Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I'm semi-out of commission for a few days as my desk top gets updated (nasty malware infection)...so I beg your patience. Sorry to have missed posting today! I promise a new story soon though, for all those new kindles and nooks, and amazon cards...I have quite a line-up coming...


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas story winners

Thank you to all of you who stopped by during my story a day extravaganza - and boy, was it a busy time! What a whirlwind tour of stories! I hope you all enjoyed the glimpses you got!

There were quite a few with multiple comments, and thank you for all of those! Nothing bolsters a writer more than knowing their story sounds good to someone!

I'm sorry I'm a couple days late - I've had computer problems again, but I just didn't want you to think I forgot about the prizes!

The winners are:

Saving Christmas - Kendra
Goodbye Noelle - Karen Malena
and the big winner of their story of choice goes to...DORA HIERS!!!

Once again, thank you all for popping in!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Child is Born

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

I thank God for the precious gift He sent to us. For without Him there would be no hope, no reason for living. Let us be a light unto others as He has given His light unto us.

God bless you all, Merry Christmas!


A prophecy given, a prophecy fulfilled...

"Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. (Luke 2:1-2)

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.... And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."... And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." (Luke 2:4-15)

May your Christmas Eve be blessed as we await the celebration of the birth of our Lord.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 17 - Christmas Awakenings

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Here's a new author to me, and I'd like to introduce her short Christmas story collection in Christmas Awakenings. Welcome Lorelei Confer. So let's see what they're all about.

Christmas Awakenings is a compilation of four short, uplifting and

Inspiring Christmas stories.

A Star Bright Christmas

A young family can’t be late with their mortgage payment again. So two days before Christmas, at the onset of a blizzard, he goes to town leaving his wife and two young sons alone to endure a blackout on the 24th of December. Will he make it back in time for Christmas?

Christmas Promises

When a young newlywed soldier recently returned from Iraq tells his young wife he has to work Christmas Day she goes ballistic. He had promised her they would never have to spend another holiday alone. When she wakes one morning she finds his things removed from the apartment as well as all the furniture and fixtures not the ones they had picked out together. She cries herself to sleep on the ‘new’ couch and wakes up to discover the true meaning of spending the holiday together.

Christmas Salvation

A widower and a younger woman get to know each other better but not until after he accepts the concept that ‘life goes by in a flash and you don’t want to miss anything’.

A Palm Tree for Christmas

A young family travels from the northeastern United States to the hot sweltering south for a better way of life. Sunny days, sandy beaches, and summer heat. Their dreams are squashed when neither can find jobs and their surplus of money from the sale of their house is down to their last pennies. Until Christmas Eve


If you're looking for short, quick reads, you'll certainly find that in this little collection of Christmas stories. Not your standard Christmas stories, but each has a message of hope, of learning to make the best of what we have, and to love and cherish the ones we share it with.

Thank you for that message, Lorelei.

Merry Christmas!

You can find more about Lorelei at:
WWW.loreleiconfer.com or www.loreleiconfer.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 16 - Christmas Pearl

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Ooh, isn't that just beautiful! Yup, won best cover, too! And the story is just as beautiful as the cover!

Welcome, Robin! Thank you so much for stopping by today! I just finished your story and I couldn't wait to share it. Hope you don't mind!


Joe Gardner never expected to see Elizabeth again, not after the part she'd played in ruining his life. Refusing to believe she now shares his faith, Joe tosses aside her efforts to apologize. But when they are forced to work together in the midst of the Christmas season, Joe has to face the truth about Elizabeth, and himself.


Joseph Gardner stared out at the clear night sky, wondering how the lawn had grown so frosty it down-right sparkled. It was still early after all, he thought, leaning against the wood railing of the Gazebo Café’s front porch, hoping it held. His family gathered inside, laughing and planning the upcoming holiday season.

He, however, felt like grinding his boots against the brick walkway in a quick getaway. If the holidays never arrived this year, that would be fine with him.

The front door squeaked behind him, his cousin Daniel had come out to check on him, no doubt.

Joe sighed, and rolled his shoulder muscles to ease the tension. “I’m about ready to take off.”

Silence. A truck passed on the road in front of the café, and Joe inhaled diesel exhaust. Even in a small town, trucks held a presence. Behind it, a white car turned into the drive and headed for them.

“Latecomer?” Joe asked, pushing his hat off his forehead.

“Guess so.” Daniel moved out onto the porch. “Looks like Liza’s Camry.”

The car stopped and a blonde woman got out, carrying a purse and what looked like a basket.

“Hey, it is Liza,” Daniel said, waving the woman over. He turned to Joe. “This is someone you should really meet. Single, an attorney. Good looking—and a Christian.”

The blonde reached the porch and stepped up, her heeled boots clicking on the wooden planks. Joe watched, appreciating her slim figure and long hair. There was something familiar about her. As she neared he inhaled a whiff of some sweet perfume, again, something he’d smelled before.

Daniel kissed her cheek and relieved her of the basket. “Glad you came!” He gestured toward Joe. “This is my cousin Joe.”

Their gazes locked. His heart thudded. Joe saw the silver flecks in her blue eyes glint when she recognized him. Probably ice crystals.

Her smiled faded. Shoulders rigid, she took a step back. “You’re Daniel’s cousin?”

After a few beats Joe nodded. “Elizabeth,” he said, wondering why he’d never heard her called by a nickname before. From the corner of his eye he saw Daniel staring at him, his arms folded across his chest.

“Mr. Gardner.”

Joe could hear the frost forming in the yard as they stood there.

“Well,” Daniel said, “why don’t you both come in for dessert?”

A few more seconds clicked by in the evening air.

“I was just leaving.” Joe kept his gazed locked on her.

“Sure, I’d love to,” Elizabeth said, stepping forward and flashing an almost defiant glance at Joe.

She hadn’t forgotten what went down, and that was OK because he hadn’t either. He felt a tug in his gut and almost wished he’d talked to her back then, cleared the air. OK, he’d change his mind and stay a while. Just to make Daniel happy. Yeah, that was it.

“Then again what’s the rush?” Joe forced a grin he didn’t feel.

Daniel held the door, and they both moved into the light spilling from the Café. Watching Elizabeth’s hair shine under the lobby chandelier, he wondered what she was thinking about him. When she disappeared into the crowd, he noticed Daniel studying him. Great, now he had to worry about Daniel too, which was interrupting his ability to think of something appropriate to say to Elizabeth. Of course, she might just avoid him for the rest of the evening, but that was OK. He deserved it.


What a great story! The tension between Joe and Liza is so thick that it's a wonder they even get beyond "Hello". But still, the pain can't extinguish the attraction between them, or the respect that develops as they get to know each other.

I love the way Joe hides behind his anger until it's so thin he can't use it as a shield anymore. And boy oh boy does Ms. Bayne know how to throw a wrench in the works! Just when it looks like they're over the past and ready to move forward...nope, I won't give it away. But you really ought to check it out!

Great story!

For more about Robin Bayne, you can find her at: www.robinbayne.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 15 - White Christmas

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Welcome, Tanya, what a great story! And yup, you guessed it. It's part of the Holiday Extravaganza at Pelican Books, or it can be bought separately. What a great collection of stories http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/extravaganza-bundle

But let's look at White Christmas, shall we?


After his very public break-up from his fiancé, Chad Fletcher is convinced that a healthy marriage and his rising political career won’t mix, and Christmas at his Aunt Nell’s home in White, Arizona is a great way to start fresh. Political watch dog, Tessa Conway, plans to spend her vacation enjoying her grandparents’ ranch before they must sell it, so she is not pleased with Grandma Sophie and Aunt Nell’s efforts to throw her and Chad together. Chad begins to believe Tessa may be the perfect antidote to his unhealthy relationships of the past, but when he decides to take support from a company with questionable ethics, his perfect bubble is burst. Fearing Chad is not the Godly man she believed him to be, Tessa ends their budding romance. Will Chad find the strength and courage to do what’s right even if it costs him his career?


Now he remembered her. She always wore her hair tied back in a bun and secured with combs. She’d been so business-like, so informed and capable. Her curls and her embarrassment over the nickname made her human and real.

“Your secret is safe with me,” he said, laughter still in his tone. “I won’t remind you or rub it in. Especially after all the nice things you said about my work. I want to keep you on my side. In fact, I’m thinking of asking you to be my campaign manager.”

Suddenly, the laughter left her eyes and she gazed up in all seriousness. “Will there be a campaign? Is that why you refused another term in the assembly so you can run for Senator Rizzi’s seat when he retires next year?”

Chad caught his breath, wondering how he’d let that happen. He never spoke out of turn or let information slip. But they’d been talking like old friends and it just happened. What was it about this young woman that made him so comfortable? Before he could gather his thoughts and come up with a reason, she held up her hand.

“Don’t answer that,” she said, closing her eyes. “I’m sorry I even asked it. That’s none of my business and I don’t know why I said it. I--I just feel like I know you.”

Chad smiled, thinking how her words echoed his feelings. “We do. We’ve even worked together.”

Tessa opened her eyes and stared at him. A slow, sweet smile spread over her lips and made her blue eyes sparkle. He thought it just might be the prettiest smile he’d ever seen.

That’s when the alarm bells started going off.

Suddenly, he noticed that it had gotten dark and Aunt Nell still hadn’t shown up. He looked around. “Well, it was nice talking to you.”

He stopped short of saying Tessa. The name had taken on new meaning for him…untamed strawberry curls and a sweet smile. Now, it sounded far too personal.

“My aunt’s waiting for me, so I’d better get back,” he said rather shortly.

She nodded. “My grandmother’s waiting, too.”

Her tone sounded disappointed and those blue eyes that had sparkled all night lost some of their shimmer. She gestured across the street. He turned and saw Aunt Nell sitting on a park bench. Beside her was another little white-haired lady. They both smiled and waved.

“Wait a minute,” he said beneath his breath. “You’re not-”

He turned back around.

Tessa smiled and held out her hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Sophie’s granddaughter.”


I just love it! This is such a fun story!

I love the match-making grandmas and their sweet, conniving minds. "'That’s all we ever wanted,
for you two to see what good friends you could be.'" Hmmm, yeah, I believe her, don't you?

And the mutual admiration that Chad and Tess have for each other is a great sign of a match made in heaven, not just by granny's. But neither of them is watching the signs. They're both too busy denying the attraction and dodging the granny plans.

Another thing I loved about this story is the way Ms. Stowe paints her scenes. I felt like I was watching through a window! She certainly knows how to bring a scene to life. This is just a beautiful story all around!

For more about Tanya Stowe you can find her at: TanyaStowe.com,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 14 - Hidden Paths

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Today, JoAnn is back with another lovely story! Hidden Secrets, her second Young Adult story definitely seems like one that could touch many hearts. I asked what led her to write this story and...well, I'll let her tell you.

I have to chuckle a bit at the irony of the situation. You see, that's the perfect title for my own personal journey that the Lord has been guiding me through.

Although I have other books in circulation, this was the very first story I ever drafted fifteen years ago. I started writing on a whim. Don't ask me why. In fact, have you ever watched Night at the Museum? The first time we saw that movie I cracked up. I am so like that museum director. Some days it seems as if I can't put a complete thought -- let alone sentence -- together to save my life. Couple that with dyslexia and grammar and spelling that would make any English major cringe and... yup, that's me. Yet, here I find myself, walking down the path that once seemed so elusive and hidden to me.

Quite a few years after I wrote this book, I went to a writer's retreat. I prayed and prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do and give me direction. I knew writing was something I enjoyed but was this what God wanted me to do? I struggled with that, and to be honest, still do on occasion.

I walked away from that weekend with as many questions as I arrived with. I was so discouraged. Didn't God hear me? I wanted to follow His will for my life, yet felt like He was far away and unwilling to give me the direction I so desperately craved.

He had heard my prayers, yet I was too close to the situation to see that He had been, was, and still is guiding me. I stand amazed as I think about this now... God has led me to friends who had a passion for the craft of writing and the gift of encouragement. I've been blessed with a family who supports my writing endeavors, and I've learned a ton of stuff along the way... I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist.

What I've come to realize is I don't need to have everything figured out. I serve an awesome God who knows what's best for me. Sometimes I may not particularly care for what needs to be done. The road may seem long and hard and the mountains too big to scale. Yet, God loves me too much to let me settle for the easy road where I would forget where true strength is found.

Perhaps like me, you have been struggling with direction in your own life. I would like to challenge you to place your hand (and your life) in God's hands and allow Him to plot your course. You might find yourself in for a crazy ride -- on a path, like Julie, that you would have never imagined.

Blessings ~

Amazing! Thank you JoAnn. Let's share your story...
It's hard for us to let go and let God. But when it's our plan vs. His, it's time to let go!



Julie Hemmingway, a recent college graduate, is preparing to leave for the mission field. When she meets Adam Jacobs, her well-organized plans begin to go awry. Will she fight to hold onto her own agenda, or open her heart to a new – yet, Hidden Path?

Staying in Vermont on the family farm wasn’t what JULIE HEMMINGWAY had envisioned for her life. After all, she had just spent two years at the community college in preparation to join a mission agency to use her nursing skills overseas. However, those plans quickly change when her father suffers a massive heart attack and dies. Out of necessity, she stays at home to help her mom manage the farm.

To help make ends meet, Julie accepts a new job at a construction company where many unexpected things happen, including working with the handsome, ADAM JACOBS. Will Julie learn that she can trust in God and the path He has planned for her life – even when it looks totally different than what she expected?


Julie Hemmingway's thoughts centered on one thing – and one thing only -- the letter which arrived yesterday. Her dreams were coming true at last. She hummed a little Christmas tune and pushed her cart to the return rack. Scooping up her bags, Julie turned to walk out of the grocery store. But the next thing she knew, her face was planted against a wool sweater and a coat's zipper. The paper bag filled with groceries crushed against her midsection with a sickening crunch. Thankfully, with a firm grip, she somehow managed to hold onto the second bag. She stood stunned for a moment. Please tell me I didn't just run into the person behind me.
"Are you okay?" His warm bass voice vibrated through his chest and beat against her cheek.
So much for that wish.
Julie wrapped her arm tighter around the bag resting between them to prevent it from plummeting to the floor and pushed herself back.
The guy gently gripped her forearms to steady her. "I'm sorry. I should have been paying closer attention to where I was going." He pointed with his thumb toward the colored lights twinkling merrily in the window. "I was looking at those decorations. They are amazing."
Julie let her gaze travel up until she met blue eyes. The second bag, which had managed to escape the fiasco, slipped out of her grasp. She looked down in horror at the mess on the floor. "Oh man, looks like I just did some decorating of my own -- but not the pretty nor festive kind." She groaned, "I think that bag had my eggs."
"If that's the case, they're now scrambled." He took the bag, with lettuce spewing over the side, away from her and stepped back to assess the damage. "Or at least, sunny-side up."
Julie grinned at his quick wit as she kicked loose coffee beans off the top of her shoe.
With a crooked smile, he introduced himself. "I'm Adam." Before Julie could tell him her name, he plucked a piece of lettuce draped over her sleeve like a scarf. "I must say, these lovely, um -- accessories -- don't do your beautiful coat justice."


What a great story - and so true of how we serve God! How often do we serve Him by doing something we think He wants without seeking Him in prayer first? Usually it's only to find out it's OUR choice, not what He wants.

Julie finds that through prayer and listening for God's will that she can find the peace and comfort in knowing what God's will really is for her. But she still has doubts that her prayers are heard, that she's really following His will.

And Adam has a lot to more to learn than he lets on. As they help each other in different ways it's amazing how God teaches them both the lessons they need to draw closer to Him - as well as God's plan for the two of them.

It's amazing to see how God works in the lives of these two - just like He works in the background of our lives.

JoAnn Carter lives in Vermont with her wonderful husband of 18 years, four children and Ginger, the best dog in the world. She enjoys being with her family & friends, writing, reading, and cooking. You can check her out at:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 13 - Christmas with Miss Austen

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Well, Ms. Briggs, I'm sure I've caught you by surprise since even I wasn't sure what story I was going to spotlight today. I must admit, this little romance intrigued me from the start with it's old world flair and mysterious pinings, so I thought I would take a moment to share it with some friends. So without further ado, here's a glimpse of Christmas with Miss Austen.


Julia Allen is a waitress by day, painter by night, and…a famous 1800s authoress on weekends?

Moonlighting as Jane Austen for a historical open house is a strange hobby for a contemporary artist, but Julia loves the role–until she falls asleep and gets locked inside after all the visitors are gone! Rushing home from the dark, historical mansion, she collides with a stranger in the snowy park, and discovers later her shortcut cost her the rare copy of Austen’s Northanger Abbey borrowed from a friend’s treasured collection.

Book historian Eliot Weston thinks he imagined the Regency-era figure, but the book he finds in her wake proves otherwise. The first edition of Jane Austen’s novel is authentic and incredibly rare, but he fails to find any trace of its owner. Reminders of the unusual encounter keep popping up, however, like the pretty modern artist eager to buy an identical volume. Coincidence? Or Divine intervention making it clear this is anything but an ordinary Christmas for these two hearts?

Doesn't that just sound wonderfully different? I love the hint of "Old World" flair!


The cool wind ruffled Julia’s curled hair beneath her bonnet, as she pulled the door shut firmly, listening to make sure the newly-turned lock caught. She crossed her fingers that it would be safe enough until tomorrow’s volunteers arrived. She gathered her skirts, hurried down the steps, and towards home.

The other downtown buildings and shops were illuminated by old-fashioned street lamps, the posts already festooned in holly boughs and red ribbons for the Christmas season. Paper snowflakes and stars dangled from business awnings, while an impressive, hand-carved wooden nativity served as the town square’s centerpiece.

Her rented house was only five minutes away, but she would reach it faster if she cut across Delaford Park. Wrapping her costume closely around her, she stepped over the low fence line and waded through the thin layer of snow towards the main path. The city park seemed a little less welcoming in the after-dark hours. Dear Lord, please don’t let any muggers be lying in wait, she prayed, her pulse quickening with the pace of the winter breeze.

Slipping beneath the sprawling branches of an old sycamore, Julia hopped over the snowdrift onto the main path. She gasped as a tall, masculine figure appeared head-on in the gloom, his features obscured by the shadows as his body collided with hers.

"Excuse me." An apologetic male voice said as a hand reached out to steady her. But she was already past him, casting a fleeting glance over her shoulder as she hurried along.

Her heart slammed against her chest as she breathed. Just keep walking. Her ears caught the sound of his voice again, but the words were lost on the wind. Should she have stopped? Going on was rude, perhaps, but her nerves shrank from facing a stranger in such a lonely spot. Not to mention explaining why she was roaming the streets of twenty-first century Delaford dressed like a character from Pride and Prejudice.


This is one of those stories that’s a crossover from bygone days to contemporary (without time travel). I can well imagine lovers of historical titles would enjoy this as much as contemporary fans (of which I am one).

Julia Allen is a women of many talents and interests. Waitress by day, artist by night, and historical actress on weekends, what a combination! But somehow, this strange mix suits her as we get to know Julia with all her quirky leanings and insecurities. What an interesting character to delve into! Thank goodness most of the story is through her eyes! I probably never would have figured out what was going on otherwise!

And poor Doctor Weston, trying his best to do what’s right, and being misunderstood because of it. They'll make the perfect mismatched pair if they can ever get on the same page!

Loved the story!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

8 more days...

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. Jer 23:5

With Christmas Day approaching fast, I can't help but consider the promises God has made to us. Above, the promise of the King to come (who already has). And later in the book of Acts 1:10-11 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Are you ready for the day He returns. Is your heart right with God? What better season than this to be certain that your name is on that eternal roll for heaven and that your heart is clean in His eyes.

Wishing you many blessings as the day approaches when we celebrate our Savior's birth. May this season be filled with peace, joy, and love as our families come together. And let us remember that we are celebrating the birth of our Lord.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 12 - Goodbye Noel

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Today I'd like to welcome, Nike Chillemi, known as a Crime Fictionista. Let's see why.


Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother's flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she's willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant's best interests at heart, even the man she's growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover as well as at a fancy ball.

Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he's drawn to. Is there's something he's overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?


"This is outrageous." Her eyes narrowed and she crossed her arms over her chest. She hated the tone of her voice, but this baby wasn't a ping-pong ball to be batted back and forth as the detective moved forward with his murder case.

He ignored her and continued addressing her mother.

"I'm sorry, ma'am." He removed his fedora. "Chief Ferguson has already made the necessary phone calls and arrangements have been made. I must take Leslie Janos Bauer with me to the home of his aunt in Bay Shore. The chief would prefer your daughter come along in an official capacity as a nurse. It's up to her, but I have to take the baby."

Momma's face flushed beet-red, a sure sign she'd become enraged. "This is not good for him… this hustle from place to place."

"With all due respect, ma'am, a child belongs with his family, if at all possible." The detective took a step toward Katrina. "Now, will you please fetch the baby." It wasn't a request.

Katrina made sure she stood tall. "Yes, I'll get Leslie." She clenched her fists at her side and jutted her chin. "This is disgraceful. You are using this infant to solve your murder case. Perhaps your own tragic life experience clouds your judgment?"

His mouth fell open and he took a step back.

"If you have it within your heart, give me one minute. I'll get him ready and get my coat and boots on." Without giving him a chance to reply, Katrina turned and stormed up the stairs.

Leslie lay sleeping in the baby-doll cradle Poppa had made for her when she was a little girl. Poppa had that kind of talent. He could make anything. In her heart she knew, he'd figured it would be her baby's bassinet. At least now, it had a real purpose. She ran a finger over the hand carved leaves in the headboard.

"Milachku, time to wake up." She took the infant into her arms inhaling the smell of baby, sweeter than the most expensive imported perfume.

Leslie yawned and she snuggled her nose in the soft folds of skin between his head and shoulder, kissing his neck. He cooed, so safe in her arms.

She brought him to her heart, holding him, rocking him and spoke softly to her reflection in the mirror above her bureau. "Fat chance I'll ever walk down the aisle or have a family of my own with the man shortage since the war." Something deep in the core of her female-self rebelled, a throbbing turbulence, from which deep hunger erupted.

She stroked Leslie's cheek and made a funny face. The softness of his skin melted her heart.

He smiled at her and kicked.

"I'm so sorry. I promised I'd protect you and I can't." She forced a smile and made clucking noises.

He grabbed her hair and yanked.

"Ouch." She laughed, removing strands of her hair from his little fist.

A tear escaped and ran down the side of her cheek. "I can do this." She lifted her chin, sucked in a long breath, wrapped Leslie in a heavy quilt, and picked up his tote bag.


All I can say is WOW. I can see how Ms. Chillemi got her nickname of the Crime Fictionista. She sure does know how to build a story - and a crime plot. The whole time the detective is interviewing people, I felt like I was right there with him, listening for nuances in answers, watching the unconscious body language of nerves or fear. But through it all, she doesn't give a thing away. Yeah, you hear his thoughts, but they're just that - pieces that he's trying to put together in some way that makes sense.

And the way she describes Katrina's family and home life gives the story such a warm rich texture. Again she made me feel like I was right there in the kitchen eating dinner with them, or sitting by the fire.

Oh, and the love you feel from these strangers for this baby is amazing. Truly, this is the way every child should be loved!

And then the romance begins.

Well, I'm beginning to think I can't say enough good things about this story. It's heartwarming, gut wrenching, edge of your seat intriguing, and just plain sweet all rolled into one. Check it out for yourself, it's a wonderful read!

For more about Nike, visit her at: http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 11 - A Texas Christmas Mystery

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Welcome, Anne! When I spotted your little mystery among the Christmas jewels in the Pelican Book Group Holiday Extravaganza Bundle http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/extravaganza-bundle , I of course had to invite you over! So, thanks for coming. I'd love to do an interview, but for this month it's all about the books - and everyone loves a good Christmas story - and this certainly is one!


A lady Coastguardsman searches for a killer. An oil rig troubleshooter accused of murder races to clear his name. The murderer strives to silence them both. As Amber Meredith seeks to arrest Derrick Darbonne, sparks fly. She needs to solve her first case. But the handsome Cajun suspect makes her heart race and her toes tingle. Derrick has worked all his life for his high-paying, adventurous job. When his past threatens his future, will he endanger the woman he loves?


“Someone wants us to find the murderer as much as we want to find him.” Amber blew out a breath.

“This is the ninth time this week our Marine Environmental Response unit has been called out to check on reported violations and unreported accidents.”

“Yep.” Stan nodded. “Some anonymous caller wants us to find something on this rig.”

“So, I’ll look for any environmental issues and you check out anything that seems suspicious in regard to the young man’s murder.” Amber put a finger to her lips. “But be cautious, the murderer might still be aboard.”

“Yes, ma’am. And you stay alert.”

“Right.” Amber straightened her cover over her short hair, and stiffened her shoulders. She wouldn’t flub her first mission, even if she were only assisting the Commander. She had to help find the murderer. Her commander wanted her to use these environmental issues to give Stan an opportunity to nose around the rig. She had to prolong her investigation long enough to give him time to search the rig’s bunkroom and interview three of the men.

The elevator doors slid open. A tall, muscular man faced her, back to the sun, face in silhouette.

Amber stepped out, grabbed a breath of fresh salt air, turned her chin up to the sunshine and the cries of seagulls, and then looked directly into the gaze of—her tenant.

“Derrick?” She hadn’t expected to meet him so soon.


Although you know from the start that Derrick is innocent, Amber doesn’t– and she’s the one he has to convince. It’s obvious from the insider perspective we have that Derrick is being set up, but by who, and why is a mystery to us all, and the author keeps that pretty well hidden

Derrick and Amber are priceless as they dance around each other, neither willing to make the first move. His shyness is so endearing! You just want to step in and nudge him along. And her misinterpretation of him is classic. Amber’s single minded focus on her future is praiseworthy, but pretty confining. Seems like she doesn’t know herself as well as she thinks! What a great cast of characters Ms. Greene has created.

The pacing of the story is wonderful as she cranks the tension higher and higher. Kept me turning the pages!

For more about Anne Greene you can finder her at: http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 10 - Christmas in Coyote County

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Oops, I forgot to let the author know I was spotlighting this cute, little story. So I'm sending a big howdy out to Mary Briggs as we take a peek at Christmas in Coyote County. I hope she can stop by...


In Coyote County, Christmas means festive lights, the town parade, hot coffee and cinnamon rolls...not creatures from another planet.

While a glowing green Peeping Tom with two antennae is a little hard to buy, Libby Hawkins doesn’t believe her former school teacher suffers from either dementia or a runaway imagination. There’s a logical explanation, and she intends to discover it before the older woman is placed in a nursing home.

After a twelve year absence, Sheriff Jackson Carter returns to Coyote County to clear his father’s name. He never expected to be waylaid in his quest by alien sightings, and it doesn’t help that stubborn Libby Hawkins--his former girlfriend--is determined to meddle in the investigation.

He hurt Libby when he left town after his father’s death, but it was for her protection. Now Libby’s stumbled on something dangerous. Can he keep her from harm this time? He doesn’t know, but one thing is certain: Christmas in Coyote County has never been so interesting.


The bright yellow headlights revealed Maddie standing on the front porch of the ranch house, her skinny white legs bare under the old blue robe she had wrapped around her tiny figure. She cradled a shotgun in her arms.

Libby took a deep breath and touched her forehead to the steering wheel. Thank you, Lord. Just seeing her standing there was a wonderful sight. She switched off the truck and grabbed the rifle. Just in case.
She stopped at the bottom of the steps. “What happened? Are you all right?”

Maddie ignored her questions. “Hurry up and get on the porch! It might still be around.”

Libby’s hair prickled on the back of her neck as she stepped up. “What might still be around?”

Maddie shook her head. “I’m not sure what it is. All I know is I scared it real good.”

“Did someone try to break into your house?” A police siren keened in the distance. At least the law would be here in a minute.

“I don’t know if it intended on coming in or not. It was looking in my kitchen window right there when I saw it.”

The siren drew closer. Libby glanced at the window, then down at the floor of the porch. They were standing in pieces of the window pane. “Maddie, you’re barefooted! You’re going to cut yourself to pieces. You stand right there while I get something to sweep up this mess.”

She returned with a broom and an old pair of house shoes that had been inside the door. “Put these on,” she shouted over the sirens. A truck turned into the driveway. From its dashboard, red and blue flashed like strobe lights in disco fashion across the white siding of the house. The sirens stopped and an officer exited the truck. He aimed a flashlight at the porch.

“Is everything OK, Miss Thompson?”

Jackson? Please, please don’t let it be Jackson. “Fine. She’s fine,” Libby answered. If she’d known he was going to show up, she’d have taken time to dress. Or maybe stayed at home. What was the sheriff doing on duty at two a.m.?

There was a long pause. “Libby? Is that you?”

She took a deep breath. “Yes. I came up to check on Maddie. Are you just going to stand out there in the shadows?”


Can you imagine the heart pumping fear of being awakened by a shotgun blast? And would you have the nerve to jump in a vehicle and rush toward that sound to help someone?

Well, that’s just what Libby does. She jumps out of bed and rushes to find out what’s happening, uncaring of her own safety, her concern is all for her elderly neighbor who lives alone. And Ms. Briggs makes it seem like it’s the most natural thing for someone to do - makes us believe that we would do the same thing under those circumstances.

The fact that it brings Libby into contact with a past she would much rather forget is beyond her control.

This story is full of little twists and turns. What wonderful characters Ms. Briggs introduces us to, and the story line is great, too.

A very sweet story – I loved it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 9 - Nickels

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Today we have Nickels by Karen Baney, yup, another great story!

Back Cover:

Niki Turner has finally arrived. Her career as a Software Engineer is soaring—she has just been offered the company’s most sought after account, Helitronics. Life would be perfect, if she could stop her roommate from playing matchmaker.

Then Kyle Jacobs mysteriously re-enters her life. As painful memories resurface, his presence turns her life upside down and threatens to waylay her career. She must find a way to work with him—after all, he’s the helicopter flight consultant for the new flight control system she’s coding.

Can she forget the past and see him as the new man he has become? Or will her resentment keep her from finding what she has always been searching for?


Coffee, granola bar, purse, phone, laptop. All items accounted for. She set everything in its place in her car then punched the button to lift the garage door.

Her first stop of the morning was Elite‘s office. Brian asked her to meet him there to go over a few things before the meeting with Helitronics at ten. As was his custom, he would personally attend the first meeting before handing over the project to his people.

She pulled into her usual parking space, turned off the car, and loaded her items up to the second floor office. Brian was there waiting. She dropped her items in a nearby cube, before joining him in his office.
"Here‘s the rundown of the project," he said. "We‘re programming the aviation systems for the latest model helicopter for the Air Force Combat Search and Rescue units. You know CSAR?"

Niki held back a sigh. Of course she knew. After four years on a military base and going to school with lifetime military brats, she felt quite comfortable with military lingo.

"Helitronics has hired a former pilot as the flight consultant on the project. That‘s the good news. The bad news is that we are inheriting some pretty terrible code."

Niki nodded as she took notes on her laptop.

"Seems the previous firm, while supplying engineers with the proper clearance, failed to choose qualified ones. They were scheduled to have the code loaded into the simulators by the end of this month. From what Russell tells me, they are not even close. So, Helitronics fired the other firm and set new deadlines, though they are still pretty tight.

"The project manager is from Helitronics. You and the team will be reporting to him. You‘ve got Doug and Jake again. And Scott. I think you worked with him for that medical client."

She nodded again.

Brian looked down at his watch. "This morning‘s the meet-and-greet. Then we jump in with both feet this afternoon. Any questions?"

After she asked several questions about the condition of the code, programming language, and projected deadlines, Brian suggested they head over to Helitronics. She grabbed her things and followed him to his car.

The drive from Elite‘s office only took ten minutes. Unfortunately, going through security took nearly fifteen minutes. They examined her phone, her laptop, her lip gloss—everything. She forgot what a daily ordeal working for DoD clients presented. But it was worth it.

Finally, with two minutes to spare, Brian and Niki were led back to the conference room. Russell handled the introductions since he knew everyone from both Elite and Helitronics.

"Todd Graham," Russell said, "allow me to introduce Niki Turner. She‘s our technical lead. I believe you know Brian Forbes."

Turning to Niki, Russell added, "Todd is the Project Manager."

She extended her hand towards the tall thin man who looked as if a slight breeze might knock him over. Todd shook her hand, but not before scrutinizing her with his dark brown eyes. Something about the look put her on edge.

"So, Niki, is it?" he said with a touch of suspicion. "How old are you?"

If this was her first client, she might have retreated into a corner—at least mentally. But it wasn‘t. By now she was used to being asked her age, no matter how inappropriate. It still irked her. No one ever asked Russell‘s age, and he was only two years older than her.

"Todd, a pleasure to meet you. I‘m sure you will find my skills are ready for any challenge you throw my way."

Brian‘s quick nod told her she performed perfectly.

Russell cleared his throat, drawing everyone‘s attention. "And this is Alan Mitchel. He‘s the business analyst who has worked on the specs for this project from the beginning. I think you‘ll find his experience on the project helpful."

Niki shook Alan‘s hand, noting his light touch. He seemed a bit nervous, or maybe it was his wire framed glasses that gave her that impression. He was the same height as her. She placed his age somewhere in his mid-thirties.

"Alan," she said repeating his name softly. That little trick helped her more times than she cared to admit. She could be good at remembering names when she wanted to.

When they all took their seats, she thought there was one introduction missing—the helicopter pilot. She looked around the room again. Nope. Todd and Alan were the only people from Helitronics. Perhaps, they would meet him later.

As the meeting neared the twenty minute mark, the door opened behind Niki.

"Sorry, I‘m late," a male voice said. "I guess security still hasn‘t figured out how to deal with my shrapnel. I keep hoping one of these days they‘ll figure it out."

Niki, back still towards the door, tensed at the sound of his light laughter. She knew that laugh—heard it far too many times for her own taste. And it brought back some pretty bad memories.

Turning slowly like the end of a merry-go-round ride, her stomach knotted into a rock hard ball. Kyle Jacobs was the pilot.


What a great personification of a lost soul searching for God, but after all she’s lost, Niki’s floundering is totally understandable. That’s what makes this such a wonderful story – she’s so real – but so broken. Ms. Baney does a great job of bringing her characters to life – making them multi dimensional.

Niki certainly has earned her way in a market dominated by men. She knows her own strengths – and weaknesses - and knows the meaning of teamwork, too. What she doesn’t know is how to have a healthy relationship, how to let go of her fear of losing the ones she loves so that she can live a fulfilling life. Her past losses will dominate every moment of her existence unless she opens her heart and learns to live again.

Kyle wants to help her get beyond the past, wants to show her how much he has changed. What a journey this author leads us through as we watch Niki learn some hard lessons about life and love.

Marvelous story! Well done!

You can find more on Karen Baney at: http://www.karenbaney.com/

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 8 - The Visionary

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Today I'm here to welcome a good friend of mine, Pam Thibodeaux, with her latest book release, The Visionary.

Welcome, Pam. Thank you for having me here today and for hosting me during my month-long blog tour for The Visionary.

You must be very excited with this latest release. I personally think this is your best yet (and I think I've read them all). I know you've been working on this one for awhile. Was it difficulty with the story, or with finding the right publisher? To be honest, Donna the difficulty lay in finding the right publisher. This book was written in 2003 and contracted in 2008 by an ‘up and coming’ publisher but never materialized. In 2009, I signed with an agent and again, we went nowhere. Then in July 2010 Five Star Expressions sent me a contract. Used to the process with small publishers, I must say this 16 month wait has been nearly unbearable LOL! Alas….good things come to those who wait. I trust the Lord has had this project in HIS more-than-capable hands and impeccable timing.

What lead you down the path to this idea? Oh Lord, what a question! When I first wrote The Visionary in a 5-subject notebook (where most of my stuff began way back when) I had in mind a sweet romance featuring m/f twins and their love interests. When I first typed the novel, I thought, “this is my light romance!” which was a great relief after some of my other work which dealt with subjects like domestic violence, grief and betrayal. However, one day I sent off the first 3 chapters to a friend and her response was, “these twins are awful close, you need to be careful.” Of course that made me wonder Why? What happened to them or between them to make them so close (I couldn’t seem to tone down their intense feelings for one another). Then one day I walked out of my office one day into the living room where my husband sat watching a popular talk show. In a heart-wrenching scene the young man on the show apologized to his sisters because he couldn’t stop the abuse they suffered at the hands of their father. I swear, every drop of blood drained from my body and I began to argue with God…. No! Not that! Anything but that! I can’t write this! I have no experience in this! I’m not qualified as a minister or therapist! God….PLEASE….no. Three days of wavering, three days of arguing, three days of not being able to sit down and write a single word and God finally confronted me with…. “Who are you writing for anyway?” I capitulated and wrote the entire story in 4 months during the busiest time of year for a bookkeeper/tax preparer.

Are you working on anything else right now that we can look forward to? Yes! My short story, Lori’s Redemption is under consideration with White Rose Publishing. My WF novel, Circles of Fate is being edited for submission and I have numerous other projects in the works.

It's been so nice chatting with you. Care to share a little bit about your story? I'd love to! Here's the blurb and an excerpt - enjoy!


A Visionary is someone who sees into the future; Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disgustingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives? Find out in…The Visionary ~ Where the awesome power of God’s love heals the most wounded of souls.


Taylor thrashed about and fought the fear clamoring in her throat. Panic stole her breath. The monster held her while Trevor grappled with a gun. She struggled and kicked, but the monster held her fast. She had to get away. She had to stop him! She begged and pleaded, but the monster just laughed. His gnarled, horrid sound sent shivers of terror through her soul. A blast of gunshot, a flash of lightning, and the scream tore free from her throat and echoed through the room. The door burst open and strong arms encircled her. Gentle hands stroked and soothed, a soft voice caressed, tender words flowed over her. Taylor buried her face in Alex’s shoulder while he cradled her against his chest and rocked.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you,” she murmured. A pulse hammered against her skin, a tremble shimmered down her spine. She pushed herself closer, found safety and comfort in his embrace. Alex tightened his arms around her, smoothed her hair.

“It’s okay. That’s why I’m here and exactly why I didn’t want to leave you alone tonight.”

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a Lifetime Member of Bayou Writers Group. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!”™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Pamela S Thibodeaux
"Inspirational with an Edge!" (tm)

DonnaB.Snow's Review

This was one story I didn't want to put down. I fell in love with Trevor and Taylor right from the start. The love between this brother and sister drips from the pages as they look out for each other, sharing their heartaches - then learning to let go.

But still, Trevor's overprotectiveness is no match for Alex's fast-growing feelings for Taylor. I couldn't help but root for Alex. I could feel the attraction between them, that instant attraction when two souls connect. The patience he shows as he gets to know her and understand all she's been through can only come from God.

I loved the detail of Taylor's interior designs also. The warmth of the description, colors and textures, made me feel like I was there. So beautiful!

And then the additional romance between Trevor and Pam is just icing on the cake.

The Visionary is a Christian romance unlike any other I've read. I think Ms. Thibodeaux is a visionary herself.