Book Review The Things We Knew by Catherine West with Giveaway

51eGLI0vfBLThe Things We Knew is one of the best books I have read this year. Catherine West’s writing and storyline kept me wanting to read each spare moment I had. Even while I was on my own book deadline, I finished this meaty story in only five days. I still think about the characters, and to me, that is the mark of a great book.

This is a story of three generations of the Carlisle family, most of whom live somewhere else now, except the patriarch of the clan and his youngest daughter Lynette who still abide in the family beach house on Nantucket Island. There are many undercurrents and secrets that are uncovered slowly. And more secrets revealed as the story unfolds and the other four children come home, with a few grandchildren, too.

Many of today’s society’s problems like addiction, sibling rivalry, and health problems plague this family, too. And, there is always an undercurrent of memories that are not so good. Yet, in the end, there is hope for the future, especially for Lynette and the returned next-door neighbor Nick Cooper, who was once like a brother to her.

Treat yourself to a great read! I highly recommend this book, especially if you have a long weekend to read, read, read Catherine West’s newest page-turner! I received this book from the author for review purposes, but that did not affect my opinion. And Catherine has offered to do a giveaway for one commenter on my blog, so we’ll give you a week from tomorrow to leave a comment since I’ll be at the ACFW conference next weekend. USA and Canadian entries only. 81AMhGLcbFL._SY200_

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Fridays with Friends–Alice K Arenz about An American Gothic with Giveaway

Alice K. Arenz


Alice K. Arenz AnAmerican Gothic

Blurb: She came to Foxxemoor to write a mystery, not to become part of one.

Devastated by the death of a child in her care, Lyssie’s heart strings are tugged when she finds another child in danger. Amid past secrets, lies, and betrayals of an old college friend’s family, she must choose a twin brother to trust. If she makes the wrong decision, she could not only lose her own life, but also the life of the child she’s come to love.

am goth shrunkBIO: An American Gothic, published August 2015, is the fourth novel of 2010 ACFW Carol Award winning author, Alice K. Arenz. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in ACFW’s Carol Award: cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist)—all re-released by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications. Visit her at her website .


 Alice is happy to do an eBook giveaway, so please leave a comment below that contains your email so she can contact you. Feel free to disguise it with( ) or “dotcom” instead of .com, etc. to keep people from searching and using your email. Drawing in one week so be sure to enter by Friday, August 19th, 2016.

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Christmas in July Sale!

10502396_1519143138334007_2590642787625232906_nHave you heard of Christmas in July? Many of you will remember that two years ago, I Joined three of my writing friends to do a series of four books all under the title Smoky Mountain Christmas about four cousins. We had fun doing it, and I learned a lot about formatting, etc. from Delia Latham, and we have had some great reviews and good success in selling them on amazon. Now, we want to share that joy with you, our readers!

Book One is Delia Latham’s book entitled Do You See What I See?, where we see the story of a jilted bride, or is it the groom? You’ll have to read this story to find out why they both think the other one jilted them!

In Book Two, Amber Stockton writes Hometown Melodies where a hometown best friend stirs the engaged heroine’s heart. She has to turn to God for answers.

Book Three is my story of Christmas Grace. It’s another renewed friendship which has the heartache of their other friend’s death three years earlier. Can love conquer all? And for those of  you who know my family, do you recognize the couple on my cover?

And Book Four is entitled Sleigh Bells in the Snow where Jeanie Smith Cash’s heroine also has to turn to God for answers on where to live and whom to love. Jeanie’s book also contains the epilogue of the girls’ grandfather’s birthday which is the reason they all came to Gatlinburg, TN for a Smoky Mountain Christmas.

These books are all available in print on or on kindle where we are running our “Christmas in July Sale” where you can buy each kindle version for only 99 cents! Hope you have an early Merry Christmas on us!

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Guest Blog by Vannetta Chapman

A Dystopian Setting—Deep In the Heart of Texas by Vannetta Chapman

Deep Shadows is the first book in my upcoming Remnant Series. It’s a dystopian Christian fiction novel, and instead of using a fictional setting I decided to use the area I know best—central Texas.

So what is dystopian fiction? At it’s core this type of story deals with a major shift in society—a plague or a global natural disaster or a man-caused universal change across the breadth of society. In Deep Shadows, a solar flare causes a disruption in all things electrical for the foreseeable future.

Yikes! No cell phones or a/c or television? No internet? I know. It’s a horrible thing to imagine. I had a lot of fun with it because I love torturing my characters and seeing if they are strong enough, smart enough, faithful enough to survive.

But it’s not all fiction.

· Gorman Falls and Colorado Bend State Park do actually exist, and it provides a dramatic, remote setting for the opening scene of Deep Shadows.2015-04-26 12.26.52

· Fort Hood is located in central Texas and is one of the largest US military installations in the world. The close proximity of this base provides a nice tension to my plot.

· There is no town called Fort Croghan; however, the US government established Fort Croghan in 1849 to protect settlers from hostile Indians along the Texas frontier. You can still visit the grounds and museum. I had a lot of fun imagining that a town had grown up around this historic site.

· Townsend Mills was established in 1856 and was a base camp for surveying crews. It no longer exists today but the small town Adamsville is located near the old site. Townsend Mills provides a nice transition from small town living to a life spent hunkering down on the farm, waiting for things to improve.

· There are more than 2900 natural springs in 183 Texas counties. Water quickly becomes a scarce resource in Deep Shadows, which would especially be true in central Texas where much of the area is exceedingly dry. In my story, any place with a water resource becomes a place of refuge as well as a designated target for those in need of that resource.

While I enjoyed using real places, the main setting—Abney, Texas—does not exist. I could not bear to destroy a town that I know and love, so instead I used a compilation of several towns in central Texas.

Deep Shadows is a story about relationships and how they survive or crumble when what we’ve feared, as a society, occurs. It’s also a story of faith and hope. What do I hope readers take away from this story? The assurance that God’s grace is always sufficient. Take the worst scenario that you can imagine, and you can still count on our Heavenly Father—maybe not to make things instantly better, but to lead, guide, and care for us regardless the circumstances.
Deep Shadows smBack cover blurb: All It Takes Is One Night to Plunge the World into Darkness

Life in Abney, Texas, is predictable and safe–until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology.

Shelby Sparks, novelist and single mom, had one goal: to provide for her diabetic son. In the wake of this global disaster, her mission hasn’t changed. Only now, medication is a priceless commodity and the future resembles an apocalyptic nightmare.

Max Berkman and Shelby were once sweethearts, but he lost his chance at claiming her love years ago. When the abrupt loss of power ushers him into a leadership role, he rises to the occasion. But his highest priority–to keep Shelby and her son safe–could prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

As the brilliant northern lights give way to deep shadows, Max and Shelby’s faith will be tested like never before. Only one rule remains: Find a way to survive.

In this first book in an eerily plausible dystopian series, a memorable cast of characters must navigate a familiar world thrown into chaos.

BIO: Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace, including romantic vc author photo, DSsuspense and Amish romance novels. She is the author of seventeen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. For more information, visit her at

Deep Shadow Links





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Book Review: Deep Shadows by Vannetta Chapman

51+04ZJJLcL._AC_US160_I write romance, but sometimes love reading books that are a little different. Deep Shadows definitely fits that description! As the subtitle promotes–The Remnant series, Book One–this book takes place after a catastrophic event that changes the world as we know it. A solar flare wipes out all modern technology and most of the power grid.  This story is about how the people of Abney, Texas try to survive. Many of them help their neighbors the best they can, but there are others who want to take everything for themselves. Who will win out in the end? And who will survive?

This story is also a romance between Max Berkman and Shelby Sparks. Can Shelby trust Max enough to follow his advice? The book also has helps for survival in the back which makes it hit closer to home. How many of us would be ready to survive with what we have on hand or what we can piece together from old parts from grills and bicycles and such? After reading this book you will have a better idea. And it ends with a cliffhanger, so you know there will be a book 2 and hopefully more. I plan to read them, how about you? Write fast, Vannetta Chapman!

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Win a Kindle Fire

Courageous Brides CollectionHappy release day to Johnnie Alexander, Michelle Griep, Eileen Key, Debby Lee, Donita Kathleen Paul, Jennifer Uhlarik, Jenness Walker, Renee Yancy and myself–all 9 authors of the Courageous Brides collection.

And to celebrate, we want to gift all of our readers with a chance to win a Kindle Fire loaded with this new book and several  of our past books, also, so go to this site to enter. Also you can get extra entries from going to my and the others ladies FB pages and liking them and also any tweets and retweets you do for this giveaway. Lots and lots of chances! So what are you waiting for? Go to the link below to read more about it, then start liking and tweeting! 41A4mMSdBJL._AC_US160_


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