Marji Laine: Faith~Driven Fiction

. . . Authentic and Intense


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Encouragement and Inspiration for the Next Two Weeks!

Authors Harriet E. Michael and Shirley Crowder are so generous in sharing their wisdom over the next couple of weeks. CLICK HERE TO GET ALL OF THEIR DEVOTIONS THROUGH NOVEMBER 6!

Here’s their first installment.

 

Life’s Ripples
by: Harriet
Read: Psalm 74:13-17

The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.

Psalm 74:16-17 (NIV)

 

Autumn was once an enigma to me. As a little girl growing up beneath the hot tropical sun, I had no memory of autumn. Oh, I had experienced it when my parents were in America on furlough but I was too young to really remember what it was like. And furlough, when you are only five years old, is a year of so many new things, that it is hard to process and remember.

But nonetheless, even in tropical Nigeria, I learned to love the autumn season. Why did I love it as a child when I had not experienced it? Where did I get my love for this season of cooler weather, colorful scenery, scurrying squirrels, crunchy leaves, and frosty mornings? I think the credit goes to a missionary aunt who taught both Shirley and me in school–our Aunt Lil Wasson.

Because she had a teaching degree and several children of her own in need of an education, Aunt Lil bravely took on the job of elementary school teacher to all the missionary kids on the Ogbomoso compound. Ogbomoso, the Nigerian town where we lived, had both a hospital and seminary with about a half a dozen missionary families working in each. All together these missionaries had at least a dozen or more elementary-age children depending on who was on furlough in any given year. Aunt Lil taught all of us in her garage which had been made into a one-room schoolhouse. She taught every child in grades kindergarten through the fourth grade in one room. She was a brave woman, indeed.

Aunt Lil loved autumn. She grew up in Arkansas where trees are abundant, and autumns are glorious. Of course, Nigeria had only two seasons–rainy and dry. Half the year it rained some every day and the other half it did not rain at all. America’s autumn months fall right at the end of the rainy season in Nigeria.

Yet, Aunt Lil always decorated her schoolroom with pictures representative of autumn in America and had her American citizen students learn about their homeland. I can still remember sitting in her garage classroom looking at the decorations all around me–bright orange pumpkins, brown squirrels with nuts in their mouths, and trees with red, orange, and yellow leaves.

She had one large poster-size picture of Jack Frost painting a leaf with an artist palette of fall colors which always intrigued me. One hand was under the palette and the other held a paintbrush. Of course, we all knew Jack Frost was not real, but my imagination went wild just the same with thoughts of a magical place where the world turned bright with colors, where shiny, frosty crystals formed on the ground, and a little elf painted the leaves when children were not looking.

I think of Aunt Lil every fall. I thank God for her enthusiasm over the world He made, both tropical and temperate. And I realize how everything people do can have a lasting ripple effect on those around them.

Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, creator of this vast and beautiful world, thank You for the exquisite beauty that surrounds us whether we experience colorful autumn foliage or lovely tropical blooms. Make us mindful that our lives affect others in so many ways. May we impact them for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thought for the Day: Others are watching you!

Get all of Harriet’s and Shirley’s devotions through November 6 in your email box by clicking THIS LINK and signing up on the form. No strings attached. This email list will be discarded when the devotional serial ends on November 6, 2019.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FREE DEVOTIONS!


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Fiction Finders for January 2017

January 2017 New Releases

Oh, these sound outstanding! But don’t forget that if you need a Bible Study Guide for January, our newest release, STUDY GUIDE ON PRAYER by Shirley Crowder, is available at Amazon!

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

Contemporary Romance:

Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley by Valerie Comer, Mary Jane Hathaway, Elizabeth Maddrey, Danica Favorite, Lee Tobin McClain and Annalisa Daughety — Is love possible for a makeshift mom and a handsome widower? What about a bed and breakfast owner and the farmer next door? A curvy jilted bride and a mysterious, handsome chef? Then there’s the real estate consultant and the grandson of her elderly client; a high-powered lawyer and a woman farmer, and a formerly engaged couple. Can love make a difference in their lives? Exploring food, friends, and family in Arcadia Valley, each of these novellas kicks off a three-book series, intertwined with the works of the other authors. This collection is only the beginning of your adventure! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery — Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. As Mitch struggles to keep his business afloat, and Angela works to correct the mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends discover they have something unexpected in common–a young mom fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back from redemption and true love? (Contemporary Romance from New Hope Publishers)

Historical Mystery:

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering — Drew and Madeline Farthering visit the Yorkshire moor to catch a killer and solve a mystery that involves an old feud, a new rivalry and a huge, spectral hound that may or may not be a harbinger of death. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Historical Romance:

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander — A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to get an audition at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. Women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, he says, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed. Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the new opera hall opens. But far more pressing, he must finish it for his dying father, who inspired his love of music. Then Tate’s ailment worsens. Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The American Heiress Brides Collection by Lisa Carter, Mary Eileen Davis, Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Lisa Karon Richardson, Lynette Sowell and Kimberley Woodhouse — Meet nine young women in America between 1880 and 1911 who have been blessed by fortunes made in gold, silver, industry, ranching, and banking. But when it comes to love, each woman struggles to find true love within a society where “first comes money, second comes marriage.” What kind of man can they trust with their greatest treasure—their hearts? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Two Suitors for Anna by Molly Jebber — In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for with her beloved Noah Schwartz, and a new, very different future… But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves. Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share… (Historical Romance from Kensington)

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas by Erica Vetsch — Journey to Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle of emotions versus ideals is about to be waged. When a high-steppin’ eastern fashion artist, Priscilla Hutchens, swoops down on the fort to gain custody of her twin niece and nephew she is met with resistance by their uncle, post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who thinks he knows what is best for them. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Dead Run by Jodie Bailey — Kristin James’s morning run turns deadly when she’s attacked by a stranger who’s after something her deceased soldier brother stole overseas. Her neighbor Sergeant First Class Lucas Murphy steps in to help her and won’t let her brush the attack under the rug. He’ll do everything he can to keep Kristin alive, but he can’t tell her that he’s under orders to investigate her link to her brother’s misdeeds. Kristin has no idea what the bad guy is after and doesn’t want to believe that her brother wasn’t on the straight and narrow. But as evidence against him piles up, can they catch the criminals without becoming the next casualties? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley — It’s been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister’s sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn’t actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, the person who confessed to the crime is Will’s cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in one week–including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])

Undercover Protector by Elizabeth Goddard — Undercover at a tiger sanctuary, Special Agent Grayson Wilde is convinced the owner’s involved in a wildlife trafficking ring–until someone tries to kill her. Gemma’s determined to rebuild the tiger oasis she lost when her family died, but someone wants her out of the way, and she’s starting to wonder if her parents’ and uncle’s deaths were really accidental. Grayson says he’ll do anything to protect Gemma, but she can’t shake the feeling that her alluring new volunteer might not be all that he seems. With a vicious criminal closing in, though, she has to trust Grayson…because she won’t survive without him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Buried Memories by Carol J. Post — A soldier hero suffering from PTSD and a young woman struggling to overcome a traumatic childhood fight for their lives and find healing together. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Still Life by Dani Pettrey — Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart. Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Supernatural Thriller:

Fatal Accusation by Rachel Dylan — Attorney Olivia Murray hopes her life in Windy Ridge will get back to normal after a hard-fought trial. But she soon finds out that the forces of evil have not given up. An embezzling scandal rocks the community church to its core. The New Age groups are ready to declare victory when a high-profile prosecutor files criminal charges against the local pastor. However, Olivia is not willing to give up on the community she’s come to love. She takes on the defense pro bono knowing it could destroy her career, but it’s a case she is called to defend. The battle will be fierce, but she’s not fighting it alone. Her friend and fellow attorney Grant Baxter is by her side. Olivia must use all the tools in her arsenal to combat those who seek to destroy the believers in the community. If Olivia can’t prove the pastor’s innocence, more than her career is on the line. The entire community of Windy Ridge could fall to the forces of darkness. (Supernatural Thriller, Independently Published)


Need Holiday Reads? Get Ready!

Wedding cakeSome wonderful things happen on Tuesday, December 13. First, Sweet Hubby and I celebrate our 30th anniversary! And he’s still so stinkin’ cute!

I could gush, but the truth is, he is my best friend, my hero, my conscience, and my partner in goofiness and serious issues like raising our 4 kids. He balances my artistic temperament while still encouraging my spirit. He’s my biggest fan and most important critic. He’s the first analyzer of every idea and holds the weightiest opinion.

Together we laugh, evaluate, study, discuss, and laugh some more. I can’t imagine life without him and wouldn’t want to try. He makes me a better person by simply being in my life, and I’m grateful for every year with this man.

The second wonderful thing that happens is TURQUOISE TUESDAY. (You’ve heard of BLACK FRIDAY?) As if 30 years wasn’t enough, the Write Integrity Press team is offering 11 of it’s best books for only 99¢. This is a one-day-only sale – which just happens to be on my anniversary. Extra blessings! Woohoo!

Take advantage on Tuesday – write it on your calendar in ink! All of these books will be at 99¢.  But only on Turquoise Tuesday! Learn more about each book at this Christmas Special page, or click the titles below for a buy link. (But don’t use it until Tuesday!)

6 DATES TO DISASTERANNABELLE’S RUTH • A RUBY CHRISTMASCOUNTER POINTDANCING LIKE BEESFOR SUCH A MOMENTIMPERFECT WINGSPRAYER: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOUSTALKING WILLOW THE CHRISTMAS TREE TREASURE HUNTTOWDAH

turqtues

By the way, all of these books will go to ONE reader at the Write Integrity Press blog. Today’s the LAST DAY TO ENTER and the odds of winning are OUTSTANDING! Don’t miss your chance. Just zip over and leave a comment with your email address! Here’s the Write Integrity Press 12 Books of Christmas Link.

 


I SO Left You Hanging! (Don’t you hate that???)

climber-299018_1920I don’t know about you, but I got to the end of Dani’s last story, Grime Spree and was ready to keep going. After all, the final page ends with a huge revelation as Jay cruises up the driveway of his parents’ home.

Visiting the parents? That’s a biggie in a relationship! Something I’d sure want to read about!

My original plan for this series had only 4 books in it, but if I stuck with that, you wouldn’t get to find out what happened between Dani and Jay’s parents. And SO MUCH happened let me Continue reading


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Bonus Feature: NO THANK YOU

Lena Nelson Dooley and her character from her novella, “No, Thank You” shares today. We’ve been visiting with the main characters of the stories in Warm Mulled Kisses. Our new Christmas collection features 10 stories from 11 different authors, and all 661 pages is available at Amazon for only 99¢! Make sure you get an e-book of your own!

Here’s a conversation between Lena Nelson Dooley’s main character, Scarlett, to her Gram. Continue reading


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Day #10 – 30 Days Challenge

c09Yesterday, we started a new season in Thirty Days of Devotion. Today’s topic deals with the holiness of God. Proverbs 1:7 say, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

I think the comment on the left is a valid point, but it’s missing something.

See, I’d always thought about fearing the Lord as a reverence. A holy awe. I can picture the saints with bowed heads and clasped hands or perhaps kneeling before Him.

The more I’ve experienced, the more I’ve Continue reading


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Day #1 – 30 Day Challenge

c01Today I read the first entry  of Thirty Days of Devotion, Spiritual Seasons. I know I wrote these entries, but every time I look through them, I get something new.

Like the season. I’ve been thinking all summer long that I was currently residing in an autumn Spiritual season. But as I look at the descriptions of the 4 different types, I think I’m in more of a spring.

Take this challenge for example. My purpose is Continue reading