carly is doing everything in her power to keep that promise, but now she has a new life to protect, this one innocent and vulnerable. She visits her ex to tell him a truth he doesn’t deserve to know… and witnesses his murder. Now, Carly’s on the run from killers whose faces she never saw. Braden Reilly is building a career in Coventry, New Hampshire, happy to put the drama of his crime-ridden Boston neighborhood behind him. When a woman he’s spent years trying to forget shows up on his doorstep, his first instinct is to turn her away. But the bruises on her arms and the fear in her eyes have him offering her sanctuary. The story she tells him makes his blood curdle. Together, they must discover who’s behind a murder nobody believes occurred before the killers catch up to Carly and her unborn child. (Romantic Suspense/Thriller, Independently Published)

 


Literary:

 

A Flicker of Light by Katie Powner — For generations, the Jensens have raised their families in the small Montana town of Moose Creek, where gossip spreads faster than the wind. Yet some secrets need to be told. When twenty-one-year-old Bea discovers she’s pregnant on the heels of her husband losing his job, she’s forced to admit she needs help and asks her dad for a place to stay. But past resentments keep her from telling him all that’s going on. Grandma June is good at spinning stories, but there’s one she’s never told. Now that her mind is starting to fade, her time to tell it is running out. But if she reveals the truth before her memories are gone forever, the Jensen family will never be the same. (Literary from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)

 


Mystery:

 

Memories, Murder and Small Town Money by KC Hart — When Katy Cross finds one of Skeeterville’s supposedly upstanding citizens dead in the dumpster behind the grocery store, she has to work hard to find the killer before any more of the town’s colorful citizens are harmed. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)

 


Speculative Fiction:

 

Book Title by Amanda G. Stevens — Unable for the last century to grow old or succumb to injury, Cady Schuster has lost a lot of people, some more recently than others. She’s trying to find new belonging in Harbor Vale, Michigan, among a welcoming little group of fellow ageless folk. Then she meets Paige, a mortal woman who needs a friend-and might need help.Paige’s husband rules their church with an authority unquestioned by his congregation. When Paige suddenly severs all communication, Cady determines to find her. Churchgoers warn her off, and the behavior of Paige’s husband proves a still bigger warning. Is this friend lost too, or can Cady help her? And how far should an ageless woman involve herself in the conflicts of mortals? (Speculative Fiction, Independently Published)

 


Thriller/Suspense:

 

Ice Cold Blue by Susan Page Davis — Campbell McBride is now working for her father Bill as a private investigator in Murray, Kentucky. Xina Harrison wants them to find out what is going on with her aunt, Katherine Taylor. Katherine is a rich, reclusive author, and she has resisted letting Xina visit her for several years. Xina arrived unannounced, and Katherine was upset and didn’t want to let her in. When Xina did gain entry, she learned Katherine fired her longtime housekeeper. She noticed that a few family heirlooms previously on display have disappeared. (Thriller/Suspense from Scrivenings Press LLC)

 


Western:

 

Love on the Range by Mary Connealy — While his brothers and their new wives search for who shot him, Wyatt Hunt is temporarily bedridden and completely miserable. Somehow Molly Garner’s limited skills have made her the most qualified in their circle to care for Wyatt. But by the time he’s healed, she’s fed up with him and the whole ungrateful family. For even worse than his grumpiness were the few unguarded moments when he pulled at her heartstrings, and she has been long determined to never repeat her mother’s mistakes. But when another Pinkerton agent gets shot, they realize Hawkins isn’t the only danger. The Hunt brothers will have to band together to face all the troubles of life and love that suddenly surround them. (Western from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Ocracoke By Christmas by Cindy M. Amos, The lighthouse shelters a few choice secrets, but never falters in shining a light on true love. (Historical Romance)
 
The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham, He was never supposed to become an earl. She was never supposed to marry him. (Historical Romance)
 
Jingle Bell Square by Joi Copeland, He wants healing after losing his father. She wants to find a love that will last. (Contemporary Romance)
 
Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams by Kathy Fulkerson, et. al., A collection of Christmas beach romance novellas by five multi-published authors. (Contemporary Romance) 
 
Sweet Cranberries by Sherry Kyle, When a handsome electrician and other residents of the island step up to help with the festival, she must discern whether they really have her best interests at heart. (Contemporary Romance) 
 
When Love Trusts by Judythe Morgan, A second chance at first love. (Romance) 
 
A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano, Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past? (Historical Romance) 
 
Lucinda’s Defender by Blossom Turner, Life hasn’t turned out at all like Lucinda expected, but neither is the depth of love one man has for her. (Historical Romance)
 
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Review: Yours is the Night, by Amanda Dykes

Yours is the Night, by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House, 2021)

This lyrical tale of hope found in the darkness released just in time to honour the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the American Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Readers learn from the prologue that a soldier significant to the story will not survive. Then we meet the American Matthew, Mira, a young woman who lives in a forest in France, and others who intersect their lives.

Any fan of Amanda Dykes’ work will know to expect characters who are at once “everyperson” and yet whose particular circumstances lead them through pain to hope—in ways that linger in our imaginations long after the story ends. Without shielding them from hardship, she presents their lives with tenderness and their surroundings in often poetic description.

This makes Yours is the Night, a story set near the end of the Great War, an accessible read. The horrors of war aren’t in-your-face graphic. Instead, perhaps more powerfully, they’re shown mostly by the way they affect the characters. Despite its at-times fairytale feel, this is no lightweight novel.

It is, however, beautiful and hopeful. Heartwarming and encouraging. And it’s told with great respect for the real-life men and women who endured the unthinkable in the war. Highly recommended!

Here are some of my most favourite lines:

His smile did not fall, but it changed. It looked like one of Grand-père’s creations, carved into wood. [Mira, about her father, page 28]

…his eyes seemed to hear things even when his ears could not. [Mira, observing Matthew, page 121]

He was all of us, just a boy in a war too dark for him in a world too big, trying to do his part. [Matthew’s thoughts of a young fellow soldier, page 284]

Christy Award-winning author Amanda Dykes has written two previous novels, Whose Waves These Are and Set the Stars Alight, as well as shorter fiction. For more about the author and her work, visit amandadykes.com. As well as book club resources, you’ll find links to her blog and a way to sign up for her newsletter, “The Scriptorium”.

[Review copy provided by Baker Publishing Group via Graf-Martin Communications. My review is voluntary and is my own uninfluenced opinion.]

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Review: Trouble Brewing, by Heather Day Gilbert (Barks ‘n Beans 5)

Trouble Brewing, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2021)

When her friend Della suspects that an elderly homecare client was murdered, local sleuth Macy Hatfield sees the perfect way to scout out the dead woman’s suspect-laden family: The daughter and her husband run a country inn that’s offering a Halloween weekend getaway.

Leaving her faithful Great Dane, Coal, in the care of her brother, Bo, Macy and Della book a mini getaway. They both need one, and it’ll be fun. What could possibly go wrong?

Among the family, motive abounds. Add a creepy ghost-tour walk, an apparition on the grounds, bats, and a dead body, and Macy and Della may be in too deep. Because there’s nothing ghostly about the very human killer.

Favourite line:

It was the kind of sun-speckled October day that wrapped the autumn trees in a lazy golden cocoon. I’d been a child of the mountains since the day I was born, but this kind of weather forced everyone to sit up and acknowledge that West Virginia was called “almost heaven” for good reason. [chapter 1]

Don’t you just want to visit?

Trouble Brewing is book 5 in the Barks & Beans Café Mystery series, clean reads set in small-town West Virginia. Fans of the series will still have a chance to visit the café and enjoy the staff and the rescue dogs, but the bulk of the story takes place at Baxter Manor.

This is a series you can jump into anywhere, with each mystery self-contained. That said, there is a long-running plot thread from Bo’s former work in drug enforcement, and the characters are building relationships with one another and in the community.

Award-winning author Heather Day Gilbert’s books range from cozy mysteries to suspense to Viking historicals. For more about the author and her work, visit heatherdaygilbert.com.

[Advance reader copy provided by the author. My review is voluntary and is my own opinion.]

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Weddings, Clients, and Meetings … Oh My! (Guest Post)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Weddings, Clients, and Meetings … Oh My!

by Steph Beth Nickel

Okay, so, I only attended one wedding this month, but the title reads better because I pluralized it. As writers, we’re allowed a little poetic license from time to time.

My son and brand new daughter-in-law had a small ceremony because … COVID. So many friends and family members couldn’t make the trip. I will forever be thankful that my husband and I made it to Saskatchewan from Ontario for the weekend.

Even though we were only away for four days, travel included, it meant we had to shuffle a lot of other responsibilities.

Deadline extensions + a tsunami of tasks + a sense of overwhelm often leads to too much YouTube and not enough time at my computer.

So, how can we handle our schedule when we’d rather vegetate on the couch or pull the covers over our head and sleep for “just five more minutes”?

Here are some suggestions that have either worked for me in the past or I’m planning to implement in the next little while:

Create a list of everything you want to get done. The more detailed the list, the better.

Prioritize the list. Self-care may be a buzzword these days, but getting adequate rest, eating well, keeping physically active, and doing something that feeds your spirit on a regular basis are vital for not only your wellbeing but also for your ability to effectively complete the tasks on your To-Do List. Be sure to include self-care on your list of priorities.

Decide what you can get done each day within reason. I make a mean To-Do List, and because I’m content moving unfinished tasks to the next day, it’s hard for me to create realistic expectations for each day. I’m getting better, but it’s a process for sure.

Back out of at least some responsibilities that don’t rank high on your priority list. This is tough for many of us. People count on us. We don’t like to say no when they ask us to do something, especially something “small.” (Don’t forget the adage about the straw and the camel’s back.) Like me, you may be eclectically interested and eclectically involved. It’s hard to know what to set aside—even temporarily—but it’s a necessary skill.

Assign specific tasks to specific days. Trying to do a little bit of everything on the same day often leads to a sense that you haven’t accomplished anything significant. Completing a single task before moving onto the next one has its benefits, but when that isn’t possible, it’s important to determine how much of one task you will accomplish before moving on. Optionally, you can set a time limit and see how much of the project you can get done in an hour or two for instance. Be content with your progress, and move on, physical and mentally, to the next task.

Beware of mental fog and hair-trigger emotions. We’ve all been there. Unable to concentrate on the task at hand. Snapping at a friend or family member over a non-issue. Feeling that anger, frustration, or anxiety forming in the pit of our stomach. Should we push through? Take a break? Walk away and start fresh tomorrow? Because I work from home and create my own schedule, most times, I have the opportunity to add the task to my next day’s schedule. Even if this isn’t an option, taking a stretch break, reading a novel for 5-10 minutes, or just closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths can make a surprisingly big difference.

Have some fun. “All work and no play …” and all that. Is there something you look forward to every day? I enjoy watching an episode of a show on Netflix or Disney Plus with my hubby each evening. Instead of watching “just one more YouTube episode,” I feel more refreshed when I take a little time to read. And, of course, being an extra extrovert, I love meeting a friend for coffee and a l-o-n-g chat.

How to you deal with overwhelm in your life?

Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at nurtureandinspire@gmail.com; join her Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2725853534313738; or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.

Review: How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market, by Ricardo Fayet

How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market, by Ricardo Fayet (Reedsy, 2021)

Highly recommended for indie authors from beginners to veterans.

I’d heard positive things about this book, and I confess the opening chapters left me wondering what the fuss was about. As I kept reading, I found a wealth of helpful information.

Reedsy co-founder Ricardo Fayet has built on many of the site’s blog posts to assemble a comprehensive overview of what indie authors need to know to market their books. I appreciate his balanced approach and his advice to pick one thing to implement at a time instead of blindly striking out in all directions. He also stresses that marketing is not a one-size-fits-all activity.

This isn’t a smarmy, trickster type of marketing book, but one that emphasizes marketing as a way to help the readers who’ll want your book to find it. That’s helpful, not pushy.

Because many of the topics covered in this book can be books (and courses) in their own right, chapters include referrals to more in-depth material from experts in the field. If you’ve been around indie publishing awhile, you’ll recognize most of the names.

Although it’s packed with information, the book’s friendly, encouraging tone makes it an easy read. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I felt equipped to choose among my possible next steps.

Bonus about this book? The digital version is free (on all platforms) and I believe it’s intended to remain that way. Here’s the link at the Reedsy site, or you can find it on your favourite ebook store site. Warning: you may find you’ve highlighted the digital version enough that you’ll want to buy a print copy for easier reference.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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99-cent Ebook Sale: Unknown Enemy

Unknown Enemy: The short read that kicks off the Green Dory Inn mystery/suspense novels.
A young woman with a traumatic past...
A lonely widow...
And a prowler who's up to  no good.
99 cents for Kindle, Kobo, etc until September 24, 2021. books2read.com/unknownenemy

About the Book

Landon Smith vowed never to return to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Despite her faith, the memories might undo her.

But a shadowy figure has been skulking around the Green Dory Inn—seen only by her friend Anna.

Loyalty demands she stand by this woman who’s been a second mother to her. No matter the cost.

With the police unable to find solid clues, and the incidents escalating, Landon must help Anna discover the truth about the prowler and stop him. Before he turns violent.

Unknown Enemy is a novella-length read. Hidden Secrets and the books to come after are all novel-length.

99-cent ebook sale ends September 24, 2021
Get your copy now!
International buy links: books2read.com/unknownenemy

New Releases in Christian Fiction (September 2021)

September 2021 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)

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

 


Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

 

The Gathering Table by Kathryn Springer — Winsome Lake, Wisconsin, is postcard pretty, but for personal chef Jessica Keaton it’s also a last resort. Fired from her dream job, Jess is starting over as a live-in cook and housekeeper. When she arrives, she finds her new employer is in rehab after having a stroke, and Jess expects she’ll be all alone in Elaine Haviland’s quaint house. A chef with no one to cook for. Instead, she encounters a constant stream of colorful visitors who draw her back into the world. (Contemporary/Women’s Fiction from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

 


Contemporary Romance:



The Heart of Splendid Lake by Amy Clipston — When Brianna Porter’s father unexpectedly dies, Brianna is steeped in grief and guilt—then left alone to clean up the mess. To make matters worse, a constant stream of real estate brokers begins marching through her property, offering to buy the family land. In particular, she keeps running into handsome real estate mogul Scott Gibson. As Brianna struggles to keep it all together, Scott finds his way into her heart. And as the two fight against their feelings, they just might find themselves forging a surprising and exciting new love at Splendid Lake. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))

 

A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano — All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most–and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))

 


Historical Romance:



Brides of the Old West by Amanda Cabot — Four unlikely couples. Four unexpected chances at happiness. Four unforgettable stories of love and faith in the Old West. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

 

Daria’s Duke by Linda Shenton Matchett — After the death of her father, Daria Burke is thrust into the role of a servant by her stepmother. Locked in her room one night, Daria watches as the woman and her daughters sashay from the house wearing her mother’s gowns and jewelry. Realizing she’ll never be accepted as family, she flees the house and applies to be a mail-order bride. Then the sheriff arrives on the eve of her wedding with an arrest warrant. Can she prove her innocence or will she go to jail and lose her one chance at happiness? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

 

Hers to Love by Sherrinda Ketchersid — Fiona McGowan, a beautiful Scottish widow without hope for a family of her own, travels to St. Mary’s Convent to become a nun. In route she is kidnapped by handsome Highlander Adam MacIntosh in a case of mistaken identity. Adam, laird of the MacIntosh clan, is attempting to free his brother held captive by the rival Fergus clan. The failure of his plan leaves him reeling with betrayal, death, and a wee babe in sore need of a healer. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

 


Mystery:



The Notorious Noel Caper by Sally Carpenter — A former teen idol investigates murders at a Christmas theme park while he tries to figure out his relationship with his girlfriend. (Mystery/Cozy from Cozy Cat Press)

 

 

The Secret of Emerald Cottage by Julie Lessman — Twenty-five-year-old Molly Stewart—ex-Navy nurse and former evidence technician for the Charleston Police Department—has been burned by love. So when her friend, Pastor Chase Griffin, begs her to move to scenic Lake Loon to be a nurse and companion for Miss Lilly, his elderly landlady, she jumps at the chance. The secluded and cozy cottage on a clear mountain lake seems the perfect place to heal from her fiancé’s betrayal as well as indulge in one of her greatest passions—cozy romance. First with reading them by the bookcase and then hopefully, if dreams come true, writing and solving them one day as an author and detective. But when Miss Lilly’s estranged great nephew shows up, it’s no mystery as to why he and Molly butt heads. Because it only takes one stolen kiss—while she’s sleeping, no less—to discover he’s an even bigger player than the ex-fiancé who broke her heart. (Romance/Mystery, Independently Published)

 


Romantic Suspense:



Home Run by Cathe Swanson — Phoebe Schenstrom’s always been a bit bossy. After all, she’s the oldest of ten children, has worked as a nanny and run the children’s ministry at the Unity Plenkiss Community Center for three years. But when a clash – or two – with clients leads to her suspension, she needs to prove that she’s more than a babysitter. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

 

Personal Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but when Sally’s young daughter, Emma, becomes the target of child traffickers, and the little girl’s biological father wants Sally dead, the Christmas season takes a dark turn. Police officer, Dillon Brady, responds to a call for help at the home of his friend and Protection Inc. bodyguard, Sally Wilson. When their relationship tips beyond friendship, Dillon is determined no one will hurt Sally or her daughter again. Will his resolve be enough? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

 


Speculative Fiction:



The Next Fithian: An Ordinary Teen on a Strange, New World by Rick Barry — Was this a new life – or a death sentence? When Rankin Johnson boards a flight to Israel, he expects an adventure in archeology. But the airplane comes under attack and explodes in midair. Rankin shouts, “God, I’m yours!” Instantly, he’s in some other place. An angel informs Rankin the Lord is pleased to accept his offer. He dubs Rankin “the next Fithian” – a messenger from God, not to Earth, but to planet Zemna in the alternate dimension. What happened to the previous Fithian? “He was killed,” the angel says before vanishing. (Speculative Fiction/Soft Science Fiction, Independently Published)

 

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

 
A Summer in Shady Springs by Sarah Anne Crouch, How can Madeleine help A.J. discover a passion for the career he’s always wanted? And how can A.J. convince Madeleine to give God and Shady Springs a second chance? (Contemporary Romance)

 

Engaged: A Novel by K.L. Gilchrist, One bride. One groom. One unapologetically dope trip to the altar. (General Contemporary)

 

Moose Ridge: Ending to Beginning by Craig Hastings, Jazmine just knows, for once, everything is going to be exactly how she always dreamed it could be. Then she’s handed the letter. (Contemporary Romance)

 

Requilted with Love by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Find humor, family relationships, and romance blossoming at the 1889 Michigan State Fair in Lansing when a quilter finds herself literally falling for a balloonist! (Historical Romance)

 

Cold Case Double Cross by Jessica R. Patch, They’re on a cold trail and running out of time. (Thriller Suspense)

 

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Review: Grace in the Desert, by Christine Dillon

Grace in the Desert, by Christine Dillon (Links in the Chain Press, 2020)

Everyone else has forgiven her father, but Rachel can’t. Or won’t, despite her grandmother’s pleas. But what if that’s the very thing keeping her from forgiving herself?

Pete, the other key character, is slowly finding his way after a devastating loss. He finds himself still battling perceptions and ideas that would lock him in his pain.

A fun secondary character in the novel is Josh, a young man with Down Syndrome who works at the plant nursery with Rachel and Pete. His gentle heart makes him a good friend to them both, and I appreciated the way readers are given the chance to learn a bit about the struggles a real-life person like Josh would face.

Readers will also enjoy some vicarious travel in Australia—always a bonus!

Each novel in the Grace series has encouraged my faith life, and Grace in the Desert is no exception. I actually felt the delivery wasn’t as engaging in this one, with more talking and describing than action. I’d have preferred to read a few events, like Pete’s hospital conversation, as they happened in the novel’s timeline instead of as told later by the characters.

Readers will find a few possible takeaways with this story. What impacted me most was one character’s challenge not to feel sorry for himself or frustrated about a particular situation but instead to ask how God might want to work through him there.

Author Christine Dillon has released a companion nonfiction book to further address one of the other issues raised in this story. Sword Fighting: Applying God’s Word to Win the Battle for Our Mind takes a deeper, practical look at how Christians can use biblical truths to defeat the lies that often bind us.

There are now five books in the Grace series. For more about Christine Dillon, this series, and her other work, visit storytellerchristine.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Writing in Multiple Genres Part 2 (Guest Post)

Summer Series 2021: Writing in Multiple Genres Part 2

by Steph Beth Nickel

Last time we asked three questions:

  1. What does success mean to me?
  2. Do I care about becoming the “go-to” expert in my field or my readers’ favourite writer in a certain genre?
  3. Do I complete projects or do I have a virtual drawer full of unfinished manuscripts and other writing projects?

While your answers to these questions may lead you to believe that it’s best not to write in multiple genres and/or on multiple topics, there are several reasons you may choose to do so.

  1. If you haven’t yet settled on the genre and/or topic you want to focus on, it’s perfectly acceptable to try your hand at writing several different types of books. After all, if you end up churning out books you don’t enjoy writing, it’s going to lead to burnout—and will likely come through in your writing.
  2. If you’re just getting started on your writing journey, you may be surprised that you can actually write in a particular genre. I didn’t think I was clever enough—or committed enough to research and worldbuilding—to write fantasy or sci fi. However, I began a YA speculative fiction novel for NaNoWriMo last year and quite enjoy what I’ve written so far—at least most of it. You never know unless you try.
  3. If you’ve been writing on the same topic or in the same genre for a long time, you may be ready for a change. Nothing freshens up the process more than trying your hand at something new.

There are also a few ways to make it easier to write and publish in multiple genres.

  1. Choose variations of your name or pennames so readers can easily identify the books they’re looking for. Remember—if you use the same name for all your books, you risk losing readers because they will expect one thing but may end up with something completely different. Plus, since additional books sales can come from recommendations, you don’t want to disappoint your readers.
  2. If you’re publishing a certain type of book with a traditional publisher but also want to write something completely different—and have the capacity to do so while fulfilling the terms of your traditional contract—you may want to look into self-publishing/indie publishing. (For the purposes of this post, I define both self-publishing and indie publishing as a process by which authors hire a book cover designer and an editor and upload their books to Amazon [and possibly, other platforms] themselves or through an aggregator such as Draft2Digital. The authors also oversee the marketing of their books. I am not referring to signing an agreement with a company that requires payment for two or more of these services.)
  3. Be willing to become a lifelong learner. Whether you self-publish or sign with a traditional publisher, the writing industry is always changing. What sells well this year may be outdated by the time you complete your book. The level of connectedness readers want with their favourite authors has changed dramatically in the last few years. Facebook groups may be the perfect place to develop that connectedness with your readers. But who knows what’s just around the corner? Plus, genre expectations, “hot topics,” book cover design, available formats (print books, ebooks, audiobooks, etc.), and so much more evolve. While we shouldn’t let this discourage us, it does confirm that we must always seek to learn—and adapt when appropriate.

Have you dabbled in various genres or written about a number of topics? Do you write books? Short stories? Blog posts? Have you been writing for many years or are you just getting started?


Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at nurtureandinspire@gmail.com; join her Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2725853534313738; or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.

Review: The Escape, by Lisa Harris

The Escape, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2020)

When the private plane transporting two dangerous prisoners to trial goes down, US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn must recapture the surviving prisoner before he kills again.

The chase takes them through some remote (and beautiful) country as well as city streets and back alleys as their quarry stays one step ahead.

Madison and Jonas have met before—Jonas trained her when she first joined law enforcement—but this is their first time working together and they know nothing about one another on a personal level. Neither wants a romantic relationship, but this mission plants the seeds of a romance that will develop over the course of the series.

It’s a fast-paced, high-stakes story that doesn’t let up until the very end and definitely sets up interest to read the sequel.

The Escape is book 1 in Lisa Harris’s US Marshals series. Book 2, The Chase, is now available. For more about the author and her work, visit lisaharriswrites.com.

[Review copy from the public library. This title is available for borrow through Hoopla at www.hoopladigital.com/title/13510199.]

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