Human Trafficking and Street Children

Human Trafficking and Street Children

DancerMy husband and I have been to the beautiful country of Ukraine twice. The first time, I won a trip with International Cooperating Ministries, and the second time, we went with Doxa Kids Street Children’s Ministry. Doxa Kids helps at-risk children in Ukraine and Kenya, with plans to expand to other countries. The goal of this organization is to provide these children and teens with a shelter—a safe place to stay. If they children aren’t living on the streets—in sewer tunnels and dumps, they won’t be as lucrative of a target for traffickers.

Ukraine, along with Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, China, Thailand, and Nigeria, is one of the high-risk source nations for trafficking. High-risk destination countries include Belgium, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.

After learning a little about street kids and human trafficking, I decided to write a novel based on human trafficking. I’m currently in the plotting stage and have been doing extensive research into this modern-day slave trade.

Victims are often recruited by other victims or even someone they trust in their own communities. The trafficker lures with promises of a better life, a modeling career, job opportunities, and in some cases, the victim is kidnapped. When the trafficker recruits slaves for other countries, they often use forged passports for the victim. If a real passport is used, the trafficker then keeps the victim’s passport and identification.

The trafficker holds victims hostage by physical and emotional abuse. Often he tells the victim they entered the country illegally and will go to prison if they leave him. Most, whether sold into the sex trade or not, are raped, gang-raped, starved, and beaten as part of the conditioning process.

Approximately 80% of trafficking is for the sex industry which contributes to the spread of HIV. Eighty percent of sexual slavery victims are under twenty-four with some as young as six. Often they are working in the streets or in places of business that offer commercial sex acts –massage parlors, escort services, adult bookstores, modeling studios, bars/strip clubs.

Often times the traffickers advertise via the internet. One teenage US victim indicated her captor held her in an apartment and men came to her by the droves. They moved often in order to not capture the attention of law enforcement.

There are currently more slaves in the world today than ever before in history. These slaves are men, women, and children around the world. Most are branded with tattoos representing their owners. Many have bar-code tattoos that can be scanned with a smart phone so the person may be returned to their “owners”. While sex trafficking, prostitution, exotic dancing, is the by far the most common, humans are trafficked for forced labor – street peddling, housekeeping, child care, construction, restaurants, factories and landscaping, etc.

Our most vulnerable population around the world, children, are trafficked into the sex industry and as child soldiers. According UNICEF estimates there are 300,000 child victims forced to serve in armed conflicts world-wide. Also, UNICEF estimates over the past thirty years there have been over thirty million children sexually exploited through trafficking.

While modern-day slavery is a pervasive, it largely remains a hidden crime. However there are many groups and organizations dedicated to helping victims and ending slavery. The first step in ending this horrendous crime begins with education and awareness.

 

Works Cited

11 Facts About Human Trafficking; ND http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-human-trafficking

55 Little Known Facts About Human Trafficking; January 2, 2011; http://facts.randomhistory.com/human-trafficking-facts.html

Human Trafficking: An Intelligence Report; June 2006 http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2006/june/humantrafficking_061206

Human Trafficking: The Facts; ND; UNICEF; http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/labour/Forced_labour/HUMAN_TRAFFICKING_-_THE_FACTS_-_final.pdf

What Is Modern Slavery?; ND; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/what/index.htm

What is Human Trafficking?; August 16, 2012; http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/resource/about-human-trafficking#overview

INK 180; ND; http://ink180.com/the-ink180-story/

http://www.humantrafficking.org/combat_trafficking

http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_58022.html#CT

http://www.unodc.org/toc/en/crimes/human-trafficking.html

Human Sex Trafficking; ND; By Amanda Walker-Rodriguez and Rodney Hill; http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking

http://www.freeforlifeintl.org/

 

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First Wild Card Tour – Janalyn Voigt

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Harbourlight Books (December 31, 2013)
***Special thanks to Janalyn Voigt for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Janalyn Voigt’s unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Beginning with DawnSinger, her epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams.

Janalyn is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary. She serves as a literary judge for several international contests and is an active book reviewer. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA.

When she’s not writing, Janalyn loves to find worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Elcon, an untried youth, assumes his duties as High King. But as trouble stirs between nations and rebellion threatens Faeraven, his position is far from secure. Can Elcon trust that the Elder youth accompanying Kai is the DawnKing, sent by the High One to deliver his people? Or has something gone horribly wrong?

Driven to prove himself, Elcon embarks on a peace-keeping campaign into the Elder lands, where he meets a beautiful Elder princess. But Aewen is betrothed to another, and Elcon has promised to court the princess, Arillia, upon his return. Declaring his love for Aewen would shame them both and tear apart the very fabric of Faeraven.

Elcon’s choices lead him into the Vale of Shadows, where he learns that to deliver his people, he must find redemption himself.

My Review:

Janalyn has a way with words. She’s created an incredible fantasy world with mystical creatures and intriguing characters. The allegory to Christianity is embedded throughout the story, but it’s not preachy in the least.

The first book centered around Shae and Kai and Shae’s calling to release the Dawn King. Wayfarer centers more around Elcon and his ascent to High King of Faeraven. As I read, the character of Elcon drew me into the story. He’s real and he’s flawed just like us.

While fantasy isn’t the normal genre I read, I did love the book. It’s a great read for a mature teen or adults.

 

 

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

Paperback: 298 pages

Publisher: Harbourlight Books (December 31, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1611162920

ISBN-13: 978-1611162929

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Part One: The Bridegroom
1
Return to Torindan
An indrawn breath alerted Kai. Unsheathing his
sword, he peered into the shadows beneath a weilo tree’s curling tresses.
Nothing stirred.
“Show yourself!” His challenge rang through the
vale.
No response.
He stepped closer.
Kai. His
name sighed in a sudden wind that ruffled the waters of the weild. Morning
mists eddied above the river, but the leafy canopy over his head remained still
and silent.
Impossible! And yet he knew that voice. “Shae?”
With his heart beating in his throat, he pressed forward.
Beneath the weilo a many-hued light shimmered,
swirled, and took shape. Shae stood before him, her eyes closed as if in
prayer. Her unbound hair cascaded in burnished curls to her waist. Beneath her
scarlet cloak, she clutched something at the end of the fine chain encircling
her neck. The glint of silverstone between her fingers told him she wore his
locket. She opened her eyes and smiled at him. “Kai.”
But he backed away. “Are you some dryad come to
enchant me?”
“Please.” She held out her hands imploringly. “Stay.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“You have nothing to fear. It’s me—Shae.”
He shook his head. “I saw you vanish from this
world. Do you return by another gateway than Gilead Riann?”
“Gilead Riann is the only Gate of Life, but there
are soft places like this one where I can look into Elderland, if only for a
time. When I saw you near, I called to you over and over.”
Even as a spark of hope flared, he hesitated. “I
heard your voice once only, borne on the wind.”
She clasped her arms about herself and smiled,
although tears glistened in her eyes. “And yet you answered my call.”
“I love you, Shae.”
“No. Release yourself.” Her voice broke on the
whispered words.
The longing to take her into his arms left him
weak. “You ask more than I can give.”
“I can’t bear to see you suffer.”
“Then you must not look.”
Shae’s image shimmered like a reflection in wind-stirred
waters. “I release you.”
“Wait!” As he rushed toward her, she dissolved
into glimmering light that melted into shadow…
Jerking heavy lids open, Kai blinked against the
weak light tilting through swishing weilo leaves. His dream had seemed so real.
A moan sprang to his lips but died behind gritted teeth. Short, swift breaths
relieved the tightness in his chest. His mind, however, knew no ease.
He turned his head and met a pair of dark, rounded
Elder eyes. He let his lids close to shield himself from their penetrating
gaze.
“Kai.”
Emmerich’s murmur called him back from the edge of
thought. He rolled onto his side and pushed to a sitting position. His
companions, their shapes little more than shadows in the gathering mists of
morning, bent over their bedrolls. Behind them the canyon walls of Doreinn
Ravein rose into obscurity.
At the expression of pity on Emmerich’s face, Kai
balled his hands into fists and rode out a surge of heat. Shae might stand
beside him now, but for Emmerich.
As soon as the unworthy thought came, he pushed it
away and forced his hands to unclench. Shae had willingly traded places with
Emmerich at Gilead Riann. She’d sung her own death song by choice. And he, to
his joy and sorrow, had urged her on.
He glanced sideways at Emmerich. “Sometimes, when
the wind blows, I think I hear her calling.”
Emmerich’s eyes gleamed. “Perhaps she does.”
Kai waited until he could trust himself to speak
again. “She comes to me in the land of dreams.”
Emmerich tilted his head, and a lock of dark hair
fell across his brow. “Does she speak to you?”
Without answering, Kai bent and rolled up his
bedding.
Emmerich waited.
Kai sighed and looked away. “She tells me to wait
for her no more.”
“I see. And will you heed her?”
He dusted off his hands, lingering over the task,
and then glanced sideways at Emmerich. “At odd moments I expect to see her, to
hear her voice. I can’t stop hoping for a sight of her—looking for her return.”
The words wrenched from him in a rush. “I can’t release myself from loving her.
I don’t know how.”
“Patience does not spring from sorrow with ease.”
All at once, Kai laughed. “You have both wisdom and youth—a fearsome combination.”
“Those with ready ears often hear wisdom, even from
a youth.”
****
“Steady, Fletch.” Kai touched the neck of the
winged horse beneath him and looked out over the frothing weild, which fell to
rapids here. Sudden memory caught at him. He could almost see Shae combing her
hair on the flat-topped rock at water’s edge.
At a restive movement from the other wingabeasts,
Fletch shuddered in sympathy. Kai turned away from the wraith of memory and
gathered his wits before facing his companions. “Thank you for your faithful
service. Each of you went beyond duty. Although we–” He heaved a breath. “Although
we return without Shae, our quest succeeded. In that we can give thanks to Lof
Yuel, the High One, who has kept us in His care.”
He signaled Fletch, and wings rose to enfold him
like a feathered curtain. As the great wings lowered and they lifted on
invisible currents to the top of the canyon walls, draughts rippled across him.
At this height the mists thinned but would still hide their movements from any
stragglers from Freaer’s forces retreating from the siege of Torindan.
How would Lof Shraen Elcon, Faeraven’s new high
king, react when Kai returned without Shae? He put the thought from him and
focused, instead, on navigating the twists and turns of the canyons. They
emerged into a flat land as the horizon blushed and the shadows lengthened to
stain the eastern desert purple.
The ground folded and rose beneath them, and then
crested a rise. In the distance, past the broken peak of Maeg Streihcan,
swelled the hills that Kai’s people, the Kindren, called Maegren Syld. The
Elder nation knew them as the Hills of Mist. To the west, the kaba forest
stretched to meet sandy shores where the tides of Maer Ibris ebbed and flowed.
Torindan, fortress of Rivenn, perched on an arm of
rock thrusting into Weild Aenor, the wild river of legend. Kai caught his
breath at the sight. How long ago it seemed since they had left.
****
Raena Arillia stepped toward Elcon in the dance,
jewels and eyes aglitter. Her figure had softened since he’d seen her last, and
the luster of her golden hair echoed the glow of her skin. He captured her by
the hand and waist and turned her toward him. When she smiled at him, he forgot
everything but her beauty.
He clapped his hands in tempo, and Arillia swayed
in a circle that brought her back to him. Dainty, light on her feet, and quick
to smile, she reminded him of Shae.
Shae.
Elcon’s hands stilled, and his smile died. He’d
tried and failed to reach his sister with the shil shael, the hereditary soul
touch they shared. He could only hope she still lived.
Arillia’s smile faltered. “Are you well?”
Without replying, he offered his arm to her. She
took it without hesitation, and he guided her out of the crush of dancers
toward the leaping fire in the nearest of the great hall’s three large hearths.
Arillia’s parents smiled down upon them from the
dais at the end of the long chamber. Shraen Ferran and Raelein Annora had conspired with Elcon’s
mother to thrust Arillia and Elcon into one another’s company all of their
lives. No formal marriage pact existed, but he and Arillia knew they were
expected to wed. As children, they’d laughed at the notion many times.
With a tug on his arm, Arillia brought him up
short. “What ails you?” Such trusting eyes she turned on him, eyes of palest
gray. She knew him well, but he thought she did not guess he used her company
as a balm. In her presence, he found ease for the worries that tormented his
rest.
Her gaze probed his, but he glanced away, out the
tall window behind her to the fieldstone paths that cut through the lush sward
to the inner garden.
Ah, the garden. They’d often whiled away entire
afternoons gathering the roses that nodded beneath twisting strongwood
branches. Side by side, they’d dropped bright petals into the silken waters of
the pool and watched the water cascade in glinting ribbons from the tiered
fountain.
Elcon pushed away his memories and looked down
into Arillia’s troubled face. “Naught but shadows.”
Her expression registered her disbelief, but he
offered nothing more. For Shae’s safety, he couldn’t claim her as his sister.
And how could he explain to Arillia the feeling of doom that weighted him?
And yet, when he looked into the cool depths of
her eyes, he could almost persuade himself she understood. The thought should
draw him to her, but it only made him uneasy. Perhaps he and Arillia shouldn’t
spend so much time together.
“As you please, Elcon.” Irritation edged her
voice. “It’s clear you mean to keep your thoughts private.” Arillia stepped
closer to the fire and gazed into its depths as silence stretched between them.
“But I still wish—”
Elcon took her by the elbow. “Forgive me. I must
return you to your parents.”
Her eyes widened, but as he pushed her through the
crowd toward the dais, she didn’t resist. His perfunctory bow to her parents
included Arillia. He caught the glint of tears trembling on her lashes and
hesitated, but then hurried across the great hall. Arillia, and all the
confusing emotions surrounding her, would have to wait.
By the time he reached the main archway, Weilton,
the second guardian of Rivenn, had joined him. In Kai’s absence, Weilton had
assumed his duties as Elcon’s personal guard. Elcon answered the question in
Weilton’s light gray eyes. “I saw from the window a company of wingabeasts
approaching from the south. Kai and Shae return.”
****
Kai sent Flecht into a spiral and touched down
beside his companions on the arched bridge outside Torindan’s barbican.
Although they could have flown into Torindan, protocol and good sense called
for the guardians to land their wingabeasts outside all strongholds, even their
own, and obtain entrance in the usual manner.
“Who goes there?” A guard called from the parapet
above the barbican.
“Kai of Whellein and a company of weary travelers,
all friends of Torindan.”
With a rasp and screech of metal, the drawbridge
lowered over the moat’s dark waters and the barbican’s timbered metal doors
swung open.
As they passed beneath the iron fangs of the
portcullis, Aerlic drew his silver wingabeast, Argalent, abreast of Kai. Just
behind, Emmerich rode Ruescht while Guaron and Dorann brought up the rear. They
had barely passed through when the doors thudded shut and the bar clanged back
into its rests. Chains clanked, and the portcullis dropped with a squeal and a
thump, sealing them into the treacherous “walls of death.”
Fletch’s hooves clattered on the wooden
floorboards and rang when they found trapdoors above pits. As Kai guided his
wingabeast onward, bars of light penetrating through arrow slits in the outer
walls fell over him. With much clanking and screeching, a second portcullis
gave way, and they emerged before the inner gatehouse.
Kai, blinking in the sudden light, answered
another round of salutations. A small drawbridge lowered across a second
channel of the moat. More doors opened, and they passed beneath twin turrets
into a short corridor.
Footsteps, light and fleet, approached from the
outer bailey. With his eyes adjusting again to dimness, Kai halted Fletch and
his companions gathered around him. Two figures entered by the archway from the
outer bailey. “Kai. You return.”
Kai’s vision cleared, but he’d already recognized
Elcon’s voice.
One of the guardroom doors along the corridor
flung open and Craelin, First Guardian of Rivenn, stepped out, the lines around
his eyes crinkling from the force of his smile. Beside him strode Eathnor,
dressed in the green and gold of the high guard.
Kai dismounted and bowed before Elcon. “I’ve
returned, but without Shae.”
“Rise.”
Kai obeyed.
Elcon looked him over. “You’re too thin, and I’ll
warrant, weary. You look like a strong wind would knock you over. Still, I’m
glad to see you. Has Shae stayed behind with her sister in Graelinn?”
Kai swallowed his surprise at Elcon’s response. “Forgive
me, but I should explain in private.”
“Tell me where she is.”
Kai flinched. “She remains within the gateway of
Gilead Riann.
Elcon’s eyes narrowed. “What madness is this?”
“Only the truth, I promise. Shae went through the
gateway of her own will.”
“Why would she do such a thing?”
“So that Shraen Brael could enter Elderland.”
“The DawnKing of prophecy has entered Elderland?
But where is Shae?”
Craelin stepped forward. “If I may suggest,
whatever news Kai brings might better be given in private, Lof Shraen.”
Elcon opened his mouth as if to speak but closed
it again. “Yes. Yes, of course.” His glance slid past Kai and landed on
Emmerich, just dismounting. “Tell me, Kai, why you ride with this Elder. Has he
strayed from his path so far it brings him among the Kindren?”
Emmerich lifted his head. “I know well my path,
Elcon, Shraen of Rivenn, Lof Shraen of Faeraven. I follow it to you.”
“I don’t understand.”
“That is the simple truth.”
Elcon paced before Emmerich, his gaze a challenge.
“Who are you?”
Emmerich stood without flinching. “Are you certain
you wish to know?”
Elcon stared at him, but then looked to Kai. “Bring
him to my meeting chamber, and we’ll discuss these matters at length.” At the
archway to the outer bailey, Elcon shot a final piercing glance at Emmerich. “I
look forward to that conversation.”
Elcon went through the archway with Weilton behind
him. In the small silence that followed his departure, Kai drew his hands into
fists at his side. After all they had suffered and sacrificed, would Elcon now
reject Emmerich?
“Are you all well?” Craelin said near Kai’s ear.
Kai considered the question. “Well enough. We
sustained injuries besides the ones you knew, but most have healed. Some take
longer than others.” And some never heal.
“How did you and Eathnor fare on your return to Torindan?”
A smile lit Craelin’s face. “Well enough, also. We
reached Torindan in advance of Freaer’s charge and just managed to take away a
small group of messengers. We rode like the wind to summon the loyal Shraens of
Faeraven but had to dodge welke riders to save our own lives.”
“Ah.” An
image of dark riders pursuing through the mists of morning came to Kai. “We had
a bit of trouble with them ourselves.”
“If not for Eathnor’s skill as a tracker we would
not have survived to spread the alert.”
Kai nodded to Eathnor. “Well done. And so you have
joined the ranks of the guardians. I commend Craelin’s choice in you.”
Eathnor clasped Kai’s hand. “Thank you. I hope to
prove myself worthy of the company I keep.”
Dorann dismounted in one leap, and the two
brothers gazed upon one another with eyes that shone. At last, Eathnor dipped
his head. “You’ve healed.”
Dorann put a hand to his once-blackened eye as a
slow smile spread across his face. “In truth, I’d forgotten it.” He took in the
garb his brother now wore as part of the lof stapp. “Green suits you.”
Eathnor laughed. “That it does.”
With Eathnor beside him, Dorann led his dark gray
wingabeast, Sharten, through the archway into the outer bailey, where the
stables lay.
“Welcome back.”
At Craelin’s greeting, Kai smiled for the first
time since entering Torindan. But he also felt like weeping. “Thank you. I’m
glad to see you.”
The bright blue eyes nested more deeply in Craelin’s
face. “And I, you.”
Kai cleared his throat. “We should hurry, although
I dread facing Elcon again.” With slumped shoulders, he led Fletch after the
others into the outer bailey, where smoke hung heavy and the stench of charred
meat fouled the air. Dogs snarled and yipped, fighting over a bit of offal
thrown to them. A scarred wooden door hung open in a doorway, through which
emitted the clash and clang of cooking.
With Craelin keeping pace beside him, Kai took the
side path to the stables, which squatted across the sward from the kitchens.
Waiting for a groomsman at the stable door, he breathed in the heavy scent of
hay. Thudding hooves, soft whickerings, and calming voices drifted to him. A
lump formed in his throat. He’d forgotten what it meant to come home.
Craelin touched his arm. “Give it time, Kai. None
but a fool would think you gave less than your all for Elcon or Shae.”

 

Kai wanted to shout that his all hadn’t been
enough. He’d failed Shae, and he had failed Elcon.
Posted in Christian Fiction | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Review of DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt

DawnSinger

Review of DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt

 

Shae always wonders why she’s not more like her sister who always seems to do and say the correct things. Her brother, Kai, must come to her rescue time and again when her adventurous spirit lures her into trouble.

When the dying queen of Faeraven summons Shae to her side, Kai accompanies her on the long journey fraught with peril, as her protector.

Once at Faeraven, Shae encounters a musician who reaches out to her in her dreams with an almost otherworldly touch. While trying to understand her fascination with this man, Shae learns Kai is not her brother as she believed. Kai perpetuated the ruse in order to protect Shae from certain death because of a prophecy that only she can fulfill.

Kai and Shae must travel through dangerous lands in order for Shae to meet her destiny and release the Dawn King. In their travels they encounter wild beasts, and supernatural creatures all while Shae tries resist the musician’s call.

In DawnSinger, Janalyn weaves a tale of love, honor, duty, and betrayal. The story is well-written with imaginative creatures and creative lands.   While the story is considered Christian fiction and has undertones of Christianity and Biblical allegory, it doesn’t come across preachy in the least.

The novel is the first in the series and worth the time to read. It’s geared toward adults, but mature teens would enjoy it also. I did have trouble keeping all of the names straight. At times, it felt as though I was learning a new language with all of the beasts, characters, and every day items used.

Overall the novel was a great read and I look forward to the next in the series.

To purchase DawnSinger, or the other titles in the Faeraven series, visit Janalyn Voigt’s website: http://janalynvoigt.com/

 

Posted in Christian Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Revolutionary Love


Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Bibles, Crossway (2012-01-23). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (without Cross-References) (p. 849). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.
 

Revolutionary Love

Love the Lord and love others. It sounds so simple, yet as Christians we often fall short. When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he wasn’t talking about our literal neighbors – those who live on either side of us. He was talking about those we come in contact with.

Most of us would say, “Of course I love others…” but what about the man who cut us off in traffic earlier? Or the woman who told lies about us? What about the friend who divulged our secrets? What about the tattooed stranger? What about the woman with the purple Mohawk? What about the gay couple who live next door? What about the atheist who ridicules our faith? What about the radical Muslim who wants us dead? What about the leader of the opposing political party? What about the TV executive who gives the ax to a Christian program? What about the store clerk who refuses to say “Merry Christmas”? What about the person who hates Christians and wishes we would all just curl up and die? I could go on, but you get the picture. Sometimes it’s difficult to love others – much less love others as we love ourselves.

What would happen if we, as Christians, left religion behind, focused on Jesus and mirrored his radical, revolutionary love? One line in the song above says “the whores all seem to love him.” Jesus went to those who were lost and hurting, and he loved them with abandon.  If we loved others – even those we see as enemies – like Jesus loves them, what would happen?

A revolutionary love would change our world. Jesus died for us – if that’s not a revolutionary love, I don’t know what is. If we stepped out and blessed those who curse us, loved those we see as unlovable, we could make a real difference in our communities.

What does revolutionary love look like?

If it’s the gay couple next door, reach out and make friends with them. Love them. Treat them with respect and kindness. Chances are they’ve never had a Christian treat them with love and kindness.

The girl with the purple Mohawk? She may be the nicest young woman you could ever meet, but you won’t know that until you take the first step to reach out and treat her with love. She may need a genuine friend who will love her without judgment.

An atheist who ridicules you? Invite him to dinner – it will really confuse him. If we stop butting heads with those who don’t believe like we do, put feet to our faith, and treat them with love, they won’t know what to think.

What about the woman who told the awful lies about us? Forgive her. I’m not saying to keep going back for more, but forgive and keep quiet about it. Don’t try to get even by telling everyone what she did. Give her to the Lord. My young cousin taught me a tremendous lesson on this. A girl she went to school with spread some awful, painful lies about her. To the point that my cousin wanted to quit school.

After the dust had settled, and the lies had died down, the girl needed a ride to a game, and if she didn’t find a ride, she wouldn’t get to play. My cousin asked her mother to take the girl. She had forgiven her, and she treated the child with love in spite of the horrible pain the girl had caused. How loud did those actions speak to that child? I know they spoke very loudly to me. If a junior high girl can show a revolutionary love to a “mean girl”, then why can’t we as adult Christians show love to those who hurt us?

Instead of protesting and fighting others at every turn, why don’t we try something radical? Love them. Just as they are – without trying to change them. If we love them as we love ourselves, then we might show them a smidgen of the love that Jesus has for them.

Let’s start a revolution! One fought with love…

 

 

 

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First Wild Card Tours – Bethlehem’s Baby by Sheila Deeth

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Cape Arago Press (September 2, 2013)
***Special thanks to Edward Lewis for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Sheila Deeth is a prolific writer whose works span multiple genres. Besides the popular Five-Minute Bible Story™ Series, she is also the author of the What Ifs…Inspired by Faith and Science books, as well as several children’s Bible Picture books. A life-long Christian, she has spent many years as a Christian Educator and Sunday School Teacher. Sheila’s writing reflects her familiarity with a wide spectrum of Christian beliefs.

Ms. Deeth was born in England and earned a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University. She now lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys reading, writing, and running the Coffee Break Bible Studies and the Writers’ Mill writing group when not meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

With the introduction of Bethlehem’s Baby, Biblical author, Sheila Deeth, turns her prodigious writing talents to familiar tales from the New Testament. This Sixth Volume in the ever-popular Five Minute Bible Story Series looks at the characters and events leading up to and immediately following the birth of the Christ Child…from Caesar Augustus and Herod to John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and many more.

This series of 40 linked short stories is aimed at the Middle Grade Reader. Each one is chock full of insights, information, and her trademarked quirky humor, making them a joy for youngsters to read or hear. Each story contain Biblical references and ends with a prayer, making them work equally well for reading to younger children, or grandchildren, at bedtime or naptime. Like all books in the Five-Minute Bible Stories Series they’ll have your children begging for “just one more.” Fully Illustrated and Contain Author’s Notes.

 

Product Details:

List Price: $3.99

File Size: 725 KB

Print Length: 123 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: Cape Arago Press (September 2, 2013)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00EY172MA

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

IN THE BEGINNING

~ 1 ~

GOD

(The Old Testament)
In the beginning, God created
the universe. He made stars and planets. He made the sun, moon and earth. He
made mountains and seas, flowers and trees, birds and bees, and animals and
people. And everything was good.
God made the world like a
painter creating a beautiful picture. He mixed its colors together, designed
its patterns, and added light and dark in all the right places. When God
finished painting, the earth was good enough to hang on the wall of heaven.
God made the world like an
author writing a book. He worked out the details, solved all the mysteries, and
linked all the pieces together. When God finished writing, he gave us his words
in the Bible so we could read them. Meanwhile angels rejoiced to know what he’d
done.
God made the world like a
programmer designing a computer game. He set up all the scenes, made voices for
the characters, and planned how all the rules would make everything work. But
computer games often have bugs in them. Our world was so good when God finished
making it, there wasn’t a single mistake in it anywhere.
But God didn’t hang the world on
a wall when he’d finished. He didn’t leave the Bible on a bookshelf to look
nice. And he didn’t sell his program to people who wanted to play humans on
their computer. Instead, God made the world like a gardener who works in a
park. When he’d finished planning and planting everything, God stepped right
into the park to help the people look after it. God’s park was a beautiful
place called the Garden of Eden.
God worked in his Garden of Eden
every day, feeding animals, helping bees, watering flowers, cleaning the
rivers, and pouring sweetness into beautiful berries hanging from the trees.
God walked and talked with the people in Eden, loving them like a father loves
his children. He taught them to play and he kept them perfectly safe. No one
was ever hungry in the Garden of Eden. No one was tired or sick. Nobody ever
had to work too much and no one was ever bored. Even plants and animals were
perfectly safe in Eden, everything beautifully in balance, living and dying in
due season with no sickness, no loneliness, no sorrow and no pain.
But then the people in God’s
garden, the people God had chosen to be his very own children, broke God’s rules.
They didn’t care that the rules were there to keep them safe, or else they
didn’t remember. They just wanted to do as they pleased and have fun and
pretend they were in charge. So they ate the fruit of a special tree that
wasn’t theirs to eat.
Now God’s Garden of Eden began
to change. With people making their own rules nothing ever worked like it
should. Seeds weren’t planted at the right time, and crops were harvested too
soon. Farmers didn’t store enough food. They didn’t take proper care of the
animals. They didn’t move when the weather changed, and they built their houses
in foolish places then complained when their buildings burned down. What a
mess! But God was still watching and helping his people. He hadn’t finished
with them then, and he hasn’t finished with us yet.
God sent his people out of the
broken garden, out into the world where we have to work for a living, and fight
for freedom, and struggle for safety and space. God still protects us of
course, but he can’t keep us completely safe because then he’d have to make us
always do exactly as we’re told, and most of us aren’t very good at that.
Still, one day, when the time
was perfectly, wonderfully right, when everything was just as ready as it could
ever be, when everyone was in the perfect place at the perfect time, God came
into his world as a baby boy called Jesus. Like a painter stepping into his
picture, or an author talking to his characters, or a computer programmer
trapping himself inside the world of his game, God became Jesus and lived as a
human child, just like you and me.
Because of
Jesus, the world really is going to be perfect one day. No one will be hungry.
No one will be sad. No one will get sick or scared. There’ll be just enough
food and drink for all the people and animals, just enough rain and sun, just
enough laughter and fun, just enough of everything good, and nothing of
everything bad, all because God became man and saved us all.
Thank
you God for our beautiful universe and the lovely planet we live on.
Thank you for caring so much for your
creation and for caring so much for us.
Thank you for sending Jesus to live among us
and save us.
And
thank you for your Spirit who helps us live how you want us to.

 

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Wild Card Tour – Bonnie Floyd’s Bound to a Promise

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Bound To A Promise
Creative Enterprises Studio; 1ST edition (2013)
***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Real, relatable and refreshing are words often used to describe Bonnie L. Floyd. Perhaps it is because she could easily be a next door neighbor to any of us. Bound to a Promise is a true story of tragedy and redemption that unexpectedly resulted in the opportunity to share that story with others and ultimately, the birth of Bonnie Floyd Ministries.

For more than seventeen years, Bonnie has taken her contagious zeal for the Lord and her authentic love for people to various conferences, retreats and churches throughout the United States and beyond. Her powerful and dynamic messages bring the Scriptures alive to audiences of all ages and offer useful and practical ways to apply them to everyday living. For several years, Bonnie served in various capacities with Women of Faith and is currently an administrator for Barry & Sheila Walsh. More importantly, she has a deep love and respect for God’s Word that is born out of her service as a teacher and small group leader for over 23 years.

Bonnie has been married to “her Donnie” since 1987. Both California natives, they now make their home in Celina, TX – a home which provides a perfect setting to delight children and to share Bonnie’s passion for cooking by entertaining family and friends. They make their church home at Genesis Metro Church in Frisco, TX where Donnie serves as an elder and Bonnie, who was ordained a Minister of the Gospel in 2010, is an active member in women’s ministries.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Bound to a Promise tells the amazing true story of God’s faithfulness in the face of unimaginable loss. Bonnie Floyd’s father and stepmother had been living a dream life-serving as caretakers of a private tropical island and traveling the world in a sailboat. That life was cut short when three young men boarded their yacht as it was anchored off the coast of Antigua. Determined that there should be “no witnesses” of their theft and brutality, the assailants shot all four people on board. Bound to a Promise includes the fascinating account of the Antiguan trial that brought her parents’ killers to justice, featuring some dashing Scotland Yard detectives, a criminal in search of redemption, and many other memorable characters from the island. Bonnie’s colorful descriptions of her parents’ adventures abroad and her time in Antigua lighten the mood and add a touch of travelogue to the true crime drama. In a truly inspirational twist, Bonnie arranges a meeting with one of the confessed attackers, a man who would eventually claim her as family.

Product Details:

List Price: $22.99

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Creative Enterprises Studio; 1ST edition (2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 098905215X

ISBN-13: 978-0989052153

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Prologue
February 1, 1994: It was six o’clock in the morning on what seemed a normal, cold, foggy day in Fresno, California. Then the phone rang. Donnie was already up and in the shower, so I sprang up in bed, cleared my throat, and answered the phone with my cheery, “Good morning!” as though I had been up for hours.
“Is this Mrs. Bonnie Clever-Floyd?”
I suddenly froze as a cold chill of fear crawled up my spine.
The voice on the other end of the phone was unfamiliar, his question strange, and it sent a shiver through me. For the first time in my thirty-three years, the last person I wanted to be was Bill Clever’s daughter.
“Mrs. Floyd, my name is Paul Howard, and I’m calling from the United States embassy in Antigua. I’m sorry, ma’am, but I need to ask you again, are you Bonnie Clever-Floyd?”
I stood motionless, still confused about why I was afraid to admit to this man who I was. I knew his question must pertain to my dad. Why else would he have been asking if I was Bonnie Clever-Floyd? I had never hyphenated my name, and as hard as it was to give up the name Clever, when I married Don Floyd, I became a Floyd through and through.
After a long pause, I firmly replied with a cracking voice, “No!”
By that time, I was sure Mr. Howard had discerned that the phone call was not going to go well. But then again, do those types of calls ever go well? “Mrs. Clever-Floyd, are you the daughter of William Norman Clever?”
He asked for the third time.
I simply could not reply. I was pacing the floor; dread had filled the room, fear had taken up residency, and confusion had consumed my mind. I heard Mr. Howard say, “Mrs. Floyd, Mrs. Floyd, are you still there?”
I knew I had to answer this Mr. Howard. I could not hang up and pre- tend the phone had never rung; it was far too late for that now.
“Yes, Mr. Howard, I am still here.”
With relief in his voice, he asked for the last time, “Mrs. Floyd, are you the daughter of William Norman Clever?”
After a long silence, I answered solemnly, “Yes, Mr. Howard, I am.”
So now the inevitable was about to be spoken. My life was about to change in ways no one in their wildest imaginations could have ever dreamed. But it was not a dream; it was a nightmare, and I was wide awake!

 

 

Chapter 1
Growing Up In Two Different Eras
As I stood paralyzed in time by the dread of what was coming next, highlights of my life that led to this terrifying moment played through my mind like a B-rated movie trailer in the old theater on a Saturday afternoon.
I grew up in Columbia, California, which is a historic state park in the Mother Lode Country. Columbia was founded during the gold rush days back in 1850 by a small party of prospectors who discovered the lode or main vein of gold in that region, the mother lode. News of their discovery spread, and a flood of miners soon joined them.
Unlike many settlements that have changed with the times, Columbia seems to be frozen in the 1800s. Growing up there was wonderful! How many kids get to grow up in two different eras at the same time?
Within the state park my family owned two popular saloons and the Columbia House restaurant, which was opened by my grandpop in 1958. Then in 1960 Dad took it over after moving to California from New Jersey with Mom and my two sisters, Susan and Linda. I came along in December of 1961, so unlike the rest of my family, I am a native Californian.
The Columbia House was a favorite place among the locals as well as visiting tourists. Everything on the menu was scrumptious, and all our recipes were originals and made from scratch. Dad’s navy bean soup actually made him a local celebrity—so much so that the townspeople called him “Billy Bean Soup.”
Dad began calling me “Bonnie Bean Soup” after himself, and eventually I became just “Bean.” I loved being called Bean better than Bonnie. Every time Dad called me Bean, I heard him say, “I love you.” Since it was my dad who nicknamed me Bean, it was the same honor to me as a son who is named after his father. After all, I secretly wished I had been born a boy so I could be even more like my daddy!
One of my favorite spots in town was the stagecoach. You could always find me at the counter selling tickets, riding shotgun with the driver or on horseback with the stagecoach bandit. Robbing those unsuspecting tourists was so much fun. It’s a good thing I had to wear a bandana over my face because I couldn’t keep myself from laughing.
I had a great life as a child, and I cherish my memories of those days. I would not trade one moment of my childhood. I felt secure in my parents’ love for me and for each other. But the climate soon began to change.
To think their fighting could possibly lead to a divorce was definitely not a place I wanted to go in my mind. I had seen too many of my friends go through that, and the end result was always the same—the parents hated each other, and my friends wound up spending every other weekend with their dads. I was determined that was not going to happen to this “daddy’s girl.”
Don’t get me wrong; I love my mom. She is a wonderful mother who was always about her family and found her fulfillment in just being Mom. There has never been a time when Mom was not there for my two sisters and me. My dad was adventurous, handsome, intelligent, and successful. He was determined to live life to the fullest, and unlike my mom, he didn’t seem content with just being a dad. He was eternally yearning, trying new things.
To keep himself content, Dad began accumulating businesses. He also started buying “toys,” such as boats and motorcycles. His first purchase was a ski boat, and then a twenty-four-foot pleasure boat he and Mom named the Bonnie Sue Lin. One thing was becoming apparent—Dad was never content for long. Soon the Bonnie Sue Lin was not enough. He had to go for something bigger.
The Sarsaparilla was a beautiful, thirty-six-foot Grand Banks yacht, and because it was an ocean-going vessel, Dad started making plans for the big trip he always talked about taking. His dream was to go out hundreds, even thousands of miles beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. And what he really wanted to do was stay out for a few months, instead of a few days. His plan was to sail the coast of California into Baja, Mexico, down and around the tip of Cabo San Lucas, and up to La Paz into the Sea of Cortez.
And that is exactly what we did.

 

Our Mexico trip was more wonderful than any of us could have imagined. Even my sister Linda, who was in the prime of her teens and not one bit happy about taking an extended vacation, had the time of her life. We grew close as a family in ways we had never experienced before. All we had was each other, and we found that each other was all we needed. Laughter always filled the sea life air. I believe one of the greatest things children can experience is watching their parents laugh together and love on each other. Within just a few short months after returning home, our close-knit family started unraveling. How I wish we could have just returned to the sea.
 
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Wild Card Tours – Beth Shriver’s Healing Grace

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Realms (October 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Beth wrote her first novel in 2002 and a year later it was published. She was a caseworker before starting a family, grew up in Nebraska, and now lives in Texas.

She became interested in writing about the Amish when researching her family history and found she was related to the the Glick families in Europe. Beth also freelances for the local papers in her area, writes columns, devotionals, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Beth followed her passion and now writes full time.

Beth has plenty of company when she writes, with her two cats and a beagle. She visits Amish communities in her area and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When not spending time with her family or friends she helps feed the homeless in South Dallas.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

 

Can Abby overcome the pain caused by her father and find acceptance among the Amish? Abby finds more than love and safety when she meets Mose, as she struggles with the faith she left behind after the death of her mother. After time spent with Mose and his family she knows she has to make a choice. Will Abby stay with Mose or go back to her sick father who needs her.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Series: Touch of Grace (Book 3)

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Realms (October 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1621362973

ISBN-13: 978-1621362975

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

“This is all I have.” Abby flashed the money at the horse trader. It was more than she had planned to spend, but the filly was worth it. Did this man know the value of what he had, or did he just feel sorry for her? It hadn’t been all that long since her mother passed away, but he and everyone else in town knew her dad was a swindler. He wouldn’t be empathetic.“That’s what they all say.” He grinned. “You know your horses.” He leaned back against a wooden post by the stall.She studied him for a moment, trying to decide if she trusted him. Abby did have a knack for picking horses. Focusing on conformation, temperament, and breed, she also had a good eye to go with her knowledge and experience. All of this told her that this equine had bloodlines for excellent breeding. Abby had learned the process from her father, Jim, who once was one of the best breeders around. But Abby’s dream was to train them for shows, something Jim thought was ridiculous. With a horse like this, they could make it happen.The last bit of sunlight disappeared, darkening the old barn. She didn’t like this part of town, and she was still unsure about this dealer, but he had the horse she wanted. She flipped her long blonde ponytail behind her and studied the filly before locking eyes with the trader. “She hasn’t been used on the track, has she?”

When he hesitated, Abby moved toward the horse.

“’Course not,” he scoffed.

She lifted the filly’s upper lip. No tattoo, the mark of a racer. She didn’t want a three-year-old burned-out horse. “Just checking.”

His dark eyebrows drew together, changing along with his demeanor. “I’m an honest horse seller, unlike your old man.”

Abby froze and stared at the horse until the heat in her face cooled down. She tried to think of how to respond, but she knew he was right, so she decided to ignore the comment. “Can I see the papers?”

“Sure.” He pulled some folded documents out of his back pocket and handed them to her. “Sign this one, and our business is done.” He pointed to the line where she was to write her name.

Abby paused. This was all the money her mother had given her—money Jim didn’t know about. How would she be able to explain this?

She looked over at the bay-colored mare. The brown tones contrasted beautifully with the white socks on all four of her legs, and her sleek body structure was the making of a fine competitor.

“Second thoughts?” His tone was flat, not friendly, but not flippant either.

“No…I—”

“You can wait and come back another time and see if she’s still here.” He almost sounded sincere.

She looked up at him to see a confident smirk appear. She knew the lines and had heard every spiel. Jim was the master of horse-selling tactics.

“You know better.” There was something about him she didn’t trust, so she stuck the money back in her pocket. “And so do I.” He was getting a good deal, and Abby hoped she was too.

He grunted, amused, then conceded with a nod.

She signed the papers and kept her copy. “This way you’ll know I’ll be back,” she said. Abby took one more look at the filly. “Yeah, this is the one,” she whispered, and she walked out of the barn.

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Great Christmas Reads by Saundra Staats McLemore

Great Christmas Reads by Saundra Staats McLemore

Christmas Hotel

Christmas Hotel

by Saundra Staats McLemore

It’s December, 1941 and Jerilyn Marlene Seifert receives the dreaded telegram she’s prayed she’d never have to read. Her Navy husband Ken has perished in the bombing at Pearl Harbor.

Devastated, she boards a train for Nashville, to meet her husband’s estranged family, but at a train stop along the way she discovers to her horror her purse has been stolen. Now widowed, four months pregnant, and penniless, Jerilyn finds herself stranded in Franklin, Kentucky — a complete stranger. Terrified for her future, she must learn to trust again. But is that even possible?

Jerilyn drifted from the Lord years ago, and she feels unworthy to ask Him for help, until she stumbles upon a mysterious diary that will change her life forever. The compelling secrets at Christmas Hotel unleash emotions Jerilyn thought had died with her husband.

 

 Christmas Hotel is available at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.desertbreezepublishing.com

Please visit www.saundrastaatsmclemore.com for more information.

 Christmas for Lucy

Christmas for Lucy

by Saundra Staats McLemore

 

Lucy’s eighth birthday is December first, 1954, the same day her mama dies leaving her an orphan. Lucy’s cruel uncle and aunt throw her out of the apartment in Bowling Green, Kentucky she had shared with her mama, and into the street.

 

That night, cold and alone, Lucy prays to the baby Jesus lying in the manger of the Nativity scene in front of the Methodist church. She cries out for His help, protection, and love. Later, she drifts into a restless sleep, huddled near the fountain in Fountain Square Park. In the night, Lucy awakens shivering, but a huge dog lies down beside her and keeps her warm.

 

The next morning, she meets an old man, and the dog and the old man help her in her search for someone to love her and keep her safe.

 

Christmas for Lucy is available at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.desertbreezepublishing.com.

Please visit www.saundrastaatsmclemore.com for more information.

 

 

Local Bio

Saundra Staats McLemoreSaundra Staats McLemore

I was born and raised in the Dayton, Ohio area, and I am the daughter of Warren and Christine Staats.  My father is deceased, but my mother lives close to me in New Carlisle, Ohio.  I have been married to my husband Robert McLemore for thirty-two years I am the mother of one son, Gerald Anthony Staats. I have one sister, Joy Staats Lightcap, and a deceased brother, Gerald Martin Staats, who was killed in the Vietnam War in 1970.  Since 1984, I have served as the President and founder of McLemore & Associates, Inc., a nationwide sales and marketing business for the performing arts.  My passion has always been history, and I enjoy reading historical Christian fiction.  I attend Huber HeightsBaptistTemple in Huber Heights, Ohio.  I also reside in Huber Heights, which is a small town nine miles northeast of Dayton, Ohio.  The other two members of our family are my cat Charley and my Cocker Spaniel Daisy. I have written four novels Abraham and Anna and Joy out of Ashes, Christmas Hotel, and Christmas for Lucy. Christmas Redemption is a work in progress, due out in the Fall of 2014. Christmas Redemption is the third novel in the Christmas Hotel Series.

 

 

 

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A Christmas Bonus

Patty WysongI know you’ll love today’s guest post. Patty Froese joins us with a  Christmas thought and some information about her new novel, A Christmas Bonus. Be sure to read the excerpt at the end of the post!

 

 

My son announced to his Kindergarten teacher that Santa wasn’t real. I got a distressed email from the teacher, asking me to make sure that he doesn’t tell any of the other children, lest their Christmas magic be ruined.

I fully understood, and I didn’t want to ruin the fun for the other kids, so I had a talk with my son about playing along with the Santa Claus game. I certainly didn’t want to be the Scrooge! And our family is big on Christmas–the tree goes up right after Halloween!

But it got me to thinking. A lot of these kids were being raised without any belief in God, and in public school, even mentioning God is frowned upon. Yet there is such a protective instinct around the idea of Santa, wanting this little ones to hold onto the possibility of Santa for just a couple more years…

Santa… He knows when you’re naughty or nice. He loves you, and he knows the desires of your heart. He adores children and he wants you to be good. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. You aren’t alone when there is Santa Claus.

The parents know that one day their children will no longer believe in Santa, but they don’t want to tear that away. Not yet.

I didn’t feel the need to tell my son that Santa was real. As Christians, the sparkle and mystery doesn’t vanish after the tree comes down. Christmas lasts all year when you believe in God. Miracles, angels, God dipping down and touching Earth… We live in the sparkle of Christmas magic every single day!

Merry Christmas to all of you! May your Christmas be filled with sparkle and the possibility of miracles around every corner.

A Christmas Bonus

By Patty Froese

A Christmas Bonus Cover Art

 

 

Book Blurb

When Millie’s boss asks her to work over Christmas, she’s hesitant to give him any more overtime. She has plans for her life that include quitting this job and starting her own photography business, and she promises herself to quit by New Years.

Andrew Holmes has no desire to go back to his tiny hometown for the holidays, but his manipulative grandfather gives him an ultimatum that he just can’t refuse. So in order to get the last project of the year finished in time, he asks his assistant, Millie, to make the trip with him.

With a disgruntled brother, a sister-in-law struggling with infertility and a little boy who shows up claiming that one of the Holmes men is his father, Christmas is about to get complicated…

 

Buy link:

http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/a-christmas-bonus-epub/

 

Excerpt

“So, Millie says she’d like to stay,” Andrew announced.

“Good.” Louise shot her a smile. “Do you like fruitcake, Millie?”

“I think so.” Mille sank into a seat next to her boss.

“Me, too…” Louise disappeared into the fridge, her voice meandering out from the chilly depths. “Except I always hate the fruit in it. So I just make the cake. But the cake is rather dry.”

“It’s more like a Christmas cracker,” Andrew murmured, and Millie repressed a laugh.

The dense, dry confection that landed with a heavy thud on the tabletop looked nothing like the fruitcake she’d seen in the past.

“Guests first.” Louise announced cheerfully, and when Millie shot Andrew a “help me” look, he pointed under the table.

“Give it to the dog,” he mouthed.

The dog? So far, Millie hadn’t seen a dog in the house, and when she slowly raised the plastic tablecloth to peer under the table, she was met with the biggest canine face she’d ever seen in her life. Stifling a yelp of shock, she turned her ashen face towards Andrew.

“That’s Edgar,” Andrew said.

“Edgar?”

He nodded. “Get used to him.” When she turned her attention to the plate deposited in front of her, Andrew leaned in and murmured in her ear. “Thanks for coming, by the way.”

 

Author Bio

Patty Froese writes from Alberta, Canada, where the winters are long and cold. This suits her just fine, since it gives her plenty of time to write and she can enjoy the snow from the right side of the window. She has her degree in English Literature and has written in other genres, but she particularly enjoys writing romance.

Patty also writes for Harlequin Love Inspired under the name Patricia Johns.

http://pattyfroese.com

 

 

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Grace Awards Launch – Tammy Doherty

Celtic Knot

by Tammy Doherty

 

The Grace Awards Launch continues today with Tammy Doherty.  Please check out the excerpt and other information from her novel, Celtic Knot.

Celtic Knot Tammy Doherty

 

About CELTIC KNOT by Tammy Doherty

When widow Abby Finnegan meets ranch hand Kyle Lachapelle, she figures he’s as deceitful as her family. But Kyle is a Secret Service operative working undercover, and Abby has a disturbing connection to his counterfeiting case. Abby’s protecting her heart while Kyle can’t afford the feelings stirring in his. Love is out of the question…or is it the answer?

 

Excerpt

“Look, mister,” Boone stood toe to toe with Kyle, their eyes level with one another. “I’m the law in these here parts an’ it’s my job to know about newcomers to town. An’ I ain’t partial to your wiseacre answers.”

“Well, I guess that makes us even, ‘cause I’m not partial to your lewd, nosy attitude.” Kyle held Boone’s gaze, as if daring the other man to make something of his answer.

Boone stared back, unblinking. He wouldn’t back down from a stare-off. Most cowpunchers either worked for Raymond Bigelow or were just passing through Prophecy. Bigelow hands generally knew their place when it came to Boone Warren. Rambling men were naturally intimidated by Boone’s large size and the way he carried himself. This man was quite obviously not intimidated or impressed.

Tension thickened the air as each man waited for the other to back down. Abby noticed that while Boone’s gun rested in its customary place at his hip, the stranger was unarmed. If Lachapelle noted this fact he made no sign that it mattered. And though she well knew how apt Boone was with his fists, she began to wonder if perhaps this newcomer might be able to best him in a fight. She wasn’t willing to find out the answers to any of these questions.

“That’s enough,” she scolded sharply. “I’ll not have such a show of childish violence in front of my daughter.”

Even the sharpness in her voice did not break the staring match. Abby frowned and forced herself between the two men, shoving Boone backwards. He broke eye contact with Lachapelle and turned his gaze to her.

“I’m ashamed of you, Boone Warren.” Her voice was quiet, yet forceful. “You really must learn your manners.”

He dipped his head as if apologizing, but only to Abby and only for a moment. His anger was barely veiled as he looked again at Lachapelle. “Make sure you’re on your best behavior when in my town. I don’t tolerate any hooliganism. Understood?”

 Interview with Millie Finnigan who’s mother, Abby Finnigan, is the heroine of Celtic Knot.

This interview originally appeared on Tammy Doherty’s blog, but she graciously agreed to allow me to post it for you to learn a little more about her great new novel.

“Welcome, Millie. Have a cookie and tell us a little about yourself.”

Millie grabs a cookie but waits to eat it. “Hi, I’m excited to be here today. Let’s see, I’m seven years old, and I live with my mother in Prophecy, Colorado.” She takes a bite of cookie, not talking again until she finishes chewing. “My real name is Millicent, but Momma only calls me that when she’s cross. I try not to make her angry ’cause she works real hard and hardly ever smiles. Momma has a pretty smile, but sometimes her eyes seem to look far away and her face gets sad.”

“Why do you think she’s sad?”

“It’s as if she’s looking at a photograph in her memory.” Millie fidgets with her dress, dropping her gaze a moment before continuing. “Remembering Daddy, I think. He died when I was four. That’s when we moved back to Prophecy. Momma says that Daddy called me his little blessing. I don’t hardly remember him. Sometimes that makes me sad.”

“What makes you happy?”

A smile brightens Millie’s countenance. “Playing with my best friend, Jennifer Stanton. Her pa is the town preacher an’ her folks are real nice. They always treat me like family. Pastor and Mrs. Stanton worry about Momma an’ me, ’cause we don’t always have money for nice things. But Momma takes real good care of me.”

“Doesn’t your grandfather own the largest ranch around Prophecy? In fact, he owns most of the town. Why doesn’t your mother ask him for help?”

Millie shrugs. “Momma’s family isn’t very nice. I’ve never even met my grandfather. Once, I heard someone say that Raymond Bigelow, that’s Momma’s father, is so mean an d contrary he makes Satan look angelic. All’s I know is my uncle Clayton is scary. He says things like teaching the whelp proper respect. That’s what he calls me, the whelp.” She shudders. “I don’t like him.”

“I’m sure your mother stays away from Clayton, then.”

“We try but Momma works at the Silver Streak Saloon, as a maid. Uncle Clayton goes there a lot and he looks for Momma. He likes being mean, an’ not just to her. I can’t understand why Boone is friends with him.”

“Who is Boone?”

“He’s our sheriff. Boone’s real nice. He always wants to buy me stuff but Momma won’t let him. She says she don’t want to be beholden to him.” Millie scrunches her nose. “Not sure what that means. I do know Boone wants to marry Momma. He might be a nice daddy. Still, I want Momma to be happy. She never smiles for Boone, least ways, not the kind of smile she gets when Mr. Lachapelle is around.”

“Kyle Lachapelle? When did you meet him?”

“He came into the mercantile one morning when Momma was buying supplies an’ things.” Millie leans forward to whisper, “He likes lemon candies just like me.” She sits back in the chair, speaking in her normal voice once more. “An’ he stood up to Boone, didn’t let anyone push him around. Later, he walked with Momma and me and he was a real gentleman. I hope he comes around more, ‘cept Momma told him she don’t want to be his friend. I hope she changes her mind.”

“I sure hope so, too. Millie, it’s been a joy having you here today. Do take one of those lemon candies from the jar for later. Yes, you may take one for Jennifer as well. Thank you for visiting.”

 

~ purchase links: Amazon http://amzn.to/ZxBnsP

Barnes&Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/celtic-knot-tammy-doherty/1007436106?ean=9781597811873

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/celtic-knot/id585956314?mt=11

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/261743

 

About the Author

 

Tammy Doherty lives on a small farm in central Massachusetts with her husband and two children. A veterinary technician by training, she works for a veterinary supply distributor as well as working on the family perennial farm. Tammy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a Grace Awards board member. Her three historical Christian romance novels, Celtic Cross, Claddaugh and Celtic Knot, are available in print and as eBooks. Currently she is working on contemporary romantic suspense. Visit Tammy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TammyDohertyAuthor, or  on her blog The Mystique of Naultag http://mystiqueofnaultag.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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