Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #5

Hi Friends, Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt be sure to start at Stop #1 and collect all the clues through the 30 stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!

  • The hunt BEGINS on 3/1 at noon MST with Stop #1 at LisaTawnBergren.com.
  • Hunt through all the stops in a loop using Chrome or Firefox as your Internet browser, not Explorer.
  • There is no rush to complete the hunt! You have all weekend, until Sunday 3/4 at Midnight EST. So take your time and enjoy the unique posts along the way. Our hope is that you’ll discover new authors and books that you’ll enjoy!
  • Submit your entry for the grand prize by collecting the CLUE on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at Stop #30. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way. Be sure to look for those!

I’m very happy to introduce award-winning author, Angela Hunt. I’ve read and loved many of Angela’s books, and I’ve enjoyed listening to her speak at writers’ conferences. She is a creative woman with many talents, including writing and photography.

Here is a brief summary of her newest release, Judah’s Daughter:  Leah, the daughter of an abusive father, is relieved when she marries Judah, a gentle giant. But when Judah’s father draws the family into war, Leah finds herself married to a warrior, and she’s not sure she can handle the change . . .

WHY I LOVE KOSHER JELLY DOUGHNUTS 

By Angela Hunt

My dental hygienist, Cheryl, is Jewish. When I was beginning to research the book that would become Judah’s Wife, I happily told Cheryl that I had learned all kinds of things about the Jews in the second century before Christ.

“Hanukkah?” She asked. “You’re learning about Hanukkah?”

I frowned. “Um . . . I haven’t gotten to that yet.”

But weeks later, I did. I learned that the Seleucids, an empire of Greek-influenced Syrians, had taken over Judea and required the Jews to abandon their acts of faith. No circumcising baby boys, no observing the Sabbath, no abstaining from pork and shellfish. Any Jewish person found practicing the Law of Moses would be tortured and put to death.

Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid king who came to Jerusalem, was so intent on creating a homogeneous Empire that he visited the Holy Temple and desecrated the altar by sacrificing a pig–to Zeus, mind you. He declared that the Temple would be a place to worship Zeus, then he went back to Antioch and left his henchmen to enforce his laws in Judea.

When Judah Maccabaeus and his brothers led the ragtag army of Judea against these invaders, God granted them a mighty victory. The word Hanukkah means dedication in Hebrew, and after Judah and his men cleansed and rededicated the Temple, Judah declared that the people should celebrate for seven days. That was the first Hanukkah, and Jews have been celebrating it ever since.

When I went back to the dentist, I told Cheryl that I now understood Hanukkah. “Oh, so you heard about the oil,” she said. “The uncontaminated vial they found that burned for seven days.”
Again, I shook my head. “I’m sorry,” I told her. “But there is absolutely no mention of a vial of oil or a miraculous burning lamp in any of the original documents.”

“I’ll ask my brother the rabbi about it,” she said.

“And I’ll do more research,” I promised.

When I went back to see her six months later, with a copy of Judah’s Wife in hand, I said, “I’m sorry, but I learned that there is absolutely no mention of the miracle of the oil until hundreds of years later. Experts think rabbis created the story for the sake of young children—because it seemed unseemly to celebrate a bloody war for seven days.”

“My brother said you’re right,” she said, a little mournfully. “It’s probably just a story.”

I felt bad—who wants to burst someone’s bubble? “Well,” I said, “if it helps, we Christians have our traditions, too. People think the wise kings came to see baby Jesus on the night He was born, but they weren’t kings and they probably arrived months later. People talk about the angels singing to the shepherds, but the Bible never says they sang. People think Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem, but if there was a donkey, it was probably carrying water jugs and food for the journey. In fact, Jesus was probably born in springtime, not in winter.”

“Still,” she said. “When you grow up believing something—”

“Hanukkah is still a miracle,” I said. “That an unskilled group of farmers and Torah scholars could overcome one of the world’s leading armies—that’s a miracle. That they could face battle elephants and horses and rolling towers and catapults—that’s a miracle. That they could turn a battered, burned, starving city into a place of refuge and restoration—that’s the real miracle of Hanukkah.”

Hanukkah offers encouragement for Christians today. The Jews of Judah’s day were being pressured—to the point of death—to conform to the world, yet the devout remained true to their God. Christians in our day are being pressured to conform to the world, but will we remain true? The Maccabees set a glorious and challenging example.

At Hanukkah, Jews in Israel eat these wonderful jelly doughnuts, called Sufganiot. They are wonderful any time, and you can find the recipe here: https://www.thespruce.com/hanukkah-doughnuts-sufganiot-2121658

Traditional Jewish food for Chanukkah holyday. Luxurious looking sufganiyot. Photo (c) gburshtein-fotolia

Why not make some for your family at Easter? What better way to say we are dedicated to Christ?

Angela Hunt is the author of more than 140 books for children and adults. Read more about her work at www.angelahuntbooks.com.

Here’s the Stop #5 Skinny:

You can order Angela’s book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, or at your local bookstore.

Clue to write down: FOUND

Link to Stop #6, Angela Hunt’s own site!

***** But wait, before you go, I’m offering my own giveaway! Two books to two winners! You may choose Shine Like the Dawn or Across the Blue. This giveaway is open to US winners only. To enter, just sign up to receive my email newsletter in the box at the top right on this page, and then leave a comment below, telling me if you are new subscriber, or if you already receive my newsletters. Winners will be announced on 3/5 and contacted by email. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Carrie

Across the Blue Cover Design

Hi Friends, Only about one month until the February 20th release of Across the Blue! I’m very excited to share this new story with you, and I thought you might enjoy seeing what was involved in creating the beautiful cover.

In December 2016 I filled out an author questionnaire and sent cover ideas to the team at WaterBrook. At that time I’d only written about 1/3 of the book! I created a Pinterest board for my book and saved images of the setting, characters, and clothing. These images helped me picture the story as I was writing, and they were a great resource for the cover design team. 

In April  2017 Kristopher Orr, the designer at WaterBrook who has created all my lovely covers, started corresponding with me via email. We wanted the cover to truly reflect the time period and the story, and that takes time and research as well as great design skills. They planned to rent a costume for the photo shoot, so they showed me these three outfits and asked me which one I thought would look the best. I chose the ivory suit in the middle. The story takes place in the spring and summer, so the light color and Edwardian style looked like something Bella Grayson would wear.

We needed a different hat than the one pictured, so we contacted our friend Darna as East Angel Harbor Hats. She has designed special hats for my last three book cover shoots. And once again, she rose to the challenge in record time and sent us this lovely hat.

Sophia Alessi, from the Donna Baldwin Agency, was chosen as the model for the photo shoot, and she did a great job portraying Bella!

 

 

A few more months passed, and I eagerly waited to see the final cover design. They sent me these four mock ups and asked for my input. I liked them all, but I felt the fourth design was the strongest. The color, the type, and the photos all worked together to create a stunning design. The team at WaterBrook agreed, and they moved ahead to finalize the cover for Across the Blue.

 

Adding the back cover copy and the spine is the final step in the cover design process. Here’s a peek at those elements.

So, what do you think? Did you realize all that went into designing a cover? I’m grateful to Kristopher and the team at Waterbrook for “dressing” Across the Blue so beautifully!

I hope you’ll pre-order your copy of Across the Blue so you can have it in your hands the day it releases!

Happy Reading,

Carrie

Waiting for His Return Release Day!

 

Hi Friends, It’s release day for Waiting for His Return! I’m excited to share this heartwarming holiday novella with you, and I have a special giveaway to celebrate the book launch. The story is set in Nashville, Tennessee, during the Civil War. The hero is British-born artist, James Galloway, who travels with the Union troops drawing battle scenes that are sent back to Harper’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper.

When James is attacked and left for dead at the side of the road near the Thornton’s home, Rachel Thornton takes him in and uses the skills she has learned from her physician father to save James’s life. Her father, sister, and two loyal servants also lend a hand. But the battlefront is moving closer to Nashville, and with it, increasing danger for James, Rachel, and her family.

James and Rachel grow closer as he recovers, but he has a commitment to fulfill for Harpers Weekly. Rachel has already lost one man she loves, and she is reluctant to give her heart to another man who may soon become a casualty of the war. 

With Christmas coming, Rachel waits for news from James. Will he find his way back to her, or will she be left waiting for his return?

 Waiting for His Return was originally published in A Blue and Gray Christmas and was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award. It has been revised and updated for new readers to enjoy. The eBook is available on Amazon for $2.99 for a limited time. Download your copy today and start reading to enjoy this story!

To celebrate the launch of Waiting for His Return I’m offering a special giveaway for my reading friends!  The gifts include two adult coloring books, drawing pencils, and fine line markers, plus an Oh Holy Night Gift Set with mug, plate, tote bag, bookmark, pen, and devotional book. To enter the giveaway just share this post on social media or with a friend via email, then leave a comment below, telling me where you shared it. The winner will be chosen Monday, November 13th and notified by email. Thanks for helping me celebrate and spread the word about Waiting for His Return!

****Thanks for stopping by! The winner has been chosen – Jeanie Dannheim – and the giveaway has closed. Happy Reading, Carrie

 

 

Cover Reveal!

Hi Friends, 

It’s almost time to launch Waiting for His Return! This Civil War novella is available now for preorder on Amazon as an eBook and releases November 7th and is only $2.99 for a limited time.

The year is 1864 and the Civil War rages in the North and South. British born James Galloway, a special artist for Harper’s Weekly, travels with the Union troops, sketching battle scenes to bring war news home to those in the North. It’s dangerous work, but he is committed to the Union cause. After being captured and spending several months in a confederate prison, he finally escapes and travels north, hoping to reach the Union lines. But he is attacked by a bushwhacker and left for dead at the side of the road near the Thornton’s home.

Rachel Thornton, a kind-hearted doctor’s daughter, takes James into their home and nurses him while he recovers. As she gets to know James her feelings for him grow, but she has already lost one man she loves in the war. How can she give James her heart, when she knows he may become another casualty. The heartwarming, holiday story will touch your heart and lift your spirit.

Take a look at the Pinterest board to see the characters and setting for this story. This novella was originally published in A Blue and Gray Christmas novella collection and was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award. It has been revised and updated for more readers to enjoy.

Until Next Time, Happy Reading!

Carrie

Free Moonlight Over Manhattan

Hi Friends, As we move into November and the season of Thanksgiving, I want to say thank you to my loyal readers. I hope you’ll download your free copy of Moonlight Over Manhattan! And if you enjoy it, I hope you’ll post a review on Amazon and tell your friends about it. Word of mouth is the best publicity around. Thank very much!

This heartwarming novella is set in New York during the fall and includes Thanksgiving and Christmas events for the hero and heroine, Justin and Sarah. There’s also a sweet grandmother and her cute dog to add humor to the story. I think you’ll be encouraged by Sarah’s faith journey and the sweet romance.

It is free on Amazon 10/24 – 10/28. Thanks for helping me spread the word! Download your copy here: http://amzn.to/2yLeBI6

Until next time, happy reading,

Carrie

 

Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Hi Friends, 

I’m excited to show you the cover of my next English historical novel, Across the Blue and tell you about a special giveaway . . . but before I do, let me tell you a little about the story and characters.

The Heroine – Isabella Grayson, is the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate. She longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year.

The Hero – James Drake, is an aspiring aviator, and when he crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

Ready to see the beautiful cover? 

I’m thrilled with the design! It perfectly captures Kent, England, and the white Cliffs of Dover, which play a huge part in this story. Bella’s hat is divine and just right for the 1909 time period. And when you see how fragile James’s airplane really is, it makes you appreciate his courage in attempting to be the first to fly across the English Channel!

I can’t wait to share Across the Blue with you! It releases February 20, 2018, and you can preorder a copy from your favorite retailer by following this link.

If you’re on GoodReads I hope you’ll click this link and add it to your “To Read” list!

And now I have a Giveaway for you! Help me spread the word, and you can enter in a drawing for a set of my four English historical novels: The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, A Refuge at Highland Hall, and Shine Like the Dawn! To enter just share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media sight and then leave a comment below, telling me where you shared it. I’ll draw one winner on Thursday, July 13th. If a US winner is chosen he or she will receive paperback copies, and if an international winner is chosen he or she will receive eBooks. Thanks for helping me spread the word about Across the Blue!

Until Next Time ~ Happy Reading!

Carrie

Happy Fourth of July ~ Free Book

Hi Friends,

I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing Fourth of July weekend! Just a quick note to let you know my novel, Surrendered Hearts, is FREE on Kindle July 1 – 5! This is the perfect summer story to enjoy this weekend. 

Here’s a summary: Jennifer Evan’s life changes forever when a gas pipeline explodes and causes a fire at her apartment. Losing her home and beloved dog are terrible blows, but the ugly scars that cover her arm, neck and shoulder steal her confidence and cause her fiancé to desert her. With her funds depleted and her job on hold, she heads for Vermont where she hopes to reconnect with her brother and find a way to rebuild her shattered life.

Bill Morgan, her brother’s roommate and the head naturalist at the Wild River Nature Center, is a strong, quiet man whose faith runs deep. His efforts to share his faith with Jenn seem to push her farther away. But caring actions sometimes speak louder than words, and Jenn’s heart is drawn to Bill in spite of the spiritual gulf that separates them. Will she hold on to the pain of her past, or will she surrender her heart and find the faith and love she seeks?

Surrendered Hearts has more than 180 great reviews on Amazon including this one: “The author has created a powerful, moving story with Surrendered Hearts. I loved this novel. Loved Bill Morgan. He’s the hero every girl dreams of, and Jennifer Evans was a likable character as well. . . The book is heartwarming and touching, and I loved the ending. This story is a five all the way in my book. This was the first time I’ve read this author, but it won’t be the last. In fact, I just purchased another book by her and can’t wait to read it. This is a well-woven story.”

Download your copy at Amazon and enjoy it today!

Blessings and Happy Fourth of July,

Carrie

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

Answering Your Questions

Hi Friends,

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream, or what are you reading now? I’m often asked questions like these for guest blog posts. Michelle at New Horizon Reviews asked some fun, creative questions, and I thought you might enjoy reading my answers.

(1) Can you briefly describe your new novel?

I’ll share this endorsement from Cathy Gohlke, the author of Secrets She Kept and Saving Amelie.

“From the first compelling page to the last heart-lifting moment, Shine Like the Dawn drew me in, made me smile then cry—all while keeping me on the edge of my seat. Turansky’s latest English historical romance, rich in mystery and intrigue, brings to life warm and memorable characters nestled between a charming Edwardian village and its local grand estate. Uplifting and highly recommended.”

(2) What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Christian fiction has the power to reach past our intellects and touch our hearts. Like Jesus, with his parables, and Nathan the Prophet , with his stories, our novels can have a powerful impact when they are well-told. Christian fiction offers a hopeful message because it is written from a Biblical worldview. And the world needs hope now more than ever.

(3) What is your favorite jewelry piece, and why?

My favorite piece of jewelry is my wedding ring. It’s vey special because I lost the diamond out of my original ring. So my husband bought me this new ring and got down on his knee to ask me to marry him (again) on Christmas morning in front of all the family. I was so choked up I could hardly say yes . . . but I finally managed to give him my answer and a kiss. He’s a keeper!

 

(4) What are your ideal writing conditions?

My idea writing conditions would be sitting in a recliner with my laptop in a quiet and clean house with instrumental music playing on my headphones. Ahhh . . . I can feel the words flowing just thinking about it.

(5) Are there any secret wishes hidden in your new book?

Maggie Lounsbury, the heroine, wishes she could discover the truth behind the tragedy that happens to her family at the beginning of the book. She keeps her quest a secret for a long while until she decides whom she can trust. Nate Harcourt, the hero, wishes he could convince Maggie that he has her best interests at heart and that he truly cares for her.

(6) Just for fun, What’s on your nightstand?

On my nightstand you’ll find several books including Jesus Today by Sarah Young and The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller, two copies of the Focus on the Family Magazine, and soft earplugs that keep my ears warm and keep it quiet at night.

(7) Can you give your reader’s a peek into what’s next?

I’m working on my next English historical novel, Across the Blue, that comes out early in 2018. It’s set in 1909 in Kent England. The hero is a young pilot and airplane designer who wants to be the first to fly across the English Channel and win the prize offered by the Daily Mail newspaper of London. The heroine is the daughter of the wealthy owner of the Daily Mail. She is an aspiring journalist who believes covering the hero’s story will help establish her career, but her parents want her to focus on marrying well and helping them move forward in society. Romance, adventure, inspiration, and secrets from the past make this a fun story to write and hopefully for you to read.

(8) Another, just for fun, What do you drink while in the writing mode?

I love tea! Hot tea in the cold months: Earl Grey, Mint, and Chai are my favorites. In the summer I like iced Tazo Passion tea.

(9) What other books have you published?

Shine Like the Dawn is my 17th novel and fourth English historical novel. The Edwardian Brides Series includes The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge and Highland Hall. I’ve written several small-town, family centered contemporary romance novels for Love Inspired including Along Came Love, A Man To Trust, Seeking His Love and Surrendered Hearts. I’ve also written several historical and contemporary novellas. I hope you’ll to stop by my website and take a look at those. You can see photos of the characters and read the first chapters there.

(10) What is your most memorable moment?

I’ve been blessed with so many great moments in my life. It’s hard to choose one, but I’ll share one related to my writing. In 2014 I traveled to England on a research trip with my author friend Cathy Gohlke. We spent the day at Tyntesfield Estate near Bristol. That’s the estate I had in mind as I was writing the Highland Hall novels. It is so beautiful and full of history, with lovely paintings, furniture, and sculptures. After seeing so many photographs and imaging the setting for more than a year it was such a thrill to be there and see it all in person. It’s owned by the National trust and open for tours. The staff were very kind, and when they found out I was an author setting a story there, they gave us a private tour of several areas of the house that were not open to the pubic. It was a marvelous day that I will always remember and be so thankful for.

If you’d like to read other interviews or reviews for Shine Like the Dawn, please visit my Review Pinterest board! Ready to purchase your copy? Visit my website for links to your favorite retailers. 

Oh . . . my favorite flavor of ice cream is jamocha almond fudge and mint chocolate chip is a close second.

Until Next Time . . . Happy Reading!

Carrie

 

Balancing Justice and Mercy

Hi Friends,

It’s been a busy month with the release of Shine Like the Dawn, and I’ve had lots of opportunities to connect with new reading friends. One question I’m often asked is, how does your faith impact your stories, and how do you weave in faith elements? So I thought I’d tell you about the spiritual themes from Shine Like the Dawn.

I’ve enjoyed writing several English historical novels set in the Edwardian era over the last few years including The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall. They all contain family drama, romance, and inspiration. But in my latest novel, Shine Like the Dawn, I decided to also include a mystery. And for my heroine, Maggie Lounsbury, solving the mystery becomes a very personal search for justice.

As I wrote the story I found inspiration in the theme verse, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, and your vindication like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5 – 6

Cragside, the inspiration for the hero’s estate, Morningside Manor

Maggie suffers a great loss at the beginning of the story, and her search to understand why it happened and who is responsible are key plot points in the novel. Maggie’s losses shaped her personality, and she has become stronger and more determined because of them. Those losses also hardened her, and she distanced herself from the Lord. She questions God’s love and justice, and is determined to find the answers to her questions herself. But through the kindness of the hero and wisdom shared by her grandmother, Maggie’s heart begins to soften. As she continues on her journey to solve the mystery she eventually sees the way God balances Justice and Mercy. This renews her relationship with God and opens the way for forgiveness and restoration.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading Shine Like the Dawn and feel as though they’ve been swept away to Northumberland, England in 1903, but I also hope you’ll be challenged to explore what it means to forgive and reflect God’s mercy to those who have hurt you in the past. Those are lessons that touched my heart as I wrote this story, and I trust they will touch my reading friends too.

Shine Like the Dawn is available in paperback, eBook, and audio. The Dutch edition will release in June. To read the first chapter, purchase your copy, and see more images of the characters and setting please visit this page.

Until next time . . . Happy Reading,

Carrie