2017 British Blooms and Books

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the second annual British Blooms and Books Giveaway! This week, we’re celebrating the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show and some lovely historical novels set in England. After enjoying this post, please visit each of the other five authors’ blogs (links provided below) and, after a bit of reading fun, follow one simple instruction and leave a comment on each blog. You’ll be entered to win a fabulous, British Blooms and Books prize. (US winners only, please, due to shipping the petit fours.) Enjoy, and thank you for stopping by!

Touring the Gardens at Cragside ~ Morningside Manor

Cragside House and Gardens are the inspiration for the setting of Shine Like the Dawn, my latest English historical romance. When I first researched the story I was fascinated by the photos I saw of the beautiful gardens surrounding Cragside House. And when I read the story behind them, I was even more eager to include those amazing gardens in my story.

 

Cragside house was built on a rocky moor area with few trees, but William Armstrong, the original developer and owner of Cragside decided to create a lush woodland garden around his home with three lakes, miles of carriage drives, bridges, and beautiful rock gardens. 

Rhododendrons and azaleas flourish there and make a sunning display each spring. I hope you enjoy these photos and video tour. Viewing them will add to your enjoyment when you read Shine Like the Dawn!

To enter the giveaway, Please sign up for my newsletter in the box on the upper right hand column of my blog post (if you’re already signed up, just let me know in the comments). Then, comment below and tell me one of your favorite flowers, and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win the grand prize! Thanks to broadoak2006 for this beautiful video tour of Cragside!   

Devine Delights Tea Hats Treats

Giveaway Rules: One grand prize winner who comments on each of the six authors’ blogs and agrees to the one boldfaced condition posted at the end of each post will win a signed copy of each of the books plus delivery of six English hat petit fours to enjoy while you read! Name will be drawn via random.org

Please visit these other fabulous authors of historical novels set in England to see what flowers mean to them and their heroines.

Links to the other authors:

Melanie Dickerson’s Post link: http://melaniewrites.blogspot.com/2017/05/second-annual-british-blooms-books.html

Melanie Dobson’s Post link: http://melaniedobson.com/2nd-annual-british-blooms-books-giveaway/

Julie Klassen’s Post link: http://inspiredbylifeandfiction.com/2nd-annual-british-blooms-books-giveaway/

Roseanna White’s Post link: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/2017/05/2nd-annual-british-blooms-and-books.html

Sanda Byrd’s Post link: http://www.sandrabyrd.com/2nd-annual-british-blooms-and-books-giveaway/

Until Next Time . . . Happy Reading!

Carrie

 

A Season to Dance

 

Hi Friends,

Today I’d like to introduce you to Patricia Beal and her debut novel, A Season to Dance.  Patricia and I met at an American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference, and it’s been exciting to watch the Lord open the way for her to see her first novel published.

Thank you, Carrie, for having me here today! My debut novel came out yesterday, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Excited and expectant. What’s God going to do next in the life of this book?

I wasn’t a Christian when I started working on A Season to Dance in January of 2011. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story. My husband, my mom, and my children ended up coming to faith in Christ because of the writing of this book, and I can’t wait to see how it will touch other people’s lives.

Here’s how it all happened. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but for most of my life I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important.

But in the summer of 2012, when an early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week, I had a major break down. I was tired and lonely, and I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god, if there was a god at all.

Self-gratification became my sole purpose in life, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely. And this time there was a darkness and an emptiness that was brand new and very scary.

Then Jesus passed by. I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I cancelled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a fourteen-month rewrite.

I hired a proofreader to go over the whole thing before taking it to conference in 2014, and she later told me she’d been bitter over a disability and loss of work. God used the manuscript to touch her heart, and she ended up rededicating her life to Him. As of this day, I don’t know what part of the novel touched her so, but I’m sure glad it happened.

Later that year, I went to my first American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference and met agent Les Stobbe, who two weeks later, offered to represent me. The Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas publishing contract came a year later.

And now here it is. Published. What’s God going to do next? I pray that others will take the journey with me and with ballerina Ana Brassfield, beyond expectations and suffering and to the very heart of Christ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo1ndSOLUXk

I’ve had a colorful life and have many stories to share, but there will never be a better one than this, I don’t think. The story of how God suffered me to write my own salvation story. How does He do it?

Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She is represented by Les Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Patricia writes from El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children. To order your copy of A Season to Dance just click on the book cover above or visit her at www.patriciabeal.com.

Honoring Mom

Hi Friends, 

****Update: the winner is Bethany Brewer!

It’s almost Mother’s Day! Do you have plans to celebrate and honor the special women in your life this weekend? I’ll be enjoying Mother’s Day morning with my Calvary Chapel Living Hope family, and then in the afternoon I’ll get together with family and a few friends for a picnic lunch, hopefully outside on the patio. It’s a beautiful time of the year in New Jersey, and I often plant annual flowers in my yard on Mothers Day weekend. Geraniums, marigolds, and snapdragons are some of my favorites. Here’s one of my patio pots.

My mom, Dorothy Swain, with me at my cousin’s wedding.

I’ll also be remembering my mom, Dorothy Swain, and thanking the Lord for her influence in my life and the gifts she’s given me. One gift is the love for art and creativity. She was an accomplished painter, commercial artist, and quilter. She also used her artistic skills to remodel and decorate our home. She encouraged me to try painting at an early age and made sure I had art supplies to continue exploring and developing my artistic abilities. I also love decorating my home and bringing beauty there for my family to enjoy.

This painting by my mom features a historic home in Astoria, Oregon, and hangs in my living room.

Another gift my mom gave me was a love for family and especially a desire to collect family stories and pass them on to the next generations. I’ve enjoyed reading the stories she collected and viewing the drawings she made to go with them. My mom was a writer as well as an artist and some of her articles were published in our local newspaper. 

Mom’s love for stories sparked my creativity, and I think she’d be very happy to see me writing historical novels that often feature families and beautiful settings. 

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m giving away an audio book copy of Shine Like the Dawn. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this blog post and tell me one interest or quality you share with your mom. I’ll announce the winner on Monday 15th. You can order a paperback or audio copy of Shine Like the Dawn by visiting my website

Happy Reading until next time,

Carrie

New Releases ~ May 2017!

Hi Friends, 

As the weather warms and you look forward to summer . . . here are some new novels releasing in May from American Christian Fiction Writer members! Happy Reading!

Contemporary Romance:

Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard — Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring–fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)


Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer — An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham — God’s love…reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh — Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell — Two Spring wedding novellas, “A Proxy Wedding,” and “Hope Beyond Savannah.” (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)


True to You by Becky Wade — Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Cozy Mystery:

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman — A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he’s tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

General Contemporary:

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal — The heart wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman — A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press) Historical:


Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby — What began as a bored man’s decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette — A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Historical Romance:


The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Penny Zeller — Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard–even risky–especially when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze — It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order–and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears — They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)


Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle — When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena’s heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt — Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman — Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

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

Until next time,

Carrie