Friday, April 21, 2017

First Line Fridays


I know it is not Christmas; however, I just ordered this book from Amazon, and I am so excited to read it.  This is one of those books you make a mental note to purchase after the holidays, since all of your extra cash is going toward buying gifts for your family and friends.  :)  I have not read any books by this author, but I love mysteries, and cozy mysteries are always fun to read.  As always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too:    

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andie from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly
Lauraine from Lauraine's Notes 
 
 Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from:

Better off Thread
by Amanda Lee



And the first line is...

"I locked the door to the Seven-Year-Stitch, my embroidery specialty shop, walked over to the sit-and-stitch square, and slumped onto the sofa facing away from the window.  My gray Irish wolfhound, Angus, flopped onto the floor beside me and heaved a sigh." 

Happy reading and Happy Friday!  






Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reclaimed - Spotlight Book Tour





Genre: Christian, Contemporary
Publisher: Rooted Publishing
Publication date: February 28, 2017
Number of pages: 346

Left wounded by a marriage cut short, Suzanna Wilton leaves city life to take up residency in a tiny Nebraska town. Her introduction to her neighbor Paul Rustin is a disaster. Assuming he’s as underhanded as the other local cowboys she’s already met, Suzanna greets him with sharp hostility.
Though Paul is offended by Suzanna’s unfriendliness, he can’t stop thinking about her, which unsettles his peaceful life. A hard-fought friendship slowly kindles something more, but just as Paul’s kindness begins to melt Suzanna’s frozen heart, a conflict regarding her land escalates in town. Even in the warmth of Paul’s love, resentment keeps a cold grip on her fragile heart.
Will Suzanna ever find peace?
***2014 Olympia Winner***​
 
 


 

Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.

Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.
She would love to hear from you! Please visit her at https://www.authorjenrodewald.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorjenrodewald or email her at write2edify@gmail.com.
1. What tips and tricks do you have for potential writers/authors?
Enjoy the creative process. Really. Never lose that love for story, because it won’t be fun anymore. And if you do, take a step back. Leave room in your head for white space. I know, everyone says treat yourself like a professional. Set a schedule. Squeeze out words even when you don’t feel it. And I don’t disagree with that, necessarily… but story is a gift. It’s supposed to be enjoyed, like flowers on a spring morning, a sunset on a warm summer day, or snow on a gentle winter evening. If you don’t savor it, then you’ve missed something.

2. What does your writing process look like?
Ha. I thought I had that nailed down. Turns out, I don’t. Every story is different. Every journey is a new lesson, and God is fresh every time. So my process? Maybe we can boil it down to walking with God, listening to whatever He has to share with me during that season.

 
3. Where do you like to write?  Do you have an office? Do you write on the go as you play taxi for your kids?
I have an office. Sometimes I write there. 😉 Sometimes in my living room. Sometimes in my car (I have four kids. A lot of life happens in the car). The only place I’ve really struggled to write is in a public setting. Someone is always there to chat with! 😊

4. If you were to travel for research, where would you go and what WIP would it be for?
Hmmm…. Not sure on that one.

5. What is your current WIP?  What can you tell us about it?
I’m working on book three of The Uncloaked, a dystopian trilogy that will release this year (book one comes out this month)! It’s a little dark. A little scary. A lot of thought provoking (I hope). And the goal: to challenge how we live out what we believe, woven into a gripping story of two teenaged kids caught in a changing and challenging world. I’m terrified/excited to release this series, because it’s very different for me as far a story, but The Uncloaked came to me so vividly that I was compelled to tell the story.

6. What do you want readers to take away from reading Reclaimed?
Wounded hearts desperately need compassion. And Jesus. Especially Jesus. And Jesus loves to pour out His immeasurable compassion on wounded hearts. ❤


Suzanna felt shock contort her face. Paul Rustin? The neighbor who had been kind to her even when she’d been horrible to him? She studied him, unable to picture him as anything other than the gentleman he’d shown himself to be.
Warmth shaded his complexion crimson. “See, not a very good story, right?”
“Why?”
“Why did I do those things?”
She pressed her lips together, wondering why she pushed him but nodded anyway.
“I don’t really know, Suz. I was just angry, and I’m not even sure why. I didn’t want to live here, I didn’t want to be nothin’, and I couldn’t see anything beyond myself. I didn’t have a real reason.”
“What happened?”

Paul’s eyes softened, and a smile crept over his features again. “I didn’t graduate from Rock Creek—I went to Boys Town in March of my senior year. My grandpa came to Omaha to visit me in April with a proposal. If I studied and got my GED, I could come out and live with them. I would have to work like a ranch hand, but they’d keep me on until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.
“It wasn’t the out I was looking for. I didn’t want to come back to Rock Creek. I thought, man, give me some money and let me go find a life. But Boys Town wasn’t exactly Park Place, and it didn’t look like I’d be passing GO anytime soon, so I agreed.
“I must have thought it would be like visiting my grandparents when I was a kid. You know, farm breakfast at nine every morning, Grandma always ready with a cookie, and I’d collect eggs or do some trivial chore as a token of work.”
Paul chuckled and rubbed his neck. “Nope. My grandpa meant some w-o-r-k. I stayed in the bunkhouse, which was nothing more than a tin can trailer. If I wanted breakfast, I had to get up at six to eat with them because Grandma had things to do. They paid me what they would have paid a hand, and out of my earnings came the cost of rent, electricity, and food. When I slacked off that winter, my bunkhouse got awful cold because Grandpa didn’t pay me enough to cover both heat and food.”
Suzanna’s eyebrows rose. “Seriously? Your grandpa put you out in the cold?”
He laughed. “Tough love, Suz. I found out later they’d set a threshold on the thermostat of around fifty degrees so the pipes wouldn’t freeze, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought. But it felt awful cold. I hated it. And then… I didn’t.”
He stopped, and Suzanna puckered her eyebrows. His attention wandered toward his place south of hers, and she wondered if the scenes unfolded in his mind as he recounted them.
“It came time for calving, and Grandpa said it was my responsibility.” He rubbed a hand against his jeans, and the apples of his cheeks lifted. That look said it all—he loved his work. “I was so tired, but I knew he’d hold me responsible if something went sour. I wound up with a couple of bucket calves, and somewhere in between the late nights and early mornings while checking heifers and feeding orphans, I found myself. I found who God had made me to be, where I needed and wanted to be. It was right here the whole time.”
Bronco shifted under her, and Suzanna slipped a hand around the saddle horn. Fierce rebellion melted away while Paul fed a few cows?
“As simple as that?”
Paul’s gaze fell on her, his relaxed countenance contradicting his story. He looked toward the spring, then the trees, and finally to the hill rising before them.
“Not simple.” He returned his attention to her. “That’s the short version, but it wasn’t simple. I wrestled everyone, including God, for things I thought I wanted. There was a whole lot of humbling that had to happen before I made peace with life. Pride made me useless; selfishness made me difficult.”
His explanation created more questions than it offered answers. Suzanna longed for answers. His story, his life, looked nothing like hers, sounded nothing like hers, but he had peace.
Peace eluded her. She hadn’t found it in church, not the lasting kind. She hadn’t secured it in sacrifice. It wasn’t in love. Love had made her ache all over again.
Where had Paul found this peace?
“Shall we take the hill, Pickle?” Paul gathered his reins and nodded toward the rise.
The mare perked her head, and Bronco followed. Opportunity slipped away, like the waters that rose from the depths of the earth and tumbled down the creek. Suzanna swallowed, pushing a smile across her lips. At her nod, Paul took the lead.
Peace remained hidden with the secret of Rock Creek.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Check Out My New Post!

Check out my new post on the Daily Megaphone to learn more about life and the power of prayer.  I hope that you and your family have a very Happy Easter (Matthew 28:6).  God bless.


Hope in the Midst of Sorrow 
by Heather Snyder 


 

 


Friday, April 14, 2017

First Line Fridays


This week I wanted to highlight the first book in a trilogy series, Rachelle Rea Cobb's book The Sound of Diamonds, which is the first book in the Steadfast Love series.  I am excited to read each of these books--this first book has been collecting dust in my Kindle waiting to be read.  :)  At the end of the month, I will be talking about the third book, The Sound of Emeralds, for Rachelle's Birthday Blog Tour.  So do not forget to check that out!  As always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too:    

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andie from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly
Lauraine from Lauraine's Notes 
 
 Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from:

 The Sound of Diamonds 
by Rachelle Rea Cobb 



And the first line is...

Leiden, the Low Countries, the Netherlands 
23 august 1566

"A crash shook the nun's cell I had called my own since seeking refuge in my mother's homeland.  My gaze snapped to the door."  

Happy reading and Happy Friday!  






Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Stolen Heart - My Review


Amanda Cabot’s book A Stolen Heart is the first book in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy.  After reading this text, I am excited to learn about the next two books Cabot will write for this series.  This particular story is set in Texas during the late 1800’s, and focuses on Lydia Crawford’s journey from New York to Texas.  At first, her traveling purposes are to reconnect with her fiancĂ©, but soon the reader will discover that her life is anything but settled.  Lydia believes her life will fall into balance after her marriage, yet surprises await her in this southern town of Texas. 

Lydia believes her betrothed loves her; however, her hopes get dashed and are replaced with unanswerable questions as soon as she steps off the stagecoach.  The future she had counted on beings to unravel as she starts to figure out what to do next.  She never dreamed she would be walking the streets of this town alone.  On top of her bad news, she realizes Southerners still do not care for Northerners—even though the Civil War ended over a decade ago.  There are many in this town who would like to see her go back to where she came from—especially considering another Yankee has already recently come to reside in Cimarron Creek. 

Travis Whitfield is the newly appointed sheriff in town.  So far, there have been only small troubles in town, yet things begin to come to a crashing halt when a man goes missing.  Already, it is presumed he is dead, but Travis must figure out where this man could have gone and why.  Was he kidnapped?  Did he abandon his wife and child?  Things become even more confusing after he meets a woman named Lydia.  Her manner of speech is foreign to this state, but what is worse is who she is seeking.  How can Travis do his duty in caring for the town and this new guest while also declaring that he cannot keep up with all the new crime that has come to town? 

There are so many twists and surprises within the pages of this story—more than I ever considered, which made for a better read.  Although some of the turns are heartbreaking, they make the story stronger and the characters more relatable.  This book is more than your typical Christian fiction book, because it contains an element of mystery to it.  Even though the plot of fiction prevails, I would still categorize it completely different.  After the characters reveal this part of the story to the reader, the entire text comes alive with several sub-plots.  Both Lydia and Travis find themselves in places they never dreamed, and both are put to the test.  Can they withstand what life throws at them?  And can Lydia embrace a new life?  Soon all these characters will understand that man plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9). 

I highly recommend this new novel by Amanda Cabot.  In fact, I plan on checking out her other books.  Happy reading!    


This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Revell Publishers for my copy. 


About The Book 

*From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners--like her. Lydia won't let that get her down, though. All will be well when she's reunited with her fiancé. But when she discovers he has disappeared--and that he left behind a pregnant wife--Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?

Bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites readers back into Texas's storied past to experience love and adventure against a backdrop of tension and mystery in this first book in a brand-new series.
 


 *Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel. 


About The Author 


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at: www.amandacabot.com






Friday, April 7, 2017

Dreams in Deadwood - Spotlight Book Tour



 

Series: Seven Brides of South Dakota
Genre: Christian, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: February 28, 2017
Number of pages: 298

Jennie Arnsby wants nothing more than to turn around and go home. Her family is on their way to Deadwood, SD, when Aiden finds his way to their small wagon train. His teasing and banter leaves her wanting to toss him out the back and in the dust. When, they are separated outside the city, she is left wondering if she’ll ever see him again.
Aiden Bradly wants to find his gold and return home, nothing more. He can’t afford to get tangled with a woman. He’s doing just that until he meets the feisty Jenny. She gets him thinking about his past and forgiveness, but what’s more important, his past or his new future?
Will Aiden be able to redeem both his past and his future and find a greater treasure than he ever imagined?
​​Dreams in Deadwood is book one of the Seven Brides of South Dakota series by Kari Trumbo. A romantic, Wild West romp in pioneer South Dakota. 








Kari Trumbo is an inspirational romance au-thor, blogger and proud home schooling mother to four great kids. She interacts often on reader groups on Facebook and volunteers at the local library when needed. When she isn’t writing, she is obsessively reading and expanding her skills as a wordsmith. Kari lives in her great-grandfather’s remodeled 1890-built home in central Minnesota with her husband, children, cats, and one hungry wood stove.






1. What or whom inspired you to become an author?
This may sound strange, but it was watching storm chasing shows on television. I’d wanted to write for some time, but a story involving a tornado and its aftermath was the one that invaded my dreams every night for almost two years before I couldn’t stand it and wrote the story. Writing the story freed me from the dreams, but now I write all the time, I can’t keep myself from it.

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?  Do these authors inspire your own writing?
Karen Witemeyer and Sarah Sundin are two of my absolute favorites, but I have a LONG list that I consider inspirational. I’m always open to finding new authors whose prose leave me wanting more. Sometimes a sentence is built so well that you must stop and read it again, soak it in. Let it touch your soul.

3. What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I get up and start my day, help the kids with school (I home school) and check in on Facebook and email. I try to be very accessible. After school, the kids do chores or play and I get busy with focused writing time.

4. What do you want readers to take away from reading Dreams in Deadwood?

Dreams in Deadwood is about the prodigal relationship we have not only with Christ, but with ourselves. We run away from what we know to get and learn bigger and better things, but those things aren’t always what’s best for us. Sometimes, you need to go home and be whole.





She gingerly tip-toed over the rough concrete block floor, careful to check each stall. Her heart pumped in her ears as she waited for him to jump out and scare her, that would be just his way. She’d almost reached the end when a few blades of straw rained softly down on her head. She peered up as Aiden sat on a beam above her. His thickly muscled arms held him for a moment as he swung down then he extended them, releasing his body from the rafters above. He landed right in front of her and she gasped, nose to nose with him. His hazel eyes swept over her face, stalling on her lips, then he turned from her and scraped his hand over the back of his neck expelling a huge breath. She wanted to stalk over there and yank him back, she wasn’t done with him yet.
 

“We shouldn’t be out here. Brody showed us the tracks of unshod horses out in one of his pastures. Could be Indians or someone trying to look like Indians to stir up trouble. I should get you back home. It was foolish of me to bring you out here.”
He grasped her arm and tugged her along with him. She lost her footing and slid along for a moment until she gained her feet and yanked herself free.
“Just wait one minute! You haven’t shown me anything except that you know how to hide.” Her breath ached to be free of her stays, she was breathing too hard to calm herself.
He returned to her, just a bare few inches away. “You don’t understand, M’fhĂ­orghrĂĄ. I can hardly stand to breathe if I’m not with you, but I know you’ll never want to be with me, so I have to stay away. You’re tearing me apart.”



   





 

First Line Fridays


This week I want to post a line from one of my Kindle books.  I confess that not only do I have a to-be-read list for my print books, I also have a list for my Kindle books as well!  There are so many $.99 books on Amazon I consistently purchase...the book list is growing.  Do any of you have a never ending to-be-read list for your Kindle novels?  As always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too:    

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andie from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly
Lauraine from Lauraine's Notes 
 
 Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from:

The Pattern Artist 
by Nancy Moser 



And the first line is...

1911 
New York City 

""Annie Wood!  I demand you wipe that ridiculous smile off your face.  Immediately.'  Annie yanked her gaze away from the view out of the carriage and pressed a hand across her mouth to erase the offending smile."  

Happy reading and Happy Friday!  






Friday, March 31, 2017

First Line Fridays


Today I wanted to post a line from an author that is somewhat new to me...Amanda Cabot.  I believe I have read some of her novellas, but I have not read any of her novels.  Of course, after looking up her others stories, I added a few more books to my to-buy list.  :)  Has anyone read the Westward Winds Trilogy or the Texas Dreams Trilogy?  Let me know in the comments below.  As always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too:    

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andie from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly
Lauraine from Lauraine's Notes 
 
 Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from:

A Stolen Heart 
by Amanda Cabot



And the first line is...

May 1880

"No matter what anyone said, she wouldn't believe this was a mistake.  Lydia Crawford glanced at the other passengers, wondering whether her hours of sitting her, remaining silent but keeping a smile firmly fixed on her face, had done anything to lessen their hostility."  

Happy reading and Happy Friday!






Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Lady in Disguise - My Review



Sandra Byrd's novel A Lady in Disguise is the perfect read for those who love stories set in England.  More specifically, stories set in Victorian England.  The Victorian era has always been my favorite era of literature, so I was excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint!  The characters were relatable, and it was easy to stand behind the female protagonist of the story, Miss Gillian Young.  Her story will resonate to the heart of the reader, because she endures so much.  Her world is constantly changing throughout the text, and as a reader you want so much for her life to turn out right. 

As the pages to this book begin,  Miss Young is already facing tragedy, and quickly the reader will learn how much Gillian has already lost.  Sadly, there comes a point in her life when she wonders if she can trust anyone.  Unfortunately, Miss Young feels there could be danger lurking behind every bend in the road, and she soon discovers many of the individuals around her cannot be trusted.  Her parent's love letters are her only means of solace. 

Gillian's mother was an actress and found her own charities close to heart.  In turn, Gillian will find those individuals who need her assistance.  Through much prayer, she will start to discover the Lord is her only point of help in a world where she feels very alone.  Who will rescue her from the devastating places in her life?

Lord Lockwood has known Miss Young for years, and unbeknownst to Gillian, has started to form an attachment to her.   Yet there are so many obstacles in the way.  Throughout various events, he wonders if Miss Young even cares for him at all.  Her mysterious nature after her father's death does not make sense to him at times, yet his only desire is to protect her.  Will she ever understand this? 

Every character in this text comes with their own backstory that is vital to the overall message of the story, and it is interesting to see how each individual's strengths and weaknesses develop to either help or hinder Gillian.  Miss Young depends on certain people in her life, because without them, she would not be able to make her living as a seamstress.  Yet Miss Young also starts to learn about life from those around her, as she begins to discover her true and dependable friends.  As with most, in order to progress in life, one must learn from life's mistakes, which takes time.  Miss Young, through trial and error, will hopefully one day put all the confusing pieces of her life back together. 

This text was difficult to stop reading, because it was such an exciting and interesting read.  Even throughout the ups and downs of the book, I could not wait to learn what happened next in Gillian and Lord Lockwood's life.  There were moments when it seemed nothing could ever be right again, and then I would turn the page only to find more turmoil with bits of hope thrown in.  This heart-pounding tale is a must for any avid reader, because it is story you wish would never end--in some respects that is.  You will have to read the book in order to understand--so go check it out!  Happy reading!  


This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to RelzReviewz for my copy.


About The Book 

*After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves. 

*Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel.


About The Author 


  
Award-winning and bestselling author Sandra Byrd has published four dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including Mist of Midnight, Bride of a Distant Isle (A Romantic Times Book Reviews Top Pick), and her most recent, A Lady in Disguise. For nearly two decades, Sandra has shared her secrets with the many writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington area.

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.   




Friday, March 24, 2017

First Line Fridays


I just found this book entitled Tea Shop Folly by Carrie Fancett Pagels.  Of course, any title with the word tea in it I must add to my reading list.  :)  This is a new author for me, so I am excited to read her novel.  Oh, I have been busy reading and writing these last few weeks, and I have posted several new pieces, a book review, book spotlight, book giveaway, Daily Megaphone, so please be sure to check them out.  Also, I will have two new book reviews posted by the end of the month.  As always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too:    

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andie from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly
Lauraine from Lauraine's Notes 
 
 Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from:

Tea Shop Folly 
by Carrie Fancett Pagels



And the first line is...

Sault Ste. 
Marie, Michigan

"Stale odors of pipe smoke mingled with aging leather and dried flowers in dire need of replacing at the elderly attorney's office."

Happy reading and Happy Friday!






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Second Chance - Spotlight Book Tour






Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Forget Me Not Romance
Publication date: January 25, 2017
Number of pages: 154

Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter
Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man
of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day
and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend,
Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being
a bachelorette for life.

Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as
Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last.
However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable
help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to
raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death. 
​Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.
​​
1. What or whom inspired you to become an author?
An impromptu storytelling game between my brother, grandpa and I at my grandparents’ house (they were our babysitters), first inspired me to become an author. The storytelling game was my grandpa’s idea (best idea ever)!

I liked my story so much that I decided to turn it into my first “book.” So I spent my time that summer whenever I was home, typing it out on the family computer. After I typed “The End”, I printed this first story of mine out, created a cover page and stapled it like a book. Following that, I illustrated the book and gave it a title of “Sisters.” Later on that summer, my Mom’s best friend from college visited and became my “audience” when I read it to her and she gave me my first “review” (she said it was a nice story). I loved the entire process and feedback from my “audience” because it was fulfilling and encouraged me in my creative journey.

So, that’s when and how I decided that I wanted to be an author.

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Sophia A. Nelson, Sarah Jio, Brandy Bruce, Becky Wade, and Mary Manners.

3. What writing projects are you currently working on?  What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m working on my third and fourth books. One of these two stories is about a fictional five-star quality bakery in the heart of a major city, and the characters that love it. The other story is about a wedding photographer who’s never been in love.

4. Where is your favorite place to write?
My bedroom, by the windows, is my favorite place to write. I love it when the sun is shining and filling the room with a pure stream of natural light.

5. What would you like readers to take away from reading A Second Chance?
I’d like for my readers to take away the theme of Jeremiah 29:11 and rest on that Bible-based truth about God’s good plans for your life.

Chapter 1

Knee-deep in debt from wedding expenses, Traci Hightower sighed as she filed through the credit card statements. She should be married now, back from her honeymoon in Bali, and settled into her new home with her husband.
Happy.
Not single and broke.
She slapped an envelope against the desk. Five months of struggling to survive and pay off the debt. Her meager, entry-level journalist salary didn’t stretch far enough. She’d been paying her dues for seven years. She rubbed her temples. The numbers on the credit card statement blurred in front of her eyes.
The doorbell rang. A little thrill rushed through her. She stood from her cross-legged position on the floor and hopped over the mess of papers and laundry that decorated her living room. “Who is it?”
“The woman who gave you birth.”
For the first time today, Traci smiled. She opened the door and reached for a hug from the one person who never left her hanging. “Hi, Mom.”
Her mom returned her daughter’s embrace, then dragged her suitcase inside. She glanced around. “Oh, my.”
Traci locked her door, then turned and shrugged. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been looking forward to this. Can’t you stay for more than two days though?”
Mom stopped picking up the bills from the floor and faced her daughter. “No, honey. I’m sorry, but I need to return home by Wednesday morning. Dad and I have an important meeting later that day.”
Traci’s heart dipped. Mom paused and placed the bills and the stack of paper she’d picked off the floor on Traci’s kitchen counter. “Oh, sweetie.” She cocooned her daughter in another embrace.
Traci snuggled close. She inhaled the familiar scent of her mother’s favorite perfume. It smelt like coconut and lime.
“You always were a cuddler.” Mom stroked her hair. “Still up to your eyeballs in debt?”
Traci nodded.
“Why don’t you let me and your father help?”
Traci took a step back and made eye contact with her mom. “We’ve been through this. I got myself into this mess. I’ll get myself out.”
Mom smiled. “Your father and I were talking. We hate to see you struggling.”
“You don’t exactly live in a palace either. I know you want to retire soon, and I won’t have you dipping into that money.”
Mom reached into her purse. “Living in the nation’s capital area is expensive.” She rummaged through her handbag’s contents. “Have you considered moving home?”
“I can’t do that. I don’t ever want to live anywhere else. My life and career are here.”
“How’s that going for you?”
Traci picked at her fingernails. “It could be better.” Better boss, better pay, better office space. The works.
Mom nodded as she retrieved one sealed envelope from her purse. She looked toward Traci’s kitchen. “Can we make some tea? I’d like to talk with you.”
“Sure. Come with me.” Traci reached for the box of peppermint tea bags and got a bottle of honey from her refrigerator. As she put the kettle on to boil, her mom settled into a wobbly kitchen chair. She smoothed the creased edges of the envelope.
Traci poured the hot water over the tea bags in each mug and the scent of peppermint filled the air. “Everything okay?”
“Just thinking, honey.”
“About what?”
“Have a seat.”
“Sure, just let me allow the tea to steep.” After she placed a plate over each mug and set it aside, she settled into the chair across from her mom. “What’s up?”
“I never did like Greg.”
Traci traced a ring stain on the table. “Do we have to talk about my ex-fiancĂ©?”
“Yes, because your grandfather always trusted my judgment.”
“So, Grandpa didn’t like Greg either?”
“I inherited my instincts of discernment from him. Speaking of discernment, here.” She pushed the envelope within Traci’s reach.
She frowned as she picked it up and tried to flatten its wrinkles. “What’s this?”
“Open it. Read it, and I’ll bring our tea to the table.”
Traci turned over the letter-sized, manila-hued paper that was addressed to her. She drew out the paper.

Dear Traci,
If you’re reading this, it means I’ve passed away, and your mother kept her promise to give this to you at the right time. As you know, I like to cut to the chase first and explain later. So here it is, plain and simple: I left an inheritance for you. It’s enough for you to make a solid and secure living, for it will cover more than what you need for the rest of your life.

Traci dropped the letter, her hands shaking. This could be the answer to her financial struggles and give her what she always dreamed of. Her own bookstore. The thought stole her breath for a moment. She envisioned the words on the sign out front. Hallee’s House. Just like she promised her cousin Hallee before she passed away from cancer. Tears welled in Traci’s eyes.
Forcing herself to take a deep breath and will the emotional waterworks away, she picked the paper off the floor and continued reading.

But you cannot receive the money until after you are married, and before you are, your mother must approve of the man you want to wed. Why? Because your mother inherited my sense of judgment and discernment between right and wrong when it comes to people. She can spot someone who’s going to break your heart from a mile away. I trust that you will listen to your mother now that I’m gone and can no longer advise you. So there you have it, dear. You have an inheritance. Sounds like a movie, right? Only it’s not. It’s better, because it’s now part of the story of your life.

After you’re married, you and your husband need to visit my lawyer, Chadwick Morrison. Provide him with the original copy of your marriage certificate, and he will give you your inheritance.
Your grandmother and I loved you. We wanted nothing more than for you to find the type of love that we had during our lifetime. Now, I trust that you will allow yourself to be guided by God, your mother’s love, and your father’s protection.

With love, your grandfather,
Henry Allen Fort

P.S. Take this seriously. Don’t marry the wrong man just to get the money. Let love happen. There’s no deadline. My will said you had to be married first. It didn’t say when.

“Let love happen.” Traci snorted as she folded the letter and placed it into the envelope. “The last time I let love happen, I was left at the altar with nothing more than a pile of bills.”
Mom placed her mug on the table. “It’s time for you to move on and trust God.”
“I trusted God to bring me a husband. He brought me Greg. Remember? The man who left me on my wedding day and ran off with my best friend?”
“Honey, I know it hurts, but that was months ago. You shouldn’t allow Greg’s actions and wayward heart to tarnish your future. Be glad he showed you his true colors before tying the knot. Honestly, look at this as a blessing. God protected you from a lifetime of heartache.”
Traci focused on her I Love Maryland mug.
Mom touched her hand. “Your grandfather just wanted to see you happy in a committed romantic relationship like he and your grandma had. Like your father and I have.”
Traci sipped her tea.
“Keep the letter.” Mrs. Hightower pushed her chair back. “Do you want me to stay here or at a hotel?”
“Here, Mom, of course. You can stay in my room. I’ll sleep on the couch.”
“Alright then. I’m going to put my luggage in your room. After that, we’ll clean your apartment.”
Traci picked up the mugs while her mind ran a marathon. Forgive her ex-fiancĂ© and move on? Trust God?  Impossible.