Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: August 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Exciting News!

I'm thrilled to announce that I am joining
the Seriously Write blog team.
Our mission is to encourage and equip Christian writers along their writing journey.

What an honor and privilege it will be to work with talented writers
Annette Irby, Ocieanna Fleiss, Dawn Kinzer, and Angie Arndt.

Beginning October 1, I will assume responsibility for This-n-That Thursdays.
No worries, though. I'll still post here at 
Heart racing, God-gracing Romance.

This is one of the crossroads I alluded to on Monday.
I admit I wasn't this enthusiastic when first presented with the invitation. I might have even groaned. You see, I write slow, and the prospect of writing a weekly blog post terrifies me. It's a commitment, another priority, in an already packed calendar.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 
1 Thess 5:11 NIV

How could I refuse the sweet ladies who encourage me so much on a daily basis? 
Where would I be if other writers hadn't offered their instruction and support along my journey? 
God loves to present His children with perfect gifts. It didn't take long for me to realize this was one of them. Tucked inside the beautifully wrapped package ~ 
four precious friends and a blog.

What about you?
Do you wrestle with decisions you already know the answer?
How do you handle adding another commitment to your already bulging calendar?

Thank you for sharing in my exciting news!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Agonizing over a decision?

Stand at the crossroads..ask where the good way is, and walk in will find rest for your souls. Jer 6:16 NIV

Do you ever reach a crossroads in your life and agonize over which way to turn?
Whether it's a relationship issue, a major purchase, selling your house, a move, retirement, or a career choice.

Crossroads aren't restricted to age or inexperience.
I'm over fifty (that's still young, isn't it?), and I still experience crossroads in my life.
I'm facing one now with my writing.
Nothing life-threatening, but still a major decision with long-reaching consequences.

What do you do?
Do you close your eyes, pick a direction, and continue along on your own?
Or do you beg God to hold you by the hand and lead you, to give you strength for the journey?

Over the next few weeks, I'll share more about a door that God has opened for me, an answered prayer, but an opportunity that both thrills and worries me.
I can choose to close my eyes and continue on my own, or I can beg Him to hold my hand, to alleviate my fear, to provide the strength and peace only He can provide. 

I choose God's way.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is 41:10 NIV

What about you?
What crossroads are you facing?
How will you respond?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When Truth Whispers...
After a humiliating breakup, best-selling romance author Teal Benning flees to Promise Lake to complete her current novel, minus paparazzi and flashing cameras. Suffering from writer's block and a broken heart, Teal accepts the offer of help from neighbor, Hunter Miciver. 

Hunter longs to be more than the friend who picks up the shattered pieces of Teal's heart. When Teal finds out his secret, will she see him for the man he is, a man of faith and devotion, a man who would cherish her for the rest of her days? Or will she lump him into the same category as all the other men in her life, including her father? Will Teal recognize when truth whispers her name?

Coming soon with White Rose Publishing.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A PATH TOWARD LOVE by Cara Lynn James

A Path Toward Love
Katherine came home to forget her past. The last thing she expected is a hopeful future.

Young widow Katherine Osborne returns to her family’s rustic camp on Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. She’s determined to live a quiet life, but her socialite mother is equally determined to push her into a new marriage while she’s still young.

Andrew Townsend has known Katherine since they were children. An attorney who is successful, but not wealthy, he knows she is socially out of his reach. But he’s curious what changed the free-spirited girl he once knew into this private, somber young woman.

Katherine has kept hidden the details of her unsuccessful marriage. When past sins come to light, she must turn to God for the courage to be honest. But how can she trust the God she feels has let her down? When she confides in Andrew, their relationship takes a dramatic turn into uncharted territory.

Amid impossible obstacles, two young people must learn to trust enough to walk the path that God has cleared for them. A path that leads to healing and restoration. A path toward love.

My Review: 
Disillusioned after a disastrous marriage, Katherine no longer trusts her judgment regarding men and love. Although she has no intention of remarrying, Katherine's parents operate with an entirely different agenda, with no regard for her feelings. Initially, Katherine vowed not to conform to their plan, but then they ramped-up the pressure. Her mother schemed and her father threatened, leaving her with little choice. Andrew doesn't have the social standing to strive for Katherine's affections, but that doesn't stop him from loving her.

This is a book rich with colorful characters, both main and secondary, and what seemed like impossible obstacles weaving a beautiful tapestry of forgiveness, restoration and truth. Wonderful imagery settled me right into the sweltering heat of the Florida orange groves and then the rustic atmosphere of the family's lake camp. 

Have you ever read a book where the author kept you guessing until the last page if the hero or heroine would eventually make the right choice and find their path toward love? Pun intended. :) Not being familiar with Ms. James's writing style, I was a little worried about getting my happily-ever-after ending, but the author delivered. That doesn't mean the romance between Andrew and Katherine was lacking. Not at all! I found the romance to be sweet and subtle, tender and emotionally satisfying. Nicely done, Ms. James. I'm a new fan and look forward to reading all your books. This book is a "must read" for historical romance lovers, but contemporary lovers will enjoy it, too.

Purchase Link: Thomas Nelson or Amazon
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

In those "I can't believe that just happened!" moments...

I giggle. Hysterically.

Take the time our family traveled through Arizona several years ago. Hubby stopped the car to snap a photo of our younger son standing next to a giant Saguaro Cactus. I stayed in the car, watching. Back then cellphones weren't camera capable, and Hubby had his eye pressed against the camera. Trying to get the whole cactus in the shot, he backed up, backed up some more, and WHAM! Stumbled backward into a ditch. 

What am I doing? Giggling. Hysterically.

And then there's the time hubby was doing some work in our attic. He was moving around up there, not exactly light on his feet, and WHAM! Slammed through the attic floor. Somehow, he managed to straddle a rafter, and I looked up to see his long legs dangling through the ceiling.

What am I doing? Giggling. Hysterically.

This weekend our two-year-old grandson huddled near hubby's vacant recliner. I pulled the lever to lift the footrest (for whatever reason, I can't remember now). I stuck my hand in front of it to avoid hitting him. Did that help? No. WHAM! The footrest lifted up with such force, it whacked Mason in the side and catapulted him a couple feet in the air.

What am I doing? Giggling. Hysterically. Thankfully, he thought it was a game or a weird kind of ride, but how sad is that?

What about you? 
How do you react in those "I can't believe that just happened!" moments?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sharing my Review of GATEWAY WEDDINGS by Myra Johnson

About the Book:
Three Missouri women enter the gateway to life, love, and longing. Valerie Bishop, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is afraid to leave her home. Can ex-con Healy Ferguson show her the path to freedom? Sailor Kern is enamored of romance author Chandler Michaels. Will she fall for his lines or find a real hero in Parker Travis? Jilly Gardner has reluctantly agreed to help out her estranged foster parents. Will Cam Lane help the family heal the breach? Will these three couples be open to the plan God has for their lives—and loves?

My Reviews:
Romance by the Book
Shy water aerobics instructor Sailor Kern believes herself in love with Chandler Michaels, a romance author she's never met. That's fine with her because she's more comfortable with books than actual romance and teaching over dating. It's not like she meets many men in her line of work anyway. Until Parker Travis shows up for class. Parker isn't your stereotypical hair-stylist, and doesn't appreciate the doctor's RX for back pain: water aerobics. After all, isn't that where his grandmother and her friends play? What a sweet romance! You'll enjoy journeying along as Parker wooed Sailor, showing her that true romance is so much better than her imagination.

Where The Dogwoods Bloom
A broken ankle forces tennis pro Jilly Gardner on crutches and out of work. Burned out Bible College Professor Cam Lane heads to the Dogwood Blossom Inn, intent on spending time with old friends, Harvey and Alice, and leading retreats. He doesn't expect to find Alice in the hospital. Cam's call to Jilly requesting that she come back and help out her foster parents with the running of the Inn surprises Jilly and leaves her even more off balance than her broken ankle. I enjoyed the playful, teasing interaction between old friends, Jilly and Cam. The road to romance was believable and not at all rushed for a book of this length. I like Ms. Johnson's writing style, interjected with spots of dry humor. Filled with romance, a little intrigue, and an oh-so-sweet ending, you won't want to miss this one!

Autumn Rains
I confess to reading the other two stories in Gateway Weddings first, mainly because I wouldn't typically pick up a book with an ex-con for the main character. But don't let that throw you off reading this wonderful story. Healy Ferguson captured the essence of what it means to make mistakes and suffer through the consequences. Rather than becoming bitter, he allows God to change his heart and his life, and focuses his efforts on helping others see the impact of their bad choices. Valerie Bishop suffers severe consequences, but not of her own making. Unable to leave the prison her house and yard have become, Valerie must come to the point where she's willing to move forward and leave the past behind. Healy helps her see beyond the walls of her internal prison. I enjoyed this sweet romance and the delightful way Ms. Johnson created a hero out of an ex-con. And the ending? Sure to leave you with an "ahhh!" Oh, and I love how the author weaves the title, Autumn Rains, into the story. A book full of healing, redemption, and forgiveness!

Three fantastic stories in one awesome read! 

Purchase Link for Gateway Weddings

Disclaimer: An unbiased review, based on my purchase of this book. 

About Myra Johnson....
Myra Johnson’s roots go deep into Texas soil, but after surviving five Oklahoma winters, she now enjoys the milder climate of North Carolina and living near three of her six grandchildren. Empty-nesters, Myra and her husband share their home with two loveable (and very spoiled) dogs. Her debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, was a September 2009 release from Abingdon Press. She also writes for Heartsong Presents. Her November 2009 release, Autumn Rains, won the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript and was named a 2010 ACFW Carol Award finalist.

Myra’s writing career was launched in 1985 when she sold her first short story while taking a course through the Institute of Children’s Literature. Myra later joined the ICL staff as a magazine writing instructor, teaching hundreds of students the fundamentals of story and article structure, plotting, character development, and market analysis. She now writes full-time and is active in her church as well as local and national writers groups. Myra and her husband have been married since 1972. The Johnsons have two married daughters and six grandchildren.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Sharing My Review of Mary's Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley

Mary's Blessing 
Book 2 of McKenna's Daughters 
When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?
Mary Lenora Caine knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.
As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through? 

My Review:
From the first page to the last, Mary's Blessing is a sweet romance, the kind I love to settle back in my recliner for a few hours to read. While Mary suffers much grief in her eighteen years, Daniel lives an easy life by comparison. After knowing Mary since they arrived by wagon trail years earlier and admiring the way she cared for her younger brothers and sister, Daniel finally decides to court her.

Don't assume it will be clear sailing after that because Ms. Dooley really ramps up the conflict. Mary's family issues take front and center, and soon differences in how they want to begin their married life become insurmountable obstacles. Add in stress and fatigue, and things go south fast. At one point, I wanted to give Daniel a good kick in the pants, but he came around and vowed to show Mary that he'd changed. Not only did I enjoy cheering both main characters on to their happily-ever-after, but the secondary characters added so much dimension to the story. A great read! I look forward to reading the last triplet's story, Catherine's Pursuit.

Purchase Link

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.

About Lena Nelson Dooley
Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 650,000 books in print. She is a member of ACFW and president of the local chapter.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not at the same time. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat. And the high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially her fans. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

Her book LOVE FINDS YOU IN GOLDEN, NEW MEXICO, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sharing My Review of WISDOM TREE by Mary Manners

A few days ago I had the pleasure of hosting Mary Manners and Wisdom Tree as a stop on her Book & Trailer Showcase Tour. Today, I'm thrilled to share my review of Wisdom Tree.

The Blurb:
Sometimes the last thing we think we need is exactly what God has planned

After the death of his parents, Jake Samuels has enough on his plate—including a fledgling church to lead and a mischievous younger brother to raise. The last thing he needs is a rambunctious woman to contend with.

Carin O'Malley is dealing with the death of her brother and a new job as an English teacher at East Ridge Middle School where Corey Samuels reigns as King of Chaos. The last thing she needs is to fall in love...especially with a handsome and complicated preacher like Corey’s brother Jake.

But when Corey's antics toss Carin and Jake together, the two must draw from God’s wisdom to find refuge in His perfect plan.
My review:
Mary Manners creates strong characters I can really relate to, guys and gals I'd like to hang out with on a Friday evening. Like Jake and Carin in Wisdom Tree.

I immediately connected with Jake, understood his frustration and foul mood. After all, he's raising his teen brother. It's hot outside, and he's mowing the church yard because somebody has to do it. He's running late to pick up Corey from football practice. Toss in a new slasher, er...teacher, who shows up unexpectedly and assumes the worst of him, and Jake hits the overload button. He acts out a little himself, not unlike his brother, which I enjoyed. He showed a little weakness, which endeared him to me.

I love the conflict between Jake and Carin, and it's not the arguing kind. No, Ms. Manners creates plenty of internal/external conflict as the characters head towards their happily-ever-after, and she'll tickle every one of your senses along the way.

This story involves a teenager, dealing with grief. Ms. Manners wrote teen angst in a realistic way without making me, as a reader and a parent, want to fling my e-reader at something...or someone. I think parents will appreciate some of the wisdom on dealing with teens imparted in this book.
Wisdom Tree is a fast read. Find a comfy spot and plan to read it all in one sitting! My only wish is that Wisdom Tree were a little longer, so I could spread out my enjoyment over more evenings. I did appreciate the surprise tucked in at the end! Congratulations, Ms. Manners, on a great read!

Wisdom Tree is scheduled to release on 10/8/12 with White Rose Publishing, but you can pre-order it here.

Disclosure: I received this book from BTS for a fair and honest review.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Grumbling or Grace?

Have you read the story of how God rescued the Israelites from their heavy yoke of slavery? How God called out to Moses from a burning bush, informing Moses that he would be the one to deliver the Israelites from Egypt? It was only after God sent plague after vicious plague, ending with the death of Pharaoh's first-born, that Pharaoh relinquished and released the Israelites.

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, guiding them by cloud during the day and fire by night. Pharaoh changed his mind (actually, God changed it for him!) and pursued the Israelites, finding them camped out by the Red Sea.  

"It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert." (Ex 14:12 NIV).

Can you just picture them? The water from the sea licking their backs, the approaching Egyptians armed for battle? Scared for their lives, yet that's what spews from their lips? Complaints??
It's beyond me. 

Yet, God rescues them again. With a mighty wind, He pushed back the waters so that the Israelites crossed over on dry land, a wall of water on both sides. When the Egyptians followed them into the sea, the water fell back and crushed them.
The Israelites went on their merry way, praising and fearing God. 

For three days anyway.

When they didn't find water, they grumbled. God provided water. For lack of meat, they grumbled. God sent manna and quail.

What was wrong with these people? How could they complain? They witnessed God's miracles firsthand every day. Miracles like the parting of the Red Sea. Water from a rock. Just enough manna to provide for their daily needs. 

I'm quick to point my finger and say I would never do that.


I'm hanging my head right now because just like these Israelites, I witness God's miracles every day. Miracles in the form of a loving and supportive hubby, an income, a beautiful home, a family we cherish.

Yet what spews from my mouth? Complaints.

We arrived home from Denver late yesterday. Usually Hubby's pretty good about helping me unload the suitcases. Not last night. He toted them upstairs, left the packed bags in the bedroom, then planted his tush on the recliner in front of a blaring television.

I fumed. I huffed. Resentment broiled.

Then, God convicted my lousy little heart this morning with this story from Exodus.

How many blessings does my husband pour out for me everyday? He uses his vacation time to attend book signings with me. He brainstorms blog posts and story lines with me. He encourages me to adjust my schedule so he can help with chores like lawn care and groceries, so that I can devote more time to writing. And techie issues? He's my man! He's my biggest fan, my loudest encourager, my best friend. 

Yet I complain.

Forgive me, God, for complaining. Change my heart.
Help me reflect grace, not grumbling. 
Thank You for the wonderful man you planted beside me! Thank You that he never grumbles or complains.

What about you? What's in your heart today?
Grumbling or Grace?

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Need a Romance Fix?

Do you enjoy sweet, short romances? Like a thousand words or less, sort of a condensed romance fix?

Sometimes I enjoy short romances. Sometimes not. It depends on if the story leaves me with a satisfied feeling or if I feel like I'm being shortchanged or cheated.

Does the story contain all the components to make it a great romance? Pacing, dialog, emotion, and romance? Or is it loaded down with backstory?

Let's face it. A thousand words doesn't give a writer much room to create. Every word has to count, must give meaning to the story, to make the reader want to keep reading.

Family Fiction is running a Create Romance contest for romances 1,000 words or less. If you enjoy a quick "romance fix," click on over and check out my sweet romance entry, A Forever Love

If A Forever Love leaves you with an "ahhh" or that wonderfully delicious warm feeling around your heart, please vote UP. And if you REALLY like it, feel free to Tweet or share it on Facebook with the link at the bottom of the story. That would be awesome. The cool part of this contest is that you can vote UP or DOWN for all stories.

Here's the link to A Forever Love ~ you for your vote!

Do you enjoy short romances?
Or do they leave you feeling shortchanged?

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Friday, August 3, 2012

ACFW August 2012 New Releases

I can't wait to sink into my recliner with a few of these! What about you? See any books that you have to squeeze into your summer reading schedule?

Words in the Wind (Gateway to Gannah #2) by Yvonne Anderson — Marooned in a desolate canyon half a planet from home, a lone survivor struggles to separate reality from illusion. (Speculative Fiction/Fantasy from Risen Books).

Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell — When a girl from the other side of the tracks does everything to get the attention of the town’s leading citizen, she finds out too late it means little if she doesn’t have his heart. (Historical Romance from River North (Moody).

Avenir Eclectia, Volume 1 by Grace Bridges, Pauline Creeden, Kat Heckenbach, Keven Newsome, H.A. Titus, Fred Warren and more — A human colony in the constellation of the Whale struggles to survive on an aging orbital station peopled with bureaucrats, wizards, beggars and cyborgs, and a violently unstable planet overrun with giant bugs and telepathic sea creatures. (Speculative Fiction from Splashdown Books).

Something Blue by Dianne Christner — Life is going well for Megan Weaver. She has the job of her dreams working with Chance Campbell, a charming and daring missionary pilot. Then Micah Zimmerman moves into her parents’ home as a pastoral candidate for the Big Darby Conservative Mennonite church. It wouldn’t be so bad, except Megan remembers her unkindness to Micah as a gawky young man who once had a crush on her in college. But even though Micah has improved, he’s nothing compared to Chance. Micah finds that his heart for Megan hasn’t changed, but he’s having to battle to keep the single… (Romance from Barbour).

Over the Edge by Mary Connealy — Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he’s never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he’s gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever. After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he’s got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn’t happy to find out Seth doesn’t remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she’s come to the Kincaid family’s ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Living in Harmony by Mary Ellis — Amy King must reconcile her past relationship with a shunned aunt before she can become any man’s wife and take her place in a new and alien community. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House).

Hearts in the Mist by Elizabeth Goddard — While Artisan Sela Fox runs her gift shop, she creates rare and beautiful guitars from redwood burl just as her husband had until his death. When land developer Evan Black shows up on her doorstep, using his humor and good looks to try and persuade her to sell the small slice of heaven she owns, she refuses to give up the only reminder she has left of her husband. But Evan is even more stubborn than the lovely Sela, and he has plans of his own. When he shares his talent for classical guitar using one of Sela’s creations, he’d not intended to woo her, but she responds to his serenade. (Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents (Barbour). 

Walks Alone by Sandi G. Rog — A Cheyenne warrior bent on vengeance. A pioneer woman bent on fulfilling a dream. Until their paths collide. (Romance from White-Fire Publishing).

Lethal Legacy by Irene Hannon — When Kelly Warren discovers a new piece of evidence that she believes proves her father’s “suicide” was really murder, she takes it to Detective Cole Taylor. He doesn’t put much credence in her claim, and nothing in his review of the case suggests foul play. Yet when he digs deeper, he discovers a startling secret that links her to a long-ago crime-and a deadly killer. Is history repeating itself? And if not, then who wants her silenced? (Romantic Suspense from Revell). 

Lakeside Family by Lisa Jordan — The one man she never wanted to see again is the only one who can save her daughter’s life. (Romance from Love Inspired). 

Central Park Rendevous by Dineen Miller, Ronie Kendig, MaryLu Tyndall and Kim Sawyer — Experience the beauty of Central Park where four heroes dare to risk their hearts once more for a timeless love. (A romance novella from Barbour).

Angel of the Cove by Sandra Robbins — In 1894 a young woman spends the summer apprenticing to a mountain midwife in Cades Cove, a remote valley deep in the Smoky Mountains. (Historical Romance from Harvest House).

Rodeo Ashes by Shannon Taylor Vanatter — A young rodeo widow must overcome grief for her husband and find new love. (Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents (Barbour).

You can find out more about these books here > ACFW Fiction Finder website.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Welcome Marianne Evans and DEVOTION!

From This Day Forward
Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that's what she thinks.

For Better or Worse
But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation?  How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

'Til Death Do Us Part
When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

Want to peak? But, I have to warn you...once you read these first few paragraphs, you'll be DEVOTED!
The church space sang to Juliet in a holy silence that wrapped around her like a welcome embrace. She knelt to pray, heedless of the fact that there were no kneelers in the pews of Trinity Christian. The hard tile floor felt good beneath her knees, and somehow grounding.

“God, what did I do wrong? We didn’t argue, we didn’t fight, we moved forward together in our marriage. Why did he leave it behind? How was that even possible for him? How did I fail him? And You?”

She sobbed openly, speaking the words aloud, heedless of being overheard. The space was empty anyhow. She laid her head on her folded hands trying desperately to bring herself to a new understanding of her life.

My promises are unchanging truth, and life. Your faith will save you. Go forward in peace, and be cured of your affliction.

The words, the glimpse of sacred Scripture, resounded through the entirety of her being. The decree swept through her with such power she went straight, tears drying on her cheeks as she blinked, and assimilated. Had she not already been on her knees, the summons would have knocked her there like the weakened heap of humanity she had become. She pondered. Go forward? In peace? How was she supposed to accomplish that? In prompt, near supernatural response, she received the answer.

Know that I am God, Juliet. Know that I am God.

She bowed her head, drained and empty, submitting herself as best she could. Just then, the sound of footsteps echoed down the main aisle.


The call jarred her. She whipped her head around and gasped at what she saw. Kellen.


Did she simply think his name, or had she spoken it aloud? Stunned and overwrought, Juliet scrambled to her feet. In an untidy spin, she faced her husband. Just as quickly, she went weak, sinking onto the pew just a second or two after standing. She didn’t need a mirror to tell her that her makeup was smeared and her hair was a mess. She knew by the heat in her cheeks that her face was flushed; her eyes were probably red from crying. Kellen’s alarmed expression confirmed every one of her suspicions.

"Juliet, are you OK? Please talk to me. This is driving me crazy. What’s happened to you, love?”

Love. The use of that endearment caused her stomach to churn. Anger rose and obliterated everything else. “Don’t.” Kellen’s confusion intensified. “I mean it, Kellen. Do not call me that again. Not ever again!” She bit off the words; their bitter taste filled her mouth.

He reared back. Although he hesitated for a moment, he eased into the pew next to her. A mask of sorts, protective and inscrutable, now shaded his eyes. He didn’t speak. He waited on her, keeping to his corner of the pew. Juliet simmered and seethed. Just as quickly, though, the anger fled, washed away by a wave of sadness that stretched clear through to every cell in her body.

"This moment is killing me, Kellen, on so many levels. I’ve dreamed about it since the day we married, imagining it to be bursting with joy and anticipation. Instead, it’s breaking my heart."

“What moment? What happened?” Generally fearless and confident, Kellen regarded her now in open trepidation. “I have no idea what to do to hel—”

"I’ll never have another chance to say this to you for the first time,” Juliet interjected, “or share this moment with you the way I had always envisioned. I’m pregnant, Kellen. I’m pregnant.”

A mix of emotions swept across his face. Disbelief came first, erased quickly by joy, then the most crushing visual of all: his love, intimate and rich. It had once made her feel so precious. Despite her vocal firestorm, his reaction was everything she had prayed for. This moment should have made her heart soar. Instead, she was shattered.

“You seem shocked.” The words came out sounding waspish. Juliet hated that fact, but couldn’t escape the rage and heartbreak. The venom inside her needed release.

“I’m very happily shocked.” His response came fast, but sincere. “We’ve wanted this for so long, I’m thrilled—no wonder you’ve been feeling—”

"I’m sure you’ll remember the night it happened.” Juliet cut him off once more. “It was spontaneous and heated and wonderful. Remember? There were no thoughts of anything else but each other. Or so I had believed. But if you do the math, you’ll realize we conceived the night you met Chloe Havermill.”

Kellen went pale. 

Don't say I didn't warn you. Did you hit the pre-order link yet?

Let's find out more about Marianne Evans, shall we?

What is your workday like, Marianne?  
I’m the Department Administrator for the Valuation and Advisory Services of a commercial real estate firm in Michigan. I like to think my ‘work day’ satisfies the left side of my brain—the part of my nature that loves organization and alignment of “the numbers” my linear self. I track and process incentives and new jobs that flow in to our department as well as revenue accounting/reporting. Thing is? I’ve always hated math. Always. Go figure…

Do you have any interesting/strange writing quirks?  
I’m the ‘tangible’ type. For example, I recently completed a Christmas story, FINDING HOME, releasing in December with White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group). The story is set in London, so, as I wrote, I lit a bayberry candle, I drank English breakfast tea, I kept a few mementos of my own trip to England nearby like a pound coin, a charm bracelet. Such things make me feel a part of the story, and help me dive into the characters and setting. For Devotion, we took a couple trips to Nashville. We toured the Opry, we visited the restaurants I mention, walked the streets I describe. It was awesome, and Nashville, simply put, is fantastic!

What did you learn from your hero or heroine?  In the pages of my upcoming release, Devotion, I took a deep and heart-felt look at the idea of covenant marriage. I learned there’s such beauty to ‘sticking it out’ and turning back to one another if things become turbulent in your relationship.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there? Ah….that would be my self-appointed muse and diva, my kitty Darko. Darko prods me along as I write by alternatively sleeping and staring at me…

Lol. My golden prods me on, too, but with snores and sighs. What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not writing? I bake my mom’s classic:  Onion Bread. It’s outstanding, and bread, to me, is such a mind-reliever to make. Plus, there’s something very satisfying about realizing you’ve created a quartet of tasty, nourishing loaves!

Onion bread? Hmmm...sounds delicious. What about your least favorite? Hands down. ANY kind of lawn work/landscaping. Don’t get me wrong, I love gorgeous, colorful flowerbeds and verdant green grass and well-sculpted bushes…I just hate the process of making it that way. 

I'm with you, Marianne! Hubby and I have a deal. I mow, more like breeze along on a riding lawn mower, and he does all the trim work. Yuck!

Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Marianne. Congrats on your upcoming release, Devotion

Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God's love through the stories He prompts her to create.

Evans's novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category and readers have lauded her work as: 'Riveting.' 'Realistic and true to heart.' 'Compelling.' Evans has also won acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence.

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of Aneruca chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She's also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

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