Beneath Skin Deep by Hannah Alexander



Once upon a time I asked a well-known Christian psychologist how to make new friends. Not that I was in need of more friends at the time, but I’d made the mistake of trusting someone who proved untrustworthy, and had lost some faith in my own abilities. After all, I’d lived in the same community for decades, and had finally become a part of that community. No need for new friends. Nope. Not me.

Now that Mel and I have moved what seems halfway across the country, the good counselor’s words have returned to me recently. I believe it’s time to heed them.

Her first piece of advice was to move slowly. Don’t take anyone at face value. That was a difficult suggestion for me because I tend to want to like everyone I meet. Obviously, people appreciate beauty. That’s why the picture above of my character, Lauren, shows her beauty, and why novelists are always attempting to create the most appealing cover for prospective readers. But some people could look at this picture of Lauren and automatically like her for her beauty–a shallow basis for friendship. Others might hate her out of jealousy. Those would not make good friends.

It’s difficult to tell how people will react. That’s why one must move slowly when reaching out to make friends. I might turn people off simply by the way I apply my makeup or behave–and that’s not going to change. Not, of course, that I have Lauren’s beauty, but someone might react poorly to my eye color or my tendency to smile too much. Oh, yes, someone asked me the other day why I was smiling. It either irritated or intrigued him, I’m not sure which. So many people see things differently from the way I see them. That’s a good reason to move slowly. Making friends doesn’t always mean finding those who totally agree with everything you think, feel and say, but it should mean avoiding someone who could be toxic to you–someone who might dislike you because you’re fat, skinny, smart, simple, (insert any of your physical or behavioral qualities here). Anyone who would prejudge you for your appearance or personality tics is not good friend material.

I walked into a store the other day and observed the interaction between the two workers on duty. One was perky, bubbly, spoke in a high, girlie voice, and was very talkative. I found her outward personality appealing. I love people who are easy to talk to because I find it difficult to carry a conversation. This lady made it easy. Her coworker, on the other hand, replied to her comments with biting sarcasm, make sharp retorts to any of her observations, and came across as filled with animosity toward her. It might have been a clash of personalities, but I could feel the toxic brew in that store. Maybe it went both ways, I don’t know, but it wasn’t comfortable. Those two women were not friends, and they shouldn’t even have been working together at the same time.

My good counselor’s second piece of advice about new friendships was not to share everything of myself upon first meeting–another difficult piece of advice, but so very true, as I’ve learned in years since. It isn’t quite the same as moving slowly. I have a tendency allow myself to be read like an open book–or at least that’s what people think. I AM very open about some things in my life. That makes people think I’m open about everything. Not so. Not at all. They don’t know how many secrets I hold. After all, I was active in our clinic and knowledgable about many patient problems when we were open. I would rather sew my lips shut than share any private information about those patients to others. In fact, some of my best friends had family coming to our clinic, and they never heard a single word of it from me. Logically, when you think about it, why shouldn’t I be as protective of my own secrets as I am of our patients? So thanks to my counselor friend’s advice, I will decide what I will and will not share with a new, prospective friend in our new community.

Third and final piece of advice for now–beware those people who share all their trials with you upon first meeting. They have ulterior motives whether they realize it or not. Some desire to lure people into confiding, as well. Then those predators can use the secrets of others against them later. There are psychopaths among us–not necessarily killers, but psychopaths. I’ve read books about them. They don’t feel human emotion for themselves, so they have to feed off others. There are apparently more than we might think. Doesn’t that put your defenses up a little?

There are others who are so needy for friends–and incapable of retaining friendships due to character weaknesses in themselves–that they share all in order to force you to be a friend. In my opinion, that’s as toxic as befriending a psychopath.

I’m not talking about chatterers. I love people who love to talk and can hold a good conversation with you for the duration of a long walk. I have many friends like that, and enjoyed them immensely when we walked together. They didn’t, however, dump all their woes on me the minute they saw me. They don’t need a mommy, they just need someone to share with them. I love talkative people. I also love people who know when it’s time to stop talking and say goodbye.

For now, my friends are online and I can talk to them on the phone. You don’t spend decades in one community without making a boatload of wonderful friends. You also don’t spend those decades in that one small community without realizing how difficult it is for new people to break through the well-settled core of solid friendships and become part of that new community. But I’m moving slowly, checking things out, and relying on old, proven friendships while I test the waters here. Few people know my name, much less that I’m a novelist with over thirty novels under my belt. That’s okay, because I don’t want them befriending me because they think I might be famous (you and I know that isn’t true.)

There seem to be a wealth of opportunities for friendship–after all, I’ve been told that the small towns of Nebraska are comprised of the salt of the earth. Now to gradually become acquainted.




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God’s Talking … Are You Listening

johnstudy1Distractibility is one of my biggest weaknesses. Selfishness is my second. Left unchecked, these character flaws hinder my relationships and has hurt those I love. I’d give examples, but I think we all know how it feels to be engaged in a conversation with someone and have the “listener” mentally check out, or tune us out.

It’s really hard to maintain a relationship based on one-way conversations.

A few months ago, after being on the receiving end of conversation-distraction, I started iphone-1283665_1920mentally fuming. About halfway through my internal rant, God pricked my spirit with a gentle yet clear reminder of how many times I’d done the same to Him. Of how many times I’ve either ignored His soft voice or checked out in the middle of prayer.

Then there have been times when I heard Him but acted as if I hadn’t. Especially if He was calling me to do something frightening or difficult.

That was how I responded when I first sensed the call to write. God had made Himself incredibly clear–He wanted me to write, full time, for Him. With no guarantee of publication. For all I knew, every word I typed could remain, forever, locked within my keyboard.

But that wasn’t what bothered me most. What made me queasy was the realization that should God expand my reach, readers would potentially learn of my shameful past.

So I told God no.

Not outright. I wasn’t that … openly rebellious. Rather, I pretended not to hear. I asked for clarification, then confirmation, then more clarification.

But I knew what God wanted, and Scripture says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:17).

The more I ignored God’s voice, the less I was able to hear Him. As a result, my relationship girl-517555_1920with Christ became increasingly distant, and as it did, my world grew darker and darker.

“That is why the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested Me in the wilderness'” (Hebrews 3:7-8).

I experienced divine silence for about a year, until one day, I’d had enough. I knew, regardless of what lay ahead, I couldn’t live without experiencing God’s daily presence. 

I can’t imagine what it felt like for the Israelites to endure 400 years of divine silence. By the time John the Baptist came on the scene, everyone was anxiously awaiting the prophet who would foretell the coming of the Savior. That was John’s role–to proclaim the arrival of Christ and help prepare people’s hearts to receive Him.

As Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet said, speaking of John, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for Him! The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth'” (Luke 3:4b-5 NLT).

In this passage, Isaiah is making an analogy for how John would “prepare the way” for the coming Lord by helping remove the obstacles, such as sin and hard-heartedness, that could keep the people of Israel from receiving God’s salvation message.

read-369040_1280Each day, countless roadblocks distract me and dull my hearing. Therefore, I need to regularly quiet my thoughts and my heart so that I can rest in God’s presence and hear, truly hear, what He’s wanting to say.

What about you? What are your typical “hearing road blocks” and what are some ways you counter them? Consider this statement: The more we respond to God’s voice, the better we’re able to hear Him. The more we ignore His voice, the more dulled our hearing becomes. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on Facebook in the For the Love online discussion group.



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October Causes by Julie Arduini

Twenty-seven causes and awareness campaigns. That’s what I saw when I Googled this month and the awareness campaigns. I thought I would share a couple that are personal to me, and offer encouragement if those are your reality.

National Bullying Prevention Month—When I speak in public, I often introduce myself as a chubby girl who remembers being in gym class, swimming rotation, in the 5th grade when a boy raised his hand and asked the teacher while pointing at me, “Does fat float?” Comments like that dominated my middle school years and scars remain.

These days as a mom I’m vigilant against those comments and so much more. With two teens, one with slight special needs, there is a new enemy I narrow my eyes and spend my time monitoring with skepticism—the cell phone and social media.student-1397451_960_720_edited

If appliances can have genders I think the phone is female because we girls are so cruel to each other in our efforts to cloak our insecurity. Texting, Kik, Snapchat and apps to come in the future that parents need to know about are new vehicles to take bullying to a new level. There are ten year olds committing suicide because of bullying. Thing is, I’ve been in a room full of women, Christian women, and I watched them take each other down like I was back in high school. This isn’t the example we should be leading with. Our girls, our grandchildren are watching. We’ve got to improve on our own experiences and give this generation a building up. And honestly, we need to start at home.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness—Just like I remember where I was when kids made fun of me, I also remember fine details when it comes to my miscarriage. There were people who heard our expecting announcement but never heard that we suffered a loss. That made for crippling moments for me emotionally when I had to stuff my grief and comfort an apologetic friend who asked me how I was doing and meant the pregnancy. There were insensitive comments and actions from acquaintances about how my loss wasn’t like their current stress or the insistence I take the box of maternity clothes I’d loaned out because the new mom could already fit in her mom jeans. Miscarriage and infant loss is such a hard topic to talk about but I refuse to ignore it. It’s better to approach a hurting friend and confess you’re worried about saying something wrong than to walk by and say nothing at all. Ask how you can help, and when they isolate themselves and beg off your invitations, show up. Oh, they will act mad, but deep down, there will be relief. I know that was the case for me. I was so obsessed with the why behind my miscarriage and the judging of those who had kids and mistreated them that I lost focus on the many blessings I did have.

Like I said, 27 causes and awareness campaigns was what I saw on a quick Google search. Here is a list for October. What causes are meaningful to you?

By the way, if you or someone you know is grieving a pregnancy/infant loss, there are six of us who shared with complete transparency our journeys in the workbook devotional, A Walk in the Valley. I participated in this because I wanted a raw and hopeful book out there that didn’t exist when I needed it. I pray it blesses you.

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Gratitude by Kristen Heitzmann

20150927_104513-2There were these ten lepers who cried out to Jesus for mercy. It hurts to imagine people being eaten away by such a horrible disease. We can see them hollering for the kind of mercy a renowned healer could give. Jesus said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests,” which if you think about it could have been a brush off. “Don’t get near me with that infectious stuff. Let the priests deal with you.”

Since we know his heart, that clearly wasn’t his intention. He meant go take the step you would take if your illness were healed. He didn’t heal, and then send them to the priests, just said go do it even though your affliction looks no different. They had to take that step and go, and as they went, they were healed.

So here we are with fears and trials, illness, anger, sorrow, unforgiveness—whatever it is that may be eating us alive. We cry to Jesus for mercy. And he is such a boundless source of mercy he says, “Take that step. Do what you would do if I have answered your prayer.”

Now I admit, I have a little problem here. Because not every illness is healed by a step of faith. Not every crisis is solved. Not every wounded heart restored, nor every circumstance resolved. There are so many calling for mercy and walking in faith. Walking and walking and walking …

We don’t know what the story would have told us if some of the lepers weren’t healed. All we know is that Jesus showed them all his mercy. Jesus shows us all his mercy. And we walk in the belief that his love is sufficient for all our needs—no matter how it looks.

But that’s not the end of the story. One former leper went back to praise and thank Jesus. The Lord’s like, “Where’s the rest of those dudes? Didn’t they receive mercy too?”

Our Lord is not vain or of low self-esteem. He didn’t need them to shower him with gratitude. But he knew they needed to give it. Even though they received this amazing gift, they were too self-focused to go find that marginal preacher. They needed him when they were outcasts, but once the priests restored them to the community, going back got risky. And besides, it was time to party.

How often do we accept blessings as our due? Our gifts and talents start to feel really comfortable, like they belong right where they are. How dare anything strip them away!

It’s essential for me to remember every day that anything I have is through the grace of God and to be grateful, deeply, deeply grateful. Jesus told the one who thanked him, “Your faith has saved you.” This was something the others missed out on. I believe this one saw Jesus as Lord, maybe followed him and became a disciple. This one knew a joy beyond the physical healing they all received. Through gratitude, this one stepped outside himself and knew, well, Jesus.





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Old Things…

It’s finally fall in Texas, which means the humidity has left the area until next spring (for the most part). The days are turning crisp and the leaves are beginning to turn.


This is my favorite time of year because there is lots of outside time. And it’s a great time to take a drive in the country.

If you haven’t done so lately, I highly recommend you take some time, pick a country road, and then…just drive. No destination necessary.

You never know what you’ll see along the way and the trip can be therapeutic. Be sure to take a camera with you because you can find beauty in the most unusual of places. Whether it be the magnificent color of the fall foliage that reinforces that God is in control. He’s never too busy to change the seasons for us and bless us with the beauty of each of them.


Or perhaps you’ll see a stream running through the woods close to the road that not only is peaceful to look at but also provides water for wildlife. If you stop at the side of the road and watch, maybe you’ll see some of that wildlife.




You can even find beauty in the old deserted houses along the roadside.

Colorado Autumn Barn

The next time you’re out driving around in the country and you see an old abandoned house, stop and take moment to wonder about its former occupants. What were they like? Were they farmers or ranchers? Did they raise children there? When they passed away, was there no one else to leave the place to?


So, the next time you feel as if life is getting a little too hectic, take a drive in the country and let God’s majesty refresh your soul.

What’s your favorite memory of taking a country drive?


All the best…

Mary Alford

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Pumpkin Crazy by Tara Randel


I don’t know about you, but I get a little pumpkin crazy this time of year. Okay, let’s face it, I get a little autumn crazy. I live in Florida, where it’s still hot. We don’t get all the beautiful color changes of the leaves, so if I want fall colors, I have to decorate my house.


But it isn’t just decorations. I love pumpkin spice flavored coffee. Or candles that have that spicy scent. I love just about anything flavored with pumpkin. And just think, next month we get pumpkin pie! This is why fall is my favorite time of year.

Are you pumpkin crazy? Join the club.



If you’re looking for a good book to read while drinking your pumpkin latte, try, A HEARTWARMING HOLIDAY. Warm your heart with 15 connected sweet, clean, wholesome holiday romances set in Christmas Town from 15 Harlequin Heartwarming authors who are USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.

There are five connected books in A Heartwarming Holiday. That means each set of three novellas shares characters and storylines! This collection of holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve,.

A Heartwarming Holiday will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters.

Only 99 cents!





B & N:

Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling author of thirteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Look for her newest Heartwarming release, The Bridal Bouquet, available now. Visit Tara at Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books

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Celebrate Fall Contest: Enter to Win 40 Books & a Kindle Fire

Inspirational Contest Giveaway, Vicki Hinze, Ryan Z

Surprise Celebration for You!

Today, I have a fun surprise to share with you. To celebrate the beginning of Fall, I’ve teamed up with more than forty (40) fantastic inspirational contemporary romance authors to give to one lucky winner a HUGE collection of novels AND a Kindle Fire!

You can win my novel, DOWN AND DEAD IN DIXIE, plus books from these other authors:


Sarah Price, Krista Noorman, Julie Carobini, Carol Moncado

Sally Bradley, JoAnn Durgin, Leah Atwood, Sherri Schoenbo

T.K. Chapin, Terri Reed, Janice Boekhoff, Kathleen Fuller

Kristen Ethridge, Carrie Turansky, DiAnn Mills, Vicki Hinze

Patricia Trainum, Ruth Logan Herne, Dayo Benson, Melissa Tagg,

Susan Crawford, Carla Rossi, Stacy Monson, Lacy Williams

Brenda S. Anderson, Julie Jarnagin, Joy Ohawu, Becky Doughty

Laurie Lewis, Linda Goodnight, Tamara Leigh, Margaret Daley

Susan May Warren, Alfie Pleiter, Suzanne Fisher, Rebecca Talley

Julie Lessman, Melissa Storm, Jennifer Youngblood, Jan Thompson

Crystal Walton, Debra Clopton, Merrillee Whren



Enter the Giveaway by Clicking here:

Good luck—and enjoy!


* * * * * * *

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American Christian Fiction Writers October 2016 New Releases

Book Alert, Christians Read, Vicki Hinze


October 2016 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Biblical Fiction:

Providence: Hannah’s Journey by Barbara M. Britton — When the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her, Hannah flees Jerusalem and is captured by an enemy with a curse all his own. (Biblical from Harbourlight [Pelican])

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette — In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife. When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is? (Biblical from Bethany House [Baker])

Christmas Novella:

Christmas Lights by Chautona Havig, Vikki Kestell, Cathe Swanson, and April Hayman — From historical romance to contemporary cozy mysteries and Christmas wonder, these four “light” reads will warm your heart and ignite your Christmas spirit! (Christmas Novella, Mixed Genres, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:

Risking Love by Brenda S. Anderson — Can cautious bank employee Lissa Morgan risk falling in love with a former thrill-seeker, a widowed single dad, when she may have to foreclose on his house? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Mom for Christmas by Lorraine Beatty — Noah’s dream of a happy family and Beth’s dream of a continuing ballet career are both dashed, but when they come together they discover that the Lord might have a new dream for both of them. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sleigh Bells Ring by Sandra D. Bricker, Barbara J. Scott, Lynette Sowell, and Lenora Worth — Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters. The girls have inherited their father’s run-down horse farm for Christmas. It needs some serious TLC in order to make it sell-ready. Joanna knows that by recruiting her sisters and one handsome ranch hand they can fix up the place and even celebrate one last Christmas while they’re at it. However, to Isabella, returning to their home in Kentucky bluegrass country for Christmas seems like an impossible hurdle. Can her Chicago boyfriend make life merry and bright again? One thing’s for sure: nothing is peace on earth for Sophia as a new beau brings up old wounds. And when the fate of the horse farm is put in jeopardy because Amy accidentally fraternizes with the enemy, tensions rise. But it’s not like the land developer stole Christmas . . . just her heart. Can the Tucker sisters have themselves a merry little Christmas? (Contemporary Romance from Gilead Publishing)

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Margaret Brownley — Stranded at the old Star Inn until the road back to his cabin reopens, lumber mill owner Rick Talbot suddenly comes face to face with the past. The only woman he’s ever loved is standing in front of the inn’s blazing fire trying to get warm. Both Rick and Sally regret what happened between them years ago, but his family lumberyard clashes with her tree-hugging ways and neither is willing to try again. It will take the storm of the century, one stage-struck young boy, a certain meddling “angel”–and even a cranky cat–to convince them that in matters of the heart, sometimes the second time around is best. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer — Marisa Hiller abandoned her modeling career to nurse a broken heart in Montana, far from the photographer who ruined everything. Her family farm is now part of a CSA program teaching gardening and cooking to single moms, but when the coordinator begs her to represent the program in the Miss Snowflake Pageant, Marisa balks. God has forgiven Jase Mackie but hasn’t answered his prayer to bring Marisa back into his life… until Jase finds himself out West as the official photographer for a beauty pageant, face to face with the woman he’s never forgotten. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Room at the Inn for Christmas by Mary Connealy — Ambitious hotel executive Amanda Star’s has got her sights set on the CEO job at the multi-national Halston hotel chain. But then she inherits the Star Inn, a place her father had always wanted her to run alongside him. With no time to be away from her job, she rushes home to put the inn up for sale. Once there, she’s struggles against keen regret, sweet memories, and the longing to return, which grows stronger when she is reunited with an old classmate: Anthony Carter, a handyman with a guarded heart. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac — A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

A Christmas Homecoming by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Interior design assistant Bailey Calderwood suspects the mysterious admirer sending her cards and flowers is none other than the son of her unpleasable, bed-ridden boss. When Stephen Belafonte’s mom demands he fire Bailey, can he find a way to heal the rift in his family as well his own heart, or will he be forced to let Bailey go? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson — When Caden Holt’s boss asks her to show off their own beautiful Prince Edward Island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the Red Door Inn, the reclusive executive chef is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen–and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post — Grant McAllister, a jaded big-city lawyer and small-town reporter Jami Carlisle have no hope for finding true love–except for a zany old matchmaker who won’t give up. In the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home. (Contemporary Romance from Waterfall Press)

Insight by Deborah Raney — She’s having a baby. It’s a blessing that brings comfort to newly widowed Olivia Cline. Yet with no insurance, no job and precious little money, how will Olivia care for herself and her child? The answer is a handsome and brooding artist seeking an assistant. Reed Vincent has recently regained his eyesight thanks to a donor. And through his eyes, Olivia begins to see all the possibilities before her. Before them. Until, in a flash of insight, she knows why his signature is so hauntingly familiar. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

Silver Bells by Deborah Raney — As Elvis croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon a small Kansas town, two people find the miracle of love. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

A Family Under the Christmas Tree by Terri Reed — In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog–but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

Third Strand of the Cord by Catherine Richmond — Caroline will do anything to keep her ex-husband from putting her son with Down syndrome in an institution–even enroll the boy in a class taught by a know-it-all karate instructor. Lee Marivaux is an expert at reading people. He knows his feisty new student will thrive with firm guidance – and he’s right. He pegs the boy’s mother as a clueless socialite who loafs at the country club – and he’s never been so wrong. When Caroline’s abusive ex shows up, demanding custody, Lee and Caroline must join forces to keep the boy safe. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Buying Love by Toni Shiloh — Impatient for marriage, Nina Warrenton places an ad in the newspaper for a husband–attaching a monetary reward. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef who answers her add, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money. Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant, but can he let it go to prove his love for Nina? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

Moonlight Over Manahttan by Carrie Turansky — Professional organizer Sarah Montgomery is hired to organize her elderly neighbor’s cluttered apartment by Justin Latimer, her neighbor’s grandson. Sarah believes free-spirited Justin is a lazy, unemployed poet who is taking advantage of his grandmother’s generosity. Though attracted to him, she guards her heart against her growing feelings. As Sarah and Justin work together to help his grandmother and enjoy Christmas events in NYC, romantic sparks fly. When Sarah discovers who Justin really is, she must decide if she will continue to hide behind her protective wall or open her heart and embrace love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman — Charlotte Dolinsky needs time to recover after breaking up with her boyfriend, Ryan. But when a surprise visitor shows up on her doorstep in Texas, she’s forced to put aside her own worries to help her Amish friends in Lancaster County. Daniel Byler struggles each day in his Amish community to heal from his fiancée’s betrayal. When he discovers that a member of his family is in danger of being shunned, his pain turns to fear. His only way to help is by partnering with Charlotte, a woman he barely knows who has already deceived them all before. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary (includes Women’s Fiction):

Paint The Storm by Dawn V. Cahill — When Meg is challenged to love her lesbian daughter as Christ would, she struggles to live out God’s command, and when her daughter goes missing, she finds herself joined with the unlikeliest of allies in her search for Linzee, and finally learns of God’s unconditional grace for sinners. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Spring Mountain Publishing)

Restoration Road by Elise Phillips — Mallory Andrews’s short trip back to Texas for her mother’s funeral quickly becomes a move home to help her grieving father with his contracting business. When her old crush, Tres, hires them for a restoration project Mallory falls in love with the crumbling old house. And when feelings bloom between her and Tres, she finds herself on the road to a brand new, unexpected life filled with faith, sweet tea, and fresh paint. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)

Above All Things by Deborah Raney — Expecting their first baby, Judd and Evette McGlin are thrilled to become parents. But the couple faces the ultimate test when Judd learns he already has a child: a six-year-old mixed-race girl born amid secrets and lies. Now, Evette must decide if she can accept the child. She thought she was open-minded–until hidden prejudices threaten the future of an innocent little girl, Evette’s marriage and the very notion of who she thinks she is. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Raney Day Press)

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti — Alexis set out to restore a fieldstone farmhouse in need of repair. She didn’t expect to restore a life in the process. (General Contemporary from Worthy Inspired)

Strings of Faith by Terry Stafford — Darcy is a classically trained violinist who dreams of playing bluegrass and winning The National Oldtime Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho. When tragedy strikes, Darcy lays her gift aside for her family and faces unimaginable pain and loss, leading to dissension with her husband, disappointing judgment from her church, and anger with God Himself. Can her gift of music survive when her life is turned upside down? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan — On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith — When an accident forces Jonah Ashton to serve as a ship’s physician, he boards the Providence with the plan to escort a group of families to their new settlement in South America and then return to Pennsylvania to finish medical school before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. What he doesn’t count on is getting lost at sea… and Marian Foster. When the settlers finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart? (Historical from Crossriver Media Group)

Historical Romance:

The Rails to Love Romance Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens, and Liz Tolsma — Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, and Anna Schmidt — For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She’d call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can’t help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart. Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. And even if Roy, her hired help for the holidays, does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas. Pastor Colton McCabe is not sure he’ll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can’t seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart. Connie Lancaster is determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she’s been longing for isn’t to a place but a person. (Historical Romance from Gilead Publishing)

The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep — Stranded in a strange land, Eleanor Morgan faces starvation or marriage . . . but who wants to marry a murderer? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Rightful Heir by Angel Moore — Cowboy Jared Ivy must work with stranger Mary Lou Ellison until a judge comes to town and determines which one of them is the rightful heir to his family’s Texas newspaper. Intrepid reporter Mary Lou won’t lose the Pine Haven Record–the legacy he left her–without a fight. But when she and Jared stop sparring long enough to investigate a story together, they become a force to be reckoned with. Will they let their battle over the Record get in the way of something even more newsworthy: true love? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Christmas at Stoney Creek by Martha Rogers — When newspaper reporter Tom Whiteman befriends a homeless man named Joe, Tom decides to bring him home to Stoney Creek, Texas for Christmas. As Tom and his childhood friend Faith Delmont set out to learn the truth about the mysterious old man with the kind, sad eyes, they discover that God’s love can turn tragedy and loss to triumph, and that true love comes to those who wait. (Historical Romance from Realms [Charisma Media])


Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard — In order to regain her grandmother’s favor FBI Special Agent Serena Jones agrees to investigate a missing Salvador Dali painting. But when the evidence points to members of the owner’s own household, it becomes clear that Serena won’t be winning any popularity contests. Then Serena stumbles upon links to her grandfather’s unsolved murder. (Mystery from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Romantic Suspense:

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon — After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime in the woods. But when someone threatens his neighbor, publishing executive Dana Lewis, Finn and Dana must work together to discover who wants her to leave her lakeside cabin before it costs both their lives. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Identity Unknown by Terri Reed — When a John Doe washes up on the shores of Calico Bay, no one knows who he is—including him. But one thing’s instantly clear to deputy sheriff Audrey Martin: the man’s marked for murder. And she’s the only one who can protect him from the assassins who lurk at every turn. The arrival of a team of men claiming he’s Canadian Border Services officer Nathanial Longhorn only further complicates the matter. As his memories slowly start drifting back, Nathanial and Audrey work to uncover who wants him dead and why. If they don’t, this Christmas might be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes — What more can you sacrifice than your life? Parvin Blackwater is dead. At least that’s what the Council and the world thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? (Speculative Young Adult from Enclave Publishing)

Unblemished by Sara Ella — Eliyana can’t bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength? (Speculative Young Adult from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Beast by Chawna Schroeder — For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master’s dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold she dreams of one day becoming her master’s favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire. When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers, hunting down the loners. They are so strong, and she is only a beast . . . or is she? (Speculative Allegory from Enclave Publishing)

Accelerant by Ronie Kendig — He’ll destroy the world. But he must save it first. As the only able-bodied heir to the Fire Throne, Haegan, Prince of Seultrie must return to the Nine Kingdoms and fight for his people. But there are insidious forces at work. When reality itself falls into question, Haegan struggles to know where to fight, who to trust. Caught between duty to his country and duty to the world, Haegan must see clearly enough to choose the right path to save his devastated world. (Speculative High Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)


Death in the Mind’s Eye by Rick Acker — It knows what you’re thinking. It knows when you’re lying. Does it know how to kill? San Francisco attorney Mike Webster and Dr. Johanna Anderson, a brilliant and beautiful psychologist, must clear Jo’s name of a malpractice case before the controversial, technologically-assisted Mind’s Eye therapy is seized by a shadowy finance firm and used as a weapon. (Thriller/Suspense from Waterfall Press)

The Warrior’s Seal by Ronie Kendig — A Special Forces team is thrust into a war with the past to save the president after an artifact unleashes a deadly toxin. Special Forces operative Cole “Tox” Russell and his team are tasked in a search-and-rescue–the U.S. president has been kidnapped during a goodwill tour. The mission nosedives when an ancient biblical artifact and a deadly toxin wipe out villages. Tox must stop the terrorists and the toxin to save the president. This is a free e-novella prequel! (Thriller/Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Deadly Infiltration by W. Richard Lawrence — Infiltrators inside the American government are betraying undercover agents while helping sneak weapons of mass destruction across our borders. To keep their work hidden, they are willing to murder anyone who gets in their way. Sara, a brilliant computer expert working for the FBI, finds herself caught in the middle. Sara’s young faith in God is gravely tested when she is framed for the murder of an FBI agent, forcing her to go into hiding. Meanwhile, Sara’s fiancé Derry lives up to a promise he made to her, and gives up his future to save her and hopefully the country. (Thriller/Suspense from Boarding House Publishing)

Western Historical:

Refining Fire by Carol Cox — Meet the Arizona Territory Brides. Four strong, independent women–each determined to stand on her own two feet, and not one of them looking for romance. But sometimes love shows up when you least expect it… (Western, Pioneer/Prairie, Independently Published)

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A New Adventure

9780373447732Hey friends!

I’m so excited to share that this is release week for TARGETED FOR MURDER, the first book in my new WILDERNESS, INC. series set in the Wild Rogue Wilderness of southwest Oregon. You should know by now that I’m an adventure girl. I love stories set in what I call exotic places–Southeast Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. I could venture to other places at some point, don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the lush forests, the rocky coastline, the Cascades and the Siskiyous Mountains of this region. I could go on and on.

Wilderness, Inc. is the name of a fictional wilderness survival training and excursion business in Gideon, Oregon (also fictional) which is set in a designated wilderness region. Fun and exciting and adventurous. But I added something even more exciting. Spy stuff. Running from bad people and you don’t know why they’re after you. Maybe you don’t know what that’s like, but why not find out and take the ride of your life from the comfort of your own home?

And remember, there’s always a spiritual nugget in my stories so you can come away better for having read them.

You can order TARGETED FOR MURDER for your Kindle HERE.

Or Visit my website to see all the purchasing options HERE.

Or order from Harlequin HERE.


With his dying breath, Hadley Mason’s fatally shot father reveals he’s a CIA agent…and a bounty has been placed on both their heads. Heeding his urgent warning to disappear and trust no one, Hadley flees into the Oregon wilderness, but she can’t shake the string of hired killers on her trail. So when a fearless and too-handsome wilderness guide comes to her rescue, Hadley has no choice but to put her life in Cooper Wilde’s hands. The former Green Beret vows to protect her, but beyond steep gorges and treacherous terrain, a ruthless man will stop at nothing to see her dead.


I hope you can get your hands on a copy and enjoy!







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The Phenomenon Behind “This is Us” by Julie Arduini




If you’re like me, last night you were hoping the VP debates would pause so that NBC could present This is Us, the new drama Tuesday nights that has me hook, line, and sinker.

If you haven’t heard of it (where have you been?) it is about a group of people who share the same birthday, their 36th. Do they have anything else in common? That’s the fun of the show. You will find out by the end of the first episode.

It’s the show you want to dissect and re watch to see if you missed anything. It’s the conversation starter at the water cooler and on social media. It’s the one you better write spoiler alert so you don’t anger a legion of viewers who prefer to watch on Hulu.

What is it about This is Us that has my attention and has captivated America Tuesday nights at 10pm Eastern?

I won’t give his quote justice, but my son summed up a thought that I believe makes sense. “Most shows give you the what and then spend the rest of the time showing you why. This is Us gives you the why, and only at the end do you understand the what.”

Two episodes in I see a pattern in that a quote from early in the episode comes back around for the ending. The last scene will have an a-ha/cliffhanger type moment that has everyone talking. There is subtle foreshadowing that if you catch it, proves the ending was coming, but somehow, my mind is still blown. The second episode especially got me.

I’ve wrote about it before, but that’s so important to me. When a show can throw me off track and blow my mind, I’m so impressed. Writers like to guess where the story is going, and most of the time we’re right. When we’re surprised, it’s the best, even if we don’t like what the surprise is. Which was the case for me at the end of episode two.

The show is also has the Parenthood like quality where it not only ends the episode with music, but pulls hard on the heartstrings. The actors are having fun knowing viewers are crying during the show. Again, as a writer, I love when there’s content so strong that invokes a physical reaction.

The show features Milo Ventimiglia (I know him from the original Heroes, I confess I never watched Gilmore Girls, but he played Jess,) Mandy Moore (singer, actress I know best from Tangled, Sterling K. Brown (he played Christopher Darden in the OJ series on FX, and Justin Hartley (Smallville to me.) It was the trailer that caught my eye, and I liked Milo on Heroes. But this is an ensemble cast and they are all stand-outs.

How I want to talk about Kate and Toby and Kevin. Then there’s Randall and his dad. And Jack and Rebecca. But if you haven’t watched it, give it a go. I’m sure it is available on demand, and I know it is on Hulu. See if you observe and feel the same things I do. My hope is to use my Facebook author page once a week to discuss, so join me there!


Starting Tuesday, October 11, my Facebook author page is also where I’ll be for my fall book club, starting with my contemporary romance, ENTRUSTED. We’ll talk about the characters, chapters, scenes, the Adirondacks and more. I plan to share the writing process and give behind-the-scenes info. Both ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED will be FREE eBooks this Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Amazon, so you have plenty of opportunities to grab your copies. Tuesday will be an intro, so don’t worry if you haven’t read anything, I’ll post the reading schedule then. Tell your friends, and see you Tuesday!

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Permission to Breathe by Kristen Heitzmann

It seems there’s always so much to do. For me: writing, research, reading, listening, watching, praying, anything that inspires the creative process. Then there’s networking and social media, keeping up with Facebook friends, Twitter contacts, etc. I appreciate, enjoy, and react to the things people post, and I love the conversations that happen over my posts.

I’ve had wonderful support and encouragement for my writing. I’m not sure people know how much that means to creative introverts. When I read reviews that people take the time to post about my stories, posts or messages where people share the same, my heart is touched, my mind is energized, along with the belief that this storytelling matters. That sharing life matters.

What an extraordinary outpouring of enthusiasm I had during the release of Told You Twice! That book took me so deep into the psyches of the characters, that it was pure joy to hear others responding in kind. I’m so blessed by that, believe me. In fact, I’ve been clinging to these for the last month, even though I’ve done less and less and less.

If you have followed my posts etc. you know that I’m refreshed by hiking in the mountains where I live. Unfortunately, a foot injury has kept me from hitting the trails I love. For most of the summer I’ve hardly left my chair—and if you’ve seen my treadmill desk, you know I’m already averse to sitting! You might think it’s a great opportunity to rest and take life slowly. Instead I’ve grown despondent. I look at things I should be doing and say why bother? It’s all so much noise.

Today for the first time, I put on hiking boots and ventured a short way along a trail. Praise God, my foot handled it decently! Of course having been sedentary, I was quickly winded, which kicked in the asthma that kept me coughing and wheezing for hours afterward. Gah!

But even though I know it will be a slow road to functionality—physically, mentally, emotionally, and creatively—I’m facing the challenge one step at a time, one word at a time, one breath at a time. I’m giving myself permission to breathe if that’s the most I can manage. Have any of you been in this place? If so, will you pray for me as I will be honored to pray for you?

I know there’s a purpose to everything under heaven. I trust in God’s will, love and grace. What everlasting bounty he has for us. I am truly grateful, truly blessed, and humbled by a love so much larger than I can comprehend.

Kristen Heitzmann

Told You So

Told You Twice

Posted in Kristen Heitzmann | 5 Comments

Unpopular Parenting

johnstudy1Oh, the advice, admonitions, and warnings I received when our daughter was young, and often from people who had very little day-to-day contact with us. Their biggest complaint? That I sheltered her too ashpics-page-001much. And in every accusation came the unspoken statement: You’re messing her up. Not doing it right. As a mom, you’re failing.

Perhaps you’ve felt that. Maybe you feel that now. Maybe you’re doing everything you believe God is calling you to do, and no one else gets that. No one else gets you and what God has called you to.

But stay strong. Stay focused. And stay pliable–to Christ. Because Mama, He’s got this.

When our daughter was youngisaiah40-11verse, I held tight to Isaiah 40:11: “He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young” (NLT).

God proved the truth of those words day by day, year by year, as my husband and I raised our daughter. Fast forward a decade-plus later, and most of those same people that once felt such a need to “advise me” now give me accolades. Because they see the results. They see my daughter as God has always seen her, for when He looked at her, He saw what she could become. (Eph. 2:10, Psalm 139:16)

What they didn’t see, what they didn’t know, was that I spent hours upon hours praying for that precious child, for God to show me her heart, and to help me parent uniquely to her. 

Because no one knows the heart of my child like her Creator. 

Can you imagine the flack Elizabeth and Zechariah probably experienced? To give some background, after a painful bout of infertility, an angel appears to Zechariah to tell him he and his wife will have a child. More than that, this precious child would grow to be the forerunner, the divinely appointed herald, for the long awaited Christ. (Luke 1:5-17)

Wow. Talk about overwhelming!

Not only was he to proclaim the coming of Christ, but verse 15 suggests he was to be raised as a Nazarite*. A Nazarite was someone set apart to serve God, and there were numerous rules they had to follow. This might have seemed cool, until their son started wearing camel hair clothing and eating locusts.

Can you imagine what the neighbors said? The looks Zechariah and Elizabeth received? The community well, where all the women gathered, had to a buzz with gossip.

“I think this whole angel thing was made up.”

“His parents are taking this whole ‘called by God’ thing way too seriously.”

I don’t know what life was like for this precious family, as they sought to raise their child in the way God had commanded them. But I do know parenting is tough, in any time period. In today’s relativistic, corrupt, do-what-you-please-and-take-what-you-can culture, Christ-centered parenting seems strange. Confining. Sheltering.

Until you fast forward ten or so years, and you see the results of every word spoken, every decision, every intentional interaction. Each day, we’re either equipping our children to live out their calling or we’re adding noise. Potentially even getting in their way–in God’s way.

The choice is ours.

It’s not an easy call. In fact, it’s by far the hardest and most significant child-818439_1920job we will ever have. But we don’t have to do it alone. Our Savior is always walking beside us, whispering in our ear, “Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV).

The question is: are we listening? Is His voice the loudest, the clearest, that we hear?

Can you share a time when you knew God was calling you to something but others didn’t understand? Are you a parent or grandparent? What are some of your greatest parenting struggles? What ways to try to parent to your child/grandchild’s heart?

Share your thoughts, examples, and insights with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from each other.

*Note: Some scholars believe John’s parents might have died some time during his early years and that he may have been raised, largely, by a Jewish group called the Essenes.

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Cat in Striped Pajamas by Hannah Alexander



We rescued him. Readers named him. I plan to feature him soon in my next novel, incorporating an incredible journey. Unfortunately, Mel keeps the pictures of him in his computer and he’s at work, so I can’t show you our cat in striped pajamas right now.

The rescue of PJ happened nine years ago when he came in from the cold and asked for a home. We gave it to him. Because of PJ (short for Pajamas) and our other interesting felines over the years, I’ve gained an insight into cat behavior. When I started including these characters in our books the readers loved them. I think some of our former neighbors probably joked about me being the cat lady because we’ve rescued and neutered ten cats in the past ten years. Do they ever have different personalities! One was bossy, one was exhaustively loving, one was happy in his own skin, one loved to play in the snow, others hated getting wet. One loved to try to take a bath in our Jacuzzi tub. Many were old and had apparently been abandoned. It broke my heart, but they found a home with us.

So begins the incredible journey: Last week we moved 850 miles from where we used to live in the Missouri Ozarks. Halfway there, PJ, who looks like a white cat almost completely covered in dark gray striped pajamas, the great escape artist, escaped from his carrier while I was driving the car and Mel was driving the Uhaul. PJ climbed over the seat and peered into Data’s carrier in the seat beside me, then crawled to the floorboard, jumped onto my lap, peered with fascination at the traffic passing us, then freaked and tried to hit the floorboard beneath my feet.

I grabbed and held him until I could find an exit from I-29 in extreme northwestern Missouri. Once stopped, I climbed out of the car to place him back in his carrier. He escaped. He’s not accustomed to the loud noise of traffic on an interstate highway, so he took one look at speeding semi trucks and plunged into chest-high grass, into a thick forest, and disappeared from sight.

We called and called for him, waited for him to return, and then went for help. Now PJ is well-known on the St. Joseph Craigslist as well as and other rescue loops. One wonderful angel who lives nearby read about him on the Facebook page of a writing friend of ours, Kim Sawyer. Kim loves cats, too (and she’s a wonderful novelist so I highly recommend her books.)

That wonderful woman, Karen, has been taking food and water to the place where we last saw PJ, eleven miles south of Mound City, MO. How kind is that? A stranger trying to help us care for our lost cat.

We will not give up the search for our cat. And now, neither will Molly Gilbert, one of our favorite characters in our latest series, who also rescues cats, dogs, a miniature horse, a goat, and who knows what next? I have all these ideas spinning through my head and I can’t wait to get started on that book. I hope our ending for PJ will be as happy as the ending I have planned for Molly Gilbert and her beloved pets.

If you think about it, would you please say a quick prayer for PJ? He has a lot more novels to inspire, and his adoptive brother, Data, is lost without him.

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My eBooks are FREE Saturday! By: Julie Arduini

My eBooks are FREE  Saturday!

There are writing moments I ask why.

  • Why am I writing when life is pulling me so many directions?
  • Why write if the words are hard to come by?
  • Why write when it is so lonely?
  • Why write if it feels like no one knows or seems to care?

Well, I write because I was created to write stories that show readers there is freedom through surrender. I’m so passionate about the message that I often do the opposite of what markets advise.

Like I enjoy offering eBooks for free.

And that’s just what I’m doing.

On Friday, September 23 (check price first, the sale tends to start after 3am Eastern,) and Saturday, September 24 (again, check price first,) ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED will be FREE eBooks.

I want these books to reach as many readers as possible.

Not only do I want readers to experience the freedom through surrender by reading my fiction, I also am starting a book club on my Facebook Author Page in October. I’d love readers to join me as I discuss assigned chapters. I’ll also be sharing the writing process AND secrets behind the chapters. I love doing events like this, and again, the best way to get started is to offer you these eBooks for free so you can join me.

My eBooks are FREE Friday and Saturday!

My eBooks are FREE Friday and Saturday!

Spread the word, won’t you?

Like my Author Page and in October, we’ll have the Book Club there—

Grab ENTRUSTED as a FREE eBook Friday 9/23 and Saturday 9/24 (check price first)

Grab ENTANGLED as a FREE eBook Friday, 9/23 and Saturday, 9/24 (check price first)

Both eBooks are also FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

I’ll be offering this same eBook sale October 7-9.

The private feedback and the Amazon reviews are confirming that these books have purpose. Readers are finding friends in the characters and they are finding the courage to surrender fear, loss, change, and regret.

Join me on the journey, won’t you?

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It’s Graduation Day…to all the grandparents out there

The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy. ~Sam Levenson

I remember when I was a child thinking that people who were in their thirties were old. If you were fifty, you were positively ancient. Beyond that, well…you get the picture.

Most all of us have thought the same thing when we were young. I always found it amusing that my parents got smarter as I got older.

It’s amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one. ~Author Unknown

Now, at the ripe old age of 57, its funny how my prospective on things have changed. 57 doesn’t seem nearly as old as it did when I was a kid.

A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown

I married a man with two boys and I became an instant stepmom. It was a wonderful experience. They are my boys although they are now grown.

My grandchild has taught me what true love means. It means watching Scooby-Doo cartoons while the basketball game is on another channel. ~Gene Perret

As parents, we all know the pressure there is to make sure our kids turn into responsible adults. It’s hard every day of the week. If you’re lucky, you don’t kill them and they become adults, get married, and have children of their own.

They say genes skip generations. Maybe that’s why grandparents find their grandchildren so likeable. ~Joan McIntosh

And then for you it’s graduation day!

I don’t remember my dad’s parents. They were gone before I was born. Same of my mom’s mother. But I do remember my grandpa. Even today I can still picture him, larger than life, yet kind and gentle. I still miss him.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how special being a grandparent would be. My husband and I have three granddaughters and let me tell you, they are my heart.

Grandparents are there to help the child get into mischief they haven’t thought of yet. ~Gene Perret

We have a saying in our house and I’m sure it’s the same at all grandparents’ home. What happens at grandma and paw paw’s, stays at grandma and paw paw’s. And let me tell you, that’s true. Being a grandparent is truly a gift from God.

So if you’re a grandparent are about to become one, congratulations. You’ve just received one of the highest of honors of all times. Its graduation day and you’ve just become a grandparent. Enjoy the fun.

Only the best parents graduate to become grandparents.


All the best…


Mary Alford



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