About Me

My photo
Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A Christmastide Outing. Guest blog by Marilyn Leach

A Christmastide Outing

Lively anticipation was to the full as our journey through winding roads and tidy storybook villages of Berkshire and Derbyshire brought us to Waddeston Manor, one time weekend retreat for the extremely well-to-do Rothschild’s. The ascent up the modest hill where the manor house sat did not prepare me for the grandiose home, nor for the extensive countryside view.
Built in the French Chateau style, it looked more like something Louis XIV may have lived in. Statuary sprinkled the garden walk alongside the fountains that lead to the grand entrance. Once inside the imposing doorway, the opulence of the place left me daunted.  Waddeston Manor contains not only a grandiose interior of marble, carved work, and period furniture, it holds the largest impressionist and nineteenth century art collection outside the Louvre Art Museum of Paris.
In fact, the structure was built to house the Rothschild’s extensive art collection. Well, not just house it but show it off. Waddeston was a weekend get-away from London to entertain guests and genuinely impress them. It certainly impressed us, in buckets.
The fact that it was decorated for Christmas only enhanced. The overall theme was Italy, a favorite playground of the Rothschild family. Each opened room displayed a fifteen foot evergreen tree festooned for Christmas and the aspect of Italy it represented. There was a Christmas banquet room with table set for a holiday meal, a room that represented Mount Vesuvius covered with red lights and crimson satin, and even a three room tableau of the story of Pinocchio.  No evergreen was in the games room with the pool table, but it held two living palms, ceiling-high, wrapped in small white lights. Very “Capri”.
Everything about the place called out look at me
This, I thought, is where one would expect a King to be born. Yes, the King for whom we celebrate Christmas. This grandeur would surely suit His stature as Lord of all. 
But He didn’t choose a dwelling such as this as a birthplace. Once outside, I looked across the green leas of the countryside, and the contrast struck my very heart.  The Mighty God became flesh, not in a mansion, but in the humble surrounds of a stable.  He chose, in the dark of night, a small, rough barn to house the greatest Work of Art.   In a sense, I suppose the simple dwelling made the glory of the Christ Child that much more profound.

It became very clear to me on this visit to an amazing manor home that even in its opulence; it was only a shadow of the true beauty of a tiny desert shelter, heralded by a star and angels: birthplace to the Lord of all creation.





Candle for a Corpse: A Berdie Elliott Advent Mystery

Blurb:  Who would guess that a simple Advent wreath would light the way to solving a Christmastide mystery in a small English village?  When Berdie Elliott-the local vicar’s wife and former investigative reporter-gets the scent, she unwraps far more than Christmas presents when a vicarage Advent gathering goes awry and murder rocks the village.  Despite lively newcomers, secret identities, a clandestine wedding, and dissenting constable, Berdie ties up the whole mystery with a bright Christmas bow.  Tea and biscuits, anyone?

Excerpt:  Berdie removed the three weekly advent candles from the holders.  She laid them down across the hearth, bottoms facing her.  She nosed closer to them and squinted.  “These candles have designs carved in the bottom.”
Lillie looked at them.  “Odd.”
“They’re trying to tell us something.”  Berdie spoke her thoughts.
“I wonder where the fourth candle is.”  Lillie looked across the floor.
“Ah, yes, the fourth candle.  I dare say it’s in the bedroom.”
The helper looked perplexed.  “What’s it doing in the bedroom?”
“When we answer that, my dear, we shall have the key to unlock this mystery.”

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and the parents stressed and fraught...

One week to go before Christmas. And there is so much to do. Cards to finish writing - though if they aren't done by now you've missed the last posting date! Presents to buy. Then wrap. Then hide from the kids. And the cat! Food to buy and prepare and cook...

Stress levels build. Excitement builds. Countdown of sleeps until a man in a red suit breaks into our houses. eats the mince pies, drinks the sherry or juice, and leaves stuff behind...

But is this the real point of Christmas?



A Christmas version of 1st Corinthians 13:
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not share the true meaning of Christmas, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not demonstrate kindness to strangers, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Author Unknown


And here is the reason why....



Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Deck the soul with boughs of forgiveness by MaryAnn Diorio



Deck the Soul with Boughs of Forgiveness

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

CHRISTMAS!  The word evokes many feelings, depending on our experiences. For some, Christmas is a happy time, filled with beautiful memories and joyful expectations. For others, Christmas is a depressing time, a season one wants “to get over with” as quickly as possible because of bad memories associated with this time of year.

Having ministered to people for many years, I have come to the conclusion that depressing memories at Christmas time are most often related to problems of unforgiveness. Hurts from the past become more pronounced during the Christmas season, but the reason those hurts still affect us is that we have not let go of the bitterness associated with them. In short, we have not forgiven the people who have hurt us.

Why do most people have such a difficult time forgiving? I believe the main reason is that they do not understand what forgiveness really means. If you are one of those people, what follows may help you:

LET’S LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS NOT:
• Forgiveness is NOT letting someone off the hook.
• Forgiveness is NOT condoning evil.
• Forgiven is NOT being a doormat.
• Forgiveness is NOT having to trust again the person who hurt you.
• Forgiveness is NOT a feeling.
• Forgiveness is NOT an option.

NOW LET’S LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS:
• Forgiveness IS taking the person who hurt you off of your hook and placing him on God’s hook, then praying that God will have mercy on him.
• Forgiveness IS acknowledging that evil was done but choosing to bear the consequences of that evil without retaliation.
• Forgiveness IS taking charge of your emotions.
• Forgiveness IS setting boundaries with the person who hurt you, even refusing temporary or permanent interaction with that person, if necessary. An example would be a wife who is being beaten by her husband.
• Forgiveness IS a decision.
• Forgiveness IS obedience to God’s commandment to forgive.

No matter how badly you have been hurt, choose to forgive. It’s the best thing you can do for your own well-being. Unforgiveness chains you emotionally to the person who hurt you. Forgiveness breaks that chain and sets you free.

What better time is there than the Christmas season to forgive those who have hurt us? The very essence of Christmas is the truth that God forgave humanity through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Who are we not to forgive when God has forgiven us?

So this Christmas, forgive! But don’t just forgive. Ask to be forgiven. As the Word of God tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All of us need not only to forgive but also to be forgiven.  And as long as we are on this earth, it is never too late to forgive or to be forgiven.

For a heartwarming, compelling story on the power of forgiveness, you may wish to read my new novella entitled A Christmas Homecoming.  It is available in electronic format for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad.  You may purchase an electronic copy of A Christmas Homecoming HERE, or for a print copy, please email me at maryann@maryanndiorio.com and write the words PRINT COPY in the subject line, and I will send you purchasing instructions.

To view the beautiful book trailer of A Christmas Homecoming, click here.
Last, but not least, may you forge happy memories this Christmas season as the power of forgiveness sets you free!
______________________________________________________________________
*Copyright 2012 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA.  All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com.
______________________________

Monday, 14 December 2015

A Christmas Promise by Tamara Lynn Kraft

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away two days before Christmas to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.
When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.
Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Right to Bragg by Tanya Hanson

Tanya Hanson

Right to Bragg, fourth in the Hearts Crossing Series



  ISBN: 978-1-61116-131-1   

Blurb:

Disowned by her family, believing it's all her fault, Tiffany Vickers faces a lonely Christmas and takes great comfort in the baby boy in her care. Her faith is in tatters, and she guards her heart against the baby's uncle, handsome cowboy, Bragg Martin. It's the season for forgiveness, and while Bragg longs to open his heart and family to the lovely nanny, he doesn't understand her interest in his arch enemy. Saving a man's life and saving Tiffany's faith bring the couple together…and home to Hearts Crossing Ranch.   

Excerpt:

     Tiffany got up for another cup of coffee, Matty’s eyes watching her every move.
     “He sure notices you,” Bragg remarked as the baby drained the bottle.
     “Yeah. We bonded right off. I’m so glad about it.” As she’d made a snap decision just then, she rushed on. “I left behind my precious nephew. I guess in my psyche somewhere I figured maybe nanny to Matty might help ease that hole in my heart.”  Gently she rubbed her hand over Matty’s head, the edge of her hand tugging at Bragg’s shirt and causing a funny havoc. Mostly though he listened to her pain.
     She sank back down into a kitchen chair, resting her cheek in her hand. “I was with Connor from the moment he was born. Paul and Diana wanted me there. Then things went haywire. It was my fault. You talk about forgiveness, but there isn’t any in this case. And I miss that little boy. Oh, I miss him so. I need him. His love was unconditional, you know. He’s three now. I can’t let him forget me.”
     Bragg’s heart tugged at the agony on her face, and Matty’s little hand flailed. Tiffany took it at once. “It can’t be that bad, can it?”

     “I’ve been disowned, so, yeah, Bragg. It’s that bad.”

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Christmas Eve Vigil by Robin Bayne



Christmas Eve Vigil                           

by Robin Bayne


“Mom-Mom, I hear him,” I whispered, sitting up slightly in bed. With the covers sliding off, I leaned toward the other twin bed where my grandmother slept, or tried to, during my all night vigil watching for Santa. Cool air touched my skin, but my excitement warmed me. “I hear something on the roof.”

I still recall the sweet scent of her beauty-salon hair-do, as she shook her head and whispered for me to go to sleep, or Santa couldn’t come visit our house. Mom-Mom stayed overnight every Christmas Eve, it was a family tradition. I was no more than five at the time, but the memories of that dark night have never faded.  I knew Santa was out there, somewhere, nearby, and likely to sweep in close when I wasn’t looking. I had been good all year, and had faith that Santa knew that.

Deeper in the night, I looked over and saw my grandmother, appearing to be sitting upright in a rocking chair. When I woke her to tell her this, she wasn’t pleased.

“Robin, please go to sleep.” She still whispered, but with an edge to her voice now. “You’re trying too hard. You know he’ll be here.”

I tried to comply, I really did. I could then perceive that she was indeed laying down, not sitting in a chair. But as I lay there, staring into blackness, my belief grew stronger that Santa was with me, whether or not I could see or hear him. Most children in our country are lucky, they will have their beliefs confirmed on Christmas morning. As adults, we need to keep our faith as well, our faith that God is always with us, whether we physically see Him or not.


We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas, the one whom we are really accountable too. Jesus knows who has been naughty and who has been nice. When we stare into long moments of blackness, we need to keep the childlike wonder fresh, and know that He could be on our roof at any time. Even better than Santa, God is with us everyday.



Christmas Forever

Jason hasn't seen Cami in three years. Now she's back, with the son he'd wanted to claim as his own. Can he believe her newly found faith or will she desert him, and God, again?




Christmas Pearl

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.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Carnations in January by Clare Revell



Yes, a break from the Christmas books for a second or two. Today sees the launch of my new series. 12 books for the 12 flowers of the year. One a month for the next year :)


Blurb
After Grace Chadwick receives a surprise inheritance from her aunt–a house and a florist shop--she moves in after the funeral. While she doesn't know the first thing about flowers, she sees this an answer to her prayers--the new start she desperately needs.When Elliot Wallac drops by his new neighbor's house with casserole, he finds the house next door has problems. Damp walls and a sagging floor set his builders senses on alert. But this house needs more than a cosmetic fix, inspection reveals more extensive issues. Like Grace's spiritual life, the house is suffering from neglect at the very foundation. With God's guidance can Elliot help Grace repair her home and her faith before both are condemned?

extract

Elliott glanced at her as he sat. “There must be someone who had time for you, surely?”
“No. Well, Aunt Tilja did, maybe, but she’s gone now. Everyone else was worried about finding Hope or saving Faith from one mistake after another. But I’m simply, well to use my nickname, which I hate by the way, Amazing Grace—the person who can do anything she puts her mind to. Only I can’t.”
“Tilja must have thought so. Otherwise why leave you all she had? The shop, house, and so on.” He reached over the table and touched her hand, his fingers warm against her cold skin.
“She was wrong. I can’t do everything. I can’t do this for a start.”
“Don’t put yourself down. Look on this as a second chance. A chance to find both yourself and God.”
She held his gaze, wanting to jump into those clear blue eyes and drown. “Why would anyone want to find me? I’m no one, Elliott. No one important. I’m just—”
“You’re just Grace.” His tone was gentle, his gaze intense. “And Grace is important to a lot of people, even if they don’t show it. Come with me to church tomorrow, please. I’ll pick you up at ten. Or are you really intending to work?”

Amazon

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas Harmony by EA West

Blurb

After a long semester, college student Tawny Beschen is more than ready for a relaxing winter break. Hanging out at rehearsals for her dad’s metal band is just what she needs. Familiar people, familiar music, and a familiar routine... It’s an overwhelmed autistic’s dream. Then the new guitarist walks in, and her safe, predictable world implodes.

Malachi Vandermeer is grateful for the opportunity to play guitar for Death Pardon. After a rough few years, the family-like relationship of the band is what he needs. Then he meets Tawny. Her sweet innocence creates an instant attraction, but his past makes him afraid to let it grow.

Can Tawny and Malachi overcome their challenges and have a merry Christmas together?

Excerpt

As Jack plugged his guitar into the amplifier, a handful of other people stepped into the room, talking and laughing.

From the voices, Max Osborn, Dale Hibbert, Alan Sanders, and Mike Hill were all there. That left Jimmy George as the only man missing, but the guitarist was almost always late. It was another part of the rehearsal routine.

“Hey, Tawny,” Alan said, “you mind if I take the mic now?”

She lifted her fingers from the smooth metal of the stand and stepped back. “Oh, sorry.”

“No worries. Long semester?”

“I think I’m brain dead,” she said, shoving her hands in the front pocket of her hooded sweatshirt.

Alan chuckled and adjusted the microphone. “You must be glad you’re on winter break, then.”

“Yeah.” She wandered away as the men prepared to start their rehearsal. Minutes after she stretched out on the floor and stared up at the ceiling with its recessed lights, someone else entered the room.

A stranger around her age. He was cute with his dark brown hair and a day’s growth of beard shadowing his jaw.

The sudden change in routine broke through her relaxed state. A rush of anxiety immobilized her. She curled into a ball on the carpet and pressed her sleeve-covered fist to her mouth to muffle the crying.

“Hey, Tawny, are you all right?” Her father’s quiet voice meant she hadn’t done a great job of hiding her tears. “You want to tell me about it?”

She squeezed her eyes shut. After a few breaths, she rolled halfway over and looked directly into her father’s face. “That’s not Jimmy.”

Dad’s features filled with sympathy, and he smoothed her hair back. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. I thought you knew.”

Dread washed over her. “He’s not dead, is he?”

“No! He’s still going strong.” Dad rubbed her shoulder. “He decided it was time to move on to other things, so we found ourselves a new guitarist a few months ago.”

“I…I think you told me about that when I was working on that paper that drove me nuts. Some guy with a Bible name or something.”

“That’s right. His name is Malachi Vandermeer. Would you like to meet him?”

Tawny nodded.

Dale was talking to the new guy on the far side of the room.

Insecurity slammed into her. Would he want to meet her?

Her dad held his hand out. “It’s a little hard to introduce you if you don’t come with me.”

“He probably thinks I’m an idiot or a psycho.”

“No, he doesn’t.” Dad gave her a brief yet soothing hug. “When I came to see about you, Dale said he’d explain to Malachi.”

“I feel like an idiot.” Humiliation threatened to make her cry again.

“There’s no need for it. A lot of college students get stressed out with their classes, and they don’t have the added struggles you do. You rock, girl, for overcoming that and making the dean’s list anyway. Now, let’s go introduce you to the newbie so you can quit worrying.”
She dropped her gaze to the floor, more comfortable looking at the ugly utilitarian carpet than risking seeing what was in anyone’s eyes. Dale’s familiar skater shoes and an unfamiliar pair of sneakers came into view. They looked as if they’d walked across the country and back. Tawny stole a glance at their owner.

Malachi offered a smile.

Tawny looked back down.

“Malachi, this is my daughter, Tawny. Tawny, meet Malachi Vandermeer, our new guitarist.”


“Hi.” She managed to make eye contact just long enough to discover he had the most gorgeous brown eyes she’d ever seen.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A Boulder Creek Christmas by Mary Manners


Tagline:
A mischievous Christmas angel is determined to have her way this holiday season...

Blurb:
Lani O'Dwyer offered her heart to Ryan Connolly years ago, and he tossed it aside without so much as a backward glance. Though the town of Boulder Creek dubs him a hero,she vows she'll never again fall victim to his charms.
Ryan Connolly captains a raucous crew of firefighters at the Boulder Creek Fire Department, yet he's unprepared for the adventure of falling in love with beautiful and headstrong Lani O'Dwyer.
But when a meddling angel at the annual Fighters for Hire charity auction brings Ryan and Lani together, even regrets from the past can't thwart Ryan's plans to make Lani his own.

Excerpt:
“Ryan, what are you doing here?”
            “What does it look like I’m doing?” Sawdust danced in a halo around his head as he glanced up from the redwood deck without missing a stroke of the hammer. Expertly, he jostled a new panel of wood into place as he flashed a mischievous grin. “I’ll give you two guesses and the first one doesn’t count.”
“I only need one.” Alani crossed her arms and sighed with dismay as she watched sweet-natured Moe, the chocolate lab she and Grandma Cora had rescued from the animal shelter nearly a decade ago, lope over to Ryan and curl contentedly at his side. So much for loyalty…the mangy beast must have forgotten that Ryan had dumped him—and Lani, as well—when the going got tough. “You’re trespassing on my property—and, it appears that you’ve also managed to brainwash my dog into thinking you’re a friend.”
            “I am a friend…you just haven’t allowed the thought to sink into that stubborn head of yours.”
            “That sort of sweet talk will get you places—not.” Alani adjusted the strap of her purse over one shoulder, fishing inside it for her cellphone. “So explain yourself, and quick, before I call the law.” She located the phone and waggled it in front of Ryan’s face to add leverage to the threat.
            “Really?” Ryan’s laughter rent the air. He set the hammer down and sat back on his haunches and shake sawdust from his hair. The scent mingled with pine that danced from a grove of trees flanking eastern end of the lot. Moe inched closer to him and settled his chin on Ryan’s thigh. “You wouldn’t.”
            Lani crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin. “I would.”
            “You forget that the chief of police is my dad.” Ryan splayed a hand across Moe’s head and gave him a good scratch between the ears, eliciting a delighted yawn from the traitorous beast.
            “Oh…right.” Lani sighed with frustration. “Well, I’ll call anyway and he’ll…he’ll…come out here and ground you.”
            “Ground me?” Ryan’s laughter grew. Now the infuriating sound echoed from the surrounding houses. “Are we fourteen again?”
            “You’re acting like it.”
            “Me? I’m acting like I’m fourteen?” Ryan grabbed the porch rail, giving himself a boost to stand and face her. Moe followed at his heels, as if he and Ryan had been lifelong buddies. “Look here, Alani O’Dwyer…that hotheaded Irish temper is getting the best of you again. If you would just close that pretty little mouth of yours long enough to listen…” He kept coming until he had her penned in, her back pressed against the sliding glass door facing into the kitchen. The gleam in his eyes caused the hair on the back of her neck to tickle as his aftershave—something crisp and clean as the cool air—washed over her. “Maybe I should help you with that.”
            “I think not.”
            “We’ll see…” He leaned in, dipping his head as if to kiss her, then seemed to think better of it and pulled back, turning away to pace the length of decking. Of course, Moe matched him step for step.
            “What are you doing here?” Alani repeated, frowning at the dog as he marched loyally along at Ryan’s side. She uncrossed her arms and tucked the phone back into her purse. “Explain yourself.”


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Plum Pudding Bride by Anne Garboczi Evans

Blurb:
Patience Callahan is twenty-five and fast becoming an old maid. But she’s spent most of her life dreaming over romantic European literature and wants a dashing d’Artagnan, not a bookish Bob Cratchit. Alas, the town of Gilman’s chock-full of Cratchit’s without a d’Artagnan in sight.
John Foote, the general store owner, has been in love with Patience since grade school. But every time he’s on the verge of proposing, she cuts him off; he can only imagine on purpose. This time though, dadburn it, he’s going to go through with it.
Ring in hand, he’s moments from touching knee to floor, when Patience pulls out a list of mail-order bride advertisements and declares her intention of marrying a backwoods stranger on Christmas Day.
He’s got two weeks to change her mind.

Excert

There she was, the girl he’d loved for seven years. And she was sorting preserve cases at his store, as she’d done for the last four years. She stood not six paces from him, and yet so far away.
Peter’s fingers squeezed the ring box in his jacket. This time he was going to go through with it, no matter if she pointedly changed the subject, or hastily found excuses to be elsewhere, or pushed other eligible young women at him. Dadburn it, today he’d have his answer, a “yay” or a “nay” instead of living in this wretched bog of uncertainty.
The store had already closed. He just needed to grate the key in the locks while Patience tidied the shelves. The falling winter sun made long shadows on the floor between them. Now she had put down the strawberry preserves and taken an inventory list. She moved towards the mercantile section.
His heavy boots clomped on the hardwood floor, but his heart clomped louder. His fingers tightened around the red velvet box. It was a white gold ring and a miner’s cut diamond. Size six, as he’d discovered four years ago when he’d stolen her glove.
Patience’s brown hair twisted back around her ears. She always complained it lay too flat, and said her younger sister teased her about having a mottled complexion. But he’d never seen hair shine like hers, and her soft skin set off brown eyes that possessed a luster no girl in Gilman could match. And her smile. Oh, her smile. She could turn Antarctica into the tropics by just curving her lips.
A head-high shelf of baking perishables hemmed them in on one side while bolts of fabric made up the other side of the narrow aisle.
“Patience Callahan, will you,” Peter slid the box out of his pocket, and started to lower one knee to the ground.
Her gaze flicked to the ring box. “Why, Peter,” she stepped into him, blocking all attempts at kneeling. “I’ve been meaning to tell you my news.” Her long fingers were slender. Yet they could move lickety-split when sorting spools or organizing canned goods. “I just received this.” Patience tugged a newspaper clipping out of her pocket along with a small daguerreotype. “This is Arnie Dehaven. He’s a Montana rancher. I’ve answered his mail-order bride advertisement and I’m marrying him.”

buy link

Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas at Tiffany's by Marianne Evans


All she wants for Christmas is her Master’s Degree. All he wants for Christmas is a one-way plane ticket from New York City to Los Angeles.

Tiffany Zelling’s mission is to become a crisis therapy counselor using specially trained animals as comfort tools. Her energy is focused on reaching the end of her school career and nothing will stand in her way—not even a fantasy-world attraction to colleague Mitch Alexander.

One year ago, Mitch was named interim Director of East Coast Operations for InfoTraxion. His tenure has been a resounding success. Now, he’s set to return to California and lay claim to a well-deserved promotion. He can’t wait to leave behind the cold and snowy darkness of Manhattan.

Corporate bullying and a massive snowfall bring them together. In no time, two hearts build a pathway to love, causing goals to shift and evolve. But as Christmas joy and hope move through the streets of New York, critical decisions must be made. Can their lives truly meld? Can Christmas at Tiffany’s be God’s answer…for them both?

buy link

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas Rescue Route by LoRee Peery

Christmas Rescue Route blurb:
 On her way home for Christmas during a blizzard, college student Izzy hurdles down an embankment. Her worst nightmare is being trapped.
Brock comes to her rescue, but after a night in the hospital, the roads are drifted shut and she can’t make it to her family home in the country. Izzy goes home with Brock and spends Christmas Eve with his family.
Once the road clears, Brock gets Izzy home on Christmas Day but her car is totaled, and she needs a way back to college. Used to fending for herself, and safe now, Izzy balks at Brock’s offer to drive her.
Does God have a plan for an enthusiastic independent goal-setter who avoids the college dating scene, and a nurturing do-gooder man?


buy link

Saturday, 5 December 2015

A Mummy For Christmas by Clare Revell

Blurb:
Father Christmas can't grant this request...

Stan Fuller juggles a full time job as an airline pilot, along with being a single father to eight-year-old Haley-Jo. When he becomes a reluctant Father Christmas at his daughter’s school party, she stuns him and the whole school, never mind the attending press, by announcing she wants a mummy for Christmas.

Carly Jefferson is covering the party for the local paper. New to the village, she is running from a broken past and bitter argument with her mother which resulted in a rift lasting years. Haley Jo’s simple request rocks Carly to the core, especially when her editor wants her to run several follow-up pieces on the child and her father.



Extract:
“Hello, boys and girls.”
“Hello, Father Christmas,” they all chorused back.
“Are you having a fun party?”
“Yes…”
He did a couple of “ho, ho, ho’s” and got the children to guess the names of his reindeer, who were currently up on the roof of the school. Then in dribs and drabs the children came up to receive a wrapped gift. Some were so shy he could barely hear their names, while others, bolder, sat on his lap and gave him a long list of what they wanted.
Finally, Haley-Jo reached the head of the queue. She looked at him, recognition dancing in her eyes. She climbed onto his lap.
“And what’s your name, little girl?” Stan asked, praying she’d keep his cover.
“Haley-Jo Fuller, with a hyphen,” she said. “I use both names, not just Haley.”
Stan nodded. “And what would you like for Christmas?” he asked.
Carly knelt in front of the stage. She snapped several pictures, the recorder taking notes for her.
Haley-Jo looked him in the eye. “I only want one thing for Christmas,” she said in a loud voice, clear enough for the whole hall to hear her.
“Just one?” he asked, slightly worried as to what she was about to come out with. She’d been so adamant about not telling him. “Everyone else had a whole list.”
“All I want for Christmas is a mummy.”

buy link

Friday, 4 December 2015

Starlight in her eyes by JoAnn Durgin


Colin Young embraces the Christmas season as the new television co-host of Wake Up, Philadelphia! His fun and spontaneous “Out and About” segments in the City of Brotherly Love are a ratings winner. Only one problem—the beautiful but intriguing assistant assigned to help make his transition easier doesn’t seem to like him much.

Serena Monroe has no time for the cheeky Brit with a glowing professional reputation and lengthy personal history with women. Betrayed by one high-profile man, she doesn’t need another. Her sole focus is her daughter, Lily. But then Serena begins to see that Colin is nothing like she assumed. He’s a man of faith who inspires everyone around him. Dare she take a chance on love again?

When Colin invites Serena and Lily to share Christmas with him in the little town of Starlight, Iowa, can they discover a holiday miracle of their own?

buy link

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Luke's Crazy California Christmas by Cindy K Green


Luke’s Crazy California Christmas
Book 1.5 in the Aubrey Christian Academy series
Blurb:
High school senior, Luke Ryan, may have gone all-star in baseball the previous year, but nothing about his current life resembles that famed reputation. With Christmas break on the horizon, he resents the compulsory trip to visit his estranged father in California. Not only is he forced to abandon his mother over the holiday, but his pianist girlfriend, Andrea, too, who seems overly preoccupied by her Christmas Eve charity concert to care that they’ll be apart. On the way to California, he meets free-spirit Charlie who spins his world in a completely different direction. Once in his old stomping grounds, he’s forced to face the reality of his sister’s death and his parents’ divorce. Decisions assail him over his future, his girlfriend and his home. Is he destined to move back to California to secure a baseball scholarship or does God have another plan for his life?


buy link

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

A semi precious Christmas by Jan Elder


On a bright, crisp December morning, jewelry store manager, Peridot Keaton-Jones, arrives at work expecting to find her beloved uncle, Marty. Instead she’s greeted by the muzzle of a gun pressed to her temple. When thugs assault her, threaten her life, and steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, Peri can only pray her uncle is late for the first time in his life.
Christopher Lane is a TV news cameraman in the right place at the right time. He witnesses the heist, calls the police, and offers help when Peri needs it most. She can't deny her attraction, but is he really her hero, or is he just after a story? And with Christmas right around the corner, can Peri and Chris avert a holiday disaster?

Buy book here

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Volk Advent by Kristen Joy Wilkes

An orphaned Siberian teen loses her job and home on Christmas Eve. Left on the streets to freeze, Faina flees to an abandoned castle for shelter. At the castle, she discovers the animal-torn body of a local recluse. No wonder Eurasian wolves are not recommended for the first-time pet owner. Can a girl with no past, preserve her future from accusations of murderer and a pack of escaped wolves?

buy link

Echo Foxtrot - Signal Me 3 by Clare Revell


And here is the final installment of Signal Me. Actually it's quite sad. No not the book. Well, it is in places, but that's not what I meant. This whole journey started when I was 14 and now it's over. The books are finished and out in the big wide world. Here's the original handwritten copy with pictures! And my very first review from the headmaster! Yes, it was a school creative writing project!

Here are some pics from the original book.







It's changed a lot over the years. What was originally just a jaunt for the sake of it, turned into a rescue mission. There was no disaster. Then there was, but it was a totally different one. the volcano didn't erupt. They were cousins as well as best friends.

Then it turned into something different which is what you read today.

The only main characters to keep their names were Lou and Deefer. Paul remained Paul Kirk until almost the final edits when I thought it'd be a laugh to change his name to Jim. Fortunately my editor agreed and Paul became Jim.


Blurb:

Rescued by the U.S. Air Force, Jim, Staci, and Lou are thrust into another agonizing situation. No one finds it easy to be under adult supervision after being on their own for so long, but without the support of the family, can the teens come to terms with the tragedies that have befallen their families and themselves? How will they cope with what is to come? What will happen to the new addition to their group? Uncertainty is all around, but surely God didn’t bring them this far, together, just to separate them all now?


Extract

Staci leapt out as soon as the door opened, still screaming and crying. “Mummy! Daddy!” She hugged both her parents tightly.
Jim sat still for a moment longer and then jumped out of the chopper, straight into the arms of his parents. He hugged them tightly, tears filling his eyes and unashamedly running down his face. “I thought you were dead…”
“We thought the same of you two,” Dad said, pulling Staci into the group hug. “Running away was an incredibly stupid and thoughtless thing to do. Why did you do it? Why not let the authorities do their job?”
“I’m sorry.” Jim took a deep breath. “You were missing. No one was doing anything, so I thought I’d find you myself. Then the girls stowed away and…”
“Don’t get mad at Jim or Lou,” Staci interrupted. “I wasn’t going to be left behind.”
“We were worried sick,” Mum told them, her voice wobbling. “When we finally found a working telephone, Nicky told us you were missing—”
His mother took a deep breath. “We’ve been frantic, wondering where you were. Jack kept in contact, told us he’d found you, but…” She paused. “I am so mad at you.”
“Guess we’re grounded,” Jim said quietly.
“For the rest of your lives,” Dad said. “And then some. You of all people should know better, James.”
Jim shifted. “Sorry.”
Dad nodded. “We’ll discuss this later.”
Jim turned and looked for Ailsa. She was standing on the edge of the group, looking awkward. He grabbed her hand and pulled her close. “This is Ailsa. She’s a missionary kid, too,” he said. “She saved our lives several times.”
Mum smiled. “Nice to meet you, Ailsa.”
Staci grinned. “He forgot to mention she’s his girlfriend.”
Jim elbowed her. “Shh.”
Ailsa blushed as she shook their hands. “Jim has told me so much about you.”
Mum smiled. “I’m looking forward to learning about you.”
Jim looked at Nichola. “I’m sorry.”
Nichola hugged them. “I thought I’d never see you again,” she said. She looked past them. “Where’s Lou? Didn’t she come back with you?”
The blonde officer looked at her. “Jack stayed behind with her, Mrs. Benson. He said to tell you he’ll be back on the next chopper.”
Nichola looked at her and then back at Jim. “Why didn’t she come?”
“She’s sick and not thinking straight.” He sucked in a deep breath. “Deefer died a couple of days ago and what with her leg being infected again and all…”
“Her leg?” Nichola frowned. “How did her leg get infected?”
“She got attacked by a shark and…” He broke off as Nichola paled.
Dad wrapped an arm around her to keep her from falling. “Shark?” he asked.
Jim felt sick. How could his dad always make him feel so guilty with so few words? “We went fishing in September. This shark attacked the dingy and sunk it, and she didn’t swim fast enough. I did what I could, but I’m no doctor and we couldn’t call for help as we’d lost the radio and the phone and…” 
He broke off. He could feel the anger and disappointment in all the adults and knew it was aimed solely at him. “I’m sorry…”
“September?” Nichola whispered. “But it’s January now. That’s four months…”
“It’s my fault,” Jim said. “The logbook will prove that. If she dies, I’ll never be able to forgive myself and I don’t expect you to forgive me either.”





ebook -

paperback -

Friday, 27 November 2015

crocheting the virus shawl



The virus shawl seems to have taken the crocheting world by storm. It's really easy to pick up, grows really fast and is very addictive. This one took me just under a week to make. I used double knitting wool and it took just over 2 100g balls. It looks grey in the pic, but is actually cornflower blue.

Here is the link to the you tube tutorial I followed. There are 5 parts to the video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEBFSl0D3NQ


Friday, 23 October 2015

Delta Victor - Signal Me book 2 by Clare Revell



Shipwrecked on the remote volcanic island of Agrihan, and with one of them severely injured, Lou Benson and Jim and Staci Kirk have to find their way to civilisation. Joined by orphan Ailsa Cudby, who has been living with a local village since her parents died, they set off past the volcano in search of an abandoned U.S. Air Force base. With time running out to get medical attention, the teens once again face danger in order to save one of their own. Will they find help in time?


Extract

“Jim,” she said seriously. “I want you to promise me something.”
His brow furrowed. “I’m not leaving you here. So don’t even suggest it.”
“Listen to me. If that thing blows, and I mean really blows, I don’t want you to wait for me. Take Staci and Ailsa and run. We both know I can’t keep up on a good day, and me running anywhere for the rest of my life is out of the question. I won’t have you or them die because of me and my stupid leg.”
“Lou…” Exasperation tinged his voice and the scowl she loved so much crossed his face.
But he was Ailsa’s now, whether either of them wanted to admit it or not. Not that he’d ever been hers, other than in her mind.
“Promise!” she said fiercely.
“OK, OK, have it your way.” Jim paused for a moment as he ate. “That’s if they want to leave you. And you know full well that they won’t do that. At least, not willingly.”
“Don’t give them a choice.” She finished what was on her plate. “It might never come to it, but I don’t want anyone dying for me.”
Jim glanced at her. “You realize that Jesus already did that, right? All you have to do is acc—”
Lou shook her head. “Don’t preach at me, Jim. I don’t want or need it. I just need you guys to be safe, and if that means leaving me here, then that’s what you do. I’ll write a disclaimer in the log if it’ll make you feel any better.”
“Oh, really?”
She scowled back. “Yes, really.”
“Something along the lines of I, Lou Benson, being of sound mind, do hereby insist that Jim, Staci, and Ailsa leave me behind to die in the case of a natural disaster…
“Words to that effect, yeah.” She held out a hand. “Give me the logbook, and I’ll do it now.”


ebook 

paperback

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Adventures in crocheting.


In August of last year - 2014 - we went on holiday as always and I asked Mum to teach me how to crochet. So she taught me how to make a granny square using odd bits of her wool. It was hilarious in more ways than one as I struggled and at times longed to toss it across the room. When finally I managed the first bit I announced proudly "Look, I made a circle."
Mum grinned. "Well done. It's meant to be a square."
They are now known in my house as squircles - square circles. 

 my first square
well square ish. hence the name squircle!


I bought some wool and kept going in a vain attempt to crack the granny square before i reached 50. Unsure what to do with my little square, I simply kept adding rows to it. Until the square was roughly 16 rows big.

 
The cat borrowed it on one occasion... This was before she was taught the table was off limits.

 

then i made another 5 and got mum to teach me how to join them together and edge.

The really confusing thing is the names of the stitches. Thing is we Brits call them one thing and the American's something different.

So... what we call a double crochet in the US is a single crochet.
We call it a triple. The US calls it a double.

Sooooooo.... when i follow a pattern as I'm starting to do so, it's very, very confusing. And if I've used an online pattern in a blog entry, i will share the links and the credit as it's only fair.

Mum says I can now do more than she can....as she can make blankets and nothing else. I've made Tardis's, rabbit, teddy, owl, mouse... but more of that in another entry.


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Into the clouds by Marilyn Leach


Ascension Sunday balloons are not the only things disappearing in the English village of Aidan Kirkwood.  When the villagers celebrate the first Ascension Sunday Processional in fifty years, someone goes missing.  A well off window that was amongst the crowd has vanished into thin air.  And, she’s not the only one who’s nowhere to be found. 
Berdie Elliott, the local vicar’s wife, goes into sleuth mode as eccentric cat lovers, a secretive informant, Portuguese holidays, an enigmatic “tree” house, and tangled family dynamics all add to the perplexing affair.  Don’t let this mystery slip from your sight.

Into the Clouds Excerpt
With the ferocity of a sudden clap of thunder in a spring storm, the vicarage door bell invaded the treasured moment.
Hugh sighed.
“I’ll get it.”  Berdie pulled herself away and made way to the front door, deciding not to grumble but cherish the past uninterrupted hours shared with Hugh.
“Lillie,” Berdie greeted her nicely dressed but unexpected guest at the opened door.  “Come in.”
“Must get on, but just wanted to tell you that Mrs. Mikalos was not seen by any local doctors nor admitted to any of the area hospitals including their morgues.”
“Well done, Lillie.”  Berdie looked past Lillie’s shoulder to see Granville Morrison and his idling black Ford Fiesta with the word Transport painted on the side of the vehicle.  He and his brother were the newest entrepreneurs in Aidan Kirkwood’s village services.  “Having dinner with Loren in Timsley?  Setting out plans for the Aunt Margaret visit, are we?”
A blues guitar reverberated from Berdie’s bag in the hallway while at the same moment Granville sounded his horn.
Lillie turned in a flash.  “I’ll tell you all about it later,” she called out while walking briskly out to the taxi.
“Good, I’ll look forward to it.”  Berdie closed the door and lunged toward her bag just in time to hear Hugh’s voice.
“What is that?” he called out.
Berdie grabbed her mobile and put it to her ear.  “Mrs. Elliott”.  She heard what sounded like a hoarse gasp of air.
“She’s in danger,” the graveled voice pronounced.
This person was not a playful lad.  Berdie tried to keep her wits about her.
“Who’s in danger?”
“She’s in danger,” the wheezing voice repeated.  “No police.”
“Who is this?”  Berdie hoped she didn’t sound as alarmed as she felt.  A course wheeze and a click were her only response.
“Who was at the door?” Hugh asked as he bounced into the hallway.
Berdie shoved her mobile in her bag.  “Lillie,” she worked at appearing nonchalant.  “She’s already gone.”
“Are you all right?” 
Hugh’s question bored into Berdie’s veneer, but she held her own.  “I just hope Lillie and Loren get on well at Aunt Margaret’s.”
“Someone on the mobile?”  He pointed to her bag.
Berdie was not about to tell him the whole of it.
“I have no clue who the person was.”  She laughed hoping Hugh would not catch the nervous edge of it.
He smiled.  “Oh, I had one of those the other day.”
“You did?” 
“Some bank I think it was, a survey.  Those computer generated calls, so garbled and impersonal.  Invasive as well.”
“Yes, invasive,” she improvised.
“Care for a cuppa?”
“Splendid.”  She could use one at the moment.
“I’ll put the kettle on.”  Hugh advanced toward the kitchen.
Berdie sunk to the bottom step of the hall stairway.  She pulled her mobile out and tried to retrieve the call but it showed as number withheld.  “She’s in danger, no police,” she repeated the words to herself.  “Dear Lord have mercy.” 

Buy link