Skip to main content


Showing posts from 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. Waddesto…

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 ch…

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…

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.
buy link

Right to Bragg by Tanya Hanson

Tanya Hanson
Right to Bragg, fourth in the Hearts Crossing Series

buy link
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.   
     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 f…

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 was…

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 :)

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?


Elliott glanced at her as he sat. “There must be someone who had time for you, surel…

Christmas Harmony by EA West

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?
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 w…

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 mischie…

Plum Pudding Bride by Anne Garboczi Evans

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.


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 sq…

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 Ti…

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

A Mummy For Christmas by Clare Revell

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.

“Hello, boys and girls.”
“Hello, Father Christmas,” they all chorused back.
“Are you having a fun party?”
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 chil…

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

Luke's Crazy California Christmas by Cindy K Green

Luke’s Crazy California Christmas
Book 1.5 in the Aubrey Christian Academy series
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

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

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 ed…

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

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?


“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 c…

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 t…

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 d…