Grace Awards

Expanding the Tent Pegs of Christian Fiction

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Grace Filled Christmas Book Bash 2016 ~ Day One

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Authors who have won or finaled in the Grace Awards, who have been judges, who are active members of the Grace Awards Face Book Group, or who have in other ways supported the Grace Awards are happy to show their Christmas spirit with this showcase of their novels at this joyous time of year.

 
more-than-a-tiara MORE THAN A TIARA by  Valerie Comer
 
Welcome to Helena, Montana, and fall in love on Christmas Eve at the Miss Snowflake Pageant! Marisa Hiller’s interest in competing is at zip zero zilch when she discovers the official photographer is the man who ruined her modeling career. She’s made a new life on her family farm, but balks at representing the CSA program in the pageant. Jase Mackie’s regret runs deep for the hot accusations he’d flung at Marisa over two years before. God has forgiven him but hasn’t answered his prayer to bring her back into his life… until now. Can Jase make amends for past mistakes and offer Marisa more than a tiara? Enjoy the rich heritage and innate charm of Montana’s capitol city in this heartwarming Christmas romance offering a second chance at love amid swirls of snow, cups of cocoa, food for the hungry, and the glitz of pageantry.
 
 
 
onenightintehran-1 ONE NIGHT IN TEHRAN  by Luana Ehrlich
 

The message of Christmas suddenly became real for CIA intelligence officer, Titus Ray, one night in Tehran when he found shelter with a group of Iranian Christians. Compelled by their unwavering faith, the battle-hardened agent becomes a believer shortly before they smuggle him out of Iran to freedom in Turkey. Returning to the States, he discovers his Iranian mission failed because of political infighting within the Agency. After delivering a scathing indictment against the Deputy Director of Operations, he’s forced to take a year’s medical leave in Oklahoma. Before leaving Langley, however, he discovers a Hezbollah hit man has targeted him for assassination. Now, while trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ, he must decide if the Iranian couple he meets in Oklahoma has ties to the man who’s trying to kill him, and if Nikki Saxon, a beautiful local detective, can be trusted with his secrets.

One Night In Tehran on Amazon

Luana Ehrlich’s Website

 

 
Christmas is a time for celebrating with family, but nineteen-year-old Bitty Brown lives alone, without family or friends, on the streets of Ireland. Sick and in need of warmth and care, she stumbles upon a beggar and his dog. This chance meeting will change Bitty’s life forever and provide her with the love she needs to be healthy and whole again. Bitty Brown gives readers a heart-warming story of hope and rebirth, of gifts beyond measure. A story of love, faith, and hope, it is the perfect gift for any reader.
 
 
 

blood-speaks-sharon-lavy-2 BLOOD SPEAKS by Nike N. Chillemi

Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, Brooklyn gal PI, waited a long time for the solitaire on her finger. When her sometimes boss, a shadowy figure and director of a secret government organization, offers a one-week bridal shopping vacay in Maryland right before Christmas. Ronnie jumps at it. Joined by bridesmaids, Sandra Daube and Bertha Dagney, she sets off for the village of Heritage Cove on Arrowhead Lake, Maryland. Their joyous stay at the rustic yet luxury Heritage Cove Inn is shattered by a murder with tendrils and a clandestine motive stretching back to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It doesn’t take long for Ronnie and her gal-pals to become targets of the killer. It goes without saying, Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes leaves Texas to protect his bride-to-be. He’s joined by Sandra’s employer, conservative political activist Ben Cohen. Neither hell-nor-high-water can keep Gabby Hayes look-alike Hoot Dagney from the side of Bertha, his new bride. This novel is proof positive that romance, Christmas, and murder do mix.

BLOOD SPEAKS on Amazon

Nike N. Chillemi’s Blog

war-of-the-heart-1 WAR OF THE HEART  by Jenna Victoria

When a vintage Christmas snow globe sends Boston dress designer Louise Martin & British B&B owner George Walker back in time to London, December 1940, they race against the clock to reconcile a feud between their families and solve a 75-year-old mystery. As Louise relies on God; and on George for guidance, friendship then love, will the future George envisions strangle her own dreams? Will their love survive generations of mistrust, the Blitz and being stranded in wartime 1940, possibly never to return to their former lives?

WAR OF THE HEART on Amazon

Jenna Victoria’s Website

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Grace Awards 2015 Winners ~ in Faith Based Fiction

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The Grace Awards, a reader driven awards and the most democratic awards in Christian fiction, now in its sixth year, is very proud to announce its 2015 WINNERS. This year we had an array of widely diverse judges (multi-published authors, traditionally published ones, indie authors, and avid readers). Our judges commented on how pleased they were with the high quality of the finalists chosen by readers this year. Several judging teams ‘complained’ they had trouble picking a winner because all three stories nominated were so good. This only serves to justify the faith we have in our Christian readers who nominate the finalists. That’s what the Grace Awards is all about.

We’ve tried to use, if you will, a separation of powers in choosing our winners. Readers nominated (via email) the finalists in six categories. After the nominations were counted, finaling titles were given to our judging teams. From that point on there was no contact between the judging teams and the Chair of the Board, except for administrative issues. The teams independently picked winners. Each step in the process was removed and separated from the next step, to insure impartiality.

We are thrilled that our winners showcase self-published works as well as titles from  publishing houses, ebooks as well as paperbacks. Our aim is to be an egalitarian award, and we believe we’ve accomplished this.

The winners are…

Women’s Fiction/General Fiction: serious women’s or men’s issues, can have humor and suspense elements

Annabelle's Ruth

ANNABELLE’S RUTH by Betty Thomason Owens (Amazon Digital Services)

In ANNABELLE’S RUTH the author triumphs over the challenge of making a well-loved bible story fresh, and relevant to the era of 1950s Tennessee.  Expect to be transported to the small, rural town where Annabelle and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, must find a way to begin again after their husbands’ tragic deaths. Readers familiar with the book of Ruth will be left with a deeper appreciation of God’s provenance.

 

Romance/Historical Romance: primary element is love/courtship/marriage, be it set now or then

Bridge of Faith

BRIDGE OF FAITH by Catherine West (Amazon Digital Services)

BRIDGE OF FAITH gives an inside look at American family life. It’s not perfect. And all the frayed ends don’t really get tied up in the end. These people are still flawed, but they love each other and aren’t about to quit believing. I wondered, more than once, Julia Connelly would ever wake up and realize what a gift she’d been given—a second chance at love. The reality is, we’re often filled with doubt and anxiety. We’re afraid to try again, because we know the pain of making a mistake. The judges thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book. The author did a nice job of bringing them to life and giving them real and believable emotions. Their struggles were so real at times, we almost wanted to stop and pray for them. Yes, the judges supposed the idea of a rich, hunky lead returning to save our heroine from a lonely forever is a tad clichéd, but who cares? It was great fun. The only negative we found in Bridge of Faith, was our inability to put it down. 

 

Trial By Twelve

Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense: crime fiction, there’s probably a body

TRIAL BY TWELVE by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press)

This novel grabs the reader’s attention from the start. The writing is crisp with a fresh and unique author voice. The pacing moves along fast enough to keep the reader hooked but not so quickly as to create confusion. In addition to the mystery/suspense plot, the reader gets a delightful look into the lives of Tess, her family, and friends. Written in first person, the point of view stays steadfast throughout the story except for the letters sprinkled throughout the book which give insight into the killer’s psyche. They do not, however, give away too much and spoil the whodunit reveal. Ms. Gilbert makes good use of red herrings, both with characters and even setting. Though it is obvious that this novel is a sequel, the reader is able to follow character relationships easily. TRIAL BY TWELVE  is a novel all three Grace Awards judges can recommend.

 

Storming

Speculative Fiction: science fiction, horror, fantasy, etc.

STORMING by K.M. Weiland (PenForASword Publishing)

STORMING was a pleasure to read. It started with a bang and kept on delivering. It is a highly inventive story with just the right balance of unpredictability and universal appeal. The characters are especially well rounded, their humanity believable as each one’s troubled past was gradually revealed. The 1920s setting seemed well researched; the dialogue and colloquialisms were in keeping with the era, yet a natural feel was maintained throughout. ‘Steampunk’ elements added another dynamic to an already superbly built world, while masterful descriptions never weighed the story down. This book has it all: complex relationships, excellent pacing, wonderfully timed resolutions, and some surprising twists. It was not overtly Christian, but there were definitely elements of faith and forgiveness. It is highly recommended for anyone – readers looking for something different AND readers looking for something relatable. It truly has universal appeal.

 

Saving Eric

Action Adventure/Western/Historic Epic Fiction: exploits, quest, expansive

SAVING ERIC by Joan Deneve (Amazon Digital Services)

Joan Deneve weaves a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness in this Grace Awards winner. SAVING ERIC  combines intrigue and espionage into a story of learning to forgive and accept mercy. The characters, even the secondary, are believable, engaging, and compelling. Eric, who believes failure is not an option in his life, finds himself on the wrong side of a traitor in the midst of a failed mission. Critically injured, he’s flown to a remote hospital by his friend and helicopter pilot, Toby. Despite a strained relationship between Eric and his father, the scenes between them provide insight into Eric’s character. The growth of their relationship is realistic and touching. The spiritual aspect of Saving Eric felt credible. It portrays the power of redemption and God’s love.

 

To Get To You

Young Adult: includes YA, NA, and middle grade

TO GET TO YOU by Joanne Bischoff (Mason Jar Books)

JoAnne Bischof has brought a new dynamic to young adult fiction. Long after reading the last page of her novel TO GET TO YOU, the judges found ourselves thinking about her unique characters. This story of one young man’s quest to do well and to climb out of a lifestyle of hopelessness, to reacquaint himself with his father, and to help his girlfriend’s family will capture the attention of young adults—and others. So, I encourage you to take a road trip with Riley Kane. You’ll be glad you went along for the ride

 

Grace Awards

 

 

 

Grace Awards Christmas Book Bash ~ day three

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RevengeREVENGE by Paula Rose

Do have shopping fatigue and/or a to-do list that just doesn’t end before your white Christmas arrives? Didn’t you wrap and tape gifts until your fingers hurt but start the shortage of bows this year? Stop. Breathe. Take some time for you, and treat yourself to a romantic suspense tale titled REVENGE! As a job coach, it’s up to Olivia Foster to ensure her clients work in a safe environment, understand their positions, and serve their employer’s mission. The death of her brother drives her career choice, and it remains her only focus until one of her autistic clients goes missing. Olivia’s employer ends her position. Added to the suspect list, she makes plans to bring the missing young man home. Meanwhile, Detective Lt. Phillip Landon second-guesses his career choice, but his well-honed instincts see major flaws in this missing person’s case. Surprising contacts, mysterious happenings, and threats turn deadly. Can he keep Olivia safe, protect his heart, and remove the job coach from someone’s target list? Amazon Barnes and Noble.
GA Xmas Book Bash 2Waters of Separation

WATERS OF SEPARATION by Carol McClain

Another child will haunt you this Christmas. In Waters of Separation, Africa’s secrets resurrect the despair physician assistant Anna Haas though she buried in America. She uncovers child slavery, and her own pregnancy threatens her mission and her life in the Ivory Coast. Waters of Separation is an evocative tale that will haunt you and then lift you up with God’s beautiful gift of redemption. It transpires between New York and Africa—a tale of faith and courage and salvation, both physical and spiritual. Its themes are redolent of Christ’s Christmas gift, and will make a treasured gift to those you care about.  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Desert Breeze

DWFDWF: DIVORCED WHITE FEMALE by Carol McClain

DWF will have you ho-ho-hoing this Christmas season with its humor and eternal themes displaying those elements of life that most matter to humans. If you think you’ve experienced a mid-life crisis, Cheryl Chandler will prove you wrong. Ditched by a philandering husband, rearing three weird teens (and a toddler—her failed attempt to save her marriage), she knows only one thing will redeem her life: a man—any man so long as he’s hot. But how does a forty-something divorcé do that? The kids have the answer. Go online. When she knows online dating is doomed, she meets the man of her dreams. Smart, witty and enchanting, Carleton Seymour sweeps her off her feet, but he’s got to meet the kids. Cheryl refuses to hide them—although the thought is tempting. First there’s New Age Andi who changes college majors more frequently than a yogi changes poses. Bobbie’s OCD could drive Mother Teresa nuts. Taylor, once an adolescent drug mule and now a born again teen, fears all will forget they’re sinners. And of course, Marina, the toddler, will make her presence known. In DW, an inspiration woman’s fiction, you will laugh and love with the characters and come away transformed and transported by Cheryl’s antics. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Desert Breeze

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DESERT DUET Desert Duetby Debra E. Marvin, a Christmas novella

Merry Christmas from Humbug. AZ. Wish You Were Here! It’s 1933 in the good old US of A. In the midst of drought, the Depression, and gangsters on the lam, America finds solace in Hollywood’s Golden Age. Ex-pilot Eugene Tanner, determined to pen the lyrics for the movie industry’s first “Best Song” award, books a rushed December stay at the remote Humbug Creek Guest Ranch. (A Gold Mine of a Getaway!) Where better to find inspiration for an epic Western, than amid all that trail dust and burnt coffee? Thea Knight gives up her short holiday break from the studio’s costume department to play cowgirl hostess at her family’s struggling guest ranch. But instead of helping their witty and handsome guest, she becomes his biggest distraction. Old flames and past regrets take a backseat when the pair become embroiled in a ghost town mystery marring Humbug, Arizona’s rustic Christmas. Thankfully, the cowgirl is as fast with her Winchester as she is with her comebacks. Now 99 cents.  Amazon, website

 

Grace Awards Christmas Book Bash ~ day two

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The Love CowardTHE LOVE COWARD by Naomi Musch

A Vintage Read for the Holidays! Settle into that old time feeling with THE LOVE COWARD, a post WWII romance that will warm your heart this cold winter season.  Burke Delgard has returned from war safe and whole, but Tulla Johanson’s dreams of them finally marrying and working her family’s farm together crumble the day he walks out of the church and over her heart to chase a baseball career. Thank heaven for friends like Joan, Walter, and now Van.
Burke’s war buddy Van came to town for the wedding, never anticipating he’d rescue Burke’s humiliated fiancée or begin an awkward friendship with her. Having carried his own secrets home from the war, he’s determined to keep them barred inside. Even if Tulla might hold the key to unlocking them, Burke clearly wants Tulla back, and even her old pal Walter is getting in the way. Van is wounded, Burke’s regretful, Walt’s hopeful, and Tulla’s vulnerable; and she might be the biggest love coward of all.     Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Desert Breeze, Naomi’s website

TrevelynTREVELYAN ~ A Tale of Beauty & The Beast by Naomi Musch

In a winter like no other, an evil waits to break its chains…In the timeless fairy tale that crosses the boundary of age, you might think you know Belle’s story, but prepare to be surprised this holiday season by TREVELYAN ~ A Tale of Beauty & The Beast.
You’ve probably not heard about the downfall of the kingdom, the warring faeries, or the elves who fled the land. You’ve not met the pair of swashbucklers and Belle’s three brothers who set out on a quest to rescue her from the Monster Lord who has her bound. And most certainly, you’ve not heard about the evil lurking in the tower, chained until this present time.
Hideous creatures and madness wait to prey upon the careless in a land where faerie magic has taken an evil turn; but a girl like Belle — and true love — can conquer all, even a wicked faerie queen and the most beastly of princes.
A fantastical winter read for young adults, new adults, or anyone who loves a great fairy tale!                Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Desert Breeze, Naomi’s Website

GA Book Bash 6She's Mine candy cane border

SHE’S MINE by Tammy Doherty

Caitlin Harrington’s Christmas wish would be a quiet life, alone and with no men who just can’t be trusted. Sean’s dream Christmas gift would be the perfect wife – one who won’t try to make him into someone else, who trusts him and believes in Christ. The Lord grants their hearts’ desires…but neither is so sure He’s gotten it right! Caitlin isn’t ready to trust any man, let alone the guy who tried to steal Grandpa’s tractor. Okay, so he wasn’t stealing it but that’s not the point. Sean Taggart is just like her father – not a good comparison! Still, he was there to save her when she burned her hand. Maybe… Sean can’t get Caitlin out of his head but he’d sure like to. The woman is quite possibly insane. She’s unreasonable, unfriendly, and just plain unpleasant. Beautiful, vulnerable, with an undeniable love for teaching children. He’s got a nice quiet life and along comes the perfect disruption. Wait, did he just say perfect? Could he possibly be falling for her? Meanwhile, someone is making it clear that Caitlin is not wanted back in Naultag, MA. Ominous notes are being left on her door at night. Ex-boyfriend Adam appears then disappears, frightening the daylights out of Caitlin. If she trusts Sean to help, will his life be in danger? Amazon, Barnes & NobleApple, Kobo, Scribd, Tammy’s website

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Blow Me A KissBLOW ME A KISS, a Christmas Novella by Felicia Gene Mires

Rand Calloway is shocked when a strange woman blows him a kiss on his first day as sheriff in a new town. Jane is shocked when she discovers she’s been blowing kisses at the new sheriff, not her childhood friend. Drat those shaded windows! Rand is more than intrigued by the idea of actually kissing Jane, but as the only vet for mileS and miles, the woman can’t seem to stay in one place long enough. With the whole town watching, he’s got to be on his best behavior. Stolen kisses in the parking lot are considered a definite no-no. Jane can hardly believe Rand is intent on pursuing her. Now if her ex-boyfriend doesn’t get in the way and get her killed, she might get that happily ever after she’s been dreaming of. BLOW ME A KISS, a Christmas Novella is a Christian romance. Amazon, Felicia’s website

DIAMONDS ARE FOR EDEN by Felicia Gene Mires
Diamonds Are For Eden
A thrilling read for over the Christmas holidays. What begins as a routine courier mission turns into a fight for her life as Natasha Kelly teams up with Israel’s Mossad to fight a deadly terrorist. When Abram Perez asks Natasha to put her exceptional courier skills to work for the nation of Israel, he mentions that several men have disappeared or died already in the attempt to carry uncut diamonds from Africa to the Diamond Institute in Israel. Natasha thinks her wide-eyed dumb blond routine, along with several disguises, will be just what she needs to thwart the enemy’s plans. Apparently, these terrorists don’t take too kindly to dumb blonds. Her hotel room is ransacked, her belongings destroyed, and shots are fired. If that’s not enough, she’s being tailed by the smoothest operator she’s ever met, Dirk Sloan, the movie heartthrob of women the world over. Only, this isn’t one of his suspense flicks, this is her life. And if Natasha doesn’t figure out who’s fair or foul, she could be the next one dead. Enter Israel’s Mossad. They’ve sent David Benjamin to keep an eye on her, but his attentions seem a little too intense. Now, her heart beats fast at the sight of two men, not to mention the hordes of terrorists out to kill her.          Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Felicia’s website

Wishing Everyone a Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year

From the Grace Awards

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Grace Awards Christmas Book Bash ~ day one

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The Best Blue XmasTHE BEST BLUE CHRISTAMS by Tracy Krauss

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… or is it? For some people, Christmas brings with it a lot of painful memories. In this short Christmas story, a disgruntled insurance worker struggles to avoid the holidays until she finds an unlikely sympathizer in her good looking neighbour. Will she be able to let go of the past? Set in the wilderness of the Yukon, Cassidy finds out that Christmas isn’t all bad…   Amazon, Tracy’s Website

GA Xmas Book Bash 3HI Xmas Meme 1HARMFUL INTENT by Nike N. Chillemi

The suspense reader doesn’t need an excuse to stay up all night reading a riveting, heart pounding novel. Still the idea of a neet Christmas read makes the first book in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingles/Dawson Hughes detective series just such an excuse. There’s betrayal, murder, mayhem, a viscious drug lord…pockets of zany humor…a sassy female PI…oh, yes, and a budding romance. What more could any crime fiction reader want?A reduction in price, you say? Well you’ve got that too. The price is now $1.99/Kindle. Free on Kindle Unlimited. Amazon, Nike’s Blog

DD Xmas Meme 2DEADLY DESIGNS by Nike N. Chillemi

A story for a late Christmas eve and for reading into the New Year. Private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels teams up again with Deputy Dawson Hughes to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against the husband’s pro-Israel, conspiracy theory broadcasts. The investigation takes Ronnie and Hughes from a manicured Connecticut estate, to interviews with an elitist A-List society crowd, and run-ins with cranky local police detectives. Then they plunge deep into the seamy, drug-riddled underbelly of the fashion world, with the specter of international terrorism hovering. Amazon, Nike’s Blog

GA Xmas Book Bash 3Sabataged ChristmasSABOTAGED CHRISTMAS by Carole Brown

A contemporary romantic mystery to warm your heart at Christmas. Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business all converge to play a part in ruining Christmas for Toni. Will the mysterious person behind it all succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen and destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams? Amazon, Carole’s blog

With Music in their HeartsWITH MUSIC IN THEIR HEARTS by Carole Brown

A historical WWII romantic suspense  that will give you a nostalgic and fascinating read this Christmas. Emma Jaine’s talent with the piano, evening gatherings with some of the nicest songs of the time, and Tyrell’s spectacular voice all add a touch of nostalgia to the novel. A civilian spy and a foreign spy tangle for separate causes. Though espionage is the main trigger, music, love and God keeps things from exploding out of control.  Amazon, Carole’s Blog

Wishing Everyone a Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year

From the Grace Awards

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Lynn Dean is a Thankful Indie Writer! ~ November 2015 SPOTLIGHT

In 2011 my first historical fiction, MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD, was a finalist in the Grace Awards. I was thrilled by the confirmation that people enjoyed my story and considered the writing good…but four years later the sequel remains half finished. Why, then, was I selected to write about writing and thankfulness?

 Life Happens

Life Happens

A funny thing happened on the way to publication. After I wrote my first project–a homeschool history curriculum–my brain was bursting with human interest stories I’d discovered during my research. I had a vision for any number of historical novels, but a job change for my husband meant a move and remodeling projects for me. Somehow I finished my first fiction project and started on the sequel but writing paused as our daughter married her sweetheart. Their happy day was the culmination of months of planning. As the year drew to a close, I had just time to develop a sort of “one off” project before the holidays.

HOME SWEET HOLE was an enjoyable experiment that linked my passions for writing, fantasy, and sustainable architecture. I expected to get back to my historical series after New Year’s, but 2014 turned out to be the year of parental care. We lost both our fathers that year after lingering illnesses, relocated both mothers, and helped them through four surgeries. Again toward the end of the year, I wrote Nabbing Saint Nickolas–a short piece we sent in lieu of Christmas cards. I told myself I was just staying in the game. Next year would be more productive…but the next year it was our son’s turn to launch. With our nest truly empty, I turned to writing once more, but over the years my direction had changed. Stories still fill my heart, but my non-fiction homeschool resources do a better job of filling my bank account.

Moral: Life happens! Instead of feeling disgruntled about “career interruptions”, I am grateful for the privilege of being an independent writer. Here is a partial list of the blessings for which I’m grateful:

  • My writing career is portable. My husband’s relocation meant the sacrifice of my “day job” but challenged me to make a switch and gave me the opportunity to commit to my writing craft.
  • As an indie writer, I control my schedule and my deadlines. Because writers write from their own observations about life, it is good to take time for the milestones that make memories.
  • I am free to experiment. Did I plan to write such diverse genres? No more than I planned anything else that has happened…but I have learned and grown from each experience. Writing Discover Texas developed outlining, research, and organizational skills. Writing historical fiction taught me to listen for my characters’ voices as I wrote dialogue and deep points of view. Home Sweet Hole taught me that not all projects are meant for a wide audience. I learned to enjoy the rave reviews and shrug off the complainers. Nabbing Saint Nickolas challenged me to tell a story and paint a vivid picture using few words. And the Homeschool Parents’ How-To Series is teaching me to press toward a challenging deadline and develop marketing strategies. Writing is, after all, a business as well as a passion.
  • Each experience allows me to explore. New genres! I’ve developed more flexibility in my writing. What readers like is not always what I like, and what I thought I’d like is not always what I end up liking best. New talents! Who knew I could enjoy illustrating so much? New technologies! I am constantly forced to learn faster, cleaner, and more efficient ways of doing things, and that knowledge carries into the next project!

Even though my career has taken unplanned detours, I’m thankful for each challenge along the winding road and for the freedom to explore that path and find contentment.

What about you? Has your career trajectory been a straight line climbing a chart to success, or have you discovered that some “setbacks” are opportunities in disguise?

Lynn Dean

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2015 SPOTLIGHT ~ Lorilyn Roberts

The Door, King Castle

It has been a tradition on this bog to spotlight past winners and finalists from time-to-time. As the leaves turn and autumn approaches it’s a great pleasure to be have Lorilyn Roberts here so she can shine her light. Loryilyn’s SEVENTH DIMENSION – THE DOOR finaled in the Grace Awards 2012 in the Young Adult (YA) category

 

The Fall Festival that Marks the Return of Yeshua By Lorilyn Roberts

Do you know that the return of Yeshua (Jesus) most likely will occur in autumn at God’s appointed time? In Genesis through Leviticus, God lays out His timetable in minute detail. Unfortunately, after centuries of pagan influence, inaccurate Bible translation, and lack of knowledge, most Christians are unaware of God’s appointed times and their significance. God said in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”

In Genesis 1:14, God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.” In this passage, “seasons” refers to “appointed times or festivals,” not the more familiar meaning of spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Seven festivals or appointed times are celebrated by the Jews—but they are not Jewish appointed times; they are God’s appointed times. Unfortunately, when Constantine changed the official calendar from a lunar calendar to a solar calendar, our “Christian” holidays merged with pagan holidays. In the process, Christianity absorbed many pagan traditions.

For example, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Yeshua at Easter. Historically, this day coincides with a pagan holiday going all the way back to the days following the flood and the Tower of Babel. Easter, because it is set according to the spring equinox, is often days apart from Passover and the crucifixion of Yeshua.

Christmas is another Christian celebration mired in pagan practices. It originated in Egypt long after Yeshua’s birth and resurrection. The first recorded date of Christians celebrating Christmas did not occur until 336 A.D. A few years later, Pope Julius 1 made December 25 the birthdate of Yeshua . Now a second date on the Christian calendar was associated with a pagan festival. Yeshua said in Matt 15:9, “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

Only recently did I learn about God’s appointed times. It is, in fact, through God’s appointed times we know when Yeshua will return. As Yeshua fulfilled the first four festivals at the time of His first coming, so will He fulfill the remaining three feasts at His second coming.

In Leviticus 23:4, God said, “These are the set times of the Lord, the sacred occasions, which you shall celebrate each at its appointed time.”

While we are not obligated to keep the festivals in the church age, knowing what they mean has enriched my Christian walk. When I think of the blowing of the shofar, for example, the sound reminds me of the rapture during the Feast of Trumpets. In fact, all around the world, in recent years, people have heard mysterious trumpet-like noises coming from the heavens. You can hear these sounds on YouTube by clicking here.

Could these sounds be announcing the Lord’s return? Knowing that three of the seven festivals remain unfulfilled gives me heightened awareness that God could return at any moment. If you long for Yeshua’s return as I do, thinking on these things brings a quickening of the spirit. As saints have cried out through the centuries, “How much longer, oh, Lord, until your return?”God's Appointed Times Meme

I have listed below the seven Levitical Feasts and their meaning in reference to the Messiah. Remember, feasts (moadim) in Hebrew literally mean “appointed times.”

  1. Feast of Passover – Fulfilled at Yeshua’s first coming. Yeshua is the Passover lamb. His sacrifice occurred at the very hour the high priest slaughtered the lambs within the Temple.
  2. Feast of Unleavened Bread – Leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible. Yeshua was in the grave three days and three nights following His crucifixion as the unleavened, spotless Son of God. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
  3. Feast of First Fruits – Yeshua was the first to be resurrected. In I Corinthians 15:20, Paul refers to Yeshua as the “first fruits from the dead.”
  4. Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) – Occurred fifty days after Passover. On Pentecost, Peter preached from Jerusalem and 3,000 people responded to the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit, sparking the beginning of the Church Age in which we now live.
  5. Feast of Trumpets – While the fulfillment of the first four feasts occurred at Yeshua’s first coming, most Bible scholars believe the last three will be fulfilled at His second coming. The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the fall feasts. Many believe this is the feast when Yeshua will rapture the church from the earth. In I Thessalonians 4:15, Paul wrote, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a mighty shout and with the soul-stirring cry of the archangel and the great trumpet-call of God. And the believers who are dead will be the first to rise to meet the Lord. Then we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever.” Let us remember that the Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah, begins on the first day of Tishrei. In 2015, that occurs on September 13 at sundown. The first day of the Jewish New Year is the Feast of Trumpets.  While we do not know the exact date of Yeshua’s return, that day is fixed as an appointed time. If you look at the signs Yeshua gave in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24, He tells us what signs to look for that would mark His return. He wanted us to prepare for His coming. In Matthew 25:1-13, in the parable of the ten virgins, He warns us what would happen if we didn’t.
  6. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – Many associate this day with Yeshua’s physical return to earth following the Great Tribulation. On the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur occurs on the tenth day of Tishrei. In 2015, this day occurs on September 22 in the Hebrew Year 5776. Zechariah 12:10 says: “…then they (the Jews) will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
  7. Feast of Tabernacles or Booths – Looks ahead to when Yeshua will reign from Jerusalem over all the earth for one thousand years. (Micah 4:1-7).

Lorilyn Roberts

As the return of Yeshua draws near, I find comfort in knowing that the Feast of Trumpets on September 13, 2015 may be God’s “appointed time” for the rapture. Knowledge of God’s fixed days brings peace. Even though the Gentiles have altered the calendar and forgotten God’s appointed times, God never changes. His return is set—if not this year, maybe next year—in 2016 or 2017 or 2018. Regardless of the year, when autumn draws near, I remember—and hope, this is the year.

Scripture Meme

God’s appointed times are highlighted in Lorilyn Roberts’ award-winning historical fantasy series, Seventh Dimension. To learn more, visit http://LorilynRoberts.com. The first book, SEVENTH DIMENSION – THE DOOR, A Young Adult Fantasy, is free on Amazon.

 

 

Grace Awards Summer Book Bash ~ day four

 

GA Book Bash, Dock

We’re winding up our summer book bash, but it’s been such fun. The authors and novels have been spectacular.

RevengeREVENGE by Paula Rose

A summer vacation, staycation, or a beach read? Enjoy this romantic suspense. As a job coach, it’s up to Olivia Foster to ensure her clients work in a safe environment, understand their positions, and serve their employer’s mission. The death of her brother drives her career choice, and she loves her job. It remains her only focus until one of her autistic clients goes missing. Then Olivia’s employer ends her position and adds her to the suspect list, but she makes plans to bring the missing young man home. Meanwhile, Detective Lt. Phillip Landon is deep into second-guessing his career choice, but his well-honed instincts see major flaws inside this missing person’s case. Surprising contacts, mysterious happenings, and threats can turn deadly. Can he keep Olivia safe, protect his heart, remove the job coach from someone’s target list, and adjust to the new lives of his old family?

Crooked LinesCROOKED LINES by Holly Michael

Thoughtful reading for a balmy summer day! On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed. CROOKED LINES, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.

First and GoalFIRST AND GOAL, What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up by Jake Byrne and H. Michael

A terrific summer read, especially for the guys.  Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive…but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes. Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way. Jake’s journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You’ll feel as if you’re lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you’re about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You’ll discover…what to do when God calls an audible in your life, how to respond when God puts you on special teams, why prayer is never an incomplete pass.

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

THE REDEMPTION OF CARALYNNE HAYMAN by Carole Brown

Summer is the time to get caught up in a realistic, emotional book that opens your eyes to the real world. Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year- old daughter from the hands of her religious group. Dayne faces men unwilling to turn their backs on the cult training he despises. Cara faces men who follow their leader in abuse toward their wives and the young girls of the group. Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can Cara overcome the feelings that have governed her most of her life? Can she learn to trust Dayne, and most of all a God whom she sees as uncaring—if he’s really there at all? Only Dayne’s prayers and love can reach Cara and show her the way to redemption, and Cara must recognize and accept God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far.

With Music in their HeartsWITH MUSIC IN THEIR HEARTS by Carole Brown

Summertime is a good time to dream, but it’s only when we follow God’s plan for our lives that we have peace–just as Tyrell and Emma Jaine find out in WITH MUSIC IN THEIR HEARTS. Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage? Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

More Grace Filled Christmas Book Celebrants

Courtesy of Free Images by Astar Egg

Courtesy of Free Images by Astar Egg

 

 

We, at Grace Awards, have been having so much fun with the GRACE FILLED CHRISTMAS BOOK CELEBRATION we decided to keep going. Our imaginations take off at the thought of the blessing a wonderful book can be during the holiday season, as a gift or as a reading respite from the rush of the season.

 

TAMMY DOHERTY

She's MineIn SHE’S MINE, Caitlin Harrington learned one thing from her parents’ messy divorce – never get married. Since she wasn’t looking for a husband, why bother dating? So it’s not fair that the first guy she dates – ever – turns out to be a stalker. Thankfully, her new job lets her escape…she thinks. But now someone is leaving ominous notes on her front door. Could be Marci Coffey, who didn’t want Caitlin moving back to town. Or Sean Taggart, who Caitlin accused of stealing her grandfather’s tractor. What if the notes are from Adam, the guy she left behind? ~~ A broken engagement taught Sean Taggart to guard his heart. Yet he can’t stop the attraction he feels for Caitlin. When she backs into a gas grill, burning her hand, Sean wants to figure out what spooked her. But Caitlin is reluctant to trust him. To get her to believe in him, Sean will have to open his heart. Then the stalker sets his sights on Sean. Threatening notes. Scratching at the windows during the night. A shadowy figure lurking in her yard. The perfect gift for the romantic suspense lover on your Christmas list!

In CELTIC KNOT, Abby Finnigan struggles with the idea of a loving God. Her abusive father and unloving family left her unprepared to find true love. Meeting, falling in love with and marrying Liam Finnigan gave her hope in the idea of God. His death sealed her heart behind a thick wall. Now she focuses only on raising her daughter. Moving back to her hometown may have been a mistake as her oldest brother, Clayton Bigelow, seems bent on torturing her. Then Abby meets Kyle Lachapelle. Although just another cowhand on her father’s ranch, Kyle seems like a real gentleman. Abby sure could use a friend, and her daughter, Millie, is enchanted with Kyle. If only he didn’t work for the Big L-O. ~~ Kyle can’t tell Abby why he’s really in Prophecy, Colorado. An undercover Treasury Agent can’t give himself away. Especially after Kyle learns Abby’s relationship to his case. But when counterfeiting turns into kidnapping and murder, Kyle can’t keep his heart from becoming engaged. He’ll do whatever it takes to save Millie and Abby from the Bigelow family. Will it be enough? A great holiday gift, and at 99¢. You can afford to give it to someone you love AND yourself!

NIKE CHILLEMI

Harmful Intent, thumbnailAre you giving a detective story lover a Kindle for Christmas? Add HARMFUL INTENT to the gift for a welcome surprise. Only 99 cents through New Year’s. ~~ Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect. Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted. Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself. Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully…prefect for holiday reading and/or giving!

For vintage holiday reading the go to book is GOODBYE NOEL, a classic mystery set in the mid 1940s during the Christmas/New Year holidays. The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year, the third goes head long out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies? Lovers of.

MARCY DY ER

Blood & Lies

BLOOD & LIES makes a great Christmas gift for the suspense addict in your family. The story, set in Ukraine, is filled with intrigue and family secrets long buried. When a woman goes to Ukraine to search for her missing brother, she finds herself embroiled in theft, deception, and murder. Not only wonderful for giving, it’s a thrilling winter read to go along with a cup of hot chocolate before a roaring fire.

DOWN & OUT, the first book in the Desert Winds series makes a terrific Christmas gift. This book is best read when not alone because it will have you checking over your shoulder to make sure the bad guy’s not after you. ~ A young woman takes a job working for a towing company and one of the clients sets his sights on her. He’s determined to have her at any cost.

LISA BELCASTRO

A Shenandoah ChristmasA SHENANDOAH CHRISTMAS will fill your heart with love, faith, and the true meaning of Christmas. Travel to Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate the holiday season with the Roberts family. Andrew Roberts has picked out the best Christmas present ever – an engagement ring for Allyson Flanders, the woman who captured his heart and made bachelorhood loose every ounce of its former appeal. Andy’s more than ready to start a new life, but as the chill of winter settles into the shortened December days, Andy notices that Allyson has cooled as well. She’s distracted, distant, and dedicated to anything other than spending time with him. Andy is praying for answers, and a miracle. A SHENANDOAH CHRISTMAS will lift your spirits, fill your heart, and renew your hope in true love.

RUTH O’NEIL

Come Eat At My TableChristmas is a time filled with memories for me. Some of my favorite gifts were books. I received The Little House on the Prairie series one year and still have those worn out books today. Books are truly the books that keep on giving. In my book COME EAT AT MY TABLE, the holidays are one of the main characters favorite times of year because she finds joy in feeding people. Karin is a woman with a past. About the time she thinks no one will ever know, it comes back to haunt her. The deeper she tries to push it away the more prominently it returns. Forgiveness is a word that isn’t in her vocabulary as far as the people from her past are concerned. With the help of her family and other people around her she realizes that she must learn to forgive, even if forgiveness wasn’t asked of her.

Speaking of Christmas memoires, this short, family friendly story is full of them. Martha’s Christmas greatly resembles Christmases from my childhood. Moms work hard all year long, but especially during the holidays. Christmas is often a time where we feel overwhelmed, overworked, and underpaid. These feelings do not allow us to enjoy the true meaning and celebration of Christmas. Martha is definitely overworked during the Christmas holidays. She allows the cares of the world to take over her life so much so that she forgets to celebrate the one true reason for Christmas. The tongue in cheek humor will have readers smiling and reminiscing about their own lives. Take a few moments of your day to read CHRISTMAS AT MARTHA’S HOUSE. I guarantee you will laugh, probably recognizing your own family in the story. Get it now for only ¢.99!

Xmas Angel

 

 

 

Grace Filled Christmas Book Celebration

Courtesy of FreeImages by orangeNess

Courtesy of FreeImages by orangeNess

 

The Grace Awards Christmas Book Celebration is a time to think of the blessing the gift of a book can be at that magical time on Christmas morning, or any time during the holidays, and into the New Year. Many of the Christian authors who have been involved in Grace Awards activities over the years have gathered together to suggest a few books you might consider for holiday giving.

KATIE METTNER

December KissDECEMBER KISS is a sweet coming of age love story any woman would love for holiday reading. When Jay Alexander finds himself stuck in town square in his broken down wheelchair, he’s desperate for an early Christmas present. When December Kiss loads him into her four horse Cherokee Jay hopes he’ll be the one kissing her under the mistletoe Christmas Eve. Set in beautiful snowy southern Minnesota, Jay is determined to give December one thing for Christmas, her brother.  Reviewers call December Kiss “a must read” and a “heart touching story leaving you no choice but to fall in love with the characters.”

In SUGAR’S DANCE, When the gales of November blow early Sugar DuBois finds herself being hunted by a madman. Putting her trust in a man she’s never met makes her wonder if she will live to see Christmas. The first book of a four part series, readers will dance with Sugar and Van as he struggles to keep her safe AND heal her heart.  Sugar is dancing in a high stakes promenade with a psychopath and must summon her strength to find a way to save her brother. As winter descends upon Lake Superior, Sugar not only makes it to Christmas Eve, but along the way she finds faith, hope and the greatest of these…love.

NAOMI MUSCH

TrevelynIf you enjoy epic retellings of classic tales — think Once Upon a Time or Maleficent — then you’ll love TREVELYAN ~ A Tale of Beauty & The Beast. You might believe you know the tale, but you’ve probably not heard about the downfall of the kingdom, the warring faeries, the elves who fled the land, or the pair of swashbucklers and Belle’s three brothers who’ve set out on a quest to rescue her from the Monster Lord who has her bound. You’ve probably not heard about the hideous creatures and madness waiting to prey upon the careless in a land where faerie magic has taken an evil turn. Belle isn’t looking for love, nor does she intend to become a heroine of the land or to bring about the downfall of a wicked faerie queen. Yet, torn ruthlessly from her family’s side and brought to a place where magic is real, heroes and heroines rise in unlikely places… and a girl like Belle — and true love — can conquer all.

Sometimes a woman thinks about running away from home. In PAINT ME ALTHENA a 2014 Grace Award Finalist, Ava Day did. She and Ethan married young and had two little girls, but somewhere along the way, she lost herself. So Ava ran away and became Althena — an artist hoping to rediscover the girl she used to be. Three years later, she’s buried love and convinced herself her family has been better off without her. She’s started painting fantasy art again and lives with Dan, a lover whose idea of artistic expression is the ink on his arms and a purring street bike dressed in chrome Ethan’s been raising his daughters alone since Ava’s disappearance. Well…almost alone. He’s found refuge in faith, and understanding in Jackie, the lovely widow he met at church. But, when Ava’s bohemian lifestyle sours and danger follows, Ethan also discovers a clue to her whereabouts that lands her in the haven of his home again. Old feelings resurge, but their children no longer know her, and forgiveness is painful. Though Ava’s heart aches to recapture the past, neither Jackie nor Dan want to let go. Now conflict between her search for identity and Ethan’s new faith might break the safety net he offers.

TRACY KRAUSS

Lone WolfWhat happened to Thomas Lone Wolf? This is the question that seems to be on the minds of readers after reading my book WIND OVER MARSHDALE. Well, here is the answer! LONE WOLF is a novella length story that picks up where the other books left off – and just in time for Christmas. Thomas Lone Wolf has recovered from a brush with death – and from a broken heart. His work of opening a First Nations cultural center at an archaeological site near the town of Marshdale is almost complete. Once his son graduates from high school, he and his daughter will have to move on to the next project. Just when he has resigned himself to being a single dad for the rest of his life, he meets a woman who seems perfect. But can his wounded heart take a chance on love again?

Also new this year – NEIGHBORS! This fun filled romantic comedy series follows the lives of Lester Tibbett, former rodeo cowboy, and his sister as they move into an apartment in the city. Full of quirky characters, comical mix-ups, a bit of intrigue, and of course – just enough romance to spice things up! NEIGHBORS is available in nine separate stories, each one from a different character’s point of view. Or you can get the complete series as a paperback. Just in time for Christmas giving!

CAROL MCCLAIN

DWFReaders who love to laugh and can find the humor in life’s difficult circumstances will love DWF: Divorced White Female by Carol McClain. If they think they’ve experienced a mid-life crisis, Cheryl Chandler will prove them wrong with humor (and perhaps a lack of grace). Crisis comes when she’s ditched by a philandering husband, and left rearing three weird teens, and a toddler—her failed attempt to save her marriage. She knows only one thing will redeem her life: a man—any man so long as he’s hot. But how does a forty-something divorcé do that? The kids have the answer. Go online. And therein lays the rub. Kids. If she meets anyone, he would have to meet them. They wouldn’t let their mother hide them, no matter how much she begged. In DWF: Divorced White Female, inspiration woman’s fiction, readers have laughed and loved with the characters, and come away transformed and transported by Cheryl’s antics. This great gift is available on Amazon in print format. The e-book is available wherever ebooks are sold. An ideally suited gift for that loveable lady who slaves so hard for her family every Christmas, DWF is more than fluff. It’s fun with message.

BARBARA ELLEN BRINK

Split SenseSPLIT SENSE won the Grace Award for speculative Christian fiction. If you like suspense that takes you to the edge of your seat, mystery that keeps you guessing to the end, and characters who draw you in and make you care for them like family, then you’ll want a copy of this intriguing and highly entertaining thriller for yourself or to give as a gift this Christmas. Set in the city of Minneapolis, the story follows the lives of twins, separated at birth and reunited at the age of sixteen through one family’s grief and another’s need for power. One has the gift of telepathy. The other can heal through music. To the powerful men conspiring to possess them, their worth is immeasurable. Great read for teens-adults!

RUNNING HOME is an action-packed, inspirational, suspense novel with sweet romance. When Ivy’s husband disappears and criminal charges are brought against him, she packs up her children and runs home to Nebraska to escape the fallout. Danger soon follows and she’s in over her head. But where can you run when you don’t know who to trust? FBI Agent Sinclair is assigned to protect her and she has no doubt he’d do so with his life, but can she trust him with her heart? The first book in the The Second Chances series, Running Home is an exciting page-turner that makes an uplifting holiday read or a terrific Christmas gift for lovers of suspense! Great read for teens-adults!

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