Saturday, December 15, 2018

Mary Alford's Favorite Christmas Things



Hi everyone, Mary Alford here. Today, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite Christmas things. With the holiday growing closer, I look forward to seeing family and friends, as well as rememberingloved ones who have gone on before me.

One of myfavorite Christmas traditions is not all that old, but still very precious to my family. In December 2012, my father-in-law passed away a little before Christmas. He wasn't much on decorating for the holiday, but that particular year he had a little Christmas tree sitting on his dining room table. Since that time, I've made it a point of putting up his Christmas tree in my dining room. 

This is this year's photo of the tree decorated with photo ornaments of his great-grandchildren. I think he would be proud.   


What are the holidays without some tasty treats?

When my oldest granddaughter was still quite young, I came across this recipe and it soon became a favorite treat to prepare for the season. I make it for my granddaughter as well as give it away to our neighbors as presents.

It’s a simple recipe and one I hope you will enjoy this Christmas season.

Peppermint White Chocolate Popcorn

Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Serves: 8, Yield: 4 quarts
Ingredients
4 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup finely crushed peppermint candies or 10 candy canes
16 ounces white chocolate
Directions
1. Carefully melt the white chocolate in the microwave or on the stove. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
2. Once melted, stir half of the crushed peppermint into the white chocolate.
3. Put the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the melted white chocolate and peppermint mixture on top.
4. Stir the mixture to coat the popcorn, then sprinkle the remaining peppermint over the popcorn.
5. Enjoy.



What would popcorn be without a great holiday movie to enjoy it with?

My favorite Christmas movie is Christmas Vacation. I love the zany way, the Griswolds’s perfect holiday plans turn out to be anything but.

So what about you? What are some of your favorite things to do to make the holiday special?

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Mary Alford


Mountain Ambush.

Reunions can be deadly…

Jamie Hendricks always believed her late father was innocent of murder…and now her uncle claims to have proof. But when she arrives in her hometown, her uncle has vanished—and someone wants her dead. Jamie’s ex-boyfriend, CIA agent Gavin Dalton, is the only person she trusts…even if he believes her dad killed his father. But can he help her uncover a deadly conspiracy that goes deeper than anyone expected?





Friday, December 14, 2018

B. J. Bassett's Early Christmas Gift -- Great Gift Idea


B. J. Bassett received an early Christmas gift. Her books, Gillian’s Heart and Sweet Charity have been republished and are available on Amazon. Signed copies with an invoice are also available. Email her at bassett106@charter.net with an order. Books are $10 each plus $3 for shipping. Put Book Order as the Subject. Signed books make great gifts.

Gillian’s Heart
Book Blurb


     
       Gillian Grant, abandoned by her alcoholic parents, is raised by her grandmother in a beach house overlooking the Pacific in Reagan Beach, California.

As a tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian is determined to restore the house to its original beauty and hires Dusty, a handyman and surfer, to help her. Dusty shares the apartment above the garage with Gillian’s childhood friend, Josh.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Later they discover their shared grief for beloved grandparents. But Gillian also suffers from anorexia and abandonment, and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Concern for his salvation, they agree he will attend church if she will attend a twelve-step program.

It is during a twelve-step meeting Betsy, Gillian’s mother, arrives and announces the house was left to her, not Gillian, and she plans to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart—stable Josh or can she trust Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house?

Sweet Charity
Book Blurb

Dr. Nancy St. John has a well-kept, twenty-year-old secret.

A pregnant high school senior, she is banished by her parents to live with her spinster aunt in Chicago.

            Heartbroken, Nancy concentrates on her work and avoids intimate relationships. Hope, the daughter Nancy gave up for adoption twenty years earlier, finds her. A bond blossoms between them but is challenged by Hope’s leukemia. Hope needs a bone marrow transplant, but she has a rare blood type. Nancy is not a match. Nancy is determined to find Skip, Hope’s biological father, who never knew about Nancy’s pregnancy or why she disappeared so mysteriously.


B. J. Bassett is an author, teacher and speaker. Her books include a historical novel Lily,Gillian’s Heart, and Sweet Charity. She coauthoredMy Time with God with over 55,000 copies sold (out of print).

As a contributing writer, publications consist of Writer’s Handbook 2000, The Writer, and The Focus on the Family Guide to Growing a Healthy Home, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc.—consistently on Bookstore Journal’s Best-selling Christian Books List from November 1990 - February 1991, and voted the 10 Best Books for 1990 by Today’s Christian Woman.
Magazines, devotional booklets, curriculum and newspaper publishers include Focus on the Family, Woman’s World, The Quiet Hour, Pathways to God, Devotions, Harcourt Brace, WordAction, Gospel Publishing and Times Standard (newspaper).

She teaches writing workshops at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR, and at writer’s conferences and is a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries. Her speaking also includes book talks on her historical novel, Lily.

Memberships include American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW).





Thursday, December 13, 2018

Whispers in Wyoming Christmas Party!! Great #giveaway!!!


Greetings friends! You’re invited to a wonderful Christmas party in the Whispers in Wyoming Facebook reader group.  (online event)


Here’s the link to join the group.  Trust me, this party is always so much fun!  You won’t want to miss it!  25 authors will be sharing giveaways and hanging out with you over the course of this 3 day fun event!  Whispers in Wyoming (Facebook Reader Group)
Also, in addition to those giveaways and fun, the authors have teamed up with the authors of the Whispers in Wyoming series and are offering more fun with a chance for you to win one of  four grand prizes–:  One winner will win ALL 53 of these Kindle eBooks, another winner will win a Kindle Fire, one winner will win a $25.00 Amazon gift card, and one winner will receive a sweet little collection of at least 3 Christmas ornaments.  Here’s a link to enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win, and no newsletter sign ups are required!

Hope to see you at the party!  Be sure to join the group today so when the authors start doing their giveaways and sharing you’ll be seeing their posts and able to join in all the fun and merriment of this most wonderful Christmas season!
Again, here’s the link to join the Facebook reader group where the party will be–: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WhispersinWyomingRomance/
Here’s the rafflecopter to enter for your chance to win one of the grand prizes which will be announced on Saturday, Dec. 22nd in the reader group:
To enter for a chance to win one of the grand prizes, here's the link to the rafflecopter. No newsletter sign-ups required. #Win53KindleBooks OR #WinAKindleFire AND MORE http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/822e967c5/?
In other news, here’s my latest new release and contribution to the “Whispers in Wyoming” series, a contemporary Christmas Inspirational and Christian Amish romance, Winter’s Treasure, part of Love’s Christmas Blessings collection.  Although this is set in Mackinac County, Michigan, it is completely a stand-alone novel.


Winter’s Treasure Blurb


Paris Kauffman believes she is about to embark on her family-tradition birthday treasure hunt, but for the first time ever, her daed is sending her to various businesses and homes in the community. Little does Paris expect that when she enters the bakery to collect her gift, the bus will drop off none other than her old crush, Aquila Stutzman, the man she’d done everything except cartwheels and handstands to get his attention. And failed. Of course, Quil doesn’t remember her.

Quil was offered employment working on his grandparents’ new tree farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since he’s recovering from a broken heart when his longtime girlfriend Priscilla up and married his cousin, a move Quil never saw coming, he decides to take the job. This will give him time to separate himself from the hurt and maybe, eventually, move on.

Paris and Quil have sparks from the beginning, especially since his appearance causes a vicious rivalry between friends. But who can resist when a chance meeting beginning with donuts and coffee ends with a missing person, puppies, a skunk, and a sleigh ride—not to mention a trip the Amish young people plan to Niagara Falls. Could it also involve falling in love? 





Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Christmas Magic by Sara Foust


My childhood memories of Christmas are filled with such wonder and joy. My brother and I so looked forward to decorating the tree, and we even found an old book of Christmas songs and insisted a time or two that we all do that whole television family thing of sitting around singing these lovely songs while decorating and drinking hot cocoa. We didn’t have a fireplace to hang our stockings on, but my mom had these adorable little weighted puppies with hooks in their mouths that we placed on the counter edge and dangled our stockings from. Somewhere along the way, I insisted that my stocking needed a jingle bell in it and to this day that bell is in my stocking on my mantle in my own home. Well, I can’t really promise it is the exact same one, but I like to think it is. My mom wasn’t (and really still isn’t) a morning person and she always set a time for us to wake her, usually around sevenish. This was torture for us, because we couldn’t sleep. We would sneak out of our beds as soon as we were sure Santa had come and sit in the living room trembling and shivering with excitement, staring at the soft glow of Christmas lights and wondering at the empty glass of homemade eggnog and mostly gone homemade fudge. I can still close my eyes and tap into that feeling, that wonderful, innocent anticipation that I’ve never experienced in quite the same way as an adult.
As a mom now, I have a few traditions I like to continue with my children and a few new ones, like Chloe the Elf who comes every year after Thanksgiving and moves around the house in a most mysterious way. The kiddos always get Christmas Eve pajamas to put on and wake up feeling new and special in on Christmas morning, just like my brother and I did as children. This year, the kids and I are trying something new because we are still trying to find a new normal. We are camping at Grandma and Grandpa’s house Christmas Eve so we can be there to open presents and fix breakfast Christmas morning. How special this will be for all of us, in the home I grew up in with my babies and my wonderful parents. We will still open our stockings first, then our presents, and then pack up and go to my aunt’s house to celebrate with our large extended family. These days the house is overflowing with the laughter, squeals, and running feet of 15 (and one on the way, my brother and sister-in-law’s second child—yay!) children under the age of 14. It is a bit chaotic and never dull and always satisfyingly, heart-fillingly exhausting. The children open their presents and us grownups do a white elephant game, though if I was honest I don’t need any presents. The best part is seeing Christmas through my kids’ eyes and remembering that is where the magic lies.

Sara is a multi-published, award-winning author and homeschooling mother of five who writes surrounded by the beauty of East Tennessee. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is the author of the Love, Hope, and Faith Series, which includes Callum's Compass (2017), Camp Hope (2018), and Rarity Mountain (March 2019).  She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com


AMY DAWSON directs a summer camp for foster children near Briceville, Tennessee. A foster mom for the first time, her responsibilities as mother to a traumatized child bring a whole new set of challenges and joys.
But when Amy’s four-year-old foster daughter is dragged into the mountains of Royal Blue by a former employee, parenting challenges are overshadowed by a new nightmare. The Sheriff's department fails to procure viable leads, and Amy can’t sit idle. Her childhood friend and first love, JACK EVANS, returns to lend his skills as tracker. Problem is, he also stirs up romantic memories Amy would rather leave buried.
Jack struggles to let go of his past failures and prove his reliability by bringing Mattie home, but fears when he left camp nineteen years ago and failed to keep a promise to Amy he permanently lost her confidence.
As Amy plunges into the wilderness on horseback to search for Mattie, she must decide who she trusts, let go of her childhood traumas, and learn to rely on hope in God. Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will she succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in the vast wilderness forever?


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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mind Games

Mind Games 

(Kaely Quinn Profiler #1) 

Paperback, ebook, hardcover, audio

December 4, 2018

by Nancy Mehl (Author).

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764231841


Synopsis
FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn's methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She's done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she's the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely's, it seems her old life has followed her.
When a body is found that fits the poem's morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.
With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.


My thoughts: I was a bit freaked out by the prologue of MIND GAMES and the freaky first chapter. But Nancy Mehl is a favorite author of mine and as usual her writing drew me in. I absolutely could not put MIND GAMES down and had to keep reading it. In fact, I stayed up past my bedtime to finish it!

MIND GAMES is the first book in Ms. Mehl's new series Kaely Quinn, Profiler. I love how Kaely spells her name. My daughter's name is spelled similar. 

I picked this up between church services on Sunday and read the whole book in mere hours. There is a hint of a future romance, and may I say that I loved Alex and Noah  and Solomon.  

It was kind of creepy about how Kaely profiles -- but that said I've seen author interviews about how they do the same type of interviewing with their characters so it maybe the way the mind is wired. Whatever, it worked for her, and if Ms. Mehl does character interviews that way it worked for her.  I am anxious to read the second book in the series. 

As for whodunit, I figured it out somewhat early, but wasn't 100% sure I was right until the end.  There were plenty of red herrings. I was. 

Great book. Enjoyed it.  

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Guest Post from Nancy

Writing Mind Games is a dream come true. I’ve been interested in FBI profiling for years. I’ve read about it, studied it, and watched every TV special I could find on the subject. So when the chance finally came to write the book I’ve always wanted to write, I jumped at it. Thankfully, through the help of another writer, I was hooked up with a retired FBI profiler. I was so excited. Until I found out I had almost everything wrong. Yes, I had some understanding about profiling, but I knew nothing about the FBI and how it works.
First of all, the FBI doesn’t call the men and women who profile criminals, profilers. They’re called Behavioral Analysts. The plot for Mind Games had my analyst running around the country solving crimes while she was stationed in St. Louis. Uh, no. Behavioral analysts do travel, but they all work out of Quantico in Virginia. So…I rewrote.
There were ways around my conundrum, but one solution led to more and more problems. We finally worked through them. Then I spent the next few months learning acronyms. CIRG, CJIS, NCAVC, HRT, UNSUB, CNU, THU, ViCap, CODIS, SWAT, ERTU, OPU, THRU, ERT… Well, the list goes on and on. The FBI is made up of many specialized units. And a plethora of acronyms, it seems.
I rewrote Mind Games three times before my source said we were good to go.
If you assume I’m out of the woods now, you’d be wrong. I haven’t had the nerve to open up the manuscript I sent her for book two in my Kaely Quinn Profiler series. I figured I had Fire Storm right but… Well, I can tell from her email comments I’ll be doing more rewriting. Sigh.
So is it worth it? A resounding yes! I love learning, and as long as my analyst friend hangs in with me (she has the patience of Job), I’ll keep at it.
I hope you enjoy Mind Games. It’s edgy but fun. Kaely Quinn is a quirky character. She was thrown out of Quantico because her version of profiling is… Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Blog Stops

The Lit Addict, December 11
amandainpaDecember 11
A Reader’s BrainDecember 12
Daysong ReflectionsDecember 12
Livin’ Lit, December 12
By The Book, December 13
Lighthouse Academy, December 13
Multifarious, December 14
Splashes of JoyDecember 14
Back Porch ReadsDecember 15
Robin is Bookish, December 15
Janices book reviews, December 15
C Jane Read, December 16
Ashley’s BookshelfDecember 16
The Becca Files, December 16
Bigreadersite, December 16
Quiet Quilter, December 17
Margaret Kazmierczak, December 17
Godly Book Reviews, December 17
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18
Just the Write Escape, December 18
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 19 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, December 19
Remembrancy, December 20
Inklings and notionsDecember 20
Carpe Diem, December 20
Locks, Hooks and BooksDecember 21
Pause for Tales, December 21
Have A Wonderful DayDecember 22
Book by Book, December 22
Bibliophile Reviews, December 23
Cafinated Reads, December 24
Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Nancy is giving away a grand prize of a copy of Mind Games and the three books in Nancy’s Defenders of Justice series, plus a $20 Starbucks gift card!
Two additional winners will also receive a copy of Mind Games!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d73b/mind-games-celebration-tour-giveaway