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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Smoky Mountain Christmas Blog Tour

Christmas in July Blog Tour

If you've arrived here from a link in a blog post, you already know there's a promotion happening this month for a 4-in-1 Christmas collection written by Jeanie Smith Cash, Delia Latham, Rose Allen McCauley, and yours truly, Tiffany Amber Stockton.

Are you ready for the exciting part?

There will be multiple giveaways of the collection all month long, and then at the end of the month, we'll do a GRAND PRIZE DRAWING from ALL comments left on all the blogs along the tour. The more comments you leave, the more chance you have of winning. The grand prize will consist of one copy of the collection, plus one title from each of the four authors involved, and an assortment of other items related to our books.

So, without further ado, here are the stops along the tour this month:

July 2 - All Betts Are Off (Delia Latham)

July 3 - Pam's Wild Rose Blog (joint post with Delia Latham & Tiffany Amber Stockton)

July 4 - Surrender Issues and Chocolate (Rose Allen McCauley)

July 9 - All Betts Are Off (Tiffany Amber Stockton)

July 10 - Whispers in Purple (Delia Latham)

July 11 - Whispers in Purple (Tiffany Amber Stockton)

July 11 - Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (Delia Latham)

July 12 - The World Can Wait (Delia Latham)

July 12 - Small Towns with Huge Hearts (Rose Allen McCauley)

July 15 - All Betts Are Off (Rose Allen McCauley)

July 18 - The World Can Wait (Tiffany Amber Stockton)

July 22 - All Betts Are Off (Jeanie Smith Cash)

July 31 - Pam's Wild Rose Blog (joint post with Jeanie Smith Cash & Rose Allen McCauley)

Looking forward to seeing you on the "trail."


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an award-winning and best-selling author and speaker who is also an advocate for literacy as an educational consultant with Usborne Books. On the side, she dabbles in the health & wellness and personal development industries, helping others become their best from the inside out.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and three dogs in Colorado. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on FacebookTwitterGoodReads, and LinkedIn

Monday, September 02, 2013

September 2013 New Releases in Christian Fiction

Well, here I am, back from a crazy summer where I barely had time to remember to eat, let alone post to this blog. To kick off September, I'll start with the latest releases in Christian fiction. We'll see where life takes us from here.

September 2013 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Plantation Christmas Weddings
by Lorraine Beatty, Sylvia Barnes, Cynthia Leavelle, and Virginia Vaughan — Will a reserved widow, a successful novelist, a divorced couple, and a jilted wedding planner find their hearts rekindled with love just in time for Christmas? (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Little Bit of Charm
by Mary Ellis — Rachel King wants nothing more than to work with horses, but when her handsome boss sweeps her off her feet, she starts to doubt everything in life, including her faith. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House)

Awakened Love
by Laura V. Hilton — When her Englisch sister’s health worsens, Katie must find a way to balance her heart, her job, and her faith while risking her own life for the sister she never knew. (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

Love Still Stands (The New Hope Amish)
by Kelly Irvin — A group of dedicated families leaves Bliss Creek to establish a new community in Missouri. Among them is Bethel Graber, a beautiful young woman with a passion for teaching. But after being disabled in a terrible accident, overseeing a classroom is out of the question…and romance seems a long-lost dream. Bethel begins physical therapy, determined to make a fresh start. But that won’t be easy in the town of New Hope, where the locals seem anything but eager to welcome their new Amish neighbors. Amid growing intimidation from the community, Bethel must find the strength to face her many challenges and the faith to believe that God still has a plan–and a love–for her life. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House)

Serenity to Accept
by Elizabeth Maddrey — Is there an exception to every rule? Karin Reid has never had much use for God. There’s been too much pain in her life. Until she meets Jason Garcia. After his own mistakes of the past, Jason is committed to dating only Christians. He decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she comes to church with him. As their friendship grows, both will have to decide if they’ll accept the path God has for them, even if it means losing each other. (Contemporary Romance from HopeSprings Books)

The Doctor’s Family Reunion
by Mindy Obenhaus — Family means everything to Dr. Trent Lockridge. Growing up without a father, he always yearned for a family of his own. One long-ago summer in Ouray, Colorado, he thought he might build a future with beautiful Blakely Daniels. But when he abruptly fled town, he broke her heart and left behind more than memories. Years later, Trent is shocked-and overjoyed-to learn he’s a father. He’d like to earn back Blakely’s love and trust- but it won’t be easy. And the clock is ticking. He’s got only a few weeks to prove that, this time, he’s here to stay…forever. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired)

Made to Last
by Melissa Tagg — Homebuilding TV show host Miranda Woodruff is out to save her career while juggling a fake husband, former fiance and nosy reporter…all under the roof of the one house she can’t bring herself to finish building. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Arkansas Weddings (Romancing America)
by Shannon Taylor Vannatter — Pastor Grayson Sterling still loves his wife two years after the accident that claimed her life. Then florist Adrea Welch begins to plant new love in his grieving heart. Laken Kroft left home years ago and never looked back. Who knew when she applied for the promotion to postmaster that she’d end up in Romance, Arkansas, and much too close to her past–and Hayden Winters? Shell doesn’t have a good reputation. But no matter what everyone in Rose Bud, Arkansas thinks of her, she’s back in town with a job to do. Ryler also has reasons for being in Rose Bud, and they don’t include Shell. But love can soften the hardest heart and overcome the darkest past. These hearts may not know it, but they’re about to change. (Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents)

For Every Season
by Cindy Woodsmall — Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah [Random House])

The Nurse’s Secret Suitor
by Cheryl Wyatt — Trauma nurse Kate Dalton can handle any challenge-except love. The combat veteran dreams of settling down, but heartbreak is one risk she won’t take. Then a chance encounter opens her heart to a masked stranger…who might not be a stranger after all! Caleb Landis, the army medic behind the disguise, has always admired Kate, even though she only saw him as her best friend’s brother. What will it take for Kate to discard her fears and discover the man she’s always hoped to unmask? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired)


Mistletoe Memories
by Jennifer AlLee, Carla Olson Gade, Lisa Karon Richardson and Gina Welborn — One of America’s earliest summer resorts began atop the majestically wooded Schooley’s Mountain where the mecca of chalybeate springs (or “magic water”) drew visitors from near and far. Eventually the magic water disappeared, but the memories remained. Folks who live there tell the stories they heard from their grandparents who heard them from their grandparents. The four stories in MISTLETOE MEMORIES cover the almost 200 years after the house was built and center around a house that became a refuge that became an orphanage that became a home. (Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Contemporary Women’s Fiction:

Tickled Pink: Class Reunion Series, Book 3
by Debby Mayne — Priscilla Slater shows up at her 20-year reunion as a national celebrity. Her hair salon dynasty has skyrocketed, and to top it off, she has her own line of hair products. Her classmates have finally come to terms with adulthood, but they’re handling it with the grace of a Southern woman wearing white after Labor Day. Asserting the maturity that her classmates have often lacked, Priscilla holds her head high. But she can’t ignore everything. When she catches her mother in the arms of her former high school principal, Priscilla can’t get out of town fast enough. Eager to get back to her more comfortable life, Priscilla runs head on into an ultimatum: Tim tells her they’re not getting any younger-as if she has to be reminded. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Abingdon Press)

The Prayer Box
by Lisa Wingate — A young woman, an old woman, the story of a lifetime. A young woman hired to clean out an old house on Hatteras Island discovers a life-changing story in eighty-one prayer boxes kept by the former owner. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Tyndale House)

Cozy Mystery:

A Plain Disappearance: An Appleseed Creek Mystery
by Amanda Flower — It’s Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date. Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy’s friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence. (Cozy Mystery from B&H Publishing)

General Contemporary:

The Inheritance
by Jo-Anne Berthelsen — Michael Trevelyan is determined to claim his inheritance at all costs. Bitterness consumes him and he refuses to forgive those who have betrayed him. Yet, when he meets Alexandra Hope, things begin to change. She challenges his views but also listens while he shares his pain. Can Michael move on from the past and learn to forgive? Can Alexandra hold onto her faith in God as she deals with their deepening relationship? (General Contemporary from Even Before Publishing [Wombat])

by April McGowan — She survived her past but how can she face it? Jasmine is a survivor. She’s lived through the abuse of her father, running away at age fourteen, living on the streets, and now she counsels at risk young women giving them a second chance at life. But when her mother dies, can she go home again and face the past she’s forced herself to forget for the last twenty years? Or will the past she’s now forgotten take over her present once again? (General Contemporary from Whitefire Publishing)

General Historical:

A Home For My Heart
by Anne Mateer — Sadie Sillsby works as the assistant to the matron at the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children and dreams of the day she’ll marry her beau, Blaine. But when the matron surprises everyone by announcing her own engagement, Sadie is suddenly next in line for the job. For a young woman who was once an orphan herself, a shot at such an esteemed position is a wish come true. But the matron of the Home cannot be married. Is Sadie willing to give up her dreams of a life with Blaine and a family of her own? When it’s revealed that the Home is spending a lot more money than it’s taking in, can Sadie turn things around before the place is forced to close forever? (General Historical from Bethany House [Baker])

All God’s Children
by Anna Schmidt — Quaker Beth Bridgewater came to Munich to live with her aunt and uncle and care for their daughter. But after eight years Beth longs for her home in Wisconsin. Josef Buch, son of a Gestapo agent, moves in with the family while he completes his medical studies. When Josef helps Beth rescue a young Jewish family, she realizes that he does not share his father’s politics. Soon they are both drawn into the work of the White Rose-a German resistance movement intent on overthrowing Hitler. As their feelings for each other deepen, Josef and Beth risk everything for peace-and for love. (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)

Historical Romance:

A Pioneer Christmas Collection
by Margaret Brownley, Kathleen Fuller, Marcia Gruver, Cynthia Hickey, Vickie McDonough, Shannon McNear, Lauraine Snelling, Michelle Ule and Anna Carrie Urquhart — Journey along with American settlers who learn that despite where the trail takes them or how primitive their lodgings may be Christmas is all about the heart. Determined to honor Christ’s birth, these pioneers find a way to make Christmas happen in places like a cave, a tipi, and a dugout. Modern readers will enjoy a peek into life before commercialism took over the sacred day, distracting us from the true blessings of faith, hope, and love. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Log Cabin Christmas
by Margaret Brownley, Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jane Kirkpatrick, Kelly Eileen Hake, Liz Johnson, Liz Tolsma, Michelle Ule, Debra Ullrick, Erica Vetsch — Experience Christmas through the eyes of adventuresome settlers who relied on log cabins built from trees on their own land to see them through the cruel forces of winter. Discover how rough-hewed shelters become a home in which faith, hope, and love can flourish. Marvel in the blessings of Christmas celebrations without the trappings of modern commercialism where the true meaning of the day shines through. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Courier of Caswell Hall
by Melanie Dobson — An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution. (Historical Romance from Summerside Press [Guideposts])

Golden State Brides
by Keli Gwyn and Erica Vetsch — Sunny California is the place for two historical romances. Elenora Watkins, willful widow and single mother, is determined to best merchant Miles Rutledge in business-and love. Harvey Girl Meghan Thorson discovers the truth about horseman Caleb McBride-whom the townsfolk have branded a coward-and true love. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Invention of Sarah Cummings
by Olivia Newport– Sarah Cummings has one goal in life–to break into Chicago’s high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner and to start eating at society tables, Sarah alters cast-off gowns from the wealthy Banning women to create lustrous, flattering dresses of her own. On a whim at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew’s Orphanage, Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Beyond These Hills (Smoky Mountain Dreams)
by Sandra Robbins — It’s 1935, and Laurel Jackson fears the life she’s always known is about to become a memory. The government is purchasing property to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and nearly all the families in Cades Cove have decided to sell. Laurel is determined to save the land her family has lived on for a hundred years. Andrew Brady, the son of a wealthy Virginia congressman, arrives in the Cove to convince the remaining landowners to sell. Sparks fly when he meets Laurel, the outspoken young woman who is determined to thwart his every effort. Will they ever be able to put aside their differences and accept what their hearts already know? (Historical Romance from Harvest House)

Romantic Suspense:

Stranded (Alaskan Courage)
by Dani Pettrey — When her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn’t satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn’t the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances. Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock for a few days of sightseeing. He’s surprised to find Darcy working aboard one of the ships, investigating a troubling report. Something sinister is going on and the deeper they dig the more Gage fears they’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Fatal Transaction
by W. Richard Lawrence — Sara, a computer programmer, is forced by the evil Ulrich Levy to develop a scheme to steal millions of dollars from credit card companies. But when she decides to take the money for herself, she begins down a road of distrust, deceit, murder, treachery, faith, love and the ultimate sacrifice. (Suspense Thriller from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Carol Cox and Trouble in Store Giveaway


CAROL COX is the author of 30 novels and novellas. A third-generation Arizonan, Carol has a lifelong fascination with the Old West and hopes to make it live again in the hearts of her readers. She makes her home with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play--often within view of the family's front porch.

by Carol Cox
Published by Bethany House


Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he's worked for. He's determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands. The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry up with any of them. He's drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.

But someone doesn't want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps--and the man obviously didn't die from natural causes--things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb's business--and romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?

Readers, buy your copy of Trouble in Store today!


Researching a story is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. You just never know where it will take you! When it came to writing Trouble in Store, there were a number of topics I needed to learn about, from 19th-century mercantiles to Native American cliff dwellings to patent medicines.

The Ross-Nelson Mercantile (the store Caleb and Melanie squabble over in the book) has a number of quirky customers, including Idalou Fetterman. Mrs. Fetterman is a great believer in the curative powers of patent medicines and spends a lot of time browsing the shelves in search of the ideal remedy for whatever happens to be ailing her that day.

Back in 1885, these "miracle" medicines weren't produced by pharmaceutical companies, but by self-proclaimed experts who often billed themselves as doctors, although it's doubtful that many (or any!) of them actually had medical degrees. The labels bore colorful names . . . and boasted equally colorful claims.

Dr. Sherman's Prickly Ash Bitters billed itself as the cure for biliousness, vertigo, or a torpid liver, and contained "only the purest drugs, among which may be enumerated: prickly ash, mandrake, buchu, button snake, senna." I don’t know about you, but I have yet to reach for a dose of buchu or button snake when I’m feeling under the weather.

A little research turned up the information that the government declared the good doctor's remedy misbranded. That may have had something to do with the fact that the cure-all (which contained 20% alcohol) was recommended in wineglassful doses three times a day, but was declared to be "not an intoxicating beverage."

Then there's Dr. Kilmer's Female Remedy, the Great Blood Purifier and System Regulator, one of the best known quack medicines of the 19th century. The company was one of the first firms to advertise nationally, and targeted this nostrum at medical problems specific to women. Dr. Kilmer's nostrum also contained a substantial amount of alcohol and couldn't do much more for his female patients than make them a bit tipsy for a time.

And let's not forget Seelye's Wasa-Tusa. The name alone is enough to catch your attention, even before learning it was guaranteed to bring about good results with: muscle soreness, bruises, headache, toothache, earache, colic, and cramps. If something ached, it was Wasa-Tusa time!

Hostetter's Celebrated Bitters became a national best-seller in the 1850s. During the Civil War, it was marketed to soldiers as "a positive protective against the fatal maladies of the Southern swamps, and the poisonous tendency of the impure rivers and bayous." By now, you probably won't be shocked to learn the original formula was made up of about 47% alcohol--an amount so high that it was served by the the glass in Alaskan saloons. I'm sure those Alaskans were reassured to know they wouldn't fall prey to any maladies contracted in an impure bayou!

In addition to the widespread prevalence of alcohol, most patent medicines included vegetable extracts. Since there was no regulation on the ingredients, their curative properties were often doubtful . . . and could be deadly. Many were also laced with morphine, opium, or cocaine while being advertised for use with children and infants--which sometimes ended in tragic results.

Even so, these hucksters found a ready market for their goods. By the middle of the 19th century, the manufacture of patent medicines had become a major industry in America.

Doctors and medical societies spoke out in increasing numbers, and even more strident opposition came from the temperance movement, which protested the use of alcohol in medicines. It's no surprise that the manufacturers fought against regulation of any kind, and their resistance was aided by the press, since many newspapers had become dependent on money received from advertising these remedies.

We can all be grateful for the Pure Food and Drug Act, enacted in 1906, which required manufacturers to list ingredients on their labels and restricted misleading advertising. That's a very good thing for us . . . and Mrs. Fetterman should be grateful she's a fictional character!

Question for Readers: Many people today are shying away from traditional medicine and looking for alternative, more natural cures. Some of those seem to make inflated claims similar to the patent medicines of yore . . . but others have proven effective.

What non-traditional remedies have you heard of or used? And were they beneficial or not?

* * * * *

Thank you, Carol, for sharing with us today.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to US/Canada residents.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Stephanie Landsem and The Well Giveaway


STEPHANIE LANDSEM writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

by Stephanie Landsem
Published by Howard Books


Could he be the one we’ve been waiting for?

For the women of the Samaritan village of Sychar, the well is a place of blessing—the place where they gather to draw their water and share their lives—but not for Mara. Shunned for the many sins of her mother, Nava, Mara struggles against the constant threats of starvation or exile.

Mara and Nava’s lives are forever changed with the arrival of two men: Shem, a mysterious young man from Caesarea, and Jesus, a Jewish teacher. Nava is transformed by Jesus, but his teachings come to late and she is stoned by the unforgiving villagers. Desperate to save her dying mother, Mara and Shem embark on a journey to seek Jesus’ help—a journey that brings unexpected love and unimaginable heartbreak.

Readers, buy your copy of The Well today!


With the release of my debut novel, The Well, just days away, it seems like everywhere I go friends and acquaintances are wishing me well. Whether in the grocery store, at the school play, or on the way out of church, I get congratulations and often this question:

Did you always want to be a writer?

I have a little trouble answering it. I’ve always loved history and I’ve always loved to read, but I didn’t put the two together and realize that I wanted to write until a conversation with my oldest daughter not too many years ago.

My youngest child had just started first grade, leaving me with six hours of quiet each school day. With the exception of laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, cleaning, volunteering, and cooking, I had nothing to do all day.

“So what are you going to do with yourself,” my 12-year old asked me as we drove to play practice one evening.

“I’m not sure.” And I wasn’t. I’d seen women turn to obsessive housecleaning or hours of exercise as their children grew. Please, no.

“What would you do if you could do anything at all?” she asked.

I thought a bit. She had said ‘anything’. “Time travel?”

“Mom.” She rolled her eyes.

But there was something else, now that she’d asked. “If I could do anything, I think I’d write historical fiction.” Silly, really. I’d never taken a writing class in my life.

“Why don’t you do it, then?”

I laughed. “I have no idea how to write. I don’t even know if I’d be any good.”

My eldest gave me the raised eyebrows. Probably the same look I gave her more than once. “Mom. Just figure it out.”

And she was right. I did need to figure it out, at least figure out if it were a possibility. I started an online creative writing class and found I wasn’t terrible. I checked out hundreds of books from the library and read dozens of writing and publishing blogs. Within a year, I was starting on what would become The Well, my debut novel.

Fast forward 5 years: my house is a mess and I exercise only as much as necessary.

Instead, I’m looking forward to the release of The Well, just turned in my second Biblical novel, The Thief, and am starting on the third book in The Living Water Series, tentatively titled The Tomb.

So the answer is yes. I always wanted to be a writer, I just needed a push from a 12-year-old to figure it out.

Reader Question: So what would you do, if you could do anything at all?

* * * * *

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing with us today.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to US/Canada residents.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Marian Merritt and Southern Fried Christmas Giveaway


MARIAN MERRITT writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. Her fascination with the written word began while sitting on her grandparent’s front porch swing reading books. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. Marian has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2003. Her first fiction title, Southern Fried Christmas, released in 2012. She writes from her Northwest Colorado home. Connect with her at:

by Marian Merritt
Published by Pelican Book Group


Love: purer than Colorado snow, deeper than a Louisiana bayou.

The Colorado Rockies have always been home to journalist Kelly Shepherd, but after the death of her father, and facing her first Christmas alone, she accepts an assignment that leads her deep into Louisiana’s Cajun country.

Since his wife’s death, Denny Labouve has focused his attention on his ten-year-old daughter and the family business, but Kelly sparks the dying embers of his heart even as a Christmas cold front moves through his beloved Cajun country.

Will Denny and Kelly be able to trust God to bridge the span between the Colorado Rockies and the Louisiana bayou?

Readers, buy your copy of Southern-Fried Christmas today!


Can't Means Won't

Several years ago, when my young son attempted a difficult task, he'd stop, and then turn to me and say, "I can't do this." In an effort to teach him perseverance, I'd respond with, "Can't means won't."

I never missed the opportunity to help him learn the value of never giving up. The phrase became an automatic reply whenever he used the words, "I can't." It didn't take long for his exclamations to change to, "I won't do this."

As wives, mothers, workers, writers and friends we struggle with breaking moments of "I can't." Some of us may throw our hands in the air and say, "I can't." Some of us may beat on the table and say, "I won't." Regardless, of the words we use or the proverbial straw that brings us to that place, we've all been there at one time or another.

Recently, a difficult encounter with a special person in my life brought me to that place. I remember thinking with raw consuming emotion, "I thought I'd moved passed this. I won't do this."

After my prayer time the next day, conviction lay heavy on my heart. My won't was really my unwillingness to turn the situation over to God. What I'd really said was, "I won't allow God."

I can still persevere, but my efforts need to be through Christ. The Bible says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." My ability to accomplish all I need as a wife, mother, writer, or friend all stem from the strength I gain through my faith in Christ. Not on my bull-headed, plow-through, never-give-up-no-matter-what attitude.

Great freedom is found in that revelation.

That day the scene I wrote flowed like warmed honey. The words came from a broken place that made the characters live and dance from the pages. He'd used the situation to help me better understand the characters I had created.

God used my reliance on Him and the situation to make me a better writer at that moment. He never misses those opportunities to strengthen our character to reflect His.

Reader Question: Are there "I won't" moments stealing your joy? What's your response when you feel you can't do what's expected of you?

* * * * *

Thank you, Marian, for sharing with us today.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free digital copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to anyone worldwide.