Preview: The Return of Cassandra Todd

Thursday, February 28, 2013

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Return of Cassandra Todd
Realms (February 5, 2013)
by
Darrel Nelson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

ABOUT THE BOOK




When the girl he hated in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, and asks for his help, Turner must put the past behind him if they are to survive.

Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he passes the bus depot just as Cassandra Todd and her young son arrive. He is shocked to see her, remembering how cruel she was to him in high school. She was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her mean-spirited pranks. Turner could never have imagined that the outdoor training and survival skills he learned at Camp Kopawanee, a summer youth camp where he worked three years as a leader, would one day become so crucial. But when Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, Turner finds himself entangled in a situation that will require every skill he has in order to survive.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Return of Cassandra Todd, go HERE.

Come Eat at My Table by Ruth O'Neil

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

***Special thanks to Ruth O'Neil for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ruth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles in numerous publications. She loves to touch the emotions when she writes. “If I can make one person laugh or cry, I’ll consider myself successful.” Her first novel “Come Eat at My Table” has just come out in ebook form and can be purchased on her website. She homeschools her three children (well, one now, as two have graduated). She and her husband have been married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Karin Miller has a need to feed everyone. One of her twin daughters always teases her about it. The other daughter, Faith, realizes that there’s more to it than that. Faith’s suspicions are confirmed when she is assigned a project in school that forces Karin to talk about her past, mainly her childhood. Most people have fun and pleasant memories from childhood, but not Karin. There are a lot of secrets, which she has kept hidden for twenty years that have contributed to her vulnerability and lack of self-esteem. Her husband convinces her that it would be good for her to let it all out. He tells her it would also be good for the girls to learn more about their mom and why she is the person she is. When it’s all said and done, Karin is a much stronger person and so are the members of her family. Until Karin faces her past, she and her family cannot face their future.


Product Details:
List Price: $7.99
File Size: 307 KB
Print Length: 133 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00BI2WZ9S
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Lending: Enabled



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue

It’s said that the way we are raised forms who we are as adults. It’s all the experiences we have had in life that make us who we are. Mom was no different. Her experiences definitely shaped who she was.

I learned at an early age that it was my mom’s goal in life to feed everyone. She believed that food connected people and made them happy. Many of my own most vivid memories come from when we were sitting at the table eating with friends and family. Besides just inviting friends over for dinner, Mom would have someone over to eat in payment for a good deed. Mom would always make a meal for someone who was sick or in need. If she knew that someone was depressed, they would be the recipients of a plate of cupcakes. It was her signature touch of love, which made all her food special. Mom never failed to include a card, along with the food, with a few words of encouragement. If dessert was given, it was always presented on a pretty plate intended for the receiver to keep. Mom was famous for her cooking, especially for her cupcakes that were decorated individually.

It wasn’t until the year that my sister and I turned sixteen that we realized why mom had an underlying need to feed everyone. She wanted everyone to know they were loved - by her and by God. I remember that year as being one of the best of our lives. I don’t exactly know why because it was a year of difficulty for my parents and for us as a family. In spite of those difficulties, I remember that year as being fun and good.

Mom was one of those people that didn’t realize all the good she did or the number of people she touched. She did what she did because she felt God told her to. She didn’t do it for show. There was something deep down inside her that made her want to reach out to others. She never wanted anyone to feel like she had felt as a child, which was unloved. It wasn’t until the project for school our sophomore year that my sister and I found out why mom was the way she was.

It’s a story I will never forget because it was one that was difficult for my mom to tell and for us to hear. She wanted to shade my sister and me from her past, but I think I’m the better for knowing it. I think you will be, too.

Faith Miller



Chapter One

“Only two more days till Christmas!” Hope danced around the kitchen chanting while getting underfoot. She was good at that, but not always a whole lot of help.

“Yes, we know!” Hope’s twin sister Faith said, while frosting some of the cookies she had baked earlier in the day with their mom.

Hope picked up the cookie as soon as Faith set it aside to let the frosting set.

“You didn’t burn these did you?”

“I haven’t burnt anything in a long time!” Faith said.

“Yeah, it’s been at least a week!” Hope said sarcastically.

“We’d get more done if you helped a little more besides eating everything.” The girls’ mom, Karin, said to Hope without looking up from what she was doing.

“I’m taste-testing.” Hope said with her mouth full. “And taking pictures.” She held up her other hand, which contained a camera. It was an older camera that used film, but she found taking pictures enjoyable and she was good at it. She used her talent and became the photo editor of their school newspaper. She would often get right up in people’s faces to get a close-up shot. Karin and Faith hated that, which made Hope do it even more.

Hope and Faith were identical twins who would turn sixteen the next July. While they looked alike, they made every effort to look different. They had the same honey colored hair and green eyes as their mom. The three of them looked so much alike that their father often called them his triplets.

Karin wore her hair long, down to her waist. Faith had hair that came down past her shoulder blades, but more often than not, she had it up in a ponytail to keep it out of her way. Hope kept her hair only to her shoulders and she would straighten hers since she didn’t particularly like the waves that her mom and sister kept.

As far as their personalities were concerned, the twins couldn’t have been more different. Faith was the no fuss twin. Hope was the one who was more concerned about her appearance. She always took the time to do her hair and put on clean clothes and make-up before she took out the garbage.

Faith liked to cook alongside of her mother. Although she used to burn a lot of meals, after the last couple years of practice, she had become a much better cook. Faith liked to play sports and hated shopping. Hope liked shopping and hated sports. Hope was more popular at school and had a lot of friends. Faith was well liked, but she was much quieter than Hope and was loyal to her small group of close friends. Hope was much more talkative and more interested in the latest trends.

Hope talked incessantly, while Faith was a listener. Faith saw and heard things that Hope had no idea were there. Hope’s personality was more like her dad’s and Faith’s was more like Karin’s.

Faith was baking and frosting cookies while Karin was preparing Christmas dinner. When she pulled the ham from the oven she said as much to herself as to the girls. “I don’t know why I’m getting all this food ready now.” She had pretty much cooked everything so that on Christmas Day it would just have to be reheated.

“Well, now we can enjoy more time together as a family this year,” Faith said. “We always get up early, open presents, spend a few hours cooking, an hour eating, and the rest of the day sitting around doing nothing.”

“Yeah,” Hope agreed. “We can sleep in. We aren’t little kids anymore who are so anxious to open presents that we can’t wait till daylight.”

“We can sleep in as long as dad doesn’t wake us up.” Faith laughed.

It was true, their dad, Rob, was always the first one up on Christmas Day. He often got up and unsatisfied to be alone and to wait patiently, he would go and wake up the whole household. It didn’t matter that it was only four o’clock in the morning, it was Christmas and it was time to open all the presents that waited under the tree. If only he would leave everyone alone they could sleep in a little longer and still have plenty of time to enjoy the day and eat all the delicious food they were preparing.

Just then, the front door opened. All three of them looked to see who had entered. A little boy shyly stood there with a big smile. “Are you baking cookies?” He asked.

“We sure are.” Karin was always amazed at how Matt could show up at exactly the right time. “You’re a little late, Matt. I cracked the eggs a while ago!” Karin smiled.

One time when he came over while Karin was baking cookies, he told her he had heard her cracking the eggs. That was their own little joke now. He also heard her cracking the ice cube trays in the summer when he was hopeful of getting Karin’s famous lemonade.

Karin felt sorry for Matt. He was often at home alone. Matt was only ten years old. He had a single mom who worked extra hard just to make ends meet. Karin knew Matt’s mom’s schedule and they had an agreement that Karin would keep her eye out for their young next-door neighbor when he wasn’t in school.

Karin knew that if she offered to watch Matt his mom would feel obligated to pay her. Karin wasn’t looking for payment; she just wanted to be a good neighbor. Karin also knew that money was tight for Matt and his mom, so she often sent a plate of food home for her after Matt had eaten dinner with them. This arrangement worked well and kept them all happy.

Matt fit right in with the family, filling the role of little brother. Faith took him under her wing and nurtured him. Hope took him under her wing and conspired with him. Right now Hope and Matt sat on bar stools on the opposite side of the counter of where Karin and Faith were working. Hope was picking up two cookies, one more for herself and one for Matt.

None of them could resist Matt’s bright, blue eyes, blonde hair and the fattest cheeks anyone could ever imagine on a skinny, little kid. He was cute, of that there was no doubt. This was one reason Karin found it hard to resist his smile when he showed up on her doorstep, hoping for a cookie. He happily chewed on his treat as the three girls talked and sang Christmas songs as they played on the radio.

The four continued their baking, decorating, and eating. When Hope’s favorite Christmas song came on the radio, she ordered everyone to be quiet so she could listen and sing, when actually her singing ruined the song for everyone else. She grabbed a wooden spoon out of the crock on the counter and used it as a microphone as she sang and danced around the kitchen. Neither her singing nor her dancing was pleasant entertainment, but she ignored anyone who told her so.

Fortunately, the phone ringing interrupted her performance. Since her mom and Faith were both busy, Hope answered the phone without turning down the music.

“Hello? Merry Christmas!” She just about shouted into the phone. “Just a minute, please.” She handed the phone to her mom. “It’s Mrs. Carter, from church.”

Karin took the phone from her daughter. “Hello?” It only took about two seconds for her whole demeanor to change. Hope was still singing, stealing cookies, and sharing them with Matt who had by now acquired a cup of hot cocoa, too.

Hope may not have noticed the change in her mom, but Faith, the one who saw everything, did see it. She also saw her mom walk into another room to avoid the noise. Faith turned down the volume on the radio not only so her mom could hear better, but also so that she could hear what her mom was saying.

“Hey!” Hope said as Faith turned the music down.

“Shhh!” Faith responded.

“I’ll take a meal over to them tonight.” Karin was saying. “I’ll also go ahead and set up meals for at least the rest of the week.”

When she hung up Faith asked what was wrong.

Karin put her hands on her hips like she was thinking. “Mrs. Lloyd broke her leg this morning.” She said.

“How did she do that?” Faith asked.

“She slipped on some ice and fell.” Karin answered.

Faith already knew exactly what was going through her mom’s mind. When Karin heard of a need, she automatically went into high gear. During the next few moments Karin spoke, but only to herself. The girls, and even Matt, knew not to interrupt.

“They are going to need food. There is no way Lisa is going to feel like cooking anything let alone a fancy Christmas dinner. I wish I had time to bake some cupcakes. I can do that later, instead of today. I don’t know how many people will be able to fix meals the week of Christmas. Hmmm. She’s going to need more help than that, too. She has five small children.”

When she looked up, the girls knew that they were now included in any further discussion. The funny part is that there wasn’t any conversation. The three of them looked at each other for a few moments. Took their eyes off each other long enough to scan over all the food that was spread out on the counter and the tables. There was ham, sweet potatoes, apple and pumpkin pies, herbed corn, and homemade rolls. When their eyes met again the decision had been made, all without saying one word. Hope grabbed one more cookie before the deal was sealed.

“Your dad doesn’t particularly care for ham anyway. He’s always saying he wants pizza for Christmas dinner; that we should go against tradition. How about we give him what he wants this year?” Karin asked the girls without expecting an answer. “Now I know why God had me prepare Christmas dinner early. See, girls, everything happens for a reason.” She commented. “Isn’t God amazing?” Karin just beamed.

Faith smiled. Hope acted a little disappointed. Both of the girls knew that their own Christmas dinner would be a little bit less than what was originally planned, but they both also knew that mom would make it special, even if it was just pizza.

“Mom’s got to feed the world!” Hope said. Her tone was sarcastic, but she said it with all the love she had in her heart for her mom. Everyone who knew her knew that Karin Miller had an innate need to feed everyone she met. And everyone she met was more than willing to eat at Karin Miller’s table, for her food was a treat for all to thoroughly enjoy.

Hope grabbed a couple more cookies. Faith went and got out one of the pretty plates her mom kept for such occasions. Karin would buy these plates when she found them on sale or at second hand stores or yard sales. It was one of those extra touches that were purely Karin. The plate was a gift along with whatever food was placed on it and was not to be returned.

“Here, Matt,” Faith began to hand him another cookie, but changed her mind when she looked at him. “Can you cram anymore cookies in those cheeks of yours?”

Matt tried to smile, but had to cover his mouth with his hand to keep cookie crumbs from falling out.

Faith continued, “Which cookies do you think the Lloyd’s will like?”

While munching on his own cookies, Matt helped Faith choose some of the prettier looking cookies to give to a family who would be in need of Christmas treats.

Faith arranged the cookies on the plate so they looked attractive. Then she covered the whole thing tightly with plastic warp so the cookies wouldn’t slide around. This would be dessert for the Lloyds to go along with the dinner her mom would soon be packing up.

Faith also grabbed a large plastic bag and filled it with cookies.

“What’s that for?” Matt wanted to know. Even though he didn’t live there, he knew Karin always put cookies on a nice plate and not in a plastic bag.

“These are for you and your mom.” Faith smiled.

“Oh, boy!” Matt said excitedly, rubbing his hands together.

“Yeah,” Hope interjected. “Make sure you save some for your mom. I heard she didn’t get any of the last batch.” She teased.

Matt just grinned. He knew he was guilty as charged. The last time Karin sent Matt home with some cranberry-ginger cookies, Matt ate them all. He paid for it the next day with a horrible stomachache.

“Hope, since you aren’t doing anything but eating, grab me some of those foil pans that are in the pantry.” Karin asked. “That way Mrs. Lloyd won’t need to worry about washing or returning any dishes.”

The Lloyd’s were a family at their church. They were relatively new members and Karin would do her best to make them feel like a part of the family.

When Hope came back with the foil pans in hand, Karin gave her another order. “Go get me that box of cards that is on the desk in my bedroom.”

That was another thing for which Karin had a talent. Whenever she gave anyone food, she also sent a card with much needed encouragement. Somehow, she always found the right Bible verse for every occasion. Karin didn’t know it and she certainly wasn’t keeping track, but she had touched many hearts with her efforts. Karin was well loved by everyone. A few people had even told her she should be a writer because the notes she wrote in the cards were so encouraging.

“There we go!” Karin said as she finished packing up the ham dinner she thought she had been preparing for her own family. She smiled from ear to ear. Where many people would have been upset to put all that work into a meal and not be able to eat it, Karin was the opposite. She was in her glory, or God’s glory as her husband, Rob had come to call it. He may have teased her about all the food she prepared for other people, but he was known to help by telling her about people he knew were in need. He had delivered more than one meal in their twenty years of marriage.

“Hope can start putting stuff in the van if she ever comes back.”

“I’ll help.” Matt offered.

Faith handed him the bag of cookies. Matt happily carried his bag of cookies outside.

Hope came into the room. “There aren’t really any cards that are appropriate.”

Karin quickly looked through them. “You’re right.”

“Want me to go to the store and pick one out for you?”

Karin just looked at her daughter. “You can’t drive.”

“Yeah, but in seven months I’ll be able to, so why don’t you let me start practicing now?”

“Because it isn’t legal. I’ll stop and get a card on the way. Let’s go.”

“Are we going to the dollar store?” Faith wondered.

“Yeah, probably. That way I can see if they have any more pretty plates. I’m running low.”

The dollar store was one of her favorite places to find those small treasures. Often she would also find small pieces to use on the table as decorations for all of her entertaining. She often said, “Entertaining doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can still be beautiful.” And her table was often very lovely.





My Thoughts: Karin enjoys cooking and feeding others. It is her ministry. Yet there is a deep pain within her that she is not willing to share. When her twin daughters Hope and Faith have a essay to write on a childhood memory from their parents, Karin becomes even more distant. This was good story, with a interesting plot. Sometimes it felt more told than shown. I truly enjoyed all the family dynamics and struggles they went through.

Moses Quilt by Kathy Macias

Wednesday, February 27, 2013















The Quilt Series sounds interesting, but what makes it unique or sets it apart from the many other quilt books that are so popular right now?
First, I must confess to NOT being a quilter. I’ve never even considered taking it up! Second, I love quilts and have always been fascinated by the stories behind them. I combined that fascination with my passion for writing issues-related fiction, and I ended up with a three-book series that is, for the most part, contemporary but told against historical backdrops.

Sounds interesting! Can you tell us a bit about each of the three books in the series? Sure! Book one, The Moses Quilt, involves an interracial romance, where the couple works through their concerns and apprehensions as they learn the story of Harriet Tubman’s faith and courage as told through the patches of the Moses quilt that represents her life. Book two, The Doctor’s Christmas Quilt, deals with the topic of abortion told against the backdrop of the life of America’s first woman doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, who was strongly pro-life. Book three, The Singing Quilt, deals with a young woman overcoming a physical disability; the background for that story is based on the “Queen of Gospel,” Fannie Crosby.

Was it difficult to do the research on these women, particularly Harriet Tubman? What did you learn about her in the process? I knew more about Harriet Tubman than I did about Elizabeth Blackwell or Fannie Crosby, but I expanded my knowledge of each as I did the research. Harriet Tubman’s amazing faith and courage is what stood out most to me about her life. Here was a woman born a slave, penniless for the majority of her life, and illiterate except for the scripture verses she had memorized (even if she couldn’t read them). Her prayer life was powerful, even as a child. After she escaped to the North and began making forays back into the South to help bring others out of slavery, friends would caution her against it. “Harriet, there’s a reward on your head—dead or alive. Aren’t you afraid?” She brushed off their fear and explained that she believed God had called her to help rescue her people; therefore, He would protect her. When her job was done, He would take her home to heaven, so what was there to fear? Wow, what a dynamic woman of God! I also learned that her achievements went far beyond rescuing slaves, though that’s what she’s best known for. She also served as a spy for the Union Army, worked as a nurse, and opened a home for indigent elderly former slaves. She died there herself in her mid-nineties, and the entire town flew their flags at half-mast in her honor.

Tell us a little more about the contemporary story in The Moses Quilt. The majority of the contemporary story is set just outside San Francisco. Mazie is white and deeply in love with Edward, an African-American lawyer who adores her and wants to marry her but tries to be respectful of her hesitation to make a commitment. What he doesn’t know is that Mazie is disturbed by what she considers secrets in her family’s past, secrets that begin to be unraveled as her great-grandmother, Mimi, tells her and Edward the story behind her Moses quilt, which she bought years earlier in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, a little town famous for its quilts. Edward thought he knew everything there was to know about Harriet Tubman, who had always been somewhat of a hero to him, but Mimi’s story opens up new avenues of discovery for both the young people in this relationship—and takes them straight back to the quilt’s origin in Gee’s Bend.

This sounds like more than just a “feel-good” story. Can it be used as a study book in some way? Absolutely! As with nearly all my books we have free downloadable discussion questions at www.newhopedigital.com that will enable The Moses Quilt to be read as a study book for individuals or used as a discussion/study book for groups.















About the Author: Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.

For more opportunities for free copies of THE MOSES QUILT by Kathi Macias, please follow this book tour on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.KathiMacias. This blog host was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview and/or book review on this blog. CSS Virtual Book Tours are managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com)

My thoughts:

When I homeschooled my girls we did a huge study on Harriet Tubman, and this book brought back a lot of memories from that time. Kathi writes from the heart and this is an absolutely beautiful book. You don't want to miss it!

Flora's Wish

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Flora's Wish
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Kathleen Y'Barbo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few.

Kathleen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a former member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division.

A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has four children of her own as well as seven bonus kids she gladly inherited when she married her own hero in combat boots. Kathleen is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.



ABOUT THE BOOK

May 1887--Flora Brimm is determined the fifth time is the charm. Back home she has a reputation as "Fatal Flora," a woman whose previous four fianc├ęs died in untimely accidents. Flora is desperate to marry, because producing an heir is the only way she can keep her family's estate. She's confident this visit to Eureka Springs with her grandmother will help her land a husband.

Pinkerton detective Lucas McMinn is hot on the trail of Will Tucker, the thief who broke his sister's heart. When he discovers the slippery fellow with Flora, he thinks they are in on the devious plot together. Will Flora be able to convince Lucas of her innocence? Will Lucas catch the elusive Mr. Tucker?

And, more importantly, will Lucas survive if he pursues Flora's heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Flora's Wish, go HERE.


Shattered by Dani Pettrey with FB Party & Nook Giveaway on 3/18

Friday, February 22, 2013



















About Shattered

 
With All the Evidence Against Him, Only a Sister's Trust Can Save Him Now
When her prodigal brother Reef's return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.
Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon's career in jeopardy.
When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself-and whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada's rugged backcountry. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step. 
 
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/hLsy9      












Meet Dani:  
  
Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. 
 
Visit her website at www.danipettrey.com

Visit the other bloggers on this tour here:


Dani Pettrey is celebrating the release of Shattered with a Nook HD giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party {3/14}. 






Shattered Pettrey



One winner will receive:



  • A brand new Nook HD

  • Submerged and Shattered by Dani Pettrey {Be caught up in this riveting series.}


  • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 13th. Winner will be announced at the "Shattered" Author Chat Party on 3/14. Connect with Dani for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!





    So grab your copy of Shattered and join Dani on the evening of the March 14th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)




    Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 14th!


    My Thoughts:

    Reef is a snowboarder and the youngest brother in the Mckenna family. He doesn't stick in one place and the night he decides to come home he is covered in blood. He is immediately accused of murdering his former girlfriend Karli Davis. 
    The Sheriff in the town is up for reelection and as far as he is concerned "He Has His Man!" and he isn't going to look any where else. 

    Deputy Landon Grainger on the other hand has been like family to the Mckenna's so he isn't so quick to think that Reef is guilty. 

    The family decides that they need someone who will be objective and can look into the murder without raising a lot of questions, so they hire a reporter. A reporter would naturally be asking questions about the crime, and it won't spark any suspicions. 
    With the information they receive Landon is going to follow up on the leads alone. Yea, right! Not without Piper! Piper is determined her little brother is completely innocent and she refuses to stay out of the investigation, regardless of the danger. She even follows Landon to Canada, after she had been run off the road for asking too many questions. The romantic tension between these two is a roller coaster ride. It is definitely one that kept me up late turning pages to see what was going to happen next.
    This is definitely a book for someone who enjoys a good mystery with romance.
    A definite must read! 
      

       

    For Love of Eli

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    For Love of Eli
    Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
    by
    Loree Lough


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    With more than FOUR MILLION copies of her books in circulation, Loree has 98 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; four novels optioned for movies; more books slated for release between now and 2014), 68 short stories, over 2,500+ articles in print, and over 19,000 letters from fans!

    Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.

    A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations.

    She splits her time between a tiny home in the Baltimore suburbs and an even tinier cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of "wolf stuff."

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    When unspeakable tragedy leaves young Eli an orphan, two families are devastated. But Taylor, Eli’s aunt and legal guardian, vows to help him remember his parents by creating a Memory Quilt. As she begins piecing together the moments of his parents' lives, the story of the young family emerges and Taylor and Eli begin to heal. But Eli’s uncle Reece is slow to let go of the past and still blames Taylor’s brother for his sister’s death. So, although he has long been attracted to Taylor, Reece keeps a safe distance away. Can their shared love for Eli pave the way to forgiveness or will Taylor and Reece be separated by pain?


    If you would like to read a first chapter excerpt of For Love of Eli, go HERE.

    The Bachelor - Sean - Bad Move Dude!

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013


















    Desiree is 26, and a Bridal Stylist.
    When the Bachelor started this season her and Sean just clicked! Their relationship superseded any of the other relationships he had with the other girls.
    They didn't have drama, she brought fun, he always looked forward to seeing her. As their relationship progressed over the weeks, the way he looked at her you knew that he was falling in love with her. She was the only one he had called Des. Instead of Desiree. That only happens when you have really strong feelings for someone.
    He wasn't calling AshLee, Ash . . .  or Lindsey, Lin.







    Last night was the hometown dates and after Desiree plays a practical joke on Sean with having an ex-boyfriend come in and act all upset about her being gone, telling her he loved her, and asked if she was going to marry this joker. . . meaning Sean. Sean loved that not only could Desiree take a practical joke, she could play one. Things seemed to go well until Des' brother got involved and called Sean a playboy which he is not, and that put all kinds of questions into Sean's head. Could he be with someone whose brother didn't like him.

    Desiree talked to him before the rose ceremony and apologized and he told her there was nothing to apologize for, but she still did with tears in her eyes.
    After he handed out a rose to Lindsey, and Ashlee, he was STUCK! He didn't know who he was going to give his last rose to. Should he give it to Catherine, or Desiree. He left the women and went in to talk to Chris Harrison. With a heavy heart he gave it to Catherine, and walked Des out. You could tell by his demeanor and the way he looked at her that this was not what he really wanted to do. He said he was going to miss her, she said you're making the biggest mistake. And I fear he is!





    Picture Perfect . . . Bella's Back

    Monday, February 18, 2013


                                                     


    Book Blurb:

    She’s trying to focus on her future. How can one man make everything feel so . . . fuzzy?
    Hannah McDermott has a successful photography studio. She’ll soon be featured in Texas Bride magazine. And she has a celebrity client whose Galveston ceremony will be her ticket to the top spot on wedding coordinator Bella Neeley’s list of recommended photographers. But it could all come crashing down around her because of one man: archrival and photographer extraordinaire Drew Kincaid.
    As the competition between Hannah and Drew heats up, Hannah is surprised to find that it’s not the only thing getting more intense. She can’t get the handsome man out of her thoughts-or even out of her line of sight-and the job of her dreams is turning into a nightmare. Will everything she’s worked for slip out of her hands? And can she see past her pride to find a picture-perfect love?
    With contagious humor and a cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives you crazy bridal-business drama, sweet romance, and a satisfying dose of laughter.


    Janice Thompson

    Janice Thompson

    Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of...
    Continue reading about Janice Thompson


    My Thoughts: Janice has a new series of wedding stories and the first one is Picture Perfect. In it we have two feuding wedding photographers. Hannah, has just landed the biggest contract of her life, photographing country and western singer's Sierra Caswell's wedding. Drew is her competition and her father tells her that their Irish families feuded at one point in time. The more that Hannah tries to stay away from him the more she finds herself  entangled with him.
    Mix in a crazy Italian family, along with Janice's humor and you have a stellar book.
    This book was absolutely hilarious. Even with the humor Janice shows us that while a photographer sees the outside, God is looking on the inside.
    I highly recommend this book!

    Preview: Daybreak

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Daybreak
    Avon Inspire; Original edition (February 12, 2013)
    by
    Shelley Shepard Gray


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

    Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

    Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

    When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

    Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    When Viola Keim starts working at a nearby Mennonite retirement home, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with resident Atle, whose only living relative, son Edward, is living as a missionary in Nicaragua. Viola understands the importance of mission work, but she can’t imagine leaving her father in the hands of strangers. Even though her family is New Order Amish, it’s not the Amish way, and though she doesn’t know Ed, she judges him for abandoning his father.



    But when Ed surprises his father with a visit, Viola and Ed both discover an attraction they never expected. Despite her feelings, choosing Ed would mean moving to a far-off country and leaving her family behind. She can’t do that. Her twin sister, Elsie, is going blind and will need someone to care for her all her life. Her family is reeling with the recent discovery that her grandmother hid her past as an Englischer. Her father seems forgetful and distracted—and to be harboring some secrets of his own. Does Viola dare leave them all behind and forge her own life? Or will family ties mean her one chance at love slips away?

    If you would like to read a first Chapter excerpt from Daybreak,go HERE.

    The Lord Is My Shepherd

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013















    Book Blurb

    Bestselling author Rob Morgan explores the rich meaning and transcendent comfort of the world’s best-known and most-loved poem: Psalm 23.

    At a time of great uncertainty for so many people, pastor and celebrated writer Rob Morgan offers the timeless solace of one of history’s most famous poems—six verses that comprise the most memorized passage in the Bible and that, as Morgan shows, provide a microcosm of God’s grace.

    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want….Appearing in the middle of a trilogy of psalms, the twenty-third is a soul-soother, a powerful tranquilizer when anxiety robs us of sleep. While Psalm 22 reminds us that the Savior’s cross takes care of our past failures, and Psalm 24 relates how the Sovereign’s Crown ensures a joyful future, Psalm 23 reveals how the Shepherd’s crook delivers our present needs. Morgan teaches the psalm verse by verse, brilliantly illuminating its fascinating context and colorful background, and even shares his own charming, real-life stories of herding sheep. According to Morgan, in knowing the Good Shepherd, we are totally prepared to meet our internal, external, and eternal requirements. What emerges is more than biblical scholarship, offering a journey through simple truths that inspire and buoy the spirit in the most challenging of moments.

    My Thoughts:  Robert Morgan peels apart the layers of the 23rd Psalm in this book. Some of this I knew as I did a Precepts study on the heart of David. In peeling back the layers he really shows the heart of God and His grace for us. Robert tells charming stories of his own family and their raising of sheep which really added to the book.

    Shattered by Dani Pettrey

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Shattered
    Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
    by
    Dani Pettrey


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

    Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

    And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

    Dani is the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling debut novel Submerged and latest release Shattered. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him.

    Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career.

    With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged backcountry--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

    If you would like to read the first chapter of Shattered, go HERE.

    My Thoughts: Piper's little brother has been arrested for murder, and while Reef is has been in trouble with the law, and has a vagabond lifestyle she knows he is no killer. She is determined to prove his innocence. The sheriff is up for reelection and believes he has his man and won't look at anyone else. Landon Grainger, the deputy believes in getting at the truth and loves the McKennas like family, not to mention he is in love with Piper. When the family gets a lead on the victim in Canada, Piper is determined to go, even though after she did some digging around in Yancey she was run off the road. Landon is not thrilled to say the least when he sees her in Canada. This is a fast paced story that will keep you turning the pages way past your bed time. I saw a lot of myself in Piper. I have a little brother and if he was accused of anything I'd go to the ends of the earth to prove him innocent. Don't miss this book!

    Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith - Reviewed

    Saturday, February 9, 2013



















    Book Blurb:
    Can love heal the rift between two souls?
    When her beloved father dies and she is left in the care of her conniving brother Laban, Rebekah knows her life has changed forever. Though she should be married by now, it’s clear that Laban is dragging his feet, waiting for a higher bride-price to line his pockets. But then Rebekah is given a chance to leave her home to marry Isaac, a cousin she has never even seen, and her hope for the future is restored. Little does she know what a wondrous and heart-wrenching journey she is beginning.
    As Rebekah experiences the joy of young love and the bitterness of misunderstanding and betrayal, her resolve is tested. When the rift between Isaac and her grows so wide it is surely too great to be mended, can she trust the God of Isaac’s father Abraham to bridge the gap?












    Jill Eileen Smith

    Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the bestselling Michal, Abigail, and Bathsheba, all part of The Wives of King David series, and of Sarai, book 1 in the Wives of the Patriarchs series. Her writing has garnered acclaim in several...

    My Thoughts:

    As expected of Jill she has written a story that has you glued to the page. As Rebekah waits to get betrothed and her brother Laban is only out for his own gain my heart ached for her. When she is finally wed to Isaac I was cheering. The love that her and Isaac share is beautiful and full of joy. You can feel it through the pages.
    As she longs for a child I wept with her. When she finally gets pregnant there is triumph, and I found myself going back to scripture to read the story in Genesis. I couldn't imagine the difficulty that she must have gone through having those two babies struggling inside her body. 
    When Rebekah receives the vision about the twins that the older would serve the younger things change dramatically. The love that she and Isaac has shared seem to have vanished. Just like the love that Sarah and Abraham had, once Abraham bound Isaac on that altar. 
    Through Jill's pen you see how the heritage from father to son is passed down. Isaac was afraid he and Rebekah would be like his father and Sarah. Sadly, because Isaac did not believe the vision that Rebekah had about Esau and Jacob a rift happened just like what happened between his father and Sarah. 
    This is a book you don't want to miss! I give it a Lighthouse for pointing a path to God!

    Join best-selling author Jill Eileen Smith as she presents ten facts and/or possibilities you might not know about the Patriarch Isaac's wife Rebekah. Do you have a question about the people in the Bible you've always wanted to ask? Jill will take questions about biblical characters, biblical fiction, and about any of her books in the Wives of the Patriarchs or Wives of King David series. So please, plan to join us!
    Jill Smith will be the featured guest on a Live interactive Video Chat Session sponsored by “Shindig” on Tuesday February 19th at 7:00 pm EST!!  It’s free to attend, and you can meet Jill and ask any questions you have for her!  Go here to RSVP and find out more details about this event.  

    Preview: Redeeming Grace

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Redeeming Grace
    Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas;
    1st edition (February 28, 2013)
    by
    Ward Tanneberg


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



    Ward Tanneberg is a pastor/writer/novelist who has given more than 50 years to evangelism, youth, college and pastoral ministry, including two Pacific Northwest churches and 23 years as the senior pastor at Valley Christian Center in Dublin, CA. In 2008, he was named President/Executive Director of The CASA Network. Ward speaks extensively at 50+ retreats and ministry leadership events in the USA and elsewhere. When at home he meets weekly with a group of business and professional leaders. He and Dixie have 2 children, 3 grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren and a great grandson.

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    Seven years ago, Grace Grafton died in a boating accident while partying on the Georgia, South Carolina coast. Was her death the result of alcohol and drugs or something more sinister? Nobody knows: her body was never recovered. Now years later, a woman reads in disbelief the note addressed to her: Hello Grace, did you think we wouldn't find you?

    Those nine chilling words end Grafton's self-imposed sanctuary of witness protection. Now she and everyone she loves are in grave danger. Long believed dead, she has a secret that can change the world. She knows the man running for president is guilty of a double murder! But who will believe her?

    If you would like to read the first chapter of Redeeming Grace, go HERE.

    One Sunday

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013





















    Book Blurb:

    In this humorous and heartfelt novel, a beleaguered young woman must shed her career, identity, and power persona to learn how to love and forgive herself, others, and God.

    At age thirty-seven, Alice Ferguson has everything an ambitious, intellectual, self-made woman could want. She has captured a career as an editor of a tabloid magazine, launched her own website full of Hollywood gossip, and even clawed her way into a second-hand pair of Prada shoes. She has also finally landed a husband—no small feat, as it required getting pregnant with his baby.

    But when Alice becomes pregnant and experiences health problems, her world is turned upside down. To save her life and the life of her unborn child, she must leave Los Angeles and the stress of her bicoastal career, exchanging the late-night parties of sunny California for the suburbs of Nashville. With a weak smile and an even weaker heart, she soon finds herself living with a husband she barely knows, ensconced in a gated community brimming with perky, plastic, pony-tailed housewives. And then, at the gentle urging of a new friend, she agrees to attend church one Sunday afternoon.

    What begins as an experiment beyond her comfort zone sparks something much bigger, as Alice begins to look deep within herself only to find insecurity, fear, and loneliness. One Sunday charts an endearing character’s journey from moral ambiguity through madness, tears, laughter, and heartbreak to a connection with the only One who can help heal her.

    My Thoughts:

    Alice is not a girl you would find attending church on a Sunday, she'd be in bed sleeping off a hang over. Yet she has found herself 3,000 miles away from California, pregnant from a one night stand, married to the baby's father, and living in Nashville. Her online tabloid rag is being managed by her best guy friend and she is trying to survive in a culture that is as unfamiliar as vinyl records are to our children. Next door to her and her husband, Burton, lives a young pastor and his wife. They invite her to church one Sunday and there begins the healing that Alice so needs. Was it a coincidence that she had a one night stand with Burton, moved across the country, and ended up living next door to Pastor Tim and his wife Lachelle?
    This is a book that will make you think long after you have closed the last page.

    I give this book a Lighthouse for pointing a path to God!

    Quilt for Jenna

    It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

    You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



    Today's Wild Card author is:


    and the book:

    Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

    ***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


    Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in northern California and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

    Visit the author's website.


    SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

    Amish + Quilts = readers delight! And in this first book in Patrick Craig’s Apple Creek Dreams series, readers will follow master quilter Jerusha Springer’s journey out of tragic circumstances to a new life of hope. A beautiful story of loss…and redemption.




    Product Details:
    List Price: $13.99
    Paperback: 304 pages
    Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0736951059
    ISBN-13: 978-0736951050



    AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


    Jerusha Springer reached behind the quilting frame with her left hand and pushed the needle back to the surface of the quilt to complete her final stitch. Wearily she pulled the needle through, quickly knotted the quilting thread, and broke it off.

    Finished at last. She leaned back and let out a sigh of satisfaction. It had taken months to complete, but here it was—the finest quilt she had ever made.

    Thousands of stitches had gone into the work, seventy every ten inches, and now the work was finished. It had been worth it. The quilt was a masterpiece. Her masterpiece...and Jenna’s.

    She grabbed a tissue and quickly wiped away an unexpected tear.

    If only Jenna were here with me, I could bear this somehow.

    But Jenna wasn’t there. Jenna was gone forever.

    Jerusha glanced out the window as the November sun shone weakly through a gray overcast of clouds. The pale light made the fabric in the quilt shimmer and glow. A fitful wind shook the bare branches of the maple trees, and the few remaining leaves whirled away into the light snow that drifted down from the gunmetal sky.

    Winter had come unannounced to Apple Creek, and Jerusha hadn’t noticed. Her life had been bound up in this quilt for so many months—since Jenna’s death, really—that everything else in her life seemed like a shadow. She stared at the finished quilt on the frame, but there was no joy in her heart, only a dull ache and the knowledge that soon she would be free.

    She had searched without success for several months to find just the right fabric to make this quilt, and then she stumbled upon it quite by accident. A neighbor told her of an estate sale at an antique store in Wooster, and she asked Henry, the neighbor boy, to drive her over to see what she could find. The Englisch had access to many things from the outside world, and she had often looked in their stores and catalogs to find just the right materials for her quilting.

    On that day in Wooster she had been poking through the piles of clothing and knickknacks scattered around the store when she came upon an old cedar chest. The lid was carved with ornate filigree, and several shipping tags were still attached. The trunk was locked, so she called the proprietor over, and when he opened it, she drew in her breath with a little gasp. There, folded neatly, were two large pieces of fabric. One was blue—the kind of blue that kings might wear—and as she lifted it to the light, she could see that it seemed to change from blue to purple, depending on how she held it. The other piece was deep red...like the blood of Christ or perhaps a rose.

    The fabric was light but strong, smooth to the touch and tightly woven.

    “I believe that’s genuine silk, ma’am,” the owner said. “I’m afraid it’s going to be expensive.”

    Jerusha didn’t argue the price. It was exactly what she was looking for, and she didn’t dare let it slip through her fingers. Normally, the quilts that she and the other women in her community made were from plainer fabric, cotton or sometimes synthetics, but lately she didn’t really care about what the ordnung said.

    So, pushing down her fear of the critical comments she knew she would hear from the other women about pride and worldliness, she purchased it and left the store. As she rode home, the design for the quilt began to take form in her mind, and for the first time since Jenna’s death, she felt her spirits lift.

    When she arrived home, she searched through her fabric box for the cream-colored cotton backing piece she had reserved for this quilt. She then sketched out a rough design and in the following days cut the hundreds of pieces to make the pattern for the top layer. She sorted and ironed them and then pinned and stitched all the parts into a rectangle measuring approximately eight and a half feet by nine feet. After that she laid the finished top layer out on the floor and traced the entire quilting design on the fabric with tailor’s chalk. The design had unfolded before her eyes as if someone else were directing her hand. This quilt was the easiest she had ever pieced together.

    The royal blue pieces made a dark, iridescent backdrop to a beautiful deep red rose-shaped piece in the center. The rose had hundreds of parts, all cut into the flowing shapes of petals instead of the traditional square or diamond-shaped patterns of Amish quilts. Though the pattern was the most complicated she had ever done, she found herself grateful that it served as a way to keep thoughts of Jenna’s absence from overwhelming her.

    Next she laid out the cream-colored backing, placed a double layer of batting over it, and added the ironed patchwork piece she had developed over the past month.

    On her hands and knees she carefully basted the layers together, starting from the center and working out to the edges. Once she was finished, she called Henry for help. He held the material while she carefully attached one end to the quilting frame, and then they slowly turned the pole until she could attach the other end. After drawing the quilt tight until it was stable enough to stitch on, she started to quilt. Delicate tracks of quilting stitches began to make their trails through the surface of the quilt as Jerusha labored day after day at her work. The quilt was consuming her, and her despair and grief and the anger she felt toward God for taking Jenna were all poured into the fabric spread before her.

    Often as she worked she stopped and lifted her face to the sky.

    “I hate You,” she would say quietly, “and I’m placing all my hatred into this quilt so I will never forget that when I needed You most, You failed me.” Then she would go back to her work with a fierce determination and a deep and abiding anger in her heart.

    And now at last the quilt was finished—her ticket out of her awful life.

    “I will take this quilt to the Dalton Fair, and I will win the prize,” she said aloud. “Then I will leave Apple Creek, and I will leave this religion, and I will leave this God who has turned His back on me. I will make a new life among the Englisch, and I will never return to Apple Creek.”

    She stared at the quilt. I will call this quilt the Rose of Sharon. Not for You, but for her, my precious girl, my Jenna. The quilt shone in the soft light from the window, and Jerusha felt a great surge of triumph.

    I don’t need You—not now, not ever again.

    And Jerusha turned off the lamp and went alone to her cold bed.
     
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