Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Sneak Peek at June Foster's The Long Way Home

Scene One of Chapter Five

Jada fled like a blind woman in the darkened forest. She dodged trees that materialized only seconds before she avoided colliding with their trunks. Twisting. Turning. Stumbling. David—gripping her tighter when she lost balance.
She panted and ran on. The two evil men shot Hadjira. She and David could be next. Their lives depended on distance, swiftness. How long they spun in and out of the trees seeing nothing but eerie, wavy, pole-like structures she didn't know.
Then at the next curve in their makeshift path, David grasped her shoulder, nudging her down behind a massive boulder. His arm encircled her, sheltering her as she gasped. They waited.
The silence was only broken by the echo of a night bird's song. No dreaded footsteps sounded. She flinched at the low repetitive drone of a frog and gripped harder on David's hand. She longed to ponder the prayer she'd offered to God, but fleeing from the enemy dominated her mind.
A whooshing sound carried on the soft breeze. David's voice.
"What?" she murmured.
"I don't think they followed us."
"I… I hope you're right." She tried to gulp down the persistent flow of emotion, but instead she moaned.
"They shot Hadjira. I don't know if he's dead. Should we go back?"
David tightened his hold around her. "I never saw actual combat in the army, but some of my buddies described the horror of the battlefield." He drew her nearer his chest. "My job is to protect you right now. I'm sorry you had to see that."
"I'll never forget. Never," she squeaked. "Are we going to die?"
"Shh. I'll do everything I can to keep you safe."
"What are we going to do?"
"Let's listen a few more minutes. Let me be sure they aren't following us."
Though Jada's eyes were open, she only saw darkened shadows. A dull ray of light from somewhere, she didn't know where, illuminated the black forest. Nearby, bushes and rock fragments covered the ground. Next to the boulder, more trees swept high into the night sky, like sentinels watching over them.
A soft breeze cooled the perspiration on her forehead. Her thudding heart slowed a fraction. A sharp cramp in her leg made her squirm.
"It's too dark to go farther. We don't know what kind of creatures we could encounter—or the lay of the land. Ravines or drop-offs. We should stay here until the first light of dawn then find our way out," David suggested.
"But what about Black Cap and Chunky? What if they come after us?"
He smoothed his hand over hers. "We'll take turns listening. The other can sleep awhile."
"O… okay."
David's presence offered warmth and safety, and he wanted to protect her the best he could—something she'd never sensed from Jeff. Though he'd said he loved her, he cherished something more—his career. Nothing like near-death to shed light on one's perspective.
Jada settled down, sitting next to the rock then leaned her head back. She shivered, not from the cool air but from the terror that wrapped its icy tendrils around her. "I was so scared. I didn't know if we would die—like the driver," she whispered.
David sat next to her, sliding his arm around her. "Let me tell you a story." His voice was barely a whisper. "A year ago, in Germany, I was in the field on a training mission. My job was to set up communications in the area—a trial run, if you will. But a grass fire ignited and smoke filled the air."
"How did it start?"
"Somebody was probably smoking and tossed their cigarette on the ground. The fire moved fast, and suddenly, I realized it was heading toward a truck filled with ammunition. The only thing I could do was get to the vehicle and move it before the fire got there or else the truck would explode and set the complex on fire. People would've died."
Jada sat up straight. "What happened?"
"I wasn't sure whether I'd live or die. I breathed a desperate prayer to the Lord that the truck would start, and I could move it away in time. I could've gone up in smoke right along with that vehicle and the missile site as well."
"But you're still here," she whispered.
"Yes." His voice seemed to drift on the cool night air. "God gave me strength when I had none of my own, like now."
"What motivated you to take the chance?"
He ran his hand through his hair and stared straight ahead. "My father, I suppose. He died a year and a half ago in a car accident."
"I'm so sorry. So you wanted to honor his memory by showing bravery?"
"No. Not that." He took a deep breath. "My father let me and my mother down more times than I could ever count. He never treated her with respect or paid much attention to me." He stared at her. "I never want to be that kind of man. That day in the field offered me the chance to be more."
Jada snuggled a little closer to David. "I've only known you for less than a day, but I have no doubt you're an honorable person."
"We've been through a lot together." He took both of her hands in his.
She straightened and gritted her teeth until her jaws ached. "What if they come looking for us in the night? They could have flashlights. They could shoot us dead like sitting ducks."

Backcover blurb:

David Maguire's tour of duty in Germany is over, and he's returning home to Oak Mountain, Alabama in search of a job. After a long flight from Frankfort, he shares an Uber with Dallas resident Jada Atwood.
Jada Atwood, a registered nurse midwife, is on her way to a medical conference in Queens. If only she could live up to her father's legacy at the hospital where she works, she could prove worthy of his reputation. Marriage awaits yet her fiancé has yet to offer a ring.
When the Uber driver must make a stop to pick up a passenger at a Queens shopping center, two men who robbed a nearby bank commandeer the Ford as a getaway car. But when they discover two passengers, they have to get rid of the extra baggage.
After the kidnappers murder the Uber driver, David and Jada fear for their lives. Will they find their way home or die in a Pennsylvania forest?   

Short blurb: A kidnapping and vicious murder leave David Maguire and Jada Atwood with few options—remain in the clutches of their abductors or attempt an escape. But the attraction they discover for each other could change their lives. Will they find their way home or die in a Pennsylvania forest?

The Long Way Home

About June Foster
June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next contemporary romance or romantic suspense. June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. Find June at

June's website:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ellie's Redemption and #giveaway

About the Book

Title: Ellie’s Redemption
Author: Molly Jebber
Genre: Christian fiction, Amish
Release date: January 29, 2019
1912, Charm, Ohio

The comforting aroma of fresh baked-and-buttered bread. The hearty spice of cinnamon-oatmeal bars and hot coffee. In 1912 Ohio, The Amish Charm Bakery is the sweet sustaining center of a faith-abiding town built on peace, forgiveness--and ever-surprising love . . . 

Ellie Graber couldn't be happier working at Amish Charm--and making good on a precious chance to reunite with her Amish community. Grief over her mother's death made her rebel and try the Englischer world, but now she's home to start again. And quiet, thoughtful Joel Wenger is one of the few willing to understand her as their unexpected friendship develops into something much more . . .

But no matter how hard Ellie tries, Joel's mother resolutely refuses to approve of her--much less accept her as a potential daughter-in-law. And as painful misunderstandings and a beautiful rival for Joel's affections threaten to separate the couple for good, can they bridge the gap between distrust and faith to secure a lifetime of love?

 My thoughts:  ELLIE'S REDEMPTION is a sweet historical Amish romance. I missed the 1921 in tiny print in the book until it mentioned President Taft so I went back and wow.   That explained a lot I was confused about. 
Joel and Ellie liked each other immediately upon meeting and became a couple right away, but that said, they had a lot to work through with jealous girls, his mother's intense dislike of her, and ever so much more.  I wondered how they would ever find their way past all the hurdles to find happiness and lasting love. 
The two young boys, pets, and secondary characters who befriend the main characters are a nice touch and add hope and humor to the story.  I loved Joel's dad and Ellie's parents. 
This is the first book I've read by Amish author Molly Jebber but it won't be the last. A sweet read for Amish romance fans. 
I was given an advance reader copy of the book. All opinions are my own. 

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Molly Jebber writes Amish Historical Romance. Her latest release, ELLIE’S REDEMPTION, is the second book in her Amish Charm Bakery Series. Molly’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times. Her books have received widespread media attention throughout the US. Her books are sold in print and Ebook throughout the US and United Kingdom. She’s a touring speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, other women’s organizations, and she offers presentations on writing and the Amish. She says the most rewarding part about writing stories is meeting wonderful readers who become friends through social media and at her speaking events. Please visit her website: for a full list of her books (and options stores to buy them), speaking events and recipes.
She loves God, her family, and friends. She says yes to swimming, the beach, golf, and time with her family and friends, and no to coconut, onions, and skydiving!

Guest Post from Molly

Hi Friends!
Ellie likes newcomer Joel, and he’s the first Amish man to show interest since her return to Charm. She’s afraid when he learns of her rebellious past and the danger she brought to her family before turning her life around, he’ll end their courtship. Joel is frustrated his sister left Amish life before his family moved to Charm. He chooses not to tell Ellie about her, until he has no choice. What does the future hold for Ellie and Joel when their secrets are revealed?
Along with the story of Ellie’s Redemption are recipes!
Here’s one just for you!

Ellie’s Surprise Cookies
1 cup shortening 2 cups rolled oats (quick cook)
1 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon soda
1 ¼ cup brown sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
2 eggs 2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt

Sift dry ingredients. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Stir in dry ingredients. Add oatmeal, vanilla and chocolate chips. Dough will be crumbly. Spoon a teaspoon of dough at a time on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, January 29
Carpe Diem, January 29
Lighthouse Academy, January 30
Bigreadersite, February 2
Mary Hake, February 2
Maureen’s Musings, February 2
EmpowerMoms, February 3
Inklings and NotionsFebruary 4
Robin is Bookish, February 5
Texas Book-aholic, February 6
SusanLovesBooks, February 7
Henry Happens, February 9
Bibliophile Reviews, February 10
Vicky Sluiter, February 11


To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a grand prize that includes an Amish doll, a handmade lap quilt (can be used as wall hanging), an Apple Pie recipe tea towel, a Blessings journal, a handmade quilted potholder, a $10 Amazon Card, Ellie’s Redemption Print Book, a mug, a 2019 Planner, pad and pen set, and a bookmark!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Starting a Story by Daphne Self

As the new year begins, I think about beginnings—beginning again after a long hiatus. The past few years were like winter and now, my spring is coming.
In March my early reader, The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog, releases. My second novel is in my publisher’s hands. I’m working on the second early reader, my third novel, my first novella, and my second nonfiction.
But how do I start a new story? How do I come up with an opening scene that captivates?
That’s like asking why the sun is yellow or the night velvety dark. I can tell you the mechanics, but not the how.
Suffice to say: I play “what-if”.
What if a paramedic becomes addicted to prescription drugs—what pushed him that direction?
What happened to the mystery books for children that were so popular way back when? What if two friends try to solve mysteries in their neighborhood, but usually finds themselves learning valuable lessons in the process?
How would someone feel suffering a tragedy? What emotions are at play? Who helps them? What is that squirrel doing?
Get the picture?
I ask a question and then roll with it. Eventually the snowball causes an avalanche of ideas that soon turn into stories.
And how do I write that opening scene? I sit down, apply a lot of emotion, and write. Plus, the best research is to read. Not to mimic others, but to learn what works and what doesn’t.
The best way—from my experience—to start a story is to start writing. And it’s okay to plot. You may not stick to it, but it acts like a map during your penning travels.
I will say this: when I sit down to start a novel, I don’t worry about comparable books or what the market wants. I have a publisher, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t worry about finding an agent or publisher. I don’t worry about grammar or misspellings. Edits can happen later. My first thought is: let’s dive in and start finding out what is happening in my characters’ lives.
As soon as I start, the names come to me. For the novel that is being perused by my publisher, I choose Scott. But Scott can be so boring, so I thought about a series of books I adore. One of the characters went by an alias: Weatherby. So Scott became Scott Weatherby Wilson. See? I don’t think too hard on names. It is whatever pops inside my head at the time.
And that’s how you begin. Plot if you need to but sit down and start writing. Build up around your characters. Don’t build your characters around a setting. Apply emotion. And then let the words carry you away. Chances are if the words can carry you away, they will carry your readers away, too.

Daphne Self, formerly published under the name D.M. Webb, resides in Iowa. A transplant
from Mississippi who fell in love with the Midwest state, she spends her days writing, editing,
hiking, antiquing, and planning adventures with her husband and sons. Having always dreamed
of being a writer she pursues this dream with only one goal in mind: to glorify His Name. Daphne
is also an avid reader who devours books in many genres. As a long-time member of ACFW
(American Christian Fiction Writers), she volunteers her time judging contests for unpublished
and published authors. She also helps upcoming authors polish their manuscripts.

The Adventures of Wilhelmina: The Case of the Missing Firehouse
Beautiful Majesty has been dognapped!
Majesty, the firehouse dog, is missing.
Willie and Jax are on the case to discover who is the dognapping culprit. Could it be
their neighbor, Mr. Applebee? Or maybe it is Ms. Thornton?
Join the Pintail Duo, Wilhelmina van der Coup and Jackson Barnaby, as they follow
 the clues to rescue Majesty in The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog.

Mississippi Nights:
Two brothers, one death--the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against
 resentment and guilt.

Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt?
When Firefighter David Boyette's fiancée perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother,
 Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death. Three years later, David returns home with a dark
and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman's love, and small child's
devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the
bitterness that enslaves him? Together the brothers must decide if the bond of
brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Impressions by Heidi Dru Kortman

Text: Psalm 119:73-80
“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May they who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word” (v.73-74).
            Some passages are hard to live up to. First, we must give in and confess that God knows exactly what he is doing in the process of our lives. It can be very difficult to admit that there could be a real purpose for our disabilities. “Everybody else” appears to have life much easier than we do.
            As a very small preemie” in 1957, I could have died immediately. The oxygen levels in the incubator could have blinded me—(the technology was still being worked out then). I could have had problems with mental development. By the grace of God, I have none of these things. I do have spastic cerebral palsy. My left leg is weaker than my right, and my left hand won’t type this devotional as fast as my right one can. It’s frustrating, and on some days, I do not consider this “gift” something I’ve received from God’s grace. It can be very hard to truly believe that “in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (v.75).
            We know that God’s laws are righteous, but achieving a blameless attitude toward his law and making it our delight, are definitely things we cannot do for ourselves. Obviously, it is easy to pray “May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;” but meditating on God’s precepts instead of the mocking we have received is not naturally our first choice.
            Our God has compassion. He solved our greatest problem by decreeing the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Christ rose, and sent the Holy Spirit, who lives in and with us, and is the unfailing love and comfort that makes all God’s promises our personal possessions. When we focus on this truth, instead of our awkward personal circumstances, we can be attractive despite the physical differences that draw so much other attention. “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word…may those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes” (vs. 74, 79).
            Through belief in the life, saving death, and resurrection of Jesus, all your overwhelming promises are ours, Lord God, and we plead that you remake us. Help us to make your will our delight. Mold our attitudes so that those who see us can rejoice. Amen.

Heidi Dru Kortman, a CWG Apprentice graduate, ACFW member since 2004, and Word Weaver member has published devotionals in various newsletters, and a collected volume of devotionals. Her poetry, flash fiction, and short stories have appeared in small magazines, and a website. She is applying herself to the task of writing smoothly polished fiction.

An Interview with Curtis Solomon, Author of I Have PTSD

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