Category Archives: Writing

ACFW New Releases for April

American Christian Fiction Writers

April 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:
Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon — When a police chief and an ex-con join forces to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks fly. Given their backgrounds, it’s not a promising match—but in Hope Harbor, anything is possible. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])

Oh Baby by Delia Latham — Dawni Manors seeks peace in Angel Falls, Texas. What she finds is a cowboy, an abandoned infant, and emotional chaos. If the Heart’s Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

General:
A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti — Where does a relationship expert turn when his wife leaves him and carries a tiny heartbeat with her? (General from Abingdon Press)

Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent — When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother’s love never ends–not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her sudden death, she becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. (General from Walrus Publishing [Amphorae Publishing Group])

Mystery:

Sunset in Old Savannah by Mary Ellis — When a philandering husband turns up dead, two crack detectives find more suspects than moss-draped oaks in charming old Savannah, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne’er-do-well brother. (Mystery from Harvest House Publishers)

Historical:
Above Rubies by Keely Brooke Keith — In 1863, young teacher Olivia Owens establishes the first school in the remote settlement of Good Springs while finding love. (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

 

A Rose So Fair by Myra Johnson — Caleb Wieland would give anything to win farm girl Rose Linwood’s heart, but Rose’s stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she’s named. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Under the Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer — In 1854 Illinois, Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)
The Pony Express Romance Collection by Barbara Tifft Blakey, Mary Davis, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Maureen Lang, Debby Lee, Donna Schlachter, Connie Stevens and Pegg Thomas — Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express. Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:
Plain Target by Dana R. Lynn — Horse trainer Jess McGrath only wants to clear her disgraced brother’s name, but enemies keep coming out of the woodwork and danger only gets closer. Jess soon learns that no place is safe—and no one can be trusted…except for the last white knight she’d ever expect to ride to her rescue. Paramedic Seth Travis was the boy behind her high school humiliation, but he’s also the man keeping her alive. When they find sanctuary in the Amish community, can they uncover answers in time to stop a killer—and resolve their past in time to build a future together? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Dangerous Testimony by Dana Mentink — Four weeks before she’s set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband’s memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills — Special Agent Tori Templeton is determined to find who killed her best friend’s husband. Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer?and to each other?the more intent someone is on silencing them for good. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch — When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it’s his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancée from a dangerous felon, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Guardian by Terri Reed — When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who’s important to him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Witch by Denise Weimer — Having restored Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael’s been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary convince her to rely on the faithfulness of his love? (Romantic Suspense from Canterbury House Publishing)

Speculative Romance/Fantasy:The Fairetellings Series (Books 1 through 3) by Kristen Reed — Discover a trio of enchanting novellas inspired by three beloved fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)

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Love Blossoms – Review

The Love Blossoms boxed set is a lovely mixture of voices and plot lines. Children color A Handful of Flowers by Kimberley Rae Jordan at the beginning of this set and Spring Break by Susette Williams at the close. Between times we get to tour Australia with Narelle Atkins in The Bridesmaid’s Hero and Savannah with Jan Thompson in Walk You There.

Autumn MacArthur (A Lesson in Love) and Lynette Sowell (Spring at the Barncastle) are authors with whom I was unfamiliar until this publication. Both enchanted me with their characters and their writing voices. You can bet I’ll be looking for their other stories.

Marion Ueckermann lived up to my expectations with A Match for Magnolia. Since I’ve read practically everything she’s written, my standards for her are high. She’s well matched with equally talented writers in this box set. Although I was provided a free copy for my review, I’ve already purchased my own copy from Amazon. I’ll be re-reading these stories for my own pleasure.

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Mikey’s Not-so-funny for Writers

Mikey’s funnies is a favorite in my inbox. Not every day is a runaway success, but he has such a wry sense of humor that much of what He sends me resonates loudly.  This is shared for all my writer friends.

today’s FUNNY============================

HOW TO WRITE GOODER

Here are several very important but often forgotten rules of English:

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)

4. Employ the vernacular.

5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

8. Contractions aren’t necessary.

9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

10. One should never generalize.

11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.

14. Be more or less specific.

15. Understatement is always best.

16. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

19. The passive voice is to be avoided.

20. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

21. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

22. Who needs rhetorical questions?

Laugh if you will, but ignore at your own peril.

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Big Brother? I Don’t Have One

Lori’s blog got me to thinking.  Having no siblings, I never had to deal with tormenting from an older one or nuisance from a younger. It was the ultimate impoverishment of my formative years. But having been so impoverished, I was highly privileged in many other ways.

First there was Attitie.  Actually her name was Ethel, but my infant tongue could not manage Aunt Ethel, so she became Attitie. She was a devout Christian. One of my earliest memories (I had to be less than three) is singing with her to the theme song of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour on the radio. Her radio was cathedral shaped and stood on a three-legged table on the east wall of their living room.

We’d end the song with “Hallelujah, Jesus is mine.”  And then we’d argue back and forth.

“He’s mine”

‘No, he’s mine…’  At that age I didn’t realize he could belong to both of us.

 …

Then there was Doctor.  He was H. W. Graves, community physician for the rural town in which I was reared. He attended my birth, stood as godfather at my infant baptism in the Lutheran Church, and functioned as my surrogate father til we lost him my senior year in high school.

My current library is filled with books of faith and inspiration which he inscribed “To Judith, date, name of occasion, with love, Doctor.”  He constructed a scrapbook for me on my twelfth birthday. It fills a three-ring binder with snippets of inspiration and teaching that he culled from his reading. And most importantly, it contains some poems which he wrote – just for me personally. The opening is:

You’re twelve years old today, dear.  /  And I’m past seventy-three.  /  It’s back to back we’re dreaming  /  But it’s different things we see…

It goes on to say that I look at a golden sunrise and an earthly  future. He looks at a golden sundown and an eternal future.

Much of who I am today is due to his love and nurture and teaching. I thank God that he put Doctor in my life.

 I thought all children knew this kind of love and caring. When it dawned on me many years later that my childhood experiences were not typical, I was aghast. I saw people I knew and cared about be devastated by the loss of a family member.  A person I thought knew Christ as I did lost a sibling. Of course, it was a grievous time, but the grief and hopelessness I saw called forth the words of Paul:

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  (1 Thessalonians 4:13  KJV)

I knew this dear soul needed a closer walk with the Lord, but I did nothing to help that along – unless you count my prayers.

Years later, my family was hit with a tragedy that made headlines for a year.  In the aftermath, people commented to me “You’re so strong” and “I don’t see how you do it.”  In fact, I’m not particularly strong. I simply know where to lean and that makes me look strong.  But I was convicted to share the power that keeps me going in the face of destruction.

That is why I write – and why I speak to women’s groups about forgiveness, healing, getting closer to God and intercessory prayer.

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The Grace Impact

 Good morning, Nancy. Welcome to Ephemera Captured.

 Good morning, Judith. It’s good to be here.

I’m so excited to see the release of The Grace Impact on April 17, Nancy. And I’m always interested in how a book project develops. Can you tell us about the genesis of this book?

The idea for this book began several years ago. In 2007 I submitted some stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul and a devotional book. The stories were accepted, which encouraged me to continue my writing journey. In sharing this with my friends, I wrote a short devotional in an email and added my publishing news at the end of it. This was the first issue of GraceNotes, my email devotional. It is now offered as an opt-in newsletter on my website, http://www.nancykaygrace.com. I have continued to send GraceNotes each month since then, even through some very difficult and trying times. The Lord encouraged me to keep writing and sending GraceNotes. Eventually I hoped to have enough devotionals to compile them into a book.

In 2012 I was at a point when I was very discouraged with writing. A book project that I started ended abruptly. I attended a writer’s conference to hear from the Lord about my next step. While there I pitched the idea for this book to CrossRiver Media called GraceNotes: Thirty Days of Grace. The manuscript was accepted. As I worked on it, the publisher noticed that in the past year several book titles included the word “GraceNotes” and suggested I consider re-titling it. After praying about it and researching possible titles, I decided on The Grace Impact. The project went from being a simple devotional about God’s grace to being a book on God’s grace that happens to be a devotional. This change challenged me go deeper in writing, researching, and showing God’s grace.

Most of us are familiar with grace itself. But what is the “grace impact”?NKGrace0231-214x300

God alone is able to set into motion what I call the “grace impact”. It is His ability to work in and through any situation, revealing His love and forgiveness to us, thereby drawing us to Himself, ultimately through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The initial impact of God’s grace to each of us comes by accepting salvation through Jesus. It continues in us and through us as our lives are transformed by yielding more to the Lord. As we grow in faith, we share God’s grace with others. Like a drop of water released on a smooth lake, the ripples of the grace impact continue to reach outward to many.

I love the idea of ripples on a smooth lake as a metaphor for our sharing God’s grace with others. Did you choose a central verse?

The theme verse for The Grace Impact is 2 Corinthians 9:8.

            “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always  having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

Tell us about the structure of the book, Nancy.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section looks at the grace found in God’s character and why He is able to make grace abound. God is able to reveal Himself to us, and chooses to do so. The promise of grace pulses throughout Scripture.

Section two is about the sufficiency of God’s grace, giving us what we need to live the Christian life. Once we interact and accept the grace of salvation through Jesus Christ, we begin to be transformed by the power of God.

Section three explores the sustaining power of grace in all things at all times. His grace covers every detail of life, not just the good things, but also the difficult, sad, and complicated things. That knowledge can give us the ability to walk confidently through life knowing our heavenly Father is with us every step of the way.

Section four encourages us to have an abundance of grace for every good work, sharing the blessing of grace with others.

At the end of each daily reading there is a section called “Deepening the Grace Impact.” There are additional scriptures for further study, questions for your own meditation, and a prayer. I’m working on creating a thirty-day online Bible study using The Grace Impact.

We’ll stay tuned for more information on your Bible study, Nancy.   But sometimes it’s hard to trust in God’s goodness when trials seem to overwhelm us. Can you speak to that issue?

In The Grace Impact, I share how the Lord helped me through cancer, the death of three parents within six months, and other issues. Trusting God is more than a feeling. It is a decision made on the knowledge of God’s character and faithfulness. Even when He seems quiet, God’s grace is ever present, sustaining us. God’s grace has carried me often, and I desire to share this hope with others.

I love your quote: “The key is in living life unedited—living every moment in His grace, unafraid of making mistakes.” Can you explain that further?

As a “recovering perfectionist,” I know the struggle of wanting to do something perfect and still being disappointed in my best efforts. I think many perfectionists wrestle with this issue. God has given me freedom in seeking excellence instead of perfection. Grace gives me the assurance that what I do, if I do it with the right attitude for the Lord, is good enough. Grace allows us to accept mistakes as a part of life and not fear trying again. The grace impact grants freedom and confidence to escape the bondage of perfectionism.

What’s the most important thing that readers will learn from “The Grace Impact?”

God reached into the world with grace, bringing redemption to the failures of people and transformation to those who were weak. God’s grace reaches us today and His forgiving love is available to anyone who will accept it. Once we embrace it, we grow in becoming grace-givers to this hurting world.

 What part can ordinary people play in embracing and replicating God’s grace?

God calls us, redeems us and transforms us. We become His agents in the culture today, sharing the word of grace and passing the gift on to others. One way of being a grace-giver is to share our resources with others. To carry this out, a portion of every book sale of The Grace Impact will be given to the Grace Orphan House (Siyon Social Welfare Society,http://siyonsws.com) in Aurangabad, India. It currently serves as home for thirty boys and fifteen girls who were street children. Grace Orphan House provides a loving Christian environment,education, three meals a day and a comfortable place for the children to live. Anyone who purchases the book continues spreading the grace impact.

Thank you for being with us today, Nancy. Where can we buy the book?Grace Impact Cover

It is available at CrossRiver Media’s website, http://bit.ly/1Ceuf94

or soon through Amazon.com.

Autographed copies can be ordered by contacting Nancy at nancy@nancykaygrace.com

If you would like to have Nancy come to speak to your group, she is available for meetings, banquets, or retreats.  She travels from northwest Arkansas.

Please visit her website at www.nancykaygrace.com for more information.

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Coming Attractions

Grace seems to be the word of the year for me.   I’m in a small group that is studying the disciplines of John Wesley which were quite stringent. And he found that without grace, they were of no use at all.

Many of us learned the acronym

  • God’s
  • Riches
  • At
  • Christ’s
  • Expense

as a definition of grace.

But, as usual, I run to the dictionary (thanks to my grandmother) and find this:

Full Definition of GRACE

1a :  unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

b:  a virtue coming from God
c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
2a :  approval, favor <stayed in his good graces>
b archaic :  mercy, pardon
c :  a special favor :  privilege <each in his place, by right, not grace, shall rule his heritage — Rudyard Kipling>
d :  disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
e :  a temporary exemption :  reprieve
3a :  a charming or attractive trait or characteristic

b:  a pleasing appearance or effect :charm<all the grace of youth — John Buchan>
c :  ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
4—used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop
5:  a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks
6 plural capitalized :  three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who are the givers of charm and beauty
7:  a musical trill, turn, or appoggiatura
8a:  sense of propriety or right <had the grace not to run for elective office — Calvin Trillin>
:  the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful
Just look at the primary definition, number 1. Imagine the impact of that unmerited divine assistance on a person’s life – on your life and mine.  There is no way we can earn God’s favor. He knows all about us, and he loves us in spite of our failings, not because of our few virtues.
Nancy Kay Grace knows about God’s grace.  Her devotional book, The Grace Impact, releases this month.

The Grace Impact is a first-grab option for times when life’s harshness assaults your soul. Full of stories, analogies and word-pictures to help you dissect your pain, each daily dose provides hope and help for a wounded heart.

—Marnie Swedberg, International Leadership Mentor

Nancy will  be here for an interview on Wednesday. Join us, please, for a cup of tea and a dose of grace.

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Writing Is a Multi-faceted Project

Early in my journey to publication, I ran across Randy Ingermanson.  Well, not actually. I didn’t run him down in my vehicle, but I found his Snowflake project. And I found his novels.

Confession time:  I’ve not read all of them, but his City of God series hooked me from the first sentence. I’m still waiting for the next book in this series.  I’ve not quite forgiven his traditional publisher for not contracting beyond the third book in the series.  Their reasons were quite valid.  Understandable from the accounting point of view, but quite a disappointment for those of us who like to read.

Randy publishes The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine.  It comes sporadically, but I truly enjoy it. He shares valuable information in digestible format with a wry sense of humor.  Here is his “What I’m Reading” book list:

You might be interested in some of the books I’ve been reading recently. Then again, you might think some of them are terribly dull, since I’m still reading a lot of research books.

As always, I’m omitting books I started and didn’t finish. I’m also omitting books that were horrible but I read anyway. (There are certain aspects of the craft of writing that you can only learn by reading really wretched fiction and asking yourself what makes it so bad.)

Here are the ones worth reporting from January:

Edge of Eternity, by Ken Follett. This is Book 3 in the Century Trilogy, an incredibly ambitious series that covers most of the 20th century—from World War I up through the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This book covers the Cold War, the Kennedy era, the civil rights movement, Watergate, and the Reagan era through the eyes of the next generation in each of five families—one from Wales, England, Russia, Germany, and the US. I was only 4 when JFK was assassinated, and I was 9 when MLK and RFK were, so it was interesting to get some context on the sixties.

Clutter Free, by Kathi Lipp. Kathi is a friend of mine and she writes better-living books targeted at Christian women. Clutter has been an ongoing problem in my life since approximately forever. My office is a mess right now, so when Kathi told me about her book, I had to get it. I hope to see results when I start applying her ideas. (January has been travel month and tax accounting month for me, so it wasn’t a great time for me to take on anything new.)

The Powers That Be, by Walter Wink. This was a research book for me. It’s a summary of three famous books that Walter Wink wrote on the “principalities and powers” mentioned in the New Testament. What are these spooky “powers” and how can any self-respecting person in the 21st century believe in such things? Walter Wink wrestled with these questions and found an answer that makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t think it’s the whole answer, but I’d say he’s given a big part of it.

How God Became King, by N.T. Wright. This is yet another research book for me. Wright’s main thesis is that the New Testament gospels are each the story of how God became king. And what is that supposed to mean? It would take a whole book to explain. Wright’s book is probably the minimal book required for the task. If you’ve ever wondered what is the point of all those stories about water into wine and walking on water and healing lepers, this book is a good start at explaining it.

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, by Kenneth E. Bailey. Still more research for me. Dr. Bailey spent six decades living in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Cyprus. He’s applied what he knows about middle eastern culture to the stories about Jesus found in the gospels. And he includes comments by the great medieval and modern Christian scholars who wrote in Arabic. Context is important, and this book explains many of the questions that come up when a westerner reads the gospels. One of the strangest parables Jesus told was of an embezzling servant whose master commended him for his theft. Huh? What’s up with that? There’s a simple explanation that makes good sense to me.

That’s all for January. One novel, one self-help, and three nonfiction research books. Next month, I need to read some more fiction.

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
 
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 11,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

I find this kind of information helpful. Look at the proportions in his list.  Twenty percent just because of interest; twenty percent improve your life; and sixty percent task oriented for the job of writing.  This is something I can emulate – and perhaps reap some of the same rewards.

Do you have a favorite site or newsletter that gives you inspiration, information and general pleasure?  Share it in the comments.

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