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Saturday, December 7, 2019

All Is Bright FB Banner (1)

About the Book

Book:  All Is Bright (Christmas Lights Collection 2019)
Author: Kari Trumbo, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, & Chautona Havig
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October  17, 2019
Four of your favorite contemporary romance authors join festive forces to bring you the fourth-annual Christmas Lights Collection.
Kari Trumbo-  Merry and Dashing: Merry hates Christmas corporate greed. Jacob loves finding the perfect gift for everyone. When Scrooge and Santa volunteer at a local thrift store together, will the mix be Holly Jolly?
Toni Shiloh-  I’ll Be Home: What could be worse than being laid off right before the holidays? For Starr Lewis that would include returning home jobless, single, and, oh yeah, just in time to attend her sister’s wedding on Christmas Eve… to Starr’s ex-boyfriend. In the midst of it all, her brother’s best friend soon has her wondering if she can take another chance on love.
Cathe Swanson- Season of Change:  Charlea’s ready to sell Serenity Hill, but Drew is back in town, 15 years after their dream date ended in disaster, helping her mother and daughter turn the old commune into a commercial Christmas wonderland. Between poinsettias and sleigh rides, angst and romance collide in this Christmas second-chance romance!
Chautona Havig- The 12 Dates of Christmas : When Reagan runs into Alex, her high school nemesis, he is stunned to discover that’s how she saw him. It’ll take twelve dates and a lot of forgiveness on both sides to even hope for a Christmassy-ever-after.
Brighten your day with these four heart-warming novellas today!

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kari Trumbo:  Kari Trumbo writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart. Kari loves reading, listening to music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up with a fuzzy blanket, a book, and a hot cup of tea by the wood stove. She loves her make-believe people almost as much as the real thing. You can find out more about her and her worlds at

Toni Shiloh:  Toni Shiloh writes ethnically diverse characters that could be your best friend. She writes to understand the Lord more and shares her lessons with her readers. Visit her at

cathe swanson
Cathe Swanson:  Cathe Swanson, the author of the Great Lakes and Glory Quilts series, enjoys gardening, sewing, papercrafting, and kayaking on the beautiful Wisconsin rivers. As a child of the 60’s, she’s having fun writing about hippies and the Jesus People movement in her new Serenity Hill series.

chautona havig
Chautona Havig: Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at

More From Chautona

Christmas in “The Christmas City”

I wrote most of 12 Dates of Christmas in Noel, Missouri, otherwise known as “The Christmas City.”  That’s kind of funny, because Noel isn’t pronounced No-ell.  It’s “Nole”—rhymes with pole.  As in North. 😉
By the time I’d finished, it was almost time to leave the little town and head home after nearly six weeks with old and new friends.  I had to say goodbye to memories I might never visit in person again, and it was difficult to imagine.
So, I did the only thing I knew to do.  I wrote a super-short story.  It’s just over seven thousand words (including a bit of history behind different people, places, and things in the story), but it captured things near and dear to my heart—my mother’s house, the church I’ve loved for so many years, town traditions, and now characters I’m not sure I can let go of.
In fact, I am considering writing a full-length novella next year for the fifth-annual Christmas Lights Collection next year!  I think Rob and Lissa deserve to have their full story told.
As my thanks to readers who purchase or read the collection on Kindle Unlimited, I’m offering this short story, “A Noel Christmas,” FREE.  Just send me your receipt or a screenshot showing you’ve completed the collection and it’s yours.  Visit for more information or just zip an email to any of the authors in the collection. We’re all happy to send it on.
We all hope you have a very meaningful Christmas this year—one that offers bright spots in your days. May God richly bless you now and in the new year.
Kari Trumbo, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, and Chautona Havig

P.S.  If you read the short story, do let me know if you think I should turn it into a full-length novella/novel. I’d love to know your opinion.


I love reading Christmas stories and could read them year round. This collection is perfect for enjoying love, faith and family. Each author has a unique style of writing that shows as they deliver stories that made me smile , laugh and cry. Settle back, get comfy, relax and have fun reading stories that will get you in the Christmas spirit.

Merry and Dashing by Kari Trumbo

From the moment I started reading this story I fell in love with Merry. She isn't so happy this year as she finds herself all alone for the holidays. I had to laugh when she found out her parents had made other plans. Her mother's suggestion to volunteer has Merry thinking maybe it would be nice and maybe not.  The Thrifty Pumpkin is a perfect place for Merry to share some holiday cheer. Merry has a lot of cheering up to do if she expects to help people at the shop. 

Jacob is a wonderful character who is cheery and encourages Merry to volunteer. He has been doing it for ten years and knows the reward you get from being there.  I loved reading about the thrift store and all it had to offer. The author reminds us that Christmas is about giving and being a blessing. I don't think I have really taken the time to think about those without warm coats or even a place to keep warm much. This story excites me to go volunteer and that is just what I will do for the holidays. I need cheering up and what better way than to help others. It's a lovely story that helps one person understand the true meaning of Christmas while finding joy and love.

I'll Be Home by Toni Shiloh

Going home for the holidays should be exciting, but for Starr it was bitter sweet. She has a big secret she is  trying to hide and there is that little matter of her sister marrying her ex-boyfriend. This is going to be a holiday  Starr will never forget.  I felt a twinge of sadness for Starr as she has always felt left out in her family. I loved how the author writes Starr with compassion and a need to feel wanted.  I know what it is like to feel unwanted by your family. The feeling of rejection is deep and only God can heal that wound.

I loved the author sharing the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. What a beautiful sight that would be. Starr is with her family and an old friend named Waylon enjoying the festivities.  I'm not to sure that I liked Angel very much. She is so focused on her wedding that she hasn't really made Starr feel welcomed. There is tension between them that could cause a big problem. I loved reading about how Starr and Waylon started to have feelings for each other. The author writes a wonderful story with a look at sibling rivalry, forgiveness and a bright future.

Season of Change by Cathe Swanson

Losing everything in a fire has to be devastating. For Charlea she now has to live with her mother while she figures out what to do after the tragic fire. I can't imagine what it would be like to stand there and see your home as a pile of ashes. I was intrigued where the author would go with this story and see if Charlea could have a better relationship with her mother. I must say Charlea's mother is quite unique and a bit eccentric in many ways. She has a carefree attitude and I wasn't sure if she was happy to share her home with Charlea.

I absolutely loved the line Charlea's mother said; " You don't have to go to church to be a Christian." I have said that many times to people. Just because you carry a bible doesn't make you a Christian. All these sayings are true. Your actions show if you are a Christian. I am starting to like Charlea's mom a little more. I found Charlea's job very fascinating. Helping senior citizens downsize to a better living environment can have its rewards. It also can be heartbreaking seeing people have to give up their home and special items .

I loved reading about Woodstock and thought the author did a great job of including it in the story to remind us of a time in history that will never be forgotten .  The story is filled with wonderful information about running a farm and it made me think of my granddad's farm in Oklahoma.  There are wonderful characters in the story and a beautiful example of family coming together in a crisis. The faith element is good and really highlights the importance of trusting God. There are a few surprises in the story and unexpected romances that make this story so inspiring.

12 Dates of Christmas

Reagan has come home for the holidays hoping for relaxation. Thanks to her mother Reagan now has a speaking engagement at the school she attended years ago. I laughed when she ran into her old nemesis Alex. Reagan sure can hold a grudge. She is not the least bit happy to see Alex and demands an apology for the way he treated her in school. I wanted to tell her to get over herself. Has she ever heard the word forgive?

The interactions between Reagan and Alex are classic. I loved reading their banter and especially liked how Alex encouraged Reagan to get out of her comfort zone.  She may seem to have it all together, but deep inside is a person screaming with insecurity. The story is fun to read as each date between Alex and Reagan is filled with an apology. Reagan begins to see a different side of Alex as he becomes more important to her. I loved their dates and how the author blends faith into the story that delivers a message about forgiving and believing in yourself.  I have to say this story would be perfect as a made for TV movie. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, December 6
Texas Book-aholic, December 7
janicesbookreviews, December 8
Mary Hake, December 9
Genesis 5020, December 10
Inklings and notions, December 11
CarpeDiem, December 13
Batya’s Bits, December 16
She Lives To Read, December 17
Lots of Helpers, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 19


To celebrate their tour, The Christmas Lights Authors are giving away the grand prize of a six-month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, December 6, 2019


Oh my!! This book is so good I couldn’t put it down. The main character  Verity is such a delightful person. She is feisty, mischievous and has a heart of gold. How does  she get into so many shenanigans I don’t know but it makes for an unforgettable story. After taking so much from Verity  her mother ships her to her grandmother. Wonder if her grandmother can handle this strong willed young woman?

I loved reading about Verity’s journey to Scotland and the man she meets. Anthony is a bright star to this story with his charm and deep faith. They  say opposites attract , so I hope Verity can accept Anthony and his love for God. It is a great opportunity for Verity to find out who God is and know He is real. Their relationship has ups and downs and the author gives us laughs as they find themselves trying to get to know each other. I loved the message in the book about Verity accepting herself and believing that men and women are equal in Gods eyes.

I think each of us has struggled with our self worth at some point in our lives. Verity hides her insecurity well until Anthony comes along. They make a great couple and both learn to trust and believe in each other, I’m sad to see the series end, but look forward to another book by this gifted author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publishing. The review is my own opinion.

The Melody of the Mulberries FB BannerAbout the Book

Book: The Melody of the Mulberries
Author: Tonya Jewel Blessing
Genre:  Historic Southern Romance
Release Date: September 16, 2019
Melody of the MulberriesThis sequel is set in the late 1920s Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.
Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet – perfect for pies and jams. 
When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds, and when the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.
Where Emerald Ashby’s story leaves us in the last pages of The Whispering of the Willows, pure and innocent sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby’s story begins. Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.When Ernest’s previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother’s widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.
Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Tonya BlessingMore about Tonya Jewel Blessing: Growing up Tonya spent numerous vacations and holidays in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Most of her adult life has been spent in full time ministry with a focus on helping women. She has traveled nationally and internationally as a conference speaker. For a number of years, Tonya and her husband operated a retreat facility in Colorado for pastors and missionaries. She and her husband currently live in South Africa. They are the founders and directors of Strong Cross Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists local churches, pastors, cross-cultural workers, and others in Christian leadership in providing spiritual reconciliation and humanitarian relief to the poorest in the world. Tonya writes monthly devotionals for women in ministry. She is the award-winning novelist of The Whispering of the Willows, which is Book 1 of the Big Creek Series. She is the co-author of Soothing Rain, a discussion starter handbook/devotional that provides women with important tools for sharing biblical truth.

More from Tonya

Greetings From Author Tonya Jewel Blessing
The Melody of the Mulberries is book two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains were untamed in the 1920s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking, magnificent, and glorious.
The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970s as the state slogan.
In 1937, my mother, Virginia Ashby, was born in the rural hills of West Virginia. She spent several of her formative years in an area known as Big Creek. I have borrowed my mother’s maiden name, several names from her past, and the name Big Creek.
The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” Certainly, there are seasons in my life where I long for the steep, curvy country roads of my youth. This is one deeply satisfying reason for writing about hope with connections to West Virginia, a life held close to my heart.
It is a pleasure and an honor to share this story with the Celebrate Lit family. My southern story is an authentically derived historical romance for young adults and for women of all ages who love Appalachian lore and West Virginia history. It contains some depictions of spiritualism and traditional Christianity during the 1920s in West Virginia. It continues with the inter-racial dealings between two communities, where, some are friends and some are foes.
If anyone would enjoy a free sample of the first audiobook, The Whispering of the Willows, please go to the link and click “play sample”.  This amazing voice actress, Courtney Patterson, will start reading you my story so that you will feel like you are eavesdropping on the Ashby family. Enjoy!
Enjoy an excerpt from Tonya’s first book in the series, The Whispering of the Willows, here.


The story is an intriguing look at Appalachian people and their culture. They sure do have some very interesting folk lores. I enjoyed reading them and appreciate the author including one at the top of each chapter.  At first I was a bit lost in the story but was able to quickly pick up what was going on. It would be helpful to read the first book in the series, but you can still enjoy this one without reading the first. 

I thought the author did a good job of showing the struggle that Coral had about seeing someone in prison. She wanted to share God with this person and knew God had called her to do this. This was a great example of showing forgiveness to someone who had hurt her and her family. Coral was a great character and I admired her determination to follow God. 

Ernest has his hands full with being in love with one woman while another one wants him to help raise her baby. The birth of the child was written very well and you could feel a sense of love as a new life was brought into the world. The people sure did have opinions about what Ernest should do since he helped deliver the baby. There were some tense moments when Ernest was confronted by a man who demanded he marry Mercy, the mother of the child he delivered. 

The author gives us a look into history during the 1920's and I loved reading about the Hatfields and McCoys. Who can forget these two families and their feud that started so long ago? Now Ernest is in a similar situation and needs to figure a way out. I loved that he was a teacher and how much he enjoyed being around children watching them absorb information. 

The character named Granny was interesting and also a little scary at times. She sees things that others can't understand and she is a little deceitful at times. I don't think I would want to meet her at all. The story  follows an outbreak of influenza that take many lives. I remember reading about this and how helpless doctors felt as they saw patients succumb to the illness. A few key characters will face this illness and I liked how realistic the author wrote about their fight to overcome something that was dangerous to many. 

The story is well written and I enjoyed reading about Coral and Ernest. Their journey is filled with danger, secrets, hope and forgiveness. It has a good faith element throughout the story with scriptures and characters that weren't afraid to share their love of God.  I loved the ending and with the authors help was able to feel part of the story of two people searching for love and hope. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, November 28
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 29 (Author Interview)
Older & Smarter?, November 30
Pause for Tales , December 4
Texas Book-aholic, December 6
janicesbookreviews, December 7
Betti Mace, December 8
A Reader’s Brain, December 9
Inklings and notions, December 10


To celebrate her tour, Tonya is giving away the grand prize package of a special pillow and reader’s choice of an eBook or Audiobook of The Whispering of the Willows!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Piper Redding is a loner, but lonely. Everyone she loves has abandoned her and
opening her heart to others is just asking for more pain. She can’t help but blame
herself for her brother’s tragic death six years ago, and in her guilt, she shuts herself
off from the world. No one could love her—not even the God who promised to be there
for her but wasn’t.
For paramedic Ezra Bryant, failure is not an option. He’s had enough of it, and only by
God’s grace is he able to put it behind him. But when a traumatic event brings Piper’s
greatest fear and Ezra’s failures to light, can they use that event to allow God to mend
their broken pieces? Can love triumph over fear, and grace over guilt?

Sarah Grace Grzy is a voracious reader, and if it weren't for this crazy
thing called 'Life,' she'd be tempted to spend all her days in front of a wood stove,
book in one hand, coffee mug in the other.
A lover of learning, she finds enjoyment in many things and has more hobbies than
she knows what to do with. Sarah Grace is a freelance web and graphic designer, and
when not working, spending time with her ever-growing family, or reading, she can
be found painting, playing the piano, or fangirling with her sisters and friends. Sarah
Grace inhabits the State of Great Lakes, and wouldn't want to live anywhere else--
unless it meant she could have a baby penguin, in which case, she'd gladly move to the
South Pole.
Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest: @sarahgracegrzy
Purchase Link:


This has been such a beautiful story to read. The author is able to take readers into the hearts of characters and let us  feel every emotion. The story is filled with heartache, searching for love, and forgiving yourself. Piper has had a very hard time getting over a tragedy in her life. The guilt she carries is eating away at her. I can understand how she feels that God has abandoned her. Why did He not answer her prayer? Why did He allow her to witness a death that took her hope away?  Her search to understand will be a journey that you will remember for a long time.

Ezra is a man who has his own pain and guilt that he carries after losing someone very close to him. What I loved about him was how he continued to pray and seek God's help. It was nice to read about Piper and Ezra's back history and how it now has a chance for a fresh start. When Piper is injured you could feel how much Ezra cared for her. What I really liked was how Ezra and a very special lady share God with Piper and allow her to let God love on her.

I can't say enough good things about this story. It captures the healing of brokenness and we get to witness someone giving themselves to God. That moment in the book was the most powerful salvation I have ever read. The author is definitely someone who can tell a story with words that soak into your heart and leave you with peace and hope.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

On my blog today I am featuring CHRISTINE MARIA JAHN

Check out her book and be sure to leave a comment. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon GC at the end of the week .

Read this beautiful, yet powerful, story of a young girl named, Samara. Lonely and broken, she only wants to be treated with kindness. This message of friendship and love is a poignant one that all children should read, and sadly, one in which many will relate. Samara is different from other children in her village because of a deformity; and it is this deformity that results in the young girl being bullied. She has lost all hope, until one day when a young boy named, Jesus, enters her life. This story is written in poetic form and includes reflection questions at the end, as well as Scripture and bible verses to study and memorize. This book is geared towards ages eight through twelve, although the message itself is for everyone: we are all beautiful, we all have value, and we are all beloved children of God.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

String theory and Having Tried FB Banner

About the Books

Book: Having Tried Everything & The String Theory Beginning With Me
Author: Tonia Colleen Martin
Genre: Coffee Table Gift, Adult Fairytale Illustrated
Release Date: July, 2019
Having Tried Everything
Having tried everything coverSleep often eludes. We try this and we try that. Still, the night gives a wake up call we’d rather not answer. “Having Tried Everything” is the story of a terminally lonely insomniac who does answer. Stepping from the rut of routines and rituals, moving from the known to the unknown, she discovers not only mercy and abundance but who she is and the travesty and redemption of what it means to be human. “Having Tried Everything” is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicably true. The “YOU” in the story is both the reader and the writer. The very act of embracing this narrative provides the first step toward the wonderland of connection, acceptance and gratitude. Where words abbreviate the astonishment of God’s signature on creature and creatures, the illustrations enhance and annotate. Suitable for all dreamers and courageous pragmatists.

The String Theory Beginning with Me
Sting Theory coverThe String Theory Beginning With Me is an illustrated prose poem tracing the journey to freedom from an internal landscape of chaos and fear. Using specific images from the natural world, this story condenses and simplifies a very slow, methodical transformation indicative of those who consistently seek the larger experience of living both in and beyond the here and now. Because of its metaphorical language and its delicate presentation, The String Theory Beginning with Me, has a universal appeal and is an ideal gift for both contemplatives and the spirited.

Click here to to get your copy of Having Tried Everything and here to get your copy of The String Theory Beginning with Me.

About the Author

Tonia Colleen MartinWhile I was still feeble in my selfness and narrow in my horizons, I became a collector of words. Words often come and go all on their own. I do my best to arrange them in beautiful order. This particular arrangement is called Having Tried Everything: An exploration of redemption, hope and possibility through the eyes of a terminally lonely insomniac. It is at once actual, metaphorical, providential and inexplicable. The “YOU” in the story is both the reader and myself as the writer/artist. Thank You for stepping into this with me. The weight of this truth is surprisingly heavy and less accessible than I would like it to be. Divine Love and His intervention is the hope I often forget to cling. The Lie: You are alone and will end alone, has subtly confused me without my knowledge or consent for a very long time. My ability to escape its debilitating effects is in direct proportion to name it as a lie. The miracle of being designed for relationship with the living God despite my frailties continues to astound me. My value as a human being is not predicated on my good behaviors or bright countenance, but rather by God’s compassion and mercy. The unshakeable truth of my wealth given freely to me by nature of my design and God’s generosity is not mine alone. Thus, the You in the story is ours together. God bless you as you consider with me the miracle of God’s unmerited favor towards us based on nothing we’ve worked for or earned.

More from Tonia

On Labor Day morning, I woke up to an email reminding me I missed a deadline.
This is not the kind of message that incites creativity.
And now sitting here in my front garden, trying to imagine the sound of the neighbor’s leaf blower as that of a vigorous wind warming up to deliver an epic end-of- summer storm, I am face to face with a wordless me wondering how to communicate the enormity of what I want to be say…after all, what happens in these two little, tiny, shrunken, abbreviated, synthetic replications of what actually occurred in the chronological space of history crosses into speculative territory. And I haven’t even met you.
If you dream of traveling but time, money or fear has held you back, The String Theory Beginning with Me is a story boat meant to sail you safely into the intergalactic waters of your own lonely soul. If you worry about failure, Having Tried Everything  is an illustrated syllabus developed from a rubbing pressed against the gravestone of a dream, carefully framed by God’s healing light.  Both books are designed to give you a holiday from clock watching and move you into a space of heart throb time.


Both books are beautifully illustrated and easy to read. I love the simplicity of the message and how peaceful you feel as you read the words. The author flows as she captures a way for you to find peace in Having Tried Everything. I liked how the author talks about acceptance.  You realize that God is there and you surrender yourself while finding forgiveness and love. 

In The String Theory Beginning With Me, I liked the abstract pictures because they were just a bit blurry in a sense that we are blinded sometimes in our walk. It describes a person who is beaten down and doesn't know how to get up again. The story is very encouraging as  you discover the One who is always there. The reference of the drum to me illustrates the beating of our heart as we allow God inside. We are set free and now have peace within us. 

I received a copy of both books from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Simple Harvest Reads, December 1 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, December 3
All 4 and About Books, December 4 (Author Interview)
janicesbookreviews, December 5
Mary Hake, December 5
Blossoms and Blessings, December 7 (Author Interview)
A Reader’s Brain, December 8
Andrea Christenson, December 10 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, December 11


To celebrate her tour, Tonia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of each of the books!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.