Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018!


The Adoration of the Shepherds, Murillo, c. 1657, Prado Museum, Madrid.
[PD-US]

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message 
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.
Luke 2:16-21


The Love Inspired: A Story of Every Reader Authors
wish you a very
 Happy New Year!

We are remembering you and your needs in our prayers
throughout the Christmas Season.
God bless you all!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What Was Your Favorite Part of Christmas?

www.jeancgordon.com
Jean C. Gordon here. I hope you all had a nice Christmas. My favorite part was having my whole immediate family come to Christmas Eve Service with me and returning home afterwards to each open one gifta tradition my parents started once none of us kids still believed Santa brought our gifts.
To continue the giving spirit, I have an excerpt from my new Love Inspired Romance A Mom for His Daughter for everyone and a copy of the book for one reader who shares her or his favorite part of this Christmas in the comments. I'll randomly pick the winner tomorrow evening by 8 pm and post back here in the comments.
Chapter One
http://amzn.to/2BFRBKE
Everything Marc Delacroix had always thought he wanted rode on decisions he and his business partners would make in the next few hours. And he couldn’t care less.
Oh, he’d gone through the motions yesterday of meeting with Fiona Bryce, the Cornell farm-to-table consultant. He owed his partners that much. They’d been picking up slack for him even before Cate’s death. The lump that formed in his throat when he thought about his wife didn’t choke off his windpipe anymore, which he guessed was progress. This Lake George restaurant launch his partners had sent him north for felt a lot like a get-yourself-together or sell-out proposition. He curled his lip. Maybe he should sell out.
His cell phone jolted him from his thoughts. He glanced at the caller ID. Mom. Just what he didn’t need when he was rushing to get his daughter, Stella, dressed and to her first morning at preschool in Schroon Lake. But he couldn’t ignore her. She was his mother.
“Hey, Mom. What’s up? I only have a minute if I’m going to get Stella to school on time.”
“But she’s not quite three yet. So little for preschool,” his mother protested.
While he listened to his mother’s opinion on Stella and preschool for the third time, his thoughts drifted back to yesterday. Although he only had a vague idea of what Fiona’s program could do, he’d forwarded her presentation with his positive recommendation to his partners. He’d been unexpectedly mesmerized by the woman—her features, her movements—and had paid more attention to her than to what she’d said.
“Marc?”
“Yes, I’m here, Mom. I was thinking about my meeting at the research farm yesterday.”
“I’m glad you’re taking an interest in your work again,” she said.
More like an interest in my potential business consultant. But it was something. Better than the apathy that had paralyzed him for the past months.
“You know I don’t mind watching Stella,” his mother said. “I’m free today if you want to get some work in. I usually don’t schedule any bookkeeping on Wednesdays to have a day free for errands and other things.”
That was the drawback and blessing of having moved Stella from New York City to his hometown of Paradox Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. Lots of people always ready to help. Mom with her offers to take care of Stella. His twin sister pressing him to socialize, meet new people—Fiona, her coworker at the Cornell Research Farm in Willsboro, popped into his mind again—and encouraging him to get started on La Table Frais, his restaurant project.
Cradling the phone between his ear and shoulder, Marc picked up Stella’s shoes, slipped them on her feet and pressed the Velcro fasteners. He was inclined to agree with his mother, but his youngest sister, Renee, a child sociologist, had convinced him that being with children her age would help get Stella up to speed with the age-appropriate behavior she’d fallen behind on.
“It’s a play group for two- and three-year-olds. And Andie will be there.” His older sister was one of the teachers at The Kids Place, the childcare center at Hazardtown Community Church, where he and his family attended services.
“Stella. Red,” Stella said, pointing at her belly and her red T-shirt in a basket of clothes he had folded, ready to put away.
“Okay.” Marc hoped he wasn’t pushing Stella too hard. Her speech development had stalled since Cate died. But referring to herself in a baby-like third person was something new he’d noticed since they’d moved here last month.
“Pardon?” his mother said.
Stella scampered over to the basket, pulled off the shirt he’d put on her and worked at putting on the red one.
“Stella wanted to wear her red shirt instead of the one I put on her.”
He could imagine the expression on his mother’s face about letting Stella have her way. Marc grabbed his phone from his shoulder. But the counselor they’d seen downstate after Cate’s death had said to choose his battles with Stella, and he wasn’t about to do anything to set her off before he even got her to The Kids Place.
“I don’t want to upset her, Mom. She had a meltdown yesterday at the grocery store. Someone Stella didn’t know said hello to her, and Stella went ballistic. You know how reluctant she can be about talking to new people.” Or anyone other than him—even his family.
“That’s what I mean. Stella may need more time with family to adjust to her new home. School’s off today for a teacher’s workday or something. I could have Robbie come and play with her.”
Yeah. A playdate with his toddler cousin wasn’t likely to be at the top of seven-year-old Robbie’s wish list.
“I need to go, Mom. I’ve got work to do after I drop off Stella.” He strained to hide the catch in his voice on work. How many times had he said that to Cate, to Stella, thinking there would be time later? Then Cate was dying, and there were no more laters.
“Daddy!”
He turned. Stella had her arm through the head of the shirt.
“And Stella needs help with her shirt.”
“Okay, and as I said, if you want to go work on the restaurant this afternoon, I’ll be here for Stella.”
“Thanks, Mom.” But he was the one who ought to be there for his daughter. “I’ll let you know. Bye. Hang on, sweetpea. I’ll give you a hand.” He pulled Stella’s arm out of the head hole, and she slipped her arms in the sleeves.
“Stella do it.”
“Yep. Good job.” Edginess fired through his veins. He could only hope he was doing as well.
“Church. Singing,” Stella said a few minutes later when he pulled into the church parking lot and stopped in a space near the church hall.
Marc hopped out and released Stella from her car seat. “I don’t know about singing today.”
His wife’s beautiful voice singing “On Eagles’ Wings” with their church choir floated through his head. Stella had loved Cate’s singing, so much so that he’d avoided taking Stella to church after Cate’s death for fear the music would set Stella off. Regret squeezed his chest. But he couldn’t avoid church services here. Nor did he want to. And Stella had been fine when they’d attended church with his parents last week.
The corners of Stella’s mouth turned down.
“But we’ll see. There might be singing.” He lifted her from the car.
“Stella walk.”
He set her down and took her hand. “Okay.” Slowly, they made their way to the hall door. Marc opened it.
“London Bridge is falling down, falling down…” A group of preschoolers was playing London Bridge in the hall.
“See, Daddy, singing.”
“You’re absolutely right.” His heart lightened. “Let’s go talk with Aunt Andie about school.”
“`Kay.” Stella’s voice lacked the enthusiasm of a minute ago.
Andie walked over to them. He held his breath when she crouched to Stella’s level.
“Hi, Stella. We’re coloring our class banner.” Andie pointed across the room to several kids Stella’s age sitting at a table with a long sheet of white paper. “Want to help us?”
Stella looked up at him. “Daddy color?”
“Remember, Daddy has to work this morning.” He planned on talking with his partners. “You can color with Aunt Andie.” The counselor had told Marc that the little girl might feel more secure with him telling her what to do, rather than asking—at least for a while.
Stella stared at him silently for so long his heart stopped. Then she nodded and took Andie’s hand.
“She’ll be fine,” Andie said.
“Right.” He resisted looking back at Stella as he left the hall. Stella knew Andie. Andie was great with kids of all ages, and she had his number if there was any problem.
Marc dragged his feet walking out to the car. He needed to occupy his mind with something more than concerns about Stella. That fixation wasn’t good for her or him. He’d taken his first reluctant step yesterday toward an opportunity he would have jumped at in a New York minute two years ago. Marc wanted that excitement back. For too long, he’d been plodding through life placing one foot in front of the other.le
He made his decision. He needed to get in the race again, call Fiona and let her know she could write up a consulting contract for La Table Frais. His partners would probably celebrate his taking the initiative to make the decision, rather than waiting for their approval.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, he thumbed to the Cornell Research Farm’s number on his phone, picturing Fiona, her coppery curls, wide-set hazel eyes and vivacious mannerisms. She was a stunning woman, and the first woman he’d noticed since Cate had died.
If he were honest with himself, that scared him. He closed his eyes. His main focus still had to be Stella, but to be what his daughter needed, maybe he needed something for himself.
He didn’t have to throw himself into the new restaurant twenty-four seven as he had with his work in New York. And having an adult relationship, a non-pressure business relationship that had nothing to do with his daughter, might give him a balance between family and work.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!


Adoration of the Shepherds
by the Dutch painter 
Gerard van Honthorst, 1622,
Pomeranian State Museum. [PD-US]

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment, 
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth 
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, 
because he was of the house and family of David, 
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child, 
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, 
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields 
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them 
and the glory of the Lord shone around them, 
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy 
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David 
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: 
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes 
and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Luke 2:1-14


The Love Inspired: A Story for Every Reader Authors 
wish you Very Merry Christmas!
We are remembering you and your needs
in our prayers throughout this Christmas Season.
God bless you all!

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Call ...The Call by Jean C. Gordon

In a land long ago and not so far away, there was a young mother who had fairly recently discovered and fallen in love with romance novels. So, what did she do? Being a writer – tax and financial news – by profession, she wrote one, finding that fiction writing is much different than news writing. I’m sure you’ve figured out that young mother was me. My romance author dream was to sell to Silhouette Romance, Harlequin’s old sweet romance line. I sent my story, Bachelor Father off to Silhouette and quickly received a form rejection letter. But a friend in my local writers group told me about another sweet romance publisher, Avalon Books, that provided hardcover books to libraries.

Sorry for the tilt and glare.
It's affixed to the wall.
I submitted Bachelor Father to them and waited and waited and waited, meanwhile starting another sweet romance, Mandy and the Mayor. I submitted the first three chapters of that book to the New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart in Book Contest and finaled in the contemporary romance category.

Off I went to the NJ Romance writers conference, my first romance writers conference, with an appointment to meet with Erin Cartwright, the very new Editorial Director at Avalon Books. I wanted to find out what was going on with Bachelor Father. I won first place in the contest. At my editor appointment, Erin was very interested in Mandy and the Mayor and disappointed that I had only the first three chapters written. Then, I told her I had another submission at Avalon Books. She said she’d look at it as soon as she got back to the office on Monday.

True to her word, Erin called me at my day job Tuesday with an offer. I’d like to say I went home with my news and my family was jumping up and down excited for me. But we’re kind of low key. Their universal reaction was, “you said you were going to sell a romance novel, so we knew you would.”
http://amzn.to/2BnfSs5
Fast forward 11 years, during which I continued to try, unsuccessfully, to sell to Silhouette Romance and did sell four more books to Avalon. I had started reading Love Inspired books and had written a proposal for the contemporary line. In an echo of The Call, I had an appointment at the NJ Romance Writers Conference with Love Inspired editor Emily Rodmell where I pitched my work in progress. Not too long afterwards, I received A Call from Melissa Endlich with an offer for my first Love Inspired Romance, Small-Town Sweetheart. While my First Call was exciting, I admit to being more excited about my Echo Call from Love Inspired.

http://amzn.to/2z4fgkW


Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Silent Night...




My husband and I live out in the country and a few years back, on Christmas Eve, the electricity went out and it was out for a while. After returning home from the Christmas Eve service, we were greeted with a silent night. In the country, the darkness is a true one. There are no lights, no sound expect that which nature provides. Just the sky full of stars to light the way.

Every time I think about that Christmas Eve, I’m reminded of the words to the song, Silent Night.

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon Virgin Mother and Child

Holy Infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

 

Silent night, holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight

Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!

Christ, the Saviour is born

Christ, the Saviour is born

 

Silent night, holy night

Son of God, love's pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

 



My husband and I went outside and enjoyed the beauty of a silent night, and I thought about that first Christmas where Mary and Joseph welcomed the Saviour of the world. Against the chaos taking place in Bethlehem at that time, two people were celebrating the joyous birth of Jesus, knowing that He was the Son of God.
 

I can only imagine what the shepherds must have thought on that silent night when the angels came to announce the Saviour’s birth. What an amazing experience.

What could have been a frustrating experience, turned out to be a special one for us.  

So, this Christmas, amongst the hustle and bustle of the holiday, I hope you have a moment to find your own silent night and can take some time and remember that first Christmas and the Miracle that was born to us that day.

 


 

 
 

Mary Alford

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Getting a Very Special Christmas Present by Jo Ann Brown

When you were a kid after Christmas, did you get together with friends to share what was received as gifts? We’d ooh and aah over everyone else’s gifts, as excited as if they were our own. In a way they were, because we knew in the year to come, we’d be playing with our friends’ toys, too. Because we lived in northern New York where the snow could stay until deep into April, gifts like bicycles and skates offered us delayed pleasure. That was okay because while we waited to ride them outside (some of my friends had cellars big enough to ride inside), we put our sleds and ice skates to good use.
Over the years, my two younger sisters and I had a tradition of going through our toys in October and picking out some of the better, but seldom played with toys to donate the town clerk who would see they got to children who would love them, We sewed new clothes for the dolls or even whole wardrobes, so the dolls were even better than new. Stuffed toys were spiffed up with fresh ribbons and maybe even an outfit or two of their own. We knit scarves for everything from Barbie to teddy bears in vivid shades of whatever yarn we’d collected from my mother’s friends.
It was the way my parents taught us about sharing with those kids who might not otherwise have gotten a nice toy for Christmas and knowing that the giving brought as much joy as the getting.
Years passed, and I continued the tradition with my young children. They picked out the toys to donate, and I fixed the toys up so they looked like new. In addition, I began knitting personalized Christmas stockings for everyone in the family, our immediate family, parents, in-laws, nieces and nephews.
My older daughter was five and my son was two when my husband I decided that our family wasn’t complete. Our son had been born in Korea and came to us when he was 11 months old, but this time we applied for an older child, knowing there was a narrow window between our children’s ages and how agencies didn’t like to disrupt the family order for the oldest child already in the family. We filled out the paperwork and waited and waited for the good news. As we’d specifically asked for a girl, I knit our future daughter a stocking with her name on it. We were all set for her.
Sure enough we got our best-ever early Christmas present the Monday after Thanksgiving when our social worker called with news on a little girl who’d been matched to us. She was 18 months old. In her photo, she looked too serious for such a young child, but we discovered she was already in our hearts and we couldn’t get her home.
We put everything on warp speed in hopes of getting her home in time for Christmas, but it didn’t happen. It seems as if no baby, even our Savior, has come when it’s convenient. We hung her stocking and said, “She’ll be here to open her gifts with us next Christmas.” She did, in fact, come home the day after Valentine’s Day after all the hoops were jumped through.
Now fast forward to 2001 and our younger daughter was participating in the college program at Disney World.
That year, we knew she wouldn’t be home for Christmas, because her session ended on January 8. We didn’t want to lose another Christmas with her. Going to Florida wasn’t possible, so what to do? Her sister, her brother, my husband and I discussed it, and we decided to postpone the Christmas gift portion of the holiday until she came home. I was proud of my kids to be willing to put off the fun of exchanging the gifts they’d picked out for each other, and I believe they’d learned about what was truly important in gift-giving from that old tradition of sharing with others.
We set up the tree, hung the stockings and made the cookies as we always did. My husband read “A Visit from St. Nick” on Christmas Eve as he always did, but that year he read it over the phone so our youngest and her five homesick roommates (and apparently a suite full of other kids longing to be home) could hear. We enjoyed the events at church and with extended family and neighbors, but the gifts waited under the tree unwrapped. Our kids couldn’t participate in the “what did you get?” conversations...Not yet!
On January 9, our daughter arrived home. The first thing we did after she got in the house was share the gifts we’d gotten for each other. It was all the sweeter for waiting, and we laughed and laughed about being the last people in neighborhood to open gifts. But the best gift again was having the whole family together again.
Being together as a family is a theme throughout my Amish Hearts series. The final book in the series, An Amish Arrangement, is coming out today (January 1 as an ebook).
The heroine, Mercy, knows all about the different ways of building families because she’s both an adoptee and an adoptive parent. She and the hero, Jeremiah Stoltzfus, must learn, too, that sometimes things happen on their own schedule and all we can do is have faith that God will make everything come out for the best in the end.
Have a merry Christmas with the ones you love and enjoy the special traditions you’ve built through the years!

Monday, December 18, 2017

New for December from Our Love Inspired Suspense Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with two new must buys from our Love Inspired Suspense authors. Just click on the cover to purchase it. And to learn more about these talented ladies, click on her name.

http://amzn.to/2yFEpST
Amish Christmas Abduction
by Dana R. Lynn 

KIDNAPPED IN AMISH COUNTRY
After catching a glimpse of something she wasn’t supposed to see days before Christmas, Irene Martello is run off the road and barely survives. More shocking is the backseat whimper of an Amish toddler stowaway and the familiar sight of their rescuer—the man who’d let her down years earlier. Police chief Paul Kennedy fears Irene stumbled onto a kidnapping ring with two dangerous agendas: retrieving the girl and silencing the witness for good. Only Paul can keep them safe for the holidays. Guarding Irene means risking his heart—and his secret—but to save the child and the woman he never stopped loving, it’s a risk he has to take.

http://amzn.to/2yEQcB3
Classified K-9 Unit Christmas
by Lenora Worth and Terri Reed

A KILLER CHRISTMAS
When FBI K-9 agent Nina Atkins thwarts an attempted murder, she becomes a target of the killer—the same hit man US Marshal Thomas Grant is tracking. Even caught in the crosshairs, Nina’s reluctant to share her case, but working with Thomas may be the only way to capture a murderer before she becomes his next victim.

YULETIDE STALKING
Determined to stop an arsonist with the help of his accelerant-detecting K-9 partner, FBI agent Tim Ramsey must protect the only witness. But when the criminal begins stalking Vickie Petrov, can Tim convince her to trust him…and help her survive to see another Christmas?