A girl in hiding. A boy on the run. The fate of the galaxy between them.
And only 4 days left for you to get in on the early action!
After March 31, 2023, you’ll have to wait for the standard book release instead of getting the early release and potentially some very cool swag (depending on the level you choose). Read on…
Remember the cover reveal I shared earlier this month? Suspended in the Stars is book 1 in what author E. A. Hendryx describes as “a fast-paced and swoony YA science fantasy trilogy about a circus in space.”
I’m in! Even if that sounds too “out there” for you, do check out the book’s Kickstarter page. Have you ever seen sprayed books? Or books with handpainted edges? The art is beautiful.
If you’re not familiar with crowdfunding like this: there are various tiers of sponsorship. The lower ones will get you early access to the ebook, while the higher ones will get you more. This project originates in the US and most options requiring shipping are US-only, but there are some fun digital benefits as well for the rest of us.
This Kickstarter runs from March 10th-31st and met its initial funding goal in less than 24 hours. That’s amazing, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still join in. Emilie has built in a number of additional stretch goals which unlock further treats for supporters. Crowdfunding will enable Emilie to put out her book as an early release ebook, paperback, audiobook, and Kickstarter limited edition hardcover (with bonus content) all with fun swag *before* the book releases at the end of the year. See the Kickstarter page for more details!
About the book:
In the Xerus Galaxy, Soaring Staress Talie Zarna is hiding her true identity on the circus spaceship Midway. When she’s forced to shelter rogue soldier, Renner Cartha, it’s easy to see he has secrets of his own. Secrets like evidence of a political assassination he must deliver to the high council. But his former captain, Jas Uli-Tai, is intent on putting an end to him.
With Jas closing in at every turn, Renner faces the decision to abandon his mission—and Talie—or risk widespread fallout from his failure, but the weight of the galaxy rests on Talie’s shoulders. Is she willing to sacrifice everything—even if that means giving up the boy she loves?
Here’s the Kickstarter link one more time, to save you scrolling up. It costs you nothing to look, and you (or a science fiction / fantasy lover in your life) may find a new favourite book!
A Heart to Redeem by Judith McNees — Chris Morgan is the black sheep of the family. He’s leaned into the title, finding as many ways as he can to distance himself from his perfect parents and siblings. When he receives shocking news that rocks his perception of his sinful lifestyle, he needs help. Fast. Brandi Blakely knows exactly what kind of person Chris is. When he comes to her begging for help, she agrees to marry him with one caveat. The marriage will have an expiration date. As the two work together to get custody of the little girl he has just learned about, lines blur, and hearts become involved. Brandi refuses to let Chris in and shatter her fragile heart. When tragedy strikes, can Chris hold onto the tenuous changes he’s made, and can Brandi let go of the ugly scars from her past to see herself as a new creation in Christ? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Hidden in her Heart by Milla Holt — Desperate to get away from her dysfunctional family and avoid the heartbreak of seeing Noah marry another woman, Eden left her hometown, dropped her infamous last name, and built a new life for herself. But when her little sister gets in trouble and pleads for Eden’s help, she doesn’t hesitate to go back. Six years after his fiancée dumped him at the altar, Noah has found fulfillment running the youth ministry in his father’s church. When a young man under his pastoral care gets a girl pregnant, Noah’s there to give guidance and support. He’s not prepared to run into the expectant mother’s sister, his former best friend Eden, who ghosted him years ago. Friendship deepens into attraction as Eden and Noah unite to protect the teen couple from Eden’s parents’ headline-seeking schemes. But twice-bitten Noah has thick walls around his heart, and Eden has forgotten how to trust. Will they miss their chance to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
After the Shadows by Amanda Cabot — A brighter future awaits—if she can escape the shadows of the past. Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she expected. First she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the handsome new schoolteacher, Craig Ferguson, and his son are supposed to board burns, leaving them homeless. When Emily proposes turning the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister is so incensed that she leaves town. Alone and broke, her family name sullied by controversy, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father’s death—and to aid Craig, despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, an innovative teacher, and an unexpected ally. As they work to uncover the truth, they just may find the key to unlock a future neither could have imagined. (Historical Romance from Revell)
Beyond Wounded Hearts by Cynthia Roemer — They were North and South ~ Faithful and Faithless. After suffering disabling burns during the fall of Richmond, Adelaide Hanover awakens in a hospital alone and destitute, escalating her already stanch hatred for Yankees. When the Union soldier who freed her from the rubble begins paying her visits, she wants nothing to do with him … or his faith. Yet, his persistent kindness penetrates her resolve and forges a much-needed friendship. But after a dangerous man threatens Addie, she flees Richmond, intent on solving the mystery to her aunt’s dying wish before he does. Haunted by a tragic failure in his past, Corporal Luke Gallagher takes Adelaide’s plight on as his own. Though his strong beliefs collide with his growing feelings for her, he offers his family’s home as a place to convalesce. Adelaide’s initial rejection, followed by her sudden willingness to accept his benevolence, hints there’s more to the decision than a mere change of heart. When trouble follows her, endangering her safety, as well as his family’s, Luke must lay his life and his convictions on the line to save them. (Historical Romance, Scrivening’s Press)
Confessions to a Stranger by Danielle Grandinetti — She’s lost her future. He’s sacrificed his. Now they have a chance to reclaim it—together. Wisconsin, 1930—While fleeing for her life, Adaleigh Sirland’s rescue of a child introduces her to a family who provides her safe harbor. When her identity comes under threat of exposure, she must choose between running once more or helping the man who teaches her to hope again. First mate David Martins is intrigued by the mysterious woman taken in by his grandmother, but she wrestles with a troubled past. When his estranged father is arrested for murder, can David put aside his own struggles in time to discern which secret threatens Adaleigh before it kills them both? Welcome to Crow’s Nest, where danger and romance meet at the water’s edge. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Dreams of the Heart by Penny Zeller — Sometimes the hardest battles take place in the heart. Poverty and abuse at the hands of her drunkard father leaves Hannah Bane trapped and alone. Without hope, she prays for a miracle just on the off-chance God will hear her. Will the handsome new deputy, who seems to be watching her every move, be Hannah’s one chance to escape the only life she’s ever known? For as long as he can remember, John Mark Eliason has wanted to be a deputy sheriff. When a job opens in the nearby town of Poplar Springs, he eagerly accepts, but finds his greatest mission won’t be tracking down criminals and bringing justice to the ruthless Wyoming town, but saving a beautiful young woman he barely knows. Will an unexpected answer to a difficult situation show how love can endure—and even thrive—in an unconventional situation? Or will fear and uncertainty keep two hesitant hearts apart? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing)
Maeve’s Pledge by Linda Shenton Matchett — Finally, out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped? Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe acts as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)
Scream Blue Murder by Susan Page Davis — An old photo, a twister, and a friend being stalked… A tornado rips through town, and Campbell McBride and her dad take shelter. Afterward, they try to help others who were hard hit, and a body is discovered in the debris of a cottage near their friends’ home. Was the man dead before the twister struck? The owners of the ruined cottage hire True Blue Investigations to help identify the victim and find out how he got on their property. Meanwhile, among the volunteers, Campbell meets her mother’s old school friend, Jackie. It seems Jackie married her mom’s former boyfriend—and now she has eyes on Campbell’s widowed father. (Mystery from Scrivening’s Press)
Lost in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin — If you make a deal with evil, be prepared for the consequences. When a metal dragon kidnaps Alice, Hatter gathers the troops and charges off to rescue her. If only things were so uncomplicated. In the Ivory Kingdom, they find upheaval of the worst kind and all heading to civil war spearheaded by a man known as the Bandersnatch. Turmoil and the terror of fighting against a giant wolf, the Bandersnatch is bad enough, but when the Ivory Queen’s secrets are exposed, Hatter and Alice face off in a battle of wills and points of view. How can Alice trust a woman who deceived them? Why can’t Hatter see the bigger picture? If they don’t reconcile their differences, more could be at risk than the Ivory Kingdom. More questions than answers bombard them in their quest for truth and freedom for all. Who is stealing children? What dark secret overshadows the Ivory Kingdom? Can they avoid the Bandersnatch’s clutches? And most important of all, who can they trust? (Speculative Fiction from Celebrate Lit Publishing)
From Chaos by Karen Randau — When Kelsey is forced to flee from her ex-husband’s family with secrets she can’t risk revealing, she finds herself in a situation more dangerous than ever before. With no one else to turn to, Kelsey and her friend Greg must outwit their pursuers or risk becoming victims themselves. From Chaos is the second book in the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series, and it follows the riveting journey of two people with very different backgrounds and soul-crushing experiences. If they overcome the unbeatable odds they face together, they’ll come out of it stronger and more committed to each other. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic, Independently Published)
Out of the Ashes by Melanie D. Snitker — He thought it was just a structure fire. As a firefighter, Bryce Keyes is no stranger when it comes to running into a burning building. What he didn’t expect was coming face-to-face with the woman he loved years ago. Getting her out safely is one thing, but when it looks like she was the arsonist’s target, Bryce realizes he can’t just let her walk away again. Especially not while her life is in danger. She’s desperate to escape. For Megan Bristow, returning to Destiny, Texas was about saying a final goodbye to a dysfunctional family and the memories she’s tried hard to bury. She planned to go in, help her mother tie up loose ends, and get out again. When someone makes an attempt on her life, Megan realizes those loose ends are only the beginning of a tangled web, and she’s been drawn right into the center of it. They’ll have to put the past behind them. Only by working together will they be able to figure out who’s hunting her and why – before it’s too late. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic, Independently Published)
Under Fire by Lynn H. Blackburn — USSS Special Agent Zane Thacker has landed his dream assignment protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser at the exclusive estate of a political supporter in Raleigh, Zane is thrilled to be working again with Special Agent Tessa Reed, his best friend–-and the woman he desperately wishes could be more. Though Tessa almost lost everything, she battled her demons and came out on the other side healthy and healed. But when her role as the liaison between the Raleigh office and the president’s protective detail wrenches her past back into the present, her greatest failure threatens to come to light. Zane refuses to let Tessa go through this alone. But can he stand by the woman he loves and protect the president from a mounting threat at the same time? Sparks fly as award-winning romantic suspense writer Lynn H. Blackburn closes out her Defend and Protect series with this explosive tale of secrets kept, lies exposed, and relationships restored. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Revell)
Yosemite Firestorm by Tanya Stowe — A raging forest fire isn’t the only threat…When an act of arson claims the life of a hiker, Yosemite Park Ranger Livy Chatham is the only witness—putting her right into the path of determined criminals. Only rock climber Hayden Bryant can protect her from the killers destroying all evidence of their crimes. But can Livy and Hayden outrun the danger that’s as hot on their heels as the fires blazing through Yosemite? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
A Divine Romance by Ifueko Ogbomo, The royal decree that couples this unlikely pair will make or break the history of an ancient empire. (Biblical Romance)
Brooke by Ronie Kendig, Prioritizing career over family cost Brooke Metcalfe Mulroney everything—her relationship with her siblings, her marriage, her children. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)
Lyrical, beautifully crafted, and luminous with hope, All the Lost Places is a dual-timeline historical novel. Rather than my stiff summary, here’s the official back cover copy:
When all of Venice is unmasked, one man’s identity remains a mystery . . .
1807 When a baby is discovered floating in a basket along the quiet canals of Venice, a guild of artisans takes him in and raises him as a son, skilled in each of their trades. Although the boy, Sebastien Trovato, has wrestled with questions of his origins, it isn’t until a woman washes ashore on his lagoon island that answers begin to emerge. In hunting down his story, Sebastien must make a choice that could alter not just his own future, but also that of the beloved floating city.
1904 Daniel Goodman is given a fresh start in life as the century turns. Hoping to redeem a past laden with regrets, he is sent on an assignment from California to Venice to procure and translate a rare book. There, he discovers a city of colliding hope and decay, much like his own life, and a mystery wrapped in the pages of that filigree-covered volume. With the help of Vittoria, a bookshop keeper, Daniel finds himself in a web of shadows, secrets, and discoveries carefully kept within the stones and canals of the ancient city . . . and in the mystery of the man whose story the book does not finish: Sebastien Trovato.
This is a gentle, luxurious read best enjoyed slowly like a fine dessert. Having said that, I admit to reading parts too fast because I had to know what happened next. Daniel and Vittoria, Sebastien and Mariana and their friends… these characters mattered to me. And I knew I could trust author Amanda Dykes to treat their story carefully even when they couldn’t see the way forward.
All the Lost Places reads in part like a fairy tale, understandable perhaps since Sebastien’s story is birthed in the pages of the book Daniel is assigned to translate. Daniel and Sebastien are both men haunted by the broken places in their lives. As they grapple with this, they discover that perhaps a lost or broken place is an opportunity to be filled with light.
Daniel is an artist, living now with an injury that prevents him from picturing in his mind what he wants to draw. As he tries to discover how to move from who he was and how he worked to who he is—and can he work this way?—he must also learn how to find redemption when restitution is not enough.
Such serious themes don’t weigh the story down. Readers will enjoy a detailed vicarious tour of Venice as the men in both times engage with a variety of engaging characters. Sebastien’s multiple adoptive guardians, Daniel’s bookseller and gondolier, these and more are delights. And oh, the settings!
This is a novel with far too many favourite lines for me to quote. I encourage you to read it for yourself and discover your own.
Amanda Dykes is the author of the 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year for her debut novel, Whose Waves These Are. Her more recent books are Set the Stars Alight and Yours is the Night. For more about the author and her work, visit amandadykes.com.
[Review copy from the public library.]
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I’m excited to take part in the cover reveal and Kickstarter launch for Suspended in the Stars by E. A. Hendryx @createexploreread.
Suspended in the Stars is Emilie’s debut young adult novel and is the first book in a YA science fantasy trilogy. More details below.
The Kickstarter runs from March 10th-31st and, should it fund, will enable Emilie to put out her book as an early release eBook, paperback, audiobook, and Kickstarter limited edition hardcover (with bonus content) all with fun swag *before* the book releases at the end of the year. See the Kickstarter page for more details!
About the book:
Suspended in the Stars is the first book in the Xerus Galaxy Saga. It is the story of a girl in hiding who teams up with a rogue soldier to save a galaxy ruled by a corrupt governing council. It’s “The Greatest Showman” meets “Star Wars” and is a soft sci-fi with fantasy elements and no-spice sizzling romance.
To help you choose a book to read this week, you can find my entire collection at a promotional price at Smashwords from March 5-11. [I goofed and set a deeper promotion than I intended, so the most you’ll pay for any of my books is $1.50 USD and two of my titles are free this week, only at the Smashwords site.]
This is a coupon-based sale, with the price reduction appearing at checkout. For any questions about how to load your purchases (or freebies!) onto your reading device of choice, visit Smashwords FAQ and select your details under the “Getting Started” section.
This week I’m trying something new and joining the First Line Friday link-up, hosted by Carrie at Reading is My Superpower. The book I’ve chosen is Brink of Danger, romantic suspense from Christy Barritt.
The faceless villain opens this one up. Here’s the first line:
I’m there. In the crowd. People talk to me. Laugh with me. Give me high fives.
Ansley Wilder loves adventure. That’s why she works for a zipline company. But after a near-miss that was no accident, she takes a personal interest in helping her police chief brother Luke and her former crush, fire chief Ryan Philips, investigate.
Ryan came back to Fog Lake for a less-stressful post after a tragedy rocked his previous fire crew. Except his first day back is the day Ansley nearly dies. When more suspicious activity follows, it all seems centred on Ansley.
Ansley is a woman trying to do life different after a recent wake-up call. She’s doing her best and making good progress but still sometimes messes up. She’s trying to find her way back into faith and to shake her wild image.
Readers see the unseen watcher manipulating the circumstances “for Ansley.” Every time I thought I knew who the villain was, there’d be a reason it couldn’t be. I enjoyed the puzzle.
My favourite quote comes from the watcher, the self-styled “Woodsman,” remembering the influence of now-deceased parents:
Both of them are dead now, but their memories live on in me. I’m like a sapling that grows over a grave, continuing the circle of life.
Brink of Danger is book 3 in the Fog Lake romantic suspense series. I had no trouble starting here, although now I know how the first two books’ romances turned out. 😊 To start at the beginning of what looks like a 7-book series, look for Edge of Peril.
I found the romance thread a little more overt than I like best, but the suspense was compelling. I appreciated the family dynamics between Ansley and two of her brothers and her honesty about the struggle to forgive her mother for walking out on the family.
Christy Barritt writes “quirky mysteries and spine-tingling suspense.” Brink of Danger is in the latter category, a fast-paced suspense read that starts with danger and never lets up. The villain definitely adds a touch of creepy. For more about the author and her many books, visit christybarritt.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]
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It has been a remarkably mild winter in Ontario. Not great for those who love winter activities, but wonderful for those of us who are not big fans.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the beauty of a pristine, snow-covered landscape—from the warmth of my home.
Even though it’s only February, spring is definitely in the air.
The sparrows have been chirping away in the lilac bush next to our home for weeks now. Even on cooler days, it sounds like spring.
And today, Family Day, it looks like spring. The sun is shining. There is virtually no snow in sight. And the thermometer says it’s above zero. Three of the reasons my hubby and I will be going for a walk.
Spring is Dave’s favourite season of the year. And I must admit that it’s pretty much tied neck and neck with autumn as my favourite season as well.
So, what do spring and all the signs of its imminent arrival have to do with writing?
Typically, we set annual goals at the beginning of the new year. In January. In the midst of what can be a cold and uninviting season.
But why not sit down with pen in hand in the springtime and set our writing goals for the next few months?
Spring overflows with unique sights, sounds, and smells. How can you incorporate them into your writing to make it come alive like creation in the spring?
Signs of new life and growth are everywhere. We just have to take the time to look. How can we bring new life to our writing and grow as writers in the coming months?
And speaking of growth…
Is it time to grow your mailing list? Your social media following? Your marketing efforts?
With all this evidence of new life around us comes beauty that has been dormant for the last few months.
Not everything we write about is beautiful. In fact, some of what we address is dark, difficult, and heartbreaking.
But, as Christians, we often seek to incorporate hope into our work. We want to offer our readers at least a glimmer of hope, a glimpse of beauty.
How can you incorporate beauty into your current work-in-progress?
It’s still early in the year. We may have more cold, dreary days in the weeks to come. In fact, we may even get more snow. But warmer, brighter, more colourful days are coming.
You may be in the midst of a dark time with your writing. Subject matter. Lack of motivation. An overwhelming schedule. All these things and more can keep us from getting words on paper. And even if our words are flowing now, we may encounter a roadblock in the days ahead.
Regardless, spring is coming. And while we have no say about the changing seasons, we do have a say about getting our words on paper.
How will you breathe new life into your writing this month? I’d love to hear about it.
Every Good Gift by Kelly S. Irvin — Maisy never expected that a Plain girl like her could have her heart stolen by an Englisch boy. But when her rumspringa ends and Maisy realizes she’s pregnant, the reality of their choices—and their differences—sets in. Maisy knows she will never leave her faith to marry her baby’s father. But she also knows the road to acceptance as an unwed mother in an Amish community will be long and hard. To protect her family from the scandal, she goes to live with her cousin in Haven, Kansas, where she will have some solitude to figure out what kind of future she might have. In Haven Maisy begins to find her way—thanks in no small part to Joshua Lapp, a Plain man who’s made it clear he isn’t bothered by her situation or ashamed to be seen with her, despite the bishop’s warnings. But Joshua has struggled with his faith ever since the death of his twin brother, leaving Maisy to wonder: How can two people who are so lost ever help each other discover Gott’s plans for their future? (Amish Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))
Dial V for Valentine by Linda Shenton Matchett — Being part of the military is not just a job for Fergus Rafferty, it’s a calling. He’s worked his way up the ranks and doing what he loves best: flying Apache helicopters. The only thing that will make his life complete is marrying Celeste. After he transfers to a unit scheduled to deploy in three months, he’s thrilled at the idea of marrying before he leaves so they can start their new life. Except Celeste wants to wait until he returns. Can he convince her to wed before he leaves? Celeste Hardwicke has just opened her law practice when she finally accepts Fergus’s marriage proposal. Not to worry. She has plenty of time to set a date, then plan the wedding. Until she doesn’t. But a quickie wedding isn’t what she has in mind. Besides, why get married when the groom will ship out after the ceremony? When she stumbles on her great-grandmother’s diary from World War II, she discovers the two of them share the same predicament. At an impasse, Celeste and Fergus agree to call into WDES’s program No Errin’ for Love. Will DJ Erin Orberg’s advice solve their dilemma or create a bigger divide? One they’ll both regret. (Contemporary Romance from Shortwave Press)
Love Delivered by Amy Anguish, et. al. — Romance at Register Five (Amy R Anguish) – Mack McDonald isn’t happy about the Grocerease app coming to his grocery store. But he’s committed to the sixty-day trial period, and braces himself to lose money. Kaitlyn Daniels loves how the Grocerease app helps her make ends meet so she can assist her mom, the reason she moved to small Sassafras, AR. Mack and Kaitlyn struggle to overcome differing opinions on the perks of the app. But if they don’t, it could keep them from something even better. Where Love is Planted (Sarah Anne Crouch) – Ivy Aaronson is surrounded by family at their flower shop in West Texas-just the way she likes it. But she’s given up hope on ever finding a man who understands her choices. When attorney Grant Keller orders flowers for his mother, Ivy wonders if maybe there are indeed some considerate men left in the world until she learns Grant’s relationship with his parents is less than ideal. How can Ivy ever find love when every man she meets puts career over family? Sweet Delivery (Heather Greer) – After winning Cake That!, Will Forrester thinks his Pastry Perfect baking dreams have come true. The sweetness fades when a chain bakery moves to town, and Will must adjust his plans to keep his customers. Hiring Erica Gerard is one of those changes. As they work together, Erica challenges Will and offers new ideas to improve the bakery. Soon, Erica and Will start bringing out the best in each other. But Erica harbors a secret, and if it’s discovered, Will might never be the same. The Mermaids, the Ex and USSS (Rachel Herod) – Braig Sanborn is the most loyal employee the United States Shipping Service has ever seen, which is why he agreed to transfer across the country with only a few weeks’ notice. Ella Morrison is so busy planning a friend’s wedding, she didn’t expect to fall for the carrier who delivers packages to her house. When they both find themselves in too deep, will they agree the relationship was doomed from the start? (Contemporary Romance from Scrivening’s Press)
Muskoka Hearts by Carolyn Miller — Toni Wakefield may be a talented artist, but past choices means this single mother never feels the equal of those around her—especially her brother’s best friend, investment funds manager Matt. Matt long ago fell in love with his best friend’s younger sister, and try as he might, he just can’t fall out of it. And between his crazy working hours and the fact she’s now settled two hours away in beautiful Muskoka it seems they never have any time together. How can he persuade her to consider to give him a chance, when she’s sworn the only man she can care about is her baby boy? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Never Find Another You by Narelle Atkins — Hannah Gilbertson has deep roots in her small East Washington home town, including a lake named after her family. Sporty and hard-working, she loves running the rowing club and supporting the town’s water recreation tourism. She’s determined to avoid dating and becoming entangled in her mother’s matchmaking schemes, and she wants to prove to her successful father that she’s worthy of carrying on his legacy. Joel Manning left behind his life in Sydney, Australia, and a broken heart, to start over in Trinity Lakes. A tiler by trade, he’s embarking on a year-long working vacation adventure, and he’s not looking for love. The handsome Aussie captures Hannah’s interest when she hires him to do repair work at her rowing club. Joel is drawn to the beautiful American, and values spending time with her. Their shared faith and love for kayaking lays the foundation for their friendship to become something more. A shocking secret combined with family upheaval leads to more questions than answers, and threatens to push Joel and Hannah apart to faraway shores. Can their love overcome the miles between them? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Songs for a Sunday by Heather Norman Smith — Two sets of sisters, generations apart―can one big sister’s sacrifice teach the other about love and forgiveness? 1963: Twenty-year-old Annie dreams of managing the dance studio where she has trained since childhood and of marrying her high-society boyfriend. But when her younger sister with special needs gets pregnant, Annie is forced to set her dreams aside for the sake of family. Present Day: Missy Robbins has always lived in her younger sister’s shadow. When given the opportunity, Missy steps out of her comfort zone as stay-at-home mom of four to prove she’s as good a singer as Erica. Missy’s new pursuit puts her on a path to self-discovery and reclaiming her discarded faith. Until she discovers her grandmother has a sixty-year-old secret. Will Missy conceal Grandma Annie’s deception or will she be forced to reveal the hidden truth. (General Contemporary from Iron Stream Fiction)
A Not So Persistent Suitor by Sandra Merville Hart — He’s fighting for his career…She’s bent on achieving her own goals…Will their love survive a second chance at happily ever after? Cora Welch dreams of a future teaching kindergarten, which is in its infancy, and marriage to Ben Findlay, her beau and her twin brother’s best friend. But she returns to college from summer break to learn of Ben’s unwise choices in pursuit of his career—choices that destroy her trust in the man she thought she knew and loved. Ben is working hard toward his dream to become the best reporter in the city. He’s no stranger to fighting for a goal against all odds, ever since he was orphaned at age thirteen. Even though Cora has captured his heart, he makes the mistake of escorting the boss’s daughter to a fancy banquet to further his career—with far-reaching repercussions. Now he’s hurt Cora and botched his career goals. Winning Cora’s trust again proves harder than Ben expects, especially as they both face struggles of their own. When events spiral out of their control, catapulting them into hardship and even danger, only God can restore their dreams—though the outcome may look far different than either of them planned. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)
Counterfeit Hope by Crystal Caudill — When Secret Service operative Andrew Darlington is brought in to support a US Marshal case involving counterfeiters in rural Indiana, he thinks it’s simply the next rung on his climb to the top of his career. But liars can only climb so high–and Andrew is keeping a dangerous secret he doesn’t ever want to get out. When he clashes with the criminal family that took over the town of Landkreis and killed the Marshal he was sent to assist, his past life is in danger of being exposed. Widow “Lightning Lu” Thorne has only one goal: escape the clutches of the Thorne family with her son. Her decision to be an informant and testify against the Thornes looked like the perfect answer. Until the Marshal ended up dead. Now the tether keeping her tied to her felonious family is tightening, and a forced marriage to someone else in the Thornes’ clutches threatens to kill any hope of escape. Andrew and Lu find themselves on the same team–unwillingly. They each believe the other to be the enemy to their future plans. And even if they could learn to work together, the secrets they hold could shatter all hopes and dreams. Despite the encouragement of the local preacher, they’re not even sure God can be trusted–much less other humans. Can either of them escape their past–and the family that is willing to kill their own when they smell betrayal? (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)
The Cairo Curse by Pepper D. Basham — Clue meets Indiana Jones with a fiction-loving twist only Grace Percy can provide. Newlyweds Lord and Lady Astley have already experienced their fair-share of suspense within their young marriage, but nothing quite prepares them for Egypt. As a gift to his bride, Frederick takes their honeymoon on a detour to the land of Pharaohs where Frederick’s cousins are involved in an archaeological expedition. But soon the trip turns more dangerous than even Grace with her fiction-loving mind could predict. From an assortment of untrustworthy adventure-seekers to a series of “suspicious deaths” to a newly discovered tomb with a murderous secret, Frederick and Grace must lean on each other to navigate their hazardous surroundings and even less predictable cast of characters. As the suspects mount in an antiquities’ heist of novel-worthy proportions, will Frederick and Grace’s attempts to solve the mystery lead to another death among the sands? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin — When the Germans march into Denmark, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt exchanges his nobility for anonymity, assuming a new identity so he can secretly row messages for the Danish Resistance across the waters to Sweden. American physicist Dr. Else Jensen refuses to leave Copenhagen and abandon her research—her life’s dream—and makes a dangerous decision to print resistance newspapers. As Else hears rumors of the movement’s legendary Havmand—the merman—she also becomes intrigued by the mysterious and silent shipyard worker living in the same boardinghouse. Henrik makes every effort to conceal his noble upbringing, but he is torn between the façade he must maintain and the woman he is beginning to fall in love with. When the Occupation cracks down on the Danes, these two passionate people will discover if there is more power in speech . . . or in silence. (Historical Romance from Revell)
Death in High Places by Sara L. Jameson — An Interpol agent with a deadline he can’t miss. Urgent intel warns of terrorist cells planning coordinated attacks throughout Europe. Special Agent Jacob Coulter of Brussels Interpol is assigned to find the terrorist financiers supporting these groups and shut down their funding operations. An opera singer’s life and career hang in the balance. The Queen of the Night’s vocal pyrotechnics have launched many a soprano’s international career. But Riley Williams, Jacob’s fiancée, is terrified of heights, and her Antwerp Opera debut as the evil queen requires her to sing from a hydraulic lift forty feet above the orchestra pit. When newspapers cite Riley’s recent unmasking of an international terrorist plot and the lift malfunctions, Jacob suspects terrorist sabotage. (Thriller/Suspense from Scrivening’s Press)
Detecting Secrets by Sami A. Abrams — Tracking the scents of the missing might be the only way to save them. Partnered with her air-scent dog and Sheriff Dennis Monroe, marriage and family therapist Charlotte Bradley is desperate to put an end to a black-market baby smuggling ring in Anderson County. Who is kidnapping the pregnant girls she counsels and taking their babies? As Charlotte searches for answers, she and Dennis must dodge gunfire and deadly attacks. But the sinister agenda they uncover just might include her. (Thriller/Suspense from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Kill Shot by Angela L. Gold — After Rory Rydell invites the world to accept Jesus as Savior while levitating above her execution platform, she is the natural choice to serve as one of the co-presidents of the new nation created by God’s miraculous defeat of the United World Order. But then the Kingdom Advisory Council selects Dawson Fortis—her former jailer under the Order—to serve beside her as co-president. Will the two be able to put their complicated past behind them and serve the needs of the country? Or will the council meetings descend into endless arguments? Although crippled, the Order in the Eastern and Central zones has survived. The Order’s supreme commanders are hotter than a solar flare over their defeat in the Western zone. They see Rory and the new nation as a threat to their very existence … one that must be eliminated. Rory trusts God for protection, even though she understands she is a target and is acutely aware that many of God’s devoted followers have been martyred over the ages, even Jesus. But she has made her choice—serving God is the one thing important enough to risk her life for. The question is, what will it ultimately cost her? (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)
A Cry in the Dark by Jessica R. Patch — Led to an isolated Appalachian Mountain town by a trail of disturbing murders, FBI special agent Violet Rainwater’s determined to catch a serial killer with a twisted agenda. With locals refusing to reveal their secrets, Violet’s only ally is Detective John Orlando. But even John has an ulterior motive—he’s convinced this case is connected to his wife’s murder. As they dig deeper, Violet uncovers a link to her own unresolved past. For years she’s worked the cold case of her mother’s abduction, which had led to her birth. The need to look into the eyes of the sinful man who fathered her consumes Violet. Until she can, she’ll never have peace. Because she’s terrified she might be exactly like him. In this chilling novel, when the present collides with Violet’s mysterious past and John’s tragic loss, they must unravel the warped, sinuous connections before the killer strikes again. But solving the case might not be nearly as terrifying as the possibility that Violet’s finally found her roots… (Thriller/Suspense/Psychological from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Alaskan Avalanche Escape by Darlene L. Turner — After surviving a sudden avalanche, mountain survival expert Jayla Hoyt and her search-and-rescue K-9 discover that it was no accident—someone deliberately triggered the mountain explosion. To uncover the culprit, she’ll have to partner with Alaska park ranger Bryson Clarke, a man she doesn’t trust. But when the investigators become targets, can they capture the criminal mastermind…before they’re buried alive? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard — Police Chief Autumn Long is fighting to keep her job in the quiet Alaska town of Shadow Gap when an unexpected string of criminal activity leaves her with a wounded officer, unexplained murders, and even an attack on her own father. Despite her mistrust of outsiders, she turns to Grier Brenner, a newcomer who seems to have the skills and training Autumn needs to face this threat to her community. Grier is in Alaska for the same reason so many others are–to disappear–when Chief Long enlists his help. He emerges from the shadows and proves his mettle, but his presence in her life could be a deadly trap for them both. If his secret is exposed, all will be lost. And he’s not sure even Autumn could save him. As the stakes rise and the dangers increase, Autumn and Grier must rely on each other to extinguish the deadly threats. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Revell)
Courage in the Shadows by Robin Patchen — Ever since she and thirteen other models were kidnapped years before, Summer Lake has fought to ensure that she can protect herself. But when her job as a bodyguard brings her into contact with a man she believes masterminded her kidnapping, her first urge is to run, terrified of being taken again. Instead, she follows the stranger, determined to bring him to justice. Bodyguard Grant Wright fell in love with Summer the instant he saw her, a fierce protector standing in front of the other endangered young women he’d come to rescue. Years later, Summer still sees him as barely more than a coworker. Grant bides his time, sticking close in an effort to keep her safe and hoping she’ll eventually open her heart to him. When her life is threatened, he’s not about to allow her to fight her enemies alone. He’ll stay by her side whether she wants him or not. But Summer and Grant have an enemy whose global smuggling organization is so powerful, so pervasive, that it’ll be a miracle if either of them emerges from this battle alive. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)
Every Flower of the Field by Sara Davison — Safe is the most dangerous feeling of all. For as long as she can remember, Rose Galway has been a captive, controlled by one man or another. To her, though, God is the one holding the keys, refusing to set her free despite the desperate pleas she has sent heavenward. Detective Laken Jones has known hardship too, including the daily trauma of racism. Still, nothing he has gone through compares to what Rose has endured. He wants nothing more than for her to experience hope and healing and maybe even happiness in her life. But first he has to find her. Laken is willing to risk everything to set Rose free. And to help her find her way to God. Even if that means letting go of her—and the future he envisions for the two of them—forever. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)
Perilous Security Detail by Elizabeth Goddard — With threats on all sides…Secrets can prove deadly. Narrowly surviving an intentional hit-and-run, Sawyer Blackwood hires his unexpected rescuer to guard his niece. Bodyguard Everly Honor will do anything to protect a child, even if it means working with her ex. But, as attacks escalate, how can she accomplish her mission to keep them safe when Sawyer is keeping secrets from her…and she’s concealing the truth about her own past? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Forged in Love by Mary Connealy — When sparks begin to fly, can a friendship cast in iron be shaped into something more? Mariah Stover is left for dead and with no memory when the Deadeye Gang robs the stagecoach she’s riding in, killing both her father and brother. As she takes over her father’s blacksmith shop and tries to move forward, she soon finds herself in jeopardy and wondering–does someone know she witnessed the robbery and is still alive? Handsome and polished Clint Roberts escaped to western Wyoming, leaving his painful memories behind. Hoping for a fresh start, he opens a diner where he creates fine dishes, but is met with harsh resistance from the townsfolk, who prefer to stick to their old ways. Clint and Mariah are drawn together by the trials they face in town, and Clint is determined to protect Mariah at all costs when danger descends upon her home. As threats pursue them from every side, will they survive to build a life forged in love? (Western Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
You may not call them resolutions. You may call them goals, aspirations, or dreams.
Whatever you call them, the end of January is a great time to revisit those decisions you made about what you wanted to accomplish in 2023.
Revisit Your Goals
Pull out that list you made as 2022 wound down or as 2023 dawned.
If you didn’t make a list, why not do so now? Include at least one thing you would like to accomplish this year in each area of your life. Now’s the time to let your imagination soar. It’s okay to squelch those condemning voices that tell you that you might as well give up before you begin.
Break Down Your Goals
Want to write and publish a book this year? Awesome!
When there are 12 shiny new months stretched out before us, that goal may seem easily achievable. If you’re like me, you may push back getting started because a whole year sounds like a long time. After all, many people are self-publishing far more than one book a year.
However, if you break down the goal into each step that you need to accomplish, you’ll realize the year will fly by and you may just be motivated to get started TODAY.
Some of the steps include writing the first draft, self-editing the book, having the book professionally edited, revising the book, having the book proofread, revising the book again, hiring a cover designer and a book formatter, determining on which platforms you will release the book, launching the book, promoting the book…
Each of these steps can be further broken down into even smaller steps.
Suddenly, a year doesn’t seem like much time at all.
Fight Discouragement & Celebrate Success
At this point, writers have a choice.
We can give into discouragement, throw up our hands, and scrap our goals altogether.
We can complete the task of breaking down our goal of writing and publishing a book into small doable tasks and place them on our schedule.
It may take us more than a year to release that book, but with each bite-sized goal crossed off our To-Do List, we will be one step closer.
Don’t wait until you upload your completed manuscript; celebrate each small achievement. Small doesn’t mean insignificant.
Easier said than done, you may think.
Thankfully, although the writing itself is a solitary endeavour, there are countless resources and communities available to keep you on track.
Read skills development books.
Read well-written books in the genre you’re writing in. (Some authors prefer not to do this when they’re in the process of writing their own book, but it’s good to know what reader expectations are and determine the elements you want to incorporate in your own work.)
Join a social media community that will spur you on and motivate you to write.
Attend events online or in person that will fill your creative well.
Connect with a fellow writer and become accountability partners for one another.
These are only a few of the possibilities of things that may keep you motivated.
Just a word of warning: Don’t fill your time with these pursuits instead of writing.
Give Yourself Permission
So, now that we’re at the end of January, let’s give ourselves the permission to do the following:
Break down our big goals into doable tasks.
Take longer than we’d originally planned to achieve our goals.
Keep working toward our goals one step at a time.
Seek accountability from individuals and communities that will encourage and motivate us to keep writing.
Meditative artwork, Scripture, and a brief devotional followed by reflective questions and short “breath prayers” to repeat through the day make this book a special part of Advent—or at least December 1-25, since the season of Advent usually begins in November.
The Bible verses come from Luke 1 and 2, highlighting the key figures: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna.
Making Room in Advent became a favourite part of each day for me, bringing quiet, calm, and pages of journalled response. I missed the benefit of the brief daily prayers by not taking time to write them down and keep them in view to include in my day.
The art in this book is lovely, restful, and thought-provoking. A paper copy of the book would be ideal, although I found reading the ebook on a tablet gave me a large enough view of each image. I don’t know how effective it would be on a smartphone.
Highly recommended for anyone desiring a meaningful collection of devotionals leading up to Christmas—although it could benefit readers any time of the year.
Bette Dickinson is a prophetic artist, a writer, and a speaker. To learn more about her, visit bettedickinson.com.